Festivus for the rest of us

The holidays are always a time for reflection. For many months I’ve sat around in my basement room playing video games and wondering why I don’t ever seem to have time to write anymore. It’s not very complicated – I’ve given myself a digital lobotomy.

I enjoy playing video games. I don’t know what to say to someone who doesn’t appreciate them. It’s such a huge part of my life that I wonder how much I can relate to someone across this philosophical divide. If nothing else, they’re a diversion from all of my world weary anxiety. Bush got relected, the Ukraine is teetering on the brink of civil war, the world isn’t using any less energy, and the religions of the world are no closer to finding common grounds. Yep, with all of that is going on in the world digital diversion is mighty appealing, especially if it’s such a pleasing one at that.
For the last two years I’ve been seriously into Level 7’s WSA & WW. They’re niche games, not suitable for all tastes. While WSA is a fun galactic conquest type which rewards perserverence and tactics, WW is a more diplomatic strategy game. A lot of my time in the last couple of months has been devoted to WW’s 5th round, Ares. The structure of the game is very command oriented. You have an alliance of fighters, builders and a leader spread out across the world, operating at different timezones and on different play schedules. Some can devote one or two hours a day, some can devote more. The object is to have one member of your alliance build their tower to the thousandth level and summon an Altar of Rising. If that alliance can hold it for 72 hours they win the game.
We were an evil alliance, comprised of orcs, goblins and the undead. I was an orc, and I led The Horde with members primarily on Mira and Syrma, 2 of the core planets. This was my first time leading a core alliance and I put a lot of work into it. Some people see video games as a waste, but I say that if you’re doing something and it’s bringing you great enjoyment, shouldn’t you pursue that path feverently?
I have played since the The Dawn, the first round, although I was only in long enough to see a report that Wolfheart had summoned the altar and had 72 ticks left to defend it. I was intrigued though by the ardor in which my brother played. You see it was he who introduced this game to me; a thanksgiving I believe in which he hurried down stairs upon arrival, having to use my computer for a time sensitive move. I was hooked at once, signing up for WSA and playing happily for many months. Later on I showed it to DavisLee, who then intoduced me to WW. It has consumed me since.
The people who play these games play them passionately. Trust is the currency in this marketplace, values are the wares. Alliegences and grudges hold over from round to round. Again it comes down to values. What do people value? Are there right values to have?
I was pretty happy when TH won Ares. I viewed it as a big accomplishment on my part, as the strength of the leader of an alliance is reflected in the results of the game. I feel very confident about leading people in these noospheres, and I think that confidence resulted in a win for The Horde. You might think it’s crazy to divest so much time for something functionally non-existent, however as I said before in these times of change it’s nice to duck you head under the sand once in a while.
What worries me though is that I’ve started off under the same path with my latest obsession, “World of Warcraft. I don’t know whether to go into any depth of the details of the game, suffice it to say that I’ve already inherited a fledgling guild and it seems to be growing quite nicely. I’ve got a guild logo thanks to the kitty, I’m going to register some domains tomorrow and I’ve got a week of holidays to do something with them. I just have to figure out a way to make money playing video games. Unfortunately, WoW has very restrictive Intellectual Property clauses. Officially, one can not buy and sell items and characters on commerce sites like ebay. This kind of trading is so popular that for some games, companies have sprouted up in asia where employees simply play everquest in order to find mad loot to sell online.
At any rate, I have the rest of the year off and I’m torn. I have so many responsibilities that I’ve committed to and yet all I want to do is play WoW and build my guild. Hardcore addictions at it’s finest. It’s terrible because in all ways my writing suffers. I can’t seem to devote the energy necessary for writing here when I spend so much of it communicating with people there. At any rate, I’m the leader of The Order of Omega located on the Stonemaul server.
I often think very highly of myself. I believe that I can help people understand things because for some reason I think I’ve got a lot things figured out. That’s a very arrogant statement – but I’m not going to lie to myself, that’s how I feel. Whether it’s true or not is of course the question. My friends are very supportive of me and my endeavours, so I can only take strength from their confidence and plow ahead. Let’s see how far the rabbit hole goes.
However, back in the real world things are taking a turn for the worse. Religious intolerance is only starting to boil, the ‘mandate’ of the religious right starting to turn the coals to start the fire back up again. Just because the election is over doesn’t mean the issues are now resolved. If anything, I see it as a question of why so many people are being mislead in the choices they’re taking. We have to look beyond ourselves. It’s just that simple. It’s a hard argument to make when you’re dealing with the unpleasantness of the immediate, but the long term gain is worth it if you see it as a battle for a species. If we’re all in it as an alliance of humans, against the uncertainty of the survival of our species in a vast sea of vaccum, then maybe we can sacrifice a little of our comfort in the here and now to achieve those means.
That brings into question the value of our species. This is where I have the hardest time justifying my quest. Are we a productive member of the universe? Is the noosphere that we’ve created strong enough to overcome the collective selfishness of humanity? If we rape, pillage and burn the earth so that no other species but ours can survive, are we really adding anthing at all to the biological diversity of the Universe? It sounds more like cancer, a disease that we all know so well but can’t seem to stop. If we are a caner then shouldn’t we be in chemo? Maybe we already are?
It’s boxing day. In Canada, the stores will be open for an orgy of consumerism. In a couple hours I have to be up to hang with my friend Roz who just got a job with Nokia. I get confused on Christmas. So many people follow these rituals, and I wonder how many of them do it because it’s the only thing they’ve known. Christmas is going to be a hot issue in the coming years, possibly as great as homosexuality is now. There’s a message there that definately get’s lost in the commerciaized aspects of the holiday. It’s not all bad, though. Spending lots of time with Family can be such an important experience. If nothing else, it’s a good catch up on all the latest with our friends and family. I don’t like the religious overtones though and that’s why I think I’m going to start celebrating Festivus. Maybe we do need a secular religious holiday.
I often talk about religion, and the values that are associated with our current ones. I was searching for the URL to my piece Welcome to the Noosphere in google and found it in the first spot, but found this as the second link. I don’t know what to make of it. It’s quite culty and I worry that they’re using foreign concepts and word combinations to trick people into believing something that’s not real. It could all be true, I don’t know. I’m not in the right state of mind to even begin attempting to digest it. So with that, I will make my peace with the night. Time for a cold drive home and a fitful sleep.

9 thoughts on “Festivus for the rest of us”

  1. Hey man. hows it goin? i see u been keeping ur hands full with other games. i was wondering why i havent seen u on SOF 2 Demo in ages. its good ur exploring new games and these games seem intellectually based with some use of actual strategic thinking involved. these types of games are cool. that WW’s 5th round, Ares sounds bad ass. maybe i’ll visit u sometime in the world of warcraft. I been sticking it out with Halo 2, Half-Life 2, Counterstrike Source and SOF 2 ofcourse. I miss talkin to ya man. Dont forget about us over there at NoTag. as for world events, man…this place is in turmoil. i dont know what to think anymore, only what to expect. religious matters have always been out of hand they date back to ancient times. Anyway i hope u had a wonderful christmas and are gonna party hard for new years. hopefully get ur mind off stuff. hey do a LAN party for all i care haha. anyway forum discussions just aint what they used to be man. i miss the TGM days. its a pity. Well i hope u stay well. nice to see ya again.
    ~ur friend *99 Cent*

  2. too right man. if only religious people would base everything on an ‘idea’ and not a ‘belief’ we would all be better off.

  3. You of all people should know that the brightest of humans are the ones who realise they know nothing (or next to nothing, come to think of it).
    Anyway, I’ve always considered that addictiona could be fought against… I thought wrong, of course, thus I can simply wish you “good luck!” considering my current lack of words.
    Bafta! (as we put it in my language)

  4. Do you think as you get older you start forgeting about gaming? I bought Doom 3, Halo 2, HL2, and GTA S.A, I have neither played or beaten these games in 3 weeks now,I think there is something wrong with me.

  5. As a non-gamer, I still can relate to how it used to be. I used to be playing Wolfenstein until my vision was terribly impaired even after I put down the controls, thus making it hard to survive in the world out there. But hey, just do whatever it is you feel like doing, and we’ll catch you when you return.

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