There’s a new Spider-Man game out on Friday, and I played it yesterday for a whole evening. As a result of this I now know the following: it is going to ruin my life.
Thing is, I don’t tend to play too many computer games anymore, a vital life-decision that arose as a result of an unhealthy obsession I held as a younger child. A preoccupation with gaming that soon became detrimental to my formative years; namely the “sleep” part of it. The part where I was to get any “sleep”. In that, I didn’t “get any of it”.
So I stopped playing. But now, many years since the voluntary insomnia, there’s a new Spider-Man game out, and gosh-darn it you better believe I like Spider-Man. The man who has the powers of a spider, I like him very much, even though I am ostensibly and the majority of the time, visibly, an adult. So I thought I’d have a go on it - dip in and out, bash a few buttons when I was bored, just have a right old casual time of it with the whole thing. Nothing even close to a relapse. I was confident.
Hahaha! Silly me! Don’t think that’s the way it’s going to go though, is it? Don’t think it will pan out like this, will it? Tee hee!
You see, in Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PS4, you can swing through actual New York; like, a gigantic, sprawling, living New York, and you can just swing through it. You can just climb to the highest skyscraper and throw piss to the wind and bloody well jump off it, then shoot your goddamn web-thingies at all the buildings and fly about the place like a professional gymnast. You can do this forever and ever and ever.
The game gives you missions, sure, but I must have just swang for an hour. A whole hour of swanging. For my dinner I had Vegemite on bread with a load of Parmesan hastily thrown on top - what is that? Never had that before, but I wasn’t thinking straight and I just wanted to get it out of the way to make room for more swanging. This is how it will affect my life - I will not entertain other options, I will not indulge alternative activities, for I shall be swan diving off the top of the Empire State Building - which you can actually do, by the way. You can do that, if you want, nobody is stopping you. You can do it instead of going to the gym.
You can do so much in Spider-Man, and I can’t quite see the end of it, and it’s entirely worrying to me. Want to follow the main storyline and fight all your favourite bad guys from the comics? You can, mate. Want to float about looking for petty crimes and stopping them by martial-artsing a bunch of creeps into the wall? Oh, you can do that, too. Want to swang, to swang and swang until the cows come home? Do it! Swang, just swang all day long!
Saturday night, is it? Oh, I suppose I’m going out with all my mates to have “a few” (I’ve used inverted commas here, the joke being that it will be more than a few, and I will deeply regret it in the morning), the usual. Or, I’m not, am I, because I’m lying on my bed fighting a big fat man in a bank who calls himself The Kingpin, and I am screaming at the television. I have lied and told my friends that I am feeling ill, but actually I am webbing up some bloke’s arms so he can’t use his rocket launcher on me, and then I am smashing a rubbish bin onto his head to save a hostage. That’s what I’m actually doing. The only illness within me is dishonesty.
“Are you gonna watch Ex On The Beach, Gary?” my flatmates call from downstairs on a Wednesday evening.
“No, I’ve got an early morning so I’m going to bed,” I screech down. But I don’t, and I’m not - I am chasing The Vulture around the skies, kicking him and punching him into an exquisitely-rendered submission. I am not in bed, I am standing in the centre of my room, controller in hand, feet doing frenzied up-and-down steps in quick succession - it’s one of those games, you see, that during fights you are unconsciously and urgently propelled to stand up. You know the ones.
When my flatmates finally go to bed, they will hear my cries from behind the closed bedroom door; worryingly enthusiastic exclamations of joy spat through gritted teeth as I commit violent acts: “Yes, you dumb rhino, eat my arse!” Then they will realise the deception, but I will not care. I will not care, because I am Spider-Man, and I must swang across this bridge to collect a backpack. It is very important I do this.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game like Spider-Man - and I can’t see myself becoming bored of it. Or scared of it, for that matter - I had to stop playing Far Cry 5, for example, because I was scared of the wolverines and they launched me into a rage the likes of which my bedroom has never seen. Spider-Man though, it’s fun. It’s too fun. It will never stop being fun - there will be DLCs to download, new costumes to unlock, more absolute swangs to swung, and it will ruin my life.
But then, will it? Maybe I can legitimise this. Like, it might stop me going out on a Saturday, but what I do on a Saturday is bad and rubbish - I spend all my money and birth acres and acres of tiny regret-pods, that grow and hatch during the subsequent week and consume me, dragging me down to a anguished Hell. So, that won’t happen, will it? Because of Spider-Man.
And hey, not watching Ex On The Beach? That can’t really be that bad, can it? My brain slows to a crawl - the sliding, slimy, wet-tummied drag of a slug - when I watch that - at least when I’m swanging, I’m engaging my brain and prolonging its dwindling life-span. Spider-Man is helping my brain, it turns out. Is it… is it actually… SAVING MY LIFE?
What a 180 guys! The best game ever - which is Spider-Man (I decided this yesterday) - is actually going to save my life, not ruin it, what a revelation! This is fantastic news, and perhaps more importantly, it will give me an extremely justifiable excuse to play and/or become a terrifying, sweaty hermit. I am so happy. And anyway, shut up, I actually love Vegemite and Tesco’s ‘Italian-style cheese’ (I lied again, it wasn’t even Parmesan).
So to summarise: I could finish this article, but actually, I don’t have time because I’ve got to, right this minute, drop everything and go and play Spi