"I have work. Then a dinner thing, and then I am busy trying to become who I am." - Hannah, Girls

Sunday, July 24, 2016


I love/hate video games. They're fun and a waste of time. They can keep me from making memories with a real human, but also I look back on my virtual conquests with fondness.

Alas, the saga of my gaming continues with Pokemon Go. But first, let's take time to reflect on my video game past.

I don't remember the first video game I ever played at home. It was probably some variety of Mario. Or maybe it was that game where you shoot the ducks with a fake gun. ACTUALLY scratch both of those. My family had this amazing gaming system where you could race cars. No, not Mario Kart. The game had controllers that were real life-sized steering wheels. They had actual break and gas pedals. That may have been my first game ever.

Since the beginning of my gaming career I've played on Nintendo 64, Playstations, Dreamcast, Gamecube, Gameboy Color/Advance/SP, Nintendo DS, Xbox, Wii, and wow we spent a lot of money. It was money well spent though. Except Dreamcast has always been a little weird to me.

Growing up, my mom would take us to Blockbuster every Friday after school. We all got to pick something to rent. My brother always got a video game. My sisters and I usually got movies. I've always liked video games, but obviously not as much as he did (and still does).

My brother is the gamer in the family. He has beaten and collected the most games over the years. He likes all video games: from Zelda to Spyro to Sonic to Mario to COD and everything in between. I play some, but not all, of the games he plays. And he never plays the more "girly" games that I occasionally play.

My video game life has different chapters, but some are longer than others. I remember spending hours playing Supersmash Bros with my sister. I sat on our corduroy bean bag and played every Paper Mario. I played Sly Fox 3 over and over again because it was better than the first two. I took my golden retriever on Nintendogs for countless walks. I've been addicted to several video games over the years, but the most addictive of them all is MMORPGs.

MMORPG is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

orrrrrrr....a mind melting obsession ruining productivity game.

Basically the point of these games is to level up. You gain expierence in different skills, increase your character's strength, thereby attaining some weird sense of superiority over lower level players (noobs).

I've fallen into this video game trap time and time again. I've wasted HOURS that can probably be measured in DAYS and possibly WEEKS on these games. And I have no idea why. Because these games are impossible to win, but I keep coming back for more. I've found that MMORPGs and games that are MMORPGish are the most addictive. They're the hardest to leave because 1) they never end and 2) you're competing with the people around you. Any game where you level up, collect coins, or prove you're better via some (literally) virtually worthless internet swag is the most addictive.

In elementary school, I played Club Penguin every day after school on my brother's laptop. I played for 1-2 hours before I had to go to soccer practice. I always ate two slices of buttered toast and drank a glass of orange juice. I collected coins, bought virtual outfits, and showed off my rare pink Easter bunny ears to the lame penguins around me. My memories of playing Club Penguin are so strong, I remember what songs I listened to on my brother's iTunes while playing. I recreated a playlist of these songs a few months ago. Some interesting ones are "Mrs. New Booty" by Bubba Sparxxx, "For You I Will (Confidence)" by Teddy Geiger, and "Yo (Excuse Me Miss)" by Chris Brown.

Yes, every time I hear Bubba Sparxxx rap about some chick's ass, I think of my innocent blue penguin.

I started Webkinz when I was 10 and still log on a decade later. In fifth grade, we were allowed to play on the computers during snack time. I never even tried to fight the other girls for a monitor. Maybe when I log on now days, I'm making up for all of that lost time. My proudest Webkinz achievements are my trophies from Wacky Zingoz and my two (not one) rare item rooms filled with furniture from the Curio Shop. I have 12 Webkinz to date. One of those twelve exists because my name was picked in a drawing at a local store. I won a Unicorn. It wasn't my favorite animal, but I was happy and named her Sprinkles. Obviously.

I started Runescape when I was 12 or so. Now, listen when I say that this game sucks souls. I can't tell you how many rocks I've mined, guards I've killed, trees I've chopped, and quests I've completed. I still get on at least once a month. Runescape was a precursor to of course....

World of War Craft. But I never got to play it.

My brother should have attended World of Warcraft anonymous. Seriously. He drank gallons of Mountain Dew and stayed up all night playing. He would complain in the backseat when he wasn't home in time for his online "meet-ups" with his virtual friends. He would talk to them through a microphone. If you haven't seen the South Park episode about World of Warcraft, please do. This game was Runescape on steroids, and I had to play.

One day I asked my brother if I could try it. He said, "No, I won't let you."

His tone was serious. He wasn't just hogging the computer. His denial was out of concern for my well-being. He was protecting me from falling into the largest, time warping black hole of all computer games.

Still to date, I think this is the nicest thing my brother has ever done for me. Thanks, brother dearest.

1 comment:

  1. I kept the hell away from Warcraft until it had all died down (several years of keeping the hell away from it). I knew it would be the end of me. Oh - and the Dreamcast was AWESOME. No game has ever been quite as mad as Space Channel 5 :)