Use your gaming habits to build better ones

By Stephan Bazzocchi

New year, new me. Well, not quite. More like the same old me, just with a little more drive to accomplish things than me from December 2014.
This year, unlike other years, I have actually made some resolutions. For far too many years now, I have been acquiring games during Steam or Humble Bundle sales, and then they sit, unplayed, or played for only a couple of hours.
Example 1: during the Steam winter sale, I picked up Fallout 3. Sure, it’s an older game, but I never really played it much when it first came out. So I played a few hours. A couple of days later, New Vegas went up with all DLC for 12 bucks. Guess what I bought?
Shortly thereafter, I stopped playing Fallout 3 and devoted all my time to New Vegas. That lasted for a week. Now I am back to Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. No idea why – no rhyme or reason – just that’s what I’ve been feeling like playing lately.
So now for Resolution Number 1: finish a few of these games I bought. (We’ll see how that pans out.)
Over the holidays, with the few days of sitting somewhere other than my work desk, I realized that there are some things in my culinary repertoire that are seriously lacking. Most people make a resolution to eat more healthily or cut back on their calorie intake. Not me.
Using some online tools, I am going to learn how to make an omelette (yes, yours truly, does not know how to make an omelette – or crepes for that matter). Doesn’t sound like much of a video game, does it? Well rest assured I will be using the plethora of achievement generators online once I accomplish these tasks, gaining real life XP and crying real tears over expanding waistline rage.
What better way to accomplish these tasks than with HabitRPG (www.habitrpg.com)? What it does is allows you to enter your daily tasks and habits into the webpage. Completing them gives you RPG style rewards; missing them causes your little guy damage. Miss too many, and he dies.
What better way for a chronic gamer to affect useful change than by turning it into a game! Now I will just hope that he keeps me interested long enough to encourage some new habits and get rid of some of the bad ones.
Lastly, Resolution Number 3 and 4. Finish my goodreads.com 2015 challenge of reading 45 books this year. I completely underestimated myself last year by thinking I would read only 15 books. I was rather surprised at the end of the year when I realized I had read 40.
Everything from Kafka to Burroughs, while revisiting old favourites by Douglas Adams. This year, I hope to destroy that 45-book goal.
And finally, Number 4. Write more music with hardware synthesizers, and move away from the PC for anything other than providing a midi time clock. Besides, blinking lights and tweaking knobs is always more fun when it’s fully tactile instead of using a mouse anyway.

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