Have you ever had to make excuses for playing video games? Certainly when I was younger I had to give all kinds of reasons for wanting new games, or to carry on playing rather than doing something else such as the fabled “tidying of thy room.”
I’ll bet anyone reading this has been in the same situation and felt the need to explain themselves. When you get older this becomes a game in itself. You start thinking: what kind of excuse can I give now I’m twice the age of the target market for this game?
10: Because if I don’t the [insert bad guys here] will conquer the [insert here kingdom/planet/universe] and I’ll never rescue [insert damsel in distress here] which would be really bad!
I’ve found that if you get into even more detail than this it’s even more effective! Girlfriends and wives get exasperated with too much gaming detail and if you’re lucky you’ll get the “Yeah, whatever – just go play!” response. You may also get the “Yeah whatever, go do the dishes anyway!” response but it’s worth a shot I always think.
In some ways it was easier when I was younger. Older games, being less sophisticated and without quick disc access made it easier to give valid excuses to carry on playing! Even if for just a bit longer. The most obvious being:
9. I can’t save here! I have to get to a save point!
Which was nearly always true. In many cases, especially on the Spectrum (my first computer with games), you could never save your game and you had to start from the beginning every time you reloaded or lost. This excuse still works today for some titles where, inexplicably you can’t quick save at any point. Nintendo are still buggers for this and are unlikely to change their approach for some time.
“Almost” valid excuses don’t end there, there are still other ways to try to convince parents or spouse that playing games is a necessity rather than just obvious fun. One of the earliest excuses I remember is:
8. It helps my hand eye co-ordination!
Does it? Does it really? I can’t say I’ve ever noticed any improvement in myself from playing games. In fact I often play a little game to see if I can throw a pen in the air, making it spin round and catch it. Often I do it without thinking and work colleagues have started to count how often I manage to catch the pen again. I have an embarrassingly small percentage of successful catches, so I can’t help but disagree with this excuse. Of course I would never admit that to my parents back then, nor my girlfriend today!