The PlayStation Network is down - but my gaming happiness is on the up

Opinion: Tom Pakinkis is forced to go cold turkey...

Hello everybody. My name's Tom and for the past five months I've been addicted to Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer.

It started off as a social thing, having a few stabs with friends, but it wasn't long before they all moved on and I was left behind.

I wasn't deluded, I knew I had a problem and trust me I tried to kick it. I started using FIFA again, which I'd been on for months before Brotherhood came along. I'd been able to use that recreationally without too much bother and thought I could use it to climb down from the bewildering Brotherhood highs. No such luck. Before I knew it I was alternating daily between unleashing killer shots on the pitch and killer shots in Italy.

Like a lot of addicts though, I was finally saved by an intervention.

Thing is, I'm not sure who to thank. All I know is that this weekend the PlayStation Network hasn't been open for business, it's like my dealer's been snatched from the street corner for questioning. Word is it's something to do with some nasty hack by a bunch of do-badders. All I know is I've had to go cold turkey this weekend.

And you know what? I feel like I've been reborn.


Okay, so I was a bit tetchy at first: on Saturday night I was shaking more than a cocktail mixer in a washing machine. In a bouncy castle.

But it was worth it - I've become the gamer I was ten years ago all over again, with a bountiful love for the single-player mode. And, let me tell you, it treats you far better than that multiplayer mistress. There are save points all over the place for one thing, and some games let you save whenever you want. Imagine!

Multiplayer used to taunt me. "Fine, go to the toilet," it would sneer, "but if you do, I promise you'll be dead by the time you get back." The amount of urine-filled cereal boxes I had in my room at one point was embarrassing. (Don't judge me. It was her fault. That temptress of turmoil's fatal threats were very rarely made in vain.)

Single-player's different. "Sure!" it beams, "Go see your friends! They miss you. I'll keep your game warm for you."

"Thanks single-player game," I say, "But what about my DNF rating?"

"Oh my dear child!" it bellows, clutching its belly. "There's no DNF here. When you return, I promise all of those pesky enemies will be right where you left them."

And with PSN down, there's been so much wholesome single-player gaming to be done. I turned to Fallout: New Vegas as a fugly but always welcoming guardian during the initial phases of vulnerability. It felt good to return to the Wastelands, (back-handed compliment alert) like I was playing Fallout 3 all over again; with memories of those not-so-long-ago days before online swallowed me up.

Alan Wake is another one that's been sitting on my shelf for months unloved, which I've now finally been able to devote some hours to. Sure, its voice acting and dialogue are a bit shoddy, and it hardly has a best-selling narrative despite all its efforts.

You can understand why it never quite lived up to expectations in a world where we're so wrapped up in the shot of adrenaline and excitement that most multiplayer experiences deliver straight to the veins. But show me an online game that delivers more atmosphere than Alan and I'll show you an online game called: "Lie."


I've broken back into the original Mass Effect, too - having picked it up years ago and quickly put it down in a mini-tantrum at the first hurdle, muttering something about something being overrated. I've even been back to Oblivion and completed a few quests for some dude I couldn't even remember.

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