Whilst waxing nostalgic on a recent crisp and beautiful fall day, I listed all the video games I could remember playing. It was a long list, long enough that I moved to a spreadsheet in order to enter them each according to individual consoles. It was a really interesting exercise in memory. The first games entered were the ones I had played most recently, then I entered a big chunk of Mario games, and then a bunch of Atari games, and then some more games, and then a few more. And then I came to the final column – computer games. Hm. This was most perplexing. See, I don’t do online gaming, console or computer; but there was a time, in the ancient heydays before the internet, when I did play games on a computer. Yet, not a one came to mind. And then, yes…wait, ok, there was Doom and Doom 2 (we’ll save those for a later discussion). And next…? Well damn. Give me a sec. ~~~~~~~~ There were cassettes, 5.25 discs, 3.5 discs….yessssss………Brain on!
I am a 100% believer in video game addiction. I mean, just look at the hours/weeks/years people, honest, hardworking people (and some not so much) put into World of Warcraft and other video games. We’ve read stories about how games like WoW can take over people’s lives. The same is certainly true of many other games. Final Fantasy, Call of Duty, White Knight Chronicles, Metal Gear Solid, Super Mario Galaxy, and the like all offer pretty immersive gameplay that, let’s face it, can be much more fun than playing real life. A great game can be a joy, an escape. When played to the extreme, a great game can also destroy relationships, home lives, and careers. Now, I get that some may see video gaming as a kids or teens only activity, and that it’s okay if they whittle their lives away on gaming because they have so much time left on this earth to do good. (It was kinda hard to not type that sarcastically.) But you and I both know that most hardcore gamers are not teens, but people with enough competency to find and keep employment in the real world. Yet, for any number of reasons, they would rather spend days plundering virtual worlds alone or with their guilds, bringing down electronic armies of terrorists, exploring decent facsimiles of the known and unknown universes all from the comfort of their homes. Some days, that’s all I want too. Some days….not all days, but, yes, some.
I recently caught bit of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom that was on TV — that part with the Thugee ceremony and the heart removal — and, as proof of how engrained video games have become in my mind, the first thought the popped into my head was, “Mola Ram was sure cute as a Lego character! What with his cute horned hat and non-threatening wardrobe! Teehee!”
Ok, I went a little too far with the cute stuff there. But really, does this guy look like he could tear your heart out and sacrifice you to Kali?
Anywaaaay….when I had a Nintendo DS, I was all about the Lego games; well, most of them. I was actually introduced to them via Lego Star Wars on a console. By the time I got to the Lego Indiana Jones series, I had played through and loved , loved, loved the Lego Star Wars games. The Indy Lego games were incredibly fun and, like the Lego Star Wars games, they injected humorous–yes even cute– cinematics between game play.
As I mentioned before, back in the day, I don’t really remember who decided what games to buy for our house. But somehow Xevious, the classic Namco game, made its way to our house sometime in the mid 1980s. Xevious was a top-down scroller. You controlled an aircraft that moved vertically up the screen and your goal was to hit targets on the ground below, as well as destroy flying crafts. The layout was pretty simple, green fields and yellow paths dotted serenely with gray, polygonal buildings. Your ship, a small, triangular entity, hovering above, a small target symbol hovering also to help when dropping and shooting little rabbit pellets of death and destruction.
Thinking back on the video games I’ve played, I realize that “hate” is a pretty rare and strong word in my gaming vocabulary. I’ve played bad games, uninteresting games, and great games that just didn’t appeal to me. But to say I actually hate a game, well…that’s really saying something.
This brings me to the next page in the scrapbook, The Adventures of Cookie & Cream. Hate does not even begin to describe the feeling that makes my blood boil as I reconsider this wretched, horrible game that nearly destroyed the greatest relationship ever in the history of all humankind: that of me and my fiancé (then boyfriend), of course.
Before writing this post I thought “should I really start with my favorite game? One that makes many other games pale in comparison?” Hell yes, I decided, because sometimes ya just gotta have dessert first.
So, it’s been said before and I’ll say it again. Best. Game. Ever.
Super Metroid, released by Nintendo in 1994, has all the elements that make up the greatest of great games: story, action, intensity, the chance for exploration, the discovery of new abilities, and replayability to the nth degree.
Or, why I’m not a computer programmer.
The TRS-80 Color Computer, my first computer. I can see it now…that dull, gray, boxy complexion, replete with small, square keys in rich foggy-colored plastic with deep onyx imprinted letters and numbers.
And oh, those keys! Those playful, independent spirits intermixed with the electronic underpinnings…why you made typing so, so…engaging! Did you just type a “p” or a “q”? Well, let’s say you typed a “2” and leave it at that. Jovial!
The playfully painted TRS-80 logo fitted just so severely above the keyboard.
The lovely cassette player and its graceful if incessant whirring. You made a game out of recording. How much force is needed to push the button today? Only by trying and failing, and failing again will you find out!
I recently saw this commercial on TV…
…and I snapped. “Why couldn’t the sword have fallen into a girl‘s hands?!” I yelled, thankful I was alone at that moment lest I sound maniacal in mixed company. “Why did the sword have to PASS BY an oh so studious GIRL who’s engrossed in READING?! Will advertisers EVER show a girl paying a video game that DOESN’T involve cute animals or dancing??!!” [huff, huff, irk, irk]