lol Abort Quit: TV or Video Games?

A recent discussion came up in my home last month as we were moving into our first real home. See what happened was that we were without TV and Internet for about a week because our cable company decided they just didn’t care that I requested a service transfer two weeks before my move. They cared even less that they assured me 4 times that it would be taken care of. We spent 8 days without television or internet and the question came from my fiance “How are you not bored like I am?” My response was two words “video games”.

The discussion came up: If you had to give up one thing for the rest of your life what would it be, TV or Video Games?

Video Games Poster

Face it...they make the world go 'round

Her Argument for TV

When we play games we focus, we get in the zone, we strap on the game face and nothing gets in the way. However when we watch television there is discussion interaction and laying together just being with one another. I can’t refute any of those points. She is absolutely correct. Laying next to her while we watch TV is not something we can do when in the middle of a session of Demon’s Souls, Madden, or CoD because if we tried she would most likely catch a elbow. I would then get real familiar with my new basement really quick because that’s where I would be sleeping.

But the point rings true, I don’t care how multiplayer a game is, with the exception of Animal Crossing it’s difficult to not be task oriented. There is a bonding that takes place while vegging on the couch watching the latest episode of Fringe (btw, wtf Walternate? Don’t think I don’t know what you’re up to!). Curling up on the couch under a blanket and relaxing with a 75 lbs Goldendoodle laying on top of the two of us is a great way to just “be” with someone. It’s something we both value and you just can’t get that with a game.

My Argument for Games

The other side of the argument is that TV provides little interactivity. I’m not engaged in a television program. I can’t solve a puzzle or problem in a TV show. Video games are typically built around he premise of “there a problem to solve, get to it”. I have never watched an episode of Criminals Minds and felt accomplished. I have never once jumped on my couch, fist pumped the air and shouted as the credits rolled during an episode of AOTS (sorry Pereira).

While TV can be thought provoking and spur conversation I crave the experience. I want to feel that I’ve done something even in my off time. It’s why I my house is going to forever in a state of improvement.

With a game like Demon’s Souls you have to learn to play the game. You have to watch the environment, read what users have written, trust them or not. You are not just alone in a world you are interacting in it.

Once you look at more online MMORPG’s you are encouraged to travel with people. Few online games insist you go it alone. Star Wars: The Old Republic even went so far as to give you an NPC Companion. That’s precisely how important socialization is to games. “Even if you don’t want you, you’re still going to have to put up with someone”.

Then we have games like Heavy Rain with absolutely no social aspect outside of the person next to you on the couch. But what it does is allow is a rich cinematic experience wrought with tough decisions and game altering choices. I have found myself using it many times as a conversation piece with people to discuss how their games differed from mine, why they chose what they chose, and what they thought of their outcomes.

I find the world of gaming to be far more inviting and interactive, but who knows, I may in fact be the minority.

So now I leave it to you: If you had to give up one thing for the rest of your life what would it be? TV or Video Games?

note* – you’re not giving up an actual TV and no, you can’t stream TV to your console. Additionally…you cant play games on your TV. Just a straight up question, no trickeration. Yes I hate that word too.


(polls)

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Comments

Posted On
Sep 30, 2010
Posted By
kattiki

Wow, I’m completely stumped on this poll. On the one hand, what would I do without my Alistair & Kaidan, and all the experiences that games have brought about? But then, on the other, what would I do without my weekly fix of Gossip Girl, Glee, Vampire Diaries, Caprica and all the other shows I watch?

*sigh* I really don’t know what to choose…

It doesn’t help that I’m one of the most indecisive people on the planet.

-Kat

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Posted On
Sep 30, 2010
Posted By
wadoobie

Yes but you can always buy the Glee DVD’s and watch them later.

Imagine if you had to read about the “alistair encounters” online or hear about it from a friend. It just wouldn’t be the same and we wouldn’t have the Ass Stamp of Approval!

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Posted On
Sep 30, 2010
Posted By
Calamitybird

Well there’s absolutely no question that I would miss TV. And there is a lot of interactivity when we watch TV – my husband and I are the kind that run constant commentary, plus crack open laptops and check IMDB every twenty minutes because “hey-its-that-guy” syndrome drives us crazy. It’s very hard for us to behave and not chatter in movie theatres (but we mostly do, I promise!)

As for the NON-interactivity of video games, I dunno, maybe it depends on the individuals. I find that we are equally interactive while playing video games…if not moreso, since there is less risk of missing important dialogue while you’re talking. The interaction ranges from smack talk, to making fun of each other’s missed shots/running into walls/etc., to discussing how to solve the puzzle or where to go next. Even one-player games – there are a lot of games I’m very familiar with despite never having played them myself, because I love to sit on the couch and backseat drive while hubby plays.

I just wish they would come out with more COOPERATIVE multiplayer – some of our best times together have been spent playing as a team on Halo, RE5, Crystal Chronicles, and of course WoW. Or even more point-and-click puzzlers – over the years my husband and I played the Broken Sword series, Discworld series, Monkey Island series, etc. together, with one or the other manning the controls but lots of talking and collaboration.

And with our kid now getting up there into that “omg he’s like a real person” age range (he’s almost twelve), I find it’s the same with him. We all watch TV together, but I never hear more laughing and talking in this house than when we’re playing video games together or he’s playing with his dad. 😀

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Posted On
Sep 30, 2010
Posted By
wadoobie

The downside for me is that my fiance isn’t a gamer. Not even a little. I have tried to bring her into gaming with something like LittleBig Planet but its just not her thing. She would rather go to the gym, read, and watch Biggest Loser on a Tuesday night than fire up a console and rock out with storyline that she can help mold. She likes to completely turn off. So my interaction during games with others is limited to people online or with the game characters (if you can really call that interaction).

So I lose that very large piece of time when I move into PtC mode. I think maybe making my Sackboy slap hers in LittleBig Planet may have turned her off to it. Oddly she was a huge fan of Mario Galaxy and to my total surprise Twilight Princess. But to this day I can manage to get her to recapture that initial spark with any game. Mostly because (as I said) she’s one of those people who just likes to shut off when she gets home and not have to make decisions, think, interact. She’s a teacher, she does it all day.

I guess it may just depend on what you spend all day doing and what your personality is. For me I like to compete with people in games and also enjoy the thrill of solving a nasty puzzler. Jack Nicholson put it best in The Departed ” I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.”

Then there are people who just want to kick back and be taken on a journey rather than journey themselves.

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Posted On
Sep 30, 2010
Posted By
Calamitybird

Wow, not even Little Big Planet hooked her? I thought that was, like, the game invented to win over girlfriends…

Also, am I an awful person because the phrase “making my Sackboy slap hers” sounded really pervy to me? I had to read that twice!

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Posted On
Oct 01, 2010
Posted By
wadoobie

No you’re not awful. I used to use the phrase “Time for a sack slap!” just before he did it simply for how bad it sounded.

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Posted On
Oct 01, 2010
Posted By
kattiki

Okay, see, I didn’t realize that I could sort of cheat the system by renting / buying the DVDs of a TV show. Yeah, that sounds like cheating. In which case I 100% choose video games to keep over TV.

By the way, CalamityBird, have you played the Myst series? Those are fascinating puzzle-solving games. Also ICO for PS2 is jaw-droppingly incredible.

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Posted On
Oct 03, 2010
Posted By
Calamitybird

I beat the original Myst game over a very determined several nights (and six-packs) years and years ago. Loved the twist ending.

I made almost no progress at all in the sequel, and eventually lost interest. But they were freaking gorgeous games, no doubt. :)

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