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How To Get Away With Gaming On July 4th

by Jeff Marchiafava on Jul 03, 2015 at 09:59 AM

Three-day weekends are an excellent opportunity to catch up on games, but if your extra day off is a national holiday, a family gathering may supersede your plans. Thankfully, Game Informer's Jeff Cork and Jeff Marchiafava are here to help you build a bulletproof defense for racking up some quality time with your television.

Jeff C: Let's get this out of the way, first: HI JEFF IT IS JEFF. There. I feel better.

Jeff M: Agreed, this article already has too many Jeffs, but we'll make the best of it. It's not our fault our parents didn't anticipate this problem.

Cork: Check this move out. I cede.

Jeff M: Someone had to. I'm glad that's settled. Now, onto important matters: We've got a longer-than-usual weekend coming up, but unfortunately, most people are obliged to spend it with their families instead of playing video games.

Cork: And if you have a super-cool family that plays games together, that's great. This isn't for you. This is for the people who have to sneak it into their weekends like the shameful secret that it is. People who have to slink around, eyes darting side to side like cartoon thieves.

Jeff M: People named Jeff.

Cork: I have a lot of gray hair, which means that I have obviously done this before. Here's an easy tip: Pretend that you are sick, preferably with diarrhea. As everyone knows, nobody will want further information. The only problem with that is it assumes that your gaming setup is in your room. If you drag the TV into your room while everyone is watching a show about flags or something, people might get suspicious.

Jeff M: Indeed, the diarrhea defense is a classic. No one ever questions it, because who in their right mind would voluntarily admit to having lost bowel control? However, the sick defense isn't going to fly this weekend, because I was sick all last week! So was my wife, so she's not going believe that a magical relapse requires me to sit on the couch and play games all day.

Cork: I have the perfect solution for you then! You refuse to tell anyone on staff where you live, so I don't know what your gaming command center is like, but if you're a normal person it should be in the basement. Tell your wife that you are sleepy, and that you are going to take a nap. Quickly pile clothes under your bed to approximate your shape, and then go down to the basement like a normal person. It is important that you are not spotted. Very, very important. Then you are free to play games at a reasonable volume level. You don't want her to think that Batman has moved into your house.

Jeff M: Ah, the Escape From Alcatraz method – another classic. Hopefully some readers will be able to take advantage of that technique, but unfortunately, my gaming set-up is in the living room, smack in the middle of my house. That's why I'm thinking about going another tried-and-true route: The old "It's for work" defense.

Cork: That's a really good one. Unfortunately, it might not work for everyone. You can modify it a bit and say that you're thinking about starting a blog, or that you are seeking something to comment about on the Internet. Also, now I know your house has a middle. Interesting...

Jeff M: Oh no, you're figuring out all of my secrets! Granted, not everyone has the luxury of having a job that requires you to play video games, but given the increasing popularity of games, you could play up the socialization angle – tell your loved ones that you're playing with your boss, and you don't want to let the team down. Everybody likes a team player.

Cork: Another angle to the social game is telling your family members (family comes to your house on the fourth, right?!) that you're playing a game you think they'd really like. I did that when Red Dead Redemption came out. I remember my dad watching westerns when I was a kid, so I made him watch me play until he fell asleep. Bonding!

Jeff M: Excellent! Narcoleptic family members are the best. Game choice is definitely important – some games are fun enough to watch in their own right, which might just assuage an otherwise cranky family member. My wife is a big fantasy nerd too, so she hasn't minded the hours I've sunk into The Witcher 3 – unless I spend the entire night playing Gwent.

Cork: Something that might work in my favor overall is that I'm kind of a total dud, personality-wise, so people aren't exactly clamoring for my attention. If someone sees an unclaimed burger on the grill, they'll let the flies eat it rather than track me down. I guess that's cool?

Jeff M: Uh yeah, sure. That doesn't make you seem sad at all. But don't you have kids that you can take advantage of?

Cork: Great way to phrase that, Fava. Anyway, my kids still think I'm a Cool Guy, so we'll probably play some co-op games. Everyone wins! I'm spending time with the kids, my wife gets some time away from the kids, and the kids get to play video games! Until I grab the controller from one of them and take over because they don't know how to make their character stand on a button to solve a super-easy puzzle. Freaking kids!

Jeff M: The Dutiful Parent technique always works. Another important option depending on your gaming tastes? Mobile games! Sneaking away to play a console or PC game isn't always practical, but virtually everyone has a smartphone nowadays, and most people probably won't think twice about you looking at one when you're standing in the middle of a crowd. They'll just assume you're checking Facebook like a rude jerk, but in reality you'll be getting a quick gaming fix like a rude's the perfect crime.

Cork: It really is the perfect crime, unless you're playing Tap Titans. Then you look like a total weirdo. It's impossible to try to convince people you're keeping up with a big news story while you jam on the screen. Keep a tab on your phone's browser handy, so you can open up a picture of someone's cat or something. People will instantly forget that you've been ignoring them for the past few hours.

Jeff M: Yeah, dumb cats fix everything. These are all great tips, but if you're desperate, I've got one more idea I've been experimenting with: Get a bunch of burgers from McDonalds, then set up your gaming system in the garage...

Cork: Is that it?

Jeff M: No, hear me out – you then drag your barbecue into the garage, and tell everyone that you'll be in charge of grilling. Lock yourself in the garage, play for an hour or two, then come out with a plate of delicious hamburgers – voila! No one is the wiser. If anyone looks like they're up for seconds, volunteer to cook up some more and then game away!

Cork: The more I think of it, I'm just not going to answer the phone or invite anyone over for the next few days. If my kids ask why people are lighting fireworks, I'll tell them it's Father's Day, Part II.

Jeff M: Hey, if you turn up the volume loud enough, they might not even hear them. Just do all the tank missions in Arkham Knight – you can't ask for a better display of fireworks.

Cork: The Igni sign is way too quiet, anyway. Have a great fourth, Fava! And here's hoping that everyone out there is able to be as antisocial clever as we are!

Jeff M: With our priceless advice they're bound to be successful.

Cork: Just remember, if all else fails, there's always one surefire way to break free: Just say, "It's too hot," and head back inside.

Looking for more unscrupulous methods for getting in some selfish gaming time? Check out our Top Ten Excuses For Binge Gaming, and Top Ten Excuses For Gaming During Family Gatherings.