Actions have consequences. This is one of the first things the gnomes of Golarion have to be taught when they are born because in the First World, their home, this is not the case. The First World is exactly what it says: It was the first version of the world of Golarion. A sort of beta test that the gods created. It is a strange place, a place where your own will can impose itself upon the world if it is strong enough. In this way, not all actions have consequences. When gnomes in Golarion were described to me, I was tickled by how silly their outlook on life was. But now that I have moved into my own apartment, I realize how silly it was for me to patronize them like I did.
I forget all the time that every dish I use has to be washed at some point. I put off doing my laundry until I’m wearing dirty clothes. When I look back on my own thinking, it seems that I think my actions don’t have consequences. That some magical dish fairy will sneak in at night and wash them for me. Or maybe the trash gnomes will come and take away the trash bag sitting on the floor in the kitchen. This is obviously oversimplifying the matter. I sound like a father talking to his 6-year-old child. But the fact is that my actions are childish. Why don’t I just take the trash down tonight so that I don’t have to worry about it in the morning? Is it because I have a valid reason that tomorrow morning is better than tonight? No, I have no reason other than I don’t want to do it right now. But that will continue to be true until I finally do take it down. Is that not childish?
Maybe it is necessary to discuss what it means to be childish. I like to think that I am an adult: I am over 18, I have a job, and I live on my own. But I have spent almost all of my time during the past 3 days watching The International, a Dota gaming tournament. My parents keep asking me when I’m going to “grow out” of gaming as a hobby. It seems to them that there is something inherently childish about video games. And the name itself seems to prove their point. Aren’t games for children? Grownups watch sports or make conversation while they send the children off to play games downstairs. And I’ve spent the past 3 days almost constantly watching others play games. Is that even more childish than if I was playing myself?
It has been an interesting experience comparing me during The International (or TI4) to my co-workers during the World Cup. The two seem to elicit similar responses from us. Excitement. Anger. Victory. Defeat. It seems very appropriate that this sort of competition has been dubbed “e-sports.” In Europe, many of these events are shown on television next to other sports. In the US, it just happened for the first time (to my knowledge) on ESPN3. The grand finals of TI4 are being broadcast on network television in the US. Does this lend validity to the idea that gaming and sports are possibly comparable? I think it does. In fact, I often have the same reaction to watching a game of Dota as my Dad has to watching a game of baseball: I thoroughly enjoy it, but halfway through I fall asleep.
So where does all of this leave me? If gaming is just a new sport, is it childish of me to do so much of it? Yes. My Dad no longer plays baseball, he just watches it. As I have less and less time to use for gaming, I will play less and less, and I will, as I gain new responsibilities, grow out of gaming. These new responsibilities have started slowly, with things like taking out the trash and doing the dishes. I will move from letting others clean up the messes that I make to cleaning up the messes that others make. I will realize more and more thoroughly that actions have consequences. And not just my actions, but others’ actions as well. And that’s when I’ll know I’m an adult.