After a long hard day’s work there is nothing quite as therapeutic, as well as soul nurturing as playing a computer game. Gaming truly is an artificial balm of meditative serenity, easing the aches and strains endured over several hours of monotonous labour. A consolidating sedative that radiates with fostering respite and stabilised reprieve from the hostile provocations of work. I’ve always maintained a very laid back, devil-may-care approach to work, adopting a regimented commitment to my job without it interfering with my personal life. Usually if a day presents irritating challenges that impedes my ability to do my job effectively I can safely separate that as soon as I leave, distancing myself from the wearisome grievances of the job. But the pressure to keep up with the unseasonably demanding workload has recently had a startling effect on my demeanor.
I find it increasingly difficult to disassociate from the stresses of work. Much of the strain comes from being underpaid and woefully understaffed, coupled with colleagues illness and holidays. As a result every day is an exercise in futility, compounded by an exhaustive level of fluctuating work that only seems to grow in quantities and necessity. And I’m struggling to enforce a principled work ethic with any sustainable conviction. I’m not depressed or even resentful, just tired. But the one constancy in my life that I can rely on to preserve what little sanity I have rattling around up there is the sanctuary of gaming.
This indispensable tool of distraction is the singular catalyst that prevents me from smearing fecal matter all over my body and streaking through town brandishing an unusually long carrot, wielding it like a medieval sorcerer and bonking random strangers on the head. A strangely specific interpretation of insanity but a relatively accurate one. Sure my family offers a comforting respite, but they’ve also endured a long day themselves and there’s only so much they can do for an insufferable grump like me.
So to posses the capacity to satisfy such mindless endeavours is crucial to the overall recuperation of my volatile mind. To just submerge in the decadent wreaths of an open world, lavished with a plethora of errands I can complete when I’m good and ready. Immerse myself in the spectacle of being the most important figure in a virtual world, whose mere presence commands attention, arbitrarily scripted though it may be. The ability to escape, even virtually for a few hours is so comforting. My girlfriend often asks why I don’t go to bed at a reasonable hour, instead choosing to linger long past midnight, allocating my twilight hours to the acquisition of some new ability or exploring a newly discovered land. And the only real explanation I can give is because I need too!
I’m often susceptible to submissions of cynicism, indulging in the kind of scrupulous arrogance that rejects anything positive with an apathetic shrug. The only thing that I’m ever capable of doing with any real confidence is accurately predicting whether something is going to be bad, and worst still almost reveling in such prophetic assumptions. Who really wants to live a life committed to such pessimism and satisfaction of being right about something being bad? Not me, but that’s rarely the case with gaming.
I resonate with a distinct positivity that alludes me outside the confines of these virtual trappings. I get excited, angry, pensive, giddy but mostly I feel genuinely alive, reinvigorated even! It’s like a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winters day. This emotional attrition is satiated, my faculties renewed with new purpose and resiliency. Sure I’ve had a bad day at work, but at least I’ve defeated Bowser in Super Mario Odyssey! Sure that same characteristically cynical affliction will emerge from time to time, but it’s tempered by my absolute pleasure for gaming. Deep down, below the cold calculating exterior is my 10-year-old self that knows Ni No Kuni 2 “will be” better than the original. That Red Dead Redemption 2 “will” move me in ways I can’t possibly fathom. And that tonight when I play whatever it is I’m going to play, whether I’m good or not, I’m going to have fun!