I'll sleep when I'm Dead...

I'll sleep when I'm dead... my credo... my motto... my downfall

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How Gran Turismo ruined my life - Part 2

I'm 33 years old and I am an addict. I have been suffering from my dependency to "Gran Turismo" since my first encounter with it at a party in college. It was 1997 at the University of Cincinnati. My fellow classmates and I were blowing off steam after studio at a friend's pad. He had a new game called "Gran Turismo" that he wanted us to check out. Being gear heads at heart, we would surely fall in love with the game as much as he had. Looking back now, I think he was in the second stage at that point; obsession. All I got was a taste that day, but it was enough. I distinctly remember the drive back to my own apartment. It was very difficult to maintain my speed and resist the urge to weave in and out of the two-way traffic congesting the long winding hill down River Road. As one can guess, it took less than a week before I had my own copy of "Gran Turismo" and the sinister cycle began.

At first I played in the evening, when my wife was fast asleep. I'd pretend to pass out first, wait until she was busy sawing her own logs, then slowly sneak into the living room and dive into my own little world of racing. The headphones hid the noise and the discretely suggested, newly organized, living room kept the glow of the 27" television from flooding the hallway and giving light to my late night escape. Soon, this wasn't enough, I began showing up late to studio. Just one more race in the morning, became, "Sorry I'm late. Another flat tire on Route 4. Yep, second one this week. They need to get that pothole fixed soon by golly!"

My wife began to suspect something was going on. Sleep deprivation between a full time job, full time studies and full time racing was taking it's toll. I was finally brave enough to admit I had fallen. With her love and support I was slowly able to leave the game in the entertainment cabinet for days at a time. The addiction faded and slowly disappeared.

Graduation came in June of 1999 from the Industrial Design program. I had been working for the same firm since 1996 as a design co-op and full time Junior Designer. I was hired on as a Product Designer, then quickly promoted to Director. My wife and I bought our first house... I was on top of my game... on top of the world. Then Christmas grew near and I discovered "Gran Turismo 2" was being released soon. I told my wife I'd rather have a new tool chest for the garage. Sure I'd secretly love to have GT2, but it was so addicting and I didn't want to go back to that... dark place. Things were going so well.

As the holiday grew nearer, I started to second guess myself and my rash decision. I was more mature now than back in college. I was an adult with responsibilities and I should be able to unwind with a video game without it taking over my entire existence. My mind was made up, I was buying GT2 if I didn't get it on the 25th. Counting the days down until Christmas reminded me of being a kid again. Then my wife, being the angel that she is, surprised me with the tool chest AND "Gran Turismo 2". She felt I had been working so hard, I deserved a break.

By mid January I had fallen back into my old cycle. I had to play it constantly. I needed more races, more wins, more money, more cars. It was never enough. I couldn't satisfy the need with just "one more fix". The days all ran together until pulling myself out of GT2 is kind of a blur. I remember making the decision to buy another house (due to the constant urging of my wife, now in her last year of college). We packed everything up during the move and I had to stop cold-turkey. The withdrawals were hell at first, but eventually Gran Turismo was locked away into the recesses of my mind once again.

Coming Soon Part 3 of 3

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