Today the most consistently pleasurable pursuit in my life is playing video games. Unfortunately, the least useful and financially solvent pursuit in my life is also playing video games. For instance, I woke up this morning at 8am fully intending to write this article. Instead, I played Left 4 Dead until 5pm. The rest of the day went up in a blaze of intermittent catnaps. It is now 10pm and I have only just started to work. I know how I will spend the late, frayed moments before I go to sleep tonight, because they are how I spent last night and the night before that: walking the perimeter of my empty bed and carpet-bombing the equally empty bedroom with promises that tomorrow will not be squandered. I will fall asleep in a futureless, strangely peaceful panic, not really knowing what I will do the next morning and having no firm memory of who, or what, I once was.
There are times when I think GTA IV is the most colossal creative
achievement of the last 25 years, times when I think of it as an
unsurpassable example of what games can do, and times when I think of it
as misguided and a failure. No matter what I think about GTA IV, or
however I am currently regarding it, my throat gets a little drier, my
head a little heavier, and I know I am also thinking about cocaine.
games and cocaine feed on my impulsiveness, reinforce my love of
solitude and make me feel good and bad in equal measure. The crucial
difference is that I believe in what video games want to give me, while
the bequest of cocaine is one I loathe. I do know that video games have
enriched my life. Of that I have no doubt. They have also done damage to
my life. Of that I have no doubt. I let this happen, of course; I even
helped the process along. As for cocaine, it has been a long time since I
last did it, but not as long as I would like.– Tom Bissell, Guardian
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