I’m trying to get back into gaming on my iPad. So far I’m a casual, if inconsistent, player. My current rotation includes Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows, The Pathless, and Slay the Spire, with weekly rounds of Among Us with friends.
All the games that I play I purchase, access, play on my iPad. All I own to play games on are iOS devices—no PC/laptop, no game consoles, nothing not owned by Apple that’s not tied to the iOS platform. (That leaves out Macs.) Don’t even ask if I think PCs or consoles are better for gaming.
Last week, Cyberpunk 2077 dropped. The first AAA game to drop since I became a gamer again in 13 years. The hype! Being on a Discord server with fellow gamers, which got me onto Twitch to view such games and their gameplay, caused my first serious case of FOMO in years, despite the game’s obvious transphobia and plague of bugs.
I only planned to go to my local Target yesterday for some much needed food shopping after getting off from work. Then I saw this $600 gaming laptop (my local store had it listed on sale for $600, despite the $700 price tag online) that would at least let me play the game—the only reason why I’d buy it, to play Cyberpunk—maybe not with the best graphic settings, but would nonetheless allow me to play the game. Luckily I could feel buyer’s remorse kicking in early, and I feel bad having the associate get one of their stock from their back-of-house, ultimately just walking out altogether to prevent myself from mindlessly, impulsively purchasing the laptop.
The logical side of me says that spending $600 to play a game that I may or may not like isn’t rational. The emotional side, to join in a cultural hype, says otherwise. I just upgraded my iPad just last month so it could more easily accomplish heavier forms of multitasking, like streaming and browsing simultaneously. Why burn another hole in my pocket, only to play a game my iPad can’t play? What to do with that laptop if I don’t like the game, let it collect dust? Return it sans a restocking fee? Sell it to a friend at a significant loss?
Other than for gaming, having this laptop would be redundant, as my iPad easily does all the basics. I have a current rotation of games I’m far from finishing, because of my intermittent schedule and on-and-off playing style. I don’t want to continually think about the UX I’m utilizing. I can’t send and receive texts and iMessages from this laptop, and it doesn’t integrate with the rest of my iOS ecosystem. I don’t want to have switch between two different keyboard layouts, nor map one keyboard to imitate the other.
Gaming laptops are heavy—and I’m not an RBG lights person. I’d have to purchase all new peripherals for this the laptop, because my current AirPods Pro and Magic Mouse wouldn’t work with the laptop. I don’t want to spend a thousand hours removing bloatware, updating firmware and OS patches, and configuring before I can even game.
Most importantly, I hate Windows.
The urge is strong, especially when you pair it with the fact I have bipolar disorder, type 2–a hypomanic episode is ripe for wanting to impulsively splurge. My brain just wants a serious dopamine hit, which shopping can alleviate, but I know isn’t a smart idea. I’m not financially crunched—this just, ultimately, isn’t a sound decision.
I still need to go grocery shopping, but it’s snowing outside.