Pandora's Gift

MadDude

My girlfriend and I are sitting on our recliner couch in that curious together-but-apart configuration that has become our weekday mainstay. She is furiously trying to prepare a lesson for the class she’s supposed to teach the next morning, while I am browsing the internet and updating my GameFly queue. As the TV drones on in the background, a flash of recognition tears my eyeballs away from the computer.

God of War III is out next Tuesday”, I mutter, lost in a fugue of geekish intensity. It’s hardly a revelation, but there’s a feeling of being blindsided that’s hard to process, as though the game were silently dropping out of nowhere. My girlfriend pauses to give me a pitiful look, the kind only given to very stupid dogs or very ugly cats.

“I could always buy it for you”, she teasingly replies.

“That’s a great idea,” I say, “I mean, it worked out so well the last time.”

On a Wednesday morning in 2007, a jovial FedEx employee knocked on my door, informing me that I had received a package. I thought it was one of the books I had ordered for my Spring quarter classes. But instead of finding a tattered copy of Siddhartha in the yellow, bubblewrap-lined envelope, I found myself holding a fresh copy of God of War II.

It was the middle of March, the second year of my return to college. Final exams were only a week away and I was comfortably behind in my class projects. Of all the things I needed to have within arm’s reach, God of War II was not one of them.

The box sat on my living room table for about an hour, quietly reaching out to me. For a while, I defied every urge to rip the thing open and gorge myself on its gameplay. There was a certain, small pleasure from playing the role of the responsible adult, but there was also greater mirth to be found by indulging my adolescent whims.

I now know that there are few things in this world as unsettling as an angry Spartan eyeing you from across a room. Unable to resist, I snapped open the heavy metallic casing and thumbed through the instruction manual. I spent agonizing minutes reading everything from the EULA to the copyright notations at the end. After my third read-through, I popped open the PS2, turned on the TV, and dropped into the couch with a soda at the ready. My transformation from procrastinating academic to negligent layabout was complete. If my grades suffered, then they at least were sacrificed for a worthy cause.

My girlfriend later admitted she had no idea I was approaching class finals. She intended to surprise me with something I would enjoy – a kind present to carry over into my spring break. I half-seriously accused her of trying to sabotage me. It was a sweet gesture, but a bit poorly timed.

While I’d like nothing more than to be pampered to the tune of Kratos, I know that I’m too weak to resist plunking several less-than-healthy hours into the game. When Tuesday comes around, I’ll miss the excitement of tearing into the series’ latest chapter. Instead, I will rely on the commentary of others in my community. While I’d like nothing more than to be a little less responsible and spend all of Tuesday cloistered in front of my PS3, I know that it is not going to happen. I’m comfortable with the fact that I’ll come to the game on my own terms, instead of it being Trojan Horsed into my schedule.

No, that’s not entirely right. I’m resigned to the fact that I can’t afford to play it on launch day. Between you and me, I desperately want to relive the wanton disregard for responsibility that God of War II afforded me.

Comments

What a nice, relatable read. God of War 3 does not have me as excited you, however, this weeks Final Fantasy release is the same to me. Why must getting old mean getting responsible? I want to stay up playing for 20 hours straight.

I love your articles Spaz. You're like the everyman's gamer, but with the writing chops to fit in on the front page.

You have my condolences Spaz! I already warned my wife that I will be locking myself in the basement and not emerging until every last Olympian god lays dead at my bloody feet. In HD.

If it helps, my course concerning the human life-cycle noted that the ability to delay gratification continues to develop until it peaks at about 40 years old. There's some speculation that this is an evolutionarily-necessary trait to prevent parents from strangling their teenagers.

Worryingly, social skills development peaks at 30 years, which means that I'm evidently going to spend the rest of my life with an alarming preference for being around as few people as possible.

I'll rip off heads in your honor, as I fully intend to be irresponsible and play from Midnight onward. Then again, I really hate my job right now, so it's a pretty easy choice to make. I've been betrayed by the gods I faithfully served, I can hopefully channel my rage into Kratos.

Do it Spaz! All-nighter! Energy drinks!

Great read. Although, you've submitted it to a legion of practiced enablers.

I give it three days.

Coldstream wrote:

If it helps, my course concerning the human life-cycle noted that the ability to delay gratification continues to develop until it peaks at about 40 years old. There's some speculation that this is an evolutionarily-necessary trait to prevent parents from strangling their teenagers.

Worryingly, social skills development peaks at 30 years, which means that I'm evidently going to spend the rest of my life with an alarming preference for being around as few people as possible.

It's good to know that 10 years from now, I'll be far less likely to strangle my son and throw him through a wall, right in time for me to start teaching him how to drive a manual transmission.

However, knowing that at 29 I'm doomed to social ineptitude makes me a little sad.

Googling Spaz's home address... check. Anyone want to throw in a buck to help me ruin this guy I don't really know's life?

If another good article comes of it, sure, I'll throw in a buck.

Aye, I just skewed up some 3D modelling coursework by playing far too much BFBC2 over the weekend. On the other hand, I've unlocked most everything by now, and can expect to resume normal scheduling with the well-timed compulsive unlocks-that-are-just-oh-so-slightly-out-of-reach out of the way, now. =)

(Well, nearly.)

I like the Trojan horse analogy. Although in this case you already know the outcome.

I feel your pain. I remember, and not fondly, the days of having to trek off to school while completely unfocused on anything at all academic. Thankfully, my career allows me to take time off or telecommute as needed. This has afforded me many opportunities to indulge in my desire to spend a day or three glued to whatever new release has me frothing at the mouth. I've already informed my boss that I'll need a few days off this fall, carefully planned around the release of Civ V.

Muahahahaaahaaa. I'm still free until the fall when I head back to grad school. Until then, the glow of my tv et al. willl be keeping me company. Well, and the people around me, but they don't count. Do they?

L.A. county experienced a magnitude 4.4 earthquake this morning (about 4 a.m.).

This was either the shock of thousands of gamers passing out or a sign that I have angered the gods.