This game stunned me.  I had heard rumors that it was “more intelligent than your typical shooting game”, and that it was based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. I figured “oh, great, another game trying to prove how intelligent it is by stealing from other media.”

It is influenced by Conrad,  that’s for sure.  But it’s more than that.  If you’re a fan of military action games, then you need to play this game.  It’s best if you go in knowing as little as possible about it, so if you haven’t played it but think you want to, I advise you to stop reading this now and go play it.


So, a teenager collapsed from dehydration after playing Modern Warfare 3 on his Xbox for four days straight.  He’s going to be okay, fortunately, and apparently his mom isn’t going to let him play anymore.

I am an avid gamer.  I could not play any game for four days straight.  Once, on a Saturday, years ago,  I played my favorite game, Knights of the Old Republic II for almost four hours straight.  That was definitely my limit,  and frankly a bit much for me.  In general, I can’t play more than two hours without feeling sick.

How did this guy manage to play for four days?  I strongly suspect he was playing online multiplayer, because (a) I hear that’s more addictive, (b) it takes longer to play because of the logistics involved, (c) I can’t imagine MW3 off-line holds four days worth of entertainment and (d) once you are playing, it’s harder to stop if you’ve got a bunch of other players involved.  This is yet another reason why I don’t like online gaming one bit–it seems to be the type of gaming that destroys people’s lives by making them addicted to it, much more so than off-line.

I like playing video games a lot, but you know the saying: “moderation in all things”.

“What can change the nature of a man?” is the central question in Planescape: Torment, Black Isle’s philosophical 1999 RPG. Well, among other things, playing video games. Studies indicate that video games can be good for players, reports a WSJ article:

A growing body of university research suggests that gaming improves creativity, decision-making and perception. The specific benefits are wide ranging, from improved hand-eye coordination in surgeons to vision changes that boost night driving ability.

Interesting. The research also finds that there are negative effects to playing violent games, as well. That doesn’t surprise me, but you have to weigh the pros and cons, which I think ultimately is something only the individual players can do.

However, I’m kind of disappointed at the kind of benefits they’re looking for in games. It’s well and good that they find they support better hand/eye coordination and such, but my contention has always been that the best games carry intellectual benefits; similar to great literature, there can be a very sophisticated emotional response to games that improves the player’s mind.

Still, it’s a bit of good news.