Monday, March 15, 2010

How Dragon Age: Origins Interferes with Real Life

I made a huge mistake this weekend.  I purchased and began playing Dragon Age: Origins.  Game Informer reviewed it and said that it was awesome with the caveat that the PS3 version plays like a completely different game, therefore it only gets an 8 compared to the PC version's 9.  I guess I should feel lucky because I don't know if I'd be able to pull myself away from the PC version, as it is I could go without sleeping, eating, and breathing just to play the PS3 version.  

If you want to be great at anything, according to Malcolm Gladwell, you have to put in ten thousand hours to get there.  You see how Dragon Age is interfering with that?  And not just Dragon Age.  The PS3 is interfering with all of that.  You have no idea the time I've spent lamenting the gradual re-socialization back into regular society I've gone through since leaving college in 2004.  First I let television back into my life, then it was reading books not having to do with my major, then it was marriage, then it was computer games and video games.  

Ok, in all fairness, the marriage was good.  And the books, they're good too because for reasons beyond me, reading does something healthy for a person—something television and film can never do.  I don't know what it is, but I typically come away from a book feeling just a bit more intelligent.  I never feel that way after watching an episode of "How I Met Your Mother," though I really love that show.  And gaming is incredibly addicting and I feel that it IS rewarding in some ways, but . . . it's not healthy to be sitting here pondering what will happen next in Dragon Age and hoping to spend the next five or six hours finding out.  Is it?

To be honest, I understand that I've really got to control this absurd desire.  I wish I'd never gotten the game in a way, it's too good!  I had Assassin's Creed II to get into still, and that was the plan, because I just finished Batman Arkham Asylum so I could trade it in (awesome game) and get a different game, which is where Dragon Age came in.  

But what I want more than Assassin's Creed II and Dragon Age is to be the pied piper of writing.  What? Yeah, I want hypnotize people with my mesmerizing stories so totally that they'll follow me off a cliff, but in a good way.   

It's easy to look at people around you and see their success and think, "Man, they're so lucky."  Ha ha ha! Reason tells you that the majority of people didn't just arrive somewhere satisfying in their career without a struggle, and reason is usually right.  But man is it easy to think lazy thoughts like that.  Even my thoughts are lazy!  That's my main problem.  Laziness. Which also contributes to my gaming addiction.  Much, much easier to create a satisfying story by taking part in it, in a game.  

I read an interview with Orson Scott Card about the Hidden Empire series and he spoke of his love for video games.  He said he eventually had to give them up because they interfered with his writing.  It's true. Life can interfere with the things that matter to you.  You have to hold onto them and you have to think hard about them, otherwise you can easily get swept away in the current of prime time sitcoms and dramas, ridiculously awesome video games, and surfing the web.  

I guess what I'm saying is that Dragon Age: Origins is an awesome game and it might just be my undoing. So good job to Bioware, you geniuses you. And also, sorry this post is all over the place.  It's probably because I'm thinking about what's at the top of the mage tower.  Will I be able to beat whatever's up there or should I have waited to be a higher level before doing the quest?  Should I have killed that stupid blood mage or was it OK to let her live?  I tend to be so merciful it's sick.  I'll probably be killed by one of the characters I let go free—stabbed in the back in the midst of battle.  Betrayal is so bitter!  

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