Even though 82% of people in my age group profess a fondness for polygons, data provided by the most steadfast (anecdotal) evidence from a trusted (personal) source conducted exhaustively and longitudinally (over the past week) leads me to believe that talk of videogames is best kept to a minimum, ‘lest matron tell the housemaster.
My research methodology has been as follows: if I should meet new people, I’ve make a point of mentioning computer games and emphasising their definitive importance to my identity, observing the results (verbal response, facial reaction, weapons unsheathed) and noting them down in the ring-binder provided to class at the start of term. The experiment is now over. The wounds are healing. If 82% of my age group jerk furiously on their joysticks, playing IL-Sturmovik whilst mother’s out of the room, they’d rather stall than admit it.
The obligatory ‘introduce yourself’ section at the beginning of a new module manufactured an inescapable snare for my first batch of test subjects. Abnormally, instead of feigning enthusiasm for course and classmates, the room reverberated with the rhetoric of one who firmly believes he’s learned more about Realist conceptions of international relations from Sid Meier than from any of the pedagogues we pay extortionate prices to daydream in the presence of. The response was less than I’d hoped for – there was no consternation, but neither was there a sense of support or an air of agreement. Only the vacant expression and glazed-eyes typical of studenthood in the British education system. The lecturer urged my neighbour to disgorge an eloquent fallacy and the red-eyed rats’ cage door clanged shut.
On the bus home, I sat next to a fellow public-transport sufferer. She remarked upon the oddity that neither of us were filtering the outside world by use of earphones and we agreed that our act of deviancy put us at risk of becoming pariahs. I quite liked this girl, and so it was with a wistful sigh that I remembered the rules – since this was an introduction, I had to bombard her with my virtual life history. As those relationship-scuppering words came lolling off my tongue, I became acutely aware of the sky as it began to darken, and her temperament likewise. My diatribe was cut short as I was describing how I got to see my grandparents every weekend because they had a PC and I had Grim Fandango, when she impaled my textual assault with the words, “Sims 2“, “Dad’s laptop” and, “but I have a life as well”. It was at that moment that I realised I’d never assault her again. I tripped off the bus, landing with a thud on dry tarmac, but it must have been raining because I felt my eyes begin to dampen.
I’d given up hope when we awkwardly met on a clustered stairwell. Them: three lads I’d been told wanted to come look at my room so they could decide if they wanted to live in it next year. Me: Vacating that room ten minutes early. It was tricky enough excusing my behaviour when implicated by blushing cheeks, the greatest trick of all would be to embrace the rules – to release the topic of games as chaff in an effort to deflect their accusational harpoons.
“Ah! You must be the lads! I.. thought if I went to this staircase I’d find you – I’m a gamer by the way!”
Their wing leader’s response made it clear my evasive manoeuvres had been unnecessary. These guys were physics students, hence they had to be PC gamers. They were pretty much like you or I, except with attempts at beards. I gave them my blessing and we began exchanging packets via the infrared spectrum.
What have I learned? I’ve learned that the only decent people are physics students and you lot, and that girls really need to discover another game. If 82% of my age group play games, they don’t seem to find their experiences worth sharing in conversation.