The Games People Play

“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 Your PS3 is obsolete before you can get the box home to set up your new toy.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


Filed under American Society

10 responses to “The Games People Play

  1. Once the game is over, the King and the pawn go back in the same box. — Italian Proverb

  2. Freedomwriter

    I agree that incessant gaming seems to be a general waste of time, but that’s just what’s going on in our households. The kids or spouses (!) aren’t getting things done in the other arenas of their lives, which bugs us.

    But there is more going on here than what we see on the surface. You said your son regularly plays with other gamers from Australia, the Netherlands, and Germany. Think of the global friendships and expanded awareness these kids are developing. Someday it will be harder to hate one’s enemies, when you just had fun and congratulated each other on a game well played.

  3. tosmarttobegop

    The senior center mom goes to got a wwi, they play bowling and tennis the older folk love it.
    I have to be in the mood to play a video game, otherwise the game system sets off and in the corner.

    I mainly feel like playing when it seem that reality is too saddening and I need some distraction.

    • Freebird1971

      I did wii with my 3yr old grandson last week and got my butt whupped in bowling(40 pins),baseball and golf. I feel really old after that

      • tosmarttobegop

        Yeah but granpa they open up a whole new world for us!

        LOL I never knew how cool the Tele-tubbies were till my oldest grandson and I started watching them.

        Before that it was my kids that made me feel old. Things that could do without effort and for me it was Ahh? Huh? which button do I push?

  4. tosmarttobegop

    To be honest for me it is this! If I get caught up or inspired I may spend hours in a blog.

    Forsaking anything else I need to get done, usually after I finally shut off the computer feel like I did nothing but waste time.

  5. tosmarttobegop

    You should have seen me the first time I tried to play a Playstation!

    Using the thumb controls while trying to remember which button does what?

  6. The RNC and Republican candidates across the country have attacked Democrats and accused them of wasteful spending and increasing the national debt. Elect us, say the Republicans, and we will balance the budget and reduce the national debt. The national debt of almost $14 trillion. The two major points that Republican leaders seem to agree on were announced by House Minority Leader John Boehner: extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich and middle class, and hold federal spending to 2008 levels.

    All that has to be done to balance the budget and reduce the national debt is vote for those who speak of deficit reduction while actively working against it, and put back in power those who champion the same policies that got us here in the first place. The idea that we could cut taxes while balancing the budget was first put forth by President Reagan. He did cut taxes — and more than tripled our annual deficit. It was tried by President George W. Bush — he took a budget surplus and changed it into $400 billion annual deficits. Now, Republican politicians are once again promising the same free lunch to our citizens.

    So elect Republicans in November and all our country’s problems will be solved! They’ll probably have them fixed the day after they’re elected and even before they all take office! Yep, they’re that good, they promised!

    And, we know, this isn’t a game they’re playing!

  7. WSClark

    Games, games and more games. From MNF to the House floor – the games never end.

    • prairie pond

      And you know, Will, what some people consider a game is really my life. And I dont like playing games with my life. But… it’s only a game to others.