Do you remember Space Invaders? I do. It was a giant machine that found its way into pizza parlors, drug stores, movie theaters, and of course, arcades. I was never good at it, I always got zapped too soon for my taste. For the price of a quarter, I preferred good old fashioned pinball.
Over time Space Invaders gave way to newer, faster, and cooler games, and as they did there were a few that I liked and played , but only very occasionally. The Star Wars game urged me to, “use the force,” and I did my best to zap those brightly colored centipedes as they worked their way down the screen. Still, I found video games to be mostly a waste of money, so I didn’t play them much. Then I grew up and never gave those games another thought.
Never, that is, until the internet. I found new games on my computer. Games that an older person (with terrible reflexes, who tends toward anxiety under pressure) could enjoy. I spent time playing Boggle and Word Whomp and others whose names escape me. But I could stop whenever I wanted.
Then came Facebook and Farmville. Ah, I see the head nods, some of you know what I’m talking about. What a sweet little farm I had. I had adorable animals, fun candy trees, funky accessories, and crops galore. I was a heck of a virtual farmer, by golly. I did have to sometimes schedule my activities around harvest time, but what farmer doesn’t? The crops need tending, and they don’t care what else is going on in your life. A small sacrifice really, especially if there was a challenge or a quest at stake.
But then Farmville got crazy (as if it wasn’t already, but read on). They added new farms. The New England Farm, the English Farm, the Hawaiian Farm, the Polar Farm, and so on. Before I extricated myself from this
cancer game, I had five farms going. Five sets of crops, five sets of animals, five times the crazy. Holy moly. Needless to say, I decided that enough was enough (but not before I set up a farm for my dog so she and I could send each other things – I know, I hang my head in shame).
I was fine for a while, but then my son introduced me to Angry Birds. Oh, those birds, they made me angry. Then I discovered Words With Friends, and I learned that you didn’t actually need to bother your real friends in order to play. Again, I got in over my head. Running more than ten games at once started to take its toll. I had to stop.
Now there’s Candy Crush and it’s cousin Pet Rescue. Yes, I play them, but I LOVE the fact that after a short while they make me stop. They tell me I must pay or come back later. Thank you, that was the reminder I needed to get off the computer, rejoin real life, and keep my quarter in my pocket.
Am I a gamer? Absolutely not, but I did just clear a new level. Wanna send me an extra life?