I, Robot

In response to “Gaming Isn’t Brain Surgery” from The Escapist Forum: Well this really is a fascinating article, and a real eye-opener too, as I’m actually considering pursuing a career in medicine. Granted a position in the medical field doesn’t always mean this sort of lifestyle, a position in the respectable post of surgeon certainly does.

It’s worrying to hear that my gaming would have to be jammed into only several 15 minute long bites per week, if I’m lucky, and I can’t really predict how I’d cope in this situation, but seeing as I’ve set my sights on a course in biochemistry, but it’s nice to have a bit of inside perspective on my chosen career path, and from the point of view of another gamer no less.

Still, I’m fully aware of where I’m heading, and I’m cautiously optimistic about my abilities, so no doubt I’ll know soon enough whether or not I’m cut out for the hard slog of the medical practitioner.

Thankyou for finding the time in your obviously crowded schedule to write this article.


A wonderful read. I can relate to this. Both my parents are doctors, so, when I was a little kid, I didn’t get to see much of them. They were on call all the time, so Mum would have to go out at 4am on any given day and Dad, well, when he wasn’t at work or overseas working with pharmaceutical companies, he’d be working on research grants.

Interestingly enough, that’s actually how I became a gamer, because one of the ways in which Dad was able to make time for me as a kid is that he’d let me sit on his knee and play computer games with him. Admittedly, he’s too busy to keep up with games now – the only game I’ve introduced him to in the last ten years is Oblivion – but those games we used to play together still have a special place with us. I don’t think I would have become a gamer if I didn’t have all those memories of playing them with my Dad as a kid.



In response to “Behind the Counter at GameStop” from The Escapist Forum: This article was kind of a slope toward disappointment. The title seemed interesting enough. I used to work at a Gamestop a few years ago during a break between undergrad and law school. When I saw it was by an acting manager, I figured it might be a little slanted, but hey, there’s plenty of anti-gamestop stuff out there already so let’s hear both sides.

It ended up being cloyingly naive and one-sided. Someone really expected working at a store that sells games would somehow plug them into the “industry”? Come on. Working at Blockbuster doesn’t plug you into the film industry, and essentially Gamestop cycles games through almost as many hands as a rental store (at least they hope to).

All in all, it would have been more interesting to hear someone who actively wanted (and still seems to want) to be a part of a much-reviled company say something to address the critics. If the writer is so upbeat, I don’t want to force him to look at the company’s dirty laundry, but he has to be aware of it. And I think someone so keen on the job might have an interesting perspective.

Oh well, not this time.


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In response to “Behind the Counter at GameStop” from The Escapist Forum: He finally has a job at a game store and there were downsides he didn’t expect. Okay.

He’s not writing this article as an opportunity to slam his employer. There are plenty of you, and former employees, to do that for him.

Gamestop doesn’t take trade-ins from kids. So if they take them from adults, and adults agree to the offered price, how in the world can you say GameStop is ripping them off? They can’t say no? They can’t sell elsewhere? They can’t keep them? Gamestop offers a pittance in exchange for convenience. You walk in, you walk out. No listing fees, shipping hassles, trying to get your money from the winner, etc. The difference is the price of convenience.

What sucks is that he has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and STILL has to work at a game store to pay his bills. What also sucks is that he’s been there for two years and he’s still an assistant manager. I know a guy who’s been there SEVEN years and he’s still an assistant manager.

The good part is, now that he’s a “published journalist”, he can get into all of those events he couldn’t get into as a measly game store employee. Link the E3 people to your article, and you’re in. (I think you need two, actually.)

It’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life, but I also enjoy working retail. I like the customers, and I like being surrounded by “the stuff.” My favorite working experience is probably Black Friday at a Toys R Us. Sounds like hell, I know, but I had a blast. I was running around, getting things for people, leading them to other things, answering questions. I was like an air traffic controller for people buying toys… A couple of other employees didn’t feel the same, as I found out later that two cashiers had run to the bathrooms and barfed from the stress.


In response to “So Many Games, So Little Time” from The Escapist Forum: Spouses and children aren’t the only things that help one appreciate shorter games. After years of playing shooters, RPGs and adventure games that all rely on the same mechanics, it takes a lot for a new title to hold my attention for more than 10 hours. Too often I start playing one of those 50-100 hour monoliths (you know, the ones that reviewers praise for their “value”) only to find that barely a quarter of that is worthwhile gameplay. It really makes me wish that good editing was as valued in video games as it is in film or literature. Perhaps if it were we’d see fewer pointless grinds and filler levels, and narratives wouldn’t use every cliched plot twist in the book just to tack on a few more hours of game time.

I guess this is why Portal will always be one of my all time favorite games. Yes it was short, but for once it let story dictate length, rather than the other way around. Other developers would do well to take a page from Valve’s book here, especially as it appears that the average gamer is no longer a 16-year-old with tons of free time at his disposal.


For me, the true sin of game length is wasting my time. It doesn’t matter to me if the game will take four hours or forty hours, I just hate wasting time. I picked up Guild Wars in high school. It was $50, and I could play it for free online forever. Sounds great! I really enjoyed running through the campaign, and even started playing with a guild, but I couldn’t keep playing the endgame. It was fun to get together with a big group of people and running the high-level instances, but I hit a point where to improve my character, I’d have to run countless instances of the same dungeon. I’d have to farm gold. I’d have to sit in town spamming “want to sell” messages and hoping someone would want one of my fourteen rare swords so I could buy a VERY rare sword that I needed for my build. I could not abide using my free time to sit in a fake town annoying other people with item-hawking or waiting for party members to run a raid.

I don’t need that. Nobody needs that.

Dr Faust

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