The Health Advantages Leaving the Video Game World

by Paul Shepherd
| May 15, 2022
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I am a recent video game designer of 22+ years that worked on many AAA and critically acclaimed games for many reputable companies.

But in January 2019, I outright left the video game world at the top of my career. And I did it on purpose. Why would I do such a thing? The money was great. The people around me were wonderful and fun to work with and have exceptional minds. And right now, there may be tens of thousands of gamers or even more that dream about being a Video Game Designer someday. Many colleges now offer game design courses and we can expect more of our youth to pursue a career actively educating themselves and preparing to enter the frontlines of this field. As a successful game designer, why would I back away and leave this world altogether?

What kind of crazy is that?

Most people know Mr. Chocolate Wonka. His character was depicted as an entrepreneur, but Wonka’s ways were close to that of crazitivity, a blend of crazy and creative. Wonka purposefully designed, tested and treated people in specific ways in his longer goals in an attempt to find someone with enough insight, backbone, grit, worth, compassion, strength and courage to inherit his chocolate-factory world. Wonka’s imagination saw a larger picture about a future world and how something he loved could be destroyed or uplifted, depending on what captain was steering the ship.

Crazitivity

On a holiday with my son earlier this year, I accidentally created the word crazitivity (cray-ze-ti-ve-tee) walking through a major theme park as I reflected on where the world is heading with more wireless emitters on every corner and seeing more people fear the sun.

I define this word Crazitivity as:

Being mocked or labeled as crazy by someone else, when in fact, the person being mocked has purposefully created a surface narrative of looking somewhat crazy to embrace and project a deeper creativity to win or succeed at something, often due to a longer-term war of wills being fought with many smaller battles.

What motivates my crazitivity and why do I like this label?

It is actually a deeper story that goes back more than 30 years, but in this blog, I will give you the larger takeaways. Making games has been a passion and hobby of mine from my childhood. But the key word I removed from the last sentence was the word video. In the late 1970s, I grew up with the old cartridge games, then the 5.25 floppy disks in the 80s, then the 3.5 floppies in the early 90s and so forth. Heck, I even watched Star Wars in 1977 in the front row on the big screen. Large screens, TVs monitors or hand held screens are the most overlooked features that defines the word video.

But my story as to why I left making Video Games in 2019 started around 1999 twenty years prior. That was the time I had already designed one game and was in the middle of working on another and realized I was starting to lose parts of my vision. To make it very clear, I discovered I was going blind at times and did not know why. I started to concentrate on blank, white walls and figured out that specific blind spots had already been formed.

But I also noticed something else:

I could tell when new spots were actively forming and covering parts of my vision. As a condition related to AMD (Aged-related Macular Degeneration) and Diabetic Retinopathy (DME), my retinal tissues were experiencing added pressure and inflammation as verified by my ophthalmologist.

I wanted to connect the dots as to why the spots were happening. A new blind spot would typically appear a few minutes or an hour after sitting in front of computer monitors or when I’d go to the gym. Some blind spots would last minutes, hours or days, and some specific spots would stay much longer for months. After acquiring a few very large spots in my central vision, it affected my work so much that I would get splitting headaches when attempted to look at screens through the spots for longer periods of time. I had to start asking myself deeper questions in 1999, “Can I continue working on monitors and looking at screens and do my Video Game work anymore?” I had to find the answer to my blindness: not only for my livelihood, but blindness wasn’t a pretty thought either if it could be prevented.

When Biology Meets Technology

This is the story of what happens when someone educated in biology and has enough biophysics enters, lives and breathes the world of technology. After working each day, I would come home and research all of the latest science looking for the answer. I was also against the blindness clock, and this is ironic to those that understand the details of how our eyes are clocks as well. I eventually got deeper into the science around ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) and came across a few papers on fluorescent lighting that can promote eye damage. At the time, I believed I had first answer about how gym lighting may be promoting my blind spots. At that time, I lived in Pasadena, and I realized that when I exercise outside at the Rose Bowl in natural lighting, I never got any eye spots at all. But what else could be happening?
I started logging a journal about when I would see the eye spots form in my central vision. The correlation and experience seeing them form allowed me to figure out that if I ate certain foods and sat down in front of a computer or in certain indoor environments, there was a very high likelihood I would get an eye spot formation. But if I was outside under natural lighting, or fasted for longer periods of time, it would be less common for an eye spot to show up.

Vital Behavioral Changes

I quickly made behavioral changes to save my vision. I ditched the gym completely, started getting up at dawn to walk or jog around the Rose Bowl and took my ophthalmologist’s advice to get a greater distance from my monitors and try to use them less frequently. Take note that my ophthalmologist’s concern at that time in the late 1990s was the ionizing radiation from monitors, not blue-light frequencies that we know today in 2019. And of course, the non-ionizing biological effects from electric fields, magnetic fields and produced harmonics and transients was even more obscured from a doctor’s education at that time.
These behavioral changes saved my vision. I came to learn how to form blind spots or come to prevent them, by personal experience. My larger answers had to do with my lifestyle and daily routines. When blindness is on the line, my personal awareness about what environments I put myself in became the golden key to my eye health. The days I spent too long in front of a monitor, or the times I went to a real movie theater or nights I stayed up late playing Video Games or working late into the evening would usually guarantee a blind spot formation. The days I got up earlier and went to sleep earlier and got outside under natural lighting would heal me.
Certain food choices also impacted formation, and later I came to learn a great knowledge set about the NMDA receptors, how oxidative stress can go amok, the relationship with glutamate excitotoxicity and all of the pathways, which in turn, got me studying the mitochondria in great depth. It took about another 15 years to understand the knowledge around the systems, processes and mechanisms involved in the complexities that relate to the aging process; in the case of my retinal tissue eye health, I sped up that process with screen-time and exposures to nnEMF sources, but learned how to slow it with many simple approaches, repair much of the damage and live in certain ways to help prevent my eyes from forming the spots.

Get That Morning Sun

Using the redlight frequencies at dawn helped the daily retinal cycling and repair for me. In the first year of getting out into the morning sunlight (not looking at the sun itself, but just getting outside for a walk or reading a book), and then on the backend of the day reducing the lighting in the evening and sleeping in darkness, my spots slowly vanished on their own. There was one spot I almost considered using a laser to remove, but even that one faded away over time. By about 2006, I realized I had to live with a certain lifestyle. Anytime I would change my lifestyle back to missing too much natural lighting or consuming too much artificial lighting could still risk my vision.
Eye health should not have to played as a game to win or lose it. Games come in all types, shapes and packages, as well as the game designers that craft them. I believe games with screens when overused on the other hand, due to their integrated frequencies, can damage health in many ways, not only eye health. I am a living example of this, and now, a greater portion of the world will be seeing this influence in the coming decade. I also believe people can be realistic about the benefits and perils of technology. Many more like myself will be coming out of the woodwork and take a stand about the world we have already created and continue to advocate blindly.
Even more important, why is no one asking:

 

What will future environments look like for the next generations?

 

A Marriage of a Balanced Lifestyle

The use of nature and the establishment of safer environments is due to the mitigation approaches to the technologies within them.

Now it was time I turned my Game Designer Career on its head to get back into my Biology career once again to teach others and help put together the clues in the biological sciences, sort of like what a Sherlock Holmes might do to leave no stone unturned. I have always believed that with enough knowledge, awareness and repeatable observations, discovery commonly manifests. Otherwise, without enough persistence, it can be quite easy to over-simplify, judge and knee-jerk any position when there is probably much more complexity involved. After all, life and its interactions are quite complex and new discoveries are being made and connected continually. It is useful to keep a rational, logical and open-minded approach as to what we know about this moment in time with any science; being overly-rigid in our beliefs can be the primary factor that closes of a person to find the answer for his or her health question.
If I had been rigid in my beliefs 20 years ago, or trusted others and not myself, I probably would have been blind by now. After all, the connections to lifestyle choices, circadian timing of day/night cycles, my lighting and nnEMF exposures as well as other factors that influenced my retinal oxidative stress can be easily overlooked. And at that time, I did not have a deeper understanding of the processes and problems with specific frequencies. But now I am empowered with many answers, like the 430 to 470 nanometer range of light, electric fields and various microwave frequency bands as my larger longer-term nemeses to reduce; for healing, I promote a deeper hydration, specific redlight exposure windows and other personal techniques for my eye health.

The Greatest Problem?

How is it that living closer to nature can at times be mocked or shunned in our modern Age of Information? Yes, I see it truly as an Age of Information and not Wisdom. I forgive many people that consume technology like eating cheesecake: because most people would not have seen life through the blind spots. What I have learned is that I can be a role-model to question a mainstream paradigm at minimum. I am mindful to uplift my adversaries and awaken them, because a powerful adversary can turn into a powerful ally. Each of us can choose to be “cool-under-pressure” and show character. This is why when someone implies I am crazy for leaving a my Video Game career, I thank them dearly when they have discovered my Crazitivity and got to know my motivations.

One last piece of importance. One of the greatest problems I have seen in the past two decades within the world of technology has been the alteration of human behaviors directly. Often, this is due to peer pressure and the establishment’s projection of paradigms and narratives around things I call “All Things Artificial.” I generally believe we are now living in a time when the sane are called crazy and the media itself never reports how crazy parts of the mainstream have become to embrace All Things Artificial. Artificial lighting and nnEMF is rarely questioned into the public eye, and when it is, the Precautionary Principle is never considered or talked about when there are known biological effects from both.

This is what the ‘modern crazy’ looks like to me:

A subtle and quiet propping up an anti-health lifestyle approach to downplay our behaviors with nature, while propping up All Things Artificial for public consumption.

The ultimate narrative happens when society comes to believe that All Things Artificial and Nature Herself is inter-exchangeable. Once this new design of society is achieved, the establishment can offer temporary fixes to ailments that are really not actually curing the deeper problem. Is this really a smart approach to life?

The wise among us already know that:

If we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything.

As the bulk of society continues to accept and also embrace All Things Artificial, it fails to question the pitfalls of our modern advancements and the fallout to our modern environments. We can expect the Precautionary Principle to be thrown into the garbage bin and mocked by the mainstream until they awaken to a time when safer technologies are considered and integrated into products for Public Health.

Those that make it out less damaged on the other side of 2030 will know what happened to society in this current time. They will be the citizens that have the knowledge for the next generations. But for the here and now, we are confronted with a simple choice in the way we choose to live: the ultimate showdown choice between Nature Herself and All Things Artificial.

This was also the ultimate choice I had to make for my career path, and the health advantages and rewards I am reaping by leaving the Video Game world.
By Scott J. Compton