Have you heard of the tale of Nikocado Avocado?
He’s probably one of the more recognizable faces of Youtube’s mukbang community (that is, a community of people who film themselves eating food for their audience), and with good reason: he’s
kind of insane incredibly hard for me to figure out. The dude basically went from this:
It’s pretty easy for people who’ve done a little research to paint him as a man who went from one eating disorder (hard veganism) to another (a grotesque exercise of gluttony that could hardly be considered any form of diet). For me, though, that doesn’t explain his internet theatrics. The guy makes it easy for me to write about him; hell, he’s posted his own video comparing how he looked in his “vegan days” to how he looks in the present, which I’ve graciously used to get that “before” still. (I will note, however, that Nick’s weight has gotten astronomically worse since that video was posted. It’s actually shocking.) He treats himself and acts like he’s his own character; that is, he’s so outlandish that I can’t wrap my head around how someone would act the way he does genuinely.
Naturally, between Nick throwing emotional fits and participating in perpetual binge eating, he’s captured the attention of Kiwi Farms, a community dedicated to discovering and following these kinds of people. For ethical reasons I can’t link his thread, but I don’t think anyone would complain about me withholding that information.
There’s one reply from that thread, however, that I’d like to bring up. For some context, a subset of users on that forum are having the same dilemma I’m having. “Is Nick playing a character? Is he using a body as some sort of punchline? Like his veganism, is he able to reverse his morbid obesity, too?” The question prompted this reply:
For me, within this post lies the true horror about Nick. Even if he made a conscious decision to play up being a fat lunatic on Youtube in the beginning, this post implies that he is now trapped within that persona, consumed by his self-imposed eating disorder.
Anyway, that’s not really what I wanted to talk about today. For the rest of this blog post, let’s assume that the Kiwi Farms user above is absolutely correct and Nick is a tragic case of morbid method acting, and we’ll use that to contextualize today’s real topic.
Towards the beginning of this year I’ve been dealing with growing pains within my hands and wrists while working on the computer or playing video games. Google says it’s a repetitive stress injury (or RSI), likely cubital tunnel syndrome. I’ve been managing pretty well so far (stuff I’ve done to help might warrant its own blog post, who knows), but I’ve been forced to re-evaluate my old habits and lifestyle to a pretty large degree.
You see, I’ve been living for a little over two decades now, and games have been a part of my life for well over three quarters of that time. From Age of Empires to Pokemon to Call of Duty to League of Legends to Call of Duty (again) and now MMOs, I’ve invested a great portion of myself to experiencing these games day in and day out for years, and now it seems like it’s taking a toll on me. I’m okay with this, however; I don’t regret that time spent, but recently, I’ve began to see myself in the tragedy of Nikocado, as terrifying as that might sound.
Playing video games is ritualized for me now. I wake up, turn on my PC, boot up Phantasy Star Online 2 or whatever, and play until I get hungry or need the bathroom or have some other obligation to take care of. Then I come back and repeat that process until I eventually go back to bed.
I find it hard to get invested into new games. I’d like to say that I’ve been blessed with a refined taste and am a smart consumer, but I’m now wondering if my perception of new games has just been warped beyond recognition- because I’ve played so many in the past, most games nowadays don’t provide the burst of endorphins that I apparently need. There’s likely some sort of combination of game elements that give me this “high”, not unlike how Nick needs to dump bucketfuls of cheese onto a meal before it’s palatable, but I don’t know what type of cheese I’d like on my PSO2 character. It’s saved me money, though, so I can’t tell if this is a bad thing entirely.
Which brings me to my own true horror: if I ever decide that I needed to quit gaming forever, would I have the strength to do it? Am I doomed to keep playing games for hours on end, sacrificing my body, letting it break down and waste away for the sake of virtual enjoyment? The idea of not having the agency to even follow through with that kind of decision terrifies me, and if I’m anything like Nick, the odds are stacked against me.
It’s not a thought that I’d like to wake up to, but here I am on Christmas morning, with a belly filled with last night’s festive treats, thinking about it.
The question is, what do I do, knowing what might happen eventually? Today, I’m thinking that I need to get off the train while still can; find something that I’d like to do that isn’t on a computer, on top of all the ergonomic work I’ve been doing. I’m still on that first step. I’ve been reading a little bit more and wanting to get into miniature painting (40K, if you were wondering. I like Battle Sisters, and I may or may not write a post about that topic at some point). I’ve also been making strides in other areas with regards to my health, so I have that going for me.
This isn’t an “I’m quitting” post, by the way: I still like games, and I still have every intention to play them (and yes, come back to Twitch by extension). It’s just that it’s probably time that I need something else in my life.
Or else some Kiwi Farms user might post my butthole on the internet.