Video games are possibly the biggest waste of time on earth, with the exception of daytime television. Even so, I can't stop myself from playing, and thinking about playing it when I'm not playing it. My productivity in reading and writing have dropped dramatically, much like a housewife when Oprah comes on.
One of the worst things about this is that I've come to use the game's terminology comfortably as my own.
"We've got to get back to the 'hood to protect the homies," I told RA as he directed me through the streets of San Andreas to stop a gang war being fought on my turf.
"Damn, that nigger is hatin'!" I exclaimed when one of the members of the hated Balla crew shot me with an AK.
Almost certainly worse than that is the brief glimmer of frustration I feel when I actually consider carjacking someone so I can get somewhere faster, and then realize that I can't do that, even if there isn't a cop within viewing distance.
My mom never bought me any video game system when I was a kid.
"If I buy it for you, you'll just sit around playing video games all day."
Instead, I sat around watching reruns of Charles in Charge and Happy Days until I saved up enough money to buy a Super Nintendo myself, then I sat around playing "Super Mario World" all day until I beat it. Of course, by that time, I was way out of the loop, and my hand-eye coordination was nothing like some of my friends who easily kicked my ass at every game.
The other reason Mom never bought me a video game console is because of violent video games. I asked for "Street Fighter II" for Christmas and my birthday, but never got it.
"I don't want you thinking that life is that way," she said. She said pretty much the same thing but substituted the word "women" for "life" and "are" for "is" when she found an issue of Penthouse Letters wedged between a bunch of old posters and maps while cleaning my room one day when I was thirteen.
I never really felt tempted to do a shoryuken on someone in real life when I played SFII, and I don't think that videos and magazines have warped my mind so much that I expect all women to look and behave like they do in porn. I hate Joe Lieberman, and the way he tried to censor movies, music, and video games in the 90s using the same argument my mom had. Black guys at my middle school used to wear these shirts after Biggie and 2Pac died that said "It Ain't the Music", and I always just took that as fact.
The whole thing bears further scrutiny, I think. Especially since I found myself briefly fantasizing about smashing through fences and doing drive bys on people walking down the street today when I went to the grocery store.