I just had a very spicy lentil soup in the little restaurant sitting in the middle of the park next to Uni. That, my friends, was a very long sentence and it reads horrible, makes me sound like some hyperactive illiterate, but that’s the way things work over here, you know? I just type whatever I feel like typing and post it without giving it much thought. I’ve had enough of this over-thinking crap, get used to it.
Having said that, let’s move onto the last back-to-the-past post, shall we?
October 10, 2011
Much to my surprise, moving out was absolutely painless. Maybe it was because I paid 30 quid to put all my stuff in a van and get them delivered to my new place instead of carrying them around myself as I have done in the past. I still managed to forget my whiteboard though, which I’ll need to pick up sometime this week and I hate it because is one of those objects that it’s just too awkward to transport when you’re my height. Too big to easily carry it under my arm, too small for it to be worth of a cab ride; the stupid whiteboard has just the right size to be a pain in the arse.
Besides that minor detail, everything is going down well. Had my second “Principles of Game Design” class today and came to the conclusion that I will need to read tons of books, browse through an absurd amount of websites and watch every single documentary there is to catch up with this industry I’ve been sort of ignoring for the last 20 years, basically because I was too afraid of becoming a video games addict. Sounds silly (and it probably is) but I never trusted my sense of self-control and seeing how many of my friends would spend entire days and nights in front of the telly, clicking arrows and buttons like crazy, was something that I always found a bit overwhelming. I was scared of becoming a junkie, I guess.
However, I tried it a few times and absolutely loved it. I actually remember spending hours in front of my Atari 2600 playing a game called “Phoenix”, you know, the one in which you were a little spaceship with only one mission to accomplish: to kill an army of galactic eagles that moved from side to side while shooting at you harmful dashes that wouldn’t travel exactly fast but somehow managed to hit you quite frequently. I found that strange and exciting at the same time. I was 8 years old.
When I wasn’t playing “Phoenix”, I was trying to figure out what to do on “E.T.”, a game I found extraordinarily frustrating. I could walk to the phone booth, I could make funny noises, I could move my neck up and down, I think I even managed to get my index finger to shine but that was it, I never discovered what you were supposed to do on that one. I would always end up dead no matter what I did, I felt stupid.
Then obviously came Nintendo and with it the classic “Super Mario Bros.”, which I played many times at my friend’s but never mastered it to the point in which I could tick the money boxes, kick all the turtles, eat the magic flowers and jump on the right places without looking at the screen or losing lives. My mates could do that and more in a blink of an eye. They were hardcore. Me, on the other hand… I was never good at this button-pressing rituals. I think that in 3 years I played “Mortal Kombat”, I only managed to deliver one single Fatality: Kitana’s “Kiss of Death”.
I got beated up with my own leg, crushed by a giant hand, had my faced chewed by a lizzard, and was decapitated by a dragon like a thousand times, and the only thing I managed to do was to give my friends a kiss in the forehead.
Give me a fucking break.
When I got tired of playing with a woman, I would pick Kabal and what did I do? Show my enemies my ugly face. That was it. So yeah, I was one of those players who wouldn’t learn all those intricate combos and absolutely hated it those who did. Maybe that’s why I got into PC Games. I have memories of playing “Prince Of Persia” (I knew every single trick there was), “Test Drive”, “BMX” and of course, “Wolfestein 3D”. This is probably my all time favourite. I absolutely loved everything about it: the graphics, the sound of the big machine gun, the posters on the walls, the killing, and the excitement of not knowing where those nazi bastards were gonna come out from. I remember I kept leaning my head to one side every time I reached a corner, as if I could actually peep over the edge of the walls to make sure there was no one in hiding, waiting to put a bullet in my head. It was thrilling.
After Wolf 3D, I would only play that kind of games. “Doom”, “Hectic” and “Quake” (which I got into because of Trent Reznor and NIN) were the ones I dedicated more time to but after a while, I got tired of it and never played them again. That was the end of it all for me. I never bought a Nintendo or a Playstation or an Xbox, I didn’t want to play “Fifa” or “Call of Duty” or “War of Warcraft”, I didn’t ask baby Jesus for any of this in my Christmas letter. Nothing. I was just not interested. That is until I heard of “Rockband”, which at the time seemed to me like nothing but an expensive and very pretentious home karaoke. In any case, I got all excited about it so I waited for one of my friends to buy one to try it myself. It was madness. We would gather every weekend with God knows how many bottles of wine and cans of beers and spend nights rocking our lives away. We even got a smoke machine. I tell you, it got out of control very fast, just as I expected it.
However, between “Doom” and “Rockband” there’s a huge gap in which the videogames industry has managed to produce a massive amount of products, become a medium for creativity unlike any other, develope its own language, shaped popular culture and became a multi-billion dollar business that I’m now trying to understand. It would be impossible to catch up but I’ll do my best to makes sense of whatever I come across with because I find all its complexity totally overwhelming but mind-blowing too. I’m fascinated by the role writers, artists and storytellers play in this industry, I’m curious about the way this business has become so influential on so many different levels and how it’s already shaping the way we consume entertainment.
Speaking of which, I have a couple of “Breaking Bad” episodes sitting on my desktop so, if you don’t mind, I’m off for a little bit of methanphetamine-driven drama while you gossip with your fellow gamers around the world in some Playstation forum about whatever shooting game you’re into now.
I bid you goodnight.