The game cover, the one your eyes stop on each time you look at the rest, finally gets picked up after a year. Or two years? The case, a little more worn than the rest, opens to the disc you only see when it's time to go back.
But before that happens you get the feeling and the memories that guide you there. First, something reminds you. A sound like a sound you know, or a phrase like one you've read dozens of times. Then, you go through the game again in your mind as you consider if the time is right. You feel hungry for the best parts and ready for the worst parts - the parts of the game that usually stop this memory-play from going on until finally you find the time.
Home and a few open hours are waiting as excitement sets in, there's no deciding now. Time rolls ahead and no one needs something, no one has called, no one has texted, there's nothing exciting on, there's nothing exciting to be read, nothing is undone (well, maybe nothing). If you start now, you don't stop until you have to. Shelf, case, disc, system, chair, (drink?), and now the TV is on.
That memory card's full. 8/02/2012? Deleted. Is that enough - oh it I had enough space already. Welp! Wipe the dust of that controller with your shirt and let's go.
That company logo, wow. They've been gone for how long now? You can't think of it because the music has begun. The title screen and the overture come to you like a warm meal. Beyond the borders of the screen you have to pick up that car from the shop tomorrow but you may as well have to hand in that book report tomorrow. Time hasn't stopped, it just went back. You've been lifted out from this chunk of free time and into one you had two jobs and one college ago. You create the new save file, even the menu sounds are familiar, and the intro begins.
Remember when you weren't sure? When this game was new and maybe it wasn't that great? Soon you remember towns and people, the little reactions and canned animations, the little secrets and early strategies. You picked up all the best stuff, of course you know where to look, and you set out to begin the quest again. And time moves on minute by hour.
Wait. You're a little over-time now, and the next save point is frustratingly close. Adult responsibility will start to weigh on you the moment you keep playing beyond that point. If it were farther away you'd at least have a convenient excuse. You know where "just one more" has gotten you before so, in the very middle of the game's charm where you've probably never stopped playing before, you reach out and turn off the system. Maybe it wasn't a full course meal, maybe it wasn't the best use of your time, but you stand up and walk away knowing that, despite what the rest of adult life has tried to beat out of you every single day, that for a just a little while can go home again.