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.

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