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Reading and Video Gaming

March 22, 2012

I love a good book.  Well-written words make me fall into new world.  The house could burn down around me and I might not know.  I am a voracious reader; now that I have a wife and kids, I only ready a couple hundred books a year, but there was a time in life when I could knock off a thousand or more.

Call me a paper adventurer.

Someone once asked me if I’d rather eat or read.  You can always read about eating.

Video games, on the other hand, can’t catch my interest.  I got a PlayStation for my birthday one year and lost interest within a week.  My son, however, has a near-obsession with them, playing for as many hours as we’d let him.  His current favorite is Monster Hunter or some-such, where his avatar runs around with weapons to vanquish monsters.

I don’t get it.  I’ve never been able to tip over into that world.  I’m always aware that I’m not swinging a massive hammer, I’m pushing a button, not walking, swimming or jumping, I’m pushing buttons on a controller. (I figured, surely I could get into Spider-Man, but nope, more button pushing).  I’ve watched Ben, his eyes intent on the screen and his hands furiously stabbing buttons and sliding switches.  For him, he’s running alongside the thunder lizard, swinging that mace.  I doubt he has a thought about what his fingers are doing. 

And that’s when I realized that it’s the same thing for non-readers.  I figured when I publicized my novel on Facebook, all my friends would instantly buy it (heck, I’d buy theirs!).  A few did; some of them even read it (and enjoyed it :o)).  Most have not, some even apologizing that they aren’t readers, which left me scratching my head.

Perhaps they’re dyslexic or in some other way struggle with making printed words make sense.  Or maybe they read well, but that transportation to another world simply doesn’t happen.  I’m that way with audio books.  I just forget to listen because my eyes have nothing to grab hold of.

I guess until Tron-like virtual reality makes video games seamless, I’ll just stick to my books… and not judge those who can’t enjoy the printed passport to strange new lands.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 23, 2012 9:31 am

    Interesting. I would have thought that the same thought process that lets you get involved in a book would do the same for video games – you know, you enter that world. Then again, the way we invest our time counts largely for what we want to do. Do I want to read a book, which will take hours or days, or simply wait for the movie. Maybe some of is all about the ability to sit and concentrate on one thing (or two if you’re eating a sandwich while you read).

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