We’ve been complaining for some time at The Rat-faced Man that vidya derails your life. More accurately, it enables persistent patterns of treading water by providing a pleasurable alternative to getting out there and striving in the juggalo-haunted hellscape. Well, for once, the upper-class twits over at The Economist have made themselves useful by providing a write-up of a study on the subject (together with a handy link to a 4,000-word thumbsucker on the subject by a The Economist journalist.)
[T]he share of jobless or underemployed young people choosing to game rather than focus on career will probably grow. That is not necessarily something to lament. Games are often rewarding and social, and time spent gaming sometimes displaces less healthy or rewarding pastimes.
Well done, boyo, jolly well done indeed, innit? That’s how you know you’ve got a magazine for ~le sophisticated reader~ indeed.
If the pull of work is not strong enough to overcome the desire to game, the first response should be to ask whether more can be done to prepare young people for good jobs—and to make sure that there are some around when those young people enter the workforce.
Or maybe we could just gamify work!
Like a lot of IYI things, this article in The Economist manages to convey information that is simultaneously correct and toxic. I mean, yeah, gaming probably isn’t going anywhere. And it would be a good idea to “make sure that there are some [good jobs] around” for young people. (The elided subject is telling. Who exactly is to be making sure of this?) On the other hand, the bland reassurance that the article wants to induce has the same narcotizing effect, in the end, as the vidya. It wants to soothe people who don’t need soothing.
I’m not here to provide a general solution for society. We used to live in a world of cows, but we now live in a world where prosperity is for rats. I don’t know how to turn rats into cows or how to get rats to give milk, but this much I can tell you: Netcraft confirms that vidya addicts are dying. And dying is for suckers.