Sunday, February 5, 2012

Here's to Family Computers

The world of video games is a perfect place to find some sense of accomplishment if you cannot find it anywhere else in life. I contrived world where there are only self-imposed expectations and no real consequences. I devoted a good part of my childhood trying to master the art of leaping over turtles and mushrooms, and making dragons fall into a flaming lake that does not move. Spent a good time trying to rescue a flute-toting princess while she is held captive by ninjas—going through an entire host of hostile enemies and a fire-blasting, faceless Vietcong. In case you are not a family computer geek, those are references to Super Mario and Legend of Kage. 

Back then, there were no “saves” and “cheats” were minimal. It’s either you spend an entire day trying to “survive” a game or be permanently condemned to repeating stage one every time. Of course, being the Sisyphus of Video Games is not the title anybody wants so if you have played family computer before, you probably know the number home works you did not tell your parents about just so you get that extra hour you need to get to the next level. And, of course, you know that those home works are cosmological in numbers, so were the hours you spent at dawn or midnight sneaking your fingers into those joysticks. 

Graphics were minimal back then, so a lot was left to the imagination. Regardless, those games were packed with the adrenaline of making or breaking. These days, our video game adrenaline is completely dependent on the amount of gore and the hope that the girl character we are playing RPG with is actually a girl and she lives in the same town. 

Levels and stages and titles are given because manufacturers are aware that they give some sense of accomplishment to the gamer. But today this need is over-exploited, which explains why there are hundreds of different stages and infinite number of badges out there for grabs.

Recently, my parents bought a “China version” of family computer from a popular department store in Mandaue City. I realized that it’s called “family” computer for a reason—it actually gave me a lot of bonding time with my sister and younger cousin. Being from China, sweet China, it did not last long so I’m back to this personal computer (which is actually a laptop, whatever) doing stuffs that we can’t scream about, stuffs that does not make us flail the joystick all over the place just so our character can reach the next landing. There’s no “hurrah for this new comment” or “you almost finished that comment, let’s try again better next time.” 

While I am at this, allow me to share the sense of superiority I get from kicking the brains out of my bot opponents at FIFA 99. I chose a team with a huge transfer fund, played perpetually in the “amateur” level, turned off the offside rule, so a lot of games have ended with Rugby scores (to my favor, solely, as I care not for how these random binary codes feel).
Keep out of position, only one way for the ball to go.
Penalty kick, he's a dead keeper.

I wonder how I made him pass all the defenders.

Spot kick, keeper guessed it wrong.

Left or right, high or low, how far left, how far right, how high, how low, a keeper's mind is a bagful of dilemmas.

Our body will never be as fast as our eyes.


So strong, the keeper did not have the chance to dive.

Anticipating the ball for a header.
It's not football if there is no martial arts involved.

"Life is not fair, neither should be sports." That's a goal to me, but no go says the ref.
Guy in blue is me. Ball went it because of the tackle. lol.

Penalty, it lives up to its name on the keeper's end.

Oh well...

Super onside pass.

I heard that's called aggression.
Walking the dawg.


Xan said...

meanwhile, I spent months killing zombies.

X said...

good to hear your experience with the family computer bro. heheh. i'm also in love with the famicom back then... until now. lol

Bal Marsius