Do you want to play a game?

Only the second post here, and it’s already time for a potentially shameful admission.

See, I have a little problem. It’s not huge, but it does sometimes haunt my sleep. Or, it probably would, if I got more sleep.

I play a LOT of video games. Not an overly crazy amount. I’m certainly not the type of person who spends their entire weekend playing games. And I’ve never called in sick to work just because a new game came out that looks really awesome. Nope. Certainly never done that. Especially not when it’s an awesome game that allows you to create a character that you’ll never actually see, but you can spend HOURS building your avatar’s face to be just right.

But that isn’t the problem. I don’t even have the same problem as my wife, which is to say that I don’t start cursing like a sailor on shore leave when playing games (she totally does). And I certainly don’t play too many games that would make people walking past on the street wonder about my sanity (after all, you can only play Catherine so many times).

My problem, quite simply, is achievements. Trophies. Whatever you call the extra little ding of satisfaction that you can get from a game.

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I’ve seen this trophy too many times.

See, now that we’ve got these in just about every game, I find myself spending far too much time in the game worlds trying to make that little congratulatory message happen. This isn’t too bad in games that I find enjoyable. After all, if it’s already fun to tromp through the game world, destroying all of the enemies in your path (full disclosure: I am terrible at sports sims because of this style of play), then it isn’t too big of a deal. But there are definitely times where a game isn’t very captivating, and I still can’t quite help myself. I need to run around and try to get all of the achievements. It’s some sort of sick obsession, and I know it’s exactly what the game designers have planned. Made even worse are the games that give you an achievement for something as simple as loading the game.

Of course, by the time that the Nugget (my current nickname for my daughter) is playing games, you won’t even have to load up the program. The game will just automatically give you an achievement just for thinking about not being productive. And I’m not allowing her to really be around video games until she has the hand-eye coordination to throw the controller at the screen. After all, she needs to be able to target her gamer rage appropriately.

Until that point, though, I’m totally going to destroy her at Tic Tac Toe.

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Maybe I should stop playing as “O”.

Oh, I’ll get you, sneaky “X” trophy.

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