Friday, August 29, 2008


A long time ago, video games used to be different than they are now. It used to be hard--really actually hard--to get to the end. Nowadays, the total length of a game is included in the review, or the summaries, of the game in much the same way as the length of a movie. Everyone is expected to play the game from beginning to end. But it didn't used to be that way.

Back in the NES days, the point of video games wasn't to follow the story, or to play with tons of people around the world, or even your friend across town. The graphics were serviceable--and every iteration would be marveled at--but really the graphics were nothing to look at. The games were inherently fun. There was a little score bar at the top right hand corner of the screen, and that was the point of the game. Most people would never "beat" most of the games they bought. They wre hard, and the point wasn't to win. It was to play.

If you died, usually you got another life. You usually got 3 lives. When you lost one of the lives, you had to start the level you died in over. When you lost all three of your lives, you lost the game. But wait! You still had your continues. Now, your score goes all the way back down to 0, but you get to keep on playing from where you left off. You get three continues. But then, that's it.

Once you've used up your three continues, you have to start all over again from the beginning of the game. That was always the part that I didn't like.

I wanted to keep playing, but I didn't want to have to deal with all that easy bit in the beginning. I already did that bit. It's no longer fun. It's just the work I would have to put in to get to the bit that I was up to now. And it isn't always easy. Not only do I have to do it again, but I have to do it well. Better than I did it before, cuz otherwise I won't be able to advance any farther than I already did. So I would be faced with wanting to continue a game that I liked, but nob wanting to have to put in all of the workt to get to the new and interesting parts... Or even the part that was old and hard and I had died on previously, but wanted to try again at.

Sometimes I would put in the game and try from the beginning, but eventually I would get bored of it. Of playing that same part over and over. I didn't want to start from the beginning. I didn't want to do all that grunt work over. Limited Continues was a pain in the ass.

Now I'm gonna make the parallel to relationships. The beginning of relationships is fun. It's all full of getting to know each other and all that stuff. It's new and exciting. Everything goes well in the beginning. It's not till a few months, or maybe just one, that it becomes sort of a real relationship. That's when the "honeymoon period" ends, and maybe you have your first fight. Now you aren't getting to know each other anymore. Now you know each other and you're learning how to live with each other. (not necessarily, and hopefully not so quickly, actually sharing a home... Just deal with the stuff that isn't perfect like it seemed until now) This is the part where it starts to become a real relationship. You've gotten past the first couple easy levels, and now you're starting to lose a few lives. Maybe even waste a continue.

But that initial phase is the bit that scares me at the moment. Sure, it's great when it's currently happening, but I'm more interested in the part where I'm starting to lose some lives. That bit that I haven't been able to get past so far.

I'm not at the point where I'm giving up on the game entirely, and ready to trade it in at Gamestop or anything. Once I'm actually playing it I'm sre it's gonna be fun again. It's just hard to find the motivation to load up the cart knowing I've gotta start all over again.

Of course, with me, all of my relationships have started more organically, and by the time I realized I was playing I was already up to the second level... Past that first level which was really just a glorified tutorial. But I'm not in a place now where I think that sort of organic beginning is likely to occur. I've gotta actually go out and by the game this time. No friend is going to be bringing it over, and I'm not just going to stumble across it in a video arcade.

I've never done the classic dating thing before... I guess it really never seemed like a real thing to me. Just sort of the thing that happens in movies and on TV, but not so much in real life. I guess I'll find out, though. (man this line is cheesy....) There's a new game coming out that I'd like to try.

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