The Gamer and The Ethicist: Little Evils Part II   Leave a comment

Games are what people play when they’re figuring out what to do with their lives.

No, really.  I promise this is real. Why?

Because we intensely play games when there is space in our lives.  Sometimes the space in our lives is caused by something occurring which is not so positive. Snakes and Ladders, up the morality scale

Admit it, you’ve played a MMORPG  (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) when you’ve just had it with the world, your boss or your spouse, partner, whatever.  You play a digital game when you’ve lost someone you’ve loved.

There is a certain intimacy with a digital game that is hard to find in Real Life.

The rules are simpler in a digital game whether it’s a MMORPG or not. The simplicity takes us away from the complexity of real life.

When Dante, remember Dante who I talked about last time, who loved his people so much, that he rewrote the rules of his faith and experience into what is now known as Dante’s Inferno. This also provided a way to ease his pain, the pain from a lost war.

Yesterday after taking my two mile hike to the shore of the bay near where I live in the cold rocky Pacific Northwest, I walked fast through the mist becoming hard rain to the halfway point, our tiny little espresso shop, formerly gas station. They actually let your dog come in with you, which is why the name of this place will always  remain anonymous.

I sat down with my book of the week and ordered my hazelnut latte.  My intrepid four-legged laid down next to me. About 10 minutes into my reading two soldiers in their Army Combat Uniforms (ACU’s) with digitized camouflage walked in and sat down at the large table where I had seated myself.   I said hello and nodded my head and they returned the favor. After their sandwiches and drinks arrived, the young sergeant of the two, starting talking to me. He started off by commenting how he liked the shop and he had been there several days before and rather than going to the tavern down the road, where it was crowded with military and nonmilitary at lunch, he decided to come here. Then suddenly a shift happened. He started talking about his marriage, in not positive terms. No, he wasn’t hitting on me. He was performing a catharsis, an emotional venting mixed with humor to try and make believe that it really wasn’t all that bad.

But in my life, I’ve been a divorce mediator before becoming burned out. I’ve heard all these words before. A wife who drinks too much, a husband who just wants a quiet home, children unattended and whose mom won’t put them to bed, a wife unemployed and unhappy about it, with a husband who has just returned from Iraq.

He sat there across from me, there were only the three of us in the shop. I listened, I nodding, sympathized, but couldn’t say much because, he just wanted to be listened to. The most amazing thing was that as I watched him, he was in his late twenties or early thirties, his hands shook, trembling the entire time that he talked and I could see the stress in his bright, clear blue eyes.  His friend looked uncomfortable, but unscathed.

I kept listening, wondering what had happened to him, how it impacted his family, and how it will impact the rest of his life. Finally, he slowed down and I told him that I understood what he said and I, being who I am, someone who taught courses on interpersonal communication, could recommend a good, quick book for him to read. But, I mentioned, I didn’t have a pen or paper with which to write it all down.

Being the good soldier that he is, he smiled and I heard the Velcro tear as he opened the flap on the ACU arm, took out a black pen and an Army green tablet and proudly handed them to me, hands still trembling. I wrote down my contact information, in case he wanted to talk to someone who wasn’t in his game, someone who lived by different rules, and could see life differently from the hell he was trying to contain in his own life where the combination of Army rules, spouse rules and father rules were beginning to wear him down. This man who wore a combat badge, who had just returned from Iraq, had to live by rules that I could only imagine. Who felt he needed to remain calm outside while his insides were screaming at the pain in his life. The only way someone would know, is by the trembling of his hands.

Some people play Halo to blow off steam, some people play digital combat games, some play social networking games, all these games are constructed so that the player may lose once in awhile but there is never an ongoing sense of futility.

I don’t know if I will ever hear from the young sergeant. I hope I do, I hope I’ve helped.

Perhaps too, people play games because they need healing.

We can change the rules in Real Life (RL) to let healing take place. It’s a choice.

We can also develop games to promote healing, I’m working on one now.

I’m certain this sergeant loves his family and his country and he’s doing the best he can working within all the rules. He’s trying to be rational in all these crazy games.

It’s when we assume that the status quo, will always be the status quo. That’s when the unexpected happens.

I hope the sergeant, I now think of him as Sgt. Dante, can write about his life and change the rules inside, while the rest of us, take a little effort and start to change the rules on the outside, to end our each own little evil.

ACU games(as an allegory read this article:

1. Click Start.

2. Type Services in the Start Search.

3. In the Services Windows search for Volume Shadow Copy in the list.

4. Right click on the Service.

5. Click on Properties.

6. Select the Startup Type to Manual.

7. Click OK.

8. Now repeat the same for Windows Backup service.


Posted April 7, 2010 by prosperospen in Culture, Game Theory, Games, Relationships, Society

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