Not only that, you have to re-mortgage your house in order to afford a computer that runs it. The mediocrity mocks you; it laughs at the faith you had in the grandfather of the first-person shooter. Your legs tremble a little and you curl up in a corner, sobbing. Maybe you were wrong. Maybe gaming isn't worth it, all the money, all the false promises . Just as you're ready to end it all, you hear a slap on the doormat. Your magazine subscription has arrived. There's a new interview with Sid Meier in it, and suddenly everything is OK again.

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But it's not OK, is it? It's a never-ending cycle; the addict that won't quit, the celebrity-obsessive that convinces himself that he's interested in "the human angle." It's a drug that's beginning to flood through gaming, and if you think you're not hooked, you're in denial. Flash forward again. You're watching coverage of GDC, and Kim Swift is talking. Swift is now a goddess, a bastion of independent innovation in the industry ever since you played her hugely influential and critically acclaimed Portal only a few months back. But as you watch her talk about not much at all, the slow realization dawns on you that she's just one in a long line of false idols. Where is the rest of her team? Where are the Valve employees? Why is she preaching about experience when she's only released one game?

Dejected and disillusioned, you stagger through the wastes of the internet to The Escapist. But even Zero Punctuation can't make you smile any more, and when you come across news of Will Wright's Spore, your bottom lip begins to quiver as you consider for the first time that he's just a madman who believes his own bullshit. A single tear rolls down your cheek. It all dawns on you: The Man owns the whole system. You were being told who to worship, who to revere. No matter where you turn, there's another golden cow to honor. And so you come here, to me. You made the right decision. Let's sit you down here on the couch; that's it.

Now. Tell me about your father.

Michael Cook is going sane in a crazy world

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