From the time I was a child I enjoyed games. I grew up on word and card games, moved on to pen-and-paper roleplaying games and had a substantial collection of designer boardgames which I wrote about previously. The challenge with those kinds of games is that they all require someone else across the table. In many cases, particularly for roleplaying games, they also require a substantial amount of time investment for all the people involved in the game. (It’s a huge time sink for the game master in particular.)
Enter the computer, and all the games that have come through since the heady days of the dedicated consoles through the current incarnations of game machine. In parallel, you have the PC master race, descended from its ancestors in the green-screen CRT age. When I can’t get a group of friends together, and that is far more true today than it ever has been, I turn to videogames to manage depression, stress and the outside world. This is my most-favored escape.
I need to make mention of the virtual World of Warcraft. I’ve enjoyed various online worlds before, from the beginnings of Ultima Online, a bit of Everquest, a bit of Second Life. Nothing really stuck until I got a job that required me to study World of Warcraft. The office paid for my account and subscription for six months. Like so many games that give you an alter ego, this one is no different. It’s that the world around your avatar grows and changes, and you’re thrust into new stories. It’s always a battle between good (you) and evil (the other side). Most times, you win.
I’ve scaled back my play these days, to fit my current circumstances. The nice thing is that the alternate universe remains, fortunately, because it is shared by enough people that the company that runs the world continues to support it. There was a time that I didn’t see that world for over two years. When the depression started crushing my psyche again, it was there to return to. I’m grateful for that little corner of that digital universe that’s mine, with all the friends I’ve made that are now real-world friends. In the future, when the world disappears, as all of these virtual worlds eventually will, I will remember it fondly.
This post is a response to the Daily Prompt of June 9, 2015.
“We all have things we need to do to keep an even keel — blogging, exercising, reading, cooking. What’s yours?”