There’s something to listening to the sound of your thumbs pushing buttons in combos that it’s taken weeks of snatched time to learn.
Reflecting the games of your childhood, which you played with your mates, lugging spare controllers and sometimes whole consoles round each others’ houses so you could all be a team
Or to be pitted against each other with the whole pile of snacks left just outside your door by your mum (not wanting to disturb you all by bringing them in) as the prize.
What that something is, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the excitement that comes with it, the nostalgia that seeps from every one of your muscles, or the threat of reality lurking just beyond the screen that pushes you on so you can spend as much time as you can in that headspace you love.
Maybe it’s because I can see you as you were before you met me, before the pressures of school, college, work and the rest of life bore down on you and sapped at at your spark. The spark that flares up again only when we’re alone and can shed the clothes of adult obligations.
Maybe it’s because I’m sitting here with you doing the same, my own eagerness merging with yours as time jumps back for us. Maybe it’s because neither one of us is player two, but player ones on equal terms, equally bent on winning this round.
Maybe it’s because you respect me enough not to go easy, and I respect you the same.
Final round: Fight!