Congratulations, you’ve survived the dreaded summer drought of video game releases! Your reward is a deluge of more games than you’ll possibly have time to play. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of ingenious strategies to fool your loved ones into letting you shirk all your responsibilities and game for hours on end.
Excuse #1: The Dutiful Parent
Being a parent comes with an endless amount of responsibilities, but one of those responsibilities provides a clever excuse for playing games. If your spouse asks you why you’re sitting around playing video games all day long, just say you’re testing the game out to see if it’s age-appropriate for your son or daughter. After all, the ESRB ratings are really only a guideline; you need to practice your own parental discretion before you hand over a game to your kid. If the game you want to play is clearly inappropriate – say, giving Assassin’s Creed Unity to a six-year-old – just stop stabbing people in the neck and do boring stuff until your spouse leaves the room. If your spouse asks why it’s taken 18 straight hours of gameplay to determine whether the game you’re playing is appropriate, just say that it’s important to be thorough – for the sake of the children, of course. See, you’re not a selfish jerk who’s neglecting your family; you’re a responsible parent looking out for the well-being of your beloved offspring.
Excuse #2: The Insomnia Defense
This time of year, there aren’t enough hours in the day to play all the games you want to, especially with jobs, chores, and other boring life stuff getting in the way. However, there might just be enough hours in the night – if you can get away with an after-hours gaming marathon. One of the classic mistakes that gamers make when dealing with an impatient loved one is the “five more minutes” excuse. Let’s be honest: No matter what game you’re playing, the task you’re in the middle of is going to take more than five minutes. Your significant other doesn’t have to be a gamer to know that, and is only going to get annoyed when you parrot the plea 10 times in a row. Instead, proactively end your evening session early and suggest you go to bed. Toss and turn for 20 minutes, then promptly tell your partner that you can’t sleep and you’re going to go into the other room for a bit so that you don’t disturb their sleep. Voila! You can now play as long as you want, provided you’re quiet enough not to wake them.
Alternatively, you can try the Escape from Alcatraz approach and create a dummy head of your likeness out of paper mache; just slip that puppy on your pillow while your significant other is snoozing, and you should be scot-free – just make sure you get back to switch it out before sunrise.
Excuse #3: “The Team Needs Me!”
Ignoring your family to play a game by yourself is an inherently selfish act that won’t gain you much favor or sympathy with your loved ones. Instead, turn your gaming session into a selfless deed by playing online multiplayer games. Explain to your annoyed family members that you don’t actually want to play, but you’d be letting down your lifelong friends if you don’t participate. In reality, the people you’re playing with are probably anonymous, prepubescent goons that would make you shudder if you met them in real life, but you can keep that little detail to yourself. If helping out your squadmates still isn’t a compelling reason for your family, tell them that your boss in on your team, and that playing could lead to future promotion opportunities.
Excuse #4: “You Gotta See This!”
Another way to deal with impatient loved ones is to bring them into the fold by promising the game you’re playing contains something they’ll absolutely love. Tell them there’s something they won’t – nay, can’t – miss, and then string them along with more excuses that fit their personality, like “It’s absolutely hilarious,” or “It’s so touching.” Use additional stalling phrases like, “Trust me,” and “It’s totally worth the wait.” Once the credits roll, just act confused and say you must’ve been thinking about a different game. Put in the next title you want to play and see how long you make it until your family walks out on you.
Excuse #5: Clock Control
The best way to balance your gaming with your familial responsibilities is to agree on and then set aside a predetermined block of time to play. The only problem? That time will eventually come to an end. However, a little underhanded ingenuity can keep the good times rolling. Give your significant other a specific and reasonable time that you’re going to play until, such as 4:00 p.m. if you’re starting at 2:00 p.m. Start playing, but every 30 minutes or so, nonchalantly run around to every clock in your house and set the time back. Don’t forget your loved one’s watch and/or cellphone – you can distract them with the classic “What’s that over there?” gag. If the sun starts to set during your artificially extended gaming session, just say that you heard on the radio there was going to be a really slow eclipse today.
Once the façade inevitably comes crashing down, play the technicality card and say that you didn’t specify a time zone, but that you were going by International Date Line West time. That should net you at least another four to six hours – unless you’re one of those unfortunate gamers who lives in Hawaii.
Excuse #6: Wag The Dog
This one takes a bit of planning, but it’s totally worth it. First, set up an isolated gaming haven – say, in your garage or at a friend’s house, or just run an extension cord out to a tent in your backyard. Once you’re set up, tell your family that you’re going to take the dog for a walk – then promptly walk that mutt straight to your new secret refuge. Curb suspicion by returning after an hour or so. After 15 minutes of being back home, remark how the dog looks like it really needs to go to the bathroom again, and repeat the process. Bonus points if you can pull this one off without actually owning a dog.
Excuse #7: Scare Tactics
This excuse works on the premise that your family can’t complain about how much you play games if they’re scared out of their wits. Start off by watching a scary movie with your target family member – something that’s more disturbing and creepy than it has any right to be, like The Shining or The Exorcist. Afterward, set up your game system in the scariest place in your house, such as an unfinished basement or attic, and then game away! If your loved one comes to complain about how long you’ve been gaming, just act possessed and repeat lines from the movie. Croaking “red-rum” at them – or pretty much any line from The Exorcist – should cause them to flee the room in abject terror. Sure, it may cause some long-lasting psychological damage, but you’ve got games to play! Note: This technique works really well with kids, given how gullible and easy to frighten they are.
Excuse #8: Bathroom Break
Even if your loved ones don’t mind you gaming all day long, a busy household can offer numerous distractions that detract from the gaming experience. If you can’t go more than a few minutes without someone interrupting your play time, consider retreating to the one room in your house where your family is guaranteed to leave you alone: the bathroom. It may not be the most luxurious surroundings to play through this fall’s biggest releases, but at least you’ll have some peace and quiet – and you won’t even need to pause the game to answer nature’s call. If your family eventually asks you why you’ve been locked in the bathroom for 10 hours, just tell them that you have diarrhea. If they ask why it sounds like there are explosions and people screaming in there, just tell them it’s really bad diarrhea.
Excuse #9: The Frame Job
The most risqué tactic on the list, this excuse involves setting yourself up with incriminating evidence to make it look like you’ve done something terrible, which comparatively will make sitting around and playing video games all day seem like no big deal. To pull this one off, you’ll need a gallon of pig’s blood, a stolen cadaver from your local morgue – you know what? This is a terrible idea. Let’s move on.
Excuse #10: Support A Charity
Let’s face it: Using any of the excuses on this list would make you a despicable human being. But there is one altruistic way to get in a ton of gaming and help out a good cause at the same time. Join or host a charity gaming marathon! Extra Life raises money for sick children while giving participants an excuse to play video games for 24 hours straight – plenty of time to enjoy at least a few of the big upcoming games. Not only will your family probably think you’re doing a good thing, they may even donate money to your cause, at which point there’s no way they can possibly complain about your gaming. Even better, invite them to join the marathon with you and game together.
Last year, members of the Game Informer community (led by Zach Pligge) raised over $16,000 for Extra Life. If you want to join the cause and sign up with Team Game Informer, check out Zach’s post – it’s a heck of a lot easier than faking a murder, after all.
the author Jeff Marchiafava