I go in and out of phases with computer games. One of my earliest memories is ‘helping’ my Ma play ‘Horace Goes Skiing‘ on the ZX Spectrum. Until puberty hit, if the sun was down, I was sat in front of at an Atari ST. We swapped games at school, and used to play them round each others houses. Gaming was still a comparatively new thing, and most boys walked around with several 3.5inch disks in their blazer pockets.
Once adolescent, I eschewed computers and computer games in favour of girls and guitars and didn’t return to the land of games until a temporary job in the summer of ’98 introduced me to Clevedon and the limited social life it had to offer. The purchase of a Playstation saved my sanity.
Since then, I’ve only played computer games in a social environment. In my house in Loughborough, I spent hundreds of hours passing the controller back and forth between my housemates in the joint venture of conquering Crash Bandicoot over beers and cigarettes when I was supposed to be attending dull-as-fuck lectures. In a Volkswagen van, I played Grand Theft Auto religiously with my bandmates whilst chugging up and down the motorways of Britain. In my Tottenham terrace, me and Mat (pictured here with the world’s biggest pineapple – you really should have a look) played the Tony Hawk skate games endlessly on the PS2. We would sometimes literally play with our eyes closed for small cash bets. We became so good at the game that we could complete it in a weekend despite inventive handicaps like not using one of your thumbs or opening another beer in the middle of a ‘combo’ challenge.
The pattern continues in my current apartment. Me and Si play a lot of golf on the Wii. It’s highly competitive, but still a predominantly social endeavour. A quick back nine at St Andrews is a great way to end an evening at home, and indeed is an ideal way to settle an argument. All this is about to change. On Friday, I bought Super Mario Galaxy. It’s astoundingly good. Like, I can’t believe that computer games can be this good. I fear my social life and creative output is about to meet another setback, unless you wanna come round and watch me play Mario. The good news is, you can use a 2nd controller to help me collect stars! Never let it be said I am an inconsiderate host.