SAGINAW, MI–Jon Broskowski, a 32-year-old Saginaw liquor-store clerk, described himself as "completely wiped" Monday after a long, hard day of video games.
"I'm totaled," said Broskowski, tossing his PlayStation 2 controller onto the floor following one last "cool-down" game of Madden 2001. "That shit really takes it out of you."
Broskowski, who has logged two decades of back-breaking toil on systems ranging from Intellivision to Sega Genesis, woke up at the crack of noon and went straight to work.
"I had the whole day off from the liquor store, and I thought, today's the day I roll up my sleeves and earn all the extra characters in SSX Snowboarding," Broskowski said. "Man, it was a grind."
"They make you snowboard over the same course and do the same tricks, like, a thousand times to get a new character," said Broskowski, who, through discipline and a strong work ethic, was able to earn the snowboards Sumo Stick, Chaos Crippler, and Bloo Goo after four hours of labor. "I must've traveled 50 miles before I got complete brain fade."
After a brief lunch of toast, jelly, and a Coke, Broskowski turned to Tomb Raider 2, a game he admitted he had put off finishing for more than a year.
"It was time to hunker down and get it done," Broskowski said. "I'm kind of sick of the whole Lara Croft thing, but I decided I'd procrastinated long enough. I was determined to get to the end of this game, even if it killed me."
Though he "guess[es]" he enjoyed himself, Broskowski said the three-hour session of Tomb Raider 2 was by no means easy.
"I must've dragged about 2,000 blocks around and climbed over the damn things," he said. "And I kept getting killed, so in the end I wound up doing it 11 times on the Tibetan Catacombs level alone. And those blocks they made me drag were as big as me."
"As big as Lara, I mean," Broskowski added.
At approximately 7:30 p.m., he finally completed Tomb Raider 2. After watching the game's 90-second closing video, a reward he called "hardly worth all the effort," Broskowski tidied up his memory-card files and resumed the robot quest he began last Thursday on the rented game Zone Of The Enders.
"I wanted to finally kill Tempest without wrecking all those buildings," said Broskowski, his fingers numb from prolonged exposure to DualShock controller vibrations. "I had, like, $9 in late fees on the game, but I wasn't taking it back until I got an A rating on all the missions, rescued all the colonists, and got to the versus mode. It takes about eight hours, but it's the best part of the game. It sucks that I had to fight about 200 other Orbital Frame Robots to get there, though. I'll be paying for that tomorrow, that's for sure."
Sometime shortly after midnight, Broskowski decided he was "in a major robot rut" and opted to "cleanse his tired palate" with a sports game.
"If I went right to bed [after Zone Of The Enders], I knew I'd be seeing robots in my sleep, so I decided on a quick game of Madden 2001," said Broskowski, who played half a season as the Baltimore Ravens before noticing the VCR clock reading 4 a.m.
"Christ, am I blown out," said Broskowski, twisting and stretching to ease the strain on vertebrae which had not moved appreciably for an entire day. "My eyes feel like they're on fire, and I never did unlock the last two hidden arenas in Zone Of The Enders. It never ends."
"I suppose I should return that game to Blockbuster tomorrow, if I have the energy," he continued. "Sure is a long walk, though."