Please read this as philosophical and not cynical :
This particular entry is not so video game related. It's a mini-rant about what I call "subscription friends". I grew up as a latchkey kid in suburban Chicago. My mother really didn't like me leaving the house while she was at work if she didn't know exactly where I would be and what time I would be home. I didn't like it at the time, but now that I have my own kids, I get it. Unfortunately, this meant that I was stuck inside a lot as my mother was quite busy at work and I couldn't always get a hold of her. Hence, my love of videogames begins.The other side effect of this pseudo confinement was a lack of friends, and to some extent, it stunted my social growth. I became whimsical about exactly what was a "friend". I've come to realize after many years that friends come in two basic flavors :1) friends that you hang out with to waste time, to talk, to share experiences, play video games, watch movies, etc, etc, and2) friends that you only hang out with while there's money being spent (hence the term "subscription friends"). These are the people who you won't see unless you're going to a movie, going out to eat, or playing fantasy football.The former variety tend to be my outside-of-work friends and the latter tend to be my "at work" friends.My house is on a very strict budget. My wife and I made the decision very early on - even before we were married - that we would be a single income family and she would be a stay at home mother. This makes "subscription friends" extremely difficult to manage in the scope of my social life. Some of my friends seem to scoff at my suggestion that I can't go out for lunch for the 10th time this month because I've run over my budget for dining for the month.I guess at the end of the day you have to be thankful of whatever friends you have, regardless of how you interact with them, but it is a challenge to manage it at times.