Friday, September 15, 2006

All Your Base Are Belong To My Roomies

On my first full night at the new place, I found myself caught in a college flashback, as I reclined on the couch, splitting my time between reading a book and watching my two roomies play video games. Dox* only knows hours I spent doing the same thing while rooming with Flunky, Dr. G’ovich, and Wrath. There are differences between the experiences, of course, and I don’t just mean that now my roomies are playing Xbox instead of Super-Nintendo. No the personalities involved are vastly different as well: nobody’s going to confuse The Anti-Cap’n or PigPen with Flunky or G’ovich. Plus, so far I’ve avoided getting sucked into playing games against them when I know their skill level dwarfs my own, whereas in the Parker days the Doc and Flunky were gifted in the ways of video game peer pressure. Now, whether it’s just that I’ve reached the point in my life where such pressure no longer fazes me, or whether the A.C. and PigPen just don’t know which psychological buttons to push to get me to cave is open to debate

I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with video games, I suppose. Love to play them: hate how much I suck at them. Honestly, you’re more apt to hear me lose control of my vocabulary while playing video games than just about any other time; if you see me pick up a controller, it would be wise to get anyone with overly sensitive ears out of shouting range.

One of the contributing factors to my not playing much with the new roomies is the sort of games they’ve been playing: Halo 2 and one of the Madden football games. I’m not really a big fan of first person shooter games, due to my inability to hold the map fixed in my head. I have spent a bit of time playing the solo campaign mode on Halo 2, but pretty much only when the others aren’t around to mock my poor spatial sense . . . Heaven forefend they ever witness my pathetic attempts to drive the blankity-blank truck in the game. As for Madden, well, in addition to the fact that having to listen to Madden’s inane chatter throughout the game is enough to turn my mind to jelly, there’s just something about most sport themed games that refuses to click in my brain . . . much like me trying to play actual sports.

Parkerite Video Game Flashback: When we had the house on Knoblock, we had a cheapo football game for the Super-NES which came from the bargain bin at Hastings. G’ovich delighted in thrashing me at the game, one time even going so far as to play the whole game upside down and still murdering me.

Good times, good times.

Another flashback occurred when PigPen installed Civilization II on my computer and proceeded to spend just about every free minute he had trying to emerge as the undisputed ruler of his computerized world, a behavior highly reminiscent of everyone's favorite future world conqueror, Flunky, back in the day. And, much like back in the day, I have next to no desire to play the world-building/conquering game myself, but am endlessly fascinated by watching others play.

All that being said, I’d probably be much more apt to jump in on the video game playing if they game styles being played were slightly different. After all, while I’m not necessarily good at them, I’ve always enjoyed fighting games a la Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat or, my favorite, Battle Arena Toshinden, if for no other reason than that sometimes random rapid button pushing is just as effective as actual skill. I don’t have much of a knack for learning special moves, especially if they’re any more complicated than the basic “back-back-A” style, but when I do learn one, you can prepare yourself to see it a lot.

Parkerite Video Game Flashback: One time we rented a dinosaur-themed fighting game. G’ovich and I spent a good hour or so playing it, trying to figure out the special moves with no luck. Our game-play was interrupted by my having to head to class; when I returned, I was immediately greeted by G’ovich with an invitation to play again, said invitation accompanied a look of faux innocence which practically dripped Eeeeeeeeevil. Sure enough, while I was out The Doc had deciphered the mysteries of the special moves, and gleefully demolished me for several round before finally growing bored of his utter domination through special moves and passing on the secrets, so that he could then utterly dominate on a more level playing field.

Good times, good times.

I also enjoy your basic side-scroller games, if for no other reason than most of the older ones take all the guesswork out of the "which way should I go" decision making process, as a quick game of Super Mario Bros. on PigPen's trusty old Nintendo reminded me. It was kind of strange playing SMB, which I probably haven't played in over a decade: most of my game playing skills were rusty (many, many jumping mishaps), but it was amazing how many of the easter eggs I remembered on those early levels. Guess it's just like riding a bike . . . an analogy that would mean much more to me if I ever actually learned how to ride a bike, but that's a totally different blog post.

*Comic book reference