Up Early

I wake up at 4am to play videogames. Ostensibly, I'm doing it to stream. To get in my daily stream. To do the thing. To commit. 

The internet winds up being an absolute dumpster fire, and I'm dropping most of my frames. So I kill that, but I still play. It's 5:28, and I need to start my commute soon. I've been swapping between games.

the easiest explanation is that video games are addictive. 

I once heard that the simplest explanation is always the most true, but I'm not sure that really sits well here. 

I need to get a few deer hides in The Long Dark, because a bear ate my pants. Well more specifically, a wolf attack and then a bear mauling damaged a lot of my clothes beyond repair, and I didn't have any replacement pants lying around. So I wake up in the cold, trudge out into the colder, and then shoot and skin three deer.

As I'm skinning the last one, the fog rolls in. I follow my footsteps back towards the barn, knowing that the 2 kilos of venison is going to bring over the wolf that's been stalking these fields, who I've heretofore been able to side-step.

I'm thinking about a paper I on videogames written by Thomas Malaby, one that I'd never really heard much about, where he talks about the anthropological terms for things we try to fit into neat categories, versus the things that we try to understand as messy, individualized, and actual.

I used to categorize all the ways we experience games when we're playing a lot. Not all of it, I thought, was addiction. But here's the problem with categories. It's easy to think that something fits into the easier category, making it easiest to generalize this must all be a pathological need to fire up the games at precisely too early oclock.

I'm going to alt tab from "reflect.txt" here for a minute. My writing-to-gaming ratio is off. 

So I walk into one wolf, in the whiteout mist. He growls and lopes slowly towards me. Another wolf begins to walk from the left of the barn, while to the right another seems not to notice. They all appear to bark in unison as I reach the door.

Indoors I cook more venison, then exit the barn at dusk. I get 10 more kilos of meat. I shoot 2 wolves, evade 2 more (or maybe they've seen my simultaneous coats made of fallen wolves and bears and decided it wasn't worth it). I return to the barn and sleep in the passenger side of a truck. 

I've made it 201 days on the hardest difficulty of The Long Dark. Nobody is watching, and it feels different. The social experience of streaming makes this different. This reflecting, alone, in reflect.txt before I get on a train and commute to a big and busy college campus? Maybe it's the long hours doing this with other people, maybe it's something about me, but I have to write this and share it. It's not anyone else's experience, it never fit into an easy category. 

Then, while looking for cattails, I spot the moose. He's in a place that's close to where I've seen him before, sort of. With two shots, he's down. He never got close to stomping me. I start cutting through 40 kilos of steaks, and realize... it's near when I need to go. Get into the car, so I can get to work. 

I pull a quick "yolosleep," a term I invented for busting out your bedroll and sleeping in the wilds. Especially on harder difficulties, you can wake up to full whiteout blizzard, and some hefty health damage. YOLO. No health damage, but a blizzard is starting, where once the weather was fair. We'll have to deal with the last two bags of moose meat another time. Another day. 

Maybe with an audience. Internet permitting.


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