The Wrong Hobby: How to Cure the Gamer – a commentary by Caleb Chandler

What do you do in your spare time? A seemingly innocuous question, but there’s a catch. There are wrong answers to this question. Depending on the context, this list might include drugs, getting drunk, robbing banks and a slew of other reprehensible things, not the least of which is playing video games. But what is the cure to this digital disorder? Let us look at some of the best candidates.

Imagine, if you will, a world of perfection. If you thought of world peace and an end to all pain, suffering and wrongdoing; you’re missing the bigger picture. There are more important things. Imagine a cupcake that looks like a puppy. You can’t eat the cupcake. You can’t make the cupcake, but isn’t that cupcake glorious? Now imagine a world where you don’t know about that cupcake. Tragic, isn’t it? Never fear. You’re dream of a world with more puppy-shaped cupcakes is in reach. Behold, Pinterest. Inspiring people everywhere. But beware, true inspiration doesn’t come until the three-hour mark.

If this has not quashed the urge to build a pony out of low res cubes or the subject still insists that there is good money in rune essence mining, you will have to move on to the next option. One recently proposed method involves GIFs. Before scoffing, know this: the GIF is of Loki dancing with the Winchester brothers atop a copy of The Fault in Our Stars. If “the feels” don’t get to her and she, in fact, still can even right now, then the situation is frightening indeed. Tumblr won’t work on this one. You will have to find another cure.

If symptoms persist, encourage the gamer to talk to his or her doctor about YouTube. Past results have been compelling. Why shoot Nazis when you could watch He-Man sing about how hard life gets, see a cat fall off a table, or watch videos of people watching other videos? The light on the other side shines through! But be careful. This repentance may be a false one. If the subject shows recognition of terms like PewDiePie, Yogscast or JonTron, it is time to start worrying. For that person, YouTube is the sleeve which hides the nicotine patch – the paper bag around the bottle.

As the situation becomes dire, Netflix is there to help the sojourner on his way. As the gamer’s steps falter and he is just about to look back and be turned to salt, there, with outstretched hand stand his best friends, Chandler, Michael Scott and Barney Stinson to guide him on his way. The promised land of social acceptance is on the horizon as he watches “The Last One: Part 2” for the second time. As he once more mourns the inferiority of seasons 8 & 9 of The Office. If this happens, let the tears of joy flow freely.

Failing that, there is yet another option, but it has its risks. It may come to the point that your subject, if you can manage it, must become a sports fanatic. The older the subject, the safer this path. A weekend spent eating Doritos watching football is a weekend saved from the tyranny of the controller and keyboard (the warning is in the name – they call it a controller). There have been wonderful successes with this approach, but the aforementioned risk can be devastating to the younger converts. Sometimes, the subject buys NBA 2K16 and the ray of hope winks out.

Results may vary, but press on. One day, we will rest easy, knowing that Mario and Luigi will haunt us no more.

by Caleb Chandler

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