I Have No Games

I have no games.

I mean of course I ‘have’ games. I ‘own’ games. I have consoles in my possession technically. But as of right now, this very second, I have no games. They are inaccessible. I can’t play any of them.

Please allow me to explain

Recently my wife and I bought a new house. There were delays. There were ‘issues’ to the point where we almost lost the house and a sizeable deposit. Stress is not the word. We need to invent a new word to describe the intensity of the stress we’re talking about here. At one point I almost threw up.

At one point we were literally homeless. We had renters moving into our old apartment at a date when we had assumed our own move would be done and dusted. We assumed wrong. We had to move practically everything into storage before we actually had the keys to our new house.

‘Everything’ included my consoles. All of them. My Xbox 360, my PS3, my PS4, my Xbox One, my Wii U, my PS Vita, my 3DS, my tablet. Practically everything. Again I assumed that we would get the keys the next day, we’d move everything into our new house the following day, and I would be busting out The Last of Us Remastered in my kicking new pad before the weekend was out.

Once again, I assumed wrong. One week later I’m staying at a relative’s house. Everything of significance I own remains stuck in storage.

I have no games.

We managed to get the house keys. That part was fine. All ‘issues’ were resolved and the purchase of the new house went through, albeit at the very last minute. I thought that would be the end of our issues. Turns out it was just the start.

Put politely, the house we bought wasn’t in what my wife would describe as a ‘liveable’ condition. The previous occupant smoked like a goddamn chimney. She had smoked like a goddamn chimney in this particular house for the better part of a decade and that nicotine stained legacy was written across every square inch of the house. It stunk of smoke. The carpets stunk of smoke; the walls were yellow where they were once white. We quickly decided that it might be easier to just re-paint and re-carpet the entire place before we moved in all of our furniture.

So that was the plan. Our possessions would remain in storage. We would stay at a relative’s house while we painted and changed the carpets. I am currently in the process of putting that plan into practice.

It’s kind of a strange feeling, being separated from all that stuff. Your stuff. Not just the video games, but all of the stuff. The couch you sit on after a long day at work, the bed you sleep on, the fridge that stores your food. Moving house is always a relatively traumatic experience. You essentially rip yourself from one house-sized container for memories into a space you have no relationship with. Leaving was strange. I looked at the front door of my apartment – I’d lived there for six years. I couldn’t stop myself. I kept remembering the moment I carried my son through that door after he was born. Then I closed it for the last time.

It’s unhealthy to be attached to ‘things’. I understand that. I’ve never thought of myself as ‘that’ kind of person. I’ve never valued physical possessions. I throw things out. I get rid of my old consoles. When I was 20 years old a drug addict broke into my apartment and set the place on fire. I lost everything and I felt nothing.

But now I’m older and I have more to lose. I am a father and a husband. I’ve grown sentimental in these roles (and my old age) and being separated from the things that represent that existence, the things I associate with comfort and my ability to sustain myself — it’s a dissociating experience. It’s difficult to describe.

TL;DR I miss my video games. I can only describe it as a strange homesickness. I don’t necessarily miss playing my games, I think that would be silly. I’ve got bigger fish to fry (and paint). I just miss them as objects that fill out the space within which I exist. I miss them as a type of furniture. I miss them as a representation of normality: that life is regular, that life goes on as usual. That I am secure.

When your life is in a state of flux you tend to cling to the familiar. When I was 21 I moved to Japan. I remember getting into my apartment, feeling slightly scared, nervous, excited, everything. I turned on my GameBoy Advance and played A Link To The Past. I instantly felt better. I might as well have been sucking on a pacifier.

Once again I’m in a state of flux. I’m technically homeless and I’m carting a wife and child along for the ride. I don’t have my pacifier.

I have no games. I miss my games.



    You put your tablet in storage?

    In all seriousness, you did the right thing, even when repainting and recarpeting it can still be hard to get rid of the cigarette reek.

    I spent a month is a new flat with nothing but a mattress and a bar fridge, I got used to it amazingly quickly, it makes you realise how little you need stuff.

      It was one of those things where I was packing and it fit so neatly into the box I was like... yeaaaaaaah I'm going to leave it there!

        You work in an office that deals in games and game reviews, can you not borrow a laptop that can at least run some basic stuff?

        If you want a recommendation for a game that can run on even the most basic of integrated GPUs, I recommend Door Kickers. Bloody good little indie game that's like a cross between Frozen Synapse & the planning phase of the original Rainbow Six. Thisis a video of a level replay It's basically a puzzle game at heart, the missions themselves take a fair while to plan & play, the replay is just the parts where it's unpaused which is why it looks rather chaotic & fast paced (much like watching frozen synapse replays in that regard).

        Each level has a fair bit of replay value since they have challenges for completing them with a single trooper, completing it within a time limit and completing it without pausing so it's fun to try and design a single plan to tackle an entire map and sit back and watch it all go to hell when you realise you forgot to tell one of your guys to check a corner, there's an enemy there who kills him and he proceeds to gun down your entire squad who assumes the corner was safe... As an added bonus, there's a good chunk of user made content out for it already, people have been making new weapons and levels (even I've made a level) so there's always something new to do with it.

        I rather like the game, I don't know if that's come across.

          But that carries the same problem. I would happily lend him my 3DS XL, it's got some games that would surely entertain him in his spare time (if he has any), but it's not his 3DS. It's like living in a hotel room. You've got the TV, the bed, everything you need, but none of it is yours.

            The laptop might not be his machine (unless he were to run out and buy one) but he could buy the game on his steam account and be then using something that was his, not ideal but better than nothing

            Last edited 19/08/14 12:52 pm

        Oh man. When we moved house last month, our consoles and handhelds had their own special padded box that was buckled into the front seat of the car.

        Slightly OT, but did you guys buy the house unseen? Or did the smoke damage not seem evident at the time? Just curious.

          I suspect they noticed it but assumed it was lingering in the curtains and furnature which are easily replaced. Judging by the description of her the previous owner was probably smoking at the time masking it.

          It was weird. With all of her stuff still in the house it really wasn't that noticeable. When you took all of her photographs off there were these noticeable stains. The kind of things you couldn't notice until the place was empty.

            Protip: Have a go at cleaning the walls and ceiling with a mix of sugar soap and (hot) water before you paint the walls and ceiling, using one of those flat mops (or wrap shitty old towels around a broom if you need too) to clean the walls and ceilings is most effective, use a second bucket of water to rinse the mop before soaking back in the sugar soap. You'll take a lot of the tar off the walls which will prevent sealing the tar under the new paint job and make it easier to get an even paint tone as the 'white squares' from where the pictures were hanging will show through. Trust me, you'll have to do a bit of hard work (cleaning ceilings sucks and don't forget the cornice and skirting boards) but in the long run you'll have a better paint job and your rooms won't be as likely to get a musty old smoker smell after they have been closed or you've been away for a few days, just covering walls in paint wont work. Keep any left over sugar soap, you'll need a couple bottles for the whole house if it is really bad, its about $2 a bottle, sugar soap is probably the second best multi-purpose household cleaner available and much more environmentally friendly than less effective chemical cleaners.

              Hey man -- thanks for the advice. You won't believe this -- but that is actually exactly what I spent my whole weekend doing. Been sugaring and 'de-sugaring' the whole house. Just got the first coat of primer on a couple of rooms now.

        Argh, stupid Tetris compulsion has bit my ass on several occasions as well!

      Depending on the house and condition of any floor boards, refurbing the timber floor might be easier. Sand them back a bit and you should (depending on species) get a fairly nice wood smell.

      It's easier to keep clean for sure.

      Again only if you have floor boards.

      And Mark.... 3DS is still pocket size....

      Last edited 19/08/14 12:41 pm

    I know that feeling Mark. The house we bought last year had doggy carpet, and it stunk to high heaven. Luckily the Mrs was able to take some time off to do a quick paint on the ceilings and supervise the carpeting.

    House buying is much different to renting. At least with a rental you're guaranteed (99% of the time) to walk into a clean place. There is no requirement (asides from common courtesy) from a seller to clean up prior to your arrival.

    As someone who has recently gone through the whole process of buying and moving into a new place, firstly, condolences on the whole delays and 'issues' regarding almost losing the whole thing; that sounds truly horrific.

    Secondly, I have to ask whether you ever took a look at the place before buying. It sounds like the condition of the place was a surprise.
    I know that there were some houses I inspected that sound very similar to the situation you described regarding the legacy of smoking.
    I walked in. I walked out. 5 seconds. Bam, no deal.

    Last edited 19/08/14 12:20 pm

      Maybe they just didn't notice how bad it was.

      House walkthroughs can be pretty quick and it's hard to spot all the little things if it's still furnished and there's 50 other people at the inspection at the same time.

        Smoke stained walls is one thing... My friends parents bought their house over thirty years ago. House only a year old at the time so it was all fresh and new... UNTIL they bought it. In the time they inspected the place, bought it and moved in the prior occupants' dogs had made toilet all over the carpets. I thought that's the sorta thing settlement agreements were supposed to cover against, so cant remember who footed the bill.

    Oh God, we just bought our first house (already own an apartment that we will now sell), but we are about to start the same juggling act that you just did.

    Try to organise dates so that we can move furniture from 1 to the other without having to go into storage and without going bankrupt in the process :-S

    My stomach was in knots reading your post Mark, thanks a lot! :-p

    Congrats on the buy - having your own place is great!

    Can I seriously vote for you as the writer for the year here in Kotaku Mark? I never expected to feel this feels from this website. I can relate so much to this.

    All the best on the transition!

    Yes it's stressful, but it's a LOT easier to do all this maintenance stuff now with an empty house. Gutting the place is wise. Pulling out old carpet is very wise.

    It is said that moving house is the 2nd most stressful thing people go through.

    The most stressful is going through a divorce.

      The most stressful is going through a divorce.

      Amen to that buddy.

        Yeah, and then you get to move as well!

      Oh wow, no wonder I'm so glad to be in a stable place now after moving approx every 6 months/year over almost all of the last decade :/

    I find that I take my 3DS and/or vita with me compulsively, usually chucking them in a satchell or the car glove box. I won't always play them, but it's super handy for the times I do. The Mii Maker also doubles as a super-handy kid pacifier on long trips!

    If gaming were my hobby of choice (lol) to unwind in the evening or weekend I'd be missing them too.

    ...I'm missing them right now! ROLL ON FIVE O'CLOCK!

    Last edited 19/08/14 2:23 pm

    I'm in a similar position. My motherboard just died. I'm suddenly stuck without my PC games, TV shows, movies, music. All on an internal HD. I have a PS4 coming Friday, but this week I'm looking at some real boring evenings.

      Yeah. My GPU was on the fritz and I became an indie gamer. Then when I went to replace it, I was out of action for several days, during which I became a full-blown filthy console peasant. Fortunately it was only temporary.

      (PS4 coming Friday... you didn't happen to get the Dick Smith's PS4 Sunday special like me, did you? Because if so, TAYbies inform me that Dick Smith eBay purchases are typically MONTHS LATE! Commence panicking. Because panicking is always useful.)

        Yes I went with DSE. Oh great, thats just what I need to hear right now, MONTHS LATE! May have to go dig out the old ps3 and play some Heavy Rain again.

        Mine is waiting at the post office RIGHT NOW!!

        I think they actually done good this time.

          I did receive an invoice today saying that it had been distributed for shipping today, but apparently Ser Nobs got quite a few of those in the months while waiting for actual consignment.

          Could... could it be that the mistakes were edge cases, the exception to the otherwise acceptable rule? Naaah.

            I got that too, but we're talking card in the letterbox and a trackable number:

            18 Aug 2014 00:00 Freight Manifest Transmitted
            18 Aug 2014 22:12 Sydney DFPC Arrived at StarTrack Location for processing
            19 Aug 2014 00:20 Sydney DFPC Arrived at StarTrack Location for processing
            19 Aug 2014 07:16 Sydney DFPC Onboard with driver for delivery
            19 Aug 2014 09:50 Beacon Hill Receiver not available Attempted Delivery Advice No 092619743
            19 Aug 2014 10:18 All Delivered and ready for collection at Post Office: ALLAMBIE HEIGHTS ALL ALL 2100

            EDIT: And I actually received this before the email. There's an outside chance it's something else, but very remote given that a) the tracking number starts with DS b) I ordered a computer from dse.com.au last week and they used the same delivery company and c) I haven't ordered anything else on the Internet.

            Last edited 19/08/14 2:09 pm

          Ours arrived today!

          Unfortunately though, when I say "arrived" I mean "arrived at my in-law's place in Melbourne". We're in the process of moving, so we're not going to see it for at least a week =<<<<

    My Vita is an extension of my being, even came camping with me a week ago... Just in case.

    Do you see me writing an article? But having no games counts as articles for someone to put up....

    What's very confronting is when you're unexpectedly out of Internet access and you go to play the games you're interested in and realize just how many of them are either online-only or haven't been downloaded right this second, or have online DRM. Then you have games! And cannot play them. Signs of the modern era.

      Happened to me last night. Got halfway through downloading Diablo 3 and my internet went out :( Had restarted by the time I left the house this morning so hopefully will be able to playttonight.

      Yeah, and that's exactly why I don't like the trend, and why I was SO against Microsoft's decision (early on) to make the Xbone an 'online only' console. I will even download the pirated versions of the better games I own on steam (130+ games) so that in the event I move house and have no access to the internet (multitude of reasons come to mind), I can still play those games without issue (especially if I have only just recently done a clean install of Windows and have nothing much installed at the time). So, yeah, the argument that people only pirate games because they don't want to pay for them is painfully obtuse to me. I like the thought of knowing I can play my favourite games whenever I want with the aid of a single electrical socket only ... I hate the thought of being completely reliant on an internet connection to have access to my library.

    You think that is bad Mark... NEVER BUILD!

    I am in the process of building a house. We were told that settlement of the land would take place around March/April. At the start of February I put everything in storage and moved in with family. "A few extra weeks will mean we can save a bit of money".

    Settlement on the land didn't take place until the end of June, and as of right now it's still going to be a week before the builder even applies for council approval. Add 3-4 weeks for that and then at least 18 weeks of build time.

    Pretty much everything I own is in storage - including 90% of my LEGO collection.

    The only saving grace is that I knew in advance it wasn't going to be a short term thing. I was able to keep some stuff out. It's hard for a place to feel like home when most of the stuff around you isn't your "stuff".

    I have lived away from home since I was 18. After doing it for 10 years it sucks having your rhythm all messed up.

      Moving out of lurker territory to double this sentiment.

      Settled on a place in a newly developed area in Sep 2012, and we were told it would be ready by March - nope. Finally got the keys in July last year, we've only just stopped having problems with the house in the last month. Internet has been stable for the last 3 months, but before that it would peak at less than 1mbps line speed - which essentially meant no online play. Consoles are still in storage as we had builders/tradies coming in and out of the house constantly. All because the building company's organisational structure for the job was absurd - subcontractors hiring subcontractors hiring subcontractors, and no communication between those companies.

      I think the lesson isn't, "never build" the lesson is "don't trust dates given by sales people"

      Personally, I just built in Perth recently and my land title was already out so there was no issues. But council approval did take several months as they reject every single little thing, without giving you a full list of the things they were rejecting. I just wish they would say "A is a problem, B is a problem, C is a problem..." when rejecting that way I can address all of them at the same time. Instead they reject it going "A is a problem". When I fix A, they reject it saying "B is a problem". B was on the original plan >_>

      One of my friends just bought land recently though and I told him that whatever date the sales person gave him for land settlement date, assume it will be late by at least 4 months. That way if it happens on time great, if it's late, his plan would've taken it into account

      I am in almost exactly the same situation. Except that my land actually titled and settled on time. The slab is due to be poured any day now, which is frustrating in itself with no hard date.
      I'm living with the in-laws, and we convinced them to get a better internet plan, so I can at least get to my steam games on my laptop. But games are the least of my problems. It's been like three months since I moved in and I don't feel like I'll ever settle in. But it's going to be next year before I get to move in to my own place...

    I'll be moving house soon. Must remember not to pack all gaming stuff where I can't get it.

    Although my laptop runs some Steam games so I always have that in a pinch.

    @markserrels Remember to put in the order to have your internet / phone line connected now while you're doing stuff to the house! If you leave it you could be waiting up to 6 weeks without internet after moving into your house, making the process feel even more drawn out.

    Last edited 19/08/14 1:24 pm

    Time to crack open the deck of cards and play some Solitaire. You could even throw them all up in the air when you win to make it seem like you're playing on a computer. Maybe restrain yourself from letting off fireworks though...maybe...

    Note: I'm staying at Ben's house (my brother in-law/ex-Kotaku tech dude). We've been playing Broforce. This is my one respite.

      You should pick up some board games.

      When I first moved out of home, I played Mahjong with my friend every night until we got an internet connection.

    "When I was 20 years old a drug addict broke into my apartment and set the place on fire. I lost everything and I felt nothing."

    His name was Robert Paulson.

    Don't wanna intrude, but can we get the rest of the story of house? I don't understand why you'd buy a known shithole.

      "Because Sydney"

      I have cousins in other cities who earn a lot less and yet have got brand new houses built on land 5 times the size of my inner west block at a 1/3 of the price.

      However, for my 350m2 block it was $640,000 (add $24,000 for good old stamp duty also less in other states).

      On the other side, similar properties (we bought a year and a half ago) are now going for $850,000 which is "just fucking nuts".

      My house was built 1915...

      Last edited 19/08/14 2:44 pm

        Is there big property shortage or something?

          I've amended my comment above but also;

          For housing anywhere near civilization yes.

          Plenty of apartments going up, but for a 50m2 1 bedder you're looking at $400-$450,000 and then you get quarterly strata on that bad boy of anywhere from $900-$1200per quarter (even with no pool or gym). And you usually have to buy off plan and have to wait 20 odd months.

          We got in because it didn't look like it was going to get better. A lot of "non-shithole" is out of reach for most or just balloons at auction. So you have to look at things which are manageable like carpet and paint.

          Last edited 19/08/14 2:51 pm

            Alright, thanks for the insight! North QLD here. My city just gets boned because of mining tax. :)

            oh wow, Sydney is even worse now than when I lived there. We had a lot of competition, but not to the point where you had to buy a known s-hole.

    I can get my BBC "B" tomorrow night from my parents place. Green screen, but you can play Elite! And of course Chuckie Egg, Citadel, Sentinel, revs, Strike Force Harrier and the best Coin op conversions for Pacman and Defender (Scramble too) and whatever else I have on disk. If you can read between the lines, make a "what game is this?" from the BBC catalog.
    Every time I go over there, they make reference to when I am going to remove my stuff....

    That kinda happened to us when we moved in, not the same drama, but we decided to re-carpet, so for the first week or so, we were on a mattress on the slab... basic stuff was unpacked, but no big ticket stuff.

    Can guarantee though that the handhelds weren't packed, so we had that to fall back on.

      I wouldn't trust a moving company with my consoles & PCs anyway. It's not their stuff, if it breaks they don't care (much). I'd pack it all in a separate box to haul myself.

    "Put politely, the house we bought wasn’t in what my wife would describe as a ‘liveable’ condition. The previous occupant smoked like a goddamn chimney. She had smoked like a goddamn chimney in this particular house for the better part of a decade and that nicotine stained legacy was written across every square inch of the house. It stunk of smoke. The carpets stunk of smoke; the walls were yellow where they were once white. We quickly decided that it might be easier to just re-paint and re-carpet the entire place before we moved in all of our furniture."

    No offense, but you never actually saw the house in person before you bought it?? I believe you're in Sydney, is that standard in Sydney these days? To buy a house without checking things like that?

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