When I was a kid, my dad worked for a company that was partnered with Atari. He’d hand me a printout, made on his dot matrix printer, with a list of almost every game available for the Atari 2600. I would pick the games I wanted and he would come home with the semiconductor chips to plug into our dad-made, master cartridge. He was like the MacGuyver of video games. We had some really obscure games like Montezuma’s Revenge. And, no, it wasn’t about Traveler’s Diarrhea.
I would have considered myself a “Gamer”, except that word was always equated with Dungeons and Dragons, back then. I could sit, staring at the TV, only moving my hands and arms, for hours on end. I was easily sucked into the vortex of video games.
Somewhere along the way, my interest in video games dissipated and morphed into “social” activities. There were no headsets or “live” games. Online gaming had yet to exist. I chose the sun and Vitamin D over high fructose corn syrup to keep me pumped up for the next, game level.
It wasn’t until I worked in the gaming department for a large telecommunications company and met my husband that I ever even entered the world of online gaming. My husband loves MMOGs. If you had asked me before I worked in the industry what that acronym meant, I would have thought it was some type of rifle or Uzi. I would never have guessed it meant Massively Multiplayer Online Game.
At the time, Babyface didn’t exist, so we still had this thing we used to call “free time”. Every night after dinner and hanging out, he would sit down at the computer and play World of Warcraft. To me, this was like the new Dungeons and Dragons. I was just thankful that he wasn’t wearing a cape or painting small metal figurines. I was just thankful that he wasn’t fighting a bunch of knights in the local park on weekends.
He would play for hours. I thought he was crazy. So, I decided to try out the game and see what all of the fuss was about. How could this possibly be any more fun than Space Invaders or Centipede, I thought.
I sat down at the computer at 9 pm with my glass of wine and started to build a character. After about two hours, I was done and ready to play the game. Yes, it took me two hours because there were a lot of choices and my husband had to explain all of the special powers to me (which kind of went in one ear and out the other). I started to play and got caught up in the game. I stepped into this magical world of elves and magic potions.
After about 20 minutes, I looked up at the clock. Only, it hadn’t been only 20 minutes. It had been four hours! I had played this game that sucked my husband away every night for four hours! And, that was the last time I ever played an online game. Why? Because I realized that it was interesting and that it had the power to rob me of years.
From time-to-time, I’ll play games like online Scrabble or anything involving trivia. I’m even interested in trying out Bingo sites like PartyBingo.com. But I’ll never step into the MMOG vortex again. I’m pretty sure Babyface would need to seek counseling in adulthood from the lack of attention.