Every Friday, A.V. Club staffers kick off our weekly open thread for the discussion of gaming plans and recent gaming glories, but of course, the real action is down in the comments, where we invite you to answer our eternal question: What Are You Playing This Weekend?
It’s one of those long-lamented paradoxes of getting older: As your disposable income increases—buoyed on a hopefully rising tide of employment, lottery winnings, and big days down at the track—your disposable time begins, steadily, to shrink. (Researching the ponies and memorizing past big jackpot winners for patterns obviously consuming large swathes of the available hours.) And thus the trap is sprung: Where once every second of a new video game had to be cherished and rationed in the long gaps between Christmases and birthdays, you now suddenly find yourself with the money to buy all the games you could ever want—but with only a handful of hours in which to consume them. (Sometimes known as the Persona paradox, i.e., “How the hell am I supposed to spend 100 hours managing the schedule of anime teenagers when I’m still struggling to set a decent bedtime for myself at the age of 35?”)
But we’re in luck, friends: Today is Black Friday. And while, for many people, that dread phrase translates to visions of shoving their elbows down another human being’s throat in order to get $9 off an air fryer with built-in WiFi connectivity (or, worse: having to corral said human animals as part of your actual job), for lucky video game fans, it’s a very different prospect. The social and familial obligations of Thanksgiving have been discharged. The relevant deals are all readily available from the comfort of your computer or couch. And, in all likelihood, your body is currently in the proper state for moving nothing but fingers and thumbs for hours at a time: Loaded up with tryptophan, free of incoming work requests, and with enough body fat stored up to last all the way through winter. If you’ve ever looked at a game and thought “Who the hell would have time for that?” Today, the answer is you.
You don’t even have to make this holiday one of capitalistic consumption by buying new games (although some form of excess is probably de facto unavoidable). Black Friday is the perfect day to ignore the swarming deals for once and pick through your backlog instead, converting the guilty FOMO purchases of the past into the actual pleasures of today. Maybe today is the day you finally give a big chunk of your life over to the contemplative joys of The Outer Wilds. Maybe you finally figure out why your friends won’t shut up about Kerbal Space Program. Hell, maybe this is the afternoon where you finally get as good as your kids at Fortnite. (Note: This is not going to happen.) And maybe you stretch back even further, and finally power through the most important games of 2018, 2017, 2016, or more. There’s time enough at last, is the point, because the entire country has just bombed itself to oblivion on roasted bird and pie, and you’re Burgess Meredith, safe in your protective bank vault of digital joys.
And so: A very happy Binge Gaming Day to you, dear readers. May your thumbs remain limber, your bedsores uninfected, and your eyes only kind of bleary and red. For this one day, you’re free to play games like a sugar-addicted 12-year-old all over again, and the only thing that’s going to yell at you is your own back, when it realizes you’ve been hunched over a keyboard for six-hour stints at a time.