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The Right Amount of "Challenge" In IT & Gaming 103

Posted by Soulskill
from the inversely-proportional dept.
boyko.at.netqos writes "In an essay entitled 'An Epiphany I Had While Playing Pac-Man,' the author talks about how smart people need to find a certain amount of intellectual challenge from day to day. If they don't find it in their workplace, they'll end up playing complex, 'smart' games, like Civilization IV or Chess — and if they do find it in their workplace, they're more likely to sit down with a nice game of Pac-Man, Katamari Damacy, or Peggle. Quoting: 'When I look back on my life, and I compare the times in my life when I was playing simple games compared to the times in my life when I was playing complex ones, a pattern emerges. The more complexity and mental stimulation I was getting from other activities — usually my day job at the time — the less I needed mental stimulation in my free time. Conversely, in times when I was working boring jobs, I'd be playing games that required a lot of thinking and mental gymnastics.' The author then goes on to speculate that some IT workers might subconsciously be giving themselves more challenges by choosing to deal with difficult problems, rather than performing simple (but boring) preventative maintenance and proactive network management."
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The Right Amount of "Challenge" In IT & Gaming

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  • Not really so (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @08:09AM (#29021721) Journal

    This doesn't hold truth as much as TFA says. The reason for changing your game genre from strategy and "smarter" games for something simpler isn't really that you have to 'think' so much elsewhere. The main reason is time. You can just quickly play around in simpler games.

    I loved Civilization and Settlers series and other kinds of strategy games as a kid. But I had lots of time after school. Now that I think of it, I also got a lot coding done just for fun. I coded games for fun, and this was before I had stable internet, so almost noone even saw them. I just liked doing it and I had time. It wasn't that much for challenge or so, I just liked it. I however also did like games where you had some thinking.

    However after you got used to games, you saw how AI reacted and what was the best tactic, even in games you had to use lots of strategy. For example in Civ2 I always went for science and tried to stay away from wars until I had discovered everything. It was so obvious and I knew when is the best time to start fighting, that the challenge went away. But I also liked that aspect most, even while hating it.

    I do still play Civ4 and other such games, but as you grow up you have great amount of other stuff to take care of. Specially in mid-20's, when work and spending time with your gf takes lots of time. This seems to change again 30+ when things get more settled.

    I also have a lawyer friend that likes to play tennis and golf (yeah, so guessable!). Not really lots of thinking needed. But he also likes to play chess and some other games where you need to think. You can have it both ways - peace your mind with something you just *do* that doesn't requre thinking. Then on other times play some game that does.

    Another great aspect to this for myself is physics games. I still think Civilization series etc are my favourite games, but sometimes it's just fun to mess around. Physics games are great for this. You just build something, destroy something, experience around and see what happens. Physics games also is a genre where both of these world combine; you need to think some, but you get fast fun and experience around.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      Proactive actions during work can be intellectually stimulating. Especially if you have to take your time to predict what you actually shall do to make it work.

    • by Winckle (870180)

      Well there's no reason you can't just play an hour of civ 4 at a time, just hit save and come back to it. In fact playing like that is probably better because you'll think more carefully for your hour, I always make rash decisions if I try and marathon play it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mdwh2 (535323)

        Well there's no reason you can't just play an hour of civ 4 at a time, just hit save and come back to it.

        In theory.

        In practice, you sit down to play "for an hour", and next thing you know the sun's coming up. "I'll play just one more turn".

        (I disagree with TFS that Civ is that much of an intellectual challenge - okay, it's more of a thinking game, but it's fairly straightforward, and although it might be a challenge to beat higher levels, you can also play it more leisurely.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Darby (84953)

          In practice, you sit down to play "for an hour", and next thing you know the sun's coming up.

          No way, Dude. You're looking out the wrong window for that. The freaking Carthaginians were still around when the sun was coming up. It's on its way down again ;-)

      • That works until the end of the game where each move takes more than an hour, even when you have everything automated.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LanMan04 (790429)

      I do still play Civ4 and other such games, but as you grow up you have great amount of other stuff to take care of. Specially in mid-20's, when work and spending time with your gf takes lots of time. This seems to change again 30+ when things get more settled.

      Don't bet on it: Mortgage. Baby/Toddler. More responsibility at work. Yardwork.

      Not bad, just busy. :)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by chadplusplus (1432889)
        And getting the executive veto on the gaming rig because the wife would prefer a laptop. "It does the same thing and I can take it out onto the deck to work."

        Not to mention the dirty looks she gives while she's cleaning and I'm playing "silly video games".
        • by Gilmoure (18428)

          Last year, wife got a laptop, I got decent desktop system, kid got video player/web surf station and living room got media center server. Kid now wants mobile station for web surfing in the living room. Maybe get a tablet.

          As for time for computer games, daughter's getting old enough for net play (as long as I hold back). SMAC/X and Civ are great learning games for kids.

          • by billcopc (196330)

            Your family sounds hella exciting.

            SMAC/X ? Yes I love it (hate the ginger believers though), but I'm an alpha geek. I wouldn't stick a kid in front of it, not until they're at least 12 and can somewhat wrap their head around the bullshit tango that is politics. Pushing a kid into intellectual tasks too early just means he/she will suck at the basic stuff later in life.

            Much of my 20's were spent back-filling the gaps in my skill set, stuff that had been neglected in favor of computers and general science.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Gilmoure (18428)

              Daughter (8 yrs old) is really cool. Has an artistic mechanical bent and wants to know how everything works. Not so much for the final purpose but so she can take concepts back to her own creations. Weird thing about her is that she's actually socially outgoing and popular. Wife and I (both shy computer geeks) are a little puzzled by this but more power to her.

              As for civ/smac games, so far, I'm showing her how tech can develop and how decisions can effect the environment around her. Getting used to stepping

              • by billcopc (196330)

                The holistic approach is indeed what differentiates tech gods from mere drones. It sounds like your daughter and yourself are knowledge sponges... which is great, and if it works for you then go for it (works for me too!), but to try that on someone who isn't as, erm, "spongy" is a sure-fire way to screw them up real good.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I have found there is an inverse relationship between someone's opinion of their intellect and the real thing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Dishevel (1105119) *
        You must have thought you were pretty smart to have figured that out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Metasquares (555685)
        It's actually somewhat of an inverted bell curve as skill goes. Both people very skilled and very unskilled at something tend to have high estimations of their ability [ssrn.com].
        • by billcopc (196330)

          That's why it's such a dangerous and misleading "metric". The guy who claims to be a genius has a 50/50 chance of being full of shit. Well ok, in reality it's probably a 95% chance but you know what I mean. More dangerous still is the non-confrontational PC mentality that prevents those dopes from being called out and hung out to dry. I think that passivity is a great motivator for the Know-it-alls to continue peddling their BS.

          • by lawpoop (604919)

            More dangerous still is the non-confrontational PC mentality that prevents those dopes from being called out and hung out to dry

            I've seen plenty of Nerd head-butt wars to know that calling out anyone who "knows better" is a fast ticket to nowhere.

    • by Dishevel (1105119) *
      This is /. Post a link to your GF or id didn't happen. :)
    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      I do still play Civ4 and other such games, but as you grow up you have great amount of other stuff to take care of. Specially in mid-20's, when work and spending time with your gf takes lots of time. This seems to change again 30+ when things get more settled.

      I'd love to play more Civ 4, but it's such a shame when gfs take up so much time. I too look forward to that 30+ age, when this is no longer a problem, and I can return to playing Civ all night.

    • Civ and chess are not for smart people, they merely have a steep learning curve. Chess, moreso, but I thought we established a long time ago that ability to play chess means nothing other than the ability to play chess? Civ merely has a ton of different units and rules. It doesn't particularly need a smart person to play it...wasn't it Game Of The Year several times?
      • The basic concept was not that you had to be smart to play them. Just that Smart People who are not challenged at work, enjoy playing games that involve thinking. Both Chess & Civ involve different units and rules while games like Pac-Mac are more mindless entertainment.
  • The author then goes on to speculate ...

    'Speculate' is far too kind. 'Strange unwarranted conclusions' was all I found. Here's the conclusion:

    Considering that I thought of all of this while playing Pac-Man ... maybe sometimes our brains work most efficiently in a "lower gear."

    And other great misunderstandings like:

    Earlier in this blog, I noted that technology geeks gravitate towards games like D&D because they give people simple boundaries to storytelling, and straightforward challenges to overcome.

    I must say I was not only confused but I was getting that feeling that I get when I see an episode of crossing over with John Edwards. You know, where a guy hits on a few truths and draws a bunch of conclusions from it that are crazy but people don't care because they want to believe it.

    I don't think the things he notices hold any universal truth to them. I, personally, spent two years playing World of Warcraft while working a fairly complex job as a developer for a Fortune 500 company. And that game has the ability to be the most complex or mundane (take your pick) game you can play. And I did both things. From highly orchestrated (via vent) raids to mindless farming (hey, we needed Elemental Earths for those damned repair bots in the raids). And you know what? I enjoyed it all. And when I was doing simpler stuff in grade school and high school, I played Tetris. Tetris II, Tetris Worlds, Tetris Attack, you name it I played it. And that's mostly what I did. Pretty much the opposite of what he claims. Maybe I'm part of a different generation than he is but I could see myself playing either a complex or simple game. Right now, it's all about the entertainment factor and I'm currently looking at more complex MMOs like Darkfall Online and Mortal Online but at the same time I'm getting drunk with my friends playing Wii Sports or Rock Band.

    This overly analytical opinion piece started with a huge problem and that's a terribly small sample set. So small that it fails to account for diverse gamers that are often playing multiple games at once--like my own anecdote.

    • Sorry man, I just can't give any credit so someone claiming World of Warcraft can be the most complex thing around. It's a good game, but it's so easy in every way. I don't think you can call something that 6 year olds can master as terribly mentally challenging for the computer geek.

      • by BobMcD (601576)

        You're glossing over the specific examples of what he said, and you're doing it on purpose to feed into a stereotype.

        My seven year old 'plays WoW'. He could not raid effectively. Likewise he wouldn't last long in the Arena, even if he did have the attention span to level beyond 15 or so. This does not mean that WoW is easy or hard. You are using selection/observation bias because people that don't like WoW think it makes up for the game's popularity.

        What you've missed, however, is that this is the very

    • They lost me with the summary. Particularly the quote, "If they don't find it in their workplace, they'll end up playing complex, 'smart' games, like Civilization IV or Chess and if they do find it in their workplace, they're more likely to sit down with a nice game of Pac-Man, Katamari Damacy, or Peggle."

      With those particular clauses, the summary says, no matter what, smart people will play games in the work place. It sounds like a hypothesis of the right amount of challenge for a gamer rather than a smart

  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @08:18AM (#29021769) Journal

    I like the way I feel when I'm thinking.

    I like the way I feel when I'm being creative.

    (In fact, I like the way I feel when I'm being procreative, but that's another story.)

    I like the warm fuzzy feedback I get when some cold jagged radical slams into place in an equation.

    But it all blows up if I'm drinking fine wine and doing mathematics. People are harmed.

    Please, people, for the sake of the children -- don't drink and derive!

    • by linhares (1241614)
      Carl Sagan was deep into LSD & grass
      • Carl Sagan was deep into LSD & grass

        Yes, but did he produce any significant science after that? (I mean real science, not popular writing/speculation/politics)

  • by RyanSpade (820527) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @08:25AM (#29021823) Homepage
    I'd like to agree with TFA. The more I wreck my brain at work, the more likely I am to give it a break at home. On the flip side, The more bored I am from 9 to 5, the more likely I am to want to challenge myself. Just in the same way as I find myself more drawn to do carpentry or art work, when I've been fillout forms and doing repetitive, monotonous tasks at work just to get the feeling of "creating something." You've gotta flex all the "muscles" of your brain to get a good workout. Mashing buttons and using quick reflexes are just as important as creating long term strategy, or plotting which Civilization to play politics with. Life is all about finding that balance, and sometimes games vs reality is a great way to do it.
    • I am completely with you. I find that after a long taxing day at work, where I've had to be creative, political, stressed, friendly, polite and logical, all I really want to do is go home and play a game where I don't necessarily need to use any of those skills any longer. However, on a normal day at work, I don't have nearly the drive to go home and turn off my brain. Instead I'll read something that challenges/intruiges me, watch discovery/food network to get my brain going, cook something new/differen

  • baloney (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    in the stupidest summer job i ever had, the other people spent their free time killing brain cells with chemicals.

    when i was in one of the top math departments in the world, everyone was playing bridge and go.

    i could go on, but you get the point... you really need a bigger sample size before you make up giant new theories of mind.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lemmy Caution (8378)

      The theory is that people like to use up their surplus mental energy, and that the more of it you do at work, the less you do afterward.

      "Killing brain cells with chemicals" counts as using up surplus mental energy.

  • by amstrad (60839) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @08:31AM (#29021885)

    ... anything intellectually stimulating at work, you end up posting on Slashdot.

    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      when you don't find anything intellectually stimulating at work, you end up posting on Slashdot.

      Also, pushing this theory further, in Slashdot you can decide how much intellectual effort you put in each post. Thus, it balances perfectly your need of brain use.

      That's why, after leaving work, I go to the gym and later I play some go on the webs.

      Now, we just need to find an online activity that balances cuddling and sex.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by grub (11606) *

      Not necessarily. I have an intellectually stimulating job (which I love) but upon reading the shit I post, most people would think I worked at an abattoir slaughtering pigs all day.
  • by damburger (981828) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @08:39AM (#29021931)
    If any HR fucktards get a hold of this notion, they will start to poke into the gaming habits of their employees to try and gauge how productive they are. Were you overheard mentioning that you liked Civilization IV? You need more tasks! We can't have people going home at the end of a 10 hour work day with enough energy to do anything for themselves! That would be horrific!
    • by genner (694963)

      If any HR fucktards get a hold of this notion, they will start to poke into the gaming habits of their employees to try and gauge how productive they are. Were you overheard mentioning that you liked Civilization IV? You need more tasks! We can't have people going home at the end of a 10 hour work day with enough energy to do anything for themselves! That would be horrific!

      Not me. I play first person shooters and my boss decided I was over worked.

    • I have an overwhelming hatred of "Human Resources" (or Human Grief-Sources). Having worked in the mining industry where a resource is exploited, it's quite obvious that most HR people feel the same way about their resources...
  • The author then goes on to speculate that some IT workers might subconsciously be giving themselves more challenges by choosing to deal with difficult problems, rather than performing simple (but boring) preventative maintenance and proactive network management.

    For whatever it's worth I second that. For simple tasks I tend to make it more complicated (in a way) by creating scripts or automated procedures. Solving the boring problem in that way gives me two benefits, the fun of the challenge and hopefully no more such problems due to the script or automated procedures created. (Un)Fortunately I have enough "artistic freedom" to do things that way, though I have a feeling others might have more strict "policies". Still all IT employees work in one direction, to be a

  • by addie (470476) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @08:40AM (#29021949)

    I play games because they're fun.

  • In general, I have found most games to be dull. I stopped watching TV in the 8th grade for the same reason. The most interesting of all? Write your own books.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TeknoHog (164938)

      I agree with the general tone of your post: playing games is consuming entertainment, not so different from consuming TV, films or music. If you are on a creative mood, then better try and create something.

      However, I've actually found a positive correlation between the mental stimulations provided by work and leisure. In the worst case, my day work has been so mind-numbing that I haven't found any creative juices left in the evening. Thinking begets thinking, but it's best to do something different in yo

    • Re:Games Are Boring (Score:4, Interesting)

      by foniksonik (573572) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @11:08AM (#29023835) Homepage Journal

      Where do you get your inspiration from? If it's only from your own personal experience I suspect that your books may have an audience of 1. Games, TV, Books these are all shared experiences with millions of other people. Without incorporating shared experiences you seriously undermine the value other people will get out of your contribution. You are also in serious danger of producing work which has already been done by other expressionists many many times before and likely better, not that your version won't have it's own charm and intriguing twists on the theme.

      You may want to re-evaluate your position on popular culture and culture in general. You really don't want to write Buffy the Vampire Slayer thinking that it's a completely new and original idea.

      • I stopped watching TV in 8th grade. I have never owned one. I have read thousands of book. I have a thriller novel set in St. Petersburg Russia that is very close to publication. Friend, there are so many sources of inspiration in this world. One does not need to work inside the hothouse world of gaming to get inspiration. Thank you for making me laugh.
        • by operagost (62405)
          You remind me of this guy [theonion.com].
          • Turn it around. How much of our society is devoted to praising and consuming TV. How many times have you heard "American Idol" mentioned off TV? The amount of attention paid to TV is absurd. Once you quit watching it, your entire life is changed. Attention span, time, everything. Try it for a month.
            • by lgw (121541)

              Here's the thing: a great many people of the sort who read Slashdot don't watch TV. It's bragging about it, as it it somehow made you a better person, that makes you an asshole. Sure, some people watch mindless TV becuase they are mindless, but at the same time most smart, creative people, if they find an outlet for that at work, also seek mindless entertainment for a couple hours at night.

              That's sort of the point of TFA, and something I see a lot as people hit their 30s, and finally have enough influence

              • Most hobbies are not money makers and are not really serious. I have been a serious writer for years and I also work in Manhattan for a big company, doing important work every day. If you think that makes me an asshole--that's your opinion.
                • No, people are saying that you're an asshole for pointedly saying "I stopped watching TV in the 8th grade" as if it's something you should get an award for. So you quit watching TV. Good for you. Truth be told, that only means that you summarily dismissed the entire medium based on the shows that were available to you, so I'm rather unimpressed with that (TV is just a medium, no different than books or music. Dismissing TV because most TV sucks is like refusing to read books because trashy romance novels su

                  • Hey, Cowboy,

                    You're sounding rather defensive. No, my reason for pointing it out is because it is so atypical in our society. Television is so ubiquitous that many people cannot fathom a life without hours a day sitting in front of the TV. Your brain is less active while watching TV than it is while you're sleeping.

                    My reason for point it out is to insert the idea into the heads of some of you. Of course, those of you that plan your lives around your favorite shows won't listen. Yet, I'm pretty sure that t

                    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                      by bigstrat2003 (1058574) *

                      So... you say I'm "sounding defensive" for pointing out flaws in your reasoning, and trying to nicely explain why you come across as harsh. Then you go on to make unfounded assumptions about my life, and insult me.

                      And then you wonder why people think you're being a dick.

    • by holmstar (1388267)
      Out of curiosity, what types of TV shows and games did you partake in prior to giving them up?
  • Man, I wonder if the little dude sprained his elbow while he patted himself on the back.

    Some days I play Solitaire, other days I play Risk. Neither defines /me/. At work I solve Hamiltonians, and struggle to add budgets up. Neither defines me.

    • You are your job. You are how much money you have in the bank. You are your shit-stained sofa, your paper lamps, your pretty glassware with little bubbles in it so you now it was handmade by the proud indigenous people of wherever.

  • not really connected just to mind, but if the day at work makes you flushed on the evening, you are unlikely to go hill climb on evenings. Brain is like muscle. Need to be trained, and rested.
  • I actually find the opposite.

    when I'm kind of in a lull - such as on vacation or between huge assignments - I play the "dumb" games like Zaxxon or Super Mario Bros. or Wesnoth. Right now, I'm engaged in very serious work (at work) and enjoy playing teh old infocom text-based adventure games. Right now I'm starting on Zork (which I never played) having just finished The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (I have a z-machine emulator on my Blackberry.)
  • by Phurge (1112105) on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @08:47AM (#29022045)
    smoking copious amounts of weed.
    • by operagost (62405)
      I got mine while running away from ghosts down dark corridors, popping pill after pill. The big pills make me strong enough to eat the ghosts. I like the big pills. I also like to jump out the window and teleport to the other size of the world.
  • One of the most ridiculous jumps of illogic I've seen recently on slashdot. Not an easy bar to make...

  • I'm in semi-permanent crunch mode at work (thanks recession!) and I am expected to put in 60 hour weeks with no end in sight. In my down time (what's that?) I find I tend to play games that I like and that are familiar to me.

    In fact I like tower defense games (Plants versus Zombies), platformers (Sonic the Hedgehog 2) and traditional Real Time Strategy (Red Alert III). I like these games because I either played them a lot before crunch time started, um, crunching me, or because they are very similary to

    • by operagost (62405)

      I'm in semi-permanent crunch mode at work (thanks recession!) and I am expected to put in 60 hour weeks with no end in sight.

      In a recession, there is usually too little work to do, not too much. Blame it on greedy management, not the recession.

  • "IT workers might subconsciously be giving themselves more challenges by choosing to deal with difficult problems, rather than performing simple (but boring) preventative maintenance and proactive network management."

    I consciously do this. Who wants to work on something boring anyway?
  • I have to agree with this one, i have noticed this very same situation where I am concerned. However, lately rain or shine, good or bad, time or no time, even hard work or no, I play WoW....I guess because WoW has both the easy and the difficult, that I would plan to run my raids on a weekend, and leave the AH buying and selling for a quick night after work, so I guess it still stands, lucky for me blizzard created the perfect game in either situation!!!

  • by Andr T. (1006215) <andretaff@gmailP ... minus physicist> on Tuesday August 11, 2009 @08:55AM (#29022143)

    ...the author talks about how smart people need to find a certain amount of intellectual challenge from day to day. If they don't find it in their workplace, they'll end up playing complex, 'smart' games, like Civilization IV or Chess

    Well, I always try to find challenging games during work hours, so I don't think I classify in either category.

    • by qingren (1612285)

      ...the author talks about how smart people need to find a certain amount of intellectual challenge from day to day. If they don't find it in their workplace, they'll end up playing complex, 'smart' games, like Civilization IV or Chess

      Well, I always try to find challenging games during work hours, so I don't think I classify in either category.

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  • That Explains why I played the most complex games when I was in High School.

  • Isn't this a straightforward displacement activity? I Am Not A Shrink, but a lot of people have a hobby that gives them the fulfillment they don't find from a job. Personally, after a hard (or light) day doing abstract things on a computer I never see, in a datacentre I've never been to - I like to do a bit of woodworking. That allows me to produce a tangible result: an "I made that" feeling.

    Likewise, I would expect lumberjacks to .. hang around in bars.

  • ... since your epiphany is basically about a concept called alienation (not to be confused with Alien Nation) and has been known as a philosophical concept since early in the industrial revolution. Not that it's a bad epiphany, it's just about 150 years late and already discussed to death.

    Then again, applying well-known philosophical concepts to new areas is nice in and of itself.

  • That would suggest that my job in figuring out how the human brain works is not challenging enough, leading me to seek a tougher challenge in pen-and-paper rpgs and turn-based strategy games. Also, it finally explains to me why all those stock boys and garbage pickup guys tend more towards games like go, chess, and civilization IV.
  • Look at me! (Score:2, Redundant)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
    Allow me to translate the summary:

    Look at me! I'm so smart! I'm also a vapid hipster who plays Pac-Man for intellectual stimulation! I also think that games that are difficult to learn are only for smart people (like me!) The author goes on to speculate that there might be more people like him out there, but he's not sure, can any smart people in the audience post some confirmation in the comments?

  • Are those people who enjoy complex, mind-taxing hobbies such as strategy games, subconsciously motivated to not think too hard at their jobs, in order to conserve mental energy?

  • IT workers might subconsciously be giving themselves more challenges by choosing to deal with difficult problems

    Unfortunately the reality is that many IT workers choose to implement complex solutions to simple problems, rather than taking on more responsibility or approaching genuinely harder problems.

  • If the job is boring, routine and repetitive script it. Or hand it off to the PFY. Duh. How smart do you have to be to figure that out? Then find something more interesting to work on.

    • by genner (694963)

      If the job is boring, routine and repetitive script it. Or hand it off to the PFY. Duh. How smart do you have to be to figure that out? Then find something more interesting to work on.

      ....or get downsized when they realize the script is more productive than you are.

      • by plopez (54068)

        Or show them the new whiz bang application you wrote that improves your end users' lives. You are an example of the wrong kind of lazy.

  • so no wonder I have the desire to play World of Warcraft again...
  • What I play depends on my mood, not always because of work. Generally, during the summers I play a lot of FPS games, and newer-ish games. Generally during the winters I play RPGs and other more in-depth games. Generally in the fall and spring I pick up older titles or retrogame. I suppose the reason behind this is because in the summers there are a lot more new games, I vacation a lot in the summers and the fact that during summer I tend to have more free time and sitting down and playing an RPG for very lo
  • I did my thesis [acm.org] in exactly this area. My research assumed that task complexity had something to do with enjoyment, but I was wrong. Experimental evidence showed that people had more when the difficulty of the task made the outcome uncertain relative to their skill level. This jives with researcher Kevin Burns theories of enjoyment being derived from unexpected good news (the unexpected occurrence of positive information gain) - i.e. the punchline of a joke or winning against the perceived odds.

  • I disagree with this assessment. I have no idea how wide spread it is, but I know in my case it is the opposite. When I had horrible brain draining jobs I tended to play more FPSs. I now have a very challenging programming job and I am playing Civ4 on the train every day.

  • > a pattern emerges. The more complexity and mental stimulation I was getting from other
    > activities -- usually my day job at the time -- the less I needed mental stimulation in
    > my free time. Conversely, in times when I was working boring jobs, I'd be playing games
    > that required a lot of thinking and mental gymnastics.

    I hear theres a similar reverse correlation between sex and downloading porn. Anyone around here shed more light on that?

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.

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