Watching the Internet grow up, in my life time, has been both a joy and a thrill. I fondly remember the days of BBS and “high speed” 28.8 baud modems. The geeky awesomeness of dialing up a friend and typing back and forth late into the night helped cement lifelong friendships for me.
Fast forward a few tech cycles and suddenly HTML5 is powering projects of wonder. For instance, the amazing folks over at Mozilla have created a pretty cool tech demo titled BrowserQuest. This game reminds me of Zelda, Pokemon and old-school RPGs. I highly suggest taking it for a whirl. Being able to just play the game without having to install plugins and what-not is a sight to behold.
Achievements. Trophies. Icing on a video gamer’s cake.
The virtual playgrounds of Xbox LIVE and Playstation Network (PSN) each feature what basically amount to mini-games, the achievement/ trophy grind. In a battle that has no meaning, players try and see who can out achieve and out trophy their fellow gamer. Street cred in its digital essence.
I was recently playing through Uncharted, when I noticed I was receiving trophies for “50 headshots” and “100 kills with a pistol”. While I knew that these trophies really didn’t mean much, they kind of did. The more I played the more I noticed how much I liked receiving these in-game accomplishments. It was as if someone had come and patted me on the back, every once in awhile, for completing some soulless task.
Many of us work thankless jobs; jobs where negativity thrives in the absence of praise. These small, pointless, meaningless achievements and trophies are a breath of fresh air after a hard day of work. Even though I know that they mean nothing, ultimately they do. In the rush of everyday life, the rewards systems employed by these online networks reinforce that feeling that your actually achieving something for the time your investing.
One has to openly wonder though if all this icing is somehow fattening our egos. Will we come to expect being praised for doing something as simple as getting dressed? I wonder…
(Somewhat related: In marriage, the points don’t come as easily… Check out the video below!)
Today has been one of those days where I have had truly good intentions and all of them have been thrown out the door. Last week, I resolved to start walking over my lunch hour, two times a week. So today my wife packed me lunch (she is awesome!) and I set out determined to exercise my way through the work hour. But:
I forgot my walking shoes. I figured this out this morning as I was driving down our street. Because I was already running a little late, I had no time to turn around.
My headphones are no where to be found. Usually, I keep my headphones with my ipod…not today.
I am not trying to say that I am easily defeated. I could have walked in my work boots and listened to the sounds of nature. However, I am also in the middle of trying to put my mind around teaching 10 chapters of Joshua in one night. I think I’m going to reschedule my walk and instead use this lunch hour to:
Remember that God does not call the great and the mighty. He calls the nobodies and failures and weak and unimpressive – and accomplishes a plan hatched before the world began through them. Through you. – Wasted Depression
As I posted yesterday, the book Quitter is really make me re-consider different things in my life. Amazingly, Jon Acuff has been able to put into words things that I have thought about but have never been able to articulate.
As we advance in years, I believe that we all wish that we would personally be able to grow and mature with time as well. For some, growth and maturity are unattainable due to personal life choices; for others, growing in maturity and stature are a knowingly made decision.
Before I was married, I had all the time in the world to pursue what I wanted to pursue. If I wanted to go out with friends for coffee at 2am, I could. If I wanted to sit down and play a videogame every evening, for hours on end, I could do so as well. I was a free man and time was all mine.
As I dated and was soon married, my time quickly became our time. No longer did I have the freedom to do what I wanted to do. I had to now take my wife into consideration. What did she want to do? What could we do together? There was nothing wrong or bad about this change in the way I spent my time. Like an onion, I had simply discovered a new layer of personal depth; like an onion, my time had also grown thinner in peeling away that new layer.
The birth of our son set into motion the equation of: my time + our time = his time.
Age, growth and maturity force us to constantly evaluate the things that matter to us. Are we spending our free time pursuing the things that we love or the things that we simply like? This got me thinking about videogames and my constant struggle to figure out where they place in my life. Do I love them or just like them? Are they keeping me from pursuing the things that I love?
A few weeks ago I downloaded the audio book Quitter by Jon Acuff. Ever since then, I have been slowly making my way through the book. As each chapter unfolds, I have found God using it to attack lies I have accepted as truth. Quitter has made me re-realize that:
Our American culture celebrates those who quit their jobs to pursue their dreams. What about those that stay and persevere? What about the day-to-day realities of supporting oneself and family?
Blogging at work, doing anything besides what your paid to do, is stealing from your employer. Not sure I’ve ever thought of it like that, but Jon tells it like it is.
When pursuing a dream, coming up with a plan is not always the first step. Jon talks about the importance of looking at what your passionate over, practicing on that, and then charting out/ planning where you’d like that passion to go. Makes sense to me.
I have really enjoyed what I have listened to so far. I have also enjoyed listening to the book being actually read by the author. Seems to add more authenticity to what is being said.