Has Playing Games Affected Your Social Life?
As most of you know, I'm a big gamer and a big proponent of maintaining an active social life while keeping up-to-date on my favorite hobby. I have also written editorials in the past, praising the older generation of gamers for finding moderation, and in general, for growing up. I believe the majority of us have moved past a time when we could be accused of using video game as an escape; or when games really did have an adverse effect on our lives. However, as is the case with any hobby, we can often lose ourselves for a certain span of time, sometimes at the sacrifice of other things...things that probably shouldn't have been sacrificed.
So, let's take a moment and laugh at ourselves. Bear in mind that I don't believe any of you are "addicted" to gaming and that I know we have plenty of older, knowledgeable members at PSXE. So feel free to tell us your most embarrassing moments; times when gaming really robbed you of a great experience or simply made you miss out. Just to make you feel a little more secure, I'll get the ball rolling. Here are examples in my past when gaming really...well, got me:
"Dinner at 8 p.m...yup, got it"
So there I am in college (shut up; it wasn't that long ago) and although I only dated one girl in that span of time (again, shut up; I was an RPG freak at the time), it did last for a good six months. The week after finals, she tells me she wants to celebrate with an intimate evening alone; i.e., she'll cook and make the atmosphere perfect and all I have to do is show up. Eight o'clock sharp. Well, I get home at about 5 p.m. and I figure I've got time to play some Final Fantasy VIII; I had been gearing up for my encounter with Omega Weapon, and I really didn't think I'd be able to fight him. I wanted to do more preparation but for whatever reason, I just decided to go at him...without looking at the clock. It was 7:30 or thereabouts. I failed the first time but I knew what I had to do so I went to go do it...about an hour later, I get a phone call. The conversation went something like this-
Girl: "Ben? Um...it's 8:30. Where are you?"
Me: "Oh...yeah. Well, you know. Boss fight.
Girl: "Boss fight? That's why you haven't showed-"
Me: "YOU BUST OUT TERRA FLAME ONE MORE FU***** TIME AND I'M GONNA SHOVE IT UP YOUR BIG DRAGON ASS!!!!!"
Yeah, so, I didn't really talk to her much after that. Oops.
"Party? Downstairs? ...be right there"
College again. This time, me and a few friends set up four computers in two dorm rooms so we could play multiplayer Diablo II and Heroes of Might and Magic III. Some girls walked by the rooms (which were right across from one another), stuck their heads in and said there was a party downstairs and everyone was invited. We all said something along the lines of, "oh, okay, cool. We'll be down." Then we got involved. We kinda forgot. At one point, one of my friends, who always insisted on being a mage and rushing into battle, managed to sprint ahead of our group and we lost him. Two minutes later, I hear this shriek from across the hall: "Oh my God, RUN!" That freak had basically rounded up every enemy on the map and he was dragging them all back to us. I see his character on my screen shoot across at about a million miles an hour, followed by like a thousand enemies. If I hadn't laughed so hard, I might've escaped.
A few hours later, one of those girls stuck her head in again and inquired after our absence. I think I may have nodded vaguely in her direction and proceeded to instruct my buddy on the dos and don'ts of attacking Necromancer armies in HoMMIII. "Yeah, see, you better hope they don't have Expert Earth Magic and Animate Dead, 'cuz you're screwed." I left at 2:30 a.m., and not a one of us had set foot downstairs.
The mother of all eff-ups...
Arnold will still ride me for this even now, as well he should. This was back when I was doing entertainment journalism for the papers. If you weren't aware, I did handle a lot of interviews in that span of time, and although most were phone interviews, some were face-to-face. Well, I did meet and hang out with one particular singer who, although not so famous then as she is now, was downright adorable and a real pleasure to be around. Most of my interviews weren't so down-to-earth and sweet, and it seemed to help that I was way out of it in terms of pop culture knowledge. I believe my first comment to her was, "okay, yeah, I really don't know who you are. I just wanted to get that out in the open." She laughed really hard and things went well after that. Anyway, she asked if I might come back and do the same interview for the same paper for another concert tour the following year. By that time, I had moved on (I was here, peeps) so I had to decline, but she said I should show up anyway to "say hi."
'deep breath' I forgot. I really did. I had started a new game of Final Fantasy Tactics the day before, and although I even got dressed to go the following evening, I sat down and suddenly got it into my head that I had to Master Summoner for Ramza before I left. I lost track of time and when I stood up, the concert had been over for an hour. ...I'm not proud of this. It's my most embarrassing story ever. But there you have it. Now if y'all don't reciprocate with your own embarrassing stories, I'm gonna be pissed.
P.S. No, don't ask after the singer's name. That will NEVER be made public.
7/3/2009 Ben Dutka