A Day Without Games
The question that I have been asked ever since childhood is, “What are you going to do? Go home and play video games?” To which, my answer has always been an emphatic “Yes.” This answer was usually, much to my shame, the unpopular one.
See it’s hard for a gamer, as we don’t really want to be the social outcasts. We really don’t. But for gamers, we have the most fun inside our residence, as opposed to “normal” people who have more fun outside of their homes. For us, the boring times are the mall trips, or the clubs, or the uppity coffee houses. Regardless of what we are currently engaged in, somewhere in the back of our minds is the wanton desire to get back home and melt face in Rainbow Six: Vegas.
Gamers never really understand why people snootily glance down their noses, seething contempt over our choice to “go back home”. What is it that they know about “being out” that we miss? What are they so drawn to that they can make such empty judgments over how we spend our time? That’s what I attempted to find out.
There was only one chance to discover how the non-gamer lives, and that is a day without video games. This day would also involve no internet, TV, cell-phones, novels or any other medium that may inevitably divert me into thinking of video games.
The following is an account of my day.
I just woke up, and I realize that I might have already made a mistake. My thoughts center over my blank computer monitor, staring at me from across the room. I was supposed to meet my girlfriend for breakfast this morning, and I am late.
Oh, I’m an idiot. In my zeal for journalistic perfection, I preemptively turned off my computer last night. I forgot that I use my computer as my alarm clock, and my cell phone as a backup. As of this moment, both are off for the remainder of the day.
I’m late and I can’t use my phone to call my girlfriend. It’s going to be bad.
She was waiting for me in IHOP for an hour. While she was waiting, some sleeze started hitting on her from across the aisle. I tried reasoning with her, explaining that she should have been grateful that someone thought she was pretty. Needless to say, her response to my reasoning involved expletives.
I finally finished breakfast, after promising my girlfriend that I would go shopping with her later today to make up for my tardiness. Hopefully the mall will help keep my mind off the fact that I have World of Warcraft arena practice tonight that I’m going to miss. As for now, I’m driving to Wal-Mart to buy some groceries.
I’m line for checkout. Or, more accurately, I’ve been in line for checkout. There’s a kid a couple of lanes over from me playing his DS. I would be playing my DS if it wasn’t for this stupid experiment. This is stupid, that kid is stupid, and the dude in front of me buying shirts is stupid. If only there was some way to lean far enough over to see what game that kid is playingÃ¢$¦
I can’t see anything from here. God, this guy in front of me smells so bad. I think I can hear Elite Beat Agents coming from the DS. I won’t look at the screenÃ¢$¦ I just want to hear itÃ¢$¦ Wait, I think I just heard the Mario theme. What game is he playing?! I have to know… My line sucks, I’m moving over into the kid’s line.
The little jerk shut off his DS and put it into his back pocket before I could get close enough to hear. He thinks he is so cool, listening to his precious Ipod, while I sit here and listen to this old lady haggle an extra 10 cents off canned peaches.
The kid is distractedÃ¢$¦ Maybe I can slip the DS out of his pocket and check what game it is before he notices. If he catches me I’ll just say he dropped it. Yes, I’m going to do itÃ¢$¦ This plan will work for sure.
Looks like I’m banned from Wal-Mart. I’m not going to go into specifics (For obvious legal reasons) but let’s just say the words “attempted juvenile assault” have been used at least seven times.
Thankfully, the cop was nice enough not to arrest me. It’s a good thing too, because I’m late again for my girlfriend, and there’s zero chance she would pay my bail at this point.
My girlfriend has waited at the mall for an hour. I tried to explain what happened, but her response just resulted in more expletives.
I have just learned that complaining about anything involving our shopping choices will result in unending rage. As such, I keep my mouth shut as we head towards disaster. Victoria’s Secret is having their semi-annual sale. For those of you uniformed to the horrors involved in this event, let me try to paint an image.
The semi-annual sale is the catalyst of all Victoria Secret shopping experiences. Take a regular store, fill it completely with females, and then imagine that the females can only find the underwear they are looking for if they beat the other females in finding it. Giant bins of panties fill the store, surrounded by countless females, tossing and digging with all the fervor of a Californian gold prospector.
On a normal day, a guy can follow his girlfriend around in the store, making clear of the fact that he isn’t just in there as some pervert scoping the place out. On semi-annual days, that changes. Attempting to follow your girlfriend around the maze of panty bins and countless bra racks only results in you being shoved out of the way by a 40 Ã¢$”year-old woman named “Flo”, who really needs a new pair of DD push-ups. So here I stand, awkwardly writing in this notepad, as the women around me wonder what the hell I am doing.
My legs are cramping up, I can’t just stand next to this bra rack anymore. Maybe if I get moving around, I won’t be as bored. My girlfriend has been in the dressing room for 20 minutes, maybe she’ll be out soon. I’m so bored, and I’m going to miss arena practice. Stop it. Don’t think about video games.
Watching these women dig through these racks is so funny. They get so excited when they find “cute” underwear in their size. You would think they had found something amazing. That gives me an ideaÃ¢$¦ I wonder which one of these women should hear my joke. Oh, that employee over there looks boredÃ¢$¦
Looks like I’m banned from Victoria’s Secret. I should have guessed asking her “Which panty bin holds teh phat lewt?” wouldn’t go over well. What I wouldn’t have been able to suspect is that security had noticed me scribbling into my notepad, and thought I was a spy from a rival store noting prices. Wait, I just heard expletives, I think my girlfriend has spotted me.
We just passed the LAN center they have here in the mall. I managed to turn my head in time to not see the interior, but the sounds of gunfire and laughter eminating from that direction torture my very soul.
I think I just heard someone asking for Overlord from that Gamestop we just walked by. Is it out? I didn’t think it was. I hear you get like 50 minions, the demo was goo- Stop it! Quit thinking about video games. Okay, what to think about… Maybe I should ask my girlfriend how her day has been.
That was a mistake. Try to learn from this moment.
Finally back home. I have no idea what to do now. Oh, I have not eaten lunch. Maybe if I eat something it’ll get my brain working again.
I just ate an entire box (or is it a bag?) of Oreos. Without video games, books, or TV, I’m starting to feel like that dude in “The Shining”Ã¢$¦. Well, being at home sucks. I guess I know why the “popular” kids never want to be here, there’s seriously nothing to do. I would give anything for internet right now. This is worse than reading the comments on YouTube. I have to get out of here.
What do “cool” people do on nights? Go to bars! So that’s where I am. I have spent the last hour or so lying to this dude sitting next to me about what sport team is my favorite. What I’ve come to realize is the video games are like every other stupid hobby. I don’t understand why we get such a bad rap. Sports nuts watch every game on TV, they watch hours of sportscenter, check vital stats on current players, and even play “fantasy” versions of what they are watching. It’s basically like an MMORPG.
So here I am in a bar, listening to this guy describe Tiger Woods in a reverence I would reserve for Miyamoto. Perhaps we are not so different, him and I. Maybe I’ll ask him if he’s ever played NFL 2k for the Dreamcast, after I get back from the bathroom.
HEY, RADIO SHACK! STICK THIS ON YOUR LIVEJOURNAL YOU PANSY!
Ed (Go Braves!)
Ed’s above message is all that’s left of him, other than his bar tab which he kindly left me to pay. This place smells like a bowling alley, and I’m broke. It’s time to get out of here.
Back home. This experiment is over, and it’s time for sleep.
For as much as the world talks about the “violence” and “trouble” that video games cause, the world has plenty of that on its own. So before non-gamers label us as “trouble makers” just realize that all gamers want to do is go home and play. So if we are at home, who is causing all the violence? It certainly isn’t that guy getting lead out of Wal-Mart in handcuffs.