BRBejeweled — Caving in to online distractions

By Brian Figurski

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March seems to be a stressful time for students. The winter semester is winding down and a barrage of final exams and essays breathes down their necks. There are too many distractions going on for me to keep my focus: Kids screaming about their March Madness brackets, the growing urge to enjoy the extra hour of daylight.

In my time of turmoil, I consistently turn back to the same thing – Bejeweled Blitz, the biggest waste of time to which I have become attached.

It always starts the same way. I’ll sit down at my dirty laptop to do some writing or research, and Facebook is always the best place to start. After about three scrolls of ugly babies, I click that taunting baby blue diamond in the corner. Next thing I know, my Panini is ice cold and Panera Bread is kicking me out because they closed 15 minutes ago.

I hope they revamp the interface system on Bejeweled sometime soon. Instead of the grand total of jewels destroyed over the last four years of my wasted existence, it would be a real eye-opener if they could change it to a live-updating tally of hours of potential I will never get back.

It’s ironic that I shun video games because I get bored after about a half-hour of getting shot in the face by Brazilian teenagers, but I have at least an hour a day to match beautiful, sparkly shapes.

I’m about to vomit. My colleague and I just did some intense statistical work to figure out how long I’ve actually spent playing this game. Grand total – 152 hours.

This is not including the five-second bonus time, which costs 4,500 coins for three games, so if we make an educated guess here… I’m eight hours shy of a full week of clicking buttons.

That the video gaming industry is a juggernaut is no surprise to anyone. The gaming industry rakes in billions of dollars each year. The only tidbit that makes my stomach churn is the growing amount of that revenue being funneled away from traditional disc-based games and toward the myriad puzzle games that live on Facebook and smartphones.

I haven’t spiraled down that far yet. Majority of these games are free, or enable extra plays after an allotted amount of time has expired. To think that people are dishing out money for extra coins, well, those Phoenix Prisms aren’t going to pay for themselves.

I feel like if you’re going to invest the time into false realities, at least make it entertaining for your brain. You’d be better off flying dragons, decapitating zombies or collapsing planets with fission-particle blasters than trying to make star gems.

Of course, that’s easier for me to say than do. I’ve clocked another hour since starting this article. Seven more to go.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that video games are addicting, and I’m an addict and a loser. It would be less addicting if I took up crack-cocaine again and definitely more productive.

I’m like that cigarette smoker standing outside in a blizzard giving you life advice. If you’re going to put off your schoolwork and things that actually pertain to your future, go save a princess. Don’t start down the yellow gem road.

Contact Copy Editor Brian Figurski via email at [email protected]