Lion of the Blogosphere

New York Magazine article on video games very similar to my 10-year-old blog post

On October 20, 2006, I wrote the following in a blog post:

World of Warcraft falls into a special category of time wasting activity, because it is like masturbation. Men who are unable to get sex from women often find masturbation and pornography to be better substitutes than nothing at all. World of Warcraft provides a similar fix for men who are unable to get status in the real world.

In the real world, men start out with the dream that they will advance and increase their status. But then they discover that it’s not so easy to increase one’s status in the real world. For example, one can devote three years of life to attending law school only to discover that law school was a a complete waste of time. In the real world, career tracks usually determine if your status will increase, and the fast track to success only holds a few people. Most people toil away at jobs where they never see any direct benefit from their hard work.

This is where World of Warcraft comes in and meets people’s unmet psychological needs. In WoW and similar games, your status increases slowly but surely every time you play. After so many hours in the game, you can see exactly how many more experience points you have, maybe your level has increased, maybe you have better armor or weapons than you had before. Unlike the real world, where you can work 40 hours of overtime and not even get paid for it, if you put an extra 40 hours into WoW you will definitely have something to show for it. Your status within the virtual world of WoW will have increased in ways you can clearly ascertain.

Have you ever woken up from a dream that was so much more pleasant than real life that you wish you could fall back to sleep and return to the dream? Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) this never works, and you start your day off with a touch of sadness that the wonders of the dream can’t be realized. For some, World of Warcraft is like a dream they don’t have to wake up from, a world better than the real world becaue their efforts are actually rewarded with increased status.

I have no doubt that Frank Guan stole my original ideas in his New York Magazine article Video Games Are Better than Real Life. Read the article and see if you agree.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 27, 2017 at 9:35 am

Posted in Economics, Technology

22 Responses

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  1. We do not need “guaranteed income” for the underclass, only matrix pods with video games to provide them with challenges, status, and achievements.

    Tarl

    February 27, 2017 at 10:20 am

  2. I doubt it; this is an insight plenty of people (myself, for example) have come to independently, without reading your blog. But yes, you do deserve a pat on the back for being one of the earlier people to write about it.

    snorlaxwp

    February 27, 2017 at 10:45 am

    • If people reach these conclusions independently, then it suggests some truth convergence.

      I’m in no position to evaluate the originality since I did not read the article or the original post because who cares?

      Vince

      February 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm

  3. Why you hatin’ on masturbation? The other night, I was in a restaurant in SF seated next to a couple, both white, where the man was about 40, masculine, goatee, only slightly out of shape, Red Sox fan, probably blue-collar, looked like he could have been a contractor or HVAC. The woman was about 33, obese, kind of a more feminine version of Rosanne, who did some kind of social work-guidance counsellor, that sort of thing. The whole night she contradicted everything he said, and maintsined sort of a triumphant smirk with the end of every sentence. It took all the self-control I had just to not say to him, “dude, I hope this is your sister.”

    marty

    February 27, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    • This is the THE problem. This is why men are checking out.

      There are an extremely limited number of (sane) attractive white women of child-bearing age. In order to procure one of these beauties and have white children, a man has to very successful.

      Otherwise, a moderately successful/good looking man is STUCK with unattractive/fat white women or has to make the choice to go interracial (usually Asian) and blot out his white heritage.

      There are just not enough hot young white women to go around. What’s worse, many of them are feminist-nuts and/or on the hypergamous ladder till they freak out when they realize they are getting old.

      Men are reacting to the incentives and are choosing to check out. It’s a tragic choice, but understandable.

      fakeemail

      February 27, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      • Men have an unreasonable expectation of what women are supposed to look like because of pervasive media (movies, TV, magazines, etc) showing us only the top 20% of women.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        February 27, 2017 at 11:23 pm

      • Most White men who go interracial with Asian women are hardly exemplary specimens of Aryan beauty. East Asian women who are on par with White women in physical attractiveness are even a rarer phenomenon.

        JS

        February 27, 2017 at 11:33 pm

  4. I could barely read his article. It’s almost unreadable with this grade school English. Certainly, every LoftB commenter writes better than Mr. Guan.

    JS

    February 27, 2017 at 4:09 pm

  5. From the article, “I had bonded with Leon, a graphic designer, musician, and Twitter magnate, over our shared viewership of…”

    Wtf? Was he talking about you? Do you know that guy???

    destructure

    February 27, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    • I’m not a musician, and my graphic design skills are limited to the blog design and pasting a shirtless Putin into a vidcap from the Academy Awards. And fewer than 600 followers leaves me far short of being any sort of “magnate” on Twitter.

      Nope, that’s someone else.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      February 27, 2017 at 5:13 pm

  6. This makes me want to quit my job and go play Legend of Zelda. Also WoW is super boring.

    A Reader

    February 27, 2017 at 7:11 pm

  7. The author clearly touched on a point Leon had made in his post — that low-status, working class men could find status through video games. Leon deserves credit for making the observation. But with millions of gamers playing video games for the same reason it’s not surprising others would notice it too. After years of living with his father as an unemployed post-grad immersed in video games himself, it’s not surprising that the author would recognize it in himself. He also references a book by a researcher named Hurst who’s studied the phenomenon. Did Hurst read Leon’s blog as well? Or did they all simply observe the same phenomenon because it’s widespread?

    Regardless, that was merely one aspect of an article which covered a lot more than that. He’s obviously put a lot of thought into it over the years. A lot of self-reflection on the topic. And most people don’t do that unless it’s meant something to them. Unless it’s been a large part of their lives. Thousands and thousands of hours spent playing video games? What a waste.

    I’m no more a gamer than a gambler, drinker or pothead. I’ve long recognized such things as potentially addictive and dysfunctional for a percentage of people who try them. Of course, not everyone who tries them becomes addicted. But, even if it’s only 15%, why risk it?

    destructure

    February 27, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    • ‘The author clearly touched on a point Leon had made in his post.’

      What point has been made that hadn’t been made by ”The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, which we had all read in H. S.? I mean this daydreaming waste of time isn’t a new thing. I wonder how did this trait got selected for? If you are a hunter-gatherer, you gotta put food in your mouth? If you daydream, or you starve or animals gonna eat you up. How did we get here though? All these day dreamers should’ve been eaten a long time ago. Maybe some make music, or paint, or write poetry or something, but most are a real waste.

      Yakov

      February 27, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      • The reason the day-dreaming male wasn’t selected out is this: they aren’t weak. That is, they aren’t weak in a pre-modern model. In a bygone time, these men would fight, and curse, and say crass things to women as well as beat them. And have a good laugh about it (rightly so).

        Modern civilization prevents this and all natural young male inclinations. Therefore, his stymied impulse for violence/aggression is reflected back against himself and effectively neautralizes him.

        All that remains is his mind and his fantasy of himself in another reality that should have been.

        fakeemail

        February 27, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      • The reason it wasn’t selected out is that hunger pangs would have snapped daydreamers back to reality. It’s amazing how realistic one becomes when they’re cold and hungry. Today people can be idiots and still survive because they’re insulated from consequences. No one starves in America no matter how far down the rabbit hole they fall.

        I’ve made a similar point on this blog regarding rich people. The reason so many can indulge their asinine views is that they’re similarly insulated from consequences. Few wield the political influence of the Koch brothers or Soros. But no matter what policies they push it won’t personally affect them or their families. This is true to a lesser extent for even most middle class people. This is why democracy creates great prosperity but ultimately self-destructs. In an authoritarian system (ie, monarchy, oligarchy, etc), if those in power lose touch they’d be quickly overthrown and replaced by someone who hasn’t.

        The real purpose behind “daydreaming” is to create a mental model or simulation to help one plan and organize not to live in a fantasy world. But too many lack the discipline to do this. Without the sword of Damocles hanging over them they lose touch with what’s really important and eventually reality itself. They begin to think that things like self-actualization or the way they ~feel~ about economic and social issues is more important than national security, food, etc. The rubber is too far removed from the road.

        destructure

        February 28, 2017 at 2:41 pm

  8. His Name Was Robert Nozick.

    darkreformation101

    February 27, 2017 at 7:50 pm

  9. ‘Most people toil away at jobs where they never see any direct benefit from their hard work.’

    WTH is he talking about?

    Yakov

    February 27, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    • For most men, work is just a paycheck. It brings them no prestige and therefore no women and children.

      fakeemail

      February 27, 2017 at 10:57 pm

  10. I disagree. In fact, when I started reading this blog, I just assumed all your boasting of supposedly successful “predictions,” or your wondering “is so-and-so reading my blog?” were tongue-in-cheek. I was quite surprised when it dawned on me that you’re serious. Dude, no offense, but your’e some anonymous guy with a bare-bones WordPress blog. Just because you recognize a theme in another piece of writing that’s similar to a theme in a blog entry you wrote previously doesn’t mean all these people are reading you and copying your ideas. Heck, I remember being amused when my then-college-aged brother, almost 20 years ago, quipped “video games are so much better than real life!” But I have no doubt that you happened to be standing behind a nearby tree, overheard him, and copied his original idea.

    Hermes

    February 27, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    • It’s usually tongue in cheek, but yes, this time I mean it. Very few people use the word “status” when they write about this stuff. Search Google and see if anything comes up that was written before October 2006.

      Remember that Amy Harmon from the NY Times was reading my blog.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      February 27, 2017 at 11:24 pm

      • I had one of my comments borrowed from YOUR blog. I didn’t mind because I’m anonymous. I was glad that well-known people saw enough value to spread it to a wider audience. Anyway, this is how I know that at one time someone VERY famous was reading your blog. Famous enough that I was following their twitter account and saw it. I was pleased but thought it would be bad form to mention it even to brag.

        I suspect that a lot of writers read blogs looking for ideas. They’re under pressure to produce so it only makes sense that they would. They shouldn’t plagiarize the work of another professional. They should make a citation or something. But I wouldn’t expect them to credit some anonymous rube on the internet. If you really want the credit then put your name and picture on the blog. If you do then you can call them out. But to anonymously accuse people of taking your ideas when you won’t even put your own name to them is uncool.

        If you’re anonymous then the point isn’t to get credit but to spread the ideas right? If you mention it then your attitude should be more along the lines of “I’m pleased to see that X is taking an interest in a topic I recently discussed on this blog blah blah blah.”

        destructure

        February 28, 2017 at 1:37 am

  11. It once dawned on me that the problem with video games is that they are not really games…they are interactive movies. As “games” you are only as good as the computer allows you to be, so they are really interactive movies that oscillate between your sense of boredom and frustration.

    But, yes, the noce thing about a game is that you advance in it simply by virtue of playing, something that is not true in real life.

    map

    February 28, 2017 at 6:10 am


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