Fallout 4 isn’t the type of game that can be picked up and played for short spurts. It demands lengthy sessions, so engaging that it’s undoubtedly confusing to look at your phone to see that hours upon hours have passed.

While it’s all well and good that you get your money’s worth out of Fallout 4, you may be getting more than you paid for along the way. Fallout 4 could ruin your life—or at least make a few things fall by the wayside. These are ten things I’m neglecting because of Fallout 4:

My character in Fallout 4 has a finely trimmed beard that maintained its integrity for 211 years. Sealed in Vault 111 from 2077 to 2287, In-Game Steve is facing the terrors of post-apocalyptic Boston, but at least he is doing it in style.

Meanwhile, I’m over here on my couch, obnoxious oversized headphones pressed against my own beard that hasn’t been touched in over a week. My usual routine of daily upkeep is gone, and I owe that to Fallout 4. I may look like an aspiring hobo, but In-Game Steve is looking good and that’s all that matters.

You can add the most useless items to your inventory in Fallout 4. Silverware and utensils are plentiful, but food that deserves to be served is relatively scarce. The lingering radiation contaminating a vast array of consumables makes dinner all the more unappetizing. It’s either starve to death or poison myself and hope I can find medicine before I die.

Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about radiation in my cereal at home. Well, I don’t have to worry about it at all, since I don’t have any damn cereal. I eat like the poorest of college students because of Fallout 4, and I’m not poor (neither am I in college). Hunger levels are now regarded on degrees of urgency, and if it won’t cause me to pass out, thus not being able to play Fallout 4, then it’s not that important. My refrigerator looks like there was just a major power outage that made me discard all my food.

A few weeks ago I would’ve told you that I was paying a lot of attention to the 2016 Presidential election. Today I would tell you that Bernie, Trump, Hillary, Carson and rest of the lot should spend less time seeking votes and more time playing Fallout 4. At least their stress levels would go down after learning that in the year 2077 those outside of the Vaults perished, and 211 years later, I was the only one that emerged from my precinct anyways.

Centralized government is gone in 2287 and forgive me if I want to give the majority of my thoughts to In-Game Steve instead.

In Fallout 4, my smartwatch is the Pip Boy. It attaches to my wrist, boasts a larger screen than today’s models, and tracks my daily happenings with more detail than any Fitbit. My stats serve as a better version of my Linkedin profile, and my inventory is more noteworthy than my Facebook friends list. I learn more from Pip Boy Radio than 140 characters on Twitter, and the digital map is less annoying than Siri.

Favoring practicality over attractiveness, Pip Boy is minimalistic to the point where popular real life technology and social media has become obsolete. Why waste time scrolling through various apps ritualistically when all need to truly enjoy my life is right on In-Game Steve’s wrist? A drop-off in social media presence can be alarming to friends and loved ones, but if they knew what I was going through as the Sole Survivor, maybe they would understand.

In-game Steve gets a lot of cardio throughout the day. He sprints, climbs stairs, jumps and retraces steps in order to fulfill his strenuous tasks. But the more I move around, the longer I’m away from Fallout and my stagnant character is faced with treacherous horrors from his stationary position.

Of course I could save the game and turn it off, but you try playing Fallout 4 and then tell me how much you desire going for a nightly jog around the block.

Fallout 4 limits my attention span to only what’s in direct view of my face, peripheral vision be damned. The fresh stain on the carpet from accidentally kicking my energy drink when In-Game Steve dies valiantly in battle: who cares? It can be covered up by the stacks of unopened mail on my kitchen table.

My apartment isn’t dirtying from rampant activity and use; its gradual uncleanliness and dust accumulation resembles the early stages of the abandoned buildings across post-apocalyptic Boston.

As the Sole Survivor of Vault 111, I have the higher purpose of saving the world. But asshole looters and raiders try and stop me, while other Wastelanders constantly ask for my assistance. Just as I try and avoid these obligations and distractions in 2287, I’ve been staying away from my actual friends in 2015.

Unfortunately even the good ones are becoming strangers. Blame that on the title of Sole Survivor. I tried to explain my absence but when I received blank stares after describing my emergence from Vault 111, I decided it was best to just leave it be.

In the opening sequence of Fallout 4, I have a wife and newborn son, Shaun. My wife dies in the Vault and my son is kidnapped. If I’m a terrible person for saying that I felt no emotional reaction to my wife’s death and Shaun’s abduction then you haven’t played Fallout 4. It vaults you into a world that emphatically encourages a “Me” mentality, one that’s bled over into my life.

Family functions and get-togethers have been replaced by trips to abandoned houses in search of supplies from dead families. I could talk to my parents on the phone but I hate using speaker phone and that’s the only way I can stay connected to the Pip Boy app that syncs with my Xbox One game profile. Phone calls are ignored during times of meticulous thought on which attribute to upgrade or the crafting materials that are taking up too many valuable inventory slots. In-Game Steve and Real Life Steve are both too busy to be bothered.

I slept for 211 years in Vault 111. I hardly need another wink, and besides, it would be rude to keep the world waiting for the Sole Survivor’s glorious victory.

To better perform my job, I sleep on the couch instead of my bed. I keep the game on at all times so I can jump right in before starting the daily activities that try and fail to take a massive shit on my allotted Fallout 4 time. I stay up too late and wake up angry with myself for snoozing through a dozen alarms.

Fallout 4 is dark and dreary. Rarely touched by sunshine, In-Game Steve travels through bleak, gray areas.

To acclimate to this new landscape, I keep all lights off, blinds drawn, and headphones on at all times to avoid any reminding spillage from the bounties of daytime nature. When the sunlight peeks through shutter slivers, I move to another one of the three couch cushions to not only avoid unwanted glare, but to be true to the life inside the game.

Steven Petite attempts to divide his time between freelance and fiction writing, reading far too many novels, and playing half a dozen games simultaneously. He is a lifelong Cleveland native, and consequently a tortured sports enthusiast. He is a staff writer for Fiction Southeast and The Rock Office. He has frequently written for The Huffington Post and his fiction has appeared in Cigale Literary Magazine.

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