Since the age of 6 or 7 I’ve been playing video games way more than is probably healthy. It started with that ZX Spectrum that my kind-of-adopted brother owned. Those hypnotic, flashing loading screens… those oh-so-80s synth noises blasting out of that monophonic speaker…

But I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited as those 2 or 3 minutes while waiting for Dizzy to load. Sure, it was way too difficult for me at the time, but I tried my best! “Fill a potion bottle with cooked leprechauns wig, clouds silver lining, Vampire dux feather and some troll brew – cook the potion and throw it at Zaks to dissolve his reign.” — What? I was 6, damnit!

Anyway, I like to think that playing video games, rather than sitting like some kind of braindead zombie infront of a TV played a vital role in developing my better-than-average intellect. At least, that’s what I kept telling my mother…

Now, quite some years on, I’m still playing video games. Perhaps a bit less than I used to, as I have to work sometime, and I no longer bump into my dad at 7am, when he’s making breakfast, and I’m getting a belated midnight snack. But I still enjoy video games, oh yes!

While I still attend LAN parties for the occasional slobbed-out-infront-of-the-PC-for-72-hours thing, I try to limit my gameplay to more… mature levels. I play World of Warcraft (WoW) — in a big way. I lead a guild that’s about to celebrate its 4th anniversary, called Iron Edge. Those of you that know a little about MMORPGs know that after a year or two, these games tend to boil down into 1) a chat room with pretty graphics, and 2) political warfare between competing guilds. I tend to while away my time in WoW playing the political game: crippling or outright destroying other guilds, and ensuring the survival of my own guild.

They say it’s lonely at the top, and we’ve been there for a couple of years now. It’s odd, before we were #1, we were everyone’s best friends. Now, I’m fairly certain my guild hasn’t turned into an army of egoistic spastics, but if you listen to anyone that isn’t in Iron Edge, you’d most certainly hear otherwise. I guess people just look at you differently when you’re at the top. The constant barrage of people trying to take you down a peg is a little tiring, certainly, but if the only way to stop the abuse is to stop playing well and drop down the rankings… I think I’d rather keep the abuse.

I’ll be writing more about WoW, as I’ve been playing for 4 years now, and I don’t see the addiction loosening its warm, firm grip upon me any time soon.

In other news, it’s New Year’s Eve today, and I don’t yet have a party to attend. I better go find one. Otherwise video games won’t only be my first love, they’ll be my last too…

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I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.