I’ve been playing MMO’s for a long time now. My first big experience was with Ultima Online in 1999. In breaks between online games one of the fascinating things I’ve noticed is this great need I have for a ‘button to push’.
I’m speaking metaphorically of course, in this case specifically referring to this button:
During the second season of Lost, the survivors discovered a computer inside the Swan station which required the Numbers to be entered into it every 108 minutes. A timer set into the wall provided a continual countdown – and an alarm would sound as the timer neared zero. Entering the Numbers sequentially and pressing Execute (a.k.a. pushing the button) on the keyboard would cause the timer to reset to 108 minutes and begin the countdown anew. It was initially unclear what would happen if the button was not pushed.
When I stopped playing Everquest I bought a Playstation and got stuck into console gaming. Some great memories of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy! I’d play one game until I’d finished it and move onto the next. I realised that instead of investing my attention in one item over a long arc of time I’d switched to investing my attention in multiple items over several short arcs of time.
Thinking about it even within the content of WoW that’s what I always needed. Some kind of plan or project in place that I’d work on each day and think about. Looking back it’s always the planning process and the journey itself that have been the most fun. I can actually remember feeling this distinct sense of emptiness for days after achieving the goals.
Interesting to reflect on I think. Having a ‘button to press’ isnt just restricted to gaming, either. I seem to always have a bunch of different projects I’m ‘working on’ that I happily pick up and put down at different times.
I’d be pretty interested to hear back from you guys on what your own activity arcs look like. What have you guys been up to, what are the things you work on each day in life? Do these things easily come to mind or are they hard to place? Are you happy?