I’ve just been asked to review the Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim by a publication, and while I could do with the money, I’m approaching this task with clammy palms and a hollow sense of trepidation.
I fell hard for Skyrim, you see. I wish I could tell you the 120+ hours I sank into Bethesda’s fantasy RPG were solely because I was reviewing the game for five publications, but that would be a damned lie. I knocked out five reviews, filed the invoices and went right back to playing it while the world receded into the background.
Occasionally a hunger pang or coils of winter air would prompt me to shift from my hunched position on the carpet and away from my console. My spine would ache momentarily as I would straighten to stand up. My numbed legs and feet would fill with pins and needles, as the blood began to flow to them again. These were pleas from my body to my brain that all wasn’t as it should be. I barely took them in. Instead, I’d shuffle to the kitchen make a sandwich with nothing in it. Depending on how low the mercury had dipped, I’d make my way up to the bedroom to get a blanket to pull over my head – but only, you know, if my teeth had started chattering. The hook was deep, and while it’s cold comfort, I know having talked to other gaming hacks, that I wasn’t the only one whom Skyrim affected in this way. There’s a reason that I’ve heard more than one person describe the power of a game to suck out vast amounts of a player’s life as that game ‘Skyrimming’ a player.
And now… now I have to go back to it. It’s okay, though. I’m sure I’m stronger than I was. I’m sure that if I keep saying over and over to myself, ‘this is work, this is work’ I’ll be able to step away from the controller.
I’m sure I can quit any time that I want to…