Monday, March 8, 2010

To All The Games I've Loved Before

I am a nerd, not a geek. I can appreciate a good video game, but I feel no desire to play it. In fact, should I try to play it, odds are excellent I will destroy my little game person on Level 1 repeatedly with no apparent subsequent increase in skill. This is why I rarely play video games.

The games I do play have a pattern to them. They require minimal use of the controller, usually limited to turning something or firing something. I cannot master jumping, let alone jumping into a spinning backflip and grabbing the passing cloud before I plunge to my death. I spent five minutes once trying to mount Yoshi on Level 1 in a Mario Brothers game and couldn't do it. My nieces will attest to this. Even The Flash was stunned by my lack of coordination, and very little stuns her.

I do have a few games I have played and loved in my life. This post is for them.

1) Gauntlet. Ah, my first love. I and three friends played this arcade game for 1 -3 hours every Sunday afternoon at Godfather's Pizza for about 3 years straight. Oddly enough, I never really improved at the game. I just loved it. Mom was waaaaay too nice about handing me quarters. My email address is a phrase lifted directly from Gauntlet.
I understand they have made an Xbox version. No doubt it would be too complicated for me. I played by pushing the joystick from side to side and pounding one red button to attack. It worked.

2) Tetris. I discovered this game in college. It may have been invented while I was in college. I discovered it one week before sophomore finals. I played it for one month. Yes, that means during finals' week I would play Tetris from the moment I woke up until I finally crawled to bed with breaks only to take my finals. Praise God, I was otherwise an excellent student who paid attention and took notes, because I did not study anything that week except the best way to stack odd, colorful shapes. I advanced to Master Level, realized I could now anticipate the patterns that would fall next, and stopped playing. I've never played it again.

3) Dr. Mario. Another college experience. My boyfriend's dorm house was full of boys with electronic toys, who pooled the wealth and created a virtual world of linked computers, televisions and stereos. This was in the time before Internet, children, when two people max could play a game at home. Here I discovered Dr. Mario, and I was the only one who wanted to play it. Good for me. For those not familiar with the game, little pills drop from the top of the screen and must be stacked by color to dissolve them and keep the screen clear. It is identical to Tetris, except it's pills instead of those funny shapes.
I loved this game so much, I asked Elder Brother to buy it for me as a gift after I left college. All told, I've probably played this game more hours than I've spent eating in my 20's. That's a lot of time. I finally began to notice a pattern in the falling pills, so I disconnected it and keep it in my linen closet. Once I'm diagnosed with dementia, I will pull it out and resume playing.

4) Mahjong / Taipei. This is a computer game, not a video game, but I have wasted many an hour on it. We used to fight over computer time for this game, and back-seat play when it wasn't our turn. One guy got banned from the play room for an hour because he wouldn't keep his finger to himself. Thankfully, I accidentally deleted it from my home computer, so I haven't played it in years.

5) Farmville. The newest and most technologically advanced of my vices so far, this is a true Internet game, encouraging participation from other real people to increase my success as a farmer. It is a more social game than I've ever played before. I even became Friends with a total stranger so we could be Farm neighbors and give each other stuff. I have truly jumped off the deep end. She had a kid in her FB photo, so how bad can she be? She's even given me a gold bar already.

I still have some rules to learn. I've apparently used up my fertilizer and gift-giving ability for I don't know how long. I went a little nuts helping neighbors yesterday and now the game tells me I've nothing left to give. I kept trying to give, like the surgery patient keeps pressing the little morphine drip button to dull the pain. But like that button, I'm not getting my fix until the timer goes ding.

So, I'm writing my post, and writing my book, and doing my household chores, and only checking every five minutes instead of every 1 minute.

I think I'm getting better.

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