40 Days and 40 Nights – Giving up Gaming for Lent – Part I

I am by no means a religious person. I was not even Christened as a child, with my parents taking the view that I should be able to make my own choices on such matters, and I’m not even too sure what Lent is all about. Today (Tuesday 21st of February) was the day that I had a Twitter conversation with one of our writers, Jo. She was deciding on what her last chocolate bar should be before she gives it up for Lent. After me suggesting she give up crack cocaine instead, and generally being obnoxious and unhelpful, Jo explained that, despite her not being religious either, she gave up chocolate for Lent every year so that when Easter came around the chocolate tasted that much better.

After thinking on this for a while, I decided that Jo was a raving lunatic and that I should unfollow and block her immediately. After purging myself of her madness, I carried on with my day and thought no more of it. Later that day, after crawling up the M1, I get home to find my fiancée finishing off the last jar of Nutella with a spoon as she happily declared that she was giving up Nutella for Lent.

“Fuck me, the madness is catching” was my initial thought, followed by “good luck woman, you’re addicted to the stuff”. She then went on to say that I should give something up, to which I replied “bollocks.” Not satisfied with my response, she decided to have a little think about what I should give up. As soon as she said it, I knew what was coming. If you’ve read the title of this article then you also know what is coming.

At first I resisted; I told her that she was mad, that it would never happen, and I flat out refused. This carried on for a short while. My superior retorts, philosophical and anecdotal arguments held their own for a while. Then she did it. She played “the trump card”, and that was it. Now I won’t go into too much detail about what the card is, but if you have half a mind then you’ll already know. My old friend “Sexy Time” was being held hostage. Should I fail, then I would spend the rest of the forty days and nights without any slidey-pump-pump action.


So here we are. Over the next forty days and forty nights I will not be playing any electronic games whatsoever. This includes PC games, console games, hand-held games or even mobile gaming of any kind. I am still allowed to use electronic devices such as my ‘phone etc, so long as I don’t do anything on them that even slightly resembles being a game. During this time I shall be keeping a pseudo diary of sorts which will track my progress and I’ll be keeping you up to date with three or four articles charting my progress, close calls, and possibly even nuclear meltdowns as I attempt this stupid challenge.

My name is Ste. I am giving up gaming for Lent, and this is my story.

Day 0 (21st Feb)
It’s my last night of gaming freedom before my torment begins. I’m only really playing one game at the moment and that is Star Wars: The Old Republic, so that’s what I’ll be spending my last few hours playing. No time to talk. Fuck, just realised my 30 day trial ended yesterday. A six month sub started this morning… Oh well, at least I’m a Founder now.

Day 2 (23rd Feb)
OK, first couple of days done! No major problems so far. Today, however, while looking up the date when Lent ended, I found out that for some reason Sunday isn’t counted, therefore Lent is actually forty-five days long and not forty! So the date when I’ll be able to play again is Saturday the 7th April. What the fuck is that about? A bit annoyed about this, but I’m committed to carrying on. An extra five days can’t make that much difference can it??? This minor kick to the nuts aside, it has been quite a busy couple of days at work and where normally I’d get at least an hour or two in on SWtOR to unwind I instead watched some TV with the fiancée. Tonight, thanks to TV, I learned that childbirth is extremely painful and Mercedes from Hollyoaks is a slag.  I think you’ll all agree that my life is richer for this knowledge.

Not Mercedes from Hollyoaks. The actress that plays her, and probably not a slag.

In gaming news, Sony’s latest effort in the handheld department, the PlayStation Vita was released on Wednesday. I really like the look of this bit of kit. I was an admirer of the PSP but could never really afford one, and by the time I could they were looking a bit dated. The Vita though.. I wouldn’t mind me a bit of that. Maybe when the price comes down. Overall there have been no significant urges to play anything or to even turn on my PC or console. My only concern at the moment is that the weekend is coming up and, as with most other gamers, this is when I usually do most of my gaming. With nowhere to go this weekend, and nothing else to do, this is going to be my first real test.

Day 4 (25th Feb)
It’s now Saturday night as I type this. As I mentioned above, Friday night and Saturday are the times in my week when I usually do most of my gaming. Once again I occupied my Friday night with some TV, but I also picked up my book again after not reading it for a while. The book I’ve been trying to read is the fifth book in the ‘Song of Fire and Ice’ series and, for those who don’t know, it’s from the same series of books that the TV show ‘Game of Thrones’ is based on. It’s awesome, and I can highly recommend the series if you are looking for something to read.

Was it the red wire or the blue wire? Oh balls.

Thinking back to Friday morning, something did happen at work that got me thinking about my old Counter Strike days. I used to play Counter Strike a lot back in the day as part of a clan and, while I wasn’t exactly great at the game, I wasn’t bad either. Anyway, I work in an office in Nottingham and down the road there is a Territorial Army centre.  It was around 10 am when the director of the office announced that we all had to evacuate the building and move to a safe distance as, apparently, there had been a bomb scare of some sort at the TA centre. “Holy Shit, I better move my car!” Were the first words out of my mouth and after doing so, and while we were all standing around in the street, it was then that the situation got me thinking about Counter Strike again, giving it toes to the bomb site and generally shooting the shit out of people. Good times.

So that was Friday out of the way, but Saturday was always going to be a little bit trickier. Throughout the week I have work to keep me occupied during the day, but on the weekend I literally have bugger all to do. I needed to occupy myself. First of all I cleaned the house from top to bottom. You wouldn’t believe how clean it is now. This task only took me an hour. Balls. Next on the list was to go and get my hair cut. By the time I had got ready to go out and walked into town, got my hair cut and come back, I had only killed an hour and a half.

This just wasn’t cutting it. It was obvious that more drastic measures were required… so it was with a heavy heart that I went food shopping with the missus. DOOM!!!

Nearly four hours later after a trip to Tesco, B&Q, and a few other equally dull establishments (it’s never just the one shop, you fool) we returned home and so it appeared that I had made it through the day. Now all I had to do was survive the night. Unfortunately, the missus is going to her friend’s house tonight to talk about wedding stuff so, as I type this, I am left home alone. I could quite easily go upstairs and whack the PC on and nobody would ever know but, instead, I’ve stayed well away from it and sit downstairs to type this on the missus’ laptop while I watch The Fellowship of the Ring on DVD.

So, apart from the Counter Strike flashback, I’m still doing quite well. With the time I’ve reclaimed over the last few days I’ve managed to pick up my book again, watch a classic film that I’ve not seen for years, and spend some more quality time shopping. OK so that last part wasn’t so great but I’m still feeling pretty good about things. Let’s just hope I can keep it up for the rest of the weekend and carry on into next week.

Day 7 (28th Feb)
So, Sunday was a bit of a bitch. I decided to kill some time by watching Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and after that I spent the rest of the day on YouTube watching a shitload of eSports videos; mainly Starcraft 2 and Street Fighter videos.  Seriously, I must have watched people play these games more than I’ve actually played them myself. I know I’m kind of torturing myself here, but I’m actually enjoying watching these videos. The Starcraft stuff especially. When you’ve seen enough of these videos you really start to appreciate the amount of skill and effort that goes into becoming good at a game like Starcraft. You might also be surprised about the prize money you can earn! Some tournaments have prize pools topping £100,000!! Holy crap!

You... will... NOT... withold... sex... from ME!! Then YOU... will... hand over... the fucking... NUT... ELLA!

On Monday night my brother, who is also my SWtOR partner in crime, found out that I had given up gaming for Lent. True to form, he took the piss out of me and proceeded to tell me all about what he had been doing in-game. The fucker. I know the idiot’s username and password, so if he carries on he’ll be in for a shock next time he logs in. Mwuhaha. In other news, I’ve invented a new game; it’s called “Lets see how high I can get the average mile per gallon indicator on my car to go while driving to and from work.” The title needs some work and the graphics are pretty crap, but it’s something at least, and its not breaking the rules so I’m golden. My high score so far is 61.5, which is not bad if you ask me.  I aim to destroy that over the course of the next few weeks.

So, a week down and I’m still going strong. Its obvious that some definite coping mechanisms are beginning to develop, however. YouTube is getting a good bashing, I’ve started to make up my own games, and I’m overdosing on Orcs, Elves and Hobbits. To be honest though, it really could be a lot worse; I envisage these coping mechanisms only being able to take me so far before I start to crack.

That’s all for this entry. Check back in a week or so to see how I’m getting on with things. Hopefully I’ll still be sane and able to string a few sentences together… Now get lost, I’m off to watch some Mass Effect 3 trailers!

Last five articles by Ste



  1. Edward Edward says:

    This article inspires two completely different sets of feelings in me. Part of me thinks you’re an absolute madman for giving up gaming for lent, and actually winced in sheer horror at your ordeal (especially the saturday). The other part of me is enjoying your misery (because schadenfreude) and can’t wait to see how you struggle to cope.

    Best of luck, in any case, Ste.

  2. Chris Chris-Toffer says:

    Great article dude. We may hate each others guts and constantly strive to out do each other but this is a fabulous little journey. Very much enjoying it.

  3. Tania Tania says:

    Good stuff, I’m looking forward to the next episode. :)

  4. Jo Not Jo. says:

    Heheheehehehehee …

    Already looking forward to the next entry. I’m hoping that’s the one where you crack and start referring to yourself and Glenda.

    Either way, keep up the good work :)

  5. Richie Richie says:

    I’ll be following this. As opposed to following the tradition of lent myself (which I wont be doing because I’m not a bum-master like you).

    This is good though, Ste. I was going to kill, fuck and eat you in that order but now I shall let you continue.

  6. Ian says:

    I’m with Richie on this one. Nice idea if someone else is doing it.

  7. simonjk says:

    Hey if Sundays aren’t included in Lent then…… I’m seing a little loop hole appearing there! As for ‘give upable things’, I only do gaming and smoking tobacco and I’ve cut them down to 10-15 per day and you be checking me into bottom block if I gave any of them up even for a short period of time.

  8. Ste Ste says:

    Thanks for the comments guys, doing this has been tougher than I expected. You don’t realise how much you miss shit until its taken away.

    @Richie, I’m eternally thankful you won’t be killing, fucking or eating me any time soon.. :-/

    @SimonJK, I thought about the Sunday loophole too but couldn’t really find anything that said I could cheat on Sundays, it seems they just don’t include Sundays in the count. Weird

  9. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    That woman with the Nutella really does have an impressive pair, doesn’t she? It’s funny mate… I mean, I can (and regularly DO) go weeks without playing, and the first time I boot up my Xbox since JULY last year was last night, and I never once missed it. If, however, it was TAKEN from me rather than it just being out of circumstance, then I imagine I’d be missing it like hell. It’s like when you decide to go on a diet (not that you’d know, bastard) and suddenly you want all the stuff that you can’t have, even though you rarely ate it before you went on the bloody diet anyway.

    I’m loving the coverage though dood, and looking forward to the next. Damien FTW!

  10. Lorna Lorna says:

    Loved this :D Your pain amuses me and long may it continue :D I can go weeks wihtout gaming usually, because I am an apathetic bitch, but if I couldn’t for whatever reason, it would drive me insane. The moment I can’t do something/eat something/watch something, I usually have a sudden urgency to do/eat/watch it.

    Making up your own games is a good coping mechanism, but you should just watch the slug-fest that is Return of the King. With its fifteen fucking endings, it would take you right up until the end of Lent and beyond.

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