I am a good for nothing videogames junkie. There, I’ve said it. I squander huge amounts of money on games. I’m the kind of person the Daily Mail loves to hate. No, I don’t mean I sexually humiliate farm animals or kick orphans down escalators. I mean, in the way that videogames do have a… how can I put it… negative impact on my behaviour.
So for the benefit of, well, myself I suppose, I’m going to list some of my very worst traits here. Maybe some of you can sympathise? Maybe some of you can recognise these in yourself? Maybe you’ll be amused somehow – most probably disgusted – but here they are all the same, the confessions of a videogame junkie.
I’VE NEVER PLAYED A LOT OF THE GAMES I OWN
Before I started to type this, I went to go and count how many games I own, reached 143 – looked in my attic and thought ‘fuck it’.
How many games I own isn’t really important – I think the most telling statistic of all is how many videogames I own that I haven’t even opened. A few of those, I’ll admit, go into the ‘special’ pile – some Japanese imports that I’ll never open because, well, I’m neurotic.
Maybe they’ll be worth something someday, maybe they won’t – but there’s a part of my brain that’s somehow at peace, safe in the knowledge that I have a pristine, sealed copeies of D and D-2 in my attic.
Some of the other unplayed games I know won’t be worth anything. Bioshock 2, Arkham City, Far Cry 3, L.A Noir to name just a handful of the more ‘recent’ ones – I probably have enough unplayed videogames in my collection that, if I traded them in now, would provide clean running water and education for generations of the impoverished in some third world country.
As if this wasn’t bad enough – my PSN and XBLA accounts are rammed with unplayed downloads. I’m not going to give you the figure, because it’s kind of obscene – and I’m not really very proud of it.
GAMES FIRST – LOVE LATER
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I am currently single (ladies, form an orderly queue please!). I know what you’re thinking – but I’m not quite as pathetic as you’d think. I have actually touched quite a few girls in the past (and present) and, as much as the human male can tell, I have reason to believe that some of them enjoyed it – or at least weren’t utterly repulsed by the prospect of me touching them again.
However, there have been far too many occasions where pretty girls have been put firmly into second place behind videogames – to my detriment.
A little while back I took to twitter with something of a quandary. I picked up Ni No Kuni one lunchtime – same day got a text for a second date. It was like fucking torture. I had to sit there while she talked about work, and how her sister takes advantage of her parents – blah blah blah. Normally I’d manage a pretty good approximation of an ‘I’m listening face’ – even if I wasn’t remotely interested. Such politeness slipped me by that evening.
All I could think of was Ni No Kuni. When she was in the bathroom, I was on my phone reading snippets of reviews of a game I had sitting in my bag.
I’m thoroughly ashamed to admit, I couldn’t have made it more obvious I didn’t want to be there. When she told me she was going home, any pangs of guilt were washed away by an overwhelming tidal-wave of relief.
We’re not dating anymore. I’m not proud of it. As much as I like Ni No Kuni – I don’t think me and Drippy are ever going to get it together. (Outside some morally dubious fan fiction I have stored in my head).
Shame. She was kinda nice… when I could be bothered to pay her the attention she deserved.
SOMETIMES, NOVICES MAKE ME WANT TO PREVENT THINGS FROM LIVING
I have a nine year old nephew. I genuinely like the kid. My sister sometimes sends him round to stay with me when she’s either a) bored of him or b) looking to not be bored with my brother in law. I can understand that. As any self-respecting uncle would do, I fill him up with take away food he’s not allowed to eat, and let him play videogames his mother wouldn’t approve of. It’s fun… well… it’s SUPPOSED to be fun.
For some reason I turn into some kind of Videogames Nazi when he’s in the house. God forbid I should give a nine year old a break when we’re playing some co-op. His understandable failures on the battlefield really rankle me. I find myself barking orders as his tiny fingers and brain attempt to the grasp the finer points of dual analogue aiming and firing.
I forget that this is all relatively new to him. I forget that I’ve been doing this since controllers were invented. So why on earth do I find myself shouting at him like he’s forgotten to finish his maths homework.
Worse? He once proudly brought his DS to show me his ‘awesome’ Pokemon team. Without pausing to draw breath I tore his Pokemon team a new one – pointing out the obvious weaknesses in his team build up. I will not lie – the kid was on the verge of tears.
I was going to follow through and finish him off with a lecture on the finer pints of EV training – but I guess even I’m not that heartless.
Not only am I a videogames junkie – sometimes I’m a horrible douchebag videogames junkie.
BUT YOU’VE ACHIEVED NOTHING!
If I have to buy a game on either 360 or PS3, I inevitably buy it on 360 – for one reason. The Achievements. I’m not as bad as I was, in that an achievement frenzy will now strike in waves rather than being my default position.
I’ve lost the will to compete with my other gaming friends for example – but once in a while, a game will come along and I’ll do everything in my power to max it out. Or I’ll revisit an old favourite and attempt to clear it.
Sometimes it will take a week of dedicated evenings. Other times I will devote an entire weekend to sit in my house and reach that 1000g.
One part of me will be like ‘yeah! I’ve done it’ while another part of me (particularly the part that looks out at the balmy Sunday evening sun and has to go back to work the following Monday) feels kinda dirty and dead inside. I’ve completely gutted Skyrim of it’s achievements for example – but when I look at the amount of hours it too, it makes me feel kinda guilty.
Sure these are hours that I haven’t spend killing people or stealing money. And yes, I know that smoking, drinking, cocaine and womanising are not the most wholesome of pastimes – but sometimes I wonder, had I spent 326 hours with those, perhaps I’d have a slightly more interesting tale to tell than ‘Sat in my underwear, enchanted a kick-ass bow, killed some dragons, maxed out my cheevos’.
Maxing-out achievements however pale in comparison to perhaps my biggest regret – both Final Fantasy VII and Zelda: Ocarina of Time released while I was in University. You’ll get no prizes for guessing what those two games did for my education…
BUT HONESTLY, WHO CARES?
So sometimes I’m not that nice a person. Maybe videogames aren’t exactly 100% ‘good for me’. I suppose if I counted all the hours I’ve ever spent playing games and then put as much effort into learning to play the piano, or rescuing puppies from streams, or murdering benefit cheats the world might be a slightly better place.
Perhaps, I should probably spend just a little less time with the curtains drawn and a little longer in the sun with beer my hand, if only for my own benefit.
But you know what, as ever-so-slightly-guilty as I feel sometimes – I don’t really care.
There’s something rather pleasant about reading a game manual on the bus home from town. I’ve had some amazing evenings of four player action with my closest friends and family. And I enjoy nothing more than sharing my enjoyment of, or experience with games, with fellow enthusiasts – down the pub, at Con’s, via my facebook page or forums.
More to the point – drawing a line underneath all this, I really like the way a new console smells when I ease it out of the box. In that respect it looks like this year is going to be one of the best as far as that insatiable habit goes.
Until next time.
ILJG runs the I Love Japanese Games Facebook Page.
His views are not necessarily those held by Rice Digital or its partners.
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