The weekend is approaching, which means my weekly dance with the devil is close at hand. I’m not speaking of anything illicit. I’m speaking of my unhealthy obsession with Sid Meyer’s Civilization V. I’ve been playing this create-your-own-nation-from-the-stone-age-to-modern-day-and-beyond videogame from its very first version when I was a kid — I can still vividly recall the trumpets of victory every time my archer square (a pixelated dude holding a bow) successfully attacked a marauding barbarian red square (a pixelated dude holding a club) like it’s happening right in front of me. The newest version of the game, which has been out since last fall, is several eons more advanced (as the photo above can attest) in the graphics department, but the basic fundamentals of the game are still the same, and still just as wildly, obsessively addictive. I’m not entirely ashamed to admit that once I started playing this game around 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and I didn’t stop until around 4 a.m. Sunday morning. That is 20 hours of non-stop gaming.
But, see, I just had to drive back the aggressive Indian empire from encroaching upon the resource rich uninhabited grasslands to my north, but then I went too far and wiped out every last Indian city, provoking a cascade of condemnation from all my neighboring countries that I spent the subsequent centuries repairing. Meanwhile, as I’m building granaries and calvary and the Louvre, I invent little stories in my head of people living in each of my cities, whether its my culturally-rich capital or the remote hamlet tucked on a faraway island so I have access to the only unclaimed stores of coal left on the planet. It makes perfect sense to me. My fiancé, for some reason, feels different.
Okay, I admit, I am obsessed. I filed an extension on my taxes this year pretty much only because I wasted too much time trying to conquer the world over and over and over again. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right? And I cannot be alone, either. So you tell me, PopWatchers: What is the longest you’ve binged on a videogame? And was it worth it?