As a thirty-eight-year-old, playing video games has become a bit of a luxury. There just isn’t enough time in the day for yours truly. From working a nine to five, reading comics/books, watching shows/movies, maintaining a social life, writing here on the site… time just moves more rapidly than I’d like. I don’t know how many of you have read Matt Fraction’s Sex Criminals but man, I would love to be able to stop time and just exist in this nexus where nothing happens. I could get so much done and lose nothing. I’d still get to work, hang out with Hudson the Cat, go on adventures with my wife, and exist like a normal person who just so happens to be stealing time on the quiet. Of course, if this was Sex Criminals then that would only happen when I (*insert chicken noise here*) soooooo…
Needless to say, when I find a game that really grabs me then it’s a gift etching out time to play. Sometimes it’s during the weekends. Sometimes it’s after ten o’clock when the Mrs. goes to sleep. Sometimes it’s only for a half-hour in the down moments. But playing video games, something I completely took for granted in college, is something I relish now. My Nintendo Switch has made things a bit easier being a mobile consul. I don’t have to worry about stealing tv time away in the house. We’ve got one in the bedroom and one in the living room but I don’t want video games to be the reason why someone has to go to the bedroom to watch something. Just seems lame and kind of selfish. See, this is what I’m talking about! All the factors that make it so difficult to play. Adulting is hard Geeklings.
Lately, I’ve been playing Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order. I find there are a few things more satisfying in life than pushing a stormtrooper off a ledge by using the Force. It just makes my heart sing. I’ve had the game for a bit, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience, but getting through the story has been a slow haul. But I’m in. I’m all in in fact. This story has been great not only in filling in some blanks after Order 66 but expanding the greater Star Wars universe. Although, as someone who plays a bit infrequently, I read a tweet the other day that completely resonated. A “previous while playing” screen that reminds you of the things you’ve done so you’re caught up to speed if you’ve been away from the game for a couple of weeks. Actually, why isn’t this a thing? Video game creators of the world, make it happen, captain.
Friday night, I had some free time to play and loaded up the game. I was pumped. I had been playing a bit more consistently and felt like I was finally advancing the story. I was in a slight groove and making progress. Anyone who plays video games knows that feeling where you’re just locked in. The story is developing. Your skills are developing. You just want to swing a lightsaber or use the Force to grab a vine to swing from platform to platform. Most of all though you just want to make progress. That’s the point of video games. Getting from Point A to Point B, getting all the story, defeating the big bads, and getting that sweet, sweet ending. Nobody initially plays video games not to finish them. That’s just an added bonus of a busy/adult life. I try not to think of the stack of discarded games I’ve left in my wake. It just makes me sad. I see robe-clad, college Kevin just shaking his head in disgust. I’m sorry, I’ve failed you. But now that I’m more specific with my game choices I try not to let that happen.
And then you hit that wall.
We’ve all been there. That point in a game where you get super frustrated, can’t advance, and there’s no YouTube video or walkthrough in the world that is going to help you progress. It sucks. The whole experience of the game comes crashing down. You start to doubt yourself. You curse. You try to refrain from throwing the controller across the room. You start believing video games are stupid and just a waste of time. Suddenly all the fun is gone and it seems that the game has some sort of personal vendetta against you. This happened to me Friday night. I spent an hour in a boss battle type scenario getting my ass handed to me. I cursed. I refrained from throwing. And I turned off my PS4 and went to bed. Suddenly my video game escape became my own personal hell. I just needed a break. So I came back to it on Sunday night… and the same thing happened. Forty-five minutes of beating my head against the wall. I was becoming rapidly discouraged. Why were the gods so cruel? Why couldn’t I just advance my story? I just want to know what happens. I just want to use the Force and a lightsaber. I just want to play a god damn video game!
That’s when I did something I’m not very proud of. I committed a massive video game sin and once it was complete I felt soiled. Dirty. In fact, I turned the game off shortly thereafter almost as a punishment. No more gaming for you, you sad sack. You sinner. You coward.
Geeklings, this is my confession… I changed the difficulty setting on Jedi Fallen Order so I could advance.
It’s been eating at me since Sunday night. I had to come here and throw myself at the mercy of my Geeklings. I’m ashamed. I felt like I had no choice but I know if I had allotted myself more time I would have eventually gotten past this part. But with the limited playing time, eventually just wasn’t cutting it. I really want to see what happens with this story. I want to play other games. I want to play this game. Getting stuck like that… as a thirty-eight-year-old adult, I just don’t have time for that nonsense.
I’m sure as I continue to play more and more of the game this will be but a distant memory. I’m hoping it doesn’t stain my entire gaming experience, but I needed to be honest. I needed to come clean. I needed the assurance from you that I’m not a monster. I’m just a person who wants to play video games and enjoy the limited time I get to play them. Is that so wrong?
Seriously… is it? Or am I destined to hear the Game of Thrones bells of shame each time I spark up my PS4 to get my Jedi on? Be sure to let me know in the comments or throw me a line over on Twitter @iamgeek32. Have I committed a cardinal sin of video gaming or is this just a blip in an already well-established career? Help ease my pain Geeklings. Please.