Open source gaming – or things I do when I should be working

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Gaming

For some users computer games are little more than "the things I do when I should be working", a soothing distraction or a waste of time and space. For others games are a matter of life and death, the bane of partners, the be all and end all of computing, and the reason why we bother. So the addicts are pleased to go out and buy an XBox, a Nintendo or a PlayStation 3 rather than a full-blown computer, and are happy to play the night away.

The best games are a learning experience, an exercise in strategic thinking, memory retention, what-if scenarios and problem solving – not unlike programming itself. Each piece in a game like chess has a limited number of moves, yet the game itself is a world of possibilities, and like a chess player, a programmer has to think ahead, so it isn't really surprising that many coders approach programming as if it was a game of chess, and are also gamers.

Ryan 'Icculus' Gordon's take on this is that "everyone's a gamer if you find the right game." People who won't play DOOM will happily play Angry Birds all night long – and Gordon himself programmed the night away while working on porting Unreal Tournament 2003 to Linux.

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