Can playing videogames train you as a lucid dreamer? Psychologist Jayne Gackenbach thinks so, according to work she presented at this week's Games for Health Conference in Boston. For several years, Gackenbach, a researcher at Grant MacEwan University, studied similarities in skills between gamers and individuals who have learned to control their dreams. She also looked at how videogame-play seemed to affect nightmares.
Interesting idea. It seems almost inescapable to me that spending so much of our time in simulated combat is having an effect. We're like a willing legion of volunteers in a vast psychological experiment…
Ah, the Bank Holiday, three glorious days off work. And, true to British tradition, it’s pouring down with rain. In short, perfect conditions for a WoW orgy.
But I’m not playing WoW.
Is it because I’m bored?
Is it because I’m outraged at the changes coming to the game?
Is it because I’m burnt out?
Is it because I’ve found a new virtual love?
My iPhone broke.
The Apple Store staff were as lovely as ever, and replaced it, but after a restoring from backup, my authenticator is persistently showing a different serial number. And so, I spend my weekend waiting for Blizzard to free my account from the authenticator.
Those poor Stockholm Syndrome sufferers known as my guildmates have to endure my penchant for comedy music (and the Aran Chant) during particularly dull moments on Vent, when half the raid is off looking for the loo or some mead, or just absent because they're passed out in their bananas and custard*.
They will be unsurprised that I love this video:
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I am a child of the 70s, after all…
*remind me to blog about the bananas-and-custard pull at some point
Bit of a tenuous WoW link here: I'm one of those strange people who play WoW on a Mac (and if you feel like saying something about one button mice – 1998 just called wanting its joke back..). It's just nice to see its use as a game platform growing.
Oh, sure, I've been distracted by christenings and elections, but the other thing on my mind this week has been WoW. And, more specifically, Achievements. And they've become a problem.
Somehow, somewhere along the way, Achievements have become a burden to me – especially the ones around the World Events. A set time limit to do a number of pretty complicated tasks? That's pressure, especially in a life where I only get a few free hours to play WoW every week.
Now, I'm not doing badly. I am all but two achievements away from Long, Strange Trip. One of them is to do with Children's Week. Yes, it's the 'orrible School of Hard Knocks. And it's actually stopped me logging in this week. I just didn't want to do it. I didn't want to feel obligated to do it. So I didn't. Children's Week ends tonight, and I don't care. I'm letting go of Achievements, and I'm letting go of WoW pressure. I really enjoy only two things in WoW: questing and doing dungeons or raids with my guild.
I have come, in the last few weeks, very close to quitting WoW for good. I found myself feeling bad that I didn't have time to do the things that I was working on, and then steadily realising that I didn't want to do them. I'd been sucked in by the time sink spiral that makes MMoRPGs so compelling, chasing Achievemnets and emblems from daily randoms and all the rest of the distractions built into the game, and it was twisting my life around in ways that I didn't find comfortable. Instead, I've chosen to work on my photograph, or to spend time with my wife, family and friends. It feels good. And, maybe, tomorrow I'll do some dailies and some quests on one of my lower level toons. That'll be fun.
But WoW can't be a chore, because life has enough chores. It's a game, and games are fun. It's a pity I need to remind myself of that from time to time.
Since Typepad, the blogging service I use, have made it so very easy to add Facebook's new Like facility to this blog, I've done so. Off to the right is a button which allows you to Like Leafshine: Lust for Flower, and then any posts here will appear in your Facebook News Feed.