The Games That Let Me Have an Imaginary Social Life

Like most people in their 20s, I’ve had a string of jobs I hated so much I can only look back on them and wonder how I lasted so long. My worst job was doing internet tech support over the phone, an experience so awful I find myself still talking about it several years later.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qjdqyv/video-games-imaginary-social-life

Around the second week of quarantine I decided to finally start and beat a campaign of Prey. And this was back when my sleep schedule was considerably more lopsided so I was spending a lot of hours in the evening entirely by myself, with no one to talk to or even text, and no social media feeds to refresh for that last little hit of oxytocin.
Anyways, I was kind of amazed to find out A) how clearly I felt the following feeling and B) how quickly I was able to self-diagnose… Prey was actively making me more lonely! The amount of time spent in that game wandering around lonely, threatening corridors, with no real music or radio-voices, outweighed the alternative. I’d play for about 30 minutes and then just feel miserable.
And that’s not to say Prey’s a bad game, like at all. I think it’s very good. But it was almost the worst possible companion for a long night’s journey into day, as it were.

So you’re saying now would be a bad time to finally get around to playing Hellblade?

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leaving me with just enough time to get back to work, restarting the cycle once more. I became both desperate and isolated.

Wait, this isn’t normally how having a job is? It isn’t supposed to be being so constantly consumed by work that the only thing you can do outside it is prepare to go back to it?

On a related note, I’ve loved the lockdown. Who would have guessed (me, I would have) that shutting myself inside for over a month would be the greatest time I’ve had in the past two years. Loneliness? Pishaw. Other than my therapist telling me there’s a part of me that wants to have human contact, I’ve been desperate to go full hermit for over five years.

The only thing I’m worried about now is having to go back to work. So incredibly worried.

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