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Playing the truancy game [Dec. 10th, 2009|04:12 pm]
by David Crookes

Kids do it, women do it, even educated judges do it and there appears to be little shame in admitting this particular dark secret. Indeed, 24 per cent of men and five per cent of women have confessed to pulling a sickie in favour of blasting their way through a videogame. For many there is simply no contest between World of Warcraft and the World of Work and when faced with a choice of shooting up an airport or shooting down a motorway on the way to the office, nearly a third of us would prefer to grab a joypad.

It doesn't matter what chaos this causes; a 48-year-old district judge working at a county court in England queued in the middle of the night for Modern Warfare 2 and took the following day off "ill" to go sick on a whole bunch of future Russians. Maybe the thought of dealing with a parade of chavvy youngsters was just too much but perhaps, in future, he could turn his love of gaming to his advantage. "I sentence you to 40 hours playing ET," he would say, forcing the terrified feral youth to tuck his pants into his socks and whittle off home for a soul-destroying gameplay experience.

Gone, it seems, are the days when you don't go into work simply because you feel too tired. Just seven per cent of men admit to that. No, we want to be doing something. So some guys - 13 per cent according to this survey by myvouchercodes.com - like to take feign illness in order to gather with friends or family. Maybe they have a Wii and, if so, would that provide even greater incentive to socialise?

I recall, not too long ago, when a friend phoned me in horror after her husband dashed from their marital home in the dead of night in order to engage in an rendezvous at the local supermarket. The focus of his desire kept him waiting for two hours but he soon managed to grab hold and caress with affection his copy of Call of Duty 6, holding it aloft with glee as he entered the bedroom. His wife thought him sad. Sadder too that he spent the following day playing it when he should have been earning the daily bread. She, however, later queued for hours to buy Jimmy Choo shoes at H&M. Funny that, because 19 per cent of women have apparantly played truant from work in order to shop with their friends.

But we are adults. We're not bunking off as naughty school kids. We're not neglecting our childhood duties, leaving those piles of newsprint to build up in the newsagent because we preferred to play Paperboy than act out that under-rewarded job in real life. No, we're actually having fun. Living life a little but failing to realise that gaming isn't cheap and a P45 is no substitute for 45 readies to exchange for Batman Arkham Asylum. Damn real life, damn, damn, damn. Now can I finish this article and get back to playing Assassin's Creed II?