I made a thread over at the RVF a while back giving Canadians a heads up that Future Shop had a promotion that essentially meant free video games. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty excited about the prospect of exchanging old, completed games, for copies of Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Assassins Creed. Having played the predecessors to both games in the past I expected nothing more than to be taken into another world so I could live as a super-soldier or unparalleled assassin for a day or two. I thought to myself this was a no-lose situation; I could get there early, grab as many copies as I possibly could, and sell the ones I wouldn’t use for some quick profit, but then I read a response to my thread by Thomas The Rhymer:

I thought this was gonna be a thread about how the Canadian government is going to hand out free video games to keep men pathetic and docile.

I think I was 10 years old when I got my very own Pokemon Yellow: Pikachu edition gameboy. I like to joke saying that I stopped reading books the day I got my gameboy, but it’s true. I used to read voraciously, but after that Christmas I rarely picked up a book that wasn’t for school. Eventually I got a PS2 and then a PS3. As soon as I cracked the packaging of a new game everything else in my life took a back seat to completing that game. For the most part I grew out of this by the time I hit university. I’d play call of duty every once and a while, but rarely did I have that compelling need to play endlessly.

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However, for many young men they never grow out of a teenage gamer phase. Why is it that men will often choose the warm glow of a television screen over the soothing embrace of a beautiful woman? Why do men waste so much of their precious life ruthlessly leveling up a bunch of pixels instead of working to reach their true potential?

A pessimist might argue that the ills of our culture leave men no choice but to self-medicate with achievement through technology. After sleep and a job, the only way to escape the doldrums seems to be to plug into another world. The way I see it video games are filling the holes left in many mens’ lives. They provide:

  • A sense of achievement
  • Instant gratification
  • Fulfillment of man’s desire to create
  • The ability to live a thousand different lives
  • Sense of camaraderie and community

Men can get all of this out of a simple video game, but how is it that they never grow despite it all?

Video games are finite. When a man unplugs he returns to his average life where he has no tangible rewards from his spent time. He must continuously play in order to get the same satisfaction, lest the sheer immensity of life crush him. It is far easier to be a new man every day than it is to build one’s current self from rubble. Detached from the facade he realizes that he is 27 and has not achieved anything, he has not created anything, he has not lived his life, and he has no other men to share his successes and failures with. Many men are weak and this is too much. For others it is just the motivation they need to impose their will on the world.

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