26 March 2014

Video Games Are Here to Stay


My fellow citizens. On venturing out into the real world (yes, the other day*) I observed first-hand a number of the king's subjects investing significant time and resources in, and reaping many hours of enjoyment from, video games.

For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, a "video game" is a simulacrum of a scenario where you play a game inside your television. It is all done using sophisticated mini-supercomputers that get in there behind the screen and change the TV's function from broadcast to simulation. For example, you may act as a tank commander charged with rescuing a prince or princess from the jaws of an angry minotaur, or an athlete joining one of your favorite sport teams to engage in ball or puck play. Normally how it works is that you identify with and control the action of a particular character or colored shape; some games let you control up to several colored shapes at once or in a sort of series as one either completes its mission or is destroyed and is then succeeded by the next. Play continues until you have had too much fun and simply cannot stand to have any more.

The following two statements are undeniably true:

1) Video games are a pleasant and often wonderful diversion from everyday reality.
2) Video games are a complete waste of time and should be immediately outlawed.

So how does the wise man reconcile this apparent conflict?

At the last board meeting we agreed that video games cause no harm in and of themselves, but do result in what Wittgenstein called a 'lost opportunity' cost (citation needed). That is, they eat tremendous blocks of time but leave the participant no better off, unimproved along any dimension except the ability to play the game and often in a dazed, exhausted yet vaguely agitated state.

Nonetheless, video games shall not be banned in the realm for the time being, and the previous edict to the effect that any time a video game console is seen it shall be struck with a sledgehammer, and anyone caught playing the game sentenced to six months of hard labor, is hereby rescinded. Instead, new law: any time spent playing video games shall be offset by time spent reading, at a ratio of 1:4; that is, four hours shall be spent reading for every one hour of video game play. And we're talking books here, Facespace doesn't count, internet reading can count for up to 25%, we understand there are lots of good sources and blogs on here but part of the point is to get people unplugged; comics max 30%, as long as at least two distinct genres of comic book are consumed.

If this law is enacted and ruthlessly enforced, future generations will thank us. Let us put our heads, hands, and hearts together to prove that our kingdom can once again lead the world in both reading comprehension and Dungeon of Leprechauns IV.

Good night, god bless, and may god bless this great nation of ours, and video games.


*The reader is advised to note that this precise sequence of words was originally published on February 15, 2011, and that therefore the phrase 'the other day' should be construed to mean one of the several days preceding this date, more or less. According to software provided by the Google blogging service, this Op-Ed has only been viewed ten times in the history of humanity.  The message is deemed too important to go unheeded any longer.

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