Over at gamesetwatch, Leigh Alexander has a post up about a failed experiment: she tried to go one week without playing any games.

She managed just three days of cold turkey before giving in. That’s determination. In fact, I’m surprised Leigh managed to hold out so long in the first place.

The comments to that post were interesting, but most of them overlooked the fact that Leigh does this as a profession, not a hobby. And when it becomes your job, total immersion isn’t far off.

Back in the “good old days”, when I was writing for CGW and operating game areas online, just about all my time was devoted to one aspect of gaming or another.

If I wasn’t playing games, I was writing about them. A review. A walkthru. Hints/answers on the boards or in email. Answering hardcopy letters. Discussing games in person or on the phone. This is total immersion.

There was one time my Apple was out in a repair shop. Not only wasn’t I able to play games, I couldn’t even get online! Words cannot convey the agony I suffered.

Reading only worked for a little while. My eyes would keep traveling back to that empty spot on my desk. I just couldn’t help it. And every time I looked, the spot seemed to grow larger.

Not being able to log in made it worse. All those messages! All that email! I wasn’t worried about the management, because I had good assistants. It was not being able to respond. And what about the hardcopy letters? Well, I could always write by hand. Slowly, so it would be legible.

That situation was enforced by circumstances; it’s not something I’d ever have thought of trying “just to see if I could”. Because I knew I’d never be able to do it.

Things have changed since then. I don’t play anywhere near as many games as I used to. One reason is that there aren’t that many games I’m interested in playing, and my system isn’t able to handle the few that I might like to play.

While not having many games to play hasn’t driven me up the wall (yet), I still miss it. I haven’t played anything now since Eschalon, and I’m getting itchy. Not quite desperate, but that feeling isn’t far off.

Yeah, I know how Leigh felt. And she managed three days on sheer willpower alone. Amazing!

Abstinence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder on gamesetwatch