When the Game Starts Playing You  

I want to get serious for a moment here, guys.




OK, now that I've gotten that out of my system, I'd like to flip a bitch and chat about something on the opposite end of the serious spectrum -- video games. Now if you're anything like me, a good deal of your formative years were spent basking in the dull glow of jumping plumbers and bionic mercenaries. Well, recently I sacrificed the bulk of a weekend for the greater good of transforming my old Xbox into a retro gaming machine. There were a few hiccups along the way, but what I was left with is nothing short of the old school gamer's promised land. I now own and am able to play essentially every (US) title ever for the NES, Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and have a ton of working titles for the Nintendo 64 and original PlayStation as well. Excuse me while I high five my 11-year-old self for the 1,000th time. While I'm at it, I'd also like to debunk the following:

Screw you, kid. I got more game(s) than your Zack Morris-looking ass could ever dream of. You're still a better dresser though.

As it turns out, however, there is a pretty serious side effect that comes with the not so serious pursuit of reliving your 8-bit glory days. With (literally) thousands of games at one's disposal, it becomes all too easy to spend the bulk of your free time attempting to indulge in them all. Accomplishments that spanned years are being crammed into sweaty Red Bull-fueled all-nighters. When you do sleep, your dreams are pixelated and set to the soundtrack of Zelda II. You pretty much become the living dead, and not the sweet ass kind like from Altered Beast, I'm talking about the single-minded, I'll shower just as soon as I defeat the Mother Brain kind.

Thankfully, like most junkies I was side-swiped by a moment of clarity at the intersection of shameful behavior and self-awareness. About a week ago my daughter wandered blurry-eyed into the living room at 1am, only to find me dry humping a pillow in celebration of completing my childhood nemesis, The Astyanax. "What are you doing?" she asked, in obvious reference to my current actions, but the question took on a much wider meaning for me. Since then I've sobered up and found a happy medium between enjoying myself, and turning into a 30-year-old version of this kid. All that's left now is to shake this 6 pack/day Yoo-Hoo habit.

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17 Reasons to Live

  • Fat Sparrow  
    January 13, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    Oh, custom! Damn, I can't remember the name of that game from my Atari 5200, was that Super Break-Out? I rocked at that.

    Sadly, the only game console I own is the original PlayStation; yes I do love Spyro.

    The Ex appropriated all the other games for the PS. I'm pretty sure the only reason he did is because I could kick his ass at all of them.

  • Melanie's Randomness  
    January 13, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    Omg I envy your gaming promise land!!!! It's so disorienting going from PS3 to my NES, but I still play the original Castlevania. Yeahhh i feel a lil wishy washy after playing my video games for a lot of hours. I love the Thank u Jay message. I think I need that on my refrigerator.

  • Anonymous  
    January 13, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    My husband could go weeks without showering anytime there's a new Call of Duty game out.

  • Clark Kent's Lunchbox  
    January 13, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    There needs to be a support group. I got three new games for Christmas... of course I'd play them a helluva a lot more if my wife didn't hog up the Wii until 1 am every night.

  • Shannon  
    January 13, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    I've never been so envious of anything in my life.

  • carissajade  
    January 13, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    I haven't ever been much of a gamer, but I do love me some Super Mario Bros. I spent the weekend playing the new Wii version of the old version.. I forget what it was called, but it was a little weird seeing mario go so slow. And I think hes gained a bit of weight from the olden days!

  • Jeff  
    January 13, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    damn i just got caught up in zelda link to the past this last weekend again. for a couple hours i was happy, and then i became sad.

  • Ed Adams  
    January 13, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    Wait. How the eff did you do all that? That's some serious hardware rewiring or something. I bow to your geekiness.

  • James  
    January 13, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Nice work my friend.

    But what is your daughter doing in bed at 1 AM? Shouldn't she be up learning the finer points of being Player 2 in Rush n' Attack, Super Contra, Bubble Bobble, etc.?

  • Steam Me Up, Kid  
    January 14, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    Can you play the old Super Mario Bros where you jump on the mushroom and it sticks and keeps bleeping and you get like infinity extra lives?

    Wait...is that the mushroom princess down there?

    Did I just make that up? Mushroom princess? I should maybe go to sleep.

  • Ryan  
    January 14, 2010 at 6:05 AM

    I'm moving in with your family and I am not leaving until we beat Rygar.

  • Mandy's Kidding  
    January 14, 2010 at 6:53 AM

    I finally broke down and bought my son a Wii. The glazed over look he gets in his eyes as he kills everything in site on Lego Star Wars concerns me a bit. I don't know what sort of beast I have unleashed.

  • Moooooog35  
    January 14, 2010 at 7:03 AM

    When you figure out how to get Megamania working, I'm in.

  • Phronk  
    January 14, 2010 at 7:04 AM

    Sounded like the perfect life up until the end there.

    I've been playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii too, and it brings back that old feeling of frustration that only 8-bit games had. Especially when the person you're playing with jumps at the wrong time and makes you fall in the fucking pit over and over.

    But yeah, games are too easy these days. Makes it much less dry-hump worthy when you beat a level.

  • Brutalism  
    January 14, 2010 at 8:23 AM

    My dad worked for Atari back in its heyday and even though we had a zillion Atari games (remember how awesome those graphics were circa '84?) I was never that into them. I'm a loser. And not just because the kid in the poster dresses better than me, too.

  • Toe  
    January 14, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    Dang, I just through all of our old Nintendo and Sega genesis games away! Not knowing I could bring back the wonderfulness that is Super Mario Bros. 3. I loved that game.

  • McLean  
    January 20, 2010 at 7:49 AM


    in an internet cafe no less!!

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