With a New Year emerges new, usually domestic challenges. Increases in tax. National insurance. Rent. Utility bills. Inflation. Unemployment. All while wages stagnate, the economy fluctuates and the government flaunts its privilege while extorting the poor to fund next year’s extravagant New Year’s Eve party. I’ve often considered the possibility of deserting the congestion of residential monotony and living life off the proverbial grid. To seek refuge in the sanctity of a cabin, furnished with a kettle, decent WIFI connectivity and an accessible delivery route, if it meant avoiding all social interactions or humanity in its entirety. I believe that such nurtured abstinence would leave me a very contented mammal. And this inherent desire for social forfeit has only been further epitomised by the festive break.
Much of my gaming is economised by trivial domestic responsibilities, a province that afflicts many burgeoning diversions. And though Christmas permits much needed respite from the rigidity imposed by work, your patriarchal duty is satisfying your family’s demands. Now this is certainly my preferred environment, with food, booze and all of the festive hospitality you’d expect from a Christmas gathering. But the excesses of this socially repressive period affords little time to indulge in your own coveted seclusion. As someone as introverted as myself, thrust into awkward conversations with peripheral members of my family or indeed those inherited through my partner, can be a stifling. And even the obligatory moment of synergetic narcolepsy that afflicts every family unit post Christmas feast, provided scarce refuge to indulge in my gaming proclivities. Even with my transported Steam Deck for comfort.
The aforementioned Steam Deck enables a versatility impeded by the conventional console systems. Sure it’s not the most subtle device, one that evidently attracts the attention of even your cataract afflicted grandmother, and is considered a major social faux pas, but a necessary reprieve from the “invigorating” family congregations. But what suddenly occurs to me during this bustle of congenial levity, is that gaming really is as intimate as reading a book. I lack the requisite discipline to suppress the ambient revelry around me, that in turn disrupts my capacity to engage with the words on the page with any comprehension. It could be the noise from a television or a simple conversation, I just can’t concentrate. And the same applies for gaming. There is just too much activity encompassing you to fully immerse yourself in a game, and zone out for a few hours. Which has always been a prime incentive. Despite the versatility and portability of a device like the Steam Deck, it’s just not the same unless you can play it alone.
Sadly, unless I inherit a small fortune from a wealthy Uncle I “accidentally” murdered, I’m probably going to have to stop being so selfish.