I don't like darts. I love it. Not in an ironic let's-patronise-working-class-culture kind of way, but in a what-an-amazing-spellbinding-sport kind of way (and yes, it is a sport, as proven in the Houses of Parliament in 2005).
A close high-octane professional darts match is arguably as exciting as sport gets, with victory and despair often literally separated by a matter of millimetres. Or as legendary commentator Sid Waddell would have it, the width of a fly's eyelash.
I have been enraptured by darts ever since 100-1 Ipswich farmhand Keith Deller vanquished the imperious Eric Bristow for an improbable world championship title. As well as being glued to every televised tournament, I have even been known to travel the country in thrall to tungsten.
I was at the upholstered sewer that is Circus Tavern, Purfleet, when Phil 'The Power' Taylor threw away a three set lead to lose the epic 2007 World Final. I was at Wembley Arena last year when he made history with two nine-dart finishes. And I was recently at Alexandra Palace for a session of the season's marquee event, the PDC World Championship.
The latter pilgrimage represents pretty much the only time I wasn't watching the tournament on telly, my annual sabbatical as ever soundtracked by the soothing metronomic thud of three tungsten missiles penetrating a fresh dartboard while a palace full of dressed-up nutters goes feral.
Forget rampant consumerism, extreme gluttony and amateur drinkers. Forget Baby Jesus. For me, Christmas is darts. Since the tragic demise of John Peel's Festive Fifty, it's all I've got.
With the PDC Championship segueing into the more homespun and migraine-inducing BDO tournament on the BBC, I watched darts solidly from December 16th to January 9th (barring the tiresome intrusion of Christmas Day and Boxing Day). I recently closed my eyes and saw a dartboard floating in the blackness. I'm not OK.
Naturally, when a copy of PDC World Championship Darts: Pro Tour dropped onto the doormat, I was mildly curious. That curiosity is now at the stage where it has been sat in my PS3 for the best part of a month, the plucky underdog lording it up while the year's big releases look on unloved.
Black Ops? A bit of zombie action, barely scratched the surface. New Assassin's Creed: unopened. New Need for Speed: unopened. New GoldenEye: can't find it. All in favour of a game in which it makes perfect sense for a 70 year-old Geordie to shout "Bad snatch!" and "Side lipstick!"
There's an argument that videogames should be about escapism, about performing actions that you could never do in real life - be it battling space monsters, being in Star Wars or selling herbs to a goblin. Any fool can sling an arrow, which might explain the paucity of darts titles over the years, with only Sega's excellent Touch Darts on DS cutting the mustard.
However, while throwing a dart isn't beyond the realms of fantasy, there are only a handful of men on the planet who can consistently do it at a world-class level. PDC Darts enables you to become one of them simply by moving your thumb backwards and forwards.
It is apparently compatible with something called PlayStation Move, but apart from checking the news and weather with the Wii remote I won't have motion control in the house. Darts may be a considered a lazy man's sport, but this is lazy man's darts. And I speak as someone who for a period slept with a wing mirror so I didn't have to roll over to see the TV.
Never mind trudging the punishing 7 foot 9-and-a-quarter inches to the board (and back) to retrieve your arrows. In PDC Darts you can sit the same distance away and never have to move anything but one finger and one thumb (teeth-grinding optional).
The interface is simplicity itself, but the beauty of it is that the game replicates the mental side of the sport which makes its real life counterpart so compelling. Most pros can throw nine dart finishes in practice, but when it comes to the big stage they buckle like a belt.
The same is true in the game, as with the pressure on - and your on-screen heartbeat amplified - you will miss doubles you should easily pick off. And as in real darts matches there are periods when you are in the zone, reeling off sets with aplomb before inexplicably and frustratingly losing your touch.
There's also much to be admired with regard to the unremitting nature of the career mode, which takes no prisoners. I have a long-held gaming fantasy of playing an entire Formula One season in real time. This will probably never happen, due to not having a recent F1 game and not being insane.
In PDC Darts, insane is the default mode. There's no fudging it - if you want to win the World Championship you will have to throw every single dart, not to mention watch your opponents throw every one of theirs.
Perhaps mercifully you can save the game between legs, but that is surely the coward's way. I like to win a match, relax for a day or so, get some quality sleep, maybe have a light lunch, and prepare for the next game.
At the time of writing a major title still eludes me. But it would probably count as one of my major gaming achievements, second only to finding an opponent in the online lobby.
PDC World Championship Darts: Pro Tour is not without its foibles (read bugs) and the glaring lack of licensed music will irk the purists. Of course I don't have to tell you that Phil Taylor should take to the stage to the uplifting sound of Snap's 1990 Teutonic rave anthem, The Power. Or that Raymond Van Barneveld rises up to the challenge of his rival with Survivor's timelessly uplifting Eye Of The Tiger.
Sadly these tunes are replaced by generic rock, but crucially the commentators are the real deal - say hello to the robust double act of the underestimated John Gwynne and the increasingly unhinged Sid Waddell.
Naturally I've played darts (against Bristow) in real life, with Waddell commentating - he memorably described me as having "a face like a figure on an Etruscan coin". But for you mere mortals, PDC World Championship Darts is as close to that fantasy as you will ever get. More importantly, it's darts on your telly any time you want. It really could be Christmas every day...