Friday, June 22, 2007

Game Addictions, Part I

My video gaming began a long time ago. I am the youngest of 8, and as such was raised by television, video games, ON TV (the precursor to cable in my hometown), books and whatever trouble I could get into otherwise. Some of you late to last children of a brood can relate to this.

I was around the age of 6 or 7 when my parents picked up a new Commodore Vic-20. This union signaled the end of any work ethic I ever might have known in my life. In the subsequent 20+ years I've played a lot of games, some of which I'm ashamed to admit I played as much as I did.

Platform: PC
Title: Diablo II
Time: Over a year

I played it, I beat it, I bought the LoD expansion, I trolled The Arreat Summit site for updates and strategies, I read several forums, I downloaded mods, I was in guilds, and in general, my interest just went on far far longer than it should have for a game with this little depth. I even may have called in sick to work once so I could keep trying to get elite items, which I'm equally ashamed to report that I never managed in all that time. DIII has been announced, however, and that purchase will truly be the triumph of hope over experience...

Platform: C-64
Title: David's Midnight Magic
Time: At least 4 months straight.

This is a pinball game. No extra screens, no hidden extra anything, only one way to get a score multiplier, three flippers and you. And yet I think I played it for full-time job hours with overtime and weekends for an entire summer plus the majority of my free time otherwise for many more weeks. I picked up an emulator recently to see if I could explain why it was gaming crack for me for so long. I couldn't. It's probably connected to the reason that I thought Battle Of The Planets and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors were good shows, however.

Platform: C-64
Title: Zork I
Time: Months.

I didn't play Zork steadily because I never made it far into the basement of the house before I was either eaten by a grue or my lamp died and I was eaten by a grue. Total gameplay time before I died was never more than about 5-10 minutes. I would play until I got fed up with the fact that the grues were never full, then would leave it alone for days until I'd forgotten my frustration with it, then I'd play it for another hour, get homicidal, rinse, repeat.

Platform: PC
Title: Civilization I, II, III, Alpha Centauri
Time: Days at a time, many times over.
I start playing at a decent hour, say 10 AM on a Saturday. I get to a point where I think I should take a break and it's suddenly 6:30 PM. I decide to play just one more turn, because I've almost got that wonder. Then it's 10PM and my eyes hurt from not blinking for 12 straight hours. I haven't started another game since buying Alpha Centauri because this happens with every version, it turns out.

Platform: Coin-op
Title: Gauntlet I
Time: 6 hours on one quarter.
I discovered that the 7-11 in my neighborhood had a Gauntlet game that they had on a setting where you could play as long as you wanted if you played carefully. During the break in my first exam week in high school I spent a lot of hours playing Gauntlet, including one game I played for 6 hours straight before selling it to a neighborhood kid for $0.75. Don't think I've actually played it in the 18 or so years since then, come to think of it.

Experiments in Lunch, Part I

Date: June 22, 1:55 PM
Place: Work.
Lunch: Life Choices Chicken & Bean Burrito Melt
Cost: About $1.50 Cdn.
Expectations: Disturbingly low.

The package indicates that the burrito is made of 86% organic ingredients, and the 86% is in green, so I know I'm doing my part for the environment. I also can't help but wonder what manner of sawdust and coagulant comprises that other 14%...

The burrito came with me to work frozen, but had the opportunity over the 6 or so hours I've been here to thaw a bit. A collective 3 minutes in the microwave was enough to make a lunchroom-sized burrito smell that hopefully will clear out over the weekend. It looks exactly like the kind of thing you'd see for sale at a gas station or a 7-11, which isn't helping morale a great deal. However, hunger and morbid curiosity must be satisfied, and you're obviously enough of a masochist to have read this far, so let's keep going.

First bite: Surprisingly tasty, despite my having dried out the outer "tortilla" in the microwave. I used quotes there because I'm still kinda wondering what and where that 14% is. I'm tasting cheese, beans, what I'm hoping is rice and the tortilla. Maybe the chicken is in the middle.

Halfway through there's no frightening aftertaste, the burrito is still warm inside and I'm finding myself somewhat won over to the potential of this foodstuff. Who knows, maybe the 14% is the plastic wrap it came in. Except for the green lettering on it, of course, which we all know is made of material so biodegradable you can't expose it to direct sunlight.

I can't help but notice that I have yet to taste chicken in this burrito. I know my palate is somewhat less than refined, but when it's billed as "chicken and bean", you tend to expect to see some of the stuff that got first billing. Maybe it brushed up against a chicken in the organic burrito factory, who knows.

Overall, and keeping in mind that my standards for success here were very low, I must say that I find myself quite pleased with this burrito. It's obviously not going to be served at your finer steakhouses in the near future, I'd still like chicken flavour to have made an appearance, but easily worth the cost of your finer K-D-esque dining experiences.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Frist Post!

Okay, here's the deal:

I write about the stuff that's going on in my head, and some of it will be published. This includes, and is not limited to the following:

-General nerdery, computery and my fascination with electronic blinkery.
-Video games I'm playing or reminiscing about.
-Discussion about sports.
-Observations and connections to obscure references that run the risk of entertaining some.
-Puddle-depth analysis of current events. This analysis will be horribly biased, so be warned that if you end up learning anything, it was entirely unintentional and shouldn't be held against me.
-Rantings about Intarweb illiteracy. My grammar isn't perfect, my spelling less so, but this is my soap box. You wanna rant, you get your own soap box.

One final disclaimer: This blog and it's content is worth exactly what you're paying for it, and if you don't like it, I promise double your money back!

All of that being said, welcome.

Let the rantings begin.