Some game to remember, some game to forget

Today’s post is dedicated to anyone anywhere who has trouble or pain or miserable things going on in their real lives, and who finds an occasional welcome escape via gaming.

Escapism gets a raw deal in the media. We have so many examples of people who took things too far, maybe even got addicted, and abandoned RL responsibilities. But there are worse ways to deal with life’s problems than to lay down your burden for an hour or so and go kill some orcs (or write a blog post about it :) ). There are no problems that benefit from being fretted over 24/7.

In my case, my father (and arbitrary’s) has recently died after a long illness. It wasn’t unexpected, he was surrounded at the end by people who loved him (including me), and I’ll miss him greatly. I have a lot of things to organise and a lot of feelings to work through – but I know for a certainty that taking a little time during the day when I’m not busy to write or play is helping me, not messing with my head.

Have you found that gaming helped you through difficult or stressful times in your life? And to anyone who hasn’t (which I hope is most), you may have been helping people through difficult times without ever realising it, just by being there.

It’s been a bad week

It’s been a rough few months for a lot of people. The economy is in nosedive, fuel and food prices are rising, and no one is unaffected by any of it. This last week, we’ve heard more about redundancies in the gaming sector. Mythic, THQ, and there will be more. I read about them with a sinking heart.

It’s not a happy time. And no one is safe any more, that’s the one thing you get from a recession. No one can be sure of what the future holds for them.

Fulgaris has posted one of the most inspirational blog posts I’ve read in awhile, about why he games and why a touch of escapism and touching base with other people is so important to him.

I wish I had good stories to tell about hope and strength over adversity. But I do know that there have been times when I’ve been down in real life — when my father was really ill, when my work was depressing, when other things just weren’t going right — and I could log on and escape from it for a few hours. I could be welcomed by a friendly guild and be in touch with other human beings, albeit dressed up as orcs and trolls. I could spend time with my sisters, even though they were physically in different continents.

People are very down on escapism, as if it was somehow wrong to want to set aside your burdens for awhile and go and have fun. But it’s driven art and music and literature for generations. It can help us to deal with our real lives, not just to run away from them. And just that feeling that other people are out there, that you’re not alone with whatever troubles you, and that you can take some time out from it whether it’s with your friends down the pub, your guild in a game, your family, religious community, whatever it takes; human beings are social animals and that means something very important to us.

And in a world where we’re more likely than ever to be geographically separated from family and friends, sometimes being in an online game is the closest you can get. Closer than many people will ever realise.

Have a good weekend all, cherish your guildies/ friends. And I wish I was better at these emotional posts. (On the bright side, I probably won’t do it again :) )