This past weekend, nature reminded us who is really in charge of this spherical rock. As heavy storms blasted the eastern seaboard, hundreds of thousands were left without power for days on end. As of this morning many still do not have command of their electricity. Inevitably, a lot of those folks are gamers.
As our options for technological entertainment have increased, so has our reliance on their existence. Ironically, as power outages have become more bearable due to laptops, smartphones, handheld systems, tablets and eReaders, our frustration with blackouts seems to have skyrocketed. Gamers have more ways than ever to occupy their time during an outage, yet the angst over when the TV-based systems and the PCs come back on is as strong as ever.
So what is a realistic attitude that a gamer should adopt during a prolonged power outage? Obviously, there are a litany of other ways to entertain oneself. Curating interests that don’t depend on a TV or an Internet connection would be the prudent measure, but of course that information doesn’t help you if you’re reading this in the dark on your dying iPhone.
It must be mentioned, though it also falls into the “doesn’t help me now” category, is that keeping your stuff charged when it’s sitting around at home is a great way to stay ahead of the game. Again, that doesn’t fix the sad noise your iPad just made as it hit 10 percent battery remaining, but remember that for next time.
It also must be said that one can simply remain obdurate in the face of dead power outlets. You can run all your gadgets down to zero, squeezing whatever you have left on your laptop, Nintendo 3DS, Vita, phone, tablet or whatever you have lying around. The problem is, nothing eats batteries on a device quite like games (except maybe watching movies, another power outage pitfall). Eventually, the downed lines are going to outlast you unless you slink out of the house to find a working outlet to charge up.
Being a gamer and needing electricity for enjoyment aren’t really the same thing. The gamer’s mind is one that enjoys challenge, complexity, storytelling and interactivity. Those things can be achieved devoid of the presence of electricity, we’re just trained to think otherwise.
Now may be a great time to finally investigate paper-and-pencil role playing games like “Dungeons and Dragons” or gather some people for an in-depth board game. A lot of the same things we love about video games are prevalent in these two predecessor mediums, but without the magic of electronic power they are now relegated to specialty stops and comic book stores. “Settlers of Catan,” “Axis and Allies” and “Dominion” are all excellent in-depth board games that provide a familiar video game feel without all that messy electricity.
You could certainly run out and find one of these games right now if you’re still in the dark (pick up a few candles, too) but at some point, you should definitely put together a gaming emergency kit. Stock it with a few good paperbacks, the “Dungeons and Dragons” starter set and a board game or two that is a little deeper than “Candyland.” Put a big “break in case of emergency” sticker on it and you’re all set.
A power outage is a good time to take a deep breathe and enjoy the silence of a simpler time. Even for the most dedicated gamer, taking a healthy break, even if it’s just for 24 hours, can do wonders. Still, the games don’t have to stop because the power does.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun