The Winter of My Discontent
Remember back in October and November looking forward to all the games that were coming out in the third quarter? All kinds of discussions were floating around about who’s calling in sick the day after a release or what’s going on a Christmas list. Then the holidays came and it’s constant hustle and bustle – life, school, work, holidays, shopping, parties – the usual thing. Change of the new year, resolutions made that were immediately broken and then…nothing.
It was like the hype of everything, even emails and posts, just diminished. There was a round of emails going around (detailed list with images here) the Games Fiends family asking what everyone was playing. It was a nice reminder we all still were in existence but it quickly died out. I did see a lot of titles going around, including a discussion on The Cave).
So what’s up with winter? Personally speaking, we’ve been dealing with a sload of “too much on the plate” with multiple children in school + their activities, birthdays, holidays and the God forsaken winter illnesses that are the plague of any parental existence. But then, in theory, shouldn’t the games make me happier – an escape – and I’d want to play them and therefore be playing all the time? I know of the winter blues, I’ve seen, heard and lived them. I wasn’t sure I was in the throes of winter blues as I’m not on the systems that frequently and could reason my way out of my normal routines but when I look at others (including my household) and see regular gamers that aren’t gaming as frequently I know something is up.
It’s easy for me, and most people I think, to reason their way out of something through humor and general “not doing”. I’ve got so much going on in this life of mine; I don’t really need to add something else. I’m a list maker and while I don’t need and/or see the satisfaction of crossing some to-do off my list (because that rarely happens) that instead I see this endless list rolling off into infinity of all the things that I have yet to do. That’s a bit overwhelming. I’m a casual gamer, I’ve never hidden that fact. The reasons are two-fold: first, I’m so insanely competitive, even within myself, that not being 100% perfect at a game stressed me the hell out. My husband often suggests the games I like as a mean to help me relax but it literally would do the direct opposite for me. So I’ve removed myself from most serious game play because of health reasons – mostly the health of those around me, not necessarily mine. Second, I had to prioritize. I gots babies (well, youngin’s) and between haus frau activities and parental activities I can’t a) play games that are time-restricted or age-restricted nor can I play them in the way that I’d like to play them (see previous). Ever tried to play a game with kids asking eighty sixty billion questions and pulling on your arm while holding a controller? Yeah. When I play, I’m an intense player. It’s just who I am. I’ve learned to adapt and chill out and the world of iPod Touch apps has rocked my socks during minion acquisition (re: school pick up). When I’m not stalking my teen’s friends on Twitter and Instagram I’m rocking my Angry Birds.
I was lamenting on Facebook on Friday about how my weekends just don’t feel like weekends any more. Being at home all the time and my *ahem* advanced age (as how I’m currently feeling) dictates that I have no life. It was then that my husband told me about an app that our editor, Miss Amy, had passed his way: Nametrix. So I started looking up everyone’s name. I came across my husband’s and it snowballed from there. I posted this to Twitter:
And people started jumping in and having fun with it. While my porn start name was lame, we had a few good submissions –
Though I will say Amy’s took the cake –
It was fun. More fun that I’d had in a long time, I’d realized. I missed having fun.
My mother visited us for the weekend for a short babysitting gig and yesterday we set the kiddos up with Happy Action Theater for the Kinect. Mom had been there back when we had set up and tested the Kinect on Christmas morning a few years ago but I guess she’d forgotten or not realized what the Kinect actually did. She was fascinated. She got up off the couch and was playing with the kids. The kids were into it. She was into. We as parents were into it because they were so into it. She knew I liked the dance games and wanted to know how they worked. I was in all my Sunday morning glory and then some since we’d actually gone out the night before for drinks and dinner with friends (note: Boxcar Willie’s are awesome). She really wanted to see them in action. I really didn’t feel like it. I’d been having mental issues, you see. I still think I look like this –
When I feel like this –
But she was insistent and I do love me some dance games. She really wanted to play them so I busted out Dance Central and put Poker Face on easy. This was a new venture for her; she’d recently spent a month with us after a full knee replacement surgery, she’s got some love handles on her and hey, let’s be real, she’s older. She got up and tried and was failing miserably. We determined that it was because the sensor couldn’t tell through Sunday morning old lady jammies that she was actually doing the moves. She she fixed herself up and was like “let’s try that again.” I went up with her to help show her what to do and we rocked it. She didn’t like her score that much and wanted to try something else. She then says, “Oh, I think I need to have that.” She meant the whole system. She was in love. I showed her Just Dance 4 and we rocked out to Barry White. Then I told her about my Hip Hop Dance Experience one and put that on. I couldn’t believe how freaking fun that game was. I mean I was laughing and we were cheering each other on. The energy for the rest of the day was phenomenal. All from just playing a game. Isn’t that the point?
All it took was a little reminder why I love my games and sharing it with another. The fun was completely contagious. I’m thinking that I might ask my husband out on a gaming date night. We tried playing Halo together. Once. Rockband worked better for us. While I’m not so awesome at the dual stick movement thing we might could do some Lego something or maybe Need for Speed. We used to rock Mortal Kombat together. Oh man that was so much fun…
It’s on like Donkey Kong.