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Video Games, Am I wasting my life?

by wjnthree / November 19, 2006 1:20 PM PST

I play video games. I have for a couple of years of my life now. I would say I used to play maybe 10-20 hrs a week. Now maybe only 4-5. Ever time I do, my Parents always say, "Turn that damned thing off, your frying your brain and wasting your life!" Am I? Is it really a waste? It is fun isn't it? I'm wondering if I should stop. Or maybe I should just play less. What should my comeback be to them if they say that to me? I was wondering if I could get other peoples opinion on the subject. It would help me and be very interesting. If you do, thanks.

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An old debate...
by John.Wilkinson / November 19, 2006 1:55 PM PST

If you're not spending time doing your homework and studying, your grades are dropping, etc. you need to cut back on your gaming. You cannot let your education suffer, for that, not gaming, is what will take you places as you grow older. On the other hand, everyone needs a break from work now and then, otherwise you'll 'burn out.' That is, you'll grow to hate doing the same thing day in and day out without any break and your performance will suffer. Thus, the key is to have a balance between the two. Your time should not be split 50/50, but to a point where you are reasonably happy and still able to get all of your work done, and more importantly, done well.


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I would suggest to play less or do something else.
by Mike02xx / December 5, 2006 1:28 PM PST
In reply to: An old debate...

I play about 1-6 Hours a day.

But then i watch TV or use my computer or just go out and hang out to rest my eyes, Video Games won't fry your brains , but will sure hurt your eyes!

I suggest after a few hours say 2 or something like that go out walk breath some fresh air and do something then comeback.

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eyes and games
by sprt / December 5, 2006 5:34 PM PST

I think that play or watch T is not the same.
TV is more far from you eyes than your PC.
I have my own notebook and i'm glad that i can make
ma screen darker by software.
After few hours of watching bright white screen on office word
while writing my first protocol from hi school on this PC, i was not able watching TV this evening.
We have aquarium at home. This is very good to rest of all screens at home.
Let's get back to games.
I'm playing 2-3 hours in week, becose i will garduate on hi school and my Notebook is not constructed for complicated games.
I dont mind it becose i feel it as good for me to make my eyes
perfect for longer time.
I'm sure that i will be profiting from this when i will be older.
I have brother that is playing 3-5 hours every day, our mother is little angry by this.
He will be having problems in school when he will be continue in this.
But he is not listening to me.
You see he is on the same hi school as me but in second year.
I found that more young peoples vear dioptical glases, and it will be worst. I know it from my mom, she was working as nurse on hospital.
Thats all for this reaction.
Another one will see it different way, thast way i see it in my country( Czech Republic).
In USA and other states can be very different situation.

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Games help
by theinfamouschris / December 5, 2006 9:02 PM PST

This is hard to explain.... I am ex british army and trained with a lot of expensive gear, the problem was you can fire off missiles all the time you need to train and so the army used a lot of actual games to help with training, the army has been using lazer gun games for years to improve actual training and then when it comes to hand held shoulder launced missiles then there were two things one was a semi mechanical and digital trainer that you watch a screen decide if the plane is friend or foe then fire the missile, the button activated a weight that dropped to simulate the missile leaving you and then the game software took over as long as you kept your eye on the target then you hit.

I am 39 and I was in the army until 1995, I have seen some of the things I trained with slowly being used as games and can see how a lot more will be used.

Games are a great way to increase hand to eye co-ordination and also to help "brain train" so give the student or player the chance to multi think and multi task in simulated combat and stress situations so that when they get to the real situations they are ready for it.

have avoided mentioning any names of weapons as i expect I would get in trouble but I can mention milan which is an anti tank misile, I did over 100 test fires on this to hone my skills before the first shot of a real misile, I hit first time at a range of nearly 1 mile away, all through games training, so if your kids are playing games it's helping but kiss them up the **** and make them go run to the shops to buy them as you can't digitally train fitness.

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And for non-war-makers....?
by fire1fl / December 5, 2006 10:38 PM PST
In reply to: Games help

Nice bit of advice that, practice video games to improve your missile launch skills. Lots of uses for that skill in the ROW, eh?

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"I would suggest to play less or do something else.
by snowschu / December 6, 2006 1:58 AM PST

If you are asking the question, then you probably already know the answer. As a mother and grandmother, I can tell you, from personal experience, balance is the key. If you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time playing viedo games and not attending to your responsibilities, you have a problem and need to stop. It is important to consider the content or subject matter of the game. Reports are coming out about the dangerous effects of violent and explicit content of viedo games. Have you ever heard "garbage in, garbage out"? Treat yourself with respect and don't fill your mind with garbage. Personally, I think spending countless hours playing video games, or watching television, makes one feel like a slug. It's counterproductive! Life is much shorter than one could ever imagine. Invest your time where it will really count for something!

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rather theological of you
by drewlore / December 6, 2006 4:31 AM PST

First off, investing time in video games can count for something. But may I ask you this? What do you mean by "count for something"? Do you mean making money? Supporting yourself? Or perhaps being happy with what you do? Realistically, there is very little purpose in "investing your time where it will really count for something" because as you say earlier in your statement "life is much shorter than one could ever imagine". So what point is there in getting a degree or earning a few million when everything goes kaput in the end? This might sound a tad depressing, but whether or not you believe in an afterlife money and fame will not follow you. It is better to lead a life of contentment doing something you enjoy. For some that may be going to law school for others it may be gaming.

Back to my original statement though, video gaming is a rapidly growing industry and in an incredible boom right now. Video gamers are recruited to test and design video games and many are being paid a great deal of money for it. For doing something they enjoy. For them, gaming counts.

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good point
by spog / December 6, 2006 9:12 AM PST

"it is better to lead a life of contentment doing something you enjoy" - ha! this makes a very valid & interesting viewpoint. it is right that you do what you enjoy, if gaming lifts up your soul then enjoy it, being a paid professional for gaming would be a very good option & will politically balance your life hehe.

as long as you don't miss out on your responsibilities & you give your eyes a rest from time to time, i don't see anything wrong with gaming. you have to keep in mind though that there are still a lot of fun things to do aside from gaming. Wink

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"good point "
by fuzzyCWD / December 7, 2006 8:49 AM PST
In reply to: good point

"if gaming lifts up your soul then enjoy it, being a paid professional for gaming would be a very good option..." as a matter of fact...
there IS a Professional Gaming Circuit out there.

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I somewhat agree, but...
by AdamJ34 / January 10, 2007 7:41 AM PST

While I agree that playing video games is counterproductive, your point that playing them makes one feel like a slug or that life is short and should be spent doing something else depends on the individual. Personally, I am with you in that playing video games for hours on end does make me feel like a slug at times...but sometimes that feels great! I like to balance my life with work, videogames/tv, and outdoor activities. Unfortunately, work has to be factored in there somewhere or how would we enjoy videogames, etc?? Anyways, my point is that some people may not think that playing videogames is a waste of time when they have spare time outside of school or work. Others may prefer to spend their time outdoors, fixing cars, gardening, reading books, painting, drinking(sometimes while playing videogames), fishing, hunting, etc. And really, how much more productive is fishing and hunting...with all the money spent on gear you can buy the fish and meat.

I don't know if that all makes sense...I think I rambled a bit. It's all about balance!

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by eranoco / December 5, 2006 5:10 PM PST
In reply to: An old debate...

It's all about balance with everything. All work and no play will make a person not do well in any way. All play and no work could make one stump at things like trying to find a rhyme (that's not inappropriate) with words like "work". (now laugh...)

There should always be priorities. Work/school days should be dedicated to work or school unless there's nothing left to do and there's free time. Weekends should be dedicated for leisure such as games with an allocated time period for work. Basically, some schedule should be made and followed. Another real problem to that solution is creating the desire for a schedule by the child.

The human mind wants to do something that's fun and enjoyable. Kids should somehow be taught that work can be fun, getting good grades is desirable, and getting bad grades will lead to some form of suffering at a future time. Video games are FUN and should be played because they do moderately help the mind in certain perspectives. But logical priorities should be tied to emotional priorities and sometimes that requires assistance from adults (aka psychological manipulation).

From my experience, a typical human places all thoughts in the present and/or near future. The distant future usually depends on activities in the present. A full blown comprehension of Temporal Mechanics is not required, but at least a general idea.

A child constantly playing video games and doing bad in school is an end result problem. There's usually a more complex problem behind that situation. Saying to a child that he/she should spend more time with homework and not playing around with things like video games is kind of like covering up holes in the backyard dug by a gopher. Holes will continue to be created.

Bah! I'm not into psychology. I'm a techie!!!


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An old debate...
by ubeyou / December 6, 2006 7:00 AM PST
In reply to: An old debate...

i usually play 3~5 hours per day, but I will take a part of the time doing a search on google(Anything that stuck on your brain), and making money by adversitement on my site. After i got my profit, my father and mother stopped saying that I am wasting my life and I can continue surfing the net by 3~5 hours... Maybe you can try independent as you earn extra money from net without consuming any money on their poket. Parent target in your live is you could continue survive without help. Education also can learn via internet, maybe you can try some edu games that gave you intelligent. And balance is the key... Hope that help^^


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this is bull
by eclipes_6 / December 7, 2006 2:44 PM PST
In reply to: An old debate...

Let me tell you all something, Games don't prevent anyone from learning or having a great job. I used to think the same way that games could not get you anywhere.

My friend however showed me other wise. He was a hardcore gamer and because of this he went to meets and compitions and won. Now he is a QA of games and is employed by microsoft, lucas arts, and Blizzard.

He owes all of this to gameing!!! So when someone says that gaming will get you know where tell them to talk to me and I will set them straight

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re: this is bull
by eranoco / December 7, 2006 5:52 PM PST
In reply to: this is bull

"Games don't prevent anyone from learning or having a great job" is mostly true, but almost nothing in life is absolute. Games COULD prevent a person from learning or having a great job by taking time away that could be spent on something else. For example, a person, in their school years, constantly plays games in escape out of depression from, say, their social life at school. The constant playing of games, in turn, diverts attention away from important tasks such as homework and general studying in place of happiness. In that sense, games are the direct factor for taking time away from important tasks, and the indirect REAL problem is the social environment for that person/kid.

In essence, video games, games in general, or ANYTHING that is considered entertainment have a multi-dimensional effect based on the person (player). To say that video games is bad is like saying that the sun is bad and just causes cancer. Bleh! :-<

Gluttony is a sin, but reflects on eating or drinking too much. (In ancient times, there wasn't really much to have TOO MUCH of anything. Too much of anything or an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires is bad in general. Playing games too much is just as bad as eating too much. And giving money away to the poor too much is also just as bad, obviously, because one could turn into them in time!

For every good side, there's a bad side and for every bad side, there's a good side. The good should always be aimed for, while thinking for oneself and thinking for others. Everybody is different like no two grains of sand are exactly the same even though they look the same. People's desire and specialties tie back to their personality, intelligence, physical abilities, assets, and thinking (and whatever else I'm missing, lol) Whatever that is being worked on is time spent. The open ended question is "How well can that time be spent?" In a casino, the choices of slot machines, poker, blackjack, roulette , and whatever else are options with only a limited amount of funds with a certain amount of time available. Does one blow it all away on certain things that are fun quickly or diversify funds slowly to enjoy the time given for the night?

In life, there's always problems. The answer depends on how one looks at a problem. And there will always be times when the solution that appears to be the answer in a given decade causes a crisis the next decade. A causes B, B causes C, and C is great happiness, but because of A and along with C, D happens and there's great misery. For each point before D, nothing was bad and everything was good. Where exactly was the problem?

Here's a quick way to check for narrow mindedness. Look at a BLANK wall with NOTHING on it; what problems do see you? If you simply see a fixed number of problems such as zero, one, or two. There's a problem right there! Is it completely bad? No. About 99.9% plus of people are like that.

Everyone's life is like a river and each river is different. Certain things that are great (or even bad) for one river are not the same for another. This is life, and it's the choices we have that makes our future. Not everybody can be in the gaming industry or whatever else. One must move forward with what they are best at with the facts given. And that one has to be guided at a young age. (sorry parents; just do more explaining! lol And talking in an angry way doesn't always help and could actually make things worse. However, also being too nice and saying that playing video games is good and to keep on playing till one wins could really be a bad idea if something is not being worked on and completed such as homework!)

Life can also be like a walk on a tight rope over the grand canyon with treasures that bewilder the mind on the other end. To keep on going would wear one out, then eventually fall. To constantly rest would be like waiting until the tight rope breaks and one falls. Where one falls is the end of that person. But each tight rope is different for everyone and only few will make it to the other side. For each and every person, they'll drop things on the way; some not needed and some memorable. To reach the other end, it's all about the attempt, the effort, and the journey.

To the Journey!
**opening a bottle of the good stuff**

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Video Games
by kod7785 / March 26, 2009 7:12 AM PDT
In reply to: An old debate...

I don't think it's any more harmful than watching tv

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just for reference!
by Judiketty / November 19, 2006 6:48 PM PST

hi,my friend!yes, I`ve got to see your problem with video games.
so I can see that you`ve tried your efforts to cut down the time in playing them, I think that should be ever a precious gift which you had given your parents.and kids always grow to be adults, then it would mean more problems which they will have to solve by their own, because people always get to be old, frankly speaking, your parents would not be able to accompany you for your whole lifetime, so they do hope that you could just spare more time to confront the realistic life. it would be better for you and your future life. you see, they just care about you, so they do hope that you could live well in the future. too much game time means more difficulties in facing future,so just try to stand in their shoes to think about it more!:)

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Personal choice
by Katsumoto / December 9, 2006 4:56 AM PST
In reply to: just for reference!

I'm 19, a part time worker and part time school in a apprenticeship living at home and constantly are being told by my parents that i'm playing to many video games. I'll play from 10-15 hours a week usually just a hour or two a day and 2 or 3 times a day i check an online games i play like travian, knightfight and kings of chaos. But i also work 20 hours a week and go to school for 16 hours a week. As well i play soccer on the weekends with friends for about half a day. Do i play to many video games? Not really, how i play video games is a way of relaxing and doing something with my mind so my body may rest and has no effect on my social, working or school life except the occasional need to get on a computer around lunch time for 5 minutes.

Life is all about choice and how they affect you in the long run. From my experiences parents like to command their children especially when dealing with videogames. If you wish to "waste your life" with video games then that is how you choose to spend your life. But don't expect to stay at home for free and just play videogames. If you get addicted and let it consume your life you soon might now be able to play at all because you don't have a choice due to lack of money. I would take their opinion, agree that too much videogames has a negitive affect on various things but for now your just going to relax for a couple of hours and do something you enjoy. My favorite line "would you rather i go out and do drugs?".

To set a bar of what is an addiction. For the full time student or worker anything over 20 hours a week, every week would be a addiction. Further points would be if you actually go outside for more then to go to the store for a new videogame, if not... you need to put down the controller.

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It sounds like you're fine
by ackmondual / November 27, 2006 4:24 AM PST

10 to 20 hrs / wk ain't bad, let alone 4-5 hrs. Others can get more than that in vid games, TV, or a combination of the 2. There are circumstances too. E.g. I know friends who play 35+ hrs a week when playing a game that really sucks them in like Final Fantasy X. Like a movie or a TV series. Nobody would stop halfway between a movie and decide to watch the rest in 2 days. Ppl with TV series on DVD can watch 8+ hours in a row if it's that good or a multi-parter episode. If it's not consuming you, you're fine. Explain to your parents that you really do NOT see this as being an issue since it's not destroying you. You MAY be wasting your life, but what's productive and fun for one person may be a waste a time for some1 else. (e.g. World of Warcraft, knitting, collecting coins, etc.)

As mentioned, just make sure you're not neglicting all else.
-Take a 20 to 30 minute break for ever several hours playing. As in get up away from TVs and monitors to stretch out, rest your eyes, hands/wrists/fingers, walk around.
-don't let school/work slip
-being somewhat anti-social myself, go out and socialize no matter how much one may rather be playing games.

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by konwiddak / December 6, 2006 3:22 AM PST

Cudn't have put it better. Games are fun, how can having fun be wasting time. I think playing games are far better than watching tv as they keep your mind engaged and alert. With the Wii released you can even argue you are getting some exercise Grin

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ahahahah, Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
by drewlore / December 6, 2006 4:41 AM PST
In reply to: Exactly

On the exercise part, my brother-in-law has already injured himself from swinging the Wii stick so hard while batting during the beginner "get used to Wii" games. The Wii is obviously by far the most physically interactive gaming system out there. Now if only they could do that for MMO's....

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by sleighill / December 7, 2006 6:14 AM PST

I am a 56 year old that loves PS2 games and "The Sims"...all expansions. I work hard, and these venues allow me to relieve any stress that has piled up throughout the day. The question to you is how much time you spend between playing versus your work (chores) As stated above, you must balance it all.
I see nothing wrong with what brings you joy as long as other parts of life don't suffer.
Good luck with the situation.

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by stevehir / December 6, 2006 7:49 AM PST

Well, as far i am concerned, videogames are only a problem if they occupy most of your time and energy. You could slaughter thousands of people in a game and nothing would happpen in the real world. Oh, sure, the critics go, "They breed violent minds and corrupt our youth" and on and on and on, but they need to consider that the "violent youth" that they rant about are already violent or mentally unstable, so they don't really count.

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not at all
by blackholerising / November 28, 2006 11:30 AM PST

every thing in moderation 4-5 a week isnt nothing to be concerned if it was 35+ then you have a problem on your hands

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by askara / November 30, 2006 4:05 AM PST
In reply to: not at all

i say amuse youself as much as possble before you die

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dont worry about it
by mittens / November 30, 2006 7:25 PM PST
In reply to: i

i used to worry about myself, how much time I spent on games, and cut back a bit. The novelty does wear off sooner or later. But what I did notice that my reflexes were better, eye-hand coordination was better, and i was thinking while I was playing, not just shoot-the-bad guy/steal the loot.
it depends on what kinds you play, too.
For now, as someone else said, as long as your social life doesnt suffer, or your grades, I'd not worry.

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Video Game help me a lot
by BowieTGM / December 5, 2006 1:05 PM PST
In reply to: dont worry about it

I think its depend how you play "video game", I do a lot of thinking during the game. As for the result: help me have quicker respond. I am a new driver in new york city 2 years ago. many people think I have at least 15 years driving experience. Thanks for the video game, Its trained my focus, respond, timing, viewing point. Also, whoever able to completed the game, its very admirable, at least you accomplished something.

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by drewlore / December 6, 2006 4:44 AM PST
In reply to: i

Epicurean... I like it.

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Many People have said the important things.
by Khornight / November 30, 2006 8:08 PM PST

I played a fair amount of games when younger and I still buy a game every few months.

The arguements about whether a game rots your brain are pretty standard, if you are doing different types of games, maybe you should mention to your parents any puzzle related parts to games, that will obviously help teach you reasoning, in fact I remember getting my mum to sit behind me while playing tomb raider 2 and we competed to work through levels, with me working out what needed to be done in about half the time she did! There's also the obvious hand-eye co-ordination arguement.

Also any games with VOIP will be teaching you some social skills (although obviously no where near as good as face to face) and also broadening you mind if you actually talk to people from countries you may not have a chance to visit.

My favourite arguement was to ask if they'd rather me hang around a street corner in a hoody smoking weed and getting a girl pregnant!

There's always the fantasy when you are younger that maybe you can get a job in the gaming industry, but you are more likely to get one if you spend your time building levels or learning programing and getting your freinds to play. Having said that one of my freinds is a journalist and one of his first jobs on a local newpaper was reveiwing games, I'm sure he wouldn't have got the job if it wasn't for us playing Wolfenstein and almsot every important game after.

Other than him the people I know in the games industry are all programers who didn't actually play any games at all as kids, they spent all their time learning basic/pascal/C.

The other posters do have very good points, as well as balance with the work you have to do, you should probably consider what outdoor activity you do too. As it doesn't matter how good you are a techan or how good you are at work if you are morbidly obese and start having heart attacks at 30!

Games are just another form of entertainment, not really better or worse than wathcing TV/Movies, listening to the radio or reading. What's more important is the kind of Game/TV/Movie/Radio show you Play/Watch/listen to.

I think taste is more imporant that what medium you are using. A badly writen book is no better than a badly thought out game.

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Separate the wheat from the chaff
by PromptCritical / November 30, 2006 8:30 PM PST

If you have to ask that question, perhaps it is time to assess the issue.

I try to put my leisure time into something that I enjoy and will accent life/career. In some scenarios video games can do that. Example: Pilot training/flight simulators. Some flight schools even require the practice.

Is it what you would seriously want in your head? I think you would agree that some games may not be a plus in your head. Like another post that parallels software (video) authoring with literature authoring. Same goes for all methods of media. Example of bad: all methods of porn. I mean the strange, extreme, bent, sick kind of stuff. I have seen this put stuff in one's head that destroyed relationships, careers, lives, foreclosures, etc. It comes down to what you want/tolerate in your head. The jury is out on some of the crime/FPS type games.

It does not sound like the time spent (4-5 hours) is not extreme. Could you walk away from it if you want to? If so, cool, you are in control of it instead of vice versa.

If you parents are extreme on it, ask them what they would recommend. If you do not have bad vices in your life, remind them that outside diversions could be worse. Understand where I am coming from. I am 42 and the father of two boys and a girl, all in their late teens early 20's. They game a little, one more than the others.

Be adult with them about it and with yourself. Use it as a tool to push your life further. But, then a certain amount of blind leisure is good.

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Games... Why? Get out of the house and live a life. :-)
by hookd / November 30, 2006 9:46 PM PST

I guess from my persepctive, sitting playing video games takes away from getting out and socializing with other people, learning new things, and maybe working. I have friends that have wasted years sitting playing games when they could have been doing any number of things that would enrich their lives. They tend to have little idea of what is going on in the world, have poor communication skills, and limited potential in life due to (it seems) the time wasted playing stupid games. Being a great gamer is like being the fastest turtle, only significant in your tiny peer group.

I'm not trying to be a jerk, but I'm old enough now to see that we have a very short time on this earth to live our lives. So really, get out of the house and live! Remember, everyone dies, but not everyone really lives. Play the video games when it is the last resort, when there are no people to hang with, no sports to play, nothing on the Discovery Channel worth watching, stuck in an airport,etc.

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