After days of blogging and responding to the serious subject matter associated with my gun control, video games and violence blog (including a four page response to one member who wanted to discuss the matter further), it's time to take a break from all of it and approach tonight's feature with a little levity. I somewhat enjoy tackling the tough issues, but it reminds why I got out of blogging about current events, politics and other controversial issues a few years back and started focusing on video games - it's much more fun and cheery, and doesn't get me all fired up. I didn't want to completely stray away from the topic at hand, so I thought I'd use it as the subject for this blog, only with a comedic twist. I mean no disrespect to the seriousness of these issues before us, but maybe looking at it from a different angle can help us all smile about it.

Using the logic that exposure to violent video games over time will somehow result in the gamers that play them developing violent tendencies, I have to wonder if this is true of other behaviors. I have been playing video games a mighty long time - all sorts of games including: puzzle games, adventure games, sports games, simulator games...and yes, even violent shooter games. Although back when I started playing games, they weren't all that graphic as you fired your little square bullets at a blob that looked more like a stick figure drawn with a fat crayon than an actual person. But the point is I've been playing video games my whole life. So, besides being violent, what other traits or behaviors can I expect to acquire having been exposed to video games for so many years?

1. Numismatists - Certainly when you think of collecting coins, the various Mario games comes to mind, but it by far isn't the only game that has you collecting them. I've played nearly every Mario game that has ever been released and a ton of other games that have you collecting treasure chests full of coinage. I couldn't even begin to tally the untold riches I've amassed collecting coins over the years - millions maybe? If prolonged exposure to a certain subject matter rubs off on you, then I would have to be well on my way to becoming a numismatist - someone who studies or collects currency, including coins.

2. Calisthenics - Anybody know what that means without looking? Yeah, me either, well at least not officially. Calisthenics is gymnastic exercises designed to develop physical health and vigor, usually performed with little or no special apparatus. Sound like any games you've played. Oh, I don't know... I think we call them platformers, those games that have you running, jumping and climbing over all sorts of obstacles. Of all the genres I've played, this was probably the first and longest running. Sure, I've played plenty of shooters in recent days, but platformers came out in the 1980s and I've been playing them ever since, so they have a huge head start. Oh no. Am I in danger of become a gymnast?


3. Adventurer - From Monkey Island to Kyrandia and everywhere in between, I travelled the world over several times for years now and got the t-shirt to prove it. I've pointed and clicked and combined pieces and parts to solve riddles. I've filled up my hearts in Zelda and made the acquaintance of a strange little character named Geno. I have been so desensitized to adventuring I don't even worry about getting eaten by a grue anymore.

4. Laborer - Clinical research might not have had enough time to evaluate whether prolonged exposure to Minecraft is likely to cause you to want to randomly dig ditches, build structures or excavate resources from the ground, I'm here to tell you there is zero link between playing Minecraft and actually wanting to go outside and perform any of the activities found in that game. It might be a bit premature to conclusively say there is no relation, but early statistics seem to suggest you won't emulate behavioral patterns found in Minecraft in real life. You might spend your whole day contemplating it, but you won't actually take any action.

5. Driver - I remember the very first driving game I ever played. It was called Night Driver on the Atari 2600 and used the paddle vice the joystick. It was rather cheesy. This blocky object representing your car stayed centered in the screen and you used the paddle to control the movement of the road - yes, you were essentially steering the road around your car. It was horrible. But since that game, I've been playing driving / racing games ever since. I remember playing Test Drive on the Commodore 64 way back in 1987. I've played tons of them including nearly every Need for Speed game ever released. I've learned some particularly nasty habits from my driving games like driving under semi-trailers, over sidewalks and through golf courses. I've ran from the cops and bumped slower drivers off the road. I've done burnouts and donuts and caught air flying over hilly roads. I never really believed violent video games could cause you to be violent, but having played many driving games where you can drive as crazy and totally illegal as you want, don't think I haven't dreamed of doing something like that in real life. Of course I've always been able to refrain...

For now.

The weekend is nearly here. It's snowing outside. And I get to go in 2 hours late. Woo Hoo!

It's game time!