Here in the U.K. we are about to stage the London Olympic Games. It will be hard to do better than the amazing ceremony that opened the Beijing Olympics four years before, so I am expecting that we won't even try, but will instead do something quaintly British.
Games are important: they make life fun and are a great way to learn. Human beings never learn faster than when they are babies and everything they do is a form of play.
As a boy I loved to play the curious game of cricket. There is so much pleasure to be had just by whacking a ball with a bat. I also liked playing with Lego bricks, which could be used to build anything. This was when they were truly building blocks and application agnostic – apart from the odd roof tile, door, window and wheel.
But as I grew up there was also a sense of putting away childish things and moving on towards something more responsible with the idea that technology should be used to create wealth, well being and to rebuild the world. There was a sense that there was a responsibility to try and leave the world a better place than you found it.
And when electronics components were Lego-like building blocks – and not application specific – they were generally applied in a functional way to serious tasks in defense, communications, industrial and professional equipment. While gradually consumer electronics also became a more significant part of the mix.
Things changed for me when I met a salesman for a U.K. distributor of an audio DSP chip back in the early 1990s.
The distributor was eager to gain coverage for the chip which could provide umpteen sorts of pre-programmed reverberation as well as a sound boost which he demonstrated with a section of video from the film Top Gun. You could even have both, so that Maverick's F-14 could be made to sound like it was screaming through a cathedral, cathedral, cathedral.
"How cool is that?" the salesman asked me in an excited manner.
Even bidding online has become a game. And now hat ebay is introducing bidding options for kids where do you think they will be at 3 am; probably home outbidding each other on the screens. We have finally made computer games fun for girls: http://www.benzinga.com/news/12/07/2777881/ebay-to-tap-into-the-kids-market
You are right. I really don't feel bad, exactly. It's just that I could be using my time more "usefully." But I'll never give up an interest in sports and games and other "distractions" which are, in the end, therapy for the soul.
Games are fun, computer games however are in many ways a sign of decadence. I could never understand grown-up people who spend hours and hours a day playing games on a computer or a console. What a waste of human energy...
"The salesman explained to me that consumers often buy pointless things if they are sold well."
I like to say "There are features you can sell and there are features you can use." The internet capability on pre-smart phone phones was well hyped but pretty much unusable. It did help sell phones though. Cameras tend to have loads of features that get little actual customer use, but still help to sell the devices. I don't agree that this is a good condition, but it is pretty much accurate as far as I can see.
Watching young people in action I tend to agree with @any1...many of them spent several hours a day playing games, this can't be healthy no matter how you look at that...most end up having diffuclty copying with real life...Kris
I do think video games are having some adverse affects on American culture. I think adolescent boys in particular spend too much time on games to the exclusion of other more important activities - such as school work. I believe it tends to make them more isolated and less likely to engage in general society. And it's a factor in why girls are now outperforming boys academically.
why should you feel bad, Dylan? I don't understand why you would feel guilty for being interested in sports. You're right, it's an escape, and so what!? The world is mostly a very troubling, sad, stressful place, but luckily we don't HAVE to deal with it all the time. we can chose to be interested in other things, and that doesn't make us less intelligent people, it just makes us happier. Sport, and games, and time with family.... it's all stuff that makes us happier as people, and I for one would never feel sorry for enjoying that more than 'serious grown up stuff'
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.