Let me tell you what this post is not. It is not a slam on video games. In fact, I bought the video game in question yesterday. I intend to play at some point in the next two days. I was in a meeting with a number of other counselors yesterday and one of them casually said, “I want to do a study on how many marriages have been ruined by World of Warcraft.

We all laughed. We all shared real life stories of people playing video games like it was their part time, or in many cases, their full time job.

It does beg a question though, what is it about video games that is so alluring? Why will people sacrifice anything for the feelings they get playing a game?

I think it’s because of the story they get to get to tell in the video game. No one is fat in a video game. No one is slow in a video game. Everyone is fearsome and awesome and fantastic in a video game. Watch the commercial at the bottom of this post.

Grown men are crying like babies.

        Perfect strangers are embracing and hugging and kissing.

                Beards are being cut because….

The CUBS have FINALLY won the World Series. So real it’s unreal is the tagline.

Most telling, the player of the game is sitting on his couch somewhere on the North Side with tears streaming down his eyes as his team of pixels celebrates on the TV.

Video games give us a chance to tell stories that most of us will never attempt to tell in real life. Real stories involve risk and danger. Two things we have religiously and judiciously legislated out of our lives. Risk involves the potential for failure.

Video games also give us the chance to accomplish “something” without actually working all that hard. I mean, you can win a world series without ever having to run a lap or skip a dessert. You can conquer a world without ever having to figure out how to use one. Whole armies and people’s will follow you even if your own mother doesn’t like to eat dinner with you because you’ve never learned how to get along with people.

It’s not that video games are bad. They’re not. They just are. But when we use them to replace real life, we’re in trouble.

Video games will never actually replace real meaning. Almost everything we get without risk, ends up being close to worthless. We need to tell better stories with our actual lives. The flesh and bones lives that do involve risk and hand work. The lives that require us to change and grow. When that happens, video games have an appropriate place. One that won’t put our marriages and relationships at risk.

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  1. Great article, speaking as a guy who enjoys video games. The most exiciting stories need to be told with our lives, not our thumbs.

  2. Games do not ruin marriages it is funny that people believe everything they see on the internet…when one person spent a lot more time gaming than the other, it just led to dissatisfaction and arguing..!!

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