Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Gratification in the Gaming Age...

There's no doubt we live in an age of instant gratification. There isn't much we can't get immediately. Instant books, instant food, games, and instant movies and/or television (binge watching is a guilty pleasure in our personal orbit). Nice, and who's complaining? When hunger strikes, it's nice to get DoorDash. General Tso's is delicious, while pants are definitely overrated. Let's not pretend this fact isn't hot-buttered awesome...

Ditto for tabletop games. Steam makes us wait at least 10 minutes; but Drive-thru is nearly instantaneous. A universe of gaming goodness awaits a clicking finger. And again, who among us would dare to complain? In the time it took to write these words, someone picked up the complete Pits & Perils (and may they enjoy their purchase), underscoring just how good this is for everyone involved. Speedy delivery rocks; but what gets lost?

Things are precious because they're rare. Or infrequent. And that's the price we pay for this windfall. At the risk of waxing nostalgic, I remember the following well...

(1) Ordering my dungeon Hobby Shop catalog and waiting two weeks, only to order some miniatures and wait several more, checking the mailbox Christmas Story style. 

(2) Waiting all month for the next issue of Dragon (with a subscription).

(3) Patiently saving my allowence for some desired thing. The pleasure of a monthly trip to Pizza Hut. Next week's episode of (insert show here), seasoned by the waiting.

Speed is good, and variety better. Truly we live in a golden age. But if things are precious when they're rare, and it's sometimes better to wait, how do we square that circle and get the best of both worlds? Maybe we have to cut ourselves off from the glut of options, imitating yesterday's deprivations today. Yesterday was unintententional. There wasn't as much, and fewer ways to deliver it. These days, we need a more conscious approach... 

Curate a wishlist, schedule purchases in imitation of a middle-school budget (few of us are rich, so this part's easy), and maybe control social media time. Kickstarters are the very definition of delayed gratification, but proceed with caution. I'm not so old I think living was better with less; but just like we need to exercise to make up for the physical activity we lose in our sedentary lifestyles, maybe we should engineer that specialness ourselves.


  1. Yeah. I feel this way a lot lately.

  2. As I grow older I have come to realize the speediness of our world makes things cheap and less valuable. The fact I can get things ordered and receive quickly is great but it also cheapens everything. Few things have value anymore and the things that do are things that took time to curate. That handmade copy of Myrwandr, the hand-written letter sent to me by a friend, that character sheet I drew, handmade rune stones, that made I made...all those are more valuable than yet another copy of WhiteBox I ordered off Amazon yesterday...

    sp- and no I do not have a handmade copy of Mydwandr, just an example :-(

  3. Great reflection! Our current lifestyle is all about instant gratification, but true value often comes from anticipation. Balancing instant enjoyment with the pleasure of waiting is indeed a challenge. Thanks for sharing these insights!