Look, we’ve all been there. A new game comes out and it suddenly feels like it’s the one thing that’s been missing from your life. You’ve been looking for just the perfect game to spend all of your free time with, and now it’s here, at last!
You spend hours at work thinking about playing it, you helplessly peruse the internet for the latest tips, tricks and reviews, and it even starts to haunt your dreams. You’re totally infatuated, obsessed even. You know it’s not healthy but the feeling is just so new and fresh that you can’t shake it.
Consequences be damned: You’ll stay up all night playing it if you have to. And if you have to chug three energy drinks to get through work the next day, then let it be a stop at 7/11 on your lunch break. And if your fiance is giving you shit for not doing your chores or spending enough time with the family then…you’ll tell her she’s right, and adjust your behavior accordingly.
Soon enough, though, the feeling begins to wear off. You still want to spend time with the game but you start to feel distracted when you’re playing it, maybe you’ve started listening to music or podcasts while you’re playing. You’re not paying attention to it like you used to.
It’s fun but it’s just not the same. You begin to wonder what it might be like to play other games before shaking your head and reminding yourself that, no, you’ve got a perfectly good game right here, and it’s been very good to you.
After a time though, not even denial can keep you from accepting the truth. The magic is gone, and playing it has begun to feel more and more like work with each passing day. You put down the controller feeling less and less satisfied with each new session. Then one day, the time finally comes: it’s time to to break it off.
It’s a tough decision, an emotional one even, but you know it’s for the best. You promise yourself you’ll do it quick, without hesitation, and you ignore the gnawing feeling in your head that maybe you can make it work, maybe you can keep playing for a little while longer.
Finally, the moment of truth comes, and you know you have to be firm. You shut off the game, pop out the disc, and maybe even uninstall the updates for good measure. You don’t want to get pulled back into this unhealthy relationship so you go out of your way to set the game aside in a place where you won’t see it. On a shelf, or in a stack of other games, with the label facing away from you.
You still find yourself thinking about it from time to time but as the days continue to pass, you realize that you’re strong. You remind yourself that you were okay before the game came out, and you’ll be okay now that it’s gone.
You can survive this but you’re going to need a little help. The best way to start is to get back out there. Find yourself a nice little indie game to spend the night with, it’ll give you something to do and help get your mind off of what you’ve given up. Maybe you’ll need a few little flings like this to fill the hole in your life, and for a time that’ll be good enough to keep you going.
Then, one day you’ll see it. You’ll see it in a trailer or in a review, and you’ll just know: that’s the next game for you. You’ll fantasize about it, dream about it, and just wait for the chance to get your hands on it, hoping it’s everything you imagined it to be. And for a time, maybe it will be but there will always come a time when you have to finally say goodbye.
It’s a sad fact of life. You never part with any of your games on bad terms so you know they’ll always be there for you if you need them. But you also know it’ll never be the same as it was in the early days, before the break up.
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