Logging off online games… for now

I used to look in awe at the world of gaming where people crashed cars and shot enemy soldiers with elan. I couldn’t get around to doing so. I certainly tried Road Rash and a few of those games. Even Harry Potter video game where we are supposed to learn a few spells left me cold. I certainly was not prepared to handle Voldemort in the last stage, when I could close the game app instead.

But the world of gaming understood. It realised that not everyone is willing to step into mazes and slay dragons. It offered games for tamer people. I have a 3 hour commute (including to and fro) and these games keep me company and in a very seemingly benign way. Soon I had secret goals that I wanted to achieve and saw the common pattern in these various outings. Logging in every single day without missing your streak gives you such big rewards and you for a time don’t see nothing wrong with filing it under everyday must dos. Just go in and come out and a good 150 gold coins/boosters are credited and you see no harm in it.Β  You see more gold than you do in real life and they fall into your storage with a clinking sound. Delightful.

The one thing that I object in all these games is the way the game tries to trick you into clicking the “Buy gems/coins/t.cash” button. Not once have I consented or even been tempted to buy extra help but it grates on me when they try incesstantly.

I have seen both medical and casual articles put this addiction down to serotonin overdose. Be that as it may as the Big Boss mania overtook Tamil Nadu, I realised for the first time why I was captivated with this world. It was devoid of jealousy, backbiting, two timing and other stuff that exhaust me. That isn’t how I want to wind up my days. I prefer to sink into a pillow and feed my fake cows or serve hamburgers to fake hungry customers for I know where I am with these predictable creatures. But the time has come to swear off online games. At least until the end of 2017, I will not be logging into any of these games. I found twitter just as exhausting with all the hustle and bustle. I deleted that app too.

So what am I going to fill my time with instead? I don’t know, but it is not going to be another online game.

Quick Look:

-> In Candy Crush, you swap colored candies. So much more challenging than it sounds. I stopped crushing candies at 1550 or so.

-> In Clash of Clan is all about raiding neighbours to build your own strong defenses. It does not feel so bad as all that once you do start doing it. I took Clash of Clan as a sort of challenge. An ardent clash of clanner may not see his game as a benigngame what with all the cannons and mortars. But CoC is suffiently cartoonish to look past that and it to me felt not very different to the other games I obssess over. I just build one wall after another with the same ardent fascination that a child builds a lego wall.

-> In Township, you get to plant wheat and corn and use them to make bread and cornflakes. Or you feed them to cows and milk them and make milk based recipes. Soon your fields are extremely productive and so are your mines and foundry and farms and factories. And your zoo. Feels and looks delightful. Best way to finish your tiring day. Easily the one game which made me lose control of time.

-> In Cooking fever, you get to serve hamburgers and cool drinks but cook much more complicated stuff including exotic desserts. And all this without the mess and the heat of a real kitchen. I did not reach dizzying heights there.Β  I am not built for this sort of thing. It is exhausting. I watched videos and saw that the game gets more maddening as levels progress. So I quit.

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The American Native and the Moon Spirits

An extract from Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I found it delightful. πŸ™‚

In the months leading up to their moon voyage expedition, the Apollo 11 astronauts trained in a remote moon-like desert in the western United States. The area is home to several Native American communities, and there is a story – or legend – describing an encounter between the astronauts and one of the locals. One day as they were training, the astronauts came across an old Native American. The man asked them what they were doing there. They replied that they were part of a research expedition that would shortly travel to explore the moon. When the old man heard that, he fell silent for a few moments, and then asked the astronauts if they could do him a favour.

β€˜What do you want?’ they asked.

β€˜Well,’ said the old man, β€˜the people of my tribe believe that holy spirits live on the moon. I was wondering if you could pass an important message to them from my people.’

β€˜What’s the message?’ asked the astronauts.

The man uttered something in his tribal language, and then asked the astronauts to repeat it again and again until they had memorised it correctly.

β€˜What does it mean?’ asked the astronauts.

β€˜Oh, I cannot tell you. It’s a secret that only our tribe and the moon spirits are allowed to know.’

When they returned to their base, the astronauts searched and searched until they found someone who could speak the tribal language, and asked him to translate the secret message. When they repeated what they had memorised, the translator started to laugh uproariously. When he calmed down, the astronauts asked him what it meant. The man explained that the sentence they had memorised so carefully said, β€˜Don’t believe a single word these people are telling you. They have come to steal your lands.’

Where do I begin?

I am not sure why don’t write regularly on the blog anymore. It isn’t as if I don’t have time. I do. It isn’t as if I don’t have topics anymore. I have plenty of those. And it isn’t as if I have moved on to any other platform to express myself. I do not know anything better than a blog to express your thoughts.

I want to write about Hermione and what she means to me. I want to write about voyeurism. I want to talk about the story tellers who told me more than just stories. And that is just the beginning.

It is just that I am now getting very aware of how difficult writing can be. None of the topics I want to pick next is going to take an hour or two. Each is worth a month of obsession. But how long can a woman wear a swimsuit and stare at the deep end of the pool? Some day you have to take a plunge.

The next post will be about the Potterverse. So what intrigued you most about the Harry Potter Universe? Tell me so I know where to begin.