Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 344 - "Every game you play, every night you stay, I'll be watching you..."

I discovered at a fairly early age that I wasn't meant to teach. I just don't have the patience for it. Now, there are very few things that I'm actually good enough at doing to even justify attempting to teach them. But the bottom line is the knowledge of how to do any of those things is simply not going to be passed on by me.

The best example of this is with video games. I am incredibly impatient with all but the quickest of learners when it comes to teaching anything related to my favorite hobby. Incredibly adorable children or attractive women aside, I generally won't even try. Actually, believe or not - I'd rather work with kids since they're more likely to be into it, and genuinely want to learn and get better at the game. Whereas with most women I've encountered, I can usually feel the judgment coming from their eyes while I'm giving a tutorial on how to get the monkey in a ball across the stage.*

Now, while I have no desire to teach the art of gaming to people, I actually love side coaching people who are already playing games. It's one of the oddities I've discovered in this year off - I always assume I'll hate being in the room with other people who are playing (and other people generally assume the same, looking at me with those sad, puppy dog eyes as they fling the Wiimote around poorly and lose dozens and dozens of easy points in Wii Tennis), but as it turns out, I get really into it. Because while I don't enjoy people needing my assistance when it comes to figuring out the basics of how to play a game, I very much love offering up my own personal advice when it comes to how to play a game right. Does that make sense?

Once people are getting into their games, they've gotten their bearings, and they're kind of having fun say, driving Yoshi into a piranha plant while Lakitu floats down and tells them they're going the wrong way - this is when I feel the need to intervene. Because yeah, they might think they're having fun, but they're not. Not just yet. I'll show them the way to fun. Which, first and foremost, starts with turning the fuck around and learning how stay on the fucking track. Some might call me a "killjoy," or a "backseat gamer," or "kind of a douche." But look - papa knows best. I'm only trying to do right by people, and show them the proper way to play. If people on the streets can tell me what they think is the path to eternal salvation, I'll be damned if I'm not going to speak up and let you know how to properly reload your weapon*.

I think the proper term for people like me is "Unsung Hero." Hmm. I wonder if Activision has started working on that one yet. Zing!

***
Joystiq interviewed me and ran a little article on my year off this Friday, which was pretty flattering. I was actually just emailing them to get mentioned on their podcast, which ironically didn't wind up happening. And while I've gotten a ton of praise for the blog and what I'm doing (and seriously, thank you to all of you who started reading and who've written me) part of me was most excited to read the negative feedback I knew I'd inevitably get. Some highlights, from the comments section of the post:

"The guys a fucking idiot. You may as well say "i'm going to quit relaxing!" or give up comfortable chairs, or reading, or something. So games waste your life, he's saying. Yeah, i'm sure all the time he spent watching TV instead were SO productive."

This guy clearly wasn't a fan of my proposed plan for 2009: Giving up pillows, mittens and kittens.

"What a douche bag, I bet he can't give up materbation as easy."

I'll avoid the easy target and acknowledge his typo and say yes, I couldn't have given up masterbation as easily. But I bet I could go longer without self-pleasuring myself than he could without cobbling together and posting another gem of a comment like this.

"I don't get it. You only played around an hour a week, but when you "stopped playing games" all of a sudden you have all this time to travel and run and shit. Sounds like your priorities suck. I probably game about 2 to 4 hours a week at most. I have to manage my time between playing guitar, band, reading books and comics, work, drawing, and now I started a project with my friend to make a movie and am writing the script etc. I can do all these hobbies and game (mind you they get switched around and multitask like playing guitar while waiting for whatever etc.)"

Ok, this commentor has a legitimate (if somewhat antagonistic) concern, so I'll address it. First of all though, let's get the numbers right - I said in the interview I was playing just a few hours a week, which I said (and I think was cut from the interview) was about 5-6 hours a week. That's significant, if you add it up week by week. And yeah, this included the train ride to and from work, and portions of my weekends and weeknights. When I was down to that number, I was already pretty busy, working two jobs, writing and performing improv, etc. So I was already managing a decent balance.

The main trades I made for my gaming time were reading, writing, and exercising. I hadn't been to a gym at all since college, the only thing I had written in the past two years was the script for my one man show, and I read one book (although it was an inspiring one) the entire year. And now all that's changed. So maybe I'm also managing my time better, now that I'm more aware of it. And, as I said in the interview, the goal for 2009 is to continue doing all of that, and still find time for gaming. It's going to be a tricky little balancing act, but yes Sidebuster, the true accomplishment will come when I'm pulling that off.

Now - to all of my new (and old) friends who are counting down the days with me, I'll see you all in a little over 3 weeks. Find me on Xbox Live - RC Jester (and for those of you watching the account, be aware that other people have access to my 360!) and let's play some games together. Just be sure you know what you're doing before you hop in a game with me, ok? I have a hard time coaching and playing at the same time...

-Matt

Yeah, but I'd still rather be playing: I don't know that I'll ever get to this game, but it sounds hilarious. MINOTAUR CHINA SHOP!:

Minotaur China Shop Trailer from Flashbang Studios on Vimeo.


*Look, just pretend Aiai is uh, Carrie, and she's trying to get over there to get to, uh, an awesome sale on a new pair of Manolo's - does that help??
*Right trigger and B. No, you have to hold both of them. No no - hold the trigger first, then press B. OH GOD! Just give me the controller, I'll take over from here.

2 comments:

Will Claiborne said...

I learned a long time ago not to read forum/blog comments. That's pretty much where the world dumps all their garbage and hate.

This comic funnily expands on my theory:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/

But anyway :)

Lieutenant Columbo said...

don't bother yourself with the negative comments, I really agree with what you are doing and I'm kinda inspired to do something kinda similar ;)