“Playing the mind guerrilla.
Chanting the mantra,
Peace on earth
We all been playing those mind games forever.”
(“Mind Games” – 1973 – John Lennon – from the album of the same name.)
Seems these days, everyone is all about playing games. Little kids, bigger kids, adults, Hell even senior citizens are playing games. From Play Station to Wii to your phone; you can never be more than a minute or two from your favorite game. It is truly amazing to consider the amount of time and money that Americans spend to play games. And like every other technologically driven pursuit, there is always the newest, biggest, fastest device, console or game to lust after. Your PS3 is obsolete before you can get the box home to set up your new toy.
So, what came first, the Gamer Society or the mindset that produced that society?
The Gamer Society is not an American phenomenon – my son regularly plays “Call of Duty” against Australian, Dutch and German opponents, to name a few countries – along with players from all over North America. So what do we make of this worldwide pastime that takes relatively normal people with varied interests and turns them into obsessed game junkies?
I suppose that I could be called an old, behind-the-times, SOB due to my disdain for gaming. The last game I played regularly was one of the pinball machines down at the Pool Hall when I was in High School. For me, I see gaming as the intellectual equivalent of cotton candy – all sugar and no substance.
Behind the intellectual wasteland that is gaming, however, there is perhaps a darker issue – a collective divorce from the realities of the world we inhabit. The issues of daily life and the complexities of global challenges are easily escaped through an activity that demands all your attention – attention that could be directed more productively.
Does this all come down to mind games – games that we play on ourselves? Losing one’s self in a world of make-believe, faux competitiveness and faceless opponents rather than challenging ourselves to better ourselves and the world around us.
Mind games – have we fooled ourselves into thinking that the world will just go away and leave us alone if we can just get to the next level on our favorite game?
William Stephenson Clark