Friday, August 07, 2009

Still Angry

Sorry for not updating for two days, but honestly that whole story I wrote about a few days ago still has me very pissed off.

Plus, I thought it would kind of undermine the point of it if I followed it up with "A funny thing happened at the Auction House today..."

I spent some time really thinking about why the story made me so angry.

Sure, I could say it was the shoddy parenting, but I don't even know if that's the case. Maybe they had tried every other possible solution and this was a last resort. Maybe they were just hoping to help out a son they loved very much.

Besides, I've seen enough horrendous parenting in my time that that really shouldn't bother me as much as this did.

Yes, of course much of my anger relates to the fact that he was beaten to death by teachers who were assigned to help him, to help make his life better. They were obviously insane to use such punishment and anyone would be outraged by it.

Again, though... I've seen all of that before. I've seen people in power abuse that power and the people under their authority.

I'm very jaded and cynical.

You know, in case you hadn't noticed.

I think what really pushed me over the line here is that they treat video games and the internet like it's some form of sickness, a disease, a virus that turns us into helpless automatons.

If we were spending hours a day working out or jogging or what the hell ever, nobody would say shit to us. We'd all stand around checking our pulse and talking about our resting heart rate, and thinking how freaking normal we all are.

If we spent twelve hours a day training for football or hockey or whatever, they'd slap us on the back and give us a jacket with a letter on it. We could stand around pumping our veins full of steroids and assaulting drunken cheerleaders, and thinking how freaking normal we all are.

But you pick up a damned controller for more than fifteen minutes a week and suddenly you're some sick, addicted bastard with no ability to control our own actions or emotions. Suddenly all the wonderfully normal joggers and quarterbacks will look down on us with disdain like we are somehow mentally ill.

What the hell?!

Not everything is an addiction. Not everything is some mental illness.

Stop making excuses. Stop trying to find reasons why we don't fit into your perfect little definition of perfectly normal people.

Maybe we don't want to throw a ball and then carry a ball and then run the ball around the other guys who want to take the ball.

Maybe I don't want to run through the park pumping my arms and trying to get into the eight minute group.

Maybe I just want to sit down and play a game, a nice quiet game that I enjoy.

That's okay.

And maybe... Just maybe... If I REALLY enjoy it, I'll want to do it every day.

That doesn't mean I'm sick or obsessed or addicted. It doesn't mean I need to see a councilor or a therapist or be sent off to a camp.


Sure, we may not be what the rest of the world calls "normal".

I don't know about you, but I'm okay with that.


At 8:44 PM, Blogger Orion said...


At 9:09 PM, Blogger Irving said...

couldn't agree more....just because the society these days just alienates a small group of people they automatically either, sick or not abiding their standard of "normal"

But really....what is normal? why not say they are the sick ones or the weird ones.

KUDOS for such a post Dave.

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Whats said...

Normal is a setting on a dishwasher.... I AM NOT A DISHWASHER!

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Puts it in a new perspective for me. Thanks.

At 9:35 PM, Blogger Dyamalos said...

Normal is subjective. I'm sure most of us remember the public school days.

Also, a girl I use to work with asked me what I do for fun. I tolled the truth about games. She thought I was weird....

A week later, she was complaining about her hip when she hurt herself snow boarding. When I commented she said something like "you just play video games."

I'm like, "sure! because I know that having your leg almost broken is much more fun!"

Again, she just replies with "you're weird". Sigh.....

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Michael C. said...

I've been trying to put words to the thoughts that you have just expressed. Thank you.

At 11:52 PM, Blogger Gambler_Justice said...

"Normal is subjective."
Nope - it's directly related to how the majority of people act or behave. It is, however, a meaningless concept. At least when referring to humans. Whether something is normal or abnormal is completely irrelevant, one shouldn't strive to fit into what's normal, nor should one make a concentrated effort to be different, one should just do what is right (or in the case of preferences, not principles, you should strive to do what works for you). If everyone else does that, good thing. If they don't, doesn't fucking matter.

At 11:57 PM, Blogger Mistress Stowastiq said...

Very well spoken.

At 12:36 AM, Blogger chris said...

Reading the story pissed me off too GM Dave. Honestly I get called an addict constantly. And while I'll admit I do play excessively from time to time I'm in no way some horrible shell of a man. I realize when I've played too much and need to get off.

What I get a kick out of (read: get pissed off at) is when people try to tell me I need to get out and be social. I"M ON THE #$*#ING INTERNET! ITS ENTIRELY SOCIAL! The biggest thing about FFXI was the mature and deep relationships you built with people due to the forced grouping nature of the game. Apparently its wrong to want to talk to people who live across the country or the world for that matter. >_> Curse us all for being such heathens.

At 3:49 AM, Blogger Pirre said...

Well said, Dave.

At 4:21 AM, Blogger Hyrina said...

I completely agree. No one in my family has done anything drastic, but they swear I'm addicted to games and the computer too. Every time they bring it up, they act like I couldn't possibly LIVE without it and I'm so pathetic... And yet, no one has a problem with the fact that 90% of my family are alcoholics. Cause that's "normal". Yeah that's much healthier than playing an RPG.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger Lenwe said...

Thank you Dave for being a voice of this generation.

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Jguy said...

AMEN. 110% agree.

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Barlowe said...

Completely agree with you, Dave.

At 8:29 AM, Blogger Dyamalos said...

Allot of people don't seem to understand that mental stimulation can be fun. They would rather do something that requires as little thinking as possible.

Which is one reason I don't watch too much TV. I use to watch it all the time, and back then, TV was much more engaging. Now? Now we have a gay sponge that spouts nonsense.

I do still watch some stuff, but most of it isn't what most people watch.

Also, I listen to allot of podcasts and audio books since I don't have much time to read anymore, and I can multi-task while doing it. My sister thinks I'm weird if I don't listen to rap 24-7...

At 9:29 AM, Blogger golden_knyte said...

As Chris Titus once said, "Fuck normal. When the end of the world happens, all those normal people will be losing their minds. Meanwhile we will go "Hey....there's no one watching the Lexus dealership! We're going to the apocalypse with leather seats and a CD player!"

I'm prolly gonna piss off some people but...I just laughed when I read the story...then again, my sense of humor borders on the pschotic. But c'mon...its fucking China, they next to North Korea and those bastards are nuts. It's bound to spread. And I'm sorry, but I just can't feel sorry for people who live in a country where nearly 90% of teenagers aspire to be hackers and cause internet mischief cuz it makes them feel superior.

I suppose I should feel sorry for the parents...but I don't. If your that poor of a parent that you send them to a "camp" instead of handling the problems your child may or may not have, you should not be breeding.

I swear to God if anything like that starts happening here in the states...well the Zodiac starts springing to mind.

Hmmm...I guess I do feel some anger towards it lol.

At 9:33 AM, Blogger golden_knyte said...

Dyamalos, next time she complains about an injury due to sports and calls you weird simply say, "Well maybe you should start playing some games so your hand/eye coordination will get better and you can stop hitting stuff"

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Blueyez said...

I agree. I absolutely agree with you Dave. Sometimes I'm embarassed when people ask me what I like to do in my spare time and my ansdwer is FFXI. Then I slap myself because there is no reason I should be embarassed. There is such a stigma attached to video games still and it's pathetic. I often think the people who run my dynamis ls should be able to put that on a resume... it's not easy to efficiently coordinate 30-40 people twice a week and to do it with as much class and grace as these guys do is mindblowing to me. If they had gained that experience in any other forum then it would of course be something you'd tell a potential employer about but because it's gained from a video game it's seen as being irrelevant. It's bs.
In this case, with this child in particular, it's saddening and sickening. But the culture over there is so different. For most of us we can't even comprehend how different it is. Their government is nothing like our own and so people are raised under different belief systems and rules than we are. I really don't think the whole "politically correct" movement has made it there yet. I may be wrong but I think a good old fasioned spanking isn't cause to call child services over there like it is here. They have a very different view of discipline than we do here.

At 12:15 PM, Blogger PV said...

You even get it from other gamers sometimes - what I do is "normal", what you do is "weird".

A couple weeks ago, a member of our server's most progressed PVE guild (this is wow), went on the instance-wide chat channel and said "get out, you nerds".

I responded back "you're in Relax (the name of the guild), and you think you can play the nerd card? You are the nerd mothership. If we hadn't abolished the monarchy, you'd be in the line of sucession for King of the nerds. Shut the hell up."

I wish I had saved the whispers back after that. It was priceless.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Sword said...

Here Here! Seriously though, there is no definate "Normal." What's wierd here might be normal half way across the world, and vice versa. It all depends on your enviroment and how you interprit it.

For instance everyone in my family loves to fish, however I never cared for it. Does that make me wierd? Maybe. Does it mean my family has a fishing addiction. Maybe. Does it mean any of us have ADHD or some other mental illness? HELL NO!

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Leut said...

Speaking of normal, is it normal to know....really you know....really, really ,really like that know....really like that....thing you know....that makes that....that know...

You know?

At 1:25 PM, Blogger Rabid Ferrets of DOOM!!!™ said...

I'm a bit hesitant to suggest this, but I think that MMOs are a part of the problem. Gaming was still seen as unhealthy, but not as an addiction until MMOs and particularly World of Warcraft came around.

People like to generalize. And I think that they tend to generalize us all as those people who are unable to find a balance between games and jobs, school, life, etc.

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

If it isn't "mainstream" then it isn't "acceptable." Which isn't intelligent at all. Very good points raised here.

And, first post ever on this blog - awesome stuff.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Ness said...

I am aswell ok with that, Dave. I am also allright with people reacting to me some sort of negatively as a gamer when I describe my interest (a bit rare becouse I am pretty anti-social).

But when this guy had to die becouse apparently, his parents wanted to convert him into their own "perfectly molded productive member of society", this is over the bounds. It's nothing too surprising for me as a person, but I am saddened by the fact. You can say all kinds of things that "parents could not expect it" and simmilar bulls***. But hey, it was so damn hard to talk to son, accept his interest and support it without leaning to "addiction" stereotypes instead of letting him die right? right?

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Draka said...

If it makes you feel better Dave. There's some new info on XIV.

...But yeah, I agree with everything you said.

At 7:17 PM, Blogger Cidolfas said...

I would actually take the opposite tack. I would argue that the people spending 12 hours a day jogging or playing football *are* addicted, as are the people spending 12 hours a day playing video games. I.e. rather than saying that all the mentioned cases are fine, I'd argue that none of them are.

On the other hand, playing video games for an hour or two a day (or even wasting a weekend or two) is a way to relax and have fun.

Everything needs to be done in moderation. If someone becomes obsessed with something - anything at all, whether it's work, exercise, movies, or video games - it's unhealthy.

The problem comes when people associate healthy use of something with its addictive use, and unfortunately video games seems to have fallen into that category.

In general the stigma is less now, with games like Rock Band now being much more mainstream than they ever were, and the video game industry making more money overall than Hollywood; mainstream newspapers now have video game reviewers alongside movie reviewers. But the stigma is still there.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Kahsha said...

I'm a sick, addicted
normal bastard because
I play video games.

My mom is a sick, addicted
normal bastard because
she watches FoodTV 24/7.

At 10:07 PM, Blogger Dxoh said...

Hey Cidolfas... you know that was sarcasm, right? He isn't arguing that anything is healthy to take in massive doses, even working out... he was just making an example via hyperbole. Basically, his arguement is that those things should be seen as unhealthy, and the abnormal, ostrifying behaviors that they are. However, society seems to accept them, but not gamers, even when the gamer is within healthy limits. So... the opposite stance would, in fact, be arguing that spending all your time obsessed with any one activity is healthy.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Dragon Romer said...

Fucking exactly! You just said my thoughts on this "internet addiction" bullshit for me. Thank you GM Dave.

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Bumpy said...

I hope you all realize that there are people out there with this EXACT problem. Whatever you wanna call it...all they do is play video games.

Example: Currently I live with friends. One of them has a younger sister (22-ish) who lives here also. She's been out of work for almost a year now, completely out of money (although her BF pays for her FFXI account), and doesn't help out with the house chores or anything else. Guess what...she's addicted (yes..I said it!) to FFXI. She'll spend 20+ hours a day on it and complains constatnly when she can't be on it.

Her situation can't be blamed on the video game itself. You just have to remember that there is an underlying clause to all of this (and anyone else similar). She can't deal with the death of her father 5 years ago. So she plays FFXI...all the freakin time. To mask the pain she feels.

Dave gave a lot of good points in his latest blog. I just want you all to see the flip side of the coin. There are people with 'internet addictions' and 'video game addictions'. And the question you should ask is "Why?" and then try to help them out. Because there's a huge difference to playing a video game every now and then for fun, and letting the video game take over your life.

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Cidolfas said...

Dxoh: Re-reading the post, it could really be taken either way. One or two paragraphs seem to lead towards the conclusion that all three cases should be "normal", while others point towards the argument that none of them should be. I took the former conclusion when I read it and wanted to clarify that I think the latter one is more correct.

Bumpy: You're absolutely right. The point is that the examples Dave mentioned (like being obsessed with football or sports constantly) should be treated just as much as an addiction as video games, and yet we never hear of groups or camps that try to wean people away from such harmful tendencies.

Any addiction is bad. The hypocrisy comes when treating addiction to video games/Internet as inherently worse or different than any other addiction out there.

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Not entirely true about the whole "giving someone a jacket for practicing a sport more than 12 hours a day". I had to do a sort of intervention for one of my friends that was working out way to much. She's the kind of girl that looks good when she is a size three, a healthy weight, but she got all the way down to a size 0 and worked out hours and hours every day.

It was bad. What would have helped her would have been a few hours in front of a computer with some horrible snacks.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Hylian said...

sadly, there really are people who take it too far. there really are people who pick up a video game console, and suddenly you don't hear from them. all they'll do is play that game while their life slips out from under them.

as for the rest of us, i have a definition of normal. i used to continually ask myself what it meant to be "normal" and i truly believe i've stumbled onto something. normal means absent of drama and dysfunction. normal is knowing how to maturely and intelligently deal with all of your problems. sure, you might well be a manic depressive and/or autistic. if you're able to deal with it in your own way so that everyone doesn't have to tiptoe around you and your own damn problem, i'd call that normal. your problems are yours, and they are only a problem for everyone else when you make them that way.

but, i get where you're coming from here. every time i tell people that my hobby is video games, the look at me like i still haven't quite grown up yet. i ask them what their hobbies are, and it's golf, football, cars, and star trek (not that there's anything wrong with star trek...). i'm beginning to think the people i work with are all incredibly boring. the only thing i can find common ground on interests with anyone i work with is guns. why? guns are fun... and cool... and they go bang. plus, after you've played about a bajillion first-person-shooter games, you kinda get the urge to pick up a real one just to see what it's like.

i made a vow as a kid to never stop gaming. ever. and i hold true to it. people tell me i have "no life" because i rarely go out at night and i just sit at my computer after work and game the night away. "no friends, no life, and friends met on the internet are not real friends." you know what? i've been talking to the same 4 people (all of which were met on final fantasy) for the past 6 years. just because they live in other states (and countries) doesn't make them any less a viable person to hang out with. we've just figured out that it's easier to meet up through electronics and interact gaming-wise than have to get in the car and drive. screw that, this is quicker, and we get to be lazy. put a headset on and they may as well be right there. the same people for 6 years. and they're the best friends i've got. and i have "no life"? correction: i have "THE LIFE"!

At 5:12 PM, Blogger gologo said...

AMEN,,,, agreed 100%

At 6:03 AM, Blogger Sander said...

I know it's been a while since this was posted, but I'd still like to react, simply because the whole article pissed me off so much, as it did to everyone else here.

There is no such thing as normal, the only way to define if something falls between acceptable and unacceptable would be: if that which you do (whether it's gaming or vacuuming) doesn't interfere with your life, or that of anyone else in a harmful way, there is nothing wrong with it.

Simply put, no harm, no foul.


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