Every time I go to a friend’s house, the same worry creeps up on me. Will they ask? Will it be awkward when I say no? Can I fight the urge?
You see, people, I have a problem. I’m not like the rest of you. I can’t just dabble a little and stop. I can’t be social. Once I have the first taste, I can’t stop until my thirst is quenched. Thing is, that thirst never gets quenched.
My name is Chris. I’m a recovering gamer.
I received my first gaming console when I was 7-years-old. It was an original Nintendo, or NES as we like to abbrev. I played Mario and quickly fell in love with it. More games followed. Then I got a Game Boy, which was followed by a Super Nintendo, the SNES. I was in love.
One of the original viral YouTube videos was the Nintendo 64 Boy. For those who haven’t seen it, a young boy on the Christmas of 1995 rips apart the wrapping paper on this huge box to find a Nintendo 64 underneath. To say that he – and to a lesser extent, his sister – is overjoyed would be an understatement. “Nintendo 64!!!” He exclaims with a hearty fist pump. “Yes! Yes!”
That video holds a special place in my heart. Why? Because had my mother video taped me unwrapping my Nintendo 64 on that same 1995 Christmas, we’d have a similar video making the YouTube rounds.
I never graduated past the N64 in the early 2000s and by 2004, I was done playing video games. Why? I suffer from what I call the Two C’s. I get consumed and condescending.
I get consumed. A while back, a girlfriend of mine was showing me her iPad. She got to some games on it and opened up Cut The Rope. You know, the fun game where an adorable creature needs his food that is suspended by a series of ropes and you have to snip said ropes to feed him.
She cut a few ropes and couldn’t beat the level. She handed the iPad to me. “Wanna try?”
I looked at it uneasily for a second. I took it in my hand and gently swiped my finger over a rope. Half an hour later, my girlfriend is rolling her eyes at me and walking out of the room. It wasn’t even fun, but I was too caught up in trying to win.
I get condescending. Years ago at a party, drinks were flowing and a good time was had. During the festivities, I got called over to the television. A guy handed me a plastic guitar. I shook my head, “I don’t know…”
After some prodding, I decided it would be easier to play than cause a scene. I sat my drink down and strapped the guitar around my body. “Paint It Black” was cued up. I watched the music notes pass along the screen. Nobody had taught me what to do, so I was in over my head.
Well, I was in over my head for about 30 seconds. I looked down to see which button corresponded with which finger, then I started kicking ass. And I made a big deal about how easy it was. “This is just matching colors up with background music. You mean people actually sit around and do this shit?”
And that’s why I don’t play video games. I make fun of other people and I never stop playing. I made a conscious decision to put down the controller and back away before I got sucked in too deeply. I can’t even imagine what I would be like in today’s world of online gaming and advanced consoles.
I have an addictive personality so I can’t play video games. I live my life video game free. Tons of alcohol, but no video games. Everybody needs at least one vice, right?