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23 They’re Just Videogames, Right?

or, “Memoirs of an old man trapped in a thirty year old body with the muscles of a fifteen year old girl”

This blog began one year ago. All because I love videogames – but, they’re just games.


I’ve always chased dreams. While in my teenage years I watched as friends chased girls, fast cars or rock bands that could be the spokespeople of their alientation, I was chasing fantasies promised in cartridges, CDs, instruction manuals. I could live with that, even with the reputation of being “that guy that won’t shut up about games”. One day I managed to talk about Bushido Blade for ten straight minutes with friends of mine just to draw a comparison between the sound one of them made while he choked on some coffee and the wet rattle a character in LightWeight’s title did whenever they were fatally pierced with a sword. The silence that came after the monologue was terrifying, even more so when one of them asked “all that just so you could compare the sound?!”. They endured a lot of my obsessions, but that didn’t stop them from being my friends. Or as friendly as they could be, at least.

Eleven years later and I’m rediscovering some of them on social networks. One of them, who looks like Alan Moore but paints more like Keith Haring, confessed to having played and enjoyed Return to Castle Wolfenstein. One other friend, a woman-child for whom I was terribly infatuated with for six long years, seems to be quite addicted to The Sims and social games. Rediscovering another, who went on to make wanderlust a way of life, left me heartbroken. Time had managed to steal half his heart and half his leg: in the first case, figuratively; in the second, not as much. He was one of the rare few people with whom I shared my passion for videogames and someone who, I discovered later, would go on to play EVE Online for years, ingraining himself into that virtual space, manipulating markets, making and unmaking corporations, commanding fleets and the respect of other players.

He, like the others, didn’t always took kindly to my videogame rants. But he, like the others, also didn’t resist their allure. Did I influence anything? Was it simple curiosity, an impulse, an obsession? Did they see videogames as more than headshots, more than suburban laboratories, more than persistent competitions?

Did they see nothing more than that?

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Comments Off Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing – Review

Hedgehogs in shopping carts

It used to be that, for the most part, we had the time of our lives talking about games. You remember the first time you reached dizzying speeds with Sonic; that flurry of scenario, wildlife, yellow rings and blue skies all becoming a moment of pure motion. You remember the first headshot you inflicted, stopping for a split-second to stare in awe and despair at our victim before a few bullets to the back reminded you “kill or be killed” arenas are a bad place for sightseeing. You may remember that first descent into a tube in Mushroom Kingdom, the first time you cheated your back into a fighting game with the second controller, the first time you held a plastic gun and shot polygonal dudes or the peculiar dread of a Zerg Rush. We had the time of our lives because that’s how we lived our lives and because we talked with someone who lived theirs the same way.

Cue videogame globalization and you’re suddenly thrown into a cubbyhole of expression. No one understands you. Sure, you can share these vignettes with people you know; it could just be that some of them understand that “gaming culture” goes beyond wearing some T-Shirt heckling Mario or claiming they were cool because they played Pong. Mostly, you just keep to yourself because there’s something undeniably innocent and childlike to the whole thing, like a first crush that everyone knows you have but are fine without having to hear you talk about “feelings”. Once in a while you slip a reference or two, giggling to yourself for about the two seconds it takes you to realize you’re gonna have to explain that LittleBigPregnant comment to your female and soon-to-be-a-mother co-worker. But how many more times can you link Spinal Tap with that Killer Instinct character before people start avoiding small talk and eye contact with you?

Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing seems to understand you. It knows these dirty little secrets about you. It nods, winks, then presents a singularity point where your youth coalesces into a game about karts and furries.

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