Being a teenage dad, it was a basic, ground-floor council flat, glued to the side of a children's home, of all places.
The front door was hidden behind a floor-to-ceiling wooden gate, which was hidden behind a load of bins. Which we shared with the children's home.
Furthermore, the flat above us was run by the local Social Services department, as a sort of halfway house for kids who had just come out of care. Basically, at any one time we'd have three or four teenagers living directly above us. And you're right; that was a nightmare, thanks.
The grotty location - and the ordeal we came to endure while living there - became the inspiration behind Mr T's Digitiser catchphrase, "Stay away from my bins".
I was very familiar with Social Services. My mother had fostered while I was growing up. Indeed, so many foster kids passed through her arms that she even had an award named after her, for her contribution to social care.
Nevertheless, I came to despise social workers; even as a teenager, I thought I could see through their act. Their charity and compassion seemed entirely self-serving to me. I always felt as if what I needed was secondary to the needs of my foster sister. As if our entire lives suddenly had to revolve around a girl who I had never asked to be in my life (we get along fine now, incidentally), somebody with whom I had to compete for my mother's love.
Consequently, social workers never struck me as people who genuinely wanted to help. Or, at least, not help everyone. It seemed like once they'd satisfied that bit of their psyche which needed to be told they were helping others, you wouldn't see them for dust. As if they would pick and choose their clemency.
I'm generalising massively, of course. There are social workers who are nothing like that, possibly.
But we've all got our prejudices, and that was mine. It still is, alas; sometimes these things are hard to shift. What's more, I'm just as suspicious of similar 'helping' professions. Quite why I ended up spending two and a half years studying to be a psychotherapist is beyond me; it was like Hitler training to be a rabbi.
Oh... oh no. I appear to have compared myself to Hitler...
Anyway, what does any of this have to do with a review of some stupid indie game, achtung already?Allow me to explain.
As you've already correctly surmised, living beneath a bunch of fresh-out-of-care kids was an ordeal.
The days would be quiet enough. The nights were basically one long party; deafening drum and bass would kick in shortly after midnight, every single night.
To keep us on our toes, some nights it would be earlier, other nights it would be later. None of us would get a full night's sleep - especially not my two year-old daughter. We had stuff stolen, we had lit fireworks thrown into our garden from above, cigarettes dropped onto our daughter, we had to listen to fights and worse.
Through it all, their social worker promised to clamp down on their behaviour, that he'd be available 24-7. Yet, oddly, didn't take kindly to being woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call from me telling him they were at it again. His half-arsed, when-it-suited, "empathy" meant that I had to take matters into my own hands.
After nine months, I finally lost it at two in the morning, and threatened one of the teenagers with a brick. I then resolved to make their lives miserable in more creative ways. I mixed up a batch of fake vomit, and threw it over their front door. I blocked their keyhole with screws and nails. I threw a plant pot through an open bedroom window. I went to elaborate, Sherlockian lengths to prove that one of them was regularly pinching our milk.
All the while, I was writing to local MPs and council members, and threatening the council's housing department with the press. Eventually they gave us a house just to shut me up.
Point is... As far as I'm concerned, the concept of Party Hard - a game wherein the player has to stab noisy partygoers - could only be improved upon if you also had to stab social workers.
Don't worry, everyone: I'm probably joking!
Party Hard has been around a year or so already - on PC, Mac, iOS and Android - but it has only just arrived on the PS4.
It's a weird focks of a game, not so much for its content, but the fact its content didn't really generate the sort of "OUTRAGE!" headlines that other similarly-themed murder simulators have done.
Generally, society deems stabbing people to be antisocial at best, and a crime at worst; even if the victims were making a lot of noise.
The methods Party Hard's protagonist employs doesn't end at stabbing. He can activate various traps - falling trees, exploding barbecues, malfunctioning electrics - or drown people, or burn them... or call for back-up to help in his murdering.
It's a stealth simulator at its heart, with obvious aesthetic and narrative parallels to Hotline Miami - it's top-down, in an 8-bit style - and mostly reminded me of the ancient Mega Drive game Haunting. Albeit with a lot more violence.
And yet... whereas the likes of Hatred and Postal and Hotline Miami were criticised for their brutal content, there has been barely a whiff of outrage about Party Hard. Which seems strange, but doesn't really bother me. It's just interesting to observe how these sort of bandwagons can rumble into town, while others take the gyratory bypass.
The biggest crime Party Hard commits is that it's a bit boring. If it was to really appeal to me - a man who has come perilously close to actually living the game - I'd have wanted it to be even more like Hotline Miami; to go on a euphoric killing spree. Fulfil the fantasy that I played out in my mind every single night, all those years ago, while clamping a pillow around my ears.
Instead, much of the game is spent hanging around in quiet corners waiting for a partygoer to wander past. Or lurking near traps, waiting for the right moment to activate it. Or dancing with the revellers in an effort to blend in, and avoid the cops.
It doesn't help that the parties are well-attended, and that your goal is to kill everyone. Not only does this make it incredibly difficult, but you'll be fighting against your attention-span.
Thus, I find myself in the peculiar position of criticising a mostly original concept for not being even more like something else, just to scratch a long-held itch.
Can someone just do me a favour, and make a Hotline: Social Services game?
SUMMARY: A game about killing that chooses stealth over action. Not so much 'party hard' as 'party slowly'.
SCORE: 60.1121 decibels out of 104.3232 decibels.
GAMES OF MY YEARS - The Digitiser Story