If you haven’t read Part 1 first, go there to read about how I got a really fat ass and had a blast doing it.

So how did I actually transform from a hardcore gamer to… whatever it is I am nowadays?  It started with the purchase of a REALLY GREAT TV, and obtaining a DVR.  From 19 to 57 inches comes pure love. This was also right around the time Network TV started getting good again. It didn’t help that we were also both in newbie game designer jobs, which meant lots of MAKING games, not much time for PLAYING games. And when you’re playing just about the same thing you’re working on 50-100 hours a week, sometimes you need to do something else. ANYTHING ELSE FOR FUCKS SAKE, NO MORE ELVES AND ORCS!!!! When elves and orcs become your reality and livelihood, shows about dead people and games about real life are much more of a fantastical escape. So, we became tube zombies most nights of the week and playing weekends (when TV sucks and most of your friends are online then anyway).

Moving to Texas really put the proverbial nail in my gamer coffin.  First of all, we moved a packed 2 bedroom apartment into what was really a junior one bedroom.  My desk ended up in the corner of the dining room, and Zliten’s ended up in the space between our kitchen counter and the couch, just about in splashing range of the kitchen sink.  At least he could see the TV in the living room instead of just hearing it and staring into the corner like a bad, bad girl.  The reason we had that set up was I had the laptop (referred to henceforth lovingly as lappy), so I could dork from the couch.  However, that doesn’t work so well for gaming for a long period of time (long sessions on the old couch killed my back – my chiropractor said that laptops kept his business thriving and I believe him!), after a few hours of EQ I would have to beg off in pain and we’d do something else.

Then Zliten started working crazy man hours in preparation for a project launch, and I just don’t like to play without him, so I usually got home, made myself dinner, turned on the tube and dorked on the lappy until he got home.  I think the boredom actually got me up and out to the gym eventually, which was a GOOD thing, but weekdays were for TV, and weekends were for going out.  Since our place was so tiny, we couldn’t entertain (I think we had P over once, T+V over 2 times, and mostly just for the pool), and frankly, we were uncomfortable there, so we were never home.

The biggest change was going from almost complete shut ins to social animals.  In San Diego, we would go out MAYBE once a month to a party, a bar, or just to hang out with friends.  We didn’t have a core group of peoples the whole 6 years we were there – you know, the friends you pretty much count on having plans with during the weekend unless you hear differently.  Our core group was our guild.  It’s totally weird to move to another city and go from homebody to social butterfly, it’s usually the opposite, right?  Even though in San Diego we didn’t hang out that much – all the San Diego transplants to Austin sort of formed this tight-knit bond and instead of being friends of friends or acquaintances we’d see at parties, we all started hanging out.  A lot.  Like, Friday drinking at someone’s house, Saturday going downtown, and then Sunday doing errands and then a BBQ.  Where do you fit gaming in there?

Then the amazing happened, we found the perfect house for the perfect price in the perfect neighborhood.  The only problem was – it needed TONS of work just to make it livable.  Right about that time, I got serious about calorie counting and the gym.  It was horrible timing, of course, but I knew if I made it through the first 2 months I could make it through anything.  So after work, we would head to the apartment, eat dinner, workout, head to the house, paint/clean/fix/etc, and then head home exhausted and do it all again the next day.  With weekdays like that, and weekends with our social schedule, there was zero game time.  We consoled ourselves that once we moved in, we’d have time!

Once we were settled, things just didn’t take a turn for the better game-wise.  There was just never a good time.  We always had something to do with the house, whether it was just cleaning up or finally painting the bathroom, or unpacking and organizing – it was hard to justify a whole day of playing.  That was, if our friends weren’t over.  Now that we had an awesome space to entertain, we had people over constantly if we weren’t out and about.  I think we got one good night of playing with our guild before the people we were closest to cancelled their accounts because they didn’t play much either.  Then it was a whirlwind of family around to see the new place, it felt for a few months we were either cleaning in preparation for, spending time with, or cleaning up after family visits.

By early 2008, it was just a habit not to game much.  I hadn’t had my desktop hooked up for months by then, and I hadn’t patched up anything on my lappy in ages.  There was a period that we were hardcore into Rockband, but after a while that went by the wayside as well.  Oh, Rockband.  The game that helped me get 3 boys into skirts…

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the awesome rocking, and also how un-fat I have gotten since February.

Ok, moment over.  Basically since then, my life just doesn’t have room for much gaming.  Sure, I play here and there, but I’m becoming one of those people who I thought were in the minority – gamers that didn’t want to play games that took time.  A game has a lot of value to me if I can either A) play it at work from a browser in 5-10 minute increments to kill time B) doesn’t take coordinating a lot of people to do something together OR C) is easier to play with people IRL than online.  Instead of dinging 65 (yes I know I linked it before, but you know you want to watch it again) lately I’m lucky to ding 25 in PuzzleQuest on the DS before I get bored with it.

So how do I get my fix nowadays?  Well, I’ll be damned if this doesn’t look hardcore, but it really just functioned to let 3 of us play the same MMO in the same room, otherwise we probably just would have hung out and done something else.  But it looks damn good on the TV, doesn’t it?  Other things that keep me from twitching lately are Ikariam, poker on my DS, and the simple fact that I’m just too worn out after a day of work and the gym and dinner to do anything but watch Netflix, or Stargates, or West Wings, or whatever’s been DVR’d.  Sometimes we just sit outside and enjoy our patio and watch the sun set and swat mosquitos.

I think it’s also that gaming, for the San Diego years, was a way to live in relative poverty and not be so down about it.  I mean, we could barely afford food besides ramen some weeks, but we could entertain ourselves on 20 bucks a month for 2 subscriptions to EQ.  Living as a high elf who had the power to mesmerize anything with her beauty and sparkly sprinkles from her fingers felt GOOD to someone who could barely stand the way she looked in the mirror and had no power to do ANYTHING as a peon Quality Assurance or Customer Service grunt.  Buying upgrades in the bazaar helped me feel better that I could not afford to, nor fit in any clothes I wanted to buy.  I also had the unique experience in which it did not hurt my career, becoming familiar with the world and it’s lore helped me fall in love with a world enough that I grativated to working for and under it’s spell for almost 5 years, going from peon to producer.

Now, I don’t have such problems.  Sure, money is pseudo-tight right now due to circumstances beyond our control, but it’s not so bad – I don’t have to eat ramen and drink well vodka, thankyouverymuch.  I’m not having issues making a minimum payment on my maxed out credit cards, or taking direct deposit advance to make the rent check clear.  We are years away from that happening, and if it comes to that, I hear manwhoring pays well.  I may not be the most commanding person in real life unless I’ve had a few drinks, but my name IS fifth from the top on our newly released game credits, and it’s not because of alphabetical order.  I look in the mirror and don’t think – gee, I wish I looked like my avatars, I think – hey, you’re looking good today, woman!

So it’s not so bad, I guess.  Just like I’ve had phases where I was ridiculously into games, right now, I’m just not there.  I still play, I still enjoy, and yeah, I still long for the time, the will, and the reckless abandon to live it, but for now, I’ll enjoy the stolen time I can and have faith that someday, something extremely compelling will pull me back.  For now, I’m off to the gym to play the treadmill game.  It’s pretty grind-tastic, you have to keep running in the same spot over and over until your progress bar fills up.  But, just a bit more to go, and I can unlock these hot little black satin pants with flames on the butt that I’ve been saving since college for such an occasion that I want to show off my “hot ass” as such.