In the Zone!

Revisiting your youth isn't always a bad thing.

Written by J.T. Johnson

It’s 10:00 p.m. on a work night and the alarm goes off on my phone. This usually signals to me that I need to shut everything down and go to bed. On most nights, this simple system works and soon, I’m heading off into dreamland. Tonight, it doesn’t.

Currently, I’m playing “Resident Evil 2”, a remake of the classic 1998 game from Capcom. I’m going through the 2nd Story mode for Claire Redfield. I know that I’m about to beat the game and cannot stop. I must push on to the end.

At this point, I’m in my element and ready to tackle the last leg of this journey. I’m “in the zone”, so to speak. The focus is real as I try to track down the last object I need, but I’m also keenly aware that I still have probably two hours left before the end… and that’s if everything goes right.

On this particular night, I’m 34-years-old but I may as well be 15 again. During that time in my life, I was way more into games than I am these days. Weekends were spent trying to beat a game before I had to take it back to the video store.

A lot has changed since then. According to some sources, I’m now an adult and I have more things to take care of including the rent and bills. Games don’t hold as much sway over me as a result because having enough time is now an issue. It also doesn’t help that it doesn’t take me near as long to get through a game as it used to and so their appeal has naturally worn off over the years.

Therefore, when I have these increasingly rarer moments in the zone, I have to enjoy them for as long as I can. Playing “RE2” to the end, I know that I’m going to feel like crap going to work the next morning. Thankfully, the price is more than worth it when I finally do reach the end and defeat the final boss before watching the credits roll.

At this point, it is 12:30 a.m. and I realize that I’ve officially played the game into the next day. I note that I was only a half an hour off in predicting when the game will end before checking the rewards that the game gave after finishing the story. It looks like I can now tackle Leon’s 2nd Story mode and I honestly think about starting it up and getting back into it.

However, this is when I have no choice but to acknowledge that I’m no longer 15 and can’t play until the sun comes up… at least not on a work night. I shut the game down and take a moment to come down off the natural high that I just experienced by beating another game. After that, I reset the alarm on my phone to record that I went to bed at 1:00.

In six hours, I’ll be heading off to work. I’ll be a little more tired than usual, but I won’t care. I’ve just allowed myself a chance to be that same gamer kid again even if it was just for a few hours. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

As is the case when I write a column such as this, I want to find some sort of conclusion for the reader to think about after reading. I think I’m talking about this because at some point in our lives, the world tells us that we have to grow up and be adults and that is true with taking care of certain things such as paying the bills and the rent on time. Even so, that shouldn’t cause us to completely lose touch with our youth just because we have responsibilities.

I’ll end this by leaving you with a quote from the Fourth Doctor in “Doctor Who”. I believe he summed it up best when he said, “There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes.”

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