Vignettes of Ruin and...

Consolita (the God of Gaming)

In Gluttony on May 7, 2011 at 8:53 pm

It begins with dreaming...

“Your addiction to games is as bad as my addiction to alcohol!” Vincent, my accuser, clad in his mantle of self righteous sobriety,  pours his resentment over my bowed head.

My initial reaction is one of simple agreement. When I am worshipping Consolita, caught up in a game, I can hardly do anything else. The floors don’t get cleaned, rubbish doesn’t get thrown out, the dog doesn’t get any attention, the laundry builds up until it explodes out of the wash basket in a dirty crumpled pile. Dinners don’t get cooked, fresh food turns to wilted rot. The bed doesn’t get made, the blinds and curtains don’t get pulled. I am utterly absent from reality.

Leave the dirty socks! commands Consolita. You have to save the world and I don’t mean this one!
I can’t help but listen to her. After all, this world goes on regardless of what I do, but elsewhere, time stands still, awaiting my might and heroism.

My second reaction is one of sadness. Vincent has no other outlet. It is this complete lack of everything else that caused him to fill up his emptiness with devotion to Intoxicatus. Years of self-obliteration have rendered him bereft of ability and purpose. I know he wants to, but he will not allow himself to learn, preferring to pose as a so-called technophobe, than admit he has no grip on technologies that continued to evolve while he bathed in a stasis of stupor.

When I was half the age I am now, my father brought home a beat up old computer that he had salvaged from its destination to the rubbish heap. I knew exactly what I would use it for.  For years, I had watched my friends play their Commodore 64’s and VIC-20’s, their Sega’s and Game Boys and then their Playstations. My experience with gaming was nothing to speak of. I had only played Goldeneye on my friend’s Nintendo when she “died” and was too pissed off to replay. Later, I played X-Men: Mutant Academy on the same friend’s Playstation, because there was a 2-player mode she needed me for (my default character was Magneto and Gambit when I felt like a change- I loved how deadly his glowing deck of cards was)!

So I entered the local game shop for the first time in my life and shied away to the corner where the PC games were, not daring to make eye-contact with anyone and reveal my inexperience. But any nervousness I felt quickly dissipated as a beautiful box of promise caught my eye. The game stills on the back astonished me with their complex eloquence. I’d never seen anything like it and I had to have it. This was what I was supposed to use that old desktop for: as an unassuming portal into an immersive, uncharted empire of imagination and dream. And here now was the key to my escape: a game called “The Longest Journey.“

I never looked back. When my heart was broken I bought a PS2 and a Silent Hill 2. Being haunted by the fearful Pyramid Head somehow made it all seem insignificant and remote. When I was in the pits of depression over a thankless job and an overbearing boss, I spent my spare time in Spira, on a pilgrimage to destroy Sin. And when Vincent was pouring vodka down his neck, I solved the mystery of Doolin, I wielded the cursed and heavenly sword, I became champion of Cyrodill, became enslaved (more than once) and sacrificed everything to save my son.

My final reaction is one of anger. How dare he accuse me of this, how dare he deny me this one small pleasure! After everything I have done for him, everything I have sacrificed, he still wants more from me, wants my undying attention and devotion, wants me to exist purely to meet his needs. Well I have needs too, so many of them, and not one of them sated by him except when he is gone, and I can play, at last, in peace! Without question, without constant interruption and distraction, without torment!

Finally, I press pause and face him.
“Your addiction tore my life apart,” I say coldly. “Is that what mine is doing to yours?” He says nothing more. I turn away and hit “start” on my machine of consolation. All vestiges of my earthly self are erased. I transform, I become John Marsden, riding my palamino Kentucky Saddler across arid scrub into a blood streaked sunset, facing down the ghosts of my past and my inevitable fate.

...and the search for redemption.

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  1. It’s funny how sometimes we let things go. I don’t play games anymore but i used to… a lot. Probably as much as you or more. The nineties were the decade i stayed in my room with my games. I would always prefer computer games. I liked consoles but the capacity a computer would have to adapt to any kind of game is amazing. I was always fan of first person shooter games. I even opened a lan house for counter strike during a couple years. That was not long ago. Six or seven years ago. I played the whole day. It was sooo cool!!! But then Batlefield arrived and internet got faster. Lan houses were over…and i guess i got an overdose.

  2. That technologies evolved so much while Vincent was in a stupor is exhaustingly sad.

    I still remember when you convinced me to buy TLJ, and how beautiful of an other-life you provided me through it. Those weeks I spent in Stark and Arcadia each night after the sun went down, allowing myself barely three hours of sleep a night in the midst of my two final years of high school – they were exhausting, but still remain one of the most resonating gaming experiences I ever had.

    I appreciate that you point out the nobility of this vice, too. Gamers are so often sneered at for an “antisocial” hobby, but unlike drink or drugs, through gaming we only destroy ourselves – and even the self-destruction is arguable.

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