Sunday, 30 September 2012

Are you game?

I sometimes feel it would be nice to go back to the days when gaming involved the family sitting round the table enjoying some harmless entertainment with a few plastic pieces, a pair of dice and a printed board.
Unfortunately the reality was that said plastic pieces usually ended up on the floor courtesy of a bad loser, followed by a little light door slamming and two days of sulking.
And is it really any more mean spirited to take a Russian invader's head apart from long range with a .50 calibre rifle than to enjoy the warm glow of satisfaction gained by bankrupting your friend when they've landed on your hotel on Mayfair for the third time in a row?
Cheats are sometimes available to make a modern game easier to win, but such behaviour would never have been tolerated thirty years ago - the equivalent of putting two counters in at once on Connect 4. That said, however, did anyone ever really play Mousetrap properly? As I recall, Mousetrap involved opening the box, setting up the marble run to play with for five minutes and packing it away again without bothering about such trivial details as rules.
Video games have given us a wonderful opportunity to enjoy all the activities our concience and moral upbringing or just our physical ineptness and fear deny us the ability to carry out in real life. Whether it be driving the Nurburgring in a 1000bhp Skyline, pulling off a superman seatgrab on a motocross bike, laying waste to a bunch of Germans with heavy artillery, or being a ho-pimpin' gangsta politely requesting respect with a baseball bat.
The downside is that sometimes, by comparison, reality can really suck. So you end up with the comedown - a feeling not dissimilar to that experienced after a major sugar bender and characterised by unnecessary grumpiness - which is when you wonder if maybe Milton Bradley may have got it right after all.