(This is in response to a similar piece by Kent on Second Person Shooter.)

It is 2am. He is 37. There are 2.45 other people in the silent house. There are 23 people in his Mount & Blade party. There are 0 reasons to be here.

He told himself not to start playing at 9.30pm because he had to go to bed at 10pm. So he didn’t. But after scratching at the web for an hour, picking at links and watching Paradise Circus in a constant loop on YouTube, somehow Steam was available. Somehow an icon was clicked. Somehow, this happens.

It is 2am. He is not really alone as the green glow from the stars in Steam space prove.  Each light is another soul fighting a zombie horde, solving a puzzle, winning a war with steel or abrading themselves upon badly written narrative.

The PC shuts down, he struggles to his bed where someone was waiting, but now sleeping. He needs to rise at 5.30am and not shamble into the office carting around heavy bags beneath his eyes. Ah, it’s Saturday, but it makes no difference: there are things that need doing.

Little man comes calling, puts a shoe beside Daddy’s head, perhaps in the hope it will make him stir, let him know it’s time to go out. The discordant music of plates plinking in the kitchen; someone else is tending to domestic bliss. He is letting the side down – he is expected to be up for the challenge of family, not up for Steam and down for day.

Wrestle out of bed. Sleep is for wimps, wimps who don’t play games.

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3 thoughts on “Sometimes This Happens

  1. HM, you make me happy.

    I believe that the too-late night of gaming is one of the experiences that unites us all, and it is a very poignant experience. My girlfriend read my piece and she asked me that if I feel so guilty why do I keep playing games. She doesn’t understand because she’s never turned off the flashing cavalcade of video game stimuli and been filled with that deep dark silence. There’s guilt but there’s something else too, some other stirring thing.

    Paradise Circus is the best song, and The Fall is the best movie.

    Can we please be friends on Steam now? My SteamID: eveningcorners.

  2. I’ve also asked to be your steam friend too, incidentally.

    And I also agree: this is great writing. You’ve got the whole feeling of gaming until early early in the morning down perfectly. It’s so hard to tell yourself “you could be doing this some other time”– because it’s THERE, and the computer is on NOW, and we’re HERE already. We already clicked the icon when we weren’t paying attention. Happens all the time.

  3. Ah, you made it here. I did try to pingback Second Person Shooter but nothing seemed to happen.

    I also wrote this in a more negative light initially: why do I have gaming binges? (This story is actually worse than appears: to get to Steam I have to reboot my PC and log into my game partition. Doesn’t sound very accidental!) One reason is that I tend not to play anything for a couple of weeks and so, when the opportunity to play does surface, I tend to take a mile rather than the inch that was on offer. However, I have had these binges from a young age. Late nights, loading up pirated Atari games on cassette tape with my Dad, listening to brrrreeep brrrreeep with nervous, shivery excitement at 3am, wondering what game lay beyond the beeps.

    I would like to explore what it means to be a gamer with a family and a job with long hours – because the voices of the internet are likely the ones with a little time on their hands. All those people with no time – do they have a voice? Kent’s post about late-night guilt pushed me to write something about it at last. You forced my hand Kent. Yes, you.

    And, ah alright, I’ll befriend the two’s of you.

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