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Jeremy Corbett – Game changer

Jeremy attempts to conquer his debilitating addiction.

Undoubtedly, men have a disproportionate love of computer games. I can just about hear the ocular muscles of the female population contracting, as they make the eyes-roll-backward-in-socket agreement – the lips pursing ever so slightly, as memories flood back of being temporarily widowed by a keyboard and screen.

I can also see Megan looking at me suspiciously while I’m on this computer, trying to determine whether I am working on my overdue column, or once again playing Galactic Shooty Shooty Spaceships*. She’s walked off and left me to it. She has correctly deduced I am “working”. The giveaway is that I am tapping the keyboard in a typing fashion whilst remaining relatively calm, instead of pulling faces or swearing as I frantically twist and slash the mouse or repeatedly thump the enter key, trying to shoot down a computer-generated enemy.

In my defence, it has been a while since I’ve been “embedded” in a game.

For several years, I’ve been a functioning adult in the world. Perhaps the demands of two young children have helped me remain tethered to reality. Or perhaps I’ve started to grow up properly. Either way, I’ve had a relapse and been lured back to the alternate binary universe that swallows hours like a fat kid devours M&M’s.

Males seem to be more susceptible to the seduction of the CPU, for the basic reason that it’s one of the last areas we feel we can make a difference. The real world doesn’t need us much, but the virtual world would not exist without us. It makes us feel important.

Why, only this morning I vanquished the VU’UNGANS and saved the DORFL cosmos. Compare that to changing a soiled baby’s nappy back in Mt Eden and you can start to understand why these games are so important.

I should point out that I did change the soiled nappy, but I admit the job had to wait until I’d captured NAANGAR and repossessed its crystals. Our four-month-old daughter didn’t seem to mind – she appreciated the importance of what I was doing. Well, she made some noises. It was hard to hear through the headset.

I’d go so far as to say my hobby is making me a better parent: there’s a growing body of evidence that suggests we are spoiling our children by being at their beck and call. My kids are learning they can’t just scream and get me to run to their aid. They’re learning to solve their own problems.

To the long-suffering partner, I offer this advice: treat it like an addiction. Cold turkey is the only fix here. Just let me finish this level first.

*Not the actual name. I’m too embarrassed to tell you the real name and reveal just how arrested my development really is.

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