The other day I crawled out from under my rock (by which I mean crushing avalanche of essay marking, reading and baby-wrangling) long enough to notice that 40k 6th edition is pretty much guaranteed to come out soon. Actually it would be more accurate to say that Capn Stoogey dragged me out. That is, he sent me a text saying “6th is out in July”.
This is big big news for us 40k players of course. I’m not going to insult your intelligence by pretending I have anything valuable to say about it. I haven’t been following the rumours, I haven’t touched a model since my failed Night Goblins and I haven’t played a game in a couple of months – and that one had to be aborted half way through.
So what the hell am I writing about, you ask? I just thought since Warp Signal is in part a record of my gaming habits, I should record the following fact:
BABY KILL GAMING
…Well, not just baby. Baby plus grown-up job. I think it’s really interesting how I feel about this though. I just don’t really care. Having my gaming habits broken forcibly has shown me that they were just that – habits. I know this because I have broken a number of bad habits over the years, like smoking, drinking too often and too much, and er, laziness. The thing about all of them is that once they are broken, you find it hard to see why you cared so much about them before.
I assume we all know the feeling of getting too into gaming. Hell, some of us have probably lived our lives that way for years on end, and see nothing wrong with it. I’m talking about obsession: constantly checking blogs, forums and other news sites for info, engaging in long-winded debate with the rest of the community, indulging in your gaming habit until it’s all that you can think about whenever you have time to think about anything. This is how I’ve been for much of the time I’ve been writing this blog. And I’m starting to wonder if it is healthy for me. Like I said, the fact that a year ago I could not have imagined going a day without thinking about gaming, and now it barely crosses my mind, is a pretty good indication that I had an addiction.
So is gaming a bad habit? The community tends to applaud obsession, and people compete with one another to be more hard core, or more dedicated, or more deeply immersed, or whatever. But this doesn’t mean anything. Any group of addicts is going to talk and behave as though their addiction is actually a good thing, and reinforce one another. That’s just what they do. So I guess to honsetly answer that question we need to look elsewhere. Intuitivley I think the answer is “sometimes.”
I like to think I’ve always been a voice of moderation in the blogosphere. I take pride in being a casual gamer, and I try to shoot down arguments that equate being “hard-core” with being a “true gamer” whenever I see them. There are many ways to play and none are more valid than any other. But even I have been obsessed. I may not play constantly or compete to the death, but I did think far more deeply about games and gamer culture than was smart for me, considering I had other things in real life that were much more important.
And there it is. Gaming is important, but for me, it’s not my life’s work. It’s not the most important thing. It’s important to me precisely because it’s not important, if you get my drift. It provides a contrast to all the real, grown-up, totally amazing things I do in my life. I have a beautiful partner and child. I actually get paid to be a philosopher, which is a pretty out-there job. I mean who does that, really? All of these things are things I should be thankful for, and things that deserve more attention from me than gaming. Gaming is for when everything else is going smoothly and I think “hey, I would really enjoy playing Skyrim for a couple of hours right now, or going to a mate’s place to play some 40k.”
But that’s just me. Gaming is not my job, and I don’t want it to be. The thought of being a professional gamer fills me with horror, to be honest. It seems like a bad way to spend your life. Being a game designer would be better, but truthfully, there are a lot of things I’d rather be than that, including what I currently do. And I don’t want gaming to be just a habit either. That looks suspiciously like being a professional gamer without the pay.
So expect to hear less from me from now on. I’ll update when I do some actual gaming, or when, like today, I really have something to say.
Have a good one, and remember – games are important, but not serious!