When I was a lad and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) was the pinnacle of modern gaming, I was hooked. I could spend all night playing games and many was the time that I’d watch the sunrise knowing that I hadn’t been to bed but I had at least gotten on to level 10 of whatever game I’d been playing. I’d get home, play, stop to eat, then play some more. It was all-consuming and fun. But it was highly detrimental to my dealings with the opposite sex (what I hadn’t learned then was that I’d never be any good with women, I was still young and hormone driven).
So eventually I managed to quit. I found sport instead and decided not to play games any more. That was until Quake, Quake 2 and then Quake 3. There was nothing better than killing my work colleagues with a rail gun or more frustrating than how good Jon was with a rocket launcher (incredible, he could move so fast and shoot so accurately). Once that got banned so that we could actually get some work done we stopped playing and I was free again of the gaming demon.
But over the last few months I’d started to waver. I was seeing adverts for amazing games. Games that were light-years ahead of what I used to play. Games so realistic that they boggled the mind. So I thought to myself “if only they’d had these games when I was younger”. But eventually I cracked. I’d seen the advert for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on the tv and it hooked me in two ways:
It played a quality song from the 80’s by “Flock of Seagulls”.
The game looked awesome.
I must confess that I bought the original Grand Theft Auto for the PC years ago (written by some guys from Dundee I believe) and really enjoyed the immoral nature of stealing cars, murdering innocent people and killing cops. Then nicking the cop’s car and running over some more people. Then jumping out and firing a rocket at the car to kill even more people… You get the drift – being a bad guy but not in the real world where a lengthy prison term is what awaits you at the end.
So I checked the web and realised that it was getting rave reviews. One of my friends had the game and said it was brilliant, another got it for Christmas and said the same. So I bit the bullet, went out and bought a Playstation 2 along with the aforementioned Vice City game. And I’ll tell you this. It’s fantastic. I really do walk around the streets of Yorkshire looking for large pink arrows pointing down at things that I’m supposed to steal. The joy of taking a sniper rifle and shooting the heads off cops. Then shooting down the SWAT team helicopter… You get the point. It’s a lot of fun.
Luckily, my good lady won’t let me play until 5am. The sound of her calling “come to bed” somehow makes helping the Cubans to kill Haitians and vice-versa a bit less appealing. But I’m still hooked just like the old days. I get highly frustrated trying to complete a mission but getting killed just before I get there, having to try again and again. I’m glad those controllers are tough as I suspect they get thrown around a lot (not by me – but it’s been a close call a couple of times). Still, with it being winter time and the sun setting before I get home from work, it’s something to do that… No, stop. I’m trying to justify playing with some eloquent speech about how it’s a worthwhile thing to do. It’s not. It’s just pure, unadulterated fun. And I’m not too old (in fact I’m right in their target demographic group). So if you’re considering getting a console, then do it! Unless you want a life that is or you think it will turn you into a killer (yeah right)…
I fell into the same trap a few months ago, John. I saw some screen shots of Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II for the GameCube on the BBC site and I had to have it! After several months I got bored with that and then bought Burnout, which seems to be regarded as a rather average arcade driving game but which I love to bits! It just feels so fast. I’ve just completed it, so I may have to indulge in another game again soon. They are addictive and the development of my blog has suffered as a result, so there’s a salutary lesson there, erm…somewhere.
Oh and I can’t forgive your use of the word gotten near the start of the article. You’re not a Yank! 😉
“John, come to bed!” “I’ll be there in a minute, just let me finish shagging this hooker!” 🙂
(At least, I hope that’s the game where you pick up hookers, or else my comment would seem highly inappropriate.)
“It played a quality song from the 80’s by ‘Flock of Seagulls’ ” – I can see three things wrong with that sentence.
I didn’t realise gotten was an Americanism. I shall henceforth cease the use of that word on my site. And maybe my playing on the PS2 to the detriment of the blog is doing the world a favour…
And the song in question, i ran is a classic piece of 80’s music (I can see the buffon hairdos already) – I don’t know what you mean!
…couldn’t get away…bernt bernt ber-ber-ber-bernt, bernt bern-bern-ber…
I didn’t realize “gotten” was an American thing, either. I usually hear, “I gots”. Maybe that’s just because I spend all of my time with a three-year-old, but I’m sure Andy’s used “gotten”.
And don’t stop your blog – over the holidays I remarked to Andy, “You know, I really miss John”. I won’t tell you his reply, as he’s forbidden me from posting our conversations…let’s just say he missed you, too. 😉
Thanks. That compliment will keep me in a good mood for days, possibly weeks!
The SNES was never the pinacle of gaming. The Mega Drive was always better. 🙂
But I was never interested in Sonic the Hedgehog. Although I did like the way he used to tap his foot impetuously when he was standing around.
I did the same thing just before Christmas and felt a sense of pride at completing Tiger Woods golf. There’s no substitute for a real life but PS2’s fill the gaps nicely.
Do you have any opinion on the link between computer games and real life? Just asking because since getting the Getaway I’ve had a strange desire to drive into those yellow and white traffic bollards with the blue arrows to see if they bounce like in the game. If anyone’s tried it can you share the secret. Isn’t it a common dream to be in a situation where you can drive as recklessly as you like and not suffer consequence?
I’d have to agree. I drove past a police car this evening and a voice in my head dared me to ram it and get them to chase me. Luckily it’s a pretty quiet voice so I didn’t act on it. But the voice has become louder since I got the PS2…
im addicted to TV yo i just cant stop watching it. Its ruining my life becouse my grades are dropping and when im watching tv i dont seem to care but when i get up every morning i remember homework and im like crap i didnt do it i need help! I need to stop being addicted to tv