Tag Archives: video games

Fun and games

“You killed me! That’s not fair! I was about to shoot you in the head.”

These words from my five year old cousin Ryan as we played a video game with the objective of repeatedly gunning each other’s avatars down in post-apocalyptic settings. He’d been playing the game alone in the basement for hours before coming upstairs looking for opponents. My father was his first choice, but he refused to get up from the recliner and the Fox News pundits, so I would have to do.

Ryan led me downstairs to the finished basement apartment he shares with my aunt. He rattled off what the square button, the triangle button, the circle, the R1 trigger, the R2 trigger, and both tiny joysticks do. It took me a moment to realize that his little boy voice was telling me information I’d need to know. Next it was on to selecting the optimal location for our looming bloodshed. “The abandoned amusement park is my favorite, but it’s locked.” He explained that he’d have to kill many before its fun and games would be available to him.

As we began the battle I realized I had made a mistake. I hate video games. I hate them because I’m bad at them. It’s one thing to be bad at Mario Brothers, with its flying squirrels and princesses trapped in castles. It’s quite another to be bad at a game with impressively realistic graphics and noises, down to the crisp sights and sounds of shells flying and blood splattering.

In addition to my cousin’s experience and my utter lack thereof, I also had the added challenge of my aunt excitedly showing me clothes and accessories she’d just unboxed from an eBay purchase. “Isn’t this handbag great?” “Do you think these flares fit?” On one side of me pink and silver saccharine things, on the other, war and guts and masculine gore. And there I was in the middle: “That’s so pretty! Wait, which gun should I use?”

After one round I accepted that I was less navigating the muddled waters than drowning in them and politely took my leave. My cousin was disappointed. “You’re not fair!” he whined before he turned back away to reload a solo game.

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I could watch these all day.

So, this was maybe one of three video games that I ever played. But I could spend hours with Street Fighter II.

Here are my two least favorite characters:

Ken always seemed like the prick version of Ryu. And Sagat makes that obnoxious noise every two seconds. I had a lot of trouble getting past Sagat, though I do like the temples and his stone thing in the background.

Zangief!! You big lovable oaf.  M. Bison, on the other hand, does nothing for me.  Militant piece of crap.

Ah, E. Honda.  His moves are, by far, my favorite.  That arm thing he does?!  The ballerina float and the fly through the air!?  AND the hump action?  Then that big belly laugh to finish it all off.  He kills me.

Oh, also, I always thought Dhalsim was based on my grandfather.  (Because his limbs extended to three times their length, he could spew fire, and he could float in the air.  No big deal.)

Happy Spring

Warning: Nostalgia ahead.

Suddenly things are happening.  It’s as though I’ve been chanting a transformation mantra for hours each day.  Only I haven’t because the transformation mantra was given to me by members of a cult.  So, it must just be the vernal equinox.

The daffodils and the crocuses are almost in bloom!  The days are longer.  (I get outside before dark without even meaning to.)  Bruce Jenner is making it onto the golf course multiple times a week and his hair is starting to bleach in the sun.  Isn’t life beautiful?

Speaking of beautiful, I’ve been thinking about video games a lot lately.  I don’t play them.  I’m pretty terrible at them…except for Wii Tennis and American Idol.  But when I was younger, I would watch my brothers play for hours.  And then, when they left to build skateboard ramps out of plywood or give their lunch money to the local drug cartel, I would try my hand.  Below is level one of a game that I don’t think I ever enjoyed playing, but played regardless.  I was usually killed off by one of the elderly women with grocery bags: