And I Said I Wouldn't Do It - 05.17.99

I bought a new computer just over a month ago now and at the time, made several goals to myself as to what I wanted to accomplish with it. Not only did I want to re-design my website (don't worry, it's on it's way) and experiment with some electronic music composition (lots of tinkering, but nothing solid as of yet), but I told myself that in order for me to get all the things done that I wanted to, I wouldn't install any games on my machine. I have an addictive enough personality that I knew if I found a good game, I'd get absorbed in it and spend a lot of time on it that could be better used elsewhere.

Well, last week I broke that promise to myself. I had played a game at my friends house and it was entirely too much fun, so I decided that I would get a copy for myself and try it out for awhile. Unfortunately, over the weekend after getting it loaded on my machine, I probably spent almost 6 hours playing it. The worst part is that at several points while playing the game, I told myself that I would shut it off after I had finished a certain point. After I had finished that point, however, then it would be another point and another point until the next thing I knew, I had wasted an hour doing nothing. I guess that's what they make them for, though.

It's exactly what I feared would happen, and I felt stupid for even loading it on the my computer in the first place. When I was a kid and my parents bought me my first video-game system (an Intellivision, in case you were wondering), I got so hooked that I would spend hours and hours on it unless my parents specifically told me to shut it off. I clearly remember several times playing along while whining to one of my parents to let me play it for just 5 more minutes. Eventually, I'd be playing along oblivious to everything else when a giant hand would finally reach over my shoulder and hit the power on the console. I'd be mad at first, but it would snap me out of my pixeled blinders and I'd usually go on to do something else without much of an argument. Eventually, the Intellivision even got old, and it went into a box and up into the attic.

Just a short while later, a good friend of mine got the newest thing on the block; a Nintendo. It was the old 16-bit system with the original Mario Brothers and a couple of other games, but once again I got addicted. I'd spend the night at his house and we'd rent a couple video games from the local store, staying up all night playing them. When I'd go home the next day, my mom would always wonder why I was so tired. Like the Intellivision, though, even the Nintendo got old, even with its never-ending stream of new games.

I got hooked again in early high-school when my parents got a computer and I started playing with Sierra games like Space Quest and Kings Quest. I even really got into a semi-learning game called Oregon Trail (who didn't?) for awhile. I'd spend hours playing each game until I solved it, even though at the end of it all, I really had nothing to show for it except geek bragging rights.

In college, there were a couple spells where games got the best of me, and usually it was more out of friendly competition with others than anything else. My roomate and neighbors and I would play old, silly arcade games like Asteroids (actually, the shareware version entitled Hemmerhoids) and Tetris (actually, it was a shareware version of the game called Weslyan Tetris that had sound effects like burps and farts) on my crappy Macintosh (RIP). We'd vie for high-score and talk trash to one another just to blow off steam (unlike my neighbors obsession with Sega Hockey, but that's for another time and place).

We even went through our obsessions with Doom (and when it came out, Quake), but they never really got to an unhealthy point for anyone. At the worst point, we'd spend a couple hours in one evening blowing the crap out of each other in a deathmatch while de-stressing from a week of tests or something. It was never consistent, but we'd get together when we got the chance and have a little fun.

Now, I'm facing sort of a dilemma with the game on my computer. Of course it isn't life-threatening and it really isn't that difficult of a decision to make one way or the other. On one hand, I leave it on my machine for awhile longer and only play it once in awhile, hoping that I can regulate myself a little better than I did over the past weekend. If I find that I'm contradicting my own terms often, then I end it swiftly and delete everything off my machine, again swearing to never install another game. The other option is of course just to delete it before even allowing myself the chance to play it again.

While I did enjoy the game, I'm going to do the latter. I know that while I do have good self-restraint, it would still simply be too large of a temptation with it on my machine. I have too many things to get done, and I know that if it was available, it would be like a long fingernail that I just needed to chew off (this is in reference to my bad habit of chewing fingernails, by the way). OK, I just did it. So long Carmageddon 2, I had a fun weekend.