An evil, as well as ex-, work colleague recently introduced me to a cricket game: www.fromthepavillion.com. After a period of reluctance, I eventually joined up.
Normally, of course, I am above silly games. I am, just about, an adult. I have a job, a suit and a library card. Although, I do have a weakness for potato smilies, which it seems, has proven a slippery slope to childish preoccupations.
From the pavilion, emerged from an object of distant ridicule, to an urgent obsession. The effect of workplace boredom is to quickly transform any mildly distracting interest into the forbidden fruit of precious stolen moments away from productive activity.
This new game is a strange fish. It does not connect to real, actual cricket. The players’ names are randomly assigned. The games’ commentary bizarre and incoherent. The numbers of streakers reduced to nil.
The game is essentially a fantasy management game, where you nurture, train and ruthlessly sack a computer-generated roster of number to which you attach an unnatural level of affection. The computer rules, with the all-encompassing ‘engine’ solely determining the conduct of the games.
For some reason, I find myself daydreaming over imaginary batting line-ups, constituted by imaginary batsmen. “Perhaps I could sell him, and by a new spinner.” It is, of course, all bollocks. But, it allows your email backlog to mount pleasingly as you occupy yourself elsewhere.
There are problems. For instance, the servers are rubbish, meaning that half your login attempts are stymied by ‘site maintenance’, which only makes your more desperate to return management activities. The other problem is that, the game is terribly slow. To the point that, when you do finally login, there is nothing to do. Players' skills improve, literally, over years, as your troops battle it out with other players’ teams. You mope around the site, desperately searching for some managerial decision which directly demand attention.
About twenty seconds a day should suffice, yet somehow you find yourself spending hours of the day planning what you will do in those twenty seconds.