0001 – Video Games & Productivity

Word Vomit is when I write 1000 words in 15 minutes, without editing. I’m sure you have better uses of your time than to read this.

Video game developers know something that the rest of us don’t. Not all developers, of course- I’m talking about the ones that develop the good games. Games that are immersive and addictive.

It’s 4am in the morning and I can’t sleep. My mind is heavy with thoughts. I tried meditating. It didn’t seem to help. I figure that writing is my only salve at this hour.

Here’s a thought. I could download Diablo 2 right now- or Darkstone, or Grand Theft Auto: Vice City- and I would sit down and play it for hours. I would play and play and play until I’m physically tired of the act. Why? How does it work? And why don’t I display the same sort of conviction towards my other activities in life? The only things I’ve ever been nearly as obsessed about as video games are reading and masturbation. The latter is easy to understand- sexual pleasure is a very base and primal element of the human psyche. It’s a side-effect of the need for reproduction. It makes sense that natural selection has made us very sexual creatures. Well, I don’t understand it completely, but the impulse is understandably strong.

Reading is a little more interesting and complicated. What keeps a person reading? Interest, intrigue, curiosity. There’s something about reading that makes me want to keep reading. The quote by Patti Smith comes to mind- you want to read everything, and each thing you read makes you want to read more things. The thirst for knowledge is immense. I could spend hours on Quora, too.

Quora, Facebook, Reddit- how do they work? How do they manage to put me under their spell, how do they wrap me around their little fingers? This is something painful and humbling to concede- that I am not nearly as in control of myself as I’d like to believe. But as always, awareness of the problem is the first step.

I have to gamify my life to get myself to do the things that I know I must do. Somehow, the manner in which I am doing it is insufficient. I don’t want to be one of those unfulfilled people obsessed with bettering myself because I feel somehow deeply unwhole, unworthy or empty in some sense, no. I’m just frustrated that I am so easily swept by the tides of whim and fancy. By the Ad and the Id. I’d like to be able to pursue what I say I want to pursue. I’d like to feel the beautiful feeling of doing, and the feeling of done, rather than “I’m gonna,” or “I will”.

Procrastination to me is a case of bad design. Procrastination is not a disease, I think- it is merely a symptom. Nobody procrastinates while playing video games. (Well, you might put aside fighting a boss because you’re busy acquiring loot- but even so, you’re doing something productive and valuable). Nobody procrastinates in a video game- when you’re in a video game, you have fun. Why don’t we do the same in real life?

Because real life isn’t nearly as well designed as video games are. It’s a lot more complex, for one, so naturally it’s not going to be able to be broken down as easily. But when we think about things like school, or work- video games have gamified human motivation in a way that everything else simply hasn’t caught up with.

I’m going to make sure that I write a minimum of 800 words in 15 minutes every single day. This is an example of such word vomit. I’m not going to format anything, I’m just going to post it up. This is a part of my self-schooling process- raw quantity. This is how I’m going to transcend writer’s block. I’m going to be posting something Every. Single. Day. I’m sorry if this is frustrating to witness. I don’t expect anybody to read this- if you do, I think you’re a little too free and you need to spend your time reading better material. I’ll let you know when I’m working on something good.

What else am I going to be doing that is of importance and value? How can add value to my readers, how can I be more useful to you guys? It would be great if you could leave me some comments- share with me your thoughts or ideas as to how I could make this experience better for you. I recorded a few covers on youtube today and it felt great. It feels good to move forward, to get things done. Gamification is the key. I have to face life the same way I face an exciting book, or any of my favourite video games. I have to see the parallels. I have to get caught up in creating, in producing, in doing what I believe is important and essential.

I know that my writing voice is awfully convoluted when I don’t think before I write, or if I write in this stream-of-consciousness way (like I’m doing now) without doing any editing. I wonder if it would be possible to develop a more refined stream-of-consciousness, with an economy of words AND clarity of thought… I had to slow down there for a few seconds to choose my words. I don’t think it works that way. If you go fast, you end up like Russell Brand. If you go slow, you end up like Lee Kuan Yew. Both ways are pretty cool, without any uhs or ums.

The truth is I’m excited. I should be excited. I was feeling a bit stressed and nervous because it seems like I have way too much ahead of me. But I just need to take things a step at a time. Kill one monster at a time, and collect the loot. I know I should be taking baby steps, yes, but I should also be getting “baby loot”. I should be reaping the little rewards for the little acts worth doing.

This is the end of today’s word vomit. I will do 1,000 of these.

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