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Thursday, February 26, 2009


A little confession: While I enjoy using computers, I’ve never been much for video games.

It’s not as if I’ve never played them. I’m sure I spent part of one Christmas playing the Pong with my niece when my brother got it for her. Yes, Pong--something so archaic and antique that many people return a blank stare at the mention of it. Something that we actually played on a black-and-white, portable desktop TV that didn’t even have a remote. It was nothing so sophisticated as the games people play today.

And I used to play some arcade games back in the days when my high-school classmates and I practically lived in bars. I can remember actually getting semi-decent at Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, and Centipede. (Which is ironic, as I hate actual centipedes--ECCH!) I can’t tell you the last time I even saw one of the above.

None of these, I’m sure, have any of the sophistication of the video and computer games that people play today, which are totally terra incognita to me. Today, kids actually carry video gaming systems like the Nintendo in their pockets. Another of my nieces has one. And they have all kinds of peripherals and add-ons that are as esoteric to me as the games themselves. I don’t know why I’ve never gotten into them. I am a science fiction lover, after all, and there’s a lot of SF content in these things. Perhaps it’s just because I’m not normally that competitive a person. (I say “normally” because sometimes when I see someone doing something that I’m good at, I have a strange compulsion to demonstrate that I’m just as good. A particular thing just has to hit me in the right way to bring out that side of my personality. Otherwise, I’m not a naturally “Type A” personality, not a natural aggressor, and that makes a difference when it comes to competition.)

I’m sure the pinnacle of video gaming sophistication today would be the Nintendo Wii, which you play at home on your TV--just like my niece’s primitive old Pong. I’ve seen the advertisements for these things. It appears you can do just about anything on them. It’s like a two-dimensional forerunner of Star Trek’s Holodeck. One of these days I’ll probably encounter a Wii at someone’s home. It’s probably not the kind of thing I’d buy for myself, but it actually looks like fun. And maybe I’ll give it a try--especially if one of its programs is something I’m good at, and it hits that particular side of my personality in exactly the right way. Otherwise, I’ll probably just hold out for the real Holodeck. I’m sure someone is working on it now.

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