I’m something of a huge gamer.
Hands down, my favorite games are arcade-style (especially shooters, dual-stick shooters, and light guns), but first-person shooters dominated my life for a long while and I have loved more than my share of RPGs (Final Fantasy III/6 changed my life when I was about 7 years old). Once I got older and my focus on fiction became more classically scoped (due at least largely to the prioritization made necessary by limitations on my time imposed by a professional/married/fatherly life), I have grown even more narrow in my focus on arcade-style, heavily skill-oriented games. I have always preferred them, but now it’s practically a necessity that I play games where I can accomplish something (like a respectable high score in a global sense) in an hour or two. Sadly, though a very important subset of them have influenced my life in significant ways, I just don’t have enough time for 40-hour RPG stories anymore.
Now that I have young children of my own, I feel a sort of parental obligation to at least provide the opportunity to play some of the greatest games ever made which have doubtlessly shaped my gaming proficiency to this day. Wrecking house in modern games such as BF4 is in no small part due to my intense training in bullet hells. In fact, even my professional success can be contributed to much of what I learned playing games. My annual self-evaluation, for example, is typically constructed in a manner very obviously influenced by character progression screens and other means of scoring and quantifying performance derived from a lifetime of gaming. The fostering of extreme concentration, a love for challenge, and the understanding of one’s abilities relative to not only one’s local peers, but at a global level, and what it takes to cultivate them, is a set of life skills that I have found invaluable throughout my life.
So I think gaming is actually important. I think it’s actually important not to cheat and to hold oneself to a high standard, even in the privacy of one’s own home. Gaming can be a waste of one’s time; anyone can just brainlessly mash buttons for a few hours and then move on. But, if you care to reap the rewards offered by the virtually endless training arenas offered by humanity’s vast and extensively developed gaming resources, you can really change your life. These are powerful tools for self-cultivation at our disposal, and even that mindset alone can teach you about the value in mindfulness and concern for every moment of one’s life.
In that spirit, I’ll be creating some resources to aid others in preserving and sharing the best of gaming history (such as instructions for using the Intel Compute Stick as a portable multi-platform emulator) and I will, as I am able, help disseminate information about graphics drivers and gaming on Linux (as I have been). We’ll see what else happens!