Lion of the Blogosphere

Videogames in the lives of the unemployed.

Commenter “Simba of the Blogosphere” brought to my attention a rather long essay at The Economist [link has now been fixed] about the role of videogames in the lives of the unemployed.

There’s a lot of musing about whether the gamers are unhealthfully addicted to the games, or they are benefiting from a distraction from depression, and about whether it makes sense that those who choose to work so they can buy big houses with expensive furniture are lauded, while those who choose not to work to play videogames are looked down upon.

But nothing about the future I’ve envisioned when the government solves the unemployment problem by paying people to play videogames.

* * *

Overwatch got better, but now I think I am growing tired of it. I lose more “ranked” games than I win, and my rank keeps going down and down. Down to 1071, which is in the lowest category. You have to get to 1500 to get to the next skill category (and then you probably get some sort of stupid reward like a new player icon or points towards getting a gold weapon which works the same as a regular weapon except it’s gold). There doesn’t seem to be any chance of me becoming a top player.

In this sense, gaming is just like the real world: I am stuck at the bottom.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 19, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Labor Markets

35 Responses

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  1. your link doesn’t work


    March 19, 2017 at EDT am

  2. “In this sense, gaming is just like the real world: I am stuck at the bottom.”

    You are in the top few % when looking at blogs overall, I’d imagine, with high quality content and educated readership.

    If you are going to be stuck at the bottom, might as well start using your real name, become an actual part of the “blogosphere” like Sailer has done, let some of us take you to lunch, buy your books, etc. Do an interview with some journalists on HBD’ers, basically…live a little bit.


    March 19, 2017 at EDT am

    • This is fantastic advice. Just go balls-out with your views and identity.

      If you don’t have real world status or family to protect. . .what do you have to lose?

      Video games, movies, comics etc are all fine in MODERATION. Human beings need escapes from reality and hobbies to take their minds off the awful truth. But it has to be limited indulgence lest one get lost forever.

      It’s probably better if a man develops a non-geekish/practical hobby like learning how to fix cars, carpentry, etc.


      March 19, 2017 at EDT pm

      • I admire men who have hobbies like this. I share a house with a Mexican family. The man is very good at fixing cars and remodeling rooms in the house. These are his passions in life and he is very good at it. My IQ is probably significantly higher than his yet the kind of work he does boggles my mind. I have absolutely no aptitude for it.

        Jay Fink

        March 19, 2017 at EDT pm

      • Lion does have potential real-world status to protect, if he has any chance or inclination to get back into law or software. And Manhattan probably isn’t the best meatspace for a “well-known racist.”

        Also, I don’t think Sailer makes too much, and Lion couldn’t expect anything but a fraction of that.


        March 20, 2017 at EDT am

  3. “But nothing about the future I’ve envisioned when the government solves the unemployment problem by paying people to play videogames.”

    Are you suggesting people’s Universal Basic Income checks be contingent on their proving that they’re actually playing video games? Do you believe some societal benefit will accrue as a result of people playing video games specifically, as opposed to watching TV, going fishing, walking around a park, or whatever else they might do with their copious free time?

    “In this sense, gaming is just like the real world: I am stuck at the bottom.”

    That’s why you should play games that have plots. It’s like watching a movie: you get to the end of the game and you’re done, and it’s on to the next game. More satisfying than the endless pursuit of rankings and leaderboards.


    March 19, 2017 at EDT am

    • Basic income will not be implemented in America anytime soon. The fact that there is a big economic and social disparity between our liberal centers like NYC and SF, and the numerous prole wastelands found in Middle America and the South, makes basic income unfair and unequal in distribution.

      Transplants to NYC, especially those in Manhattan are often angry at renters like me, who lived in coveted zip codes for practically nothing. The type of subsidized housing that caps your rent even if you are a millionaire. Worse, there are those who elicit more resentment. I know of a lady who lives on the Westside of Manhattan paying under $1K in rent and spends more than half of the year in Paris as an editor. Most of the time, her NYC apartment is vacant. And this apartment was passed on by one of her deceased parents. Her living mother is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s.

      Now does anyone think she should be entitled to basic income if she decides to quit her job, just as much as some lower middle class prole eking out in Middle America?


      March 20, 2017 at EDT am

      • I agree that basic income will not arrive anytime soon, but Lion seems to think we’re practically already living in a robot-driven, post-scarcity economy and thus it could arrive any day now.


        March 20, 2017 at EDT am

      • Is basic income a federal program or a state program? This is a good question.

        How will America deal with its over-saturated labor force, especially with its large contingent of fresh college grads looking for work? It looks very ugly!


        March 20, 2017 at EDT pm

  4. Link doesn’t work. Also why don’t you use your programming skills to create an internet company. In hindsight, airbnb, zocdoc, seem like pretty easy companies to create. I know that theyr’e big now, but you could start a company. It will get your competitive juices flowing. You’re a penn grad for god’s sake !!


    March 19, 2017 at EDT am

  5. In the real world, i read your blog and enjoy it. You provide a unique perspective and seem to be the only blogger who talks about social class.


    March 19, 2017 at EDT am

  6. Yeah, “The Economist”. Its the Wall Street Journal for stuffy Brits who play Risk at the bank. Let me tall ya, those guys aren’t leaving jobs to play Grand Theft Auto at home. These are the Big Boys laid off by diversity. Instead of conquering and getting the job done, they were laid off for dot Indians whose last job was bathing in a polluted river. We can all see from the sky high bubble stocks and bankrupt retail sector how well that turned out. Those greedy globalists can experience the horror of buying bread at the open air black market run by mercs and former Army dudes when hyperinflation turns their Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous to yesterdays confetti.
    Gaming is looked down on, but usually by sissy boys who get their hair done at a salon and have a nice manicure by Chinese ladies who wonder who these girly men are, and where John Wayne is now. Let me tell ya all right now, gaming can be a ridiculous waste of time, or an interesting pursuit. Like everything in life, its how you do it that decides whether its wasting time or not. I won’t argue “psychological benefits” cause thats the kind of pseudoscientific gobbledygook that gives Psychology a bad name.
    Role Playing Games and War Games are where the real leaders play around. Those strategies and intricate simulations can really give you insights into how real world events play out. On the other hand, Grand Theft Auto does seem kind of silly, and if you play that playstation game with a dolphin YOU ARE NOT A MAN.

    Joshua Sinistar

    March 19, 2017 at EDT am

  7. People get work so they don’t end up hungry and on the street. Most work is repetitive, stressful, and humiliating for crushingly little status or pay. Many who have a rent-free place to stay with their family just respond to a labor market that is already oversaturated and doesn’t want more people by staying at home. Games give small but certain rewards when for many labor gives small, uncertain rewards, if you can get it.

    In any online game, in ranked mode you are competing against people who play all day who rage at noob mistakes. Most games have an unranked mode that for casual players is more enjoyable than ranked.
    24/7er gamers have been an issue since the first MMOs were released. An issue addressed by the famous South Park episode about world of warcraft.

    Giovanni Dannato

    March 19, 2017 at EDT am

  8. Lion, you’re never “stuck at the bottom”, at least in the mind of your readers. You’re brilliant and you know that. Figure out how to turn your blogging into more money, because this blog is your gift to the world.


    March 19, 2017 at EDT am

  9. Remember my alternative plan to pay people to exercise? I think it is better because it will keep women from getting as fat and thus making them more attractive for us men. (Of course, once really good sexbots are developed we won’t care that much if women get fat.) Exercising 40 hours a week can burn a lot of calories and tighten a lot of muscle.


    March 19, 2017 at EDT pm

  10. It is a pity you did not become a Kinks lover in early life. Their songs, particularly those on Arthur & The Rise and Fall of the British Empire, were designed to help striving middle class people feel good about their lives. Consider this line from Shangri-la:

    “Put on your slippers and sit by the fire
    You’ve reached your top and you just can’t get any higher
    You’re in your place and you know where you are
    In your Shangri-la
    Sit back in your old rocking chair
    You need not worry, you need not care
    You can’t go anywhere


    March 19, 2017 at EDT pm

    • I saw the Kinks up close in 1983 at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH!

      E. Rekshun

      March 19, 2017 at EDT pm

      • A great band. One of the best. Esp. for folks on this site. Ray Davies did his fair share of ‘noticing’ things you aren’t supposed to notice, such as tribalism being a two-way street.

        “Everybody talking about racial equality
        But I’m the only honky living on an all black street
        They knock me down ’cause they brown and I white”


        March 19, 2017 at EDT pm

  11. just like the real world: I am stuck at the bottom.

    The media claims that blacks are stuck at the bottom because of raaaycism. Could LotB be black?

    @jjbees: might as well start using your real name, become an actual part of the “blogosphere” like Sailer has done, let some of us take you to lunch, buy your books, etc. Do an interview with some journalists on HBD’ers

    True, it sounds like LotB pulled the plug on his corporate career several months ago and doesn’t plan on going back. Real-life blogging, writing, podcasting, and interviewing about his well-thought out and well-articulated thoughts on economics, careers, HBD, social classes, etc. could be lucrative and worthwhile.

    E. Rekshun

    March 19, 2017 at EDT pm

    • “The media claims that blacks are stuck at the bottom because of raaaycism. Could LotB be black?”

      I often play Lucio, who is a black Brazilian hero.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 19, 2017 at EDT pm

      • Lion is a mixed bag: in some areas he is at the top in others he is scraping the bottom. This is a bad situation.

        Lion’s blogging is pretty good, but I think he has a better chance making a living laying bricks then blogging.


        March 19, 2017 at EDT pm

  12. “gaming is just like the real world: I am stuck at the bottom.”

    Maybe so, but in the world of blogs you are near the top!

    Two in the Bush

    March 19, 2017 at EDT pm

  13. I used to be terribly addicted to an MMORPG called Dragon’s Nest. While I did have fun and retain good memories from it, it just wasn’t worth the time. I often think back and wished I had been working and making money instead of playing, and that I’d be happier with the monkey in my bank instead of the memories in my head.

    Lion, put your Blizzard ID into this site to see your percentile:

    I imagine 1000 rank is in the ‘Top 90%’, which is their way of saying you’re in the bottom 10%. May want to try another game.

    Jason Liu

    March 20, 2017 at EDT am

  14. Lion, very respectfully, unless you have undisclosed-to-your-readers family or financial attachments in NYC, I’m somewhat perplexed as to the reason why you don’t move.

    Given your “stuck at the bottom” statement, it seems that you could stand to gain from some disruption that might bring unforseen opportunity.

    From what I gather, you have an income (or savings) of some sort that you don’t have to work for.

    If I was a smart guy of enough means that I could pay $2k / month rent, and especially one with some coding skill, I’d be in Silicon Valley. Not even necessarily to get a standard job (again, the ‘means’ part), but just to put myself in the way of possible opportunity that is only found on the street level. The weather, lower density / stress living, and other local intellectual cultural perks also don’t hurt.


    March 22, 2017 at EDT pm

    • I never heard about Silicon Valley being stress free. It sounds like just the opposite, and with no women around to boot.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 22, 2017 at EDT pm

      • The Bay Area is the most gay friendly region in America with a large contingent of East Asians, South Asians and beta White males who work in Silicon Valley. It is not exactly a place for attractive women looking for a straight guy that one finds in Manhattan. This isn’t Chelsea or Hell’s Kitchen scenario where women who reside in these neighborhoods are hooking up with men who reside downtown.

        Furthermore, greater America is a desert for cultural trends coming out of Europe!


        March 22, 2017 at EDT pm

  15. There are women.

    My take on the place is that there are misperceptions in regard to it, whether those are intentionally disseminated or not I couldn’t tell you.

    For instance, look at the CityData gender information for Palo Alto.

    35,454 females / 31,501 males.

    Now, age and race will also play into whether those numbers translate into date-able women. However, taken as aggregate numbers, that ratio is exceptional in comparison with the US as a whole.

    I’ve spent years looking at these numbers all over the US, and such a disparity is pretty rare outside of Black areas (high numbers of black women tend to throw off gender ratios in terms of the date-able female population).

    In Palo Alto (and I assume MV, Sunnyvale, etc), Whites and Asians make up the vast majority of people, with Latinos segregated into what look to be relatively small (in area) low wage worker ghettos.

    This is currently the highest resolution racial population map available on the net. It’s resolution is one dot per person, which is vastly more useful than the old NYT Census Map for example. I recommend downloading the webpage for future access, should it ever be taken down.


    Your job, a self imposed need to ‘make it’, or relationships may bring stress, but those are all mostly within anyone’s control (within limits).

    My meta-view on human stress, outside of such human factors, is that its core factor is population density. The same as for rats.

    If you live in a higher density area, your baseline stress is always going to be higher (in my view) as a matter of course from being in ever closer proximity with other humans. Stress will decrease in line with a reduction in population density.

    The flip side of this is that novelty will decrease with population density, a factor that risks boredom (but maybe less so in SV, depending on what you are doing at any one time there).

    I’m unsure as to what part of NYC you live in, but New York County’s population density is the highest in the Nation at 69,468.40 people per square mile. For comparison, Philadelphia County (PA) is 11,379.50. Santa Clara County (Palo Alto) is 1,381 per square mile. Then there is the weather factor that provides more social opportunity, etc.

    I would never compare the Bay Area with NYC in terms of what NYC offers to include its (hypergamous) women, but the Bay Area may be different enough in other factors that matter (more?) while still offering enough opportunity.

    That last factor is the primary problem with most places outside on NYC, Chicago, and Boston: all of which have obvious cultural (Boston) / community (NYC) / or nature access (Chicago) downsides that are difficult to resolve. For me, its about being okay with settling in regard to acceptable downsides, while maximizing the upsides. There is no perfect place. Personally, I have a pretty strict view that prioritizes both income potential and community. Finding both of those in one place is difficult.

    Look hard at the local google map. Look at living options. You can gain easy access to SV while living on the margins of it, if that’s what you want to do. But also check out the downtown in PA, as well as MV. Look at the eating options on yelp. Cruise around via google maps. Check the place out. If you ever get tired of the slow pace, you can relocate to SF (though rent there is getting truly insane – the key for the entire region, especially for newcomers, seems to be subletting).

    Negatives of the Bay area:

    Much less diverse economy.
    Militant liberalism (I would just keep my mouth shut).
    Tech culture that might be annoying at times (but at least its a culture, and intellectual to boot, which is more than most of the US can lay claim to outside of the South – minus the intellectual part for the South).
    Expensive rent (on par with NYC – except will tend to get more space in SV).
    Less segregated than the East Coast
    Will likely have to rent until you ‘make it’, or else buy a fabricated / mobile home (legit option).


    Constant IQ injection of Stanford community. (2,900 scientists are employed in the Valley)
    High IQ community in general, and the networking and culture that comes with that.
    Nature Access (Ocean, mountains, Tahoe, Napa, Marin County, etc).
    Low density suburban living
    Easy access to SF.
    Less populous super-dysfunctional NAMs.
    Lower property tax rates than average (tends to be the case for wealthier areas of the nation).
    Easier to integrate into community and make things happen, due to intimacy of area. NYC is economically better on paper, but accessing the people who provide access to that opportunity is much harder in NYC. That’s my take on this specific comparison between the two regions, anyway.

    I wasn’t going to go into so much detail (was tempted to in my first post but didn’t). But, I’d like to see a guy like you happy, Lion. I can’t promise it in SV, but for me everything looks better in comparison with the east.


    March 22, 2017 at EDT pm

    • Here’s why America sucks in a 1-2-3 nutshell:

      1) Americans have no life, besides work and frivolous consumption

      2) America has the largest NAM population in the industrialized world

      3) American women are boring-money maggots


      March 22, 2017 at EDT pm

      • “2) America has the largest NAM population in the industrialized world”

        Argentina is considered the industrialized world, and it’s 100% Latino.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        March 23, 2017 at EDT am

      • JS, I’m actually replying to your comment above. You say, ” . . . greater America is a desert for cultural trends coming out of Europe!”

        Which cultural trends are you referring to?

        Ice Hole

        April 2, 2017 at EDT am

      • Cultural elements from Europe are slow to seep into greater America, if any.


        April 2, 2017 at EDT pm

    • I think New York is Lion’s natural habitat and he knows it. Otherwise, he would already have left.

      Whinging about being stuck at the bottom — while pulling $90 per hour whenever he feels like doing somee steady work — is all part of the New York Weltschmerz that Lion absorbed with momma’s milk.

      Silicon Valley is way too California optimist for Lion’s taste (I’d find it annoying myself). The monocultural aspect also seems boring (not that I’ve ever been there). Yes, I know there are lots of Indians, Chinese, Russians, etc. but they’re all doing the same f*cking thing: computer/internet stuff.

      Finally, as a practical matter, isn’t Lion too old to make the jump to SV? I’ve read that maintaining viabilitry there is difficult for people over 40, even if they have a solid track record there.

      Lion wouldn’t be Lion outside of old New York.

      Ice Hole

      April 2, 2017 at EDT am

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