Friday, 15 February 2013

Living With a Gamer

Hi there. You may have noticed by now that I’m a bit of a gamer. Now I wont make any wild claims like I’m the greatest gamer, that I pwn on more games than anyone I know. I don’t. In fact, I’m a pretty good gamer, and I know my limits. But gaming is a huge part of my life, a part that provides me with my little piece of me time.

My wife understands this in abundance, and is always more than happy for me to spend my evenings on the computer having a wind-down chill-out gaming session, after a long days work. I love that girl.

But it does make me think (and from thinking, I write these things) about the foibles of gamers be it big things or little things, and it’s those foibles – mostly my own – that I thought I’d happily share with you today.

Just one more level/mission/level up/etc…

This one must be something that is more widespread than just in my own head. I’ve truly lost count of the amount of times that the midnight oil has been burning, the kids are all asleep, I know that in a few hours I must get up for work but there I am slogging away through whatever game I’m playing at the time.
          “Are you coming to bed yeah?” Carriecakes would ask.
          “Yeah, yeah…just let me finish this side mission.” Toolbox 24 would reply.
But of course it’s not just me, it can’t be! And it wont just be those with partners, it’ll be any gamer who knows that they should stop playing because it’s late.
          “I should really come off now, it’s getting late and I have to be up early to get to work/school on time.” Thinks Joe EveryGamer. “Oh fuck it, I only need an hour’s kip to see me through!!”

I’m sure this trait isn't limited to gamers alone, there must be people out there who stay up late watching their favourite TV show, movie or reading their favourite books – the latter I cannot understand though, when I start reading, it sends me to sleep.

I think this is why cans Relentless and Monster are usually to hand for most gamers…

Oh my god you’ve got to see this…

 I am so guilty of this. So guilty it’s untrue.

With most games, if there are cool bits, or funny glitches or you’ve done something you think is spectacular. You want to share this with people. Unfortunately for my betrothed, my go-to guy is her.

I even did this last night playing FIFA 12, a random glitch meant that Stephen Crainey of Blackpool ended up – very roughly – face fucking El Hadji Diouf. That’s really the only way I can put it…I actually wish I had saved the video, uploaded it to Youtube then I could prove this trait by showing it here and now. Suffice to say, I chuckled, paused my game, went into the instant replay bit, changed the angle and like a child, asked Carriecakes to stop what she was doing to witness the hilarity.

Now whether it’s just her politeness in not wanting to make me feel stupid or whether she genuinely doesn’t mind…I’m still not sure. I do know that I’ll keep doing it whatever the case may be.

But then of course that’s something on a minor scale. I’ll show her bits on Mass Effect, GTA, The Sims or Unchartered for example because she really enjoys them herself. But then I wont show her bits on Dragon Age, because – well quite frankly I’m still quite green on that one myself (have started again on it after a 2 year hiatus), and I’m pretty sure she isn’t over-struck on that whole LoTR-esque action. I may be wrong though.

The bigger scale, are the people who do what I suggested I could have done earlier. Those people with such a blatant need to show the world, even their most minor exploits in a game, as much as possible – via YouTube. Now it’s a legitimate tool, and a great way for sharing videos that you’ve made with friends and other people, but it’s when you see snippet videos of people scoring normal goals in FIFA, or doing unremarkable things in Skyrim that makes you think – why is this wasting space online?

The only awesome fan things to look for are video game fails. Good times.

Grumpy Grumperson

That’s right, this jovial bundle of gaming awesomeness can be a bit of a grumpersaurus. A grumpersaurus rex.

And usually it’ll be something gaming related. Something like not getting my evening dose of game time, or something going wrong with a game that I’m playing or finishing a game through to the end…and then being in that weird little haze when there’s nothing I can think of for a couple of hours to a couple of days, to play – so I end up playing something mindless and repetitive. I end up playing FIFA.

I then proceed to slouch about a bit. Sighing a fair bit more than usual. Having more toilet breaks, and being generally quiet. This grumpy version of myself usually dies a quiet death once I’ve figured out what I’m in the mood for.


Maybe not such a surprise but I get a deep sense of “MY GAME” Syndrome. My games are my games, they’re my things and they’re mine.

Not yours. Not his. Not hers. Mine.

But being a father does not lend itself so easily to the role of “selfish gamer”. Not easily at all.

For example. A couple of months ago, I was progressing nicely through Bully. Evening after evening, class after class, my little Jimmy Hopkins was slowly climbing the high school ranks and doing it with aplomb. Then one evening, before I’d had the chance to play…one of…them…(the kids) comes in…
          “Have you got Bully? I really want to play that this evening!” he asked. Now of course I had Bully, it was in the Xbox as he asked, I wasn’t going to be on the computer for about an hour after I did my stuff…
          “Yeah, it’s in the Xbox.” I said with a slight exhale, small enough to hide the anguish I was feeling inside. He then took the game away…and I haven’t seen it since. Now this was in like October / November last year. I got yanked out of my zone, and to this day, really don’t want to play Bully. I’m just not in the mood for it, and most likely wont be for a good few months yet.

Now I could have said, “Yeah, but I’m going to be playing that in a short while so you can’t have it.” Or “Yeah, but I want to keep playing it myself, so you can take it for a while but give it back when you’re done.” Or simply “no” but I find that I’m soft like that…well I am with the boys, but not with my girls. Or girl I should say, my youngest is too young to give a shit about anything more than her Mickey Mouse toys. Nah my eldest girl will come down while I’m playing and she’ll want to watch me, even though it’s a good deal past her bedtime. Most times I’ll let her sit and watch me, but then a lot of the time…I’ll just tell her that I’m not playing until she’s gone to bed.

After all…it’s MY GAME!!!!

You’ll Love it…trust me! Really you will!!

No this isn’t the slightly awkward part of the conversation where I ask the Mrs if I can do…“that”…

Think of my last point - MY GAME!!! – and turn it on it’s head. When I get close to finishing a game, I always start to think the same thing. “I loved this game so much…Carriecakes would love it too!!” even though I know she has her evening things much like I have my gaming, and that she doesn’t mind listening to what I’m doing or indeed watching from time to time…she just hasn’t got the time to play like I do…not with the amount of comping she does!!

But I still have that insistence in my mind, that if I love a game, then everyone I know, and everyone on Earth must love it too. As you can probably tell by my insistence that Mass Effect is mentioned if not in every post, then every other post, and to a large degree!

But then, that’s the point of this blog – MonkeyBoxGaming: Where games go to be loved up and down. I don’t want to talk about games I think are shit. What’s the point? It’s a waste of my time, and it’ll be a waste of your time. I just want to talk about games I think are good, and that you’d like…in fact this blog shows what I mean in this point. (For the most part)

I’m sure there are more things as well, but for now I cannot think of them. There is work and play to be done. And I am a master of both…ish.

Toolbox 24