Are Video Games Consuming Our Lives?

Are Video Games Consuming Our Lives?LockerGnome guest blogger, YouTube tech broadcaster, guitar player, and blatant vowel eschewer bllymcgvrn12 writes:

I have spent countless hours of my life playing video games. It all started when my grandfather bought my brother and I a Nintendo 64 and Mario 64. The never-ending game Mario 64 kept us playing for hours and hours. Is it weird that I still remember so much from that game — even specific levels, like the slide on the penguin level, or the fire browser level? Games nowadays are usually able to display the amount of time you’ve spent playing them; that’s the main point of this post.

A while back, @FourZeroTwo tweeted:

Wow. Modern Warfare 2 players have invested more than 1.75 billion hours (200,000+ yrs) of #MW2 gameplay on #xboxlive alone since release.

200,000 years! If the world put that much effort into something productive, I couldn’t even imagine what the outcome would be. We could probably teleport to Mars by now! I, myself, am guilty of putting days — maybe even weeks — into video games. Actually, if I were to be completely (and painfully) honest and add it all up — this includes arcades, friends’ houses, Nintendo, PS2, Xbox offline (single player etc.), and Xbox online — my video gaming time would probably total many weeks (maybe even months).

The four games I actually have an estimated time amount played are: COD4, MW2, FO3, and BFBC2. Call of Duty 4 runs in at about 15 days, MW2 runs in at about four days. Fallout 3 runs in at about two days, and Battlefield Bad Company 2 runs in at about one day. All together, that is 22 days! 22 full days wasted; though I was having fun at the time, I was completely unproductive with time that I can never recover. Take into consideration that these are only four games! Imagine what it would be like if I added in all the games I ever played. Reconsidering what I said before, I may have played video games for a full half a year of my life.

Even though we spend so much time on video games, it’s hard to deny that the stunning, virtual worlds that act as our playgrounds can be very impressive — and are constructed by very talented and creative people. But the time they spend building these worlds is far from wasted (at least not in the same way that passively playing in such worlds is, in my opinion). Game developers have one of the most impressive jobs out there. I always ask myself, “How the heck did a real person make this?”

Video games have come a long way from their pixelated and polygon origins — now it’s sometimes hard to discern video game footage from real life.

What do you think the world would be like today if all those hours spent playing MW2 — 1.75 billion — were spent on something productive? How many hours do you think you have spent? Comments welcome!

My name is Billy McGovern, and I live in Connecticut. Even though I am addicted to technology, I love to play sports such as lacrosse. (At the time of this writing, my high school lacrosse team was the defending state champ!) I have been using computers all my life and cannot remember when I started. My mother recently showed me a picture recently of me at age 4 using Windows 95.

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by misocrazy.