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)…