Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Computer games and chess are like alcohol

(Originally posted on Tuesday, 29 August 2017)

Computer games and chess are like alcohol. Well, that's a conclusion of a different, more precise thought: addiction to computer games and/or chess is like alcoholism – if you want to fight it you have to stop it altogether. At least that's what it seems to me. I've been trying to cut down the amount of time I spend on gaming for a long time now, but sooner or later I always get back to situation when I go to bed much too late, mostly because I spend too much time on computer games and/or chess.

When I told my wife what I had just realised she told me something like “everything is for people”, which surprised me because it is she who complains the most about my playing time. It seems to me that such common but likely misleading phrases are very dangerous in such situations. I told her that the exact same thing (“everything is for people”) could be said by a former alcoholic about alcohol and it is well known truth that a former alcoholic should NEVER drink even a single shot of alcohol for the rest of his (or her) life or else his (or her) addiction will likely come screaming back. My response got her thinking.

I've never had an alcohol problem simply because such problems are very old, quite common, well documented and well analysed. My logical brain took it for granted and I was very careful about the alcohol. Well, I did get very drunk on some occasions, but ONLY several times in my whole life. Then I came to conclusion that poisoning my body with lots of alcohol is simply stupid. I was even more careful about other kinds of addictions: I've never smoked even one cigarette, I've never gambled, I've never taken any drugs (narcotics) and I've never drunk even a single cup of coffee. But I got addicted to gaming.

When some of my school-friends got their Commodore 64 computers (with cassette storage devices) in the late 1980s our world has changed forever. Nobody even suspected then that computer games may become so addictive and all the kids were playing such games as much as they could. I got my own computer in the early 1990s. It was the Amiga 500 plus and its games were much better than C64 games and PC DOS games from that time. And it was all over for me.

I always did very well at school and I also trained some sports (mostly basketball and athletics), so my parents had no reason to analyse how much time I spend on playing computer games. And I spent LOTS of time playing computer games. Today I finally realised that it is enough. Like an alcoholic who realises that he has to stop drinking alcohol.

I have to comment on chess. Some of the computer games I had played were actually chess games and thanks to them I got much better at chess. But in the long run it actually made the situation worse. When I did realise that I spend too much time playing computer games I decided that I would switch to online chess. I thought that such a “noble” game like chess must be better than any computer game by definition. Well, the truth is that it is as addictive as any computer game. And it sustains the gaming addiction – when after some time I got fed up with chess then I always got back to some “innocent” free computer games that led to more advanced games. It was a never-ending story.

Enough is enough. I only hope that my resolution never to play chess and computer games will be strong enough. But there is a song by Manic Street Preachers that will make my willpower somewhat stronger: Miss Europa Disco Dancer. To me it's a song about young people partying too much (another thing that I've never had any problems myself) and using too much alcohol (analogy to my current thoughts), however some parts of the lyrics are utterly universal and though-provoking:

It's agony, sheer agony
The way your life just fades away


The final phrase of the song (NOT the quote above), repeated more than 20 times, has now got even better than before to me. Well, I must admit that the first time I heard this song I was irritated by such an ending, but over time I appreciate it more and more. I don't want to spoil it – please, just listen to the whole song and wait for it to fully understand the context. By the way: only Manics can combine harp with such lyrics!



Miss Europa disco dancer
Feel the drug of your persona
Miss Europa disco dancer
I'm in heaven when I see ya
Miss Europa disco dancer
Favourite son and favourite daughter
Miss Europa disco dancer
Suck - suck up all of your power

So serene the world turns blue
Heads are spinning – it feels so good
It's poetry, sheer poetry
The way you destroy your beauty

Miss Europa disco dancer
Brutally becomes a no hoper
Miss Europa disco dancer
Had your luck and had your chances
Miss Europa disco dancer
Never reached the super-nova
Miss Europa disco dancer
Wake up drunk and then fall over

So messed up the world turns grey
All washed up with debts to pay
It's agony, sheer agony
The way your life just fades away

So serene the world turns blue
Heads are spinning – it feels so good
It's poetry, sheer poetry
The way you destroy your beauty

So messed up the world turns grey
All washed up with debts to pay
It's agony, sheer agony
The way your life just fades away

(x23)

No comments:

Post a Comment