Saturday, December 8, 2007

When I used to play video games

The period between 2000 and 2002 was the time after my undergraduate studies and before graduate school. I was no longer a teaching assistant. I was a full professor in the mathematics department*. It is true that preparing lectures for three courses is time consuming, but I managed my time so that I was pretty much free after 4 or 5 pm. So, from that time until bedtime, I was free to do whatever I wanted. In most cases I spend the evening helping out to create the linux-based computer lab in the physics department, or learning C++ and numerical methods or playing video games.

I used to go home and turn the computer on after having dinner. Video games were very addictive, specially at the beginning. Later on, it was more of a routinely activity of entertainment. My favorites were Age of Empires, versions I and II, Tomb Raider 4, and my favorite of all time... Caesar III. Hours and hours of enjoyment. At some point---I have to admit---I started to feel guilty, because I realized that I was getting good at something that would not get me anything other than entertainment. Well, at least I was putting my brain to work at solving puzzles. That's what I like of strategy games.

Then I went to study abroad and although I packed my video games cd's, leisure time is a precious luxury in graduate school. I like to see it as a trade, as a change of entertainment activities. After all, doing research in physics amounts to solve other sorts of puzzles. I still find myself buying strategy games every once in a while, specially those about medieval warfare, but I've never got to far into the game. I'm more driven nowadays to try to solve physics puzzles than video games ones. Probably because I can earn a living doing it while having fun!

*I know this sounds weird. How come that I was a professor if I had only a bachelor's degree? For the time being, I will just say that it happens in Guatemala... unfortunately. I will address this question elsewhere.
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