Some of my favorite video games are almost entirely peaceful. In fact, my favorite Tex Murphy games (that I keep going on and on about – should get embarrassing any day now) don’t have you shoot anyone – although the first two games, Mean Streets and Martian Memorandum, allowed Tex to wield a gun, and I don’t think the second game had you shoot a person. Though you do have to shoot a snake. Hey, self-defense, man.
For as long as I can remember, shooting has been a part of video games. Some of the first games I adored on the TI-99/4A Home Computer were space shooters. Even Mario shoots fireballs. I’m putting aside the phallic nature of the gun, because that’ll just devolve into a wildly unnecessary discussion about penises, and I can only deal with two of those a day. Discussions! Not penises!
The release of Mists of Pandaria has gotten me to thinking about World of Warcraft. I could never get into it – even though practically all of my best friends were playing it for several hours a day, and I think some of them still do. I liked it, sure, it had a humongous world to explore, and leveling up and getting stronger gear is always addicting (damned Skinner box), but I never really saw the point of it all. The longest I ever managed to keep playing was to level 60 (max at the time was 80), and I bought my flying mount, and then I stopped playing. For good. Even though a bunch of people have told me that the game doesn’t even really START until you’ve hit the max level – which makes absolutely NO sense to me.
I think my problem was that the game could never be beaten. Most video games nowadays have a clearly definable end-goal, like “Defeat the evil Zuzywuvuz and save the galaxy!” You reach that goal, and the game’s ending plays, followed by the credits. Simple.
Despite how far they’ve come, there’s still a negative view of video games by non-gamers. Whenever I tell someone that I’m a gamer, no matter how proudly I say it, there’s a look they all get screaming louder than words that they’ve lost some small amount of respect for me.
Why? Why don’t I get the same look when I tell them I read books, or watch movies?
I can’t say I understand it, not anymore. Back when it was a niche thing, something only quote-unquote ‘nerds’ would partake in, it made sense, but some of these people looking down their noses at me are the same people who’ll go home and play Angry Birds on their phone or Just Dance on their Wii.
Aaron faces off against a new enemy — Henry Stanf. That’s not a typo.
CORRECTION: Dropped the ball pretty hard this time. Not only can you skip the intro in the iOS version by double-tapping the screen, but it’s possible to skip the intro in the DOS version by right-clicking with the mouse. Good news is this allows me to make a top 10 f*ck-ups video later on.