Yeah, Mom, we get it. The fire has already swept through 3 rooms in the house. I’m sure you’d be thrilled if Craig and I just stopped what we were doing to go outside and wait for the firemen to arrive.

But there is no way we are leaving this house without finishing this game of EA Sports Madden NFL 25.

Let me set the stage. Last night. 10 pm. Craig comes over to play some Madden. We’re feeling bold. We’re feeling ambitious. We decide on a fantasy draft in the connected career mode. I draft mostly young studs and raw talent, while Craig takes a more “win now” approach, with mostly veterans and proven players.

Yeah Mom, I’m sure the doorknob is hot. That’s very interesting. Since you’re so preoccupied by that, I’ll skip ahead 14 hours of gameplay to where we are now: the year is 2028. My record this season is 9-6, and Craig’s is 8-7, but we’re playing each other in week 17 and Craig has the tiebreaker over me.

Please stop crying so I can finish my story.

We’re about four minutes into the third quarter, and Craig is winning 17-14, but I’m driving down the field. I’m already on his 44-yard line, and I have the kind of high-octane offense that could put points on the board very easily. If nothing else, I should get myself in position to kick a field goal, and we’ll be all tied up.

Now do you understand the gravity of the situation?

Why should we leave? The heat? Dad gets mad at us when we use the air conditioner in the den anyway, so we’re used to sweltering heat in this room. Is it the terrible smell and poisonous gas? Last weekend, Craig ate three chili con carne burritos before coming over. I think we can handle a little gas.

Besides, this fire definitely isn’t our fault, so there’s no reason we should suffer the consequences. We’ve been here for the past 14 hours playing this game, and haven’t once set foot in the kitchen, where the fire started. But Mom, weren’t you in the kitchen making us nachos? You know, if one were to carelessly forget to remove the paper lining from the slices of cheese before placing them in the microwave, that could start a fire. It’s very clear to us what has happened here, but do we want it to be clear to Dad? To the firemen? To the whole town? It would be pretty embarrassing if they knew what caused this. Or, rather, who caused this.

Yeah, Mom, I’m also having trouble breathing, because you’re smothering me when I should be spending time with my friends. Sometimes I wish you wouldn’t barge into my room, panicking as if it’s a life or death situation. Remember the flood in the garage a few years ago? You came into my room screaming for help, and when I came downstairs after I finished a game of Fifa, none of the N64 games I keep down there were even wet. The only thing we had to throw away was your wedding album, and we haven’t look at that in ages anyway.

You may remember that the real disaster of that evening was that I rushed the Fifa game and lost 4-3 to AC Milan on penalty kicks. You never apologized for that.

As you know, the firemen are on their way, and I would be ashamed if they came into this room and saw an unfinished game of Madden on the TV.

They would cry out, “Who would walk out on a Madden connected career mode game in such a pivotal moment? Whoever did this has such little consideration for this game that we must stop eradicating this fire so we can finish this game ourselves.”

I couldn’t live with myself knowing that those firemen were sitting here playing this silly little video game while the fire that you started in the kitchen was engulfing a home filled with all of the possessions and memories that we hold dear. Unless that’s what you want, Craig and I are going to finish this game.

By the way, are those nachos done yet?