Many of us make the repeated mistake of buying too many games every year. Every time a sale on Steam or Amazon comes around, we open our wallets and throw our money at the screen. "Shut up and take my money," we say, knowing fully that we'll never even get around to playing those games we buy in those moments of weakness. And by "we," I mean "I".
My name is Ian, and I have a problem.
I would really like to say that it's taken me awhile to admit my problem, but the fact of the matter is that I'm well aware of my problem, and always have been. It's a problem I'm sure many others face in varying degrees of intensity. Some among you might have more self-control than others, purchasing only games you intend to play, which you do actually play when the weekends and holidays roll around. I'm not one of you, and I envy you for that. I wish I had such self-control. Really.
Worse yet, my compulsion extends even to books, graphic novels, and movies. I have shelves full of unwatched, unread, and unexperienced media. I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a hoarder—clearly, I am not—but it certainly comes dangerously close to being the Real Deal. There's a threshold I've yet to exceed, and I'm glad. Still, it doesn't mean much when I'm spending a good chunk of my paycheck every month on stuff I'll never fully explore for months or even years to come. There are books on my shelf that I bought five years ago, and I've yet to read them. Sandman—the great series by Neil Gaiman—is among those unread tomes, to say nothing of the countless games I've picked up over the years during Steam's sales.
I reflect upon my problem, and think about my every intention to go through the media I purchase. Just like a procrastinator has trouble getting work done, my ability to enjoy and consume the stuff I buy has no deadline—which I suppose, says quite a lot.
There is comfort in the familiar. It's easy for me to lose myself in a game which I'm familiar with. Skyrim comes to mind. I've spent over a hundred and fifty hours in the game thus far—and I intend to keep playing it for hundreds of hours to come. Visiting Whiterun feels like returning home. There is value in that.
But familiarity is only half the issue. I have no issue getting into a new game—or book, or TV series—and trying it out for a couple of hours. The real problem arises when I want to go back into these activities. I can't find the way to pull myself back into that which I've experienced, having had a taste and found it wanting. If something doesn't hook me immediately, or cause me to suffer from withdrawals, I immediately lose interest.
I'm doomed to search for the perfect experience—the holy grail of sensation, and I feel powerless to do anything but seek it out. Worst of all, I think I might be starting to enjoy it.