Sleeping And A Videogame Obsession

Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold out there today!

I had an uncomfortable epiphany just this past week. I see my digital clock display the number 2:25am far, far too often. It’s a bizarre number to shock me into realising that something is not right. But something clearly is. A quick mental roll-call reveals that games like Dead Space, Saints Row 2, Batman and Mass Effect 2 might have taken me all of 2010 to complete if I hadn’t decided that NREM and REM sleep were overrated.

If you are the type of gamer who has got control of either their gaming habit, or their sleeping patterns, the following will be a completely alien insight into the mind of an obsessive. First of all, I’d like to clarify that I am not the type of gamer that Keith Vaz complains about. You know the type, allergic to sleep, soap and sex; prone to doing serious bodily harm to kids, kittens and co-workers if my save file gets corrupted. It’s not that bad yet, but I have got a large proportion of played games which have taken the better part of 140 hours plus of my life. And that sort of investment requires sacrifice.

But like all obsessives, I prefer to be in denial and refuse to accept the root cause of this obsession. It is not me that is being childish and unreasonable. A man-child who has not grown up. No. No. No. I blame the geniuses at Rocksteady, EA and Rockstar for producing digital gems of such high quality that they simply can’t be enjoyed in thirty minute bursts. This results in me having an average of four hours sleep a night. But that is not as bad you might think. Our most famous PM also got by on only four hours sleep a night. Margaret Thatcher may have ushered in the era of greed as characterised by privatisation of our national assets, buy-to-let market and the closing of the coal mines, but it goes without saying that she would not have been a better PM on 8 hours sleep a night. And if she can be the same person of questionable quality on a shortened sleeping regime as she would have been on a full nights sleep, then I can sacrifice sleep on the important business of fattening my gamerscore.

Matt tried his hardest to stay awake for the sake of his clan but, just as they reached the final boss battle, he flaked out. They kicked him out of the clan. Lightweight.

Of course, there are certain physical drawbacks that sleeping so little on a continuous basis has on the human body. I am told that sleep deprivation is actually one of the tools in the fight against terrorism. And its deployment has yielded incredible results in the fight against the Taliban. But as with everything in life, weapons against evil can also be used for good. In the hands of the US army, sleep deprivation has resulted in the capture of some high-ranking bad dudes. But in my hands, catching twenty winks has meant that Andrew Ryan of Bioshock breathed his last and was brought to justice. I didn’t faff about with the International Court of Justice. In real life, Nigel Mansell famously missed out on winning the 1993 Indianapolis 500, because of tiredness. Apparently, he was dozing and got startled awake when Emerson Fittipaldi and Arie Luyendyk thundered past. Me? Forza 2 saw me come first in forty six consecutive races over a nine hour period.

Sometimes, even the most hardened gaming insomnia gives way to nature and it's time to admit defeat... hopefully after saving!

But what it boils down to is something that all gamers know. If you enjoy something enough, you will be able to make time to enjoy your hobby. Life throws up plenty of obstacles in your way, to stop you devoting time to the important things in life. If you are of a certain age, school/college/uni work should always take precedence. If you are at a certain stage in life, then your kids/partner requires the majority of your attention. Finding the correct balance can be a major problem and that is why the notion of sacrificing your sleep becomes a reality for many gamers. If you don’t want to fail school/college/uni, you either cut down on your gaming time or exist on four hours sleep. If you don’t want the ignominy of social services adopting your kids, you had better utilise the sleep deprivation your children put you through. If you don’t want to sleep alone permanently, you had either learn to game after your partner has gone to sleep or find a new hobby.

Me? I shall continue to game until all the consoles have abandoned traditional joypads and exclusively use motion-controllers or simply map your movements. The day that happens, I will have tired of gaming.

Last five articles by Victor



  1. Samuel The Preacher says:

    “…allergic to sleep, soap and sex; prone to doing serious bodily harm to kids, kittens and co-workers if my save file gets corrupted.”

    Hey, don’t knock it just because you behave half-way civilised. Fuck Keith Vaz, that prick has been suspended from the Commons before because of unwarranted attacks on people over his own warped political agenda. I shower twice a week, almost never sleep, and I’m still a virgin, and I’m fine… *twitch*… honest…

    Obviously I can relate to what you’re talking about. It was pretty funny the first few times we saw each other on Live at 3 in the morning and sent messages simultaneously asking what the hell each other was doing up that time of day. Of course, I didn’t stay up that late to play Hannah Montana… heheh, man, you’re never living that one down.

    That said, I don’t stay up to game. I have insomnia anyway, gaming just gives me something to do. I’ve not been sleeping properly since I was 7, only back then I used to read comics and sci-fi novels with a torch, and listen to the radio with headphones. These days it’s gaming, and commenting on games articles online, heh.

    Did I mention fuck Keith Vaz? And Labour generally. Any hot Torie gamer chicks out there, you know where I am.

  2. Rook says:

    I have had too many late nights, sometimes that is due to gaming, other times due to watching stuff. Either way, I hate the thought of going to bed, as I’d rather be doing more entertaining things. Yet, if I don’t sleep, I won’t have the energy to play or watch anything without dozing off.

    What to do, what to do… oh wait, look at the time… maybe I’ll sleep on it. (dammit)

  3. Kat says:

    I read that article squinting away cos my eyes feel like they’re melting into their sockets after staying up too late last night gaming. Did I do what any sane person would and stop after GTA when tired? Nope, I gathered friends and figured Gauntlet would be a good idea (we looked for you Van to be our fourth but to no avail!).

    I know I should sleep more. I’m a wreck too much after a late night but when your days are mundane then you don’t want the few hours that are spent having huge laughs with friends to end. That’s my downfall.

  4. Victor Victor says:

    Ha. I love the images. MarkuzR is a god. And I can’t pimp via Twitter anymore, since they have completely blocked access at work now, the bleeders.

    *twitch* Did someone mention 7:55? *twitch*

  5. Oli says:

    I tried the napping for 20 minutes every 4 hours thing instead of sleeping at night. Needless to say I went mad after about 4 days and went back to 4 hours a night instead!

  6. MrCuddleswick says:

    Your words soothe me. It always makes me feel little better about staying up late with a game when I see you are still up. If Van-Fu can do it, then I can at least deprive myself as much has him, and then ask my boss to contact him when all goes south into the browned fan.

    Also, maybe Margaret Thatcher wouldn’t have had the appearance and manner of Skeletor after a candy floss machine accident if she’d have gotten a solid 8 in each night.

  7. Victor Victor says:

    It cheers me up immensely as well when I get on late at night and see my preferred companions like the Erudite Knight, xLibitinax and MrCuddleswick awake

    @Rook, you are right. Sleep is for the week. Entertaining yourself is much more fun.

  8. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Yeah well when you lightweights are gaming at 2am, think about the poor sod seeing you all play, and unable to do so because he’s making this site SO damn beautiful :) By the way Cuddles… I’m sure Thatcher DID get a solid 8in each night ;)

    Victor… thank you for appreciating the awesomeness of the photos… the 7:55 was originally going to be the time on every photo, and I was going to add a watch with 7:55 on your wrist too as well as change your t-shirt to have a “7:55″ print, but decided not to :)

  9. Samuel The Preacher says:

    Thatcher was a famous insomniac, is what I think Cuddles was getting at. That or he’s suggesting I should bang Skeletor… no… does not bear imagining… gah!

    Not all Torie women look like Thatcher, Cuddles man. Have you even SEEN Samantha Cameron? She makes Brown’s wife look like a sack of dumplings and starch.

  10. Lorna Lorna says:

    Great piece, good to see you back Victor ;) Last sleep deprived gaming session was staying up with Rook until 4am two nights in a row, hammering EDF, the bastard of a game that it is. The insanity difficulty or whatever is was, was certainly no mean feat.

    As soon as I get back into a management game though, the clock will have no meaning for me. Usually when int he grip of writing though, my all-nighters tend to focus on words rather than games…

  11. Rook says:

    @Lorna – It was the Inferno difficulty and is the highest achievement I have through True Achievements. 300 = TA 798. They were certainly late night gaming sessions. Who needs sleep when you have gun turrets. Unfortunately, the game stayed with you while you slept too. :p

  12. PSonic says:

    Nicely done Victor!! As someone who routinely gets between 4 and 5 hours of sleep per night (due to staying up too late playing video games), I can sympathize.

  13. NeoVampyre says:

    So true, Vic! I’ve done the 5 hours sleep and then a full work day but am now no longer working as I am disabled (Artheritis in spine and knees) so I can afford 8-10 hours sleep! My newer routine is simply; Father of 7 till 9pm, watcher of TV with wife from 9pm till midnight then gamer till 5 or 6 am! I’m sure Vic can atest to my online times;) Why? Have you seen the rubbish on TV? there is bored till around 9pm every day. What do I do with my gaming time? I find a game I like and play it to death, my last game was Borderlands which I played around 6-10 hours a day from december till about 27th March every day all for £45 – will worth every penny! I’m now playing Just Cause 2. My ‘cracksauce’ is free roam, why sit and mindlessly watch TV when I can do what I want in a free roam video game so I can interact with my hobby not just observe and I’ll still be doing the same stuff in a few years when i hit my Forties!

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