I started a new job a little while back. It’s always an odd time – you don’t really know the people you work with yet, who’s good for a beer on Friday, what to talk about at the tea point, how much do I have to pretend to know about football in order to fit in, but most of all, for us, when to introduce the little secret of the dirty videogame habit…
This time round, I’d laid the groundwork a bit – I’d mentioned the arcade collecting in interview, arranged a few slightly geeky figures on the desk, conspicuously played the Vita at lunchtime, so at the Christmas meal, when asked what I did with my spare time (what fucking spare time? I’ve got kids) I casually dropped in that I played videogames. Job’s a good’un, done, time to move on.
“Oh, what are you playing at the moment?”
Ohshitohshitohshit. A loaded question, and one I never seem to have a good answer to. Like being asked who your favourite band is, or which films you’ve liked recently.
See, I don’t play that many games. Not really. The aforementioned split between work, partner, kids, parents, chores and every other demand of the early 21st Century doesn’t really leave much room for gaming.
I think about games a lot, I read about them and I even write about them. But how much do I play them?
See, the likes of Witcher, Skyrim and Fallout are right out of the equation – 100 or more hours of my time to complete the main stories would probably take me right up to the door of retirement. Even your Destiny, Titanfall and Battlefront, with their demands to be online at a particular time are tricky, fine games that they all are – hey, how about starting that raid at 11pm guys? Guys? Come back? Where are you all going?
Hell, complicated life stuff means that half of my consoles aren’t even plugged in at the moment. The Wii U is sat in a desk without a monitor (god bless that off-TV play) which means that I can plough through Zelda (again?) or finally finish off Pikmin 3, but the glorious Splatoon is no good. The Xbox and Playstation take rotations under the telly, but time reigns supreme. So many of the games that are worth playing on those are just timesinks. I mostly download the PS+ and Gold freebies and play Peggle. Or, if walking even counts then Pokemon Go is probably my most played game.
Not very cool really.
In answer to the original question, I muttered something about Red Dead Redemption and the conversation moved on. My secret is out, and I’ve found a couple of like minded people in the office to waffle on about the Nintendo Switch to. That’ll do.
But, must make more time for gaming… Not just talking about, writing or reading about, but playing. Having recently invested in a pair of grips, the Vita is getting a lot more attention – there are a lot of gems on Sony’s little device, let down mostly by the frankly dreadful ergonomics of holding the damn thing.
And yes, maybe try and find 100 hours or so to catch up on Witcher 3… I’ll come back to you in 2034 with my findings…