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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Issue: Games: Would You Like Your Life Back?


A few weeks ago, I wrote on here about how I had lost a day to Red Dead Redemption after buying it (months, maybe years, after everyone else had already beaten it). Turns out, I lost about two weeks to the thing (although I managed to pull myself away for it for sleep and work).

This lead to an interesting discussion with a friend of mine about being able to put games down. See, as I had mentioned, I have been playing sports games almost exclusively for years now. Sports games are easy to put down. You start a game, an hour later it's finished, and while taking a breath you look at the clock and think "Do I have another hour to waste on this?" It's an hourly reminder that you haven't done dick today and should probably wash those week-old dishes in the sink that are starting make your apartment smell.

Games like Red Dead, and Skyrim, and WoW, and anything else you can lose months of your life to without realizing that you haven't changed your clothes, don't have these reminders. One night I decided at 8pm that I was probably near the end of Red Dead, for no real reason other than intuition, and that I was going to finish the game that night. Next thing I knew, it was 2am and I was telling myself "I know I have work in 5 hours, but just one more mission and it's probably all over." I finished the game at 4:30am and was a zombie at work the next day. The end of the game was the only thing that ever really got me to voluntarily put the controller down and walk away, it was the only reminder that I have a real life.

Now I'm torn. I went ahead and downloaded Undead Nightmare and have been playing through that, but the vigor is gone. It's almost as though, when I got to that "end" and turned the game off, my brain decided "We have better shit to do than this." (We don't). Now every time I play Undead Nightmare, I'm watching the clock and taking note of those dishes in my sink and promising to do them as soon as I finish the next mission. The reminder from the end of the first game is still stuck in my head for some reason. It felt good to get that reminder and walk away from the game, I guess.

Now my brain is craving a sports game once more. Maybe it's because The Show is right around the corner, maybe it's because I've been really into the NBA lately and haven't played a basketball game that I enjoyed in decades. Maybe I just want to go back to my comfort zone, games that give me constant reminders that this world I'm lost in is not real and is keeping me from my own. Whatever it is, I'm gonna fight the damn thing. 

After getting all obsessive about The Show, I'm going to try Skyrim or some MMORPH and see how addicted I can get. I've been warned that this is a bad idea, which is all the more reason to do it. Let's dive into a world of no reminders and see how immerse I can become, and just how much it can destroy my life. Because, on Valentine's Day, that's what we all should be aiming for.

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