I'm in the second day process. I've been here before, but before I wasn't an OLGA member, I wasn't receiving any outside help. I have better hopes for this attempt. Anyway, the second day process is the day after I decide to quit. That process itself can take several days of denial and inner tantrums.
Once that's over, I can get to deleting the games from my hard drives and clearing them off my shelves. There is some satisfaction to it, but I also feel stabs of regret, thinking of all the money I wasted on the best equipment to better aid sitting in front of a screen all day, dead to the world. I could have gone on courses, or gone out and had experiences with that money.
I can handle all that. I was handling it fine, but for a waver where I wouldn't delete Flight Simulator, because, I reasoned, it's not really a game. It's a program like pilots use for learning to fly. I'm not sure how much I believe that justification, but the likelihood of me getting properly into the devilishly tricky Flight Simulator is at least low.
The likelihood of me getting back into Pokemon, however, is high. Far too high, because just now I looked my shelves with all my Pokemon games and realised that I couldn't just discard them like yesterday's fish. They have been too big a part of my life. I started with Pokemon, aged 8. The last console I bought, I got specifically so I could play the latest Pokemon game – I never bought another game for it. I long prided myself on my comprehensive and ever growing knowledge of the complexities and mathematical concepts of this series. It's not quite a whole world to me, but it's certainly much more than a game; it's a significant proportion of my general knowledge and skill set.
I know how sad that is. I know I can't put that on my resume. I know it does nothing for me. Even if I wanted a job in games, I would be expected to dip in and out of all the new releases, not obsessively play my favourites from 1998. I started a blog just to talk about my favourite games, to vindicate the amount of time I spent on them. The blog is not popular. No one cares. It isn't interesting. There is no vindication to be found. I wasted my time, pure and simple.
Yet those Pokemon games sit pride of place up on my shelves, shrines the sheer amount of effort and dedication they brought out of me. I have never applied myself to anything in my entire life to the extent that I applied myself to those games. I often wonder where I would be if I did. Where is that drive and ambition when I'm seeking a career? Why am I 26 years old, unemployed and still living with my parents?
I want to say goodbye to Pokemon. I just can't think of a good enough send off. It is, after all, my fault that I can't keep control. It is not Pokemon's fault. I still think of it as a beautiful, artistic franchise. But it is a beautiful, artistic franchise that I can never touch again. I could shed tears just thinking about that. It's like saying goodbye to a loyal dog, or an old friend whom you love, but who keeps letting you down.
Of all the games I have culled over the years during the purging stage, the lucid moments where I realised I had to let go of the games, I never got rid of Pokemon. I never even thought of it. Such a thing has always been unconscionable.
I am still in control, I am not playing games, but I am not ready to cut my ties with Pokemon. I keep telling myself that if I can't play them, they are just boxes on a shelf. They are just tokens. But they feel like items of deep sentimental value, even though they ought to remind me of all the things I became that I never wanted to be – lazy, inattentive, underachieving.
It is the ambivalence of video game addiction that makes it hard for me. We know they destroy us, and yet still a deep part of us loves them, for the times they were consistently there.
Control is about day to day, active choice.