Blackout

Occassionally, it happens that I’m playing being extremely tired. Today is such a day and the following words are an attempt to describe this rare state of body and mind. The title is a reference to the book ‘Male Fantasies’ by Klaus Theweleit, an analysis of the masculine Fascist mentality in the interwar period.

Generally speaking, beginning a videogame session after a whole day overloaded with various types of activity, be it work, physical exercise or otherwise, feels like entering an altered state of consciousness. While normally I’m a man who could describe himself as having a certain kind of sensory oversensitivity, weariness and sleep deprivation completely change my gaming experience. First, I’m simply unable to focus on more complex tasks required in adventure or strategy games, which forces me to choose simpler (but not necessarily easier) genres like platformers and shooters. Second, the condition of having my senses temporarily numbed is sometimes an advantage, because it’s significantly harder to be discouraged from difficult, repetetive gameplay. Finally, this condition changes the way of experiencing gameplay. Instead of focusing on ‘winning’, or achieving arbitrary goals, and following the story and dialogue, I tend to immerse myself into the visuals and sounds, the result being literally hypnotical. The pleasure derived from learing an interesting plot and gaining achievements become almost irrelevant, instead the mind quietly enjoys dreamy, alien landscapes and electronic soundtrack music. This is a perfect time to return to old-school Amiga titles or maybe try a bizarre Ludlum Dare browser game.

While I’m fully aware that repeating this kind of alternate gaming experience more often than once in a month would ruin my health, the temptation to do it again returns surprisingly often.

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