How To Enjoy Games More

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Years ago, the rough English translation of an article written in a Russian game magazine crossed my desk. The author was Oleg Michaelovich Hazhinsky, and the article was about happiness and the art of gaming. I always meant to clean up parts of it so that everyone could enjoy this simple wisdom. After my efforts to contact the author failed, the file collected dust on my hard-drive for years until I stumbled upon it again recently. I figure something written in Russian over five years ago by someone whose name doesn't even show up in Google is fairly safe at this point, so I went ahead and cleaned it up for your edification. I've omitted about half the article and re-worked it completely for our North American sensibilities. Enjoy.

Happiness For Dummies
Inspired by Oleg Michaelovich Hazhinsky

Huge publishing houses have turned us into slaves of plastic subculture. Shall you give up and let them manipulate you or will you choose your own way? I can only show you the door, you must walk through it.

A wise man does not read gaming magazines today. If one would read everything that is written, there would be no space left in the head for independent thoughts. Magazines encumber the mind and cause heart disorders. This is why the true Way means buying the magazine, but not reading it. Every magazine must be carefully placed into the bottom of the drawer and protected from dust.

Ignorance is bliss. Knowledge removes Will. The Internet is like a basin of endless depth. Anyone who has started to drink from it cannot stop, forgetting their thirst. They read the latest news, chat with each other and search for information for information's sake. There is no need to know what a game's producer said about the game. There is no need to read four identical interviews in four foreign languages. New screenshots and demo versions will not change anything in the world order.

This is why a wise man avoids the Net.

Everything that one has to know will be revealed. Anything not revealed is not meant to be known.

If a man waits for the release date of his favorite game, his life flows away as if paused. He moves from one calendar date to another instead of enjoying today. Waiting dries the heart and takes away ability to enjoy what one has in the moment. This is why a wise man does not wait. He plays games which have been released already and knows nothing about things to come. He lives in present, feeding from the past.

Only time separates good games from bad. A man who judges games based on shiny boxes misjudge often. A man who buys games following ad campaigns cannot avoid dissatisfaction. People are hurting each other trying to get ahead in line for another blockbuster. They scream as if they have been lit on fire, not knowing that there is eternity ahead.

A wise man does not rush. Games come to stores sooner or later and he does not have to worry.

A bug in a game is like rock thrown in a pond filled with moonlight. If rocks are many, one cannot see the game behind the ripples of waves. New games are full of bugs. A man who plays games right after the release date is doomed to eternal torture. Developers will never be able to correct all of the bugs on time. Cops stuck in the walls, quests can not be completed, enemies hit for half the damage they should. Only a half year after the release date will a game take its true shape. This is why a wise man never plays a newly released game. He patiently waits until all bugs are corrected. His patience is rewarded a hundred times.

What crawls today will run tomorrow. First games for the GeForce3 are created a year after the release of accelerator. This is why a wise man does not spend the money for the latest achievements of engineering. He follows the middle road and knows no barriers.

Good games get bigger and better with every passing day. Good people all around the world gather information about weapons and quests, draw maps and write stories. Oh, what treasures can be found in endless depths of the Internet after a year!

But a wise man knows how to avoid booby-traps on the Way of Truth.

He plays without cheats or solutions, whilst using wisely treasures left by travelers before him. He bows in respect and his kung-fu accumulates the knowledge of a thousand warriors. And thus, he has become the strongest warrior in the Universe.

He who completes a game in three days and three nights must be tended to. He who does not eat and does not drink in order to reach the final boss is like a hungry pig in beautiful garden. A wise man does not play for the sake of victory. He does not rush because peace has settled in his mind.

He does not scream about his victories for he is not playing for their sake. Dragon will be replaced by Tiger, but Warcraft II and Fallout will remain where they are.

How to follow the right path?
Slow your heartbeat and empty your mind. Do not search for new releases on the far horizon, but look beneath your feet.

Open last October's issue of the magazine you stored and slowly read it from cover to cover. Learn everything about the good games from a year ago and listen to your heart. With this done, visit your poor friends and borrow the games you want to play. Log on to the Net and download every single patch, mod, map and hint.

Carefully study all that you need.

Put the magazine back into bottom drawer. Log off the Net.

Spend all year happily playing and after another twelve months, open October's magazine from this year. You have found joy.

Comments

souldaddy wrote:

If you say the words are unwise, I will frag you 30 times. If you say the words are wise, I will frag you 30 times. SHAZBOT! Jibs fall, a bird builds his nest in the spring.

Bonus EXP for using the word "shazbot".

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That was $#@&ing awesome! Great article.

Well, I guess I'll apologize. My dissatisfaction with self-imposed ignorance was insulting and trollish. I never meant it to be so for anyone but the crazy Russian that wrote the philosophy.

But while I'm running for shelter from your numerous, insightful barbs, allow me to lay down some covering fire.

Legion criticized me as a dork after I briefly mentioned my own, self-realized philosophy. Need I remind him that this is a video game website? Is there anyone here who doesn't fantasize about wandering, heroically?

Bazarov mentioned that my "equating desire with living" is pitifully capitalistic. Is my selfish alignment with our Overlords' plans any more pitiful than lying down and submitting to causality, simply for the sake of simplicity?

Poppinfresh wrote:

I definitely subscribe to this philosophy, but feel the need to point out that it doesn't work as well for multiplayer games. If you want multiplayer, the pressure to buy now goes way up.

Multiplayer totally screws with the laid back approach - decisions need to be made early, to the extent that I basically plan what multiplayer games I'll be actively playing.

I think he forgot one though...

The special edition is for the madman.

The wise man does not spend 60 dollars for a helmet that fits on one's cat. The wise man buys a second game instead.

outoffeelinsobad wrote:

Legion criticized me as a dork after I briefly mentioned my own, self-realized philosophy. Need I remind him that this is a video game website? Is there anyone here who doesn't fantasize about wandering, heroically?

Fantasize? I live the dream, man! I live the dream!

Bazarov wrote:

Really dig this. I just bought Half-Life 2 some 2 weeks ago. Runs flawlessly on my modern mid-grade hardware = wise.
Not researching enough to know that The Orange Box was right around the corner = unwise.

I don't know what Steam packages w/ HL2 these days, but I have a video card coming w/ a coupon for HL2:Lost Coast & Deathmatch. If you didn't get them w/ HL2, PM me and I'll pass on the coupon.

outoffeelinsobad wrote:

Well, I guess I'll apologize. My dissatisfaction with self-imposed ignorance was insulting and trollish. I never meant it to be so for anyone but the crazy Russian that wrote the philosophy.

But while I'm running for shelter from your numerous, insightful barbs, allow me to lay down some covering fire.

Legion criticized me as a dork after I briefly mentioned my own, self-realized philosophy. Need I remind him that this is a video game website? Is there anyone here who doesn't fantasize about wandering, heroically?

Bazarov mentioned that my "equating desire with living" is pitifully capitalistic. Is my selfish alignment with our Overlords' plans any more pitiful than lying down and submitting to causality, simply for the sake of simplicity?

No worries. I reallty dug the article, but your criticisms were cogent and pertinent. My take on the whole thing is that the advice rings so true precisely *because* we don't follow it. I include the author in that *we*. I think we'd all be happier w/ a general media blackout, but we come to Goodjerland precisely because we like the internet and we like information about games, and we like to talk/read/play games w/ other gamers.

I.e., the unwritten subtext from the master's advice to the grasshopper is: "Do as I say, not as I do." I read your reaction to it as pointing out that as much as many of us a memorized by the advice, we aren't actually going to do very well if we try to follow it. Sure it makes more sense to buy mid-level hardware and play last year's games. BUT, who among us, given sufficient disposable income, will not go buy an 8800GTX for the sheer joy of possessing an 8800GTX and not for the extra fps that our eyes may or may not be able to appreciate?

Gadflies are welcome, if not immediately appreciated. Carry on, I say. (And that article kicked arse!)

The photo in the article kills me. Did those two just get back from suit shopping?

The way that can be taught
is not the eternal Way.

Mike Topp wrote:

WE HAVE CHOCOLATE PUDDING

When Banzan was walking through the Union Square greenmarket he overheard a conversation between a vendor and his customer.
"Do you have chocolate mousse?" asked the customer.
"We have chocolate pudding," replied the vendor.
At these words Banzan became enlightened.

This article has left me pondering deep thoughts on my hobby:

If a videogame writer falls to the KGB in a secluded empty forest and no one hears it, did he really fall? Did he ever exist?

What is the sound of a videogame writer clapping with one hand, while the other is shackled to the wall of a gulag in the middle of Syberia during the coldest months of winter?

Irongut wrote:

This article has left me pondering deep thoughts on my hobby:

If a videogame writer falls to the KGB in a secluded empty forest and no one hears it, did he really fall? Did he ever exist?

What is the sound of a videogame writer clapping with one hand, while the other is shackled to the wall of gulag in the middle of Syberia in the coldest months of winter?

Seriously, everyone should find and play a copy of Avalon Hill's Kremlin.

"What crawls today will run tomorrow."Amen, I swear by this philosophy, always buy the middle of the road budget card, it leaves you with the ability to upgrade more often without any real penalty. That and have money for food..

Great article, if only I had a monk's patience (and unarmed attack bonuses) I too could achieve inner peace while gaming.

Truly amazing article. I try to follow a lot of the philosophies the guy lays out but like many, I don't practice them all. I do buy plenty of games at launch but I look around for a lot of opinion on the condition they shipped in and won't buy broken stuff (hence why I never bought BF2 but got it as a Christmas gift and why I still haven't bought BF2142) until its fixed. I also do try to appreciate each game I buy, even if I buy so many of them that I do have to take a speedy approach to get through them all. The one thing particularly about this generation that's always stuck with me is what I call Gamer ADD. That being they need for the gaming populace at large to be constantly moving as a group from one title to another, never focusing on one for more than a couple of weeks. For months when I'd turn on my 360, I would see my friends almost always playing the same game and a couple of weeks later, they'd all move on to the next game. I still go back to a number of games I haven't finished yet (some of them dating back several years) and rarely will I abandon a game I enjoy just because everyone else already has. I hope this article gets picked up by some larger sites as it's something I think many more gamers should see.

Johnvanjim wrote:

"What crawls today will run tomorrow."Amen, I swear by this philosophy, always buy the middle of the road budget card, it leaves you with the ability to upgrade more often without any real penalty. That and have money for food..

Great article, if only I had a monk's patience (and unarmed attack bonuses) I too could achieve inner peace while gaming.

Well, if we can add, buy yesterday's latest and greatest instead of today's mid-range you can save even more money. From what I've seen, the 7900gs or x1950pro are cheaper than the 8600gts and still outperform it.

Ehm... they make some uh... games, his company does. Apparently Walmart games are big in Russia ?

I'm gonna go ahead and translate the product description because it amused me.

Fishermen make for some of the most obsessed hobbyists. But what can you do when you don't always have time for your favorite hobby ? When a vacation seems far away, but you want to start fishing right now, "Russian Fishing" will come in handy !

This is the most detailed fishing simulator by today's standards, created by motherland's developers. Now the players have the ability to visit all the fishing places in Russia, catch massive amounts of fish, and then brag about it in the official game's forum, all without leaving their home or office. Even now, already, the community of virtual fishing lovers includes tens of thousands of people in many countries - Ukraine, Germany, USA.

Product features:

  • A massive quantity of real, existing bodies of water within Russian territory
  • A multitude of bait, equipment and transport types
  • Regularly occurring official tournaments
  • A chance to become a member of a professional team

(system requirements don't require translation)

This game shipped on September 27, 2007.

outoffeelinsobad wrote:

Bazarov mentioned that my "equating desire with living" is pitifully capitalistic. Is my selfish alignment with our Overlords' plans any more pitiful than lying down and submitting to causality, simply for the sake of simplicity?

Misuse of quotation marks: I didn't say the idea was 'pitiful', I said that I pity those buying into it.
The article, and my barb, was about overzealous desire. Not subscribing to a philosophy of extreme want in no way predicates submission to causality. I can hear a logic teacher somewhere weeping.
Besides, we're talking about the acquisition of games here; certainly not the peak of most folks' priority list.

Oso wrote:

No worries. I reallty dug the article, but your criticisms were cogent and pertinent. My take on the whole thing is that the advice rings so true precisely *because* we don't follow it.

Agreed, except I fail to see the cogency. The article in question was clearly (to me anyways) written in jest. As Oso mentions, the author himself was probably projecting his own weaknesses and addictions. As a joke! Non-serious! Not really pretending to be wise!

I wonder if this is how Jesus got started? Making misunderstood wise-man jokes about how people shouldn't get too excited about their myrrh until their myrrh actually arrives. I blame the translation from American into Greek.

EDIT: Thanks for the offer Oso, but mine came with DM and LC.

shihonage wrote:

Ehm... they make some uh... games, his company does. Apparently Walmart games are big in Russia ?

nd.ru is a publisher - they don't make the games they sell. As to "Walmart games" - yes of course, they are very safe to make. Cheap to make, likely to produce at least moderate profits. And dynamics of gamer population growth and quality in Russia are same as anywhere - quickly growing number of undemanding casual gamers. This "fisherman" game is not one of the worst, you know. The worst games are imported from abroad - especially from eastern europe. Even russian developers cannot produce games as cheesy as eastern european ones. Maybe working with publishing such games made Hadzhinsky so philosophic. As in a proverb - those who have good wives are happy, those who have bad wives are philosophers.

Yeah I've known this, but I haven't always been good at practicing it.

In light of that manifesto, what is the purpose of the Gaming Journalism then? The gaming journalism that can be seen is not a true journalism! (Or something like that)

This article has greatly helped me enjoy games more. Certis, can you now post an article on how to enjoy sex more?

I think the direct analogy that follows is that in order to enjoy sex more, you have to stop using pr0n.

Which actually makes sense, come think of it.

First games for the GeForce3 are created a year after the release of accelerator. This is why a wise man does not spend the money for the latest achievements of engineering. He follows the middle road and knows no barriers.

Amen! The hardware improvements in the latest consoles should help abate this. I am so sick and tired of having to upgrade my pc's graphic cards every 2 years to play the latest game.

I upgraded from a Voodoo pci card to a geforce 2 MX when Max Payne came out and I rejoiced! Then Far Cry came out and I could not play it ... I then got a Radeon 9250 SE and I rejoiced, but no longer cared about Far Cry (The Vegetation and Grass Simulator). I have a Radeon 9800 pro that was considered top of the line back in the day and I am happy playing Half Life 2 and Age of Empires III. I am done upgrading for the sake of upgrading. *Channeling Picard: The line is drawn here!

bayushi_slick wrote:
First games for the GeForce3 are created a year after the release of accelerator. This is why a wise man does not spend the money for the latest achievements of engineering. He follows the middle road and knows no barriers.

Amen! The hardware improvements in the latest consoles should help abate this. I am so sick and tired of having to upgrade my pc's graphic cards every 2 years to play the latest game.

I upgraded from a Voodoo pci card to a geforce 2 MX when Max Payne came out and I rejoiced! Then Far Cry came out and I could not play it ... I then got a Radeon 9250 SE and I rejoiced, but no longer cared about Far Cry (The Vegetation and Grass Simulator). I have a Radeon 9800 pro that was considered top of the line back in the day and I am happy playing Half Life 2 and Age of Empires III. I am done upgrading for the sake of upgrading. *Channeling Picard: The line is drawn here!

The 9800 Pro is a pretty nice card for the money anyway. You've made a good choice to draw the line -- at least for another year or two.

Buddha taught that one should not seek to be free from desire (to do this would be stagnation and death), but rather seek to be free from being controlled by one's desires. Thus, one might desire to play games a great deal, but must not permit such a desire to become controlling. For one who compulsively games quickly loses friendships, family, employment and many other life experiences, not to mention that games may well become less enjoyable. The Middle Way is a path that may be walked while still enjoying the full flavour of life. Indeed, it might be said that he who walks in the present has a more intense life experience than one who occupies himself with what has past, or has only eyes for the future.

wow... that's actually really good advice. i'm at a point where I'm at a loss for time to play the games I have, so maybe I shouldn't worry about the games that aren't even out yet. It may also be to my benefit to stop frequenting the gaming sites so effing often.

I liked the article. I think it really rings true for anyone who has gotten hooked on neogaf. On the other hand, as a programmer, I really like buying games in a way that helps the developers. I guess steam is really good for that, but on the consoles its a lot harder.

As to the style of the article, it's a conceit, it's tongue and cheek. It's a structural thing more than a philosophical thing.

Edit: The dustup in this thread...is a prime example of what GFW's Sean Elliot calls Internauts or Ragenauts, who are addicted to getting angry at things they see on the internet (flame-heads). I'm kind of like that too...

ragenauts

A strange sense of belonging came over me...

blackboxme wrote:

As to the style of the article, it's a conceit, it's tongue and cheek. It's a structural thing more than a philosophical thing. This is a prime example of what GFW's Sean Elliot calls Internauts or Ragenauts, who are addicted to getting angry at things they see on the internet (flame-heads).

Funny, I didn't think the article was angry at all.

wordsmythe wrote:
blackboxme wrote:

As to the style of the article, it's a conceit, it's tongue and cheek. It's a structural thing more than a philosophical thing. This is a prime example of what GFW's Sean Elliot calls Internauts or Ragenauts, who are addicted to getting angry at things they see on the internet (flame-heads).

Funny, I didn't think the article was angry at all.

I was responding to the hater dude. I'm not good at writing.