Video Game Lull Drives Fan to Brink


These are the times that try gamers’ souls.

Don’t get me wrong; being a video game fan is great most of the time – awesome stories, an accepting community and little to no physical activity. Yet, it’s this excruciating dry spell leading into the holiday rush that changes our easy-going, introverted personalities.

All I want to do right now is play games, but nothing fits the bill. Lumines? Well-worn territory. NCAA Football ’06? How many more ways can I win the National Championship? The Bible Game? Be – wait, why the hell do I have the Bible Game?

Anyway, it sucks. I’m aggravated, tired and grumpy. I’m snipping at my fiancÃ?©e, kicking my dog and leaving the toilet seat up. I’m a jerk, and it’s all because I have nothing to play.

I thought today would change all that. Accompany the little lady to Bed Bath & Beyond, grab some lame wedding shower gift, hit Target, buy a game and end this living nightmare of nothingness.

Never trust a plan that begins with going to Bed Bath & Beyond. An argument over an egg cooker and $80 later we had a bag of assorted spatulas and dicers that was sure to under whelm the bride-to-be.

Beaten and weary, I thought Target could save me on a lumbering Labor Day. My mission? Secure a copy of Trauma Center: Under the Knife for the Nintendo DS. The game puts you behind a scalpel and unleashes you on an E.R. in desperate need of your help.

It was released in October 2005.

Yeah, I’m late. I know. That’s what my people do this time of year. We double back and pick up the games we missed. It’s usually what makes this lull livable.

Target doesn’t share that philosophy.

The game shelves were bare. No Trauma Center. No Advance Wars: Dual Strike. No Psychonauts. Target hates older new games. They refuse to help latecomers like me avoid thoughts of suicide or, God forbid, the outdoors. Their sparse collection of games was filled with every weak title and horrible tie-in released in the last year.

It was enough to make me lose faith in huge, soulless shopping centers.

The day began with hopes of saving virtual lives in a virtual hospital. I’d be a virtual hero. I’d cut out virtual appendixes just before they’d explode, repair ailing virtual hearts on their last beat and amputate virtual limbs that had been mauled by virtual pitbulls in virtual junkyards.

The day ended with me cursing and spitting nails the entire drive home. How could the world do this to me? Why couldn’t stupid supercenters stock several copies of old games? Surely more people are coming in to get those games than are picking up the latest Disney game – right?

Out of all the injustices in this world, the lack of mainstream support in these lean months has to be in the top three. Poverty, Paris Hilton and this sound about right.

Ugh. So here I sit in my comfy gaming chair with nothing to play. I want to scream, cry and eat all at once. What can I do? I’m a melting pot of emotions and there’s no one to talk to. Instead I sit here and dream of November. Wii. Superman Returns. Mario. Link.


Thinking about tearing the plastic wrap from those game cases is like slipping into a warm bath – the tension and stress just melt away.

Of course, it’s fleeting. In moments I’m back to being jittery, annoyed and grouchy.

Tonight could have been filled with nothing but unbridled excitement and passion – new experiences, my body covered in a thin layer of sweat and myself completely out of breath. Instead I’ll have to figure out something to do with my lady.


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