We Want Our Tea Back! 11.06.03

Nobody’s looking… Aha! Time for more Brit content to bullet-point its way onto 411 Games. As usual, I’m Misha, and I’m going to guide you through your Wednesday with some gaming content, and random digressions on all sorts of things.

First off: apologies for the formatting last week. Things got scrambled in transit between my PC and Big Boss Chris’s Believe me, the other send attempts were FAR worse-off…

Rugby World CUPdate

Ok, so I was wrong about Samoa beating South Africa. Ah, well, at least the pasting England gave to Uruguay makes me feel better. Now, we have a quarter-final against the Welsh, which is gong to be *very* interesting to watch, especially after the spirited performance they but in against the All-Blacks.

My predictions: England vs France and Australia vs New Zealand will be the semi-final matchups.

Gaming News

Europe is due to get a new Gamecube bundle, containing not only the machine, but also Mario Kart: Double Dash AND the new super-special Zelda bonus disc. Now there’s *really* no reason for Eurogamers not to buy it.

Cheap plugs

Alex 2 has news And goes all cross-media on us. Read it, cause it’s good.

Cory has worms. Oh, no, wait! He *likes* Worms. So that’s OK. And he rips another site’s main reviewer to pieces, which is always funny to watch.

I think Fred is on drugs. And if he is, I want some!

The Incarnation Of Cain does a mailbag. He comes last in the pimp order ’cause it’s not like he needs the extra hits, really.

Share the N-Gage hatred with one of my favourite web-comics, Ctrl+Alt+Del

ECW (English Culture Watch) spotlight

OK. Here’s a new bit of the column. A little insight into life in Britain. Who knows what form it may take (or even if it’ll be here) from week to week? Not me. But let’s find out together, shall we?

Well, November 5th has just passed by. And that means Guy Fawkes’ night is done for another year. Cue lots and lots of fireworks. D’you know what the funny thing is? It’s all a party to celebrate a failed terrorist plot. Way back in 1605, a whole bunch of British Catholics didn’t like what King James was doing, so they decided to blow him up, and take the whole of Parliament with them. Whilst I’m generally very in favour of subjecting politicians to death and maiming (anybody want to blow up Bush and do the world a favour?), it seems that this scheme was not meant to be, and was duly foiled by law enforcement.

Yes, rather than using fireworks to celebrate us stealing our land from those who got there first (OUCH! Low Blow!), we blow up large quantities of coloured combustible material to celebrate that our King didn’t die. So in a really freaky way, we have a native terrorist group to thank for an excuse to go all pyrotechnical.

Note: This is a very potted summary, and by no means heavy on the historical research.Check this site for far better info. But be sure to open it in a new window, and only read on once you’re finished here ;)

Commentary

Wait.

Before you switch that console on.

Stop and think about something.

Why?

Why were you about to start playing video games?

I can imagine a few fo the stock responses “Because I’m bored”, “Because it’s fun”, “Because my friends are round and we’re going to play multiplayer”. Which are all very valid.

But I want to take things a little further. I want to ask the question “Why do you play video games at all?” Theoretically, you, as a person, could be watching a DVD, or the television, or any number of other things. Why video games?

I suppose that a large part of it depends on how you first got into video games. Myself, I remember playing on a friend’s Spectrum ZX81, and thinking “This is the future of entertainment”. Tapping into an already deep-rooted fascination for computing, the rest was history; this experience is completely different to somebody who bought their first Playstation/SNES/Mega Drive “because everybody else has one”. First impressions are always hard to shake; Even now, in my Busy-as-Badlissi state of existence, I always find some time to relax with my games machines; sometimes, I literally *make* the time for a game of something. It’s the way things have always been.

Which segues into my next point: For some people, gaming is a part of who they are, a segment of their identity. And more: for some, gaming will shape their very future. I look around at the people I write with on the site, and I can imagine that none of them would be who they are today had they not been the gamers they are. Lucard is a prime example: Were he not as much of a gamer as he is, he wouldn’t be on first-name terms with half of the staff at Treasure, and have his picture stuck to a dartboard somewhere in the ‘Final Fantasy Team’ development room at Square Enix HQ. If I weren’t as much of a gamer as I am, I’d probably never have met ANY of these guys, let alone been writing in such esteemed company. So some people play game because ‘it’s what they do’.

Unfortunately, there is a flipside to this, as the spectre of Addiction rears its head. Remember you heard about the chap in China who collapsed at a PC after gaming online for 36-odd hours straight? Or the horror stories about people who quite literally spent their entire lives playing Everquest? And don’t think it applies only to PC games, either… I’ve clocked up over 400 hours’ worth of Pokemon game-time since I first bought Blue, and I’m not even addicted (though ten years ago, I probably could have been). Addictiveness isn’t necessarily a *bad* thing; Otherwise, the super-special 411 rating system would count it as a negative point. The ability to keep you playing is a good thing, from the games’ perspective. However, this particular aspect is one to be considered with utmost care.

The oldest chestnut in the world is the Escapist ideal. Whether it be book, film, TV, PPD role-playing, or video games, everybody loves to get lost in another world now and again; be somebody else for a while. The extent to which this is true is still open to debate; some try to argue that gaming can lead to some folks going off the rails, Walter Mitty-style; whilst extreme idea is, of course, complete and total nonsense, the fundamental principle behind it still rings true. If I’m annoyed with some people at Uni, it’s much better if I vent my frustrations as Goldberg, beating HHH 8 ways from Sunday with lead pipes and chair shots, than if I take a baseball bat to the skull of those who anger me. If I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps, I can cheer myself up with a spot of Mario or Sonic. Never underestimate the benefits to be found in escapism; for if there weren’t any, fiction books would be International Contraband. Just relax and let gaming be your therapist; it never asks you to make an appointment, works out much cheaper, and won’t ask you questions about your mother.

So, to finish. Why do people play games? As with so much in life, there is no easy single answer. I’ve suggested a few. Now, perhaps it’s your turn. Anybody have thoughts on what’s written above? Can you folks out there in Webland spot anything I’ve missed? Feel free to feed me back some: Even the negative. There can never be Too Much Discussion on these sorts of topics.

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Well gotta run, guys. It’s been real. I’ll see you all on the flipside. Send feedback!

Peace Out.