Sick Time Equals Play Time

There are advantages to being sick sometimes.  I started coming down with something early Friday evening and a few hours later, just before bed time, it had turned into a full-blown sore throat along with jam-packed, stuffed up sinuses.  I knew I wouldn’t be getting any sleep any time soon, so while the rest of the family slept to visions of sugar plums in their heads, I fired up the ol’ Xbox 360 and did some gaming until the wee hours of the morning.

After a bunch of games of NHL 10 I finally lumbered up to bed and closed my eyes for a while.  Just a few short hours later though, I was wide awake again.  The clock told me it was just before 6:00am.  I checked on my two kids; the first born was out like a light and typically doesn’t wake until 7:30.  The new born was sleeping so soundly in his crib that I had to stare at his chest to make sure he was still breathing.  Glorious.  Two and a half months old and already sleeping nine hours a night.  So again, I fired up the 360 and dug out a game I haven’t played in ages, Burnout Paradise.  It didn’t take long to be reminded of just how fun Burnout is, and how good looking it is too.

I managed a solid two hours with the game before my daughter awoke and took over the TV.  Later in the afternoon, with my wife out with our daughter and my little guy sleeping in the crook of my left arm, I fired up my PC and killed some time in EverQuest II: Extended.  I haven’t been actively playing it, because I’ve definitely moved on from Norrath, but from time to time I do get the urge to pop in and check out the game I spent so many hours playing just a few years ago.  I gained a couple levels with the Inquisitor, now level 12, and yeah… that game does nothing for me.

Finally, I loaded up Batman: Arkham Asylum, which I had purchased off Steam for pretty cheap.  I only got a few minutes to play it, but what I saw was awesome.  I’ll be coming back to it for sure.  Hopefully my cold doesn’t go away too quickly.

Dirty Little Secrets

I buy too many games.  I know this “problem” isn’t unique to me, but I’ve got a stack of games that I’ve purchased and haven’t even touched since.  I’m drawn to game stores like a moth to a flame and can never resist a good deal.  My breaking point for games appears to be $20.  If I’m marginally interested in a game and it’s received decent reviews, I’ll quite likely pick it up if it’s twenty dollars or less.  That doesn’t mean I’ll play it though, stupid as that sounds.  I suppose I just want to ensure I have the option of playing it sometime down the road when I magically have more time for such things.

Some of my more recent acquisitions include:

IL-2 Sturmovik 1946 (PC)
I heard it was great, and I’ve always wanted to get into a flight sim. I saw it in Best Buy one day for $20 and decided to pick it up out of fear that it’d disappear off the shelves and I’d never get a chance to try it.  To date, I’ve spent about five, maybe ten minutes with it just flying around, not really doing anything.

Unreal Tournament III (PC)
Unreal Tournament is one of my all time favourite series. I spent countless hours playing UT2004 and was quite excited for UT3.   When the demo was released I jumped all over it and was completely underwhelmed.  It didn’t feel as fun as its previous incarnation, so I never picked it up.  I got interested in it again when I heard of the changes being made to it, such as Steam integration and the Titan Pack.  I found it for $20 so I grabbed it.  According to Steam, I’ve played it for half an hour.

King’s Bounty: The Legend (PC)
I was visiting the States and picked it up for $20 in Circuit City’s liquidation sale.  So far, I’ve gone as far as installing it.

Burnout Paradise (Xbox 360)
I kept hearing how fun this game was, so when I saw it for $18 at a local game store, I made the purchase.  I’ve spent maybe half an hour with it.

I could go on of course, there are many similar examples sprinkled throughout my gaming history.   Until I actually play these things though, they were a waste of money, no matter how cheap they were.  I bought American McGee’s Scrapland because it was two dollars.   I mean, why not?   It’s only two bucks!   Well, this was about a year ago, and I’ve never touched it, so essentially, I’m out $2 which could have bought me a super large Slurpee.

Deep down, I know full well I’m wasting my money, as I make my march of shame toward the checkout counter. Further still, while I don’t go out of my way to hide these purchases from my wife, I don’t openly advertise them either.  I know full well I already own too many games that I never play, her rolling eyes just drive the guilt daggers deeper.  There are times that this “don’t ask don’t tell” policy comes back to bite in the rear.  Such was the case this past weekend.

We had some friends over for a Rock Band night, and I threw Burnout Paradise into the Xbox for them while my wife and I were putting our daughter to bed.  When my wife went downstairs she saw the game and asked what it was.

Friend: Burnout Paradise
Wife: Oh, the demo?
Friend: No, full game, the box is on the TV there.
Wife: When did David buy that?
Friend: Uhhhhh…

As soon as I rejoined everyone downstairs I got grilled.  “When did you buy that?  Why didn’t you tell me we had it… you KNOW I love Burnout!”  Quite frankly I thought she’d be mad that I bought yet another game.  Turns out I was wrong.  Again.