Over the summer, I wrote a post about the differences between movies, games, and books as far as audience involvement goes (passive vs active interactions), but today I had an idea to bounce off of that; a prequel, if you will. The whole reason I decided to switch things up and focus on gaming and television this year was because I noticed things in hindsight.
When I was in middle school, all I did was read. Our school had an optional online program on which students could take quizzes over books they’ve read. Every score you got would add up, and I made that my goal. I had the most books read out of my entire class (this was 6th grade if I remember correctly. I could be wrong, it may have been before then). Coincidentally (or not), I’ve always remembered 6th grade as my least favorite year of school in history.
In junior-high and early high school, games were what I paid attention to most. I’d pre-order any game that looked remotely interesting to me. I sunk unreal amounts of time into Halo 3, Halo Reach, Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops, Skyrim, Burnout Paradise, Skate, etc. and loved every second of it. Also, 8th grade was rough.
In high school, I got really into movies. I’ve always been a huge cinephile but high school is really when it took off for me. Sophomore year to junior year was the height of my movie passion, and they became sort of the only thing that I would be able to find comfort or solace in. Watching a movie, I was shut off from the world and it was divine. I was happy, but high school was probably the worst for my mental health.
College was a blur.
Now, I’m balancing between reading, gaming, and watching movies and tv shows; it’s definitely made an impact on my life. Gaming all the time can be stressful because you have so much to worry about as far as driving the narrative, staying on objectives, fulfilling side quests, etc. Movies all the time can be lonely because it’s such a passive experience, you’re just watching other people live. Reading all the time can be difficult for a few reasons. A) I need dead silence and perfect lighting and B) it’s easy for me to drift off and think of other things, and then backtrack to re-read sections. I need complete mental serenity in order to get through a book.
However, when I balance those three media, I seem to enjoy each one much more. I can appreciate my involvement with each one and those attributes please me much more. Now, games are amazing because I’m telling the story and choosing what to do, movies are beautiful because every frame that I see is perfectly polished, and books are fantastical because I’m allowed to let my imagination run wild under the wing of the author. I really can’t recommend balancing the medium of entertainment intake, as it has made a great impact on my life in just about every way.
I think depression tends to hit me hardest when I feel as though I’m stuck in a rut, and drowning myself in exclusively one medium I think has some factor in that. There is also anxiety to be had during phases such as those, because there is a lot of things to miss out on (in other media). So, there is the thesis of this essay: switch things up, you’ll smile more.
This is a relatively short post but the concept has meant a lot to me and I hope that it’s able to reach the people who would benefit from it.
Book fans, hit me up on GoodReads (Blake Schwarz)
Movie fans, hit me up on Letterboxd (BSchwarz95)
Game fans, hit me up on HowLongtoBeat or PSNProfiles (BSchwarz95) or XBL (IVIVP NiGhTMaRE)
As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!