10 reasons why it's hard work being a gamer

Philistines don't understand the sophisticated and complex culture of gaming. They think it's a breeze. That it's as easy as sitting on the sofa, fiddling with sticks and shooting space invaders with a gormless expression painted on our faces. But they're clueless fools. We know that being proper dedicated got-the-t-shirt gamers is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Yes it is.

The next time someone shouts "Lazy git" in your direction as you sit on your sofa, fiddling with sticks and shooting space invaders with a gormless expression painted on your face, feel free to quote them any of the following 10 reasons why being a gamer is actually bloody hard work.

1. We're escapists unable to escape escapism

As gamers it's inherent in us to turn our back on reality at every given opportunity. Sure, the notion of being able to switch off from depressing daily drudgeries might sound romantic to people unable to liberate themselves from life's grim burdens, but the fact of the matter is that being on a permanent vacation in the Costa del Virtual comes with its own metaphorical ball and chain.

The longer we're away, the worse things are when we return for the unavoidable stint that must be suffered back in the Real World. The bills have piled up. The dirty dishes are a breeding ground of filth. The kids are malnourished. The dog's pissed on the carpet. The global economy's a wreck.

And we address the fallout of our prolonged neglect in the only way we can. By playing some more games and ignoring it all. It's not a choice. It's every dedicated gamers hard-coded prime directive. How can we escape escapism? It's the impossible conundrum that torments our existence.

2. Even saints don't have the patience of gamers

The waiting game is perhaps the toughest game we have to play. But play it - and endure it - we must. We wait for firmware and mandatory installs, for loading screens, for Nintendo games we care about, for Kojima's cut-scenes to STFU, for a new Battletoads, for that rare Pokemon to show it's face, for the UAV to be online, for casual gaming to leave us alone, for the postman to deliver our hand-crafted Kasumi figurine...and on and on.

And then there's that special discipline of patience we must exercise with other humans. Patience with the abusive voices in the headset, with condescending game store staff, with anonymous trolls, with idiot non-gamers that don't have a clue about gaming but have opinions aplenty, with clueless reviewers that obviously don't appreciate the same games as us because they're heathens... and so on and so forth.

Honestly, it's a health risk. We could literally drop dead with hyper tension at any minute.

3. We have to eat defeat

No one likes losing, because no one likes a loser. But as gamers the humiliation of being beaten by make-believe adversaries is something we must suffer with distressing regularity. Developers spend years bunkered down devising ever more ingenious and nefarious ways to scupper the progression of players. Our defeat and deflation is their delight. Eventually we overcome, but how many death animations, game overs and mocking 'Continue?' screens do we have to suffer along the way? Too many.

Lava pits, laser-toting aliens, heavy-handed police, crumbling walkways, unblockable combos, blue shells, groaning zombies, giant enemy crabs, rapidly descending blocks, mutant flowers, deadly gas, near-impossible leaps, rising water, time, nuclear bloody bombs and on and on. There is nothing that hasn't been thrown in our path, all with the sole purpose of making us lose.

And lose we do. We live on a daily diet of defeat. Occasionally we steal the spoils from the victory jar, and certainly it's sweet tasting while it lasts. But mostly we are swallowing fail. And that amount of fail would make lesser men and women loathe themselves for their ineptitude. But we soldier on.

4. It's a morality minefield and we're wearing clown shoes with the laces undone

Should we plough our dumper truck into the crowd of innocent civilians? Should we unload our shotgun at point blank range into the head of a docile bovine, just to see what happens? Should we knife to death the friendly NPC in a brutal unprovoked attack merely because their single line of dialogue is immensely irritating? Should we - as men of games - choose to play the lady warrior with ludicrously swollen shirt turnips just so we can wonder at the fine craftsmanship and unrestrained magic of breast physics? Of course, for dedicated gamers, the answer to all these questions is "Absolutely YES!"

Casual observers might think us cold and callous and filthy perverted. But that's a lot of silly. Through years of hard gaming we have conditioned and desensitized ourselves so we never consider our in-game actions in the context of a real world situation. Weaker beings would likely be paralyzed with indecision or forever plagued with a guilty conscience. It's taken years of dedication not to give a shit as much as us.

5. We regularly mourn the passing of loved ones

On the emotional scale, coping with the death of a loved one is probably right at the far end marked 'my heart has been ripped from my soul and I can't even think about eating right now'. So it's probably a 10. But it's something we have to battle through all the time.

Watching game characters that once-upon-a-happy-day were our bestest friends in the world go bad and wrong and rubbish is enough to crush any gamer into a pile of tiny yet incredibly sad particles.

Or having the guts of your good memories ripped from your brain by companies that were once mighty and made consoles that were better at doing miraculous things than Mr J of Nazareth and made games that were proper games but have since over a period of years turned into impotent piss puddles of their former selves.

Or the moment that your faithful old game console finally chokes and in the blink of an eye transforms from being a magical treasure chest of near limitless good times into a worthless box of plastic and silicone-covered brokeness.

We may move on, but we can never forget.

Matt Cundy
I don't have the energy to really hate anything properly. Most things I think are OK or inoffensively average. I do love quite a lot of stuff as well, though.