THE games calendar has been so furiously packed over the last few weeks that the line between reality and the imagined world inside my Xbox has become blurred to the point of non-existence, perhaps irredeemably so.
It has got to the stage where I have started to eye regular people with suspicion, lest they attempt to steal my treasure, or their spinal cord bursts out of their head and they vomit their intestines into my face (thanks to Dead Space 2 for that; a game so completely, absolutely terrifying it can barely be described as a game, more an exercise in dogged perseverance, like being tied upside down in a candle-lit room while people wearing rubber Hillary Clinton masks occasionally jump out to scream abuse at you).
This isn’t helped by the increasingly crackpot ways developers are touting their wares. Dragon Age 2 was literally dragged into stores on the backs of nine foot lizards. This insanely immersive role playing game, which doubtless does for enforced sexual abstinence what Dungeons & Dragons did to a whole generation in the 1970s, is brutally gory, incredibly addictive and massively time-consuming. Be prepared to lay aside a few months of your life if you want to really delve into the story.
Also launched last week was Crysis 2. To celebrate this I was invited to an event where I was repeatedly shot in the back of the head by the developers of the game. In over an hour’s gameplay I managed two kills. This isn’t quite as mortifying (no pun intended) as it sounds when you consider that these people have been working on the title for over TWO YEARS. Expecting me to come out victorious was like putting a gun into the hand of a toddler and expecting it to successfully rob a bank.
And my digital nightmare doesn’t end in the house. With the 3DS out on Friday, I’ve been reviewing its first wave of games. I sit on the tube kicking all hell out of virtual opponents in Super Street Fighter IV (which is just as good as you remember it, despite a strange propensity to develop a storyline instead of heading straight into the action). For something less violent I can fly over digital landscapes in PilotWings Resort, a game that has been waiting for the 3D treatment since it first hit the SNES in 1990.
Now, when I’m not playing games I sit alone in a dark room rocking back and forth, waiting for the sweet release of sleep. Thankfully, with a stream of titles as good as these on the horizon, there is no reason that should ever have to happen.