Okay. So this whole PSN thing is beyond awful. The fact that hackers got in and accessed people's personal information in the first place is awful. The fact that Sony took so long to inform anyone that their personal information was at risk is awful. The fact that people are feeling the need to cancel their credit cards as a result is awful.

But you know what's not awful? Peace and quiet. With the current console generation, it's easy to forget that gaming used to be a relatively solitary experience for the vast majority of the time. Services like Xbox Live, PSN and Steam regularly jerk you out of immersion in your favorite game's setting by helpfully informing you in large, friendly letters that "xXDeathOTron69Xx" is online and all they really, really want to do right now is chat to you.

Playing a game truly by yourself is something of a forgotten luxury these days -- since "on" is the default setting for most gaming networks, there's always the risk of being pulled into party chats, invited to games and sent messages when all you were hoping to get out of your evening was a bit of virtual loving from Anders. (Assuming Anders is your type, of course.)

In fact, there's a marked difference in online attitude between kids and those who are over the age of about 25. By way of example: a friend of mine has a tween son. The second his son signs on to Xbox Live, a party chat request from at least one of his friends appears, and they then proceed to talk all over the top of whatever game they're playing at the time. I'm not saying this is the "wrong" way to play -- it seems to work for him and his friends, after all. But sometimes old men like myself like to settle down and enjoy something without interruptions from other people online.

And that's where outages such as the one PSN is currently suffering become something of a blessing. Everything but the game ceases to matter. Trophies and Achievements are nigh on irrelevant if you can't compare them with others. You won't get interrupted in the middle of a dramatic scene by someone who thinks it's extremely important you play Killzone 3 with them right now. You can -- for once -- focus on the purity of the game's experience as the developers intended, without external interruptions, without arbitrary challenges to fire your gun 500 times for no apparent reason, without occasional reminders that other people exist. In short, it's time that belongs to you, and no-one else.

"Alone time" can sometimes be a refreshing experience. If you're currently frustrated by the fact you can't get on PSN but still want to play, why not take the time to delve into the single-player experiences of the games on your shelf, or those that you've downloaded from the PlayStation Store in the past and forgot about? You might be surprised what you find. And it's definitely more fun than being upset, worried or angry.