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

Noooo! When will it end??

Hey guys, this is the third and final part of my giving up gaming for Lent nonsense. For those who have missed the last two parts, you can find part one here and part two here. After my last entry, I decided that you guys should choose whether or not I should be punished after my little lapse the other week when I stupidly/accidentally picked up an Xbox pad in Tesco to try out the new FIFA. Well, the votes have been counted and, amazingly enough, there were exactly the same number of yes votes as there were no votes. Ha! Seeing as it’s a tie I’m going to have to tie break this somehow. I’ll think of something. Right, back to the running commentary of my Lent-induced gaming dry patch. Just a quick warning, this last entry is a long one, clocking in at around 4,000-ish words. You have been warned!

Day 24 (16th March)
The last few days have been a nightmare. I’m still super-conscious of the fact that Mass Effect 3 is installed on my machine upstairs and, as such, since writing Part II of this series I’ve not switched my PC on in case the urge to play suddenly becomes too much. Even though I can’t play the game, I have been hearing a lot of rumblings regarding its ending. It seems that a noisy set of people are getting quite angry about it and are demanding it to be remade. Personally I think BioWare should leave it as it is; just because people have paid to play the game doesn’t necessarily mean they have any right to decide how it ends. Yeah, I understand all the effort that goes into playing a game like Mass Effect – my own Shepherd has over 50 hours clocked up from the first two games – but come on, get a grip people. Move on.

Anyway, back to business. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been pretty much killing the battery on my phone everyday at work reading various gaming sites as well as trawling Twitter and the GL forums trying to take the edge off the lack of games. So far this method has been a mixed bag. Yes, I am keeping up on events, like the PS Vita launch, Mass Effect 3 moaners and GAME going tits up but, at the same time, all this news and such has been doing me in and making me want to play more. So to try and combat this, I’ve decided to limit my access to the internet while at work. This means no gaming websites and limited access to Twitter and the forums. You didn’t really expect me to stay off the internet completely did you? Be civilized!!

To fill this extra time, I’ve started to read another book. This one is called World War Z by Max Brooks, and I hear they are making a film based on it with Brad Pitt. It wasn’t what I expected it to be but I am enjoying it so far. This Max Brooks guy has a serious boner when it comes to Zombies, but I recommend it nonetheless.

In other news, I smashed my highest score in 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. Highest score is now 67.5mpg! That shit is higher than what the owners’ manual says I should be getting. I wasn’t going very fast because of the traffic and there was a little bit of free wheeling at one or two points, but I don’t see that as cheating – more of an exploit! In any case, I am pretty happy with that score I can’t see myself beating it. Also, seeing as I beat the owners’ manual score, I think that entitles me to another Stevo; *PLINK* 100 Stevo points.

I rock!

Oh before I forget, I’ve been downloading games that I can’t play again. Whilst browsing the app store on the iPad the other day, I ended up downloading a couple of games because they were free: Back to the Future Episode 1 and something called Iron Marshall HD. I haven’t got a clue what that last one is like, but I downloaded it anyway. When it comes round to it, I’ll probably only play them for ten minutes or so before getting bored and deleting them, but they were free and I’m not exactly in a stable ‘gaming frame of mind’ right now. Needless to say, fucking Pong is looking pretty good right now.

Day 29 (21st March)
It’s Wednesday night, the weekend just gone wasn’t so bad as I spent most of it out of the house at family occasions. However I did have to delete the games off my phone though as the temptation to play Fruit Ninja and a few others was becoming pretty overwhelming. I didn’t want to do it at first as I’m not sure all my unlocks etc will still be there when the time comes to reinstall them back on my phone. Hopefully they’ll still be there but we’ll just have to see.

The troubled GAME group rebrands and relaunches, specialising in the role playing market

I’m not sure how true this next part is but apparently GAME have filed for a pre-pack administration; for those of you that don’t know, this means GAME have officially gone bankrupt, however, instead of selling all their assets off and paying all of their creditors as much as they can, they are instead walking away from their creditors, starting up a new company under a different name along with all their existing stock, shops, staff and, in effect, starting again. If this is true then it’s a bit of a wanker move in my opinion. You shouldn’t be able to just run up huge almighty debts and then one day decide you’re not going to pay them off and just start again. While I feel bad that lots of people are losing their jobs, and if GAME were to shut completely and pay off their debts even more people would lose their job, I still think it’s disgusting that people companies can get away with this. I really do hope that the publishers who are getting ripped off aren’t foolish enough to give them credit again in a hurry. I personally won’t be shopping in GAME or Gamestation again unless the company actually changes hands and new people take over. Just my two cents on the matter.

Day 32 (24th March)
It’s now been over a month since I last played a computer game. Fuck my life. The end is in sight now though. In two weeks time I’ll be able to play again, and I really can’t wait. I ordered some new memory for my PC the other day.  Strangely enough, the last batch of memory I had was too fast for the motherboard and it would sometimes crash during the boot up and need a reset. It’s not happened since putting the new stuff in but, seeing as I can’t play anything, I haven’t been able to stress the computer properly yet in order to do a proper test. Like I said though, only two more weeks!

For those keeping up with the days, today is Saturday, therefore once again I’ve been sat about in the house with nothing to do. The missus has been out wedding dress shopping today with her friend so I’ve been left to my own devices at home. Alone. With all these games sat around me. There are going to be some, if not a lot of you, thinking “this guy is alone in the house… nobody would know if he had a sneaky hour on something… nobody would ever know.” I’ve gotta be honest, you are right, nobody would ever find out but I can honestly hold my hand on my heart and swear that I’ve not played. I never realised I had this much willpower.

Anyway, I digress. I’ve already decided what I am going to do once I get back into the swing of things. First and most obviously, I am going to play Mass Effect 3. Once I get that bad boy out of the way I am going to get back into Starcraft 2 again. Christ, I’ve watched enough games on YouTube recently that it deserves a good run out just so I can sort of thank it for getting me through this Lent thing. I might even have to send Husky a tweet or something and thank him for all his commentaries. If it wasn’t for that guy and a few others, I’d have well and truly lost the plot.

As well as giving Starcraft a run out I’m gonna go back to Borderlands. While Borderlands is an awesome game, it was also the last game that my brother and Dad played together. Pip and I bought it for him so he could play with us a while back and, to his credit, he got stuck in with us even though FPS games are not his forte. Thinking about it, my Dad doesn’t have a fucking gaming forte. He is consistently bad at everything but, bless him, he tries! Anyway, when he first got the game it was hilarious. He didn’t really have much of a clue what he was up to. We had to try and teach him over the phone and over Steam voice calls (when it would work) as we played. It was very painful at first with him running into walls, shooting at the sky, getting lost and generally getting into all sorts of trouble. Eventually though, he started to improve and his Roland character started to become more and more useful.

For some reason though, we stopped playing and we never really got back into it. I plan to remedy this.

Day 38 (30th March)
Sorry if these updates are getting more and more sparse and probably less funny now, but keeping up with this task is now less about entertaining you fuckers and more about just surviving. Things have now got to the point that its best if I avoid my computer as much as possible. That might mean fewer entries, but it also means fewer chances to cave in and play something. It’s either that or uninstall all my games and I don’t really want to do that because I’ll have to spend about a bloody week installing them all again.

My tactic of avoiding news sites where possible has helped a lot. The only site I’m reading now is GamingLives and even that is having an effect on me. Today, Jo’s review of Shoot Many Robots went up. If you’ve not read it yet then you can read it here, and if you can’t be arsed to read it there is also a video review at the bottom of the page. Anyway, back to the story. I had not heard too much about the game until I read the review. I knew it was an Xbox Arcade game and I knew it had robots in it. That’s pretty much it.

Within an hour of reading the review I had pre-ordered a four-copy pack on Steam, a copy for my Dad, brother, myself and then a spare one which I decided to give to a good friend of mine. Fuck, how did that happen? I want to think that I purchased the game due to a combination of the fact that a) it’s a brilliant looking game, b) I want to play a fun co-op game with my family and friends and finally c) Jo  has excellent reviewing skills.

Something inside me disagrees with the above points. For starters we all know that c) is a lie (jokes!) and I can’t help thinking that the reason I rushed to buy a game I knew very little about other than a review is because the lack of gaming over these last 38 days has affected me in such a way that anything gaming related whatsoever is highly appealing to me right now. A few days ago I very nearly brought the Square Enix Hits Pack on Steam. It was £50-something pounds on Steam and included around eighteen games plus all the DLC. Nearly all of these games were titles that I’ve shown no interest in whatsoever in the past. Crap like Tomb Raider and Just Cause. I’ve previously seen these games doing the rounds at various points of their life and I’ve not shown one iota of interest. This time though, I very nearly bought the lot. The only reason I didn’t buy it was because I ran out of time after deliberating for too long. The offer expired and I went without.

One more thing, at the start of this article I mentioned about the tie break for whether or not I get punished. I’ve decided that the tie break is my current mental state and he says fuck you. I’m not putting up with this another day longer. As such, I’ve decided that I won’t be punishing myself for another day. I’ve tortured myself enough already, and if you could see the jibbering wreck I’ve become you would understand. To put this into perspective, I actually sat and watched the missus playing on the Wii Fit last night. Not only that, but I enjoyed myself and I was actually jealous that I too couldn’t step on and off that plastic monstrosity of an excuse for gaming equipment.

I don’t think I need to persuade you any further.

Day 40 (1st April)
I bought another game today. This time it was Bulletstorm. When it first came out, I pretty much let it pass me by; I downloaded the demo on the Xbox and had a few goes on that Echo level but that’s about it really. I really didn’t like it enough to drop £35 or so on it, so when it came up on Steam’s daily deal for £3.75 I spent most of Saturday night and Sunday looking at and then re-looking at its store page on Steam. I’m pretty confident that if I wasn’t currently abstaining from gaming then I would probably have let it pass me by again. However, with fifteen minutes remaining before the offer expired, I decided to buy it and it’s now been downloaded on to my machine where it is sat ready, waiting to be played.

Just to summarise, Bulletstorm is the fourth full game that I’ve bought whilst been doing this Lent thing – Final Fantasy VIII, Mass Effect 3 and Shoot Many Robots being the other three. On top of that, I’ve downloaded a few free games on to my iPad which were Back to the Future part 1, Bejeweled Blitz, and something called Iron Marshall. I haven’t got a clue when I am going to get around to playing all these new games on top of the games I was already playing (SWtOR) plus the games I promised myself to play again when I get back into it (Starcraft 2 and Borderlands).

In other news, it seems that GAME has been saved by a company called OpCapita. I haven’t a clue who these people are, and it seems that my previous statement about GAME walking away from all their debt is incorrect so consider this a U-Turn. Yes, I am aware that this is probably the first time someone has said something then done a U-Turn in the same article.

Anyway, this OpCapita company has reportedly bought GAME Group for £1 and have taken on all of their debt. I would also rescind my previous comment about not shopping in any of their stores again but the only GAME store left in Sheffield is in the arse end of Sheffield, nowhere near where I live or frequent and, as such, my statement still stands.  I will, however, be keeping a very close eye on GAME Group’s future progress and am interested in what they do differently.

In other, other news, today is April Fools day. I love April Fools day. I’ve literally been lolling at at all the wind ups today. Can’t wait to get my hands on the latest Simul8 game! P.S. If the missus is reading this, I haven’t really bought all those games. I’m just lying for comic effect. *Phew*

Day 43 (4th April)
FINAL FEW DAYS!!!!1111111ONEONEONE
It’s Wednesday today, just gotta hold out for another a couple days and then on Saturday it’ll all be over! I’ll be up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning (there’s a joke in there somewhere) and I’ll finally be starting Mass Effect 3. Annoyingly though, I saw the PC version going for about £20 online somewhere. It might have been less than that, now that I think about. Fucking typical. I suppose I can’t complain though, it was my own stupid fault for buying it early in the first place.

Speaking of stupid, I bought another game today… This time I can blame the missus though! Small victory, but I’ll take it. We were in the bigger, big Tesco again and, as usual, I make my way round to the games aisle for a nosy. We all do it! I picked up the new Total War game expansion, Fall of the Samurai, so that I can have a little look. It’s only £16 in Tesco which is a bit of a bargain, but I thought to myself “Nah, I’ve got enough to be getting on with” and was putting it back when the missus came to find me. She quickly asked what it was and then off we go to continue with the shopping. It wasn’t until a bit later that we come across the clothes section. This may sound a little stereotypical, but clothes are my fiancée’s Kryptonite and, lo and behold, she spies a few things that she likes and tells me that I can have that game if she could have a few bits too.

Muwahahaha! (Evil Laugh™)

Of course I wasn’t going to say no. She could have had the clothes without bribing me seeing as her boobies are my Kryptonite but, as it was her idea, I jumped at the chance. I do love a bit of Shogun 2; I even reviewed it somewhere. Hopefully this expansion will live up to the original game as I was less than impressed with the recent Rise of the Samurai DLC that came out a few months back. Very disappointing. If I get time, I may look into writing a review for this new expansion too. You lucky bastards. Watch this space. In the meantime though, the game has been installed, booted up to see if it works then quit again. Pure torture!

Back on topic. Words can not express how fucking excited I am to be nearly done with this Lent thing. As I said in the very first article, I am not a religious man and doing this has had no spiritual meaning for me whatsoever. I do, however, have a new-found respect for those who do give stuff up for Lent or any other religious or non-religious event or whatever. For someone who considers himself to be a part of the “core” in the gaming world, doing this has been one of the toughest things I’ve done in my gaming career to date.  Sounds silly when you think about the real problems that I and other people have, but hopefully those reading this can appreciate my pain.

Day 45 (6th April – LAST DAY!)
I woke up this morning and, after getting up and having breakfast, I did the next thing any normal person would do and looked on Twitter. Along with the usual drivel and pictures of people’s efforts to draw a cock on that drawing game, I noticed a tweet from our own Jo saying that Lent was finally over and she could finally suffocate herself in chocolate.

WHAT. THE. FUCK!?

I was under the impression that Lent finished tomorrow, as in Holy Saturday. Another quick Google search later and it seems that Jo was correct. Lent finished at midnight on Thursday night…

I am free…

I spent the rest of Friday playing various games, but mostly Mass Effect 3 and Shoot Many Robots. The same went for Saturday. As such, it’s now Sunday afternoon as I write this, and I’ve suitably gorged myself on games for the last two days. I’m dragging myself away in order to finish this piece so I can, once and for all, put this horrible experience behind me. I would really like to tell you that I’ve learned a great deal from doing this and how I am now a much better person blah blah blah but, let’s be honest, if I tried that we’d all know that I was talking complete bollocks.

The only useful things I can really take from all this is that I now know I have the willpower of a ninja monk, and that I’m a sucker for a sale and can be sold things that I don’t really want or need. Not exactly life changing stuff.

Other than the things above, I don’t think I have learned anything! Saying that, I will admit one thing – It does feel good to be back playing games again. When I began this challenge, I honestly didn’t think that it would be that hard. I thought that I could give up games anytime I liked and that I would simply fill my spare time with other things. Just to prove how utterly wrong I was, I’ve produced a quick round up of all the shit I got up to over the last forty-odd days:

  • Bomb threat near work leads to Counter Strike Flashbacks – risked life to save car from potential blast zone
  • Agreed to go shopping with fiancée  – Doom!
  • Became a clean freak
  • Watched an unhealthy amount of Starcraft 2 videos – thanks Husky!
  • Invented new game  – “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 Game
  • Did actual sport – outside
  • Agreed to go to a wedding fair. Got lost.
  • Invented my own achievements – Stevos
  • Fell into Grainger Games and accidentally bought Mass Effect 3 on release day, weeks before I was able to play.
  • Accidentally played FIFA 12 for approximately ten seconds.
  • Impulse-bought about five games over the course of the challenge. Installed them all. Looked at the icons a lot.
  • Started reading lots of books.
  • Developed an Evil Laugh™
  • Suffered self-induced mental torture.

So there you have it. I’ve done it. Forty-ish days and forty-ish nights of giving up gaming for Lent, and I’ve learned next to nothing as a result. You’ll be glad to hear that Jo and my fiancée also successfully gave up chocolate and Nutella for Lent. I’d just like to thank all my friends and family for taking the piss out of me a lot while, at the same time, providing little or no support during my anguish. I’d also like to thank you readers for your comments and for, of course, reading in the first place. I dedicate this torment to you all. I hope you choke on it.

Finally, will I do it all again next year?

Will I shite. Not even for Jesus, he can fuck off… I’m off to play some games!




Last five articles by Ste

  

12 Comments

  1. MarkuzR says:

    It’s a real shame to see these journals finally come to an end. A couple of reasons, really. The first is that the frustration makes for some seriously interesting reading, as it’s odd to see the world through the eyes of a ‘core gamer who is no longer able to do that which defines him. The other reason is, obviously, that it meant you were going through hell and we like that. It’s funny!

    I think, if you thought about it, you’d realise that you DID learn something from it because I even learned something from it (which I basically already knew anyway but this helped to give me some anecdotal evidence to support future arguments) in that you’ve now done something that religious people all over the world do in order to show their god how devoted they are… and yet you’re no better off for it.

    I think the moral of this story should either be “fuck Lent” or “do whatever makes you happy”. Clearly giving up gaming for 45 days didn’t make you happy, but it sure as hell made me happy!

  2. Zoey says:

    Your woman’s boobs are hot. Also, I don’t know how you coped. I can only go a week without getting the shakes! You’re officially insane for even trying now go and enjoy forty days of solid gaming to make up for it.

  3. Victor says:

    Thank goodness these 40 days are over, eh? I think one of the unsaid things you must have learned in the past month is this: Whenever someone asks you what you will miss most, if you were to give it up for Lent, you do *not* say gaming. You say something like invading Iraq. Or voting. Or washing homeless people.

    That’s what I will say when I get asked to do something like that next year. But good effort. Well done for following through.

  4. Tania says:

    As much as I’m sorry for your suffering, I really enjoyed these articles! Great stuff Ste.

    I feel even sorrier for Jo though, no way could I go that long without chocolate! ;)

  5. Chris-Toffer says:

    He must be mentally deranged. He gave me the free copy of Shoots Many Robots and referred to me as a “Good friend”

    I welled up a little in all honesty.

    These journo’s have been awesome mate and I’m proud that you’ve managed to go the distance because I don’t know if I could in all honesty!

    Well bloody done!

  6. Ste says:

    @Mark – Totally agree mate, if it wasnt for this series of articles it would have been a complete wasteof time. I understand why religious people would want to show their devotion etc but Im still not sure how depriving yourself of something actually proves anything. Anyway, I dont want to get drawn into a conversation about religion. These articles were never about religion.

    @Zoey – Thanks for the comment, you are right though I dont know what the hell I was thinking. PS those breasts are Mark’s. You have been warned.

    @Vic – Thanks man. Your right next year I shall giving up punching myself in the face. :)

    @Tan – Jo is a legend. I think she got the worse deal also.

    @Chris – Calm down mate, I wasn’t thinking straight. I take it all back. :D

    Thanks for the comments guys, this has been a nightmare. I will NOT be doing it again!

  7. richie says:

    Great stuff Ste but overall I’d say you need to take those pink handcuffs off, son!

  8. Adam L says:

    Grats man, good article series. I went longish periods without gaming at uni but it was made a lot easier by the fact that I couldn’t game online, and 90% of my gaming is multiplayer these days. I didn’t give up entirely (no way I could do it) but it was hard nonetheless.

  9. Ian says:

    Proof if any were needed, that organised religion is for idiots.

    Kudos for you for seeing it through.

  10. Kat says:

    I took my sweet time reading this last installment. I think you were mad for doing it. This might be too hard but perhaps for Lent 2013 you could give up being a twat for a month ;P

  11. Edward says:

    It’s all over! Ste’s free, baby! Ste’s free :D

  12. Lorna says:

    The insanity ends. I’m actually sorry to see these diaries go, as watching someone else suffer has been amusing ;) You were crazy to do it, but I’m glad you did and it was actually pretty fucking impressive really. I don’t know whether my willpower is that strong… I htink I’d also do the same and seriously hammer my wallet buying stuff that I couldn’t play. Just thank your lucky fucking stars that there wasn’t a Steam sale on, or you’d have been broke by the time Lent ended.

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