It all began innocently enough. Almost exactly 4 years ago to the day, I uploaded a single cover. Almost an entire year passed before I uploaded a second. But then only 2 days later, I uploaded a third…a fourth...fifth……All told, 12 covers were uploaded that day. And then the day after that, an additional 25 covers were uploaded…and so it continued.
Over 16,000 gallery uploads later, I was a broken shell of my former self. Uploading covers was a daily ritual and on occasion reached as many as 100 in a single day. Every morning, the first thing I did upon waking was roll over, turn on my phone, and check Retromags for any activity that had occurred since last I checked, which of course had been moments before I went to bed the night before. The first thing I did upon arriving home from work was log in to the site and upload a fresh batch of covers. Sometimes I would spend nearly every free hour of my weekends working on covers or editing magazine pages.
As I said, my life had been taken from me.
I succumb easily to addiction/obsession. Knowing this is the reason I’ve never experimented with any kinds of drugs or other physically addictive habits – because I know I’d get sucked in completely.
To illustrate my point, I once made the mistake of installing a multiplayer game on my phone. It was a terrible game if viewed objectively, but I played as part of a team of other users, and the cooperative nature of the gameplay compelled me to play it at every opportunity so that I could rise to the top and become a leading member of the team…which was incredibly disruptive to my real life. You see, the game could be played solo at any time, but that was just basically training for the team battles, which occurred in 20 minute sessions every 4 hours, 24 hours a day. I soon found myself trying to make every battle, regardless of what else was going on at the time. I found myself playing while out with friends, while driving a car…hell, I even set alarms to make sure I didn’t miss the battles that occurred during my sleeping hours. It wasn’t healthy, and luckily I eventually forced myself to quit cold turkey. That was several years ago, and I haven’t installed any games on my phone since, nor will I ever again.
Moderation isn’t something I’m good at you see.
So when it came time to take a cold hard look at my relationship with Retromags, this is what I realized:
I needed to quit. Completely.
Fortunately, I had an extremely busy period coming up at work. I’ve been swamped with stuff to do on nights and weekends for the past month, so not visiting Retromags was more or less necessary for me to stay on top of things, anyway. So I seized the opportunity and quit visiting the site entirely. I still received emails of new posts in threads I had followed, so it was hard to resist logging in and joining the discussion, but I knew that if I did, I’d be unable to resist falling back into my old habits.
The irony of it all is that during my abstinence from the site, I’ve come to realize that I honestly have no business hanging out at Retromags in the first place. Phillyman has recently scanned over 100 mags with at least 100 more on the way. I should be thrilled, and yet, looking at the list of those 200 mags, I realized I had no desire or intention of downloading a single one of them. My interest in gaming mags used to cover just about everything, but in recent years I’ve discovered that the only mags I have any desire to look at are computer gaming mags from around 1988-1998 or so. Newer (or older) computer gaming mags, or mags about video gaming just don’t interest me at all anymore.
Furthermore, I began to feel that it was silly spending so much time working on a site about gaming mags when I never even played any games. In 2018, I played exactly ZERO games, on any platform. Not even so much as a round of Minesweeper. ZERO. Yet I spent an ungodly number of hours adding content to this site, whether covers, ads, or magazine scans. I fell extremely behind in my comics reading (a hobby I actually DO enjoy) because I was spending all of my free time here.
I had to stop, so I did.
I won’t say I’ll never be back. In fact, I definitely WILL be back. I’ve still got donated mags to scan, and I’ll get them done eventually. Whether I’ll edit them as well or just go the Phillyman route and upload them raw to be someone else’s problem, I haven’t decided😋. And I’d surely be lying to myself if I said I’ll never upload another cover or add another mag to the database.
But I’m going to work hard to police myself and limit the time I spend on the site. In the past month, despite being incredibly busy with work, I’ve STILL found time to do all sorts of things I never had time to do back when I spent all my time here. Hell, I even played a few games I’d been meaning to play forever but never got around to (the MSX version of Metal Gear, for one.)
TLDR: I’m still around and will still contribute, but I’m going to try as hard as I can to stay away as much as possible. Even as I acknowledge my lack of interest in its content, I still feel connected to this site. I still think of it fondly, but it’s harmful to me in ways that can’t be avoided through any other means than distance. Don’t take it personally.
And if E-Day ever scans that Game Player’s PC Buyers Guide he bought on eBay, I’ll totally be back to download that sucker.😉
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