(no way is this post a bitter response to getting beat 5-1 by Leira in the Portuguese Second Division on FM)
It’s a well-known stereotype, the Call of Duty-playing child, who screams at the ‘camping noobs’ who is sniping them from afar, who then directs their anger at a bewildered parent, for daring to suggest that, maybe, being killed repeatedly in a video game, and bawling about it like a torture victim, does not constitute ‘fun’. The child will then exile their parents from their room, and continue to build up both their kill streak, and their streak of not having any meaningful contact with a person of the opposite sex (currently at about fourteen years).
And as much as I dislike both Call of Duty, and its archetypal players, they have a point: it’s not ‘fun’ because it conforms to a set of values that others associate with enjoyment (such as being relaxing, thought-provoking, and communal), but because it is something that we, as individuals, choose to do. There are many things forced onto people, or away from people, these days, both for better and worse, and so being able to choose a thing to do is often enough to generate positive responses, even if the things that person chooses to do are, themselves, dull or infuriating.
I get this with Football Manager; we’re about ten places below where we should be in the league (fifteen if I’m feeling really depressed), but the individuality of the game makes it worthwhile: not only am I choosing to play the game of y own volition, but I am choosing how to play the game from a variety of options presented by it: I’m a hands-on, youth-developing, team-building manager who plays a pressing 4-2-3-1, even though we have to play a deep defensive line to accommodate for our centre-halves’ lack of pace, and I love doing it.
This idea extends beyond recreation, too; I appreciate the fact that my Dad might be able to get me a job at his workplace, simply because he knows people in the right places, but I’d be happier if I were to take a crappier summer job, that I may find less fulfilling, that I found for myself: it’s stupid to say, but I think I’d rather stack shelves than look after guests for a massive media company.
However, this prioritisation can only go so far within one’s life; there will come a point (probably sooner than I realise) where I will have to take an opportunity given to me by someone else, particularly when it comes to jobs. It’s all very well wanting to do my own thing, but if my Dad’s contacts are the only thing letting me pay rent every month, I’m taking that job.
This would appear to be just another thing, therefore, that I’m less likely to enjoy now that I’m technically an adult, with ‘responsibilities’ in ‘real life’; I can’t rely on others to cook for me all the time, or wash my clothes, or ring the bank or hospital whenever they’ve not done a thing for me that they said they would. Obviously, this is the other side to independence, that I’m free to enjoy my own things, but also free to fail spectacularly.
But whatever happens, I will be the one to which it happens, which just makes everything that little bit more enjoyable.