Lesson Learned in Atlantic City: Go outside every once in a while
Last week, I had the bittersweet experience of having the final spring break of my college career. Admittedly, most of it was spent playing Final Fantasy XIII without stopping so I could get the review up for you fine folks as quickly as possible. However, on Saturday, some friends and I decided to take a trip to Atlantic City. For the most part, it was an awesome time.
The day began chilling out on the beach, but as fun as the beach was, the one thing I had most looked forward to was hitting up the casino for a little while to gamble, drink, and be merry; the cap on a perfect day. However, once I entered Caesar’s and sat down at a slot machine, I was immediately turned off by what happened next.
There was a woman sitting next to me who spoke poor English having difficulty operating the machine. Another, much older woman (lets call her Estelle, she felt like an Estelle), swooped in as if she smelled an opportunity. Between drags of a cigarette and under caked on makeup, Estelle attempted to diagnose the issue with the slot machine and upon not being able to fix it, grabbed a young Caesar’s floor worker and began to complain to him. The Caesar’s rep immediately fixed the issue, but was not allowed to start the machine, as the first woman’s money was already in there. Upon telling her that she need only push the “place bet” button, Estelle flew into a rage, berating the man and yelling that the machine was broken. To prove her point, she hit the button herself.
Triple bar. Triple bar. Triple bar. 5x multiplier.
$500 had just been won with the first woman’s money. But Estelle wanted it for herself, claiming that it was rightfully hers because she had pressed the button. Things got heated pretty quickly, but the floor rep made it known that Estelle would receive nothing. Pissed off, Estelle took a few steps back, but kept watching the first woman play after the floor rep had gone.
As luck would have it, this girl had a bit of fortune and scored more cash, and every time the machine beeped and booped with victory, Estelle inched closer and closer, pretending to celebrate, and eventually hugging her, attempting to siphon some of that cash away. Unfortunately, it appeared to have worked, the woman was now celebrating with Estelle, and promised to buy her some drinks for her assistance. Vulture. Parasite.
I got up from the slot machine, met up with a friend, and walked out of there. As I did I took a look around; I felt disgusted. People sitting like drones in front of flashing screens, wasting their savings for hope of greater wealth, feeling not anger, but indignation when they lost, as if they deserved everything in the world. It was as if all these peoples’ true ambitions died, and the casino became their graveyard.
I realized right then and there that that must be what I look like when I play video games alone: blank stare, stagnant pose, in complete darkness other than the soft glow of the screen, and working towards a goal that oftentimes will offer me only temporary release.
Once I got outside, I remembered the beach, building dinky sand castles, diving into absolutely freezing water on a dare, and just enjoying time with my friends. It was amazing, and just as memorable, if not more so, than anything I had done with technology.
I’m not hating on video games (I never could and never will), but just take this as a little PSA: Remember to go outside sometimes, it rocks.
And my sand castle totally kicked ass.