Hey guys, I’m Darwin and I’m a gaming addict.
So, my story begins in 2008. I was coming off a bad relationship and had moved a long ways from my adopted family in the south (ie, Bella Blitz & The Doktor). I was alone. I was floundering. I was game free but going nowhere fast.
Then a package arrived.
Bella & The Doktor had sent their XBox off to be refurbished after the red ring of death. A new GTA was out so they just bought a new one and send me their rejiggered, new and improved, fixed up 360.
I was moved beyond words. Little did I know that my loving friends had put a needle full of black tar heroin, crack and Mountain Dew in my hands. I pushed the button and it went down so smooth.
Hours were spent playing online with my friends. It was all there. Violence, co-operation, zombies and the achievements. OH THE ACHIEVEMENTS!
I had owned a PS2 for years and toyed around with the Wii but this…this was a whole new beast. Things were unlocked, friends were available and I just couldn’t put it down. I wouldn’t even if I could have fathomed it. Then I got my first taste of my disease.
Sid Meier’s Civilization: Revolution.
The maps were randomized so you never had the same game twice. You had a plethora of civilizations to play with, all of them with their own upsides and downsides. There was so much going on and I was hooked.
The Doktor and I played co-op a few times but the game became a solitary affair, like meditation or masturbation. Nah, just kidding…I don’t masturbate in solitude.
The further I got into the game the more enthralled I became with opening all of the civilizations, statues and achievements. I started out on the tutorial level and adapted quickly. From there it was quickly on to “Warlord” where I mopped up.
Then came “King”…”Emperor”…and finally “Deity”.
I never won one game on “Deity” and only one or two at “Emperor”. “King” was a fight but I’d eek out more wins than losses. I found myself sliding down and the thrill wasn’t there…not like at “Warlord”.
It wasn’t a big deal. I could move up any time I wanted.
Then I met my fiancé. She didn’t know much about modern games and was curious to learn more. God bless her heart…she tries so hard to understand my geekness.
I walked her through the first level. She jumped up quickly to “Warlord” and then on and one. She was opening up achievements that I hadn’t managed to attain. She was lapping me in the game but I didn’t care. Then came that fateful day.
She bested the game on “Deity”. It was a tough fight and she spent a good deal of the three hour battle royale cursing at the TV and declaring acts of genocide should be carried out against the variety of civilizations opposing her. I was so proud. That was my baby.
I hugged her. I held her. I told her how amazing she was. Then we cleared it out and I took my turn…on “Warlord”.
“You know,” she said to me, still thumping her chest and strutting around the apartment with a shit eating grin on her face, “you really should step it up to the next level.”
I “meh’d” her suggestion and fired up the easy level with my favorite civilization, the Mongolians. An hour or two later I had bested the game…again. There was no challenge in it. It was a cake walk. I was just maintaining but in the most enjoyable of ways.
Her push kept coming. I needed to move up. I needed to try harder. I needed to stop being a loser and shooting cheap junk. Okay, she didn’t say any of that BUT I SWEAR IT WAS IMPLIED!
So how did I deal with it? I started my early morning weekend routine. She would sleep late while I, regardless of what time we went to sleep, would wake up at 7:00 AM and silently slide into the living room. My mistress was waiting.
The machine would fire up. The green light would come on. I was Genghis Khan again. The lands were new and with every barbarian village that fell my empire grew. I was home again and free in the cozy role as “Warlord”.
I love the mediocrity that comes along with underachieving in the game. It fits like the snuggest of gloves but still…I know I can move up to “King” any time I want.