First, a little back story: those readers who are over the age of about 22 may remember the ancient times, when video games roamed the land in packs, called “arcades” (pack of dogs, herd of cows, mob of crows, arcade of video games, etc.) They were much larger than they are now (so take that, you crazy people who don’t believe in evolution!) and they were slower, much more rudimentary. You could easily fool one of these prehistoric video games with the well-placed hand jive or a bottle cap.
This was my time. I would spend hours with an arcade of video games that had settled down near my work, and I would play with ones called Tron or Crossbow, but probably my favorite was a quirky little member of the tribe that was called “Rampage” Rampage was a very social game; liked to play with two or three kids at a time (as opposed to the more skittish, easily spooked games like the Pac Men who required you to approach carefully and only interact 1-on-1) and Rampage loved noise and high energy! Oh yes, I used to play with Rampage often, but then slowly the arcades of video games became more and more scarce. Now you’ll find some arcades in refuges built either in the corner of a shopping mall or pizza parlor, but they’re practically extinct. There are newer, faster, much more sophisticated, domesticated video games, used to living in a home with a family which loves it. But I never found one that I could really warm up to. This new evolution, called “game systems”, is just too flashy for me, and tends to thrive on really aggressive play, like Halo. Not my thing.
So I’ve lived without the companionship of a video game for years, watching as various new species hit the market but not terribly impressed. Thus endeth the backeth story. Eth.
OK, so the most biggest party our family does each year is not Christmas. It’s not New Years. It’s not July the 4th. It’s my Dad’s birthday. Early January, right after all the other holidays and about when you’d think that nobody wants to do any more partying, and yet it’s the biggest blow-out of the year. I don’t even know for sure how he does that, and in a classic example of the Coming of Age rite of passage where a child wants to surpass their parent, I think each year that I want to top it. But I don’t even get CLOSE.
One of the examples of the excellence of his party is that it is invariably the longest day of the year for many of us. People stay at his party much, much later than they stay at any other party.
For instance, this year I was rushing home, racing the sun, just wanting to be in bed (not even asleep, mind you – just not standing up!) before the sun was actually lighting the world. I just BARELY made it. Then I had close to 5 hours of sleep with hourly check-ins from the kitties – “getting up now? Now? How about now? You know the sun is all up and stuff, right? Would it help at all if one or both of us were to stick our cold noses in your eye? And again? And again? Is this helping?...” – finally culminating in my getting up around noon and sitting on the couch staring at the front yard. For an hour.
So what would I have been DOING until 7am? Playing with the Wii! And what was I playing? RAMPAGE, BABY!
Yes, I admit that after years of shunning all this new-fangled technology I may have finally found a way of playing with video games that I can get BEHIND! Even better than my ancient Rampage, with the punching of buildings and kicking of cars with my little joystick. Now if I would like to, say, utterly crush a fleeing fire engine I bring my fist down with vicious fury! If I want to scoop up some hapless SWAT guy I don’t just nudge a timid little controller – I swing my arm into their midst and there I am nom-nom-nomming that guy! Nom-Nom-NOMMING! To DEATH! So excited was my little nephew that he would literally vibrate across the floor, invariably ending up standing right in front of me.
You may ask “do you have to stand to play the game?” Why no, you don’t have to. And by practically dawn I admit I’d plopped down in a chair for my destructive flurry. But when you’re in the throws you just feel like you can’t sit down. Who sits down to completely and utterly wipe the city of Dallas, Texas from the map??? (no offense to Dallas – we also wiped out San Francisco, Las Vegas and London. Our destructive wake was international, y’all!)
So there was I, along w/ my aunt who we'll call Ruby (after her favorite monster), at 5:45am, putting the finishing destructive touches on a bank, a parking garage and two honkytonks in Dallas, and completely oblivious to the time. Having TOO MUCH FUN. But that’s my idea of the kind of thing to lose track of. Give me an entire night of too much fun over too much sleep any time!
(what happened between 6am and 7am? Oh, just a little drama-infused surgery is all. Wii!!!!)