Have you, or anyone you know, ever had a problem with forgetting the world around you?
Losing track of your surroundings while getting deeply engrossed in lining up every combo on Candy Crush, or making sure your catching that 400th Swabalu in Pokemon Go? Well, you’re not alone, but it does say a lot about you and which generation you might be from.
While researching this post, I went through a lot of different phrases just to gather as much info as I could, you know to make comparisons and whatnot, and what I found slightly confuses me. It also makes me worry about own life because the spark igniting this idea was my own failing to close and lock a door I came in while being distracted with a mobile game.
So after a cigarette the other night, I was playing Plague Inc. by Miniclip.com on my phone, trying to infect the world with my oddly named viruses in order to get a few chuckles and put actual thought into how sickness travels and maybe a way to keep my mind focused/challenged. It had absolutely nothing to do with wanting to name diseases funny names and watching said funny names destroy the world. Not at all.
Well while playing it and walking into the house, I was solely focused on the progression on my virus and walked absent-mindedly to my room. Maybe 10 minutes later, my father in law peaks halfway in the room and asks if I was outside, in which I obviously respond with no. He then says, I left the door open, unlocked, and the porch light on.
I realized really quickly that I had fallen into the trope of the distracted mobile phone gamer. Those people who can be found on their iPhones or Androids 24/7, as if they had the phone surgically added to their heads/hands. I typically have my phone with me, but don’t play many games on it as I never have time to really sit down and sink time into anything, minus the random 15 minute spell of Pokemon Go. I haven’t had the chance to really get distracted by my phone, so I always make fun/get irritated with the people I see staring at their phones while driving or have their eyes glued to their phones while walking past me on the street.
To have it happen to me kind of opens my eyes a little bit to how easy it is to be distracted by current tech. I mean it has constantly happens throughout our many generations of existence right?
Maybe Our Generations Are Getting…
I thought maybe this was a normal thing spanning through when I was because handheld gaming started even a little before Gameboys came out, kids glued to tiny little screens, oddly enough trying to catch Pokemon (wow, we really haven’t changed so much after all huh). Instinctively I go to search for Gameboy related deaths in history, and to my surprise… I found nothing.
I could only find video games with Death in the title, as well as odd conspiracy theories about Gunpei Yokoi (Father of Gameboy) being possibly murdered after he left Nintendo. So I modified it to try recent deaths on Nintendo Switch and mobile distracted deaths, and once again, bubbcus. Just Death in the game titles of Nintendo Switch games.
So, that was a bit weird, maybe just Nintendo fans are a bit more inclined not to do stupid things in life. I don’t want to shame Sony or Microsoft fans but hell I just wonder if Nintendo gamers are a bit smarter when it comes to playing on the go.
After refining my searches a bit, I found that people in the past couple of years have had more distracted gaming accidents and deaths than I found gaming as a whole to cause (minus those creepy and medically inclined ones) than in previous generations.
In 2016, within the first 8 months of the year 73 people died due to Selfie related accidents. Selfies killed 73 people from January to August in 2016. I know you’ll cry out that selfies aren’t video games, but it’s still mobile device related so it counts for what I was looking for.
From there, I also recently watching a Game Theory (yes again) that dissected the total deaths Pokemon Go has caused since its release in 2016. The number kinda terrifies me with it sitting at 182 U.S. deaths, which range from walking into traffic, getting mugged, and a staggering amount of auto accidents.
We are all familiar with the downside of Pokemon Go as far as distracted gaming goes, it was in the news so frequently in the height of the game’s popularity, and if you scour the internet you can find even more incidents since the interest dropped for the game. It still happens, it just isn’t publicized.
The Wired World Is Weird
Sure we are all wireless now, but the wordplay had to be used here. This generation of mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets has created a weird transition from the home to the street. While it used to be we were so distracted by the game we were playing, 5 hours past without you realizing it happened, to now where we people are getting distracted trying to play a game or take a picture, hell even watch a video while driving a car.
I actually saw a women holding her phone sideways while driving, while she was driving! I can’t say rightfully what she might have been watching or doing, but I know her eyes were on the expensive phone instead of on the corner she was trying to turn.
We have taken what could be a problem that you could cope with, learning time management and impulse control, to a type of problem that not only threatens one person’s life but the lives of those around you. I can’t help but wonder what on earth changed our world so much that something that a cell phone connected to the internet could cause people to die, but in a generation where we first got handheld game consoles we didn’t make any truly noticeable deaths.
This was in the time where the ESRB was founded because of violence in video games and which was caused by them.
Let that sink in.
Time To Take Responsibility
I take my fair share of it, I may have not caused any accidents or deaths, but I still risked the life of people in my house if on that night no one checked the door and someone wanted to break in.
I now keep my mind focused on what’s around me even if I am staring at a screen. I have become more aware of what could go wrong or what detail I might have missed. It is a small start but it helps me be mindful of my possible distraction. Did that lose anyone else besides me?
So I close by saying that those who always find their faces shoved against their phones or to any other handheld device, please just look up. Just look around for once. You can’t just wander through life being a cell phone zombie. It’s not just your life worry about but the others who around you. We don’t need to lose anyone else in the world because of random video game blinders. We lose enough people already, just start taking the time to care for yourself and others around you.
Put. The. Phone. Down.