Video Game Neuroses

Allow me to take you on a journey of my little quirks which only present themselves while behind a computer screen.

During my World of Warcraft days, it took effort not to refer to myself in the third person.

“Kate waves hello.”

“Kate would like a slice of pizza.”

When you emoted in game as much as I did, the language of the game wanted to rewrite my thirty years of proper communication. Luckily, it didn’t happen very often.

Then came the Battlefield series of games. No flag pole in my town was safe from the thought that I must first change the colors and defend it with my life. It was only when the Old Glory was in my rear-view mirror that I snapped back into reality.

Then came the incredibly lucid dreams from which I could not wake. Instead of experiencing any game with a buffer of keyboard and screen, my horrifically calculating subconscious placed me in the stories. There I was, decapitating zombies with the pull of shotgun trigger or wiping Boomer bile off my clothes. Other dreams included following behind a heavy from Team Fortress 2 and hitting invincibility with my medic gun, only to be stabbed in the back by a spy or set on fire by a fire happy pyro. “You did well!”

Borderlands presented a different crazy; chests. No, not the pretty bosoms of Lilith or Mad Moxxi. I had to open every single locker, washing machine, lunch box, toilet and treasure box the game put in front of me. Conversations like this were common fare when playing co-op with friends:

“Where’s Kate?”

“Uh, I don’t know, she was here a minute ago. We gonna fight this monster or what?”

“Oh sorry guys,  I was trying to get to that red chest up on the ledge. I sorta fell.”

Mass Effect and the sequel presented a clear case of OCD with planet visits and scanning for resources. I pretty much strip-mined every planet that I came across. There were moments where I felt guilty, wondering if I’d get a message across my screen that the citizens of a raped world were coming after my ass, but alas, there was no penalty in the game for being greedy.

Kate will not speak about Torchlight though. (Dammit!) That game just enables treasure compulsion on so many levels. There is an actual achievement for breaking as many barrels you can.

I hate you video game developers.

So tell me I’m not alone in my video game neuroses. Have you ever experienced anything similar? Has any game left you frustrated that you didn’t complete all the available quests? Do you feel compelled to play through a game more than once?

The Doctor is in.

77 thoughts on “Video Game Neuroses

  1. I really enjoyed Torchlight. Didn’t know about the achievement for barrel breaking (… must … not … play more Torchlight…) I think there may be a sequel coming out next year?

    This sort of thing happens to me a lot, but I have to say that by far Tetris was the worst. I would close my eyes and see falling blocks. I even dreamed Tetris as one point. That was it, that was the dream: endless falling blocks. It still weirds me out.

  2. I realized I was too deep into Call of Duty when I saw a janitor working on the high school’s roof air conditioning unit and my first impulse was to switch to my sniper rifle.

  3. I play Crowns of Power online and I’ll find myself doing the emotes in my interraction with with my friends: “Chris Points”, “Chris waves”, etc.

  4. After playing hundred of hours of Fallout 3, every time I saw a first-aid box on a wall, I would itch to open it and loot it for Stimpacks.

  5. Current: Starcraft 2. The urge to build storage bins randomly in the yard. Also a strange urge to yell “THOR IS HERE!” in a Schwarzeneggerian accent.

    Previous: WoW. This is a game for obsessives. Must finish every quest/open every chest/mine every node/pick every flower/skin every corpse. Also: fishing.

    Older: Diablo. I really wanted to kick open every ceramic pot I saw, especially if it was on the floor.

    Older still: Nethack. Seeing “through” things to letters — a dog is a little “d”, for instance. Def. weird.

    And oldest: Dark Castle. I had an overwhelming desire to throw rocks at every bird I saw. “Schmaw! Schmaw!”

  6. With both Fallout 3 and Oblivion, I am a packrat. I will go back to a site multiple times until I have picked EVERYTHING up, brought it back home, and put it in my locker. It’s amazing how much stuff you can store in a locker .

  7. Don’t even get me started on how Katamari Damacy and the sequels changed my entire worldview. When I’ve been playing for a while, I see everything in terms of how big a Katamari would be needed to roll it up.

  8. Compulsive finder here. Every weird planet in ME and ME2 (particularly like the one where the guy tried to write his name), all the barrels boxes and chests you can find in anything else.

    Cheats are my mainstay, especially in something like Dragon Age, where my fighter/rogue wasn’t a class combination. Really? well pooey on you! I can fix that…godmode!

    Oblivion was a nightmare and fun, but seriously when you’re the Grey Fox, the leader of the Fighters Guild, and the Arch-mage of the magic users…yeah you’re a bit munchkin’d.

  9. No Kate you are not alone.
    Playing through a game more than once isn’t a sign of weakness in me it is a sign of a quality game.

  10. The day before yesterday, I took a nap from 18:30 to 20:00. The entire hour and a half, I dreamt I was a Starcraft 2 Roach.

  11. Baldur’s Gate 1. I don’t even remember if I got to Baldur’s Gate or finished the game I spent so much time looking for sub-quests or randomly acquiring crap.

    @Janice I tried that with Fallout 3 and there just wasn’t enough stuff! This is when it first came out, it may have expanded. For Oblivion I played an alchemist and got so powerful with crap I broke it. You can bypass triggers/gates by creating/stacking master level lava walking potions (water walking + resistance to fire + healing). I did all the guilds/quests etc but don’t think I finished that one either.

    I’m actually trying NOT to buy Mass Effect or its sequels not sure how that will work out once I have time to play them.

  12. I would spend an evening playing Halo, then visualize grenade trajectories for hours thereafter.

    Driving after playing Super Puzzle Fighter Turbo I would stop at a redlight and automatically figure where I was going to drop that red gem.

    Left 4 Dead and zombie dreams – oddly enough, I didn’t feel any fear or stress in the dream – I just went through the business of fighting zombies.

    Strangest I may ever have encountered – a friend that refers to talking to strangers as “click on”: as in “I’ll click on the store manager to see about a discount.”

  13. Back when I was playing Tony Hawk 3 and 4 regularly, I couldn’t see a highway divider, handrail, or fountain coping out in the real world without thinking, “I could grind that.” Which is, I imagine, what real skateboarders experience all the time, except that the amount of time I can stay upright on a real skateboard is so slim, you’d have to measure it in microseconds.

    Don’t get me started about the Puzzle Pirates dreams.

  14. Does dreaming of being chased by giant letters after spending too much time playing Angband/Moria/Rogue count?

  15. John @1: Yeah, I know that “seeing falling blocks” thing well. My wife still hasn’t let me live down the time, a decade and a half ago, that I admitted to doing this when she asked why I seemed a bit distracted when passionately kissing her. But she married me anyway.

    I also end up with all sorts of third-person things like “Brooks waves hello” when communicating with my coworkers at work, too — but that’s because we’re talking on an IRC channel, so it makes sense. Oddly, I haven’t really found that carrying over into actual speech much.

    The one that gets me, though, is that sometimes when I’m just thinking about things in a language-heavy way, I find myself subvocalizing the commas and dashes as “comma” and “hyphen” as well as the actual words.

  16. I constantly scan for available cover when I walk around town. Parked cars, brick walls, buildings I can get on the second floor of, I’m always thinking about it in the back of my mind. Call of Duty MW 2, you have irrevocably changed me. Fifteen years from now, I’ll get caught in the middle of a random firefight. And I will Own.

  17. All the BioWare games–I need to complete every quest, open every chest, mine every planet, hear every NPC’s dialogue. I’ll even repeat missions with different squadmates just in case one has something different to say. Dragon Age in particular is killing me because of this.

    I know it’s time to stop playing Civ for a while when I can’t stop dreaming it.

    WoW got obsessive for me, too. I was leveling with friends who would leave an area once quests got greyed out, and I would sneak back on my own so I could finish the quest chain and see how the story ended.

  18. My compulsion even extends to playing games with my daughter. I was playing Piglets Great Adventure with her for father daughter bonding. I would make sure we found every cookie in a room before we moved on. She doesn’t play that with me anymore. *sigh*

  19. After nearly three months, I’m STILL working on getting 100% completion in Red Dead Redemption. I haven’t even beaten the game yet. MUST KILL MORE COUGARS.

    Before that, the last game that I really got lost in was Final Fantasy XII. Did so many sidequests that I never even beat the game. Oops.

  20. Star Wars: Bounty Hunter was my game, as I am a big Fett fan. On my walk into the office I’d find myself eyeing the suburban neighborhood roofs, wondering if I could make that height with the jetpack. And there was many a time I wanted Jango’s blasters (usually as I walked home on a dark evening).
    I still play occasionally. The Longo Two-Guns level is a great stressbuster.

  21. I’m not a gamer at all–the only game I was ever good at was PacMan 25 years ago–so you will have to excuse my lameness. But even this non-gamer can relate to your post because I do the same thing with my kids’ Harry Potter games-I must Flipendo everything to collect all of the beans and chocolate frogs and look for all of the treasure chests. The kids get really bored with me.

  22. Earliest experience with this: One of the original flight sims for the Atari 800. At the point where I was taking off (from Idlewild, cause, you know, this was Old Skool), aiming West, heading off to work, returning to barracks at lunch, correcting direction, back to work, returning after dinner and landing at SFO (you could turn off “fuel use” :)…

    I noticed that at night, asleep, I’d turn over … and the artificial horizon indicator in my mind’s-eye would counter-roll and I’d have to roll back to center it. If I didn’t, the other instruments would go crazy and I’d invariably wake up as I crashed.

    And yeah, my flat looks out over the Vienna skyline (towards a WWII flak bunker of all things), and I’m checking all the edges of neighboring buildings for Battlefield/Bad Company 2 snipers at the junctions.

  23. @1 John @15 Brooks Re Tetris – yes it’s like an animated mental burn-in. I had trouble with the first snes Starfox too.

  24. Years ago I had to give up playing Duke Nukem 3D because every time I drove past Ohio State University’s Lincoln Tower (a 20+ story building with offices and dorms) on the freeway I’d wonder if I could put a rocket through a window on the top floor.

    But my weirdest behavior is with game music. I’ll actually sign in to Lord of the Rings Online and travel to a particular area just to hear the background music while I do someting else. Evendim is my favorite, with Rivendell a close second.

  25. This is why I don’t play video games. My wife and I did Myst and Riven — that’s it. Must. Not. Immerse. Self. In. Other. People’s. Worlds.

    Got too much of my own worlds to write. (grin)

    Dr. Phil

  26. µTorrent has this hidden Tetris game, that I keep returning to when I’m bored, and if I do it enough, I dream Tetris for days after. The same happens with Soltair and Freecell.
    As for compulsiveness in games… I’ve been going with the collect EVERYTHING routine since the original Baldur’s Gate game.

    And I’ve written /wave in chats for years, even said out loud “slash wave” a couple of times.

    Gogo, neuroses!

  27. I am a completionist. I need to open every door, look in every crook, and explore every ledge. In Mass Effect, I visited every planet. I’m only just now finishing Bioshock because I have to search everything and hack every safe, even when I have more ammunition and health items than I need.

    I don’t know why I do this. Perhaps part of me worries that if I don’t, I’ll miss something good–either an item, or even just an Easter Egg. Another part of me wants to explore the world as much as possible. With most video games, I know I won’t return to them for a while. I’ll be moving on to the next thing, or to the sequel, and so I want to get as much as I can from a game before I set it aside.

  28. Torchlight: Yes. I still want to go back and get more achievements… >>;;

    I’m afraid between WoW and many other MMORPG’s, my communication habits have been irretrievably damaged… *points to the emoticon in the previous paragraph*

    Final Fantasy games bring out the worst sort of OCD in me also. I feel compelled to complete every dratted side-quest, even when I could easily finish the game without doing half of them…

    I’ve had dreams about being in situations similar to games before, but never actually IN the game. My subconscious likes to mix game world with random story and add real life elements to it…

  29. Dave H @24: I was the same way with Half-Life, but I put it to good use. When I started grad school I had a horrible time getting to know my way around the engineering building, so I found a couple maps and made a HL Deathmath level based on it. Learned my way around real quick, and I even still remember whose office the rocket launcher was in!

    If I’d been in high school at the time I’d have been put into psychiatric evaluation. In grad school it made me a minor celebrity :)

  30. My problem is, in games, I’m an OCD-wannabe. I’ll tell myself “I’m gonna get every optional objective” or “I’ll unlock every achievement” and the such. And I’ll work for it too. But then at some point I’ll be like “baaah, I don’t wanna spend an hour looking for that missing feather in Assassin’s Creed II, I think I’ll rater play a bit of COD and try to get my .50 cal veterancy”. But then I’ll get tired of sniping every chance I get and say “I think I’ll go improve on my bo in SCII” and so on and so on. Net result: I always feel remorse for not fully completing every game I’ve played before. And they keep on making new ones too! CURSE YOU GAME DEVELOPERS CURSE YOU!!! But please don’t stop, I love you.

  31. Do yourself a favor and never, ever, touch Crackdown. Orbs. So many orbs, hidden oh so well… I gave up and sold the game after about 2 years.

    After playing as many FPSs as I do, though, I notice I see buildings in three dimensions now. (Check the roof for snipers!) There are some benefits to this.

  32. I’ve been broke and poor for a long time so my gaming has to be incredibly limited. I just know when I do play a game for awhile, especially a repetitive game, my brain will go into autopilot long after I’ve stopped playing. Kinda how you still feel like you’re in the ocean after getting out of the ocean? It’s really unfun after playing something rhythm-based like DDR or RockBand…. those arrows are haunting.

  33. Firstborn son went to college fall 1997 and shortly thereafter introduced me to Civilization II. My addiction continues as now I play Civilization IV over a decade later. This game is hard to win as my win-loss record looks like the batting average of a minor league baseball player. I only allow myself to play when on break from teaching school. I really have no interest in the shoot dead zombies, warcraft, or other games. Building a civilization from ground up suits me just fine. But, oh so addictive!

  34. I’ve had Tetris pieces sliding down the wall and slotting into the spaces between the light switch and various pictures.

    But most recently, my problem not game-related. Instead I find myself wanting to use the six buttons available in the forums on Ravelry in conversation.

    This works better on some occasions than others.

    There’s educational, interesting, funny, agree, disagree, and love.

    Worst is if I try to say “Disagree (1)!”

    (The number indicates the number of people who have clicked that button.)

  35. Wait, you mean there are people out there who DON’T complete every possible thing in each video game they play? Why do FAQs even exist then? *grin*

    The secret for me is to have a fully nerd marriage. Whichever one of us isn’t playing is running the FAQ on the laptop and helping the other person. This way we play double the games (I’m an RPG/RTS player, my husband more FPS/Puzzle gamer) and can still spend quality time together. What? Sitting cuddled up with game controllers arguing about how to beat the next boss isn’t quality time? Bah. Get a new significant other.

    Then, of course, there are games like Borderlands and Halo (2,3), which we played together. For years. We just spend the last 8 months on Borderlands getting characters to lvl 61. All the characters. Ever.

    My favorite game for going a little nuts on completion though is Fallout 3. So many builds, so many things to do. After about 6 play-throughs I think we *finally* managed to find everything on the maps. Maybe.
    And of course, Xbox 360 just had to go add achievements, so now not only are there in-game stuff to get for characters/plot etc… but also random things to do just for the little ding and message on a screen that means nothing.

    Okay, enough posting, back to Starcraft 2.

  36. how ’bout this: when i’m not playing videogames for entertainment, i like to do puzzles. you know, the kind made out of cardboard, with pictures on them. when deep in puzzle-mode, i can be driving down the road and mentally sorting the scenery by hue, so as to later reconstruct it after it’s been chopped into pieces.

  37. I must open everything! Mass Effect and Borderlands are my two most recent obsessions. Finish every quest, always.

    Tetris blocks used to flow through my mind.

    Sometimes I expect to see gas cans, ammo, medpacks, etc laying around in the real world in case we need them.

    I check for cover and sniper locations.

    Driving games. Not exactly helpful in the real world.

    Anytime anyone says “Remember?” my husband and I hear/say “Use a letter key.” This has entered our family lexicon. It comes from a Jump Start Toddler game that uses only the letter keys. Touch anything else, including the freaking space bar, and the game says, “Remember, use a letter key.” Toddlers don’t quite get this, so we heard it thousands of times.

    You are definitely not alone.

  38. Not on that level, but I know I’ve been over-obsessing on a particular game when I not only dream the game but start seeing it when I get bored at work…. ;-)

  39. My flatmate and I absolutely refuse to continue the main quest of any video game until we’re certain that we’ve done every SINGLE side-quest available.

    This started as paranoia that the quests wouldn’t be available after continuing the story, but then we (obviously) discovered that this made the main plot quests really really easy due to over-leveling them… the tradition stands to this day.

  40. I’ve had game graphics playing behind my eyelids, most recently with Aquaria (admittedly, that one has gorgeous graphics). I also broke Aquaria’s balance with packratting and obsessive cooking (that game’s version of alchemy — “food” heals or buffs you).

    Lately I’ve been playing Legend Of Edgar, a work-in-progress game that isn’t so much “balanced” as “propped up on its save points”. You *need* an OCD streak to get through that one….

  41. I’ve had some really cool Thief dreams, and some really scary / cool after the fabled Cradle level in Thief 3.

    Also, my husband and I live in a beautiful town, so we often say things like “beautiful graphics out today.”

  42. @43 #FebruaryFour omg Ratchet & Clank YES! I can still remember the sound that the wrench made when you threw it and all the bolts come rushing back. I had to quit during R&C 3. they didn’t put enough save points in and it stopped being fun.

    I started dreaming in Zuma once.

  43. Guilty. My worst was probably first Splinter Cell when I would visualize different ways to sneak from building to building as I walked through the city to work.

  44. I’m not at all compulsive. I really DO need 50,000 bottle caps and 10,000 rounds of ammo for Eugene. I AM the Lone Wanderer.

  45. Harvest moon games get me. I spent months on Harvest Moon: It’s a wonderful life.

    Once the rune factory games came out I died and went to heaven.

    I’m not a big video game person but those games make me obsessive.

    I once called my boyfriend hysterical because I didn’t know which girl to marry in Rune Factory 2 and I wanted his advice as an actual male.

    I have yet to live that down.

  46. Gotta agree with Adam Lipkin up at comment #7–Katamari Damacy will mess you up. It’s not so much a neurosis as a weird sort of hallucinatory state. Care should be exercised while operating heavy machinery, by which I mean I had to actively think about NOT trying to roll up things smaller than the car I was in while on a katamari bender.

    And over and over, you hear in your head, “Na naaaaaa, nanana na na na na, na na na nana naaaa…”

  47. I got kind of worried the first time I got behind the wheel of a car after playing Grand Theft Auto IV.

    Similar deal with Mario Kart binges, though it’s not as intense.

    I got the “seeing Tetris” thing with Asteroids a long long time ago.

  48. I never had this quirk. Never. Until I encountered harvesting in EverQuest 2. In each tier of zones, you can harvest different things, and there are rare resources that can randomly spawn when you’re mining/fishing/etc. For some reason, I found the experience of harvesting peaceful, calming, and so lucrative that I just could not pass it up. I had to harvest every node I saw and would lose myself in it for hours while listening to music.

    Good times.

  49. I had a compulsive hoarding problem in Fallout 3. From the moment I realized you could take almost any object in the game that wasn’t nailed down I just started grabbing anything I could. When I got my own house, the lockers ended up full of absolutely useless garbage. Really, how many toilet plungers does the Vault Dweller actually need?

  50. Yes, I’ve also strip-mined every planet I could find in Mass Effect 2 — I’m currently sitting on about 100,000 Element Zero and about a million each of everything else. And I’ve run through every side quest I could find. Had to pause my playthrough, though — I’ve done everything up to the final quest, but then I heard about the upcoming Shadow Broker DLC, so I need to wait until I can spend more time with my beloved Liara before finishing the game.

  51. I had to stop playing tetris in the late 80′s when I started to see pieces sliding down the edge of book pages and then tried to find places to fit them in.

    That total makes me sound nuts. I managed to wrap the score on tetris for the Atari 1040ST.

  52. Playing Dark Castle back in the day now causes me to want to attack the animated brooms in the Blood Elf areas.

  53. Yes, collect everything in game…leave no stone unturned, no tree unburned, no pot unsmashed, no statue unmoved, no tall grasses uncut, no house unentered, no person untalked to…I blame Nintendo Power. Thank you Nintendo Power for making sure to tell me where absolutely EVERYTHING is. So when a new game is encountered, and Nintendo Power is not there to tell me which drawer to open…I will open them ALL. I once burned EVERY tree in the Legend of Zelda…first and second quests. I kid you not. I even made a MAP of both overworlds on grid paper…every little tiny sqaure was on ‘space’ on the overworld (tree, rock, empty square) I think I was in the 3rd or 4th grade. It’s all been downhill from there.
    I’m 33 now and I do not allow myself to play any MMORPG’s. I tried a MUD about 8 years ago…social disaster for me. Can’t play Metroid Prime Trilogy I got for christmas anymore…way too engrossing. Wife and Kids miss me too much :) Love games…love em way tooooooooooooo much. Try to limit myself to games that don’t require a billion hours to play, simple Wii games. But still gotta be careful, even Resorts is completely engrossing…stupid stamps. Stupid balloon popper. Stupid samurai sword bop ‘em game!!!!

  54. I’m a compulsive hopper. No matter the game, if there’s a jump button I can’t keep my fingers off it. Standing around? hop…hop…hop. Riding a mechanical ostrich into battle? hop…hop…hop. Toe to toe with horrors from beyond the edge of reality? hop…hop…hop. I can’t help it.

  55. I am more of a casual gamer – not obsessive (normally). Sometimes however, things get out of hand…
    When having played Monkey Island, I tend to start insulting others with pirate insults. “You fight like a dairy farmer!”
    Referring to myself in third person does not happen that often. But wishing for portal guns or seeing a spot and thinking “wow, good place for sniper/ambush/other combative action”.

    What really changed perspective was working on an AI for Pac-Man. Seeing various fruit and automatically telling the people around me how many points they are worth, eating them to “get” these points… Just happy that I am not munching pills to repetitive electronic music in dark rooms ;)

  56. I’ve had numerous video game obsessions like this. My most recent one is Modern Warfare 2, and it’s embarrassing, if only to me. At work, I’m forever eyeballing dark corners and giving quick looks down cubicle corridors to make sure I’m not about to get flanked. That’s probably normal for anyone who plays FPS games too much.

    What embarrasses me is when I’m outside (I know, right?) and I catch a glimpse of a small plane overhead, like a Cessna or whatever, and my brain tells me “Enemy UAV spotted!” And yes, my thumb twitches for the Triangle button, because I’m’a shoot that mother down.

  57. Never seriously played ANY video game – tried once or twice with helpful tutelage from nephew.

    a) I sucked

    b) COULD not remember what button did what

    c) When I did accomplish something, meh – so what.

    Is it just an age thing do you think – I’m 47 – or just that some people are gamers and some aren’t

    Obviously many people, including our lord Scalzi, get great pleasure/satisfaction from gaming – and I am genuinely curious as to why.

    if it’s not to much like trying to explain colour to a blind man – can anyone enlighten me?

    -and where do you find the time – between work and reading there just aren’t enough hours in the day as it is.

    Cheers

  58. I still have somewhat of a neurosis with trying to buy everything available in any kind of adventure game before I move on. I’m always willing to spend time grinding to make sure my characters the best they can be at any given moment. Another big one is conserving items… playing a game like Ninja Gaiden, I inevitably play sections over and over again trying not to use any consumable items, always stockpiling them for later, with the result that I get to the end of the game and haven’t made use of any of the stuff I’ve been hoarding.

    Thankfully, I have mellowed a bit in my (relatively) old(er) age. I try to only indulge my neuroses when I’m in a position to enjoy them, which I do mostly by playing a DVD on my computer while I do mindless grinding. That way, mindless grinding can actually be fun… I get to watch a movie or TV show, and still feel I’m accomplishing something on my games. Yay!

    Incidentally, if you’re the neurotic type and enjoy maximizing the hell out of your characters, check out the “Disgaea” series of RPGs (first two on PS2, third one on PS3). They have a turn-based, grid-based battle system (like Final Fantasy Tactics, for those who have played that venerable game). But the Disgaea games, even though you can beat the main game with your characters below level 100, really begin in the post game, where you can level all the way up to 9,999, and then reincarnate characters with higher base stats and level them all the way up again (and again, and again…). You start getting characters with billions of HP that do millions of damage per hit. And the game actually provides challenges that require characters powered to this kind of level, with those for the patience for it. I played Disgaea 2 for well over 200 hours before finally moving on to other things, and I didn’t even nearly complete all there is to do in that game.

    Needless to say, OCD personalities should either go out and buy this game now or stay very far away indeed, depending on how much time you actually have.

  59. Playing eve online, I find myself compelled to collect every piece of loot and salvage that i can from someone that I kill. Even to the point of being killed myself when I should be running from the blob that comes out after I have killed a scout or someone ratting. I have hangars all over eve that are stuffed with mods and ships that I can’t bring myself to sell or trash.

  60. Really, how many toilet plungers does the Vault Dweller actually need?

    Well, given the state of the toilets in F3s DC …

    I tend to hoard, and have spent waaay too much time in ME2 looking for resources I’ll never use. It’s soothing, in the same way those hidden-object puzzle games are soothing if you just want to turn your brain off.

  61. also: ObF3

    Whenever I am watching a TV show set in DC, I catch myself musing about how pretty it was before the war …

  62. I always start with my ‘Completer/Finisher’ hat but I get bored after a while. For example I was determined to get all the achievements for Final Fantasy XIII, but I’ve been defeated by the need to have owned all weapons and items. If the system for earning money wasn’t so flippin’ tedious I might have done it….

    I didn’t collect all the ords in ‘Crackdown’, but I can’t look at an industrial cityscape without working out routes over the roofs from one building to another!

  63. #60

    “Why do you enjoy video games?” is good question, one that might be worth asking the esteemed site host to address after he returns from leave.

    For me, though, what makes a good video game is rather varied. Some games that I think are good have no story whatsoever, and are simply about how interesting the gameplay is in itself. Other games have much that one would like to see in a good book – well-drawn characters, a variety of ideas, a well-developed world and an interesting story, with the extra challenge of learning the intricacies of the game itself.

    Hope this answers your question a bit.

    #61

    You are an evil, evil man for mentioning Disgaea on this forum of OCD sufferers. It is a brilliant Strategy-RPG series, but it will steal weeks of your life.

  64. @#60 – I’m older than you and I sucked at videogames as well. I had tried a couple before SW: Bounty Hunter and had given up. But I wanted to play Jango Fett so bad that I persevered and with the help of the strategy guide I made it through. I lost count of the deaths by flying (or lack of – the short fuel time on that jetpack is just evil). I spent a long time on the game but it was worth it.

  65. One of my Twitter friends and I recently had a discussion about grocery stores. Specifically what isle would make a good choke point, whether the produce or bakery sections had better chest-high walls for cover in a fire fight, and if the walkin in the deli would be a good safe room. We even used the hashtag #grocerystoregamer.

  66. I started up on Warcraft about 6 months after it came out having switched from EverQuest and I didn’t really think I was carrying anything over to the real world. Then in casual conversation a coworker looked at me funny and asked if I played MMORPGs. Apparently I had inserted a w00t or a 1337 in casual speech without even realizing it.

    My biggest in game/out of game problem is with Farmville. I see those decorative bunches of grass and I think “They are ready to be harvested”.

  67. @#68 – if you haven’t seen the film Hot Fuzz you should. There’s a great scene in a supermarket toward the end.

  68. In the early days, the original Doom invaded my dreams once…no monsters, just running down endless 8bit corridors with that gun in front of me, bobbing and weaving.

    I think the most noticeable affect a game has had on me has been the Grand Theft Auto 3D games. Again, not the story content or -ahem- moral choices one might make in the game. But after playing for a few hours, I found it would affect my driving!

    Each stoplight or stop sign would require a little effort to obey, and not simply pull out into the opposing lane or alongside the shoulder to pass people. Fighting the urge to cut through parking lots or people’s yards. Never any urge to mow anyone down, just the need to remind myself there are driving laws in the real world.

  69. Agree, agree, agree with the many comments regarding opening every container, completing every side quest, setting foot on every plot of soil in any RPG I play.

    But the worst for me? It’s been ~15 years since I played the first Command and Conquer, and TO THIS DAY I can not see a desert-colored military vehicle without humming the ‘Build your base and go to war’ theme…

  70. #60:

    Remember that there are lots of different types of games out there, and there are just as many different types of gamers. For example, my father loves playing with a flight simulator “game” that he bought (although in his case, he’s training to fly real RC planes he’s building) and playing Solitaire. But if I were to give him a first-person shooter (FPS) or a real-time strategy game, I think he’d probably get bored pretty quickly.

    As for video game neuroses … I’d guess anyone who’s played just about any JRPG (Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, etc.) has had the “must-open-all-chests” feeling. [Chrono Trigger was my favorite of those -- because it's a time travel game you could open the same chest twice, once in the present and once in the past, as long as you opened it in the correct order. Temporal paradox? Meh.]

    As with lots of the other commenters, Tetris is one game that’s made a significant impact on my brain. But the various Windows Solitaire varieties have made an even bigger impact. I can close my eyes in bed and actually visualize myself playing (and the sad thing is, my subconscious sometimes generates arrangements of cards that make me lose.)

  71. JRPGs are killer for the compulsive “collect-all” feeling, especially with the side-quests, which are purely optional. The Tales RPGs series always has these sidequests, which net you a title or item or both. Sometimes the title has a special costume attached as well, which means you have to do all the sidequests, to get the titles & the special costumes. This usually entails a second, or third playthrough, where you must get everything. And don’t even get me started on the Devil Arms sidequest – optional extremely difficult boss.

    @#61 – I still remember the look my boyfriend gave me when I asked him about Disgaea. “Hey is this any good, & should I buy it?” I was truly clueless.

  72. *sigh*

    The weirdest thing was when I started viewing getting small gifts for my gf like giving gifts while playing Dragon Quest : Origins. I expected to see a little heart + 3 symbol rise up when she expressed happiness for the flowers…

  73. When I start to dream the game I am currently playing, it usually signals that I’ve been playing too much and need alternate mental stimulation. The exception is the ooo-cool-yay dreams where I am in the game. That happened a lot with Dragon Age: Origins.
    Super Mario Galaxy dreams… not so fun :P

  74. Friends and I used to multiplay through System Shock 2 about once a year whenever I’d visit.

    Now every day at work I walk in the courtyard between buildings under 2 security cameras up on poles, and I always feel an urge to grab a wrench, jump up, and break them.

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