The Christmas holidays are a great time to spend with family and friends, as well as others in the return line at your local retail store — people who would kill you with a shard of glass just to move up one spot in the “Eternal Line of Returns.” The line extends from the store counter to somewhere in central Montana.
Take that and amplify it 50 times and you have the return line at the local electronic games store.
You know those games the kids play, such as “Navy Seals” or other shooter games where they team up and play other people online (“other people” meaning 40-year-old guys who still live with mom)? Well, if you want to see what those 40-year-olds look like, go to the electronic game store on Dec. 26.
They’re easy to spot. Look for the guys 40 pounds overweight, with skin texture that appears similar to a large squid. Secondly, listen. They speak a language unknown to man, but known to the electronic store employee who, in all fairness, has to know the language — though some look like they knew it all along and will be moving in with mom come their late 30’s.
I’m not mocking them from the outside. No indeed! Santa brought me a new PS3 after I convinced Detective Sandy to tell Santa that Blu-ray was really cool, which it is. However, I had a second agenda. I like video games, especially the Madden Football and other sports games that I’m terrible at.
I have the PS2 in my man-cave at home and have enjoyed building baseball and football dynasties horrible enough to make Arthur Blank cringe and start looking for my replacement after three games into the season. My football and baseball dynasties have an impressive record of somewhere around 3-789. The computer has fired me so many times the software company offered me half off on a new game called “Getting a Life.”
I created a team that lost and then, if losing on the team wasn’t enough, I then created a baseball player who begins a career so bad that the only teams now interested in signing him are the Tijuana Meth Queens and the Wankdorf Fighting Salamanders. Hardly a career stellar enough to justify my player named “Rocky Savage!”
While standing in line trying not to look like a 50-something living with mom, I listened to a couple of moms who were also standing in the Eternal Line of Return, discussing in great detail whether or not their kids were affected by playing violent video games:
Buffy: “I’m not convinced they do create violent tendencies. I think it’s all spun up by a bunch of psychologists who think it’s the same thing as Ozzie Osborne influencing kids to worship Satan, or Dan Fogelberg turning us all into passive twits in the ‘70s. Bobby is the same kid he’s always been.”
Isabella: “Well, I’m glad to hear that. How’s Bobby doing?”
Buffy: “He’s fine. Last week they moved him from solitary back to the general prison population.”
As far as shooting games, I didn’t do well on the first-shooter games because I got shot. At least the enemy could let me run around for while until I get shot! Every time I invaded the beach, I fell off the boat and drowned or got lost! How do you get lost invading the beach? I ran around until I ended up in a gun bunker — with the wrong guys. Just as I was saying, “Hey, how come my uniform is different than yours?” — I got shot.
My brother, a huge Dan Fogelberg fan, and also a rookie to the first-shooter games, complains he gets killed because his soldier is just dumb — and apparently deaf.
He’s OK until he gets to a building and then, repeatedly, gets lost. So, while looking out a window to figure out where the heck he is, an enemy soldier sneaks up from behind, has lunch, smokes ‘em if he has ‘em, and then stabs him since the enemy doesn’t want to waste a bullet on a passive twit from the ‘70s.
He said the only time he can progress in the game, apparently, is when the enemy guys, who live with their mothers, break for a snack.
I suggested we face off against each other online and duel to the death. It didn’t work out. We got lost and never found each other. I assume we died, somewhere in Normandy, of old age.
For a change of pace, I tried “Grand Theft Auto.” I don’t even know what the goal of the game is. I just like to wreck the cars. I found it therapeutic — except the part where I got beat up by the hookers. I think I angered them when I cranked up the Dan Fogelberg 8-track in my stolen Ford Fairmont.
My virtual military, sports and thug careers have not done well at all. I’d like to say something like, “Well, this means that I’m a man who likes reality and not some stupid video game, so this only means that I’m well adjusted to life!” The fact is I have that need for a winning football dynasty, or to be able to attack the beach without falling down and getting run over by my own tank, or getting beat up by a squad of hookers!
Maybe I should go back to the basics and the mother of all games: NFL Electric Football!
“You idiot! Why are you running in circles??!! The ($&^*#@) goal line is over there !!!!