Solitary Soundings

Musings of a solitary gamer. "The advantage of conversation is such that, for want of company, a man had better talk to a post than let his thoughts lie smoking and smothering." (Jeremy Collier) Comments welcome.
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Playing, Gaming, and Winning

p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Games are like songs: you never get tired of playing the best ones over and over, and you can enjoy them all by yourself.
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"Fun I love, but too much fun is of all things the most loathsome. Mirth is better than fun, and happiness is better than mirth." (William Blake)
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A lifelong problem of mine when it comes to games is having to deal with a triplicity--Me, Myself, and I. Each of them is after something different.

What Me wants is just a chance to play, in the basic sense of the word--i.e., frolic. Me is a perpetual child, uncomfortable with structure and incapable of any but the simplest reasoning. But Me is full of joy and ready to delight in most any kind of amusing romp.

However, Myself is all grown up and enjoys learning and reasoning. Myself doesn't mind working within a system toward a goal. It's good exercise, and Myself finds satisfaction in a lesson learned or a job well done.

Then there's I. I is kind of an egomaniac. And when it comes to games, I wants to win--not practice or learn, but win. In fact, I feels above any need for practice or learning and far above childish frolicking. To I, a game is a chance to prove self-worth.

Because Me, Myself, and I have to play together, there's always tension and dissatisfaction, even in the best of games. I is the most mature and refined and therefore pressures Myself and Me to try harder and catch up. But Myself is always struggling, and the struggle is that much harder with Me tagging along, messing things up. And meanwhile Me feels confined and pushed around and can't understand why Myself and I take everything so seriously.

Lately, playing games against AI opponents on the phone or computer, there have been too many frustrated cries of "I hate games!" Sometimes that really is I speaking--expressing frustration at being dragged down by Myself and Me. But sometimes it's Me whining about all the hard work involved in pursuing game goals. And other times it's Myself having to deal with the nagging pull of Me on one hand and the relentless push of I on the other.

A partial solution has been to let the three take turns leading. In the evening, it's mostly Me time, if only because physical and mental fatigue makes it necessary. Then serious gaming stops, and just watching TV, fooling around, or daydreaming becomes OK. It's alright for I to lead in a game (or other activity) that has been well practiced, since there's a good chance of winning and proving I's worth. The rest of the time, Myself seems to make the best leader.

It's all too easy, though, for the leader to forget or neglect the two followers. Me gets caught up in play and doesn't even know what Myself and I are up to. Myself works hard and tries to keep a clear view of things but is all too often overtaxed or pressed for time. And I is simply too self-centered to acknowledge anyone else

Hence, besides the usual game-related conflict, there's always a lot of inner conflict during a game. It's a wonder that Me, Myself, and I can even stand to play games, since the added tension spoils the experience so often.

It's all good, though, isn't it?


(Some credit is due to Transactional Analysis, which we touched upon in a high-school psychology class many years ago.)
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