Finally accepting a WoW-less world
My wife doesn’t know at this point. She’s sleeping soundly in the other room as I sneak onto my computer and begin the arrangements for my betrayal. I had seen this particular lady before and after we started dating, and it almost broke us. But being the stupid man that I am, I still have her number hidden in my backpack as I dial it now - six digits to adultery and authentication. I click on login, pushing past any sense of shame and indignity because I’m a man with needs, and she’s the only one that can fulfill them right now.
Examining “Fez”’s spectacular nostalgia
I’m a wicked sucker for documentaries, especially (obviously) ones on gaming, so when I saw “Indie Game: The Movie” finally up on Netflix, I decided that I had two hours to waste on the trials and tribulations of three different indie developers: Jonathan Blow (of “Braid” fame), Team Meat (the sadistic creators of “Super Meat Boy”), and one Phil Fish of Polytron Corporation.
While I was familiar with the first two developers, the only thing I’d ever heard about Phil Fish was various rumblings on the internet, generally involving words that are terrible to say and even worse to put into public print. Over the course of the movie, I watched him sway from hopelessness to hopefulness back to despondency as he poured himself into his game. His passion turned into a full on range of emotions, his frustrations dumping into every word he spat about his finances, his new, unstable code and his unsympathetic former business partner.
That being said, his trial through fire turned into gold. “Fez” is easily one of the best throwbacks to the NES/SNES era ever created since those bygone days.
The importance of gaming in solace
Every Saturday morning I have a routine, a routine that dates back to my single-digit years. Throughout the week, I would have school, Little League games and a host of other things that would crowd in on me, but Saturday mornings were made for one thing and one thing only: gaming.
I would awake at 6 or 7 on these mornings and creep downstairs to the NES (or SNES, in later years) and try to find a game to play. Finally reaching a decision, I’d game until Mom or Dad dragged me away to do some form of chores (thanks a lot for the personal responsibility cramping my style, parents!). But for those few brief moments in the basement, with the morning light just starting to seep through the small windows, I took those precious moments of quiet time to heart. Small, simple moments of just enjoying a good game.
An information addict’s retort
Feeding information into my noggin is one of my greatest motivations for waking up in the morning. If I made a list of such motivations, it would be about third on the list, sitting underneath 1: making my wife laugh and 2: driving my wife insane, and just above pondering the logistics of genetically altering pigs to fly.
Seriously, bacon airlines. Who’s ever thought of it? This guy. Gigantic pigs the size of 757s, and when they can’t carry people anymore, we make a humongous platter of bacon, give it to Denny’s at just above market price based on the fact that people would pay dollars of dollars to eat formerly flying bacon. I’d be a thousandaire.
Give competitive games a spotlight
I remember when I made the mistake of saying that NASCAR wasn’t a sport. It was said in passing, during my tri-sport jock years, and obviously, at 16 years old, you know everything.
I tell you what, NASCAR fans descended on me like flies on a log of crap.
Bioshock Infinite’s descent into storytelling
If you want to avoid some mild spoilers for “Bioshock Infinite,” you may want to stop reading for a bit and catch up later on in the article.
There’s a point early on in “Bioshock Infinite” that made my mouth drop. Not in a “DUDEBRO, THAT WAS A TOTALLY RAD EXPLOSION THAT WE JUST MADE WITH OUR LIGHTNING STRIKE SCORESTREAK!” kind of way, or even a “I am so invested in these characters that I can’t believe they did that” kind of way. No, no, this was an honest-to-goodness, mouth-agape, I-can’t-believe-they-actually-did-that jaw dropping moment.
With the advent of an HD version of “Age of Empires II,” my friends and I have been replaying the original to brush up on our skills. After a few games, we started to notice some incredibly odd things about the world that “AoE2” resides in, such as the fact that trees are more hardy than most walls. That got my imagination going, and I had to wonder, what do the denizens of this weird place actually think about what’s going on? My next thought that the best person to tell this tale of woe and oddity would be one of the immortal villagers who has been chopping wood since the Dark Ages. The rest, as they say, is poetry.
I have a few different weaknesses when it comes to games.
Number one: if a game is shiny, invoking even the slightest bit of cel-shading or comic styling, I have to play it. There is no and, if or but about it. The game must be played, for my eyes must consume the shiny. It’s as if I have some sort of straw attached to my eyeballs and each wonderfully colorful game is a delicious milkshake of pleasant palates.
It seems to me that In every geek’s life, there seems to be a defining moment, a moment of clarity that either drives you away from your hobbies of choice and pushes you into the arms of popular societal norms of watching reality TV and going to bed at 10, or one that cements your status as a someone who’s proud to stand outside “normal” pop culture lines and say, “I’m so frigging glad I’m not them.”
Seeing as the geek culture that most of us know and love only really started toward the early ’80s, it’s not like we have generations of examples to pull from. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve watched quite a few potential geeks that seemed to give up on it and simply took their place in the rat race without even so much of a struggle. It was like a jacket that they could take off, hang up and never look back at again.
This part of this series may be the hardest one to write yet, because there is literally enough material to fill a massive tome with appendices and a few epilogues. My sister and I are digital war buddies. If there is a magic system, we have abused it. If there is a leveling system, we have destroyed it. If there is a mega-super-secret boss, we have had such epic battles with it.
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