Constructive Criticism Versus Pandering

I feel as though I need to preface this argument by saying that I think it’s beautiful there exists a forum such as the internet where anyone can put there work out to the public. With that being said, therein lies inherent problems that arise from the sheer amount of content being put out in the culture, and also raises the topic of constructive criticism. Constructive criticism is invited whenever you place work of any kind in a public forum. You can however, “opt out” in a sense by disabling comments, or harsh modding of the community in which you have entered your work, but this is another argument for another day. The argument being made here today is one of constructive criticism, and the line in which it is disregarded, and simply becomes pandering.

Let us take the example of youtube videos first. Here we see no shortage of derivative channels, and personalities that are chomping at the masses in an attempt to either become famous, or support themselves financially. As stated, youtube is the aforementioned forum in which anyone can put their work to the masses for criticism or exhibition. Think of the millions of people who use youtube daily, this is a massive “market” for anyone trying to launch a platform. With such a massive install base, the law of averages works for more than a few people.

We see the quality of channels falter as each is just piggy-backing off the last popular personality. How many make up tutorials, how many Let’s Plays, how many amateur review channels do we need? It has reached the point where quality isn’t as important as simply entering into the foray in the first place. There has become such a large audience that it matters little what it is you do, and even less how well you do it, as there is sure to be an audience for it based on averages alone. If anyone can be someone for as little effort as possible, what’s the point in trying harder? Is there a reason at all?

This following example does not count for all youtube channels, however it sets the stage for the state of criticism versus pandering. Lets take the youtube personality of DSPGaming, a “popular” Let’s Player known for his mistreatment of his fanbase. A channel i’ve personally followed for sometime out of sheer fascination. Any attempts at criticism, or feedback is met with immense hostility, and ad hominem attacks towards the person. A blatant dismissal of criticism from outside the fanbase, and inside plus a mechanical flow of content screams pandering. Even incredibly popular personality Pewdiepie had some off color comments about negative reaction to his videos. These two examples are a fraction of the community i’m sure, though it’ something i’ve seen more and more of, and led me to ponder the state of criticism in an all digital, all inclusive age.

These personalities have continually dismissed any forms of criticism, and have stuck in their ways. They surround themselves by others who support, and laud them almost unconditionally. You could even call it worshipping at a certain level. This kind of behavior is pandering. Pandering at the expense of criticism.

I suppose the process of art is subjective in nature, and at a certain point, you can choose to ignore criticism as it’s more of an expression of inner forces. However, on a forum such as youtube with such big name players as i’ve mentioned who support themselves financially from their viewers, the name of the game is views, and subscriptions. This is a moot point at this level of the game so to speak. It would behoove one to incorporate feedback from the fanbase as to improve a certain channel, or possibly extend the reach of your audience. However, these two examples have proved me wrong, on two occasions. As mentioned, they simply surround themselves with a legion of like minded individuals who demand constant pandering. In return, they propagate the cycle.

I’m a man of science, so I know full well these two examples aren’t representative of the whole, however it always makes me wonder about my culture when “big players” on the chessboard cannot process constructive criticism. Criticism allows you to see yourself in a light you may not have realized before, sometimes our faults are put into light. Sometimes, criticism means admitting we were wrong, and this isn’t something everyone can do. I think most importantly, criticism is a testament to a persons character. It shows a desire to grow, to adapt for the right reasons, and this trumps pandering. Pandering is being the pied piper to keep the mice in line, accepting criticism is a personal achievement for the benefit of all involved.

 

 

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A Blatant Mistrust of Authority

I don’t like to speak on my personal life too much, but I feel I have problems that are relevant to the majority of the issues I see around me. I’m speaking of course on the topic of authority figures, and people in seats of power. This could be police, judges, managers, anyone who holds sway on others through use of force, force in this sense meaning legal, or occupational consequences.

When I was growing up, the stereotypical authority figure in my life was my absentee father. Rewards and praise were inconsistent at best leading to me to have a rather schizophrenic view on gratitude and a general distaste for those in a position to bestow it. I grew to regard those in power as inconsequential to my own goals, desires and objectives. I was aware of them in a societal sense, but I never implicitly trusted them, or even grew to respect them; at best, i’m immediately dismissive and filled with disdain. How was I supposed to respect authority when the one major player in shaping my views was either absent or spiteful/inconsistent? The stage that is set for us when we are young  by our parents absolutely plays a part in our actions later on in life. However, upon acknowledging this about myself, I realized other institutions we are born into, and have little control over that may lead us down the same path.

I was born into a capitalistic society which above all values profit. Societies are structured to produce adults to produce profits,meanwhile school is a business in itself past public education, businesses are profit driven by those adults,  and those in charge are tasked solely with making profit. Who are the first authority figures a child sees outside the home? Teachers. Teachers see our children more than us on a given day, in a given week. Yet we send them to public schools where they are taught standardized tests by authority figures even farther up the chain to feed this entire notion of an industrialized assembly line of young adults ready to enter the working world. Everything they learn is sterilized and standardized for the masses as if every child was the same with the same interests, attention spans, and aptitude.

Then your child pursues a higher education in hopes of finding a better job, and they encounter yet another authority figure, the college professor. Maybe they’re tenured in which case it doesn’t really matter what they’re teaching because they have immense job security. Then you’re left with professors who are either still working in their field, or working a completely different job because, guess what, teachers get paid pittance. So now you’re tasked with even more curriculum that is potentially just regurgitation, and are handed an incredibly expensive piece of paper that means less and less every year in our crippling economy (make note of the college professor working multiple jobs), and now have the task of repaying this tremendous student loan.

It’s an unceasing rabbit hole of misdirection and abject failure on the part of authority figures. So now you enter the working world to pay off your student loan and either start, or try to take care of the family you already have because you’re 25 and it took that long to finish school and find a respectable job, and you boss is quite literally a psychopath. Here we make the full circle back to capitalism in the heartless drive to profits anyway possible. Your new boss, manager, and especially CEO do not care about you. You’re an expendable cog that can be cut down, let go, or thrown under the bus at a moments notice.

We’ve come a long way from you, father. Me, I was ready for this realization, but what of those that had a healthy adjustment to authority? Are they the ones that are thrown under the bus, are quick to  die from work exhaustion and to line the pockets of rich old men with their blood money?

I’ve seen many authority figures come and go in my current job. Each bring new policies that either cut hours or department budgets. The faces are different but the creed is the same. Money. So do I care about you, your policies, or what you expect of me as a worker? No, I can’t, by this point i’m wired up to blatantly mistrust you. Not you, but people in your seat. Since birth I have been slighted, deceived and abused by those in power. I was told I was equal on paper, and then on a different piece of paper my ethnicity wasn’t even acknowledged and I was cast off into identity obscurity. I was told that if I worked hard in school and got good grades I would be wealthy and successful not up to the ass in student loans.

Redefinition of our concept of “reality” in the advent of an all digital age.

We live in an ever increasing digital age. If you told someone 20 years ago that they could fit their entire music/picture/comic collection into a digital file holder the size of your thumb, they’d think you were insane. They would grow even more anxious after telling them that that the pocket computer you carry around is currently doing that on top of holding movies and keeping you in contact with people all over the globe. The idea of non-physical ownership is something past generations find hard to believe. From generations of people that spent days in steel mills to provide tangible items like food and clothes and vinyl records or model cars, the concept of “owning” something in a seemingly infinite, yet intangible realm must be truly confounding.

I see it as a slight peeve in even my generation, as the (older) gaming population, lets say the late 80’s to early 90’s crowd, grow increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of digital distribution for their media. Ownership of said medium had a physical aspect to it, and in the advent of the completely digital age, and “ownership” being at the whim of the particular studios servers, or financial mercy, it becomes a hard pill to swallow. When you purchased a video game in the 00’s, you knew for sure as long as you had the specific console, and electricity you could play said game forever. However, in an age where it has become easier to mass distribute your media online, and ONLY online, negating the need for production costs, and also delivering the product to the consumer right in their homes, we forgo the physical aspect, and surrender ourselves to the mercy of online servers and digital rights.

So what does this mean to our concept of real, and digital? Owning a vinyl record years ago, holding it in your hands, one would unquestioningly call that “real”. However, would you call that same vinyl in a library on your phones playlist a real object? Is tangibility a defining factor to the authenticity of something? Perhaps the argument differs depending on the object in question, and surely the person as well. Regardless of the argument, it’s undeniable that people all over the world are adopting an increasingly digital profile. We will have little choice but to redefine our concept of reality in the coming years. As the number of people who used to own physical music diminishes; as the number of people who physically attended meetings declines; as the number of people who have photo albums on their shelves at home depletes; we will be left at the cusp of digital only, and what’s real is no longer what is built, distributed, and experienced through our own hands.

People around the world are even suffering from disorders brought about through virtual worlds. We’ve seen addiction in virtual worlds like Second life, and Azeroth, some people in Japan even suffer from a disorder called “hikikomori” which is being a total shut in. They usually live their lives entirely online, in a “virtual” space day in and day out. Does the actual, physical ramifications of a digital age lend credence to the redefinition of reality? I feel a part of us associates “real” experiences with physicality. We know cancer is “real” because it affects our bodies. However, the argument is still being made that a computer game isn’t “real life”, or a comic book isn’t “reality”, or our favorite “virtual” world doesn’t truly exist.

All of this only serves to raise deeper existential questions, for instance, is it virtual if that world is all the person truly knows? If you only, or greatly exist in a “virtual” space, at what point do you make the transition to a reality? People live entire lives in their online worlds. They meet people, go to fantastic places, experience new things, and quite literally grow as human beings. If we can get the same experience from a virtual world as we would from actually physically going out, isn’t that “real”? Going back to the physicality and authenticity postulate, it would stand to reason that this is absolutely real. I would venture to say that any media that has a profound physical or physiological effect on us is undeniably “real”.

I feel our notion of what constitutes as an addiction is also under siege.
Is it truly an addiction if the acceptable levels of use in certain media is aggregated by an entire culture of people immersed in constantly updating social media sites? I would argue we need to redefine our definitions of disorders on the grounds that more and more people are putting more and more of their lives into a virtual space. A disorder is when your compulsion or actions effect the lives of others around you, however when everyone is engaging in the same disorder, is it even a disorder anymore?

So here we are at the forefront of an all digital existence, and our notions of reality are twisted in a corkscrew. I feel we will have no choice in the matter about a redefinition of reality. In a sense it is liberating to know that reality will encompass the vast works of brilliant artists, past and present. Perhaps reality can be inside of a computer game for some people, and comic books for others. Perhaps truly “owning” something will be expanded to include a digital receipt and download link.

A part of me in the back of my head shudders to think of the person who exists solely online, perhaps it isn’t a realm in which to dabble completely, for what happens when one day there isn’t an internet? Have you ever truly existed? What’s real at THAT point? Ahh how the pendulum swings.

The extent to which we can know ourselves.

The tragic tale of Oedipus Rex is a story in knowing ones self. In summation, the tale tells of a young man who ultimately comes to his ruin on the grounds that he tried to run away from a part of himself he never truly knew. The result being his own demise. This tale of course raises some incredibly robust questions. What exactly is the “self” and how much can we truly know about it? For the sake of this discourse, let us say that the self is simply our face we present to the world, our personality, and ideals. Now, the only other question is the extent to which we can actually know ourselves.

Think of all the people you know at the moment. Facebook friends, family, co-workers, classmates, then think of all the people you’ve ever known. It’s safe to say that every interaction we’ve had with those people has shaped us in some way. Whether it was how to do something, or how not to do something. Some interactions more significant than others. Let’s just think of our parents for a moment, they alone serve as the basis for all future relationships. If you’re a boy, you learn how to treat a lady from dad, and vice-versa for daughters. Of course this is just a baseline, but everything comes from something. Already this is a significant part of our “selves” that comes from another. Next we could move onto friends, or classmates. This is our first interactions from people outside of our household. We have (hopefully) already learned how to be polite, and the appropriate way to act around other individuals. This is ironically where we have our first clashes with morality. We have the way we were raised, versus the way our friends were raised. Now we have a different set of ideals, and virtues. This is where the self actually emerges. The self in a sense is our way of parsing this information, and formulating our own algorithm for life if you will.

This is not to say that we don’t have a “self” until at least puberty, however I think it’s the point in which we have the faculties to actually express the beginnings of one. this is the point in most peoples lives where they discover themselves. We discover new friendships, new music, new experiences. All these occurrences contribute to our personalities, our “selves”.

We need to step back for a moment and acknowledge the impact others have in the construction of our personalities. This theory is one I’ve touched on before, social construction-ism. This is the theory that we are composed of the millions of interactions we have with others. In a sense, it’s depressing in the sense that we could never truly be “original”, or “unique”, however it promotes a profound sense of kinship, and empathy. The concept of being unique is more akin to the fact that no one could ever be YOU to the people you know. The intimate relationships you’ve had, could never be the product of another. In another sense, it is the indivisibility of someone. You can never condense someones true personality into a single statement.

Let us say that we are all socially constructed by social interactions past and present, how would it be possible to ever truly know ourselves? If we are never going to be “complete”, if there is never an end, is it even possible? Personally, I don’t think it’s possible. I know for a fact that i’m not the same person I was 10 years ago, and i’m positive I wont be the same person I am now 10 years from now. All it takes to change us are good friends, or an amazing(catastrophic) relationship. In a sense, we are at the whims of our interactions with others. Should we just board ourselves up inside our houses, and desperately cling to ourselves? I don’t think so, the beauty of even having the ability to know ourselves in the first place is seeing a growth, watching the change. Also, if you’re an artist, or important public figure, it can be a euphoric feeling seeing the impact your contributions have on others. This of course swings to the other end of the spectrum with acts of terror.

I think Freud was onto something with Oedipus Rex, however I don’t believe it is a means to an end. It is a process, rather than a goal. We should do our best to know ourselves, to the best of our current situations, so that we are in the best position possible to contribute to the lives of others. To think we aren’t all connected is foolish, especially in today’s age of technology. We have the ability to impact the lives of others all around the world. We owe it each other to know ourselves as best we can. This means being conscious of others around us and the effect our actions have on them.

Is There such a thing as the “friend-zone”?

I’m sure this is a phrase we have all heard before, however the concept behind it carries very negative connotations. The term “Friend-zone” is the dissonance between what is expected from a person sexually, or emotionally, and what actually is taking place. A man pursue’s a woman in the hopes of becoming romantically involved with her, and his love is unrequited, or rather, kept at a “friend” level. Either party expects more, but at least one party is reluctant to progress further in the relationship. This applies to both men and women, but in my experiences, it is usually the man doing the pursuing.

This is a pretty interesting topic as it says a lot about not only our culture as a whole in the West, but our expectations as budding socialites. Now, I cannot speak for other cultures around the world, but it appears to be more prevalent than ever among the love scene nowadays. It is undeniably a real phenomenon that is gripping people around the country, and I believe it has to do with a few factors.

How women are portrayed in the media plays a significant role. Women are portrayed as beautiful creatures, and the object of sexual desire and lust. In triple A action movies, the main protagonist ALWAYS has a beautiful love interest that he inexplicably ends up falling into some sort of sexual relationship with. Women are glorified sexual objects dashed around the screen in the least clothes they can get away with in the corresponding rating system. Women in music, specifically rap music, are no more than objects you pour alcohol and cash into until sex comes out, and a sexy body to dance around in your video. Sex sells, it always has, and the price we pay is our unrealistic expectations when it comes to actual interaction with women. We do nice things for women, buy them things, listen to their woes, and help them out in their times of need. The “friend-zone” comes into play when men just expect women to have sex with them after these actions take place. Independently of being opposite sexes, these things should still take place between one another, it’s the act of being “human” towards each other. Helping each other through the human struggle. To automatically expect sex from a woman just for being around her in times of need is unrealistic, and objectifying. If a woman does indeed thank your dedication with sex, honestly that’s just the proverbial icing on the cake and in no way should be expected from the outset.

The next reason I believe the friend zone exists is the natural indecisiveness of simply being human. In a digital age it is more convenient than ever to find a potential mate. With the amount of options we have at one point, it can be hard to commit at times. This leaves us in a sort of “relationship limbo” where we aren’t entirely sure what, or who we want. In this scenario it is entirely possible to string someone along. When I say string someone along, I’m referring to the act of employing mixed signals, and or misdirection to keep a comfortable friend on the side that satiates certain emotional needs, while still pursuing a more permanent arrangement. This in essence is the very act of “friend-zoning”. You have a person in the middle, manipulating at least two other parties. On one side you have someone who is emotionally dedicated to the middle party, and hopes to achieve a higher level in the relationship. On the opposite end you have a person who is more than likely already where the aforementioned party wants to be. The middle party keeps the emotionally dedicated party strung along as a safety net to their bad relationship practices. This is the most complex scenario, because a lot of people can unwittingly get caught up in this with the best intentions. Perhaps the genuine party actually has means of pursuing a relationship with the middle party, and is a bit naive when it comes to relationships, and allows themselves to be the folly for a more experienced, and manipulative person.

This is in no way justification for the term “friend-zone” as I feel it has blatant misogynistic and sexually objectifying overtones, but I feel it’s one of the more legitimate scenarios when it comes to it’s perpetuation. This I feel can happen to a person genuinely interested in another, whereas the first scenario shows a deliberate misuse of social etiquette.

I believe there is a “holy trinity” when it comes to this exact scenario. You have a man chasing an uninterested, woman chasing an uninterested man. This scenario can be adjusted according to sexual orientation of course, this is just the template I have chosen. The middle party knows they can gain a certain confidence boost from the chasing party, and uses it to chase a third party, to no ones avail. The trinity can repeat ad infinitum, with the man being chased starting it anew in the next cycle. I feel this is the most common scenario for the trinity described above. There are a lot of factors at play here, perhaps an overly devoted, naive chasing party, followed by an emotionally damaged middle party, then finally a mixed bag as the chase -e. The main point to take from this is that the entire situation is derived from warped expectations, terrible social cues, and a damaged culture.

I don’t want you all to think i’m some elderly gent with a chip on his shoulder for young people and their hip hop music and rape culture. I’ve had my share of relationships, and I probably listen to way more Chief Keef than any sane person should, however I see this term over and over again, and it needs some serious contemplation. We have a swath of people objectifying one another in one way or another, and as a result we have people with warped expectations in terms of love, and basic interaction between sexes. It’s true we are animals, and that sex is in our very nature, however the price we pay for a “civilized” life means we can’t treat one another like hunks of flesh to ravage whenever we do a favor for them. It absolutely cannot be something we just come to expect. We’ve come too far as a race, and too far as a culture to stoop to such levels. So, yes, the friend-zone exists, however we perpetuate it every time we’re disingenuous with one another on the grounds that we’ll be repaid in sex. Again, the friend-zone is just the dissonance between what we expect sexually, and what the actual situation is. Actual relationships are different and a healthy sex life is important, however friends, well what constitutes as a friend is best left to the discretion of friends.

The State of Relationships as a “Millennial”.

It is no surprise that my generation has been swept up in the technological frenzy that has consumed the developing, and developed countries. We live in a time where the near infinite information in the world is at our fingertips in a matter of seconds, limited only by our personal investment in it. We can plot a course almost anywhere in the world, and receive directions to it in mere seconds. We can leave the house and buy dinner for the next few days for a fraction of the price, and the amount of time that it would take to prepare it “traditionally”.

There is a drive for constant stimulation as we have a world of entertainment in our hands at any second from our smartphones. This level of instant gratification sets an impossibly high standard in which the only means of maintaining it would be the permanent attachment to our phones, or a computer. We are intelligent individuals stuck at menial jobs do to an errant economy. We were brought up to think that we could be anything, but the harsh reality of the situation is that we can barely be something.

This realization made us a broken generation, we grew up with holes in our hearts, our dreams, our psyche. Now, the real goal of our generation isn’t so much as finding a job, rather finding where we exist, and what it is that we can contribute not to our society, but ourselves. As a result of the aforementioned byproducts of our lives, we have become fiercely dependent upon others to define ourselves. Am I beautiful? The magazines I read tell me I could be skinnier, or have just a bit more muscle mass. Maybe I should get plastic surgery to fix my nose? Am I a good weight? Am I even smart? I have multiple degrees, but, i’m working 6 days a week in two entry level fast food jobs. What am I? This existential crisis we experience at an increasingly earlier point in time than “usual” leads us into a tragic course of events in terms of relationships.

We desperately look for the approval of others, and are quick to latch on to anyone that gives us some semblance of what we think we want, and who we think we are. You aren’t contributing to a relationship, you’re using this person to fill the psychological cracks in your psyche. They are no longer people, but “psychological Spackle”. To this end, you will never see a person for who they are, only as you want them to be based on your own misconceptions. So here we have people thrust into relationships, that run from start to finish in a matter of weeks, if that. We fall hard, and get hurt just as badly, because we were so desperate to find that sense of belonging, that sense of self.

I understand the rallying cries for attention. We are all human and it means a lot to feel accepted, and loved, and to belong somewhere. However the only answer to this problem is within ourselves. We have to stop looking at each other as “tools” with which to fix ourselves, but rather a living breathing entity, with real problems, and emotions. Two broken parts still piece together a broken whole.

In Defense of Video Games as a Hobby

This is coming from a personal place, and I can only speak for myself, however video games have always been an integral part of my life. I have always been an A and B student, i’m currently on the Dean’s list, and I’ve no violent charges against another human being. I’ve never forsaken real life duties to any ill effect to play video games, but they are a past time that has always been present. with that being said, as I’ve grown up, I’ve certainly come under a lot of scrutiny for still playing video games. I rarely ever feel a need to explain myself, or defend my hobbies, however when the assailing party of such baseless accusations against video games is a loved one, it can hurt, and in the very least I owe it to them to inform them. I will be giving a basic objective positive to playing each genre of games, and then a personal, more subjective opinion on why I play said games.

Personally, I play a variety of video games. I play first person shooters, MMOs, all the way to rpgs, and strategy games like Civilization. Each of these genres has something to offer the person taking part. In first person shooters you have to work on your response time, quick thinking, and muscle memory and using this to overcome challenges. MMO’s in the most basic expression elicit a need for social skills, and the ability to work well in a group to complete a common goal. RPGS, depending on the era, in my case we’ll say dungeons an dragons as a series, offer but do not require, an in depth mathematical exercise in character building and stat progression. Lastly, games like civilization require intense resource management and a profound predilection for foresight. I will elaborate just a bit more on these core ideas.

How often in a 9-5 job are you actively engaged? maybe the first hour or so, then it’s auto-pilot for you brain, assuming you have some sort of desk job. When I play an FPS(first person shooter) you either get better at your knee jerk reactions, or you die. How do you improve your reflexes if not for muscle memory and anticipation, all skills you’re actively working on whilst playing an FPS. What other areas of life could these skills pertain to? well driving a car of course, driving is all about reacting to events, whether it be braking so you don’t hit the car in front of you, or speeding up to catch the green light. Another skill this genre evokes, and sharpens is awareness. From constantly scanning a screen for objects, you gain an increased awareness of the things around you. This is priceless skill as it makes you a more aware, and involved driver, or biker, or even if you’re walking to avoid that car that ran a stop sign. if you’re in the military, it could even save you and your friends lives. above all, what i believe is important to really drive home, i’m not playing a shooting game to maim and kill fictional people, its a test of ones skill. my ability to overcome these fictional barriers is a testament to my level of skill. I’m usually strung along by the narrative, and the senseless killings are just an exercise to test my mettle. what is life but overcoming obstacles?

MMO’,s or massively multiplayer online games, require at least basic social skills. These are games in which you are thrust into a world with up to thousands of other people at any given time. often times you must band together under one banner to overcome an objective or defeat a foe. you have to achieve this by interacting with other people, much like in the real world. you can be quite rude while in an online party, but good luck getting an invite back, and most games operate on servers, which are basically self contained worlds, this also brings into the equation the concept of a reputation. it behooves you to be a respectable member of the community so that you can engage in the many activities the game has to offer. the skills needed to do these translate directly into the real world. if you’re a dick at the office party, do you think you’ll be invited the next time they host one? probably not. I’ve developed relationships with people across the states whilst playing World Of Warcraft, and this was over the course of 5 or 6 years, I would consider these people my family on most levels. we’ve faced adversity, overcome hardships, built bonds, let each other into our respective lives. The game is fictional, but the people are real. This bond I formed with basically strangers was empowering. It’s also kind of miraculous that we all decided to play this particular game, on this particular server, at this exact time, and above all, became amazing friends. To me, that’s a story for the books.

Up next is my personal favorite, rpgs, or role playing games. in the case of dungeons and dragons, which was originally a table top adventure game, but later ported to gaming systems, it has always offered an in depth mathematical experience. I’m not one for math at all, however when i’m calculating the amount of stats i’ll need to be an effective paladin at level 20, its a different story. the basics to the D&D rules are that, of the stats, there are classes that each one favors. fighters favor strength, rangers favor dexterity and so on and so forth. it is entirely possibly to have a character that is terrible due to stat allocation, so planning, and foresight is paramount. This is what i love, it takes patience, and planning to achieve anything in life, why should video games be any different? it’s so easy to get caught up in the fast paced nature of things today, that I think we lost patience, and foresight along the way. I gain these skills when i play D&D games. I know that if i’m not careful, and plan my stat points, or equipment, or party formation, there’s going to be a time where I slip up and fail completely. So with experience being the teacher I learn to be slow, methodical, and conscious of my decisions. this is awarded profoundly by my successes, much like in real life.

Lastly we have strategy games like civilization where you must manage resources and build up a nation of your choosing and achieve victory either through military means, or diplomacy, or a cultural victory. In its essence, life is just a game of resource management. You’re constantly managing time, money, attention, food, love. There’s never a time where one stagnates, or is in perfect equilibrium. I like this genre for many of the same reasons as i like rpgs, the amount of planning involved. it rewards those who think two steps ahead, much like a real life scenario. it could be as simple as watching the news the night before and knowing it was going to rain later on the day by the time you left work and you brought an umbrella.

Video games aren’t about mindlessly slaughtering people to me, does that happen? sure. is it why i play them? not really. video games are like taking your favorite book or movie, but actually playing the part of the protagonist. it’s an immersive experience that engages me on all intellectual levels. The question of morality is one that is important, and falls in line with most rpgs, and nowadays even fps’s. you have a choice as the main character at times whether to take a life, or to save one, but most times it isn’t always so black and white. the choices we make in the fictional world resonate throughout it, and impact us on many levels. This of course, is food for thought in the real world as well. ask anyone why they do any of their hobbies. it satiates a need,a deep psychological need inside of them. I am also an artist, and I draw because I want to make people happy with my work, but above all, there are ideas in my head that I need to get out, and seeing them imagined in my mind, and actually manifesting them on paper, or digitally is a triumphant moment from day to day I can look back on and call my own. I know in that moment, it was by my own skill, and diligence that produced that piece of work, or overcame that challenge.