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Podcast Q: Do you have a story about a game positively impacting your life?
 
Hey guys,

So I feel a little bad about kind of poo-pooing video games on the last podcast episode. Marsh asked innocently why we play video games, and there I go saying it's self-indulgent and useless and akin to mastubation (if you're wondering "wtf?", listen to the episode!).

My topic on the next podcast is going to be, well, anecdotes about games having a positive impact on our lives. I want to redeem myself by having more good and positive stuff to say about this hobby. I've got a few things to say myself on the topic already.

I don't know yet who's going to be with me on the next episode, and I don't know if I'm being pessimistic, but I'm unsure if we'll have enough to say to fill 20 minutes, the topic lending itself perhaps less than usual to discussion. So I thought it would be a good occasion to try and read listener comments on the podcast!

Do you have a story to share? Do you want it to be read on the podcast? Then post it in this thread, and that just may happen!

Thanks for participating!

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Posted: 05/06/11, 05:32:03
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Great idea! I'm sure we'll get some nice stories from people. I'm trying to think of one... there's been a lot of experiences I've had with games, but I'm trying to think of one I had specifically in the late 90's... or something. I dunno, I'll think of something.
Posted: 05/06/11, 05:41:53
The whole reason I got into art and drawing (and then went to art school) was because of video games. Gotta love video game art, y'know?
Posted: 05/06/11, 05:42:06
I bonded with my icy Father-in-law over Wii Sports back when it originally came out. Whooping his grumpy ass in Wii Bowling until the wee hours of the night actually helped us build a rapport where there hadn't been one before. One of my absolute favorite video game memories, for sure.
Posted: 05/06/11, 05:42:11
I made this video game website once years back and now it's pretty much the only joy I have left in my cold, miserable life.

Ok, there are some other things...
Posted: 05/06/11, 05:43:52
@kriswright

Speaking of that, many of the best friendships I've made were more or less based on playing video games together. Contrary to "popular" belief, gaming is a very social activity.
Posted: 05/06/11, 06:06:11
Well I think some of us can relate to this, but if it weren't for Super Smash Bros. Melee, my college roommate and I probably wouldn't have become practically best friends. Me and him and another guy became great friends and I think it's no coincidence that the time we spent playing games with each other really helped us bond.

To this day I still play Halo Reach and Battlefield with him and a few other people on a weekly (sometimes a few times a week) basis.
Posted: 05/06/11, 06:17:37
GameDadGrant said:
The whole reason I got into art and drawing (and then went to art school) was because of video games. Gotta love video game art, y'know?

This.

Dead Space is the main reason I decided to study game art and design. You could say it was a LONG time coming with my love for all games, but Dead Space pushed it over the edge. Dead Space is the reason I want to get into this business. It literally changed my entire life. Some of the best friends I will ever have I met in just the past 2 years since I've been going to this school.

Dead Space made my life better. Thank you Dead Space. I love you.
Posted: 05/06/11, 15:40:55
Without video games (and music and friends and women) I'd kill myself, so...
Posted: 05/06/11, 17:12:03
Hmm, all I can really think of is the Spider-Man/Silver Surfer-esque reflexes that a lifetime of games has granted me. I certainly didn't get them from any genuine type of physical activity. Seriously, most gamers I know genuinely seem to have above-average reflexes.
Posted: 05/06/11, 17:18:42
I was just reading this article on IGN. Thats some pretty personal shit right there.
Posted: 05/06/11, 17:30:13
@warerare

Yeah, that's a little uncomfortable in the old overshare department. If the point of the article was to explain why he wouldn't be reviewing the game, I'm pretty sure a single sentence that said, "I'm too big of a fan of the series to give a fair review" would have sufficed.
Posted: 05/06/11, 18:19:12
I prefer Levi's story. Wish he hadn't left IGN (along with anyone worth reading).
Posted: 05/06/11, 18:22:38
Games always motivated me to do my best in school, believe it or not. I would force myself not to play a game until I had finished my homework and studied for my tests. I knew that the reward of playing would be so great, that was all the motivation I needed.

It must have been a combination of self discipline and strict parenting that allowed this to happen.

And I agree @Anand, I feel like games have fine tuned my reflexes and also my perception and awareness to the environments around me.

Depending on the kinds of games you play, I also really believe there is a benefit to 'exercising' certain parts of your brain and having a good mental health (as long as it is balanced with the physical health as well). Games like Brain Age are explicit in achieving this goal, but a ton of other genres surely do this as well. For example, you can learn a lot of new vocabulary by playing text heavy games (Guillaume was learning English!). Yeah, books have that effect too, but games can draw in a different audience than books can. I remember keeping a journal of 'new words learned from my games' when I was younger. Maybe I was just a dork, haha.

(And... I have no idea if playing a ton of games has anything to do with it, but I have always had near-perfect vision, while my nongamer sister and parents all needed eye glasses. Though playing games probably has nothing to do with how good your eyesight is!)
Posted: 05/06/11, 19:24:57
Guillaume said:

So I feel a little bad about kind of poo-pooing video games on the last podcast episode. Marsh asked innocently why we play video games, and there I go saying it's self-indulgent and useless and akin to mastubation.

I wouldn't feel bad about that in the least, it's an accurate assessment of the hobby. It's entirely about self gratification. There are some minor benefits like increased hand eye coordination and better spatial awareness and basic problem solving however on the whole it's a fairly useless pastime. Of my three main hobbies, reading, exercising and gaming, gaming is far and away the most useless of them. Without a doubt.
Posted: 05/06/11, 19:33:44
Is reading really useful, though?
Posted: 05/06/11, 19:42:40
@Anand

As I tried and failed to explain in episode 8 of the podcast, I do think you gain something by seeing the world through the author's eyes, and by being exposed to a work of art from someone trying to say something. Whereas games are too busy trying to emulate Hollywood to actually have something worthwhile to say.

Heavy Rain impressed me in many ways, but its story wasn't one of them. Just your standard hollow thriller, and not a particularly finely crafted one at that.
Posted: 05/06/11, 19:55:44
Anand said:
Is reading really useful, though?

I can't really tell if this is a serious comment or not.

I'm going to assume you are kidding.
Posted: 05/06/11, 19:55:46
Oldmanwinter said:
Anand said:
Is reading really useful, though?

I can't really tell if this is a serious comment or not.

I'm going to assume you are kidding.

Hey now, it's a valid question. Especially since not everyone who reads, reads the stuff you do. Most people read whatever the current best seller by the popular hack of the day is. Is reading those inherently more useful than playing the latest Call of Duty? Wouldn't you get more emotionally involved in Shadow of the Colossus than the latest Tom Clancy book?
Posted: 05/06/11, 19:58:21
Hmm...

I look at (recreational) reading pretty much the same way that I look at reading comics or watching TV or movies (or reading articles). You're just sitting there while someone else is funneling content to you. Reading requires more imagination, perhaps, but isn't it just a societal bias that makes it a somehow more 'noble' activity?

That said, I enjoy books way more than TV or movies.

Games don't have much redeeming narrative value, but they do require interaction, so they get a few more (or at least different) neurons firing. I used to consider 'active entertainment', which you participate in, clearly superior to 'passive entertainment', but I don't know if I still think that. Regardless, all of the above is stuff that I do to kill time in a pleasant way.

Guillaume, your point about the author's perspective seems to start dipping into the whole 'art' thing, which is another discussion, and probably a more irritating one. (Nothing against you - I just feel that those 'What is art?' discussions are kind of pointless.)
Posted: 05/06/11, 20:11:26  - Edited by 
 on: 05/06/11, 20:14:10
@Anand

Reading makes you a better writer and being a better writer makes you more employable.

@Oldmanwinter

Self gratification isn''t useless. It's good for you to feel like you're good at something.
Posted: 05/06/11, 20:14:01
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