Recently I’ve been convinced of a conspiracy. You know the one. I think we’ve all been sure of a similar swindle every once in a while. You just want to do this one thing, and the universe colludes against you to make sure you cannot achieve it. It’s the Truman Show all up in this bitch. It’s the most simple of tasks, yet it seems utterly unreachable. I got Red Dead Redemption on release months ago and excitedly popped it in my PS3 to have a bash. I played a small amount of single player, and a small amount of multiplayer, enough to know I loved the horse physics and the mind-breakingly beautiful surroundings. Just a taste was all I needed to know I would love this game if I played it more. This game is my freaking kryptonite. EVERY time I sit down to play it, something happens that distracts me or stops me playing it. It’s a super power that rivals my actual super power.
It may come as a shock to you, but Mum’s are busy people. Even the dull ones that don’t play with their kids are busy. Even the great ones. Even the mean ones. Just stopping kids from killing themselves is hard enough let alone helping craft and shape them into good, intelligent, caring people. I’m not complaining, hell I signed up for this in a big way, but it’s one of those things you don’t really understand until you get first hand experience with it. Much like making sausages, I’d imagine. I have a policy (to avoid turning into a completely lousy parent) that I don’t play games when my son is awake. Limiting my daily game time immediately by quite a lot. This is to ensure I don’t sit there gaming while my son is wanting my attention. If he’s happy playing with whatever he’s playing with and doesn’t require my attention I might fire up a game on my iPhone but I tend to avoid anything more ‘intense’ than that, and certainly wouldn’t play anything I wouldn’t be happy with him witnessing. In short, my game time is at the mercy of a small blonde-haired ghetto pimp that digs tomato sauce and tries to reach in and grab things that are on TV.
The day arrived where I said to myself “I AM going to play RDR today, and I’m going to play LOTS of it”. I woke up knowing it was going to be an RDR kind of day. I even swaggered down the hall that morning in the most cowboy-like plod I could muster. I tipped my invisible hat to the dog. I mumbled something about varmints and practiced my draw. As I put TheBoy™ to sleep for his nap at 12:30 I was fairly confident I would get at least an hour of free time, maybe two if I was lucky. I took it as a personal challenge to try and get as many missions done in that hour as possible. I was in the zone. Bean bag parked in front of the tele, phone next to me incase someone calls, water, some kind of delicious snack. I was John Marsten… Until the dog barked that aggressive hair-raising bark that meant someone was approaching, and a delivery man pressed the door bell – it was all over. The monster was roused and not happy about it. The next half hour was spent putting a very tired and very cranky devil-spawn back to bed. I snuck in a whopping 18 mins of RDR before he was up again, even more pissed off than before due to his pathetic rest. That night after putting him to bed early, I was distracted again. This time by the taller version of that handsome little man.
Every time I have sat down to attempt to play this game, I have been interrupted. Years ago this kind of thing would have sent me into a furious rage. I’ve been trying to wrangle some horses and hogtie some wenches for months now, all the while being interrupted by barking dogs, waking children, housework, friends, the need for sustenance, and that hot dude that lives with me. The worst part? I don’t mind one bit. After really looking at my love for games and realising it’s actually a love for play, I feel so much less pressure to channel that leisure time into one specific activity. My need for play is a need for play, whether it’s with my family or with a video game. My need to relax is placated by more than just games, and more than just the latest ones. Yeah it’s frustrating that I can’t seem to get really get stuck into this game like I want to, in the past I would have devoured this game, but when I look at my distractions I’m perfectly OK with it. I have every intention to get to Red Dead Redemption, and when I do it will be amazing fun, but I no longer have a fire lit underneath me to get onto it, it’s no longer a looming task on my to do list. Perspective is a wonderful thing. Now if you don’t mind I’m going to sit down, relax, and try and skin some critters. Or not. Whatever.