Back away from the game and return to reality
BY BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer
Monday, January 14, 2013
1/14/13 at 6:46 AM
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I just got back from visiting my son's family in Florida, where his four boys spent a good part of their Christmas break playing video games, waiting their turn to play video games, or fighting over whose turn it was to play video games.
I can understand the compelling attraction to video games.
I was in my 30s when Atari came out with its first game console. (Do the math). I went to a friend's house after getting off work at noon on a Saturday, and we became completely engrossed in Pong Sports and Missile Command.
I looked up from the game long enough to see that the sky was dark, and remarked to my friend that I hadn't realized a storm was coming.
Then I was shocked to discover the sky was dark because the sun had set. I had played video games uninterrupted for eight hours. I rushed home to a frightened wife who had called the police to report her husband missing.
There is something about video games that is almost irresistible. Whatever it is, it had its hooks in me for years. It was not unusual for me to play games until dawn.
I know the exact time my addiction ended. I was playing Joust at a grocery store arcade in Broken Arrow in 1983 while my wife shopped. The game was not going well, and I was growing angry. And suddenly I saw the utter foolishness of caring so much about an electronic game. And in seeing it, I no longer cared. My desire to play video games was gone, and never came back. My electronic gaming is now limited to chess, Scrabble and similar board games, preferably with an opponent that breathes.
So when my grandsons begin an elaborate story about some heroic or amazing feat, I ask them, "Are you telling me about a video game?" And when they invariably say yes, I tell them I want to hear about something real, not a video game.
Bill Sherman 918-581-8398
An E3 attendee tries out the Nintendo Wii U video game console at E3. PATRICK FALLON / Bloomberg