Thursday, July 26, 2007


You know what’s weird?

I remember telling the story of how I got interested in the Harry Potter books. I was talking to a bunch of people and said how my Dad had bought “Goblet of Fire” to see what all the fuss was about.

Of course, I made fun out of him for reading it. “Why do you want to read a kids book? Aren’t you a little old for that? Do you want a broomstick for Christmas?”

Then, a few days later, I needed something to read, so with a sense of superiority, I picked up Goblet of fire.

I started reading it, thinking “This is terrible! Why would anyone read this?”

A while later, I looked at the clock and realized it was 4am, I’d been reading for 5 straight hours. Then I thought “I’ll just read one more chapter.”

I ended up reading the whole book in one sitting. Seven and a half hours straight.

Everyone laughed and admitted similar experiences.

Fast forward a few weeks.

During a similar conversation (with the same people) at college, I was talking about when ‘Sim City 2000’ came out for the PC. I’d decided to try it out when I’d just got in from work. It was 2am. A while later I was surprised to hear my parents getting out of bed. It was 10am and I’d been playing all night.

Expecting the same sort of response, instead I got concerned and worried looks, and then more than one speech on the dangers of videogame addiction.

This is what’s weird. Apparently it’s perfectly acceptable to just veg out on a couch and spend nearly eight straight hours in a fantasy land with a schoolboy wizard protagonist.

On the other hand, spending a similar amount of time playing a game where you’re actively making decisions and trying to build and maintain a viable city (including infrastructure, trade, crime rates, pollution rates etc)…is completely unacceptable.

The weird thing is the form of entertainment that requires in-depth thinking and planning is the one that’s looked down on.

That’s something I’d love to know. Why is something looked down on because you experience interactively in front of a computer, yet reading is always looked upon as a good thing…despite the fact that books can be just as violent, or age-inappropriate as any movie or video game?


1 comment:

OzzyC said...

The people who look down on video games lump them in to one group. They don't think of the planning, etc. that's required for strategy games.

Of course these are the same people that consider some books educational, while other books are smut.