Skip to main content

When Playing Games Isn't Fun

On Facebook, a parent asked about games. Do I enjoy them?

I like some games, but I don't know that I "enjoy" games so much as view them as mental exercises. I don't "play" games. I solve them. As a result, the notion of "playing games for fun" doesn't appeal to me. If I can't solve (master) the patterns, data, or trivia behind the game, it isn't going to be that interesting.

Not winning a trivia game? It means I need to read and learn more.

Not winning at chess? Time to read and practice more until I get better at the theories of various masters.

I don't like random games, either. Too many "fun" games are based solely on luck. I'm not interested in luck. You can't master and win luck.

With the desire to solve and win, I'm not the least bit "fun" when playing games.

Over the years, I have tried to develop my own games. These were not random things. I mapped out alternatives to chess and checkers when I was in elementary school. Movements were dictated by the square of the board, with pieces all the same. The idea was to create logical patterns that could be mastered.

I enjoy darts. Again, it is about mastery. Skill matters, but I don't have to be a great athlete to participate. You can easily try to best yourself, constantly, until you are capable of near-perfect aim.

The perfect game is one I can master alone, or against a computer. My mind against the patterns.

We own a Nintendo DS and the games we have purchased: crossword puzzles, brain games, word games, and chess. Not a single "video game" to my knowledge. I do like PacMan, but that's a puzzle with a pattern. I am not interested in violent games or randomness.

People don't enjoy playing games with me because I am unlikely to be enjoying the social aspects of the game — I'm entirely focused on beating the game's design.


  1. Interesting post. I'd not thought about my own preference for solving puzzles as opposed to other types of game - I especially enjoy cryptic crosswords, but dislike any game that involves speedy reaction to events, such as most video games. The only games I play with a social element are darts and quiz-style games. Darts I particularly enjoy because my success depends solely on my own skill. I play Trivial Pursuit from time to time, but dislike the random element introduced by rolling the die. I have also tried some card games such as poker and although studying the strategic side was interesting, the random aspect of the dealt hands counted against it in the long run.


Post a Comment

Comments violating the policies of this blog will not be approved for posting. Language and content should be appropriate for all readers and maintain a polite tone. Thank you.

Popular posts from this blog

Autism, Asperger's, and IQ

"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?"

A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius.

I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include:
Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include She…

Listen… and Help Others Hear

We lack diversity in the autism community.

Think about what you see, online and in the media. I see upper-middle class parents, able to afford iPads and tutors and official diagnoses. I see parents who have the resources to fight for IEPs and physical accommodations.

I see self-advocacy leadership that has been fortunate (and hard working, certainly) to attend universities, travel the nation (or even internationally), and have forums that reach thousands.

What I don't see? Most of our actual community. The real community that represents autism's downsides. The marginalized communities, ignored and excluded from our boards, our commissions, our business networks.

How did my lower-income parents, without college educations, give me a chance to be more? How did they fight the odds? They did, and now I am in a position of privilege. But I don't seem to be making much of a difference.

Demand that your charities seek out the broadest possible array of advisers and board members.…

Life Updates: The MFA Sprint

Life is okay, if more than a little hectic at the end of this first month.

With one month down, I'm 11 months away from my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. Though things might happen and things do go wrong, so far I'm on schedule and things are going well —— though I'm exhausted and working harder than I did for any other degree. Because the MFA requires projects every week, this isn't as easy to schedule as writing. Even researching a paper can be done from the comfort of home, at any hour.

You cannot make movies by yourself, at any time of day. It doesn't work that way. Filming takes time, and often requires a team of people. It's not comparable to working alone on a degree in writing or rhetoric.

The team-based nature of film is exhausting for me, but I enjoy the results. I also like the practical nature of the skills being taught. You either learn how to adjust ISO, f/Stop, shutter speed, and other variables or you don't. You can have theories …