Bits and Bytes: Shivering with anticipation

Video Game columnist Brendan Wray on a Thanksgiving without games

Over the break, one of the most traumatic events happened to me. OK, that’s being more than overly dramatic, but the thing is that I received a game for my birthday that I couldn’t play.

See, my birthday is coming up (this Sunday, for anyone who really cares) and my mom gave me "PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale" as a gift. Normally this would induce a “You’re the best, Mom!” comment from my end, but this time was different. My console was sitting unplugged in my dorm room, while I was miles away in South Texas. I know. I’m a martyr. Or something along those lines.

The best way I can describe this conundrum is when you’re a kid, and you get the best gift you could ever believe, but don’t have any batteries. It’s a little soul-crushing because you understand the potential for fun that could be happening, but instead you are shuffling through drawers and closets looking for a single AA battery.

So there I was, having received a game that I had been looking forward to playing since the summer, without anything to play it on. Like I said, that is some soul-crushing stuff.

I got the game on the Tuesday of Thanksgiving break, which meant that I had to survive until the Sunday when I would come back to the glorious salvation of Mizzou and Schurz Hall. Let’s just say that it could have gone better.

Honestly, I can say that the No. 1 comment that I uttered during the break was, “I’m bored.” I had all of this free time, time that was being filled with homework and reading about cannibalistic whalers from Nantucket (I have History 1100 to thank for that grim insight). What I’m getting at is that there was all this time shoved in my face in which sitting down with my PS3 could have embraced. Once you factor in the complete lack of reliability of my home’s WiFi (who could have thought that I would have actually missed Mizzou Wireless), you up the factor of boredom tenfold.

While it was an absolute delight finally seeing my family and friends after months of being separated and also stuffing my face with an ungodly amount of pecan pie, by the time Sunday rolled around, I was more than grateful to be headed back to my new home of Mizzou.

Let me just say this, though: having such a pent-up anticipation for a game is probably one of life’s little pleasures. The speed at which I unpacked my suitcase, turned on my PS3 and ripped the plastic wrapping on the game had to have been a world record.

It’s been a long while since there’s been a game that has been the complete focus of my attention, but that feeling of playing a game that meets your expectations and then improves upon them is indescribable. This isn’t meant to be a review of "Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale," even though it’s an entirely enjoyable game that is worth any Sony fan’s money. However, playing the game with a large gap of time of waiting to play it, even after I purchased it, just made the game all the better.

It’s easy to say that today is filled with instant gratification; just looking at my phone, and my Twitter notifications is proof of that. But, getting away from that and having to wait while buzzing with anticipation was worth my overdramatized and soul-crushing days just looking at the game’s cover.

I can’t recommend people wait to purchase things they know for a fact that they will truly enjoy because that’s just a silly notion. But, maybe taking the time to unplug for a while and let your own anticipation build within you is a good thing. For me, it was one of those moments where I realized that games are really something that bring me a larger-than-life amount of enjoyment.

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