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Playing video games not stoned

April 20, 2012

Readers who know me, a.k.a. readers, would not be surprised to hear that I haven’t smoked since I came back home. After all, that’s a requirement of me being reinstated at Villanova, like a convict getting out early on good behavior (Note: this simile is strained because attending Villanova = freedom). I’d be a fool not to, they’d think. Those same judgmental readers, however, would be totally surprised upon hearing that I haven’t played any video games since leaving school. I used to play them all the time and nowadays I’m constantly alone. So why wouldn’t I play?

Much of my time has been spent here, on the “Add New Post” page, but that obviously isn’t the only reason.

I think I’m scared that it won’t be as fun without smoking beforehand.

Weed allowed me to completely lose myself in the game. I am certain that I wouldn’t have enjoyed my two favorite games, Red Dead Redemption and Batman: Arkham City, without the hyperactive cognition that allowed me to imagine myself as John Marston or Batman—internalizing their motivations, simulating their thought processes and reacting to situations as if they were real. Being high is what led me to play John as a reformed outlaw earnestly, which ultimately made the game’s ending more affecting. It also enabled me to endlessly analyze every mystery, riddle and configuration of armed thugs in a room I encountered as Batman. As a result I felt like I suffered from the same obsessive perfectionism as he does, making the game that much more engrossing.

Weed doesn’t just enhance the experience of single-player, character-driven action epics. Sports games against a friend become chess matches in the mind. In the FIFA games, passing and defense become expressions of complex, ever-changing geometry problems. I would tell you more about it but I don’t want to give away any secrets. In Madden, the opportunity to become a head coach responsible for playcalling is taken with the utmost respect when I’m high. Every play is is carefully considered. I scrutinize my opponent’s every move. What is he up to? Does he know I called the play action? It looks like he’s gonna blitz, time to audible. No way he expects a run here.

Oh, and the soundtracks. The soundtracks! THE SOUNDTRACKS. Being a pothead for two years makes one an expert in video game soundtracks.

(Just a sample from one of the best, 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. Liking this song means I’m a better citizen of the world than you.)

Maybe I just needed to write this to get myself excited enough to go back to video games. I have one Xbox game and some old PS2 games I’ve never had a chance to play. I have to be confident that they will still be fun, if only to approach them in the right mood. But no matter how much fun I find them, I will always wonder how much more fun could be had.

Traversing dark hallways and finding monsters like this would be better if I played with some cannabis-induced paranoia.

From → Media, Video Games

  1. Molly permalink

    The title implies that the article will be about the opposite of what it’s actually about.

  2. Luke permalink

    Sorry to hear about your disciplinary troubles at Villanova, Marciano. For what its worth, I always felt that you were too intelligent for that college. Keep up the excellent blogging and best of luck with your future plans.

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