Neptune's Pride is Consuming My Mind
Neptune’s Pride is a long-form browser-based space-battle strategy game. In it, between 4 and 12 players fight to control at least half of the stars on the map. Everything happens in real time, and everything moves very slowly. It takes many hours to travel even to neighboring star systems. Entire games can take many weeks. The game is awesome.
And it is consuming my mind. I think about it all the time. I can’t go for a walk, take a shower, or watch a movie without wondering who is going to betray me, whose fleets are slowly inching towards my stars, whether my defensive line is sufficient, whether I really should have sprung for that science upgrade. Just an hour ago I was lying in bed trying to get back to sleep and considering whether I really should have sprung for that science facility. Whenever I get back to my computer the first thing I do is check Neptune’s Pride. I’ve been playing for hours every day, carefully considering where to place my ships and which star-systems to upgrade. It’s taken up most of my game-playing time. I swear, Neptune’s Pride is consuming my mind.
But it’s hardly the first time that something like this has happened. Ever since I was a kid, great games have invaded my thoughts and filled me with that muscular itch, that need to play them. When I was ten I couldn’t wait to get back to Ocarina of Time. When I was 14 I pretended to be sick so that I could stay home and play Final Fantasy VII. I used to rehearse Super Smash Bros. moves during math class, my thumbs twitching restlessly, frictionless. My little brother and I could talk for hours about 2v2 Arena in World of Warcraft, imagining each possible combination we could face, deciding on the best tactics for each map (“Alright, so if it’s Druid-Warrior in Nagrand, we need them to come to us ‘cause we can’t get caught out in the open. I’ll pillar-hug and dot up the warrior, you fear the druid, and I’ll keep fear ward for myself.”) Sometimes when I’m reading a book, I’ll realize that I haven’t been paying attention to it at all because I’ve been thinking up hilarious messages to leave on the ground in Demon’s Souls.
I’ve been addicted to a series of video games, but the thing is—I love the feeling of addiction. I love the mental surrender of it, the gleeful falling-in. I love that I’m excited to get home and check my events in Neptune’s Pride. If it isn’t hurting me, what’s wrong with addiction? I can stop any time I want, O.K.?