40 Days and 40 Nights – Giving up Gaming for Lent – Part II
Hey guys, thanks for coming back for part two of the tale of my batshit crazy quest to give up gaming for Lent. If this is the first your reading of this then a) where you been yo? and, b) you can read the first part here.
Day 9 (1st March)
It’s Thursday night now and I’m well into my second week of giving up gaming for Lent. Last night I went to play football after not having played since before Christmas, or something. Needless to say, I’m paying for my inactivity now. Aches and pains all over the place, even in places I didn’t know could ache. Fuck you getting old and fuck you getting unfit. Not that I’ve ever been particularly fit in the first place. I’m 6’2″ and about 13 and a bit stone, so I don’t need to lose weight. Do I? Are you calling me fat???
OK I’m rambling a bit. Not a good way to start an article but I guess this is no ordinary article. Normally if I catch myself talking too much bollocks I would have gone back and deleted most of that last paragraph but I think for the purpose of this little experiment its better for you to see my thought processes as I try to fill the void that giving up gaming has left.
As well as playing actual sport, actually outside, I’ve been thinking a lot about games that I never got around to finishing. For example, I’ve only ever managed to finish one Final Fantasy game – which was X – and, to be fair, I found that on the final boss it was pretty much impossible to lose, which was a bit of a let down. It got me wondering where my old Final Fantasy VII and VIII games were. I found VII but VIII is long gone. So what did I go and do? I only downloaded it again from the PSN store. I can’t play it for a little while but there it is, waiting for me. I’m determined to finish them both at some point. Not got a clue when but that’s one of my challenges for when I finally get to play games again.
In other news, my latest score on the “Lets see how high I can get the average mile per gallon indicator on my car to go while driving to and from work” game is 64mpg. Kicking ass and taking names; albeit my own name and my own ass. It matters not.
Day 11 (3rd March)
Crap, it’s the weekend again. Usually I can’t wait until the weekend rolls around but now I’m starting to dread them thanks to the lack of games. Spent most of the day watching more Starcraft 2 videos and I even updated my SWtOR client. I don’t know why I did that, but I did. Perhaps I just wanted to be close to a game? It hasn’t helped matters with the missus playing Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 on her laptop while I’m trying to watch TV either. I couldn’t see the screen but all I could hear was kids screaming/cheering and little “cha-ching” noises every time she sold something. It’s been years since I played a Roller Coaster Tycoon game, but I immediately knew what she was playing just from the sound. Great game, but I digress. This little salvo of psychological warfare was done on purpose, but that was kinda obvious from all the “Ha ha, I’m playing a game and you’re not” type taunts she was spouting.
Lap it up, woman.
Tomorrow, I am
going to… no wait, make that, being dragged to a wedding fair. I plan to suitably embarrass her and exact some revenge. Things I plan on doing/asking people include: whether or not the photographer does consummation photos; make enquiries regarding a top hat, cane and monocle to wear for the ceremony; and what poses can you put the little man and woman that go on top of the cake into?
Day 14 (6th March)
I did none of the things I said I would do at the wedding fair. The missus got wind and suitably bollocked me. What is happening to me?! Is the lack of killing virtual things reducing my testosterone somehow? I did, however, eat half my weight in free wedding cake, enquired about the cost of a mechanical bull for “the kids”, and got lost. All in all, Sunday was a good day. Managed not to think about games too much.
I didn’t do too badly yesterday either. Today though? FUCK ME. Today Mass Effect 3 came out in the States. I nearly killed my phone reading twitter and various reviews. As we speak, Mass Effect 2 is installing on my machine and I’m not even going to play it! WHY?! I just want it there so I can play it after the 7th of April. I’ve still got a few DLCs to do before I move on to the third game but, to be honest, knowing me I’ll just jump right into ME3 when I get it, so I don’t even know why I’m bothering. Fuck knows what I’m going to do when it actually gets released here in the UK. I might have to hit myself over the head with something.
Due to the sudden spike in gamer orgasms on the net today, I found myself thinking up of achievements that I could give myself as I continue on this doomed quest. I’m going to call them Stevos. The first one I thought of was “Stupid”, the description tag for this one is “Decided to give up gaming for Lent, lolz” and it is worth 50 Stevo points. I also decided that installing a game that I am not allowed to play deserves another Stevo, this one is called “Pointless” and I reckon should be worth 0 points. Oh the irony.
Day 17 (9th March – Mass Effect release day)
So Mass Effect 3 was released in the UK and got a well deserved 9/10 from Stu. If you get chance, go over and have a read of his review. So I read the review in the morning and, after becoming content that BioWare hadn’t fucked up the series, I decided that all was well in the world. Everything was fine up until lunch time at work, when I inexplicably stood up after eating my dinner and went for a walk into town. Oh look, there’s a Grainger Games. I had never even noticed it was there before so I went in to have a look. “Oh wow, it’s horrible in here” were my first thoughts. It looked like there had been an explosion in a CEX store and all the fire-damaged, crappy, used stock had been swept up, squirted with water, and dumped into this place. I persevered however, and a few minutes later after my eyes had adjusted to the gloom I eventually managed to find the PC section. It was tucked up next to the Wii games, and was literally just four shelves that were each approximately five games wide. Games such as Age of Empires 3 and fucking Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun (in a jewel case, I shit you not.) were haphazardly stacked about. I was about to walk out looking like I was chewing a turd, and then I saw it. Mass Effect 3. I looked at it, picked it up, put it back down again and walked out of the store.
That’s what should have happened anyway. What actually happened was that, after picking it up and looking at it, I then started walking to the counter with it in my hands. Then suddenly, and without warning, my wallet opens and my debit card gets put into the chip and pin machine, the pin gets bashed in and I was asked if I would like a bag with that.
I said yes.
During this whole time I was thinking, What are you doing? You can’t play this game yet. Put it back and wait until April. I was agreeing with the little voice in my head but I went ahead and bought it anyway. It wasn’t until later when I thought about it that there is a “big” Tesco just up the road where I could have got it cheaper. I’m usually quite thrifty when it comes to buying games; I always do my research and try to buy from the cheapest outlet. Not today though. It’s like I was just blind to all sense and reason, driven by my need to own Mass Effect 3. How bad does that sound? The Daily Mail would have a field day with me. As I type this now, the game is installing and, all jokey coping mechanisms aside, I think this is the first sign that this challenge is actually starting to get to me.
Just quickly, in other gaming news, it looks like GAME will be going down the pan. My twitter feed is currently full of people showing off their hauls from GAME’s current Fire Sale like hunters showing off dead animal heads. It’s just a shame that most of these games appear to be shit. While I think it is a shame that these shops will be lost to us, I personally won’t miss GAME. They’ve had this coming for a long time. Ridiculously expensive games, both new and pre-owned, and a generally-piss-poor customer experience have taken it’s toll. It’s a small wonder it’s not happened sooner. I hope whomever springs up to replace them will learn from GAME’s mistakes.
Day 20 (12th March)
OK people, something terrible has happened. On Saturday morning I went to the “big, big” Tesco (theres always a bigger Tesco) with the missus to kill some time. In this particular Tesco they have a big electronics area; you know the kind – big TVs everywhere, digital cameras, the lot. Well there was also an Xbox set up with the new FIFA running on it. Without even thinking about it I picked up the pad, unpaused the game that was playing only for the CPU to immediately score against me. I re-paused the game and walked off in a huff without a second thought.
It was only on Monday when somebody mentioned FIFA on Twitter that I realised what I had done! FUCK!! I don’t even like sports games! I hate FIFA! Yeah, back in the day at uni I used to play Pro Evo with the lads, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it, I was just being one of the lads; “birds, beer, boobs” etc; what I really wanted to do was sit in my room and play City of Heroes on my own!!
So, seeing as it was only really a minor infraction, I personally don’t think I’ve failed, per se. But as I am doing this thing for your entertainment I’m going to let you, the readers, decide whether I should be let off or whether I should add an extra day onto the challenge as a punishment. What I want you to do is either leave a comment in the bottom or send me a message on Twitter @SteMarsh or @GamingLives and hashtag it #naughtyste to tell me what the verdict is. I’ll count up the votes and let you know the deal in the next diary. My fate is in your hands people! Don’t fuck me over…
Back to the rest of the weekend then; as I said in the last entry, I had installed Mass Effect 3 on to my machine in readiness of when I can play again. I wish I hadn’t now, because the bastard has been winking at me all weekend, willing me to play the game and finally finish the Commander’s story and some kick Reaper ass; alleged disappointing ending and all. At one point I had it loaded up! My excuse was ‘to see if there was an intro cut scene that I hadn’t seen yet’. The answer was no, and it was with a massive effort that I managed to click on quit and shut down the computer.
Sunday wasn’t much better. Once again I spent half of the day on bloody YouTube watching Starcraft 2 replays with the thought of Mass Effect 3 waiting for me in the back of my mind. For those of you who are interested, my Starcraft commentator of choice is Husky, so check him out if you haven’t already. He’s some American kid, and is a bit loud, but he really knows his stuff and he’s a good laugh. If he isn’t your cup of tea then I also highly recommend HD and his channel. The guy is a gent. Subscribe to them if you enjoy your Starcraft. While I’m on the subject, my favourite players to watch are WhiteRa and Idra who play Protoss and Zerg respectively, I haven’t got a clue which teams they play for but they are bloody good players and are fun to watch. Idra especially, as he is a whiny little bitch when he loses.
Monday wasn’t that bad, work was pretty busy up until the late afternoon, by which point it’s all downhill anyway, so I didn’t get time to miss playing until I got home. When I got home though, I got thinking about how bloody easy us gamers have got it nowadays compared to some of the lengths I used to go to in order to play games with some mates/family. Back before I moved away to uni, and before I even discovered women, we had three PCs in various locations about the house, all connected up to a LAN. Now I’m talking a wired LAN here, not some fucking namby pamby wireless LAN, all of which we now take for granted and expect as standard with our kit. This was a proper LAN. My Dad and I had painstakingly, through trial and error, managed to run metres and metres of cable through loft spaces, underneath carpets and also through the floor of my parents old house to give us the ability to play each other on games like Command & Conquer and Age of Empires 2. It’s a small miracle that I didn’t hurt myself; that old house was a death trap.
These sessions are, and always will be, some of the fondest gaming memories of my life. My brother used to be some sort of mad genius at Age of Empires 2. Seriously, he was like some sort of gaming Rain Man; I’ve seen him win some mental games including a few 3v1s against very decent opposition on the old Microsoft Gaming Zone network. It’s a shame he never tried his hand at Starcraft, as the lad could be rich and famous (in Korea) by now. Anyway, my Dad and I would regularly play 2v1 against my Pip, my brother, and we had to team up because the fucker was so good. We’d sometimes catch him on an off day and Dad and I would have him on the ropes, about to have him beat when all of a sudden Dad would declare war on me and be in my base killing my stuff! This would be accompanied by me screaming ‘bastard’ at the top of my voice down the stairs, to which Dad would laugh back in return. During the confusion, Pip would always, fucking always, recover and beat us both. Needless to say, we never ever won a game against him.
We tried recently to get a game going over the web using one of those virtual LAN programmes and via Gamespy (lolz) but we could never seem to get it working for all three of us. It’s a shame really, because I really miss those games, along with shouting instructions to each other across the house and the fucking nightmares of getting the LAN to work properly. Younger gamers nowadays don’t know they’re born.
Crap, I’m starting to sound like my Dad!
On that note I think that’s it for this diary. In summary, I’ve had a minor lapse in Tesco on a game I despise; I’ve been buying games I won’t be able to play/already own; Mass Effect 3 is teasing the fuck out of me with it’s promises of sweet, sweet gameplay and making me do stupid things like shop in Grainger Games; I invented my own brand of achievements and, finally, I’ve been craving my golden years of gaming career where I risked electrocution and tetanus in order to get betrayed by my own Dad.
So with a little over a half way to go (not including potential punishments) the cracks are definitely starting to show. Actually, fuck that, they aren’t cracks, they are fucking ravines that I can feel myself slowly falling into. OK abit melodramtic I know, but thats how I feel. Shit eh?
Don’t forget to let me know what you think about me fucking up and whether I should be let off or not. Come back again soon and see how I’m getting on.
Last five articles by Ste
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