I don’t often talk about gaming. Truth be told, I don’t even play many computer games these days. Despite being an ex-IT employee (a tech, if you must know) I was never really passionate about that kind of geekery. I still like getting my head around new tech, mobile technology is actually at the forefront of that these days, but I never had a huge passion for it and even less so for video games, so I can’t even claim to be speak as an authority on this subject, really.
Don’t get me wrong, I still played them a lot when I was younger. I still like getting enthralled in a game and such, but I can’t claim to call myself much of a gamer. Perhaps once or twice a year will I actually play a game to completion. What’s more is that my flatmate has an awesome media setup. When my appetite for technology wasn’t as dull as it was now, say two years ago, I’d have killed a man to play any game on a proper media centre; 5.1 surround sounds through a kick ass amp, expensive cables, HD TV etc, but now, not so much. I do get a slight thrill out of it just not to the same extent as I used to when I was younger.
It’d seem that all those years working in IT have served to lessen, not deepen, my appreciation for tech and video games. If anything, my true geekiness lies with music, the playing of it, the listening and the appreciation for its technicality and theory.
Anyway, to contradict this, the only kind of experience I relish playing video games in now is a social environment. I’m not talking about online multiplayer’s here (this is a whole other discussion for a whole other day), rather, the kind of experience of having 2 or 3 people in the same room screaming and swearing at each other. Y’know, cracking jokes and just generally ripping one another to shreds. It’s that kind of experience that is ultimately more satisfying for me. Recently it’s been Worms 2: Armageddon, Modern Warfare 2, Lara Croft: Guardian of Light, Wario Ware and Mario Kart.
There is a point to all this.
I had a friend over earlier and we played a few video games. We go back a long way, him and I, having attended the same school together. This means that we’ve played video games together for almost ten years.
Hands up who remembers The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords on the GameCube? Y’know, the one where you had to plug in your Gameboy Advance to play it properly? Well, the point of this blog is to tell a story relating to that exact game, and this exact man.
The details are hazy. It was after college one day and we’d been pretty hooked on this for some time. Usually it was just him and I playing, occasionally we’d have a third player but most of the time it was just us two.
I fucking suck at multiplayer games. I’ve no idea why, perhaps I don’t have that competitive edge or I guess I just find it really difficult to focus when I know I have someone else watching me but this time was different. I was kicking all sorts of ass and I had far more force gems than he did (force gems: like rings in Sonic, or coins in Mario).
We always had a “gentleman’s agreement” that when one of us died, because the other player dropped all their force gems, we wouldn’t pick them up. The agreement never lasted that long, but in this particular round we’d managed to stick to it.
Yes, all of my lives had run out and all of my lovely force gems were dropped. Now, they weren’t dropped in the sense that there was loads scattered all about this place, oh no. I had over a thousand and the currency was dropped as one, big, fuck off green force gem. It’s emerald green aura emitting a perfect high score.
Look at it. Absolute quality. The sign of a top class athlete on top of his game.
Naturally he stole it. Drawn to its size, the wealth contained therein and, of course, the comedic value of stealing such a commodity, he walked right over to it and collected it.
The unchecked rage of a thousand ages flooded forth from my body. Expletives long and short were uttered. Incantations from an unholy bible were spewed forth, cursing him, damning his soul to a fiery hell. I had become conduit for pure anger. He had become the Ganandorf to my Link, the Darth Vader to my Luke Skywalker, the Bennett to my John Matrix.
On reflection it was fucking hilarious.
For a fleeting moment it crossed my mind to choke him. To wring his neck so hard that his ginger head just bobbed back and forth as he gasped for air.
But instead I just flipped him off for the rest of the game. A single, solitary middle finger raised up to salute his awful, bewildering, greedy yet frankly genius, betrayal.
Things haven’t been the same since. All in the spirit of things though, he will never live this down and now he never can, as it is on the internets for all the world to see. The eyes cannot unsee what has been seen.
I still like to think he wakes up in cold sweats in the middle of the night, feeling my presence over him, pillow poised to snuff his lights out.
I’m over it now.