Monday, April 23, 2012

A Date with the Couch

Much like the tale of poor Gregor Samsa, as of late I've discovered I've undergone some sort of twisted transformation. Fortunately, I'm not an insect. (If you have NO idea what I'm talking about, go read The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka.) No, instead, these past few weeks have seen me transform into the stereotype of a reclusive teenager obsessed with video games.


Video games.

And not just a few, and not just mildly obsessed—I mean, I'm not going to lie. I really love video games. And I've got my 'defense of gaming' argument all set up; you'll read about it (if you stick with me!) later in this very post. But seriously guys, it's been ridiculous lately. My productivity has absolutely plummeted. I spend most of my time firmly planted on the couch, Playstation controller clutched tight in my hands, concentration devoted entirely to the game.

It all started when I graduated—maybe even a little before then. I was rebelling against responsibility, I think, and maybe trying to make the most of the days I have left in which I can afford to shirk all my duties and sit on my backside for hours on end. Either way, it happened.

The first game that really sucked me back in was Fallout. Followed quickly by Fallout: New Vegas—I mean, come on! Post world-as-we-know-it open world game space in which my actions and decisions actually impact the outcome of the game? Excellent.

Then there was Deus Ex, which was just cool in this super high tech futuristic way. But what really got the ball rolling on my too-much-time-spent-gaming kick was Dead Island. A zombie game. An open world zombie game. Yes, I was super excited for this game even before it actually came out! Because, in case you didn't know, horror movies of all kinds are a guilty pleasure of mine. I love zombies. So a zombie game set on a tropical island that you can explore completely? I'm there.

Me at midnight, pleased as punch.
And I was. At midnight. To pick up my reserved copy.

And let me just say, I was one of maybe...four girls there for the midnight release? In which the store was practically full? And I'm pretty sure all the other girls were there because their boyfriends were.

So yeah.

Then, to top it all off, I got back to my apartment, popped in the game, and couldn't get past the first five minutes of gameplay without dying. Seriously. I died about seventeen times before I gave up and went to bed angry.

The next morning, I actually Googled the game to figure out what I was doing wrong. Here I was, thinking, "Game glitch!" But no. Literally I was just running down the wrong hallway.

I was off to a great start.

In the end, I ended up spending just about seventy hours of my life on that game. Just that one game.

Also, I wrecked a staggering number of vehicles. See evidence below—
Exhibit A—by the pool.
Exhibit B—into some bushes.
Exhibit C—down the stairs.

It gets worse.

The next game that completely engulfed my time and my life was Skyrim. Another open-world game with side-quests galore! To date, I have spent 100+ hours on it, and guess what? I'm not even finished with it yet!

Most recently, it was Silent Hill: Downpour—but in my defense, I've been obsessed with this game series since I played the first one back on the original Playstation. And it only took me thirty hours. Yeah.

But it's not even just serious or involved games like Dead Island, Skyrim, or Silent Hill.

I've also started spending a lot of time on games like Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, and Mario Party. I've become obsessed with getting gold stars on each level, or unlocking all the extra characters.

I keep telling myself that it's fine—and honestly, at this point, it's not too bad. I'm still working, so I'm not a lost cause. But remember my last post, where I was talking about how I haven't been writing?

Yeah. This is one of the reasons why. And it's not a good reason. It's just a convenient one.

In some cases, video games actually do inspire my writing. Especially if I'm in the mood to write something scary, which is often. At least, I usually start writing with the intent to end up with something scary. So games like Dead Island and Silent Hill aren't completely a waste of time.

But the truth is, it's more convenient and much less work to just let these games take over my time.

However, remember how I said I have a defense of video gaming? I'm getting to that now!

There's this really cool thing that happens when you play a video game—it's somewhere in between reading a book and watching a movie. Especially when you're dealing with a game with a solid, interesting story (like the Uncharted series!). It's more interactive than reading a book because you control movement and actions. It's more involved than watching a movie because not only do you see and hear cutscenes and dialogue, you're immersed in the story as you play through it. So playing video games can be a really involved experience in which for a few hours (or, if you're me lately, more than a few hours) you get to ditch reality, step out of yourself, and let your imagination run wild.

In that sense, as a creative person, I really appreciate what gaming brings to the table. It's never a bad thing to get your creative juices flowing, and if playing a video game makes that happen, I say that can't be a bad thing!

That being said, definitely I need to work on cutting back how much time I spend playing games. Because in that sense, it is a lot like reading—I can sit down thinking I'm just going to play for a little while (I'm just going to read a couple of chapters...) and before I know it, half the day is gone.

So, is it just me? Or are any of you guys game obsessed, too? :)


Matt Saye said...

I go through bouts of being obsessed by video games.

But I get obsessed by everything, to be honest. Especially when it's a new thing I've discovered that I like. Then, I don't leave it alone for days.

So, in essence, no, you're not alone. I get obsessed by video games as well.

Great post as usual, Sarah. Nice to have your posts back more regularly.

Sarah said...

That's what I do, too, really—phases. Sometimes I can't seem to unplug myself from my PS3 long enough to get anything else done. Other times, I don't even think about playing games for months at a time.

And I definitely know what you mean about getting obsessed with everything. I totally do that, too! When I get into something, I get INTO it.

Great to know I'm not alone! Thanks for taking the time to comment. It's always awesome to know people are reading my blog! :)

Luc Joseph said...

Nope, you're definitely not alone. I go through phases like that where I get a game (or someone recommends it to me) and then I'm off for the next week or so trying to beat it. I'm just starting the Uncharted series (bought 1 & 2) and it's by far one of the best games I've played. After this, I'll probably stay away from the PS3 for a month before I do it all over again.

And while I know that telling you this is like telling a fellow crack addict where the hidden stash is (silly, ain't I?), if you get the chance, play Catherine. Great puzzle-type game, excellent story, and multiple endings. My teen daughter hooked me into it.

Melody said...

Go to Starbucks to help break your video game addiction. ;) Seriously, they say that a little video game playing is good for the mind because it kind of 'clears' of stress. For me, I still play a little minesweeper now and then. LOL. That's about it. I don't think that even counts as a video game anymore.

issac said...

nice post

JustPassingBy said...

It's been a while since I came back into the blogosphere and all the while I've been waiting for your entries lol. Your writing really lures people in, least that's what I think. Can't wait to go back and read your other posts!
I played Skyrim on my friend's Xbox360 until the ring of death appeared. Still have to pay him back for that one...

A happenin man said...

you'll love red dead redemption, you'll laugh a bit you will gasp in horror and if you have any feelings you will cry a little bit. :)