In some ways, this blog is brought to you by The Angel, as she believes in it more than I do. Video games and boys. Why some of us need them, and ladies should support that.
My fiance works incredibly hard. I'm not saying that because I'm biased; it's a fact. She works well over 60 hours a week trying to build her wedding planner business. If she's not working with a bride, she's meeting with vendors or branding her website. In fact, her dedicated passion remains one of her most attractive personality traits. I simply couldn't be with someone who wasn't passionate about life, mostly on account of my own never-ending need to work on projects.
I read a recent article about John McEnroe where his wife said something to the effect of, "John is a guy that needs to get shit done. He can't really sit on a beach."
To say I understood this sentiment would be an understatement. As you get older, you start to realize certain truths about yourself that you never fully comprehended when you were younger. For me, accepting that I love both pressure and the overwhelming feelings it can bring, took time. It didn't matter if it was sports, work, or recreation; I love being in way over my head. Some people thrive in those spots, others don't. My pal ZZ and I played baseball for nearly a decade together, and I have no problems admitting that in later years, he surely surpassed me in skill level. He was a monster, and I was happy to play sidekick for a while. That all being said, even he'd tell you there's pretty much no one else on the planet he'd rather have up at bat than me with the game on the line.
So how does this relate to video games...
Most men/boys/guys/dudes like video games of some sort. Whether they feast on Madden or wander the darkened streets of Call of Duty is a personal opinion. Point is, we like to play. Some people enjoy the communal aspect that video games bring, and others salivate at the prospect of competition. I fall into this second category, sometimes even hustling fellow dudes into a game of Ms. Pac-Man for money.
Most men my age grew up on Nintendo and Sega Genesis. And while Super Tecmo Bowl remains the gold standard of any sports video game, I must admit times have changed. Nowadays, you don't just hand off the ball to Bo Jackson and watch him rack up yards, you ARE Bo Jackson. Technology is incredible, and it's only a matter of time before simulation becomes reality. Whatever the case, the gap from my teenage years to today has always seemed insurmountable in regards to video games. I was used to mashing two buttons in a patterned frenzy, now you had like 12 dozen buttons you had to time just right in order to see The Ultimate Warrior kick someone.
I'm not sure how this happened, but I was archaic in gaming terms. Sure, I might have messed around a bit in college with video games, but girls and classes took up most of my time. In later years it was girls, bars, and movies that exhausted the hours of the day.
But now I'm 33, and the only girl I care about sleeps next to me every night. As for bars? Well, they don't seem so tantalizing now that I'm with her. As I've pointed out before, I've become Heathcliffe Huxtable. But even in doing so, I work non-stop on various projects. Just as an example, right now I'm working on the following: a pilot for Fall season, a feature script that I'd like to shoot next year, a short film that has an action sequence in it, the release of my book in November, and all the while trying to learn everything I can about DSLR cameras. I also blog. Obviously. And help other colleagues out. All while helping my lady plan our wedding. Basically, I consume myself with creativity in all forms. I do not sit around.
This can cause problems, as no relaxation eventually drives my self-induced pressure to a boiling point. I can become irritable.
So how do I relieve stress? I suppose I could drink more, but that seems dicey at best. I loathe the gym. Sports are difficult to organize. And I'm woefully ill-equipped to build anything.
Enter Video Games.
Video games became the bright beacon of light for my anxiety. Sometime 3-4 years ago, I bought a Wii. It was fun, if pedestrian. And while I enjoyed it for some time, the gaming itch started to grow more intense until I caved and got a Playstation 3. This decision wasn't easy.
My conscious started to eat away at me. How could you buy a video gaming system at the age of 33? What the hell is wrong with you? Aren't you a man?
I reasoned with myself that it also doubled as a Blue-Ray player, and a damn good one at that. I also figured it might come in handy for parties, even though I knew that the Wii would always win out in that area.
Nonetheless, I had it.
And since then, here's what I've discovered. Playstation 3 is a beautiful stress-reducing mechanism that might as well be a potent painkiller. Really. I think it's amazing.
There are few things that can snap me out of my work-mode, but the PS3 is one of them. When you work 10-12 hours a day, every day, you need something.
And that's why The Angel loves it as much as I do. She even encourages me to play more. To be fair, I only play a few hours a week (at best), but she sees me actually letting my mind go for a few hours and the results that creates. It's not healthy to have anything gobble up all your time, whether work or personal. Obviously, gaming should be done in moderation. People who spend hours at a time staring at screens, virtual zombies in a gaming world, need help. Real help.
But all I'm saying is that in moderation, gaming can be a wonderful escape from the barrage of obstacles in life. Believe me, I still very much believe in getting out. Dancing. Meeting interesting people. Having fun.
But if your dude plays a video game a few hours a week, I recommend you encourage him. Whether he's 25, 35, 45, or older. Gaming is competitive. Fun. And enjoyable. As long as he isn't ignoring you, it can be a fantastic stress reliever.
And just think, if he wasn't doing that... he might be out in a bar.