A Lost Weekend With Golf Clash

It’s a fantastic simulation of golf, but life beckons.

If you follow me much at all here on Medium, you may have noticed that my output here has suffered a dramatic decline of late. I’m writing here to tell you why. Today, I’m writing about my experience in gaming. I’m writing to remind myself of why I’m here. And I’m pretty sure the reason for my being is not to be sucked into virtual reality. I write this article today as a warning to other creatives like myself, that gaming tends to impair writing.

For the last few months, I’ve been playing a game called Golf Clash. It is by far, the best golf simulation I have ever seen. The attention to details like spin, wind, gradients and friction are outstanding. The “clans” the tours, the tournaments and the scoring are great features of the game. I and do enjoy getting a hole in one every so often. If you like golf simulators, this game is for you.

Part of the allure of Golf Clash for me is, I’m a fan of gravity, and I love the graceful arcs of flying balls, be they baseballs, footballs or golf balls. I’m mesmerized by the way balls fly, bounce and roll. I love slow-motion replays for the arc of the ball. I’m fascinated by the force that we all work against every minute of our lives, but few if any really understand how it works. Golf Clash simulates physics very, very well.

Golf Clash did all that for me. I enjoyed watching the ball fly in that game. But I also enjoyed winning. And to win and progress in that game requires mental energy. It didn’t seem so obvious in the beginning. But I have been watching my output here, and my participation in that game has fairly decimated my output here. My participation in that game has also infringed on other areas of my life.

I’m a father, a husband, and a man. There are only so many hours in a day. And every decision requires a discreet amount of energy. By the time I’ve finished my day job, my work at home, and my time with my family, I want to find a way to chill out. I’ve tried TV, but that tends to put me to sleep unless the plot is engaging. I’m really looking forward to the next season of Lucifer on Netflix, and maybe Mr. Robot on Amazon Prime, but beyond that, slim pickings. Oh, how I miss the OA.

I’ve tried developing greater friendships, but that requires time away from my young kids. I already spend time away from them with work and when they go to school. I know that I need to model friendships for my kids, too. So I use the phone for now to keep in touch. I think I will be able to balance that eventually. And video games aren’t much help in that regard.

I’m starting to take an interest in reading books again. I have missed the way they concentrate knowledge in a nice little package. I have missed how focused books can be. With age, I have found paper books harder to read. So I have bought a couple books for Amazon Kindle and I’m enjoying some history. I will probably get back into some science fiction, too. Reading is better than video games, and reading tends to improve my writing because I find good models for writing in books.

Video games do more than infringe on my time to write. They infringe on my energy to write. Video games contribute to decision fatigue. Every decision I make in a game requires energy, and I have to choose what to do in the game. Every decision I make in a game is decision I would otherwise be making in an article or some other creative endeavor. Even watching TV requires energy that I could otherwise use for creation. I can see the competition between creation and consumption very clearly now. Today I choose to err on the side of creation.

When I was a kid, we got an Atari 2600 game system, and I played Tank Battle with my dad. When I was an adolescent, I watched my father play video games on an Apple II machine for hours at a time, by himself. And for that time, my dad wasn’t really available for me. He lacked the capacity to play video games and be there for me in the same day.

I tried video games myself here and there throughout my life, but never really found satisfaction or enjoyment from them until I encountered Golf Clash. Golf Clash combines social media, and gaming together. They developed a complex combination of leagues, tournaments and single hole gameplay that is, to say the least, habit-forming. I looked them up online and found that they were earning on average, $65k a day in revenue. I don’t earn revenue from that game, but I earn a few bucks here. That contrast has influenced my decision to write this article today.

In the last few weeks, I found myself obsessing on the game. I started to watch YouTube videos on the game to improve my game. That’s training, right? I was constantly checking for the next chest to open. The next pin chest to play for. The end of the current competition. It was starting to feel like a job. I can still feel it in my mind. I can feel that tug, that impulse to go to Facebook and check in on the game. But today, I really have to stop. It doesn’t matter what my teammates say when they implore me to keep playing. They’re strangers and I have a life.

I’m writing this article to remind myself of the lost weekend. I’m writing this article to remind myself that I can make money here, rather than spending it. I’m writing this article to remind myself that there are readers who follow me and that they enjoy reading what I write. I’m writing this article to remind myself that every decision made in a game is a decision not made in life, with my family and here in this article and the next.

Gaming contributes to decision fatigue. Even after a good night of sleep, if my brain is addled about how I can play better “golf”, then I won’t have the energy I need to write an article here for you and for me. As alluring as that game is, nothing in a video game comes close to writing an article that touches my audience, which brings more followers, that is curated and that actually brings in some money. That feeling I get when I write a great article and get paid for it, that is something that gaming can never, ever touch. It’s not even close.

I needed to write this article as a confession. I confess to being addicted to gaming. I confess to setting aside my family for a short time every day for a game. I confess to being less available to my family for a game. I confess to seeking happiness in a game. And I know the discomfort I feel from looking outside for happiness.

This isn’t to say that gaming is immoral, or that it’s bad. I think perhaps there are people who can be a gamer, and still have a life. They can still have friends and be all the other things they want to be. They can still be a parent, a friend, a worker and play a complex video game. I’m just not one of those people. I simply lack the capacity to play a modern video game and still have a life.

I write this article as a recommitment to living among the living. I write this article as a recommitment to the craft of writing. I write this article as a reminder of the joy of writing. I write this article as an exercise in self-exploration. I write this article as a guide that I follow, a guide to help me err on the side of being in this world when I am looking for something to do.

Write on.

Written by

Husband, father, worker, philosopher, and observer. Plumbing the depths of consciousness to find the spring of happiness. Write on.

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