As a previous sufferer of eye based migraines, I know only too well how important it is to rest your eyes and give them a rest from the screen. Even just having something else to look at or focus on at a slightly different distance can really help them recover.
Coders have a habit of spending most of their time in front of screens…not just working, but also playing. Now that consoles are in our living rooms, smart phones in our pockets and tablets by our beds – we spend a lot of time looking at pixels. For many of us, the reason we have become so attached to digital devices in the first place is mostly thanks to games. Those of us that are of a certain age have had the joy of growing up through the complete history of computer games. While this is a great form of entertainment, we have perhaps forgotten some of the simpler forms of entertainment that we played when we were younger.
My parents were completely out of the computer loop – they didn’t get it when I was growing up and to be honest they still don’t really do much more than receive emails & browse the internet. So back then, I was kept away from most digital distractions and was instead given more traditional forms of entertainment.
I have many memories as a kid of playing board games on holiday – the game of monopoly that lasted two weeks on the dining room table, or the game of ludo on the sitting room floor. My parents didn’t have the foresight to expose me to any more modern or imaginative board games, which is a shame.
One of the more memorable experiences for me was when one of my friends was given Dungeons and Dragons for his birthday. I remember spending all our break times and lunchtimes at school totally absorbed in fabricated imaginarium that had been created by my friend the dungeon master. This experience really opened my mind to more thoughtful forms of entertainment – even now I still prefer to play console games that require brain input as well as reflexes.
From time to time I have flash backs to rolling dice and battling beasts in dark dungeons – while I don’t have the time, or perhaps the right sort of friends to play D&D anymore, i’m still partial to a board game. In recent years it seems that there has been a big expansion in the number of board games available – certainly more than I ever remember seeing when I was younger!
So I think its appropriate for us as coders to embrace our younger selves and find new, exciting board games to play that allow us to use our minds away from our screens.
If you have a quick scan around the internet, you’ll find lots of quite geeky games. I think coders tend to be better suited to playing the best strategy board games such as Carcassonne or Dixit which are both beautifully illustrated. Although these games are turn based, you will need to use different strategies in order to play well and win. While they might not have quite the same rush as playing multiplayer battlefield, they do require some of the same thinking – and the overall playing experience is a lot more relaxing!
So spare a thought for your older forms of entertainment that you used to enjoy. They’re still there waiting to be found and enjoyed. Most importantly board games are a great way to have fun with a group of friends while also giving your eyes a well deserved break.