« Today's Activities | Main | More Games »

November 24, 2000

Games and Me

Way back when I first met Jean, we were of course both poor college students (or in my case, poor college dropout "qbullet.smiley"). We'd go see a movie occasionally, for which I'd dig into my old stock of albums and sell a few. Eventually I ran out of albums, but by that time, Jean realized I was serious about her "qbullet.smiley".

One of the other things we used to do for entertainment was to each take five dollars, go to the game arcade and buy as many tokens as that would fetch, then play games until the tokens ran out. As we got better, the tokens lasted longer. Jean and I played more games of Zaxxon than I care to remember.

When we became more financially secure, we bought a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, or SNES. We had some Mario game, Donkey Kong Country, and my Ranma 1/2 fighting game. Jean played DKC all the time, until she quit because she realized just how much time she was sinking into it. When she got pregnant, I bought her a Sega Gamegear (color handheld game system) to play at the hospital, but of course she wasn't in any real mood to do it.

So the arcade games faded into the past, and the consoles went into the closet. As I got older and my reflexes got rustier, I played fewer games of this type. Instead, I've gotten more into Web design, software engineering, trolling the Internet, and so on. When I did play regular computer games, they tended not to be shooters like Doom, but strategy games like Warcraft. But even those held my attention less than learning a new programming paradigm, like functional programming.

As I've been hanging out with some friends at "NOVA", they have shown me all their neat games, and the cool new game consoles that have been coming out, such as the Sega Dreamcast. It was when they showed me the game "Bust A Move" on the Dreamcast, that I began to think that there might be hope for gaming after all.

The game is a dance competition, either between two players or the player and the computer. The computer shows on the screen what dance moves you must do, and the player who keeps closest gains points. When you are winning, your image shows up on the Jumbotron behind the dance stage. Eventually a winner is decided, and that player gets to do a solo freestyle dance.

This was just so much fun that I decided that game consoles might be worth something after all. I found out that Sony was coming out with a next-generation game console called the Playstation 2, or PS2. When I heard that it would also play DVDs, I resolved to get one. The release date recently arrived, and all the units sold out immediately. You can't get one, and might have to wait until Spring.

That's when I started thinking that I'd buy a PS One and use it to try out a few games before the PS2 was available again. But in the back of my mind, a PS1 wasn't worth it unless it gave value to Kelly too, who is having a blast whooping me on the SNES playing the Ranma 1/2 game. So when I took her to Fry's today, I playtested her on the PS1. She obviously enjoyed the idea, but just as clearly was overwhelmed by the complex controller and confusing action. So I've resolved to hold off on getting a console until the PS2 is easier to get. Then the first game I'm gonna buy is "Bust A Move" "qbullet.smiley".

Posted by dpwakefield at November 24, 2000 09:20 PM