Connor Scully-Allison is a student at the University of Nevada, Reno, majoring in history and minoring in Japanese.
Below my Jedi avatar lies the destination: a not-overly-narrow ledge to which I must jump. Success marks a very minor accomplishment with an equally minor reward: I get to continue. Failure means I must defeat four sentinels, two flying droids and a mini-boss for the third time today. With fierce determination and careful consideration I bid my Jedi to jump.
I land and promptly slide off the edge. Crap.
At some point in every gamer's career, you come to a crossroads where you must ask yourself: Do I continue to play, or do I stop? Your decision determines the nature of that play session. If you elect to stop, you reveal that this round of gaming was merely casual, a diversion without any tangible goal. But if you opt to continue, to persevere despite your frustration, then you have surrendered yourself to the Binge.
This marathon of button-mashing we controller jockeys often indulge in is a cornerstone of the hardcore gamer lifestyle. Perhaps it starts when an old, beloved but rarely played game tumbles from atop its crudely organized pile and lands suspiciously close to its accompanying console as if to suggest "there's still fun to be had with me." Other times, we set out with a binge in mind, taking that perfect game with just the right ratio of difficulty to fun, of action to story, and we kill time like Brock Samson kills henchman.
Today's binge falls into the "premeditated" category. You see, I'm only 20, but I feel like my gaming habits have aged faster than I have. When I sit down to play nowadays, I end up striving toward some irrelevant goal with very little commitment, completely disregarding the joy gleaned from the journey. So I've decided to return to my roots, to recover my game-centric worldview. I want to delve deeply into that addictive, isolated and secret side of videogaming, to be born anew in the jittery glow of a deific TV set. I set out with a cartload of energy drinks and a selection of three games to play for one whole day each: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Burnout Paradise and Halo 3. And if I don't end up rediscovering my gamer heritage ... well, at least I'll have a few hundred Achievement points to show for it.