Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Is Eating My Life. That’s a Good Thing.

You wouldn’t expect a cop to push crack, right? Well, my best friend’s a cop who pushes crack.

He called me the other night in a bloodthirsty lather1 and demanded that I download PUBG and install it AT ONCE, or sooner.

Complying with a lawful police order is one’s civic duty, yes? So I shelled out the thirty bucks for the game and soon he and I were roaming the war-torn island of Erangel engaging in a running battle with ninety-eight other postwar mercenaries, each of whom was an ACTUAL HUMAN on the other side of a server.

Ho my God…I’m hooked, man. Hasn’t yet gotten to the point where I’m pissing in tuna cans (my main source of energy for the last seventy-two hours, fish oil being good for the brain and all) to avoid getting up from the couch, but I’ve definitely been missing out on important events like restocking my grill with propane and ensuring the tchotchke is properly dusted and throwing out the empty liquor bottles.

So this being a blog about FIRE…at least I infer it’s a blog about FIRE because many of its articles say FIRE in the title, I’d like to present three reasons why having this pipe controller in the center of my thoughts at all times is indeed consistent with the principles of, if not hard work, then at least frugality.

Article ye Firste: price-efficiency of entertainment.

Do the math on a week-long luxury cruise that costs you $1K all-in and you’ll find that you’re paying the cruise line $6 an hour to house, feed, and entertain you. Sounds a lot less pricey, yes?

So do the same calculation on an Xbox One ($200), the game ($30) and a year-long subscription to Xbox Gold ($50 after discount code.) Spend even 250 hours gaming in a single year and you’ve paid just over a buck an hour. And since my friend and I have played for 250 hours in the last three days, we’re smashing that rate.

Article ye Seconde: avoided cost of travel.

My friend lives an hour and a quarter’s drive from here; a hundred-mile round-trip. I could of course hop in the Prius and drive to his place, and I do, but even at forty-two miles a gallon at $2.50 we’re talking about a seven-buck trip plus the cost of operating the car. I of course don’t care about that, and I don’t worry about losing two-and-a-half hours of my life to the commute, but the travel would be much more an obstacle if, say, we lived four hours apart.

Article ye Thirde: How much is a friendship worth, anyway?

This, naturally, is the kicker. You know how it is: you hop around the country for a few years here and a few there, and you put time and effort into making a new circle of friends in each place, and when you move the odds are that those friendships eventually wither and die.

Having endured that sad dynamic for the best part of three decades, enough is enough. I refuse to lose this friendship. He’s a brother from another mother. Gaming together, then, has become the next best thing to being there.

And sometimes we meet up to play and end up not playing at all. To wit: in this post I joke about having a PUBG addiction, but his ex-wife’s sister is an honest-to-God meth-n-pill addict and he’s raising her two kids, who are seven and twelve. He has full custody, in fact, but she frequently files to regain it.2

Now…imagine being a judge reading her filing: here’s a woman who can’t pass a drug test and lives out of her car and refuses rehab and has a long arrest record and can’t even keep track of a cell phone, and she’s trying to wrest responsibility for two children from a decorated ex-Army platoon sergeant and highly-ranked and respected LEO…and so, yeah, my friend sometimes needs a trusted and sympathetic ear who’s not trying to play him for favors. And so do I.3

So there you have it. Hang out on the FIRE forums and you’ll hear many people saying that after retiring they intend to spend a lot of time gaming. I used to feel privately like this was silly and immature and slothful and a sorry way to waste one’s life…but I couldn’t’ve been more wrong, and so I apologize for anyone I’ve disrespected with my attitude. For being a judgmental asshole, but also for failing my longstanding belief that as long as you’re not hurting anybody, do what you like.

If any of you want to squad up, let me know at either, in the comments section, and/or watch for SavageGulf on your Xbox. Pretty good chance that I’ll be there.


  1. Before we dive down the “How can you be friends with a cop? Every last one of them is a lying racist bully who lives in a constant bloodthirsty lather” rabbit hole, please know that he’s the calmest and fairest-minded guy you’ll ever meet.
  2. Because among other reasons she needs something in her life to help her feel like a good person. And she is at heart, it’s just that she’s made bad decisions and now this goddamn disease has gotten its talons into her.
  3. Not unexpectedly, there’s truth between us and he’s aware of my occasional weed consumption. He’s made it clear that he’s not going to bust me based on verbal conversation, but if I smoke/eat/possess in front of him I’ll be wearing cuffs just like anybody else would. I’m completely cool with that.

Author: ER Dude

Sick of your job? After a thirteen-year career, Early Retirement Dude fled corporate America for good. You can do it too! Visit or email

10 thoughts

  1. Great to see you post again! I am happy it was due to game addiction rather than something from your now deleted post on “tripod” I had visions black SUV driving up and dragging you off…..

    I think you must be playing too much! Your math skills have been affected, there are only 72hours in 3 days so if you played 250 hours you have been playing for a minimum of ten and half days.

    1. It’s more about finite heartbeat theory. Familiar with that? If not, the idea is that an individual gets a finite amount of heartbeats such that elevating one’s heart rate consumes one’s lifespan faster. PUBG has therefore cost me 250 hours of heartbeats in three days.

      1. I can buy that…

        You could have been riding your bike for those hours instead of playing video games. That exercise could result in lowering your resting heart rate therefore increasing you life expectancy. Of course the a woman’s resting heart rate averages eight to 10 beats per minute higher than a similarly conditioned man and on average they live longer so can’t put too much into that theory.

        Playing video games with a buddy sounds like more fun. I saw that PUBG Mobile is live on Android, iOS now. Enjoy!

  2. I feel the same way about video games. I don’t think it’s a time waste at all. It’s way more engaging than Netflix (which I also love) and you can collaborate with friends. I’ve played several games online with new FIRE friends I’ve made after retirement which is a pretty cool way to make new friendships 🙂

    When you tweeted about this PUBG the other day, for some reason I remembered it as Fortnite Battle Royale. Another similar game which is taking the world by storm. In the last week I’ve heard from a friend that her son and their friends are totally absorbed in it Call-of-Duty style. And her husband (also a cop) reports several of his cop buddies are huge fans too. Then I read about a dozen NBA players being hooked on this particular flavor of game crack. On top of all that is the fact that it’s free (at least the 100 player PvP Battle Royale version, at least on PC and probably other devices). Gonna give it an install when I get a chance 🙂

    Overall I pay very very little for high quality gaming entertainment. I’m a super cheap gamer and I think I’ve spent $200 or so on consoles (bought used) and $900 on 2 desktops specifically purchased to play games on (that also serve as general productivity machines for all five of us). As for games, so many are free or a buck through Humble Bundle or other places. And you can buy Steam codes online for $2-10 for tons of games. I bet I haven’t spent more than $50-75 on games in the past 10 years (mostly PC games though I’ve bought a few PS2 and PS3 games in that time).

    1. I too have downloaded Fortnite but haven’t played it simply because the controller system in PUBG is so damn complex that I don’t want to have to learn two at the same time. I haven’t downloaded PUBG onto my iPhone, either. It’s a 5s and I think the screen would be too small and the last thing I need is to be standing there in Walmart’s produce section caught up in a twenty-minute game.

      >I’ve spent $200 or so on consoles (bought used)

      Dude, I tried and tried and tried to find a used Xbox One for this very same reason. Failed. Not that they weren’t available, it’s just that there were a dozen of them on Craigslist/LetGo/Facebook Marketplace at the time and I couldn’t get a response from anybody I messaged. A listing would get posted and two hours later I’d see it and I’d message the owner, and nothing. No response whatsoever. I know stuff goes fast, but that fast, across so many people?

      Anyway, if you’re on PUBG hit me at SavageGulf.

      1. I scored my PS3 from my kid’s 2nd grade teacher (also a neighbor of ours). She was packing up and moving to Oklahoma and she posted this gem on our neighborhood facebook page. Her husband was planning to upgrade to a PS4 anyway so it worked out well. I mostly use it to stream Netflix, Amazon prime, and youtube to my TV these days, but also play some God of War and Call of Duty-type games (single player though).

  3. Gamer here as well. My time in FIRE will have a dedicated slot for exactly that, playing games online with a childhood friend. We’ve been playing Steam games such as Dota2 and Forced recently, and I intend to crank it up when I finally pull the plug out of full time work.

    As you have stated so well, it’s a way like any other to stay connected to friends.

  4. Don’t download Overwatch. I got pretty addicted to that game myself. Probably only one of the newer games I play. At least a couple of weekends were wasted on the PC.

    My steam collection of games has grown over the years due to those damn Xmas sales (more crack). I can’t wait to retire so I can check out what the hype about Witcher 3 and Skyrim is all about lol.

    I barely just finished Fallout 3. That’s how behind I am.

    1. See…it’s like you’re trying to sell that crack to ME. I’ve been on PUBG’s Miramar map test server for Xbox got pretty much two days straight, so I don’t have room for too many more vices in my life. Are you playing PUBG? If so, how about we squad up sometime? Hit me with your handle if you’d like.

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