Dealing with Separation Anxiety… from games!
When I was a kid, I had a dog that meant the world to me. He'd been abandoned to the streets and had followed me home, with some coaxing from my bike-chain-leash (but the parents didn't need to know that!). We did try to find his original owners, but much to my delight we were unsuccesful; he was soon adopted into our family.
The trauma of his past, he was barely more than a puppy when we met, had affected him deeply. Whenever one of us would leave (heck if we so much as touched the lock on the front door), he'd be barking like mad. Running from one sidegate to the other while trying to catch a glimpse of fleeting forms. His mournful wails each morning as we 'abandoned' him for our jobs, for school, and for anything that didn't involve bringing him along for a walk too.
What he suffered from, was separation anxiety; And its a situation that gamers have to deal with every day. For many it's because of their job, choosing to spend time with their family and friends, or the dreaded PC or Internet problems that keep us away from our chosen hobby. This guide is designed to provide you with some alternative options so you can find that release whenever you need it, throughout your everyday life.
In this game your job is to co-ordinate a rowdy and attentionally deficienct family into preparing dinner. You will need to delegate such responsibilities as Chef Class lead, a Provisioner of Foodstuffs to assist the Chef in crafting and distribution, and someone to ensure that everyone has sufficient water to make it through the duration of the meal. Strategies will need to be devised based on available personnel, what booty is available in the guild bank tabs (also known as fridge and pantries). It is recommended that you do not raid the same meal everyday if you want people to keep showing up. A points and demerits system is also advised, both to insure that family members show up promptly at dinner time, and to distribute highly desired drops such as drumsticks and endpieces from the roast.
Friends may be recruited as mercenaries to help fill out numbers, if you find that more people will be needed for the run. Be aware that these exta's commonly do not bring their own supplies, and will need to be provided for from the guild's own stores. Some thoughtful Mercs may occasionally bring a bottle of wine (or similar alcoholic beverage) to share amongst the group. WARNING! Too much sharing may cause disruptive behaviour.
The Squad Leader
If the provisions are getting low, then its time to tame the toddlers enough to survive the rigors of a trip to the supermarket. Limited seating is available, although some models of dropship (erm... car), will permit you to bring a larger strike force than others. Battle your way through the traffic, and when you've made it to the carpark level you should attempt to find someone walking to their vehicle. Continue camping them until you are able to obtain their former space, before someone else is able to block you with their own locomotive device. Once this location has been secured, then you're ready to make your way to the target
If you should lose anybody enroute through the supermarket, do not worry as they should become available for respawn at the shopping center's information desk after a randomly determined interval. A list of objectives will be provided, and all items must be obtained to complete the mission succesfully. Some optional objectives may appear along the way, but be warned that dallying in too many side quests (other shops) may result in running overtime and forfeiting the mission's completion bonus. Squad Leaders need to be aware that there will be a good deal of whining and complaints while navigating the tight confines of the battlefield. While bribery may provide temporary relief, your final score will suffer a penalty equal to the sum total paid out before the final mission results are displayed at the checkout.
Red Light Racing
No, this is not encouragement to skip through lights! Unlike some games such as the Test Drive franchise, your objectives include obeying all road rules while reaching your objective in the shortest possible time. WARNING! Disobeying road rules may result in partial or full loss of your license and cause your preferred vehicle to be crushed into something resembling a broken matchbox toy.
By taking little known back streets and highways, or trying your luck with switching lanes; You may even dare the public transport system as you attempt to make your way on time to work, or other appointed destinations. Veteran players have been known to make use of navigational aided minimaps, some of which feature close-to-live time tracking of traffic reports. Still Others listen to radio station advice, or rely on their tried and tested shortcuts that are passed down in the family from one generation to the next; only evolving when council's provide a new route (which will occur no more than once per century).
Be forewarned that if everybody learns and starts using these shortcuts, they will no longer provide the same benefit. Guard your route carefully, as sharing it with too many friends may cause an exponential increase to your travel times!
If the games provided above have proven insufficient in sating your thirst, then it is recommended you take whatever internet capability you can muster, and live vicariously through any 'not yet launched games' that perk your interest. This will allow you to appear to be an avid gamer with no more than a few thoughtful posts (also known by some as troll baiting). This may be achieved through your work pc, internet cafe's, and many modern mobile devices. Even an aging relic of a former generation of PC history that you've had on loan to the Smithsonian Institute should suffice. Any of these devices can provide an ample platform from which to launch a campaign of "pretend gaming," that can give you a gamer's prestige and cred without sacrificing the time and money of playing one for real. This can at least keep your neighbours from overly worrying about you, and after a few years you'll even start to feel like you've been gaming all this time.