• To pwn is Divine: Variations on the Theme of Gaming

    Episode 1: Making Time to Play

    Time is a resource. And, like most resources, it needs careful management, otherwise it can very easily slip away into nothingness, with scarce left to show for its passing then a memory. And who needs memories when you could be stomping fear into the hearts of your (virtual) enemies?

    Playing games online has become a far more complex process than it ever was back in the days of screaming ineffectually at your monitor after getting sniped in the face with the railgun in Quake 2. For starters, you can often scream back! Maybe we'll get in to that in a later article. Now, however, the focus of our attention is one that plagues everyone, unless they're unemployed in which case they probably have more pressing concerns. We're going to look at new and exciting ways to make time to sit down and play games, because finding it takes too long, and other people have a tendency to steal your time if you're not careful.

    Common obstacles (and how to overcome them)

    Disclaimer: The author of this article is in no way responsible for any losses of property, financial capital, health, or sanity that may or may not result from following any of this advice. Said advice is provided free of charge, and as such is in no way guaranteed to produce or fail to produce results. State tax not applicable in Ohio.

    1. High School (We know your life is pain, now GET OVER IT!)

    Many people who play on TTP are well on their way through the big and exciting journey called life, and so have progressed beyond this stage. However, for many, schooling of one kind or another is still a huge part of their lives. So, for all of you who still have to deal with the mess of bureaucracy, busywork, and force-feeding of teh kn0wl3dge that happens in most high schools, here are some ways to maximize your available gaming time:

    - Do your damned homework! I know this may come as a surprise to many, but actually doing your work, or at least the portions of it that count for marks, will end up saving you a hell of a lot more time and effort in the long run than blowing it off. At all costs, you must avoid failing your courses in high school, because this is not only A) very, very sad, but B) a major timesink, because it means that you have to repeat it, wasting a term or a year's worth of time. Plus, parents have a tendency to impose all sorts of wonderful penalties for failing, which often include gaming. So smarten up!

    - Lean how to deal with your family. Chances are, if you're still in high school, you're spending most of your time living at home. This is fine, since there's not much of an alternative when you don't have an income. So, be smart about it! I grew up with several siblings (all younger brothers), and eventually developed ways to coexist with them peacefully, not unlike the relationship between lions in the Sahara, or world superpowers. Yes, sometimes there are unfortunate incidents where someone stole someone else's antelope carcass, or maybe a few dozen illegal nuclear weapons are discovered and it's time for a big old thermonuclear war, but overall the factionalism and horrible violence was kept to a minimum. If you have siblings, come to an agreement with them that doesn't involve the threat of violence with large heavy things. This way, you aren't interrupted in your gaming by paint bombs, and you don't come home one day to find your gaming rig filled with fire ants.

    -If you're going to be stealthy about gaming after hours, be smart about it.
    Often, in situations where you share a house with your parents, they have some silly misconceptions about the amount of sleep growing people need. This is of course silly, since gaming is therapeutic and relaxing, and so can easily replace sleep. Plus it's more interesting. However, if you're going to play games when you're technically not supposed to, be smart - construct a massive, sound-proof enclosure around your gaming area, reinforced with at least 1/2 inch steel plating and redundant life-support systems. This will prevent any embarrassment via people in-game overhearing your mom yelling at you to do your laundry, and also serves useful in the event of a zombie uprising.

    2. College: (I majored in Beer, and still have a better job than you)

    College is a time for good parties, cheap beer, and the last time you'll get to be socially irresponsible before actually contributing to society for the rest of your life until you retire. As such, you should take advantage of this time, dubbed by countless cheap Quote-a-day calendars as the "Best days of your life," to play games with relatively little fear of social repercussions. In fact, there will be countless other like-minded people as you who revel in this newfound freedom, and you should also take this opportunity to demonstrate your ub3r s|

    - As before, don't fail. Although the consequences aren't as immediate, and you can often conceal them from almost everyone but yourself pretty much indefinitely, think about it: you're paying anywhere from $300 to $1000 to take the damned course! Would you rather spend too much time playing games and fail, thus wasting the aforementioned time and money for the priviledge of taking it AGAIN, or would you rather buy an 8800GTX? Durr.

    - No matter how tempting it looks, stay away from the really cheap Chinese restaurants- you know, the one where the you can use the trays of sweet and sour pork to tell which season it is. The hours wasted being very violently sick are not worth the money and time you save, unless of course you can manage to throw up on someone you don't like, for example...

    - Your roommate. It's a scientifically established law that, if you live in a double room in residence, the person selected to room with you will be two of the following three things: clean, perpetually noisy, or batshit insane. This is also a person you'll get to spend the next eight months of your life living in a room the size of most closets with, so it's imperative that you quickly lay out some firm ground rules that divide your side from theirs, establish quiet hours of the day, that sort of thing. Then, when those don't work, it's time to lay down the law. Or some land mines, whichever is more convenient. Then, you can play games without having to worry about being interrupted in your own home.

    3. Work: (We know your job sucks, what else is new?)

    Having a job typically sucks. It's very rare that you meet someone who genuinely takes pleasure in what they do; typically, these people are either Buddhist monks, gourmet food testers, or clinically insane in the membrane. So, for most of us, our efforts should be to simply reduce as much of our daily work day as possible to a state of complete mindlessness. If you're not conscious of the work you're doing, you won't have to worry about hating it!

    - Time management: This is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot in the corporate world. What most managers mean by it is using the eight hours that you're at work in an efficient way so as to get the most work done as possible. What you can take it to mean is this:

    A. You're paid by the hour to be at work. As long as you get a decent amount of work done, this relationship maintains itself indefinitely.

    B. If you're good at making it look like you're doing work when you're not, then you're essentially getting paid to do whatever you want.

    C. Once you're proficient with doing this, you can accomplish all sorts of things while at work, so that your time at home can be properly allocated to your gaming rig! Bring a mini-fridge and use the microwave to cook your meals. Do your laundry in the sink when nobody's looking. If you're good at propping up your head up with your arm and install some proximity alarms, you can even catch up on sleep while at the office!

    4. Friends/Social life: (Why hell is other people)

    Social situations are life's way of making you uncomfortable for no apparent reason. Many people have accumulated throughout their lives, not unlike horse manure on one's boots when walking through a farm, a bedraggled collection of inconveniences called "friends." These so-called acquaintences are one of the worst causes of interruption and disruption to gaming, ranking close to family and pets. Be cautious! If you encourage these "friendships," you may well find yourself entrenched in a mire of continual requests to go see movies, or go to bars, or travel en masse to a darkened room where people throw heavy round balls at wooden posts. This would be substantially less of a waste of time if you could throw the balls at the people who choose crappy music on the jukebox, but sadly this isn't the case. So, here are a few things you can do to avoid getting in to this kind of mess:

    -Use an unlisted phone number, or better yet, get a cell phone, and then throw it in to the Marianas trench. Even if there is cell phone reception down there, the only responses people would get would be from very small fish.

    -Whenever friendly people approach you in public, scream and run away, or carry around some ketchup bombs you can use to pretend that you've been brutally shot and/or stabbed.

    -Live on the moon. If this is not feasible, or if you can't find good rates on a decent high-speed connection, purchase one of the many available underground missile silos for sale and make use of the blast doors.

    -Finally, if you have a Facebook profile, your status should always read "sick with <name of highly contagious but not fatal virus>." Or just list your religious preferences as belonging to the Church of Stabbing Every Last Person on the Planet Except For Yahtzee Croshaw.

    So, hopefully this has been a mind-shatteringly enlightening and powerful experience for everyone. Just remember: There are fewer things in life more important than sending me money.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: To pwn is Divine: Variations on the Theme of Gaming started by IronStomach View original post