Gamer’s Hangover 10.12.04

Gamerâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s Hangover
by Cory Laflin

Welcome to the nth reincarnation of the Gamerâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s Hangover.

So what happened this time? Well, a number of things. First of all, I completely overestimated my ability to write by taking on a column for InsidePulse Sports (Second And Long, Wednesdays) on top of this and whatever reviews I happen to finish by chance.

Second, Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ve been struggling for a while to figure out my niche here with The Kliq. Before, on the OTHER site, the GH was a news report (albeit a bad one) with some commentary and the occasional tear-up of the latest ESPN Gamer article. When we moved to IP, we decided to leave the news in itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s own section, the the GH became more a a straight column. And ESPN Gamer has not updated itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s site in three months. Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m not kidding, the last thing they posted was their Madden 2005 non-review, and that was in late June. So Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ve needed to come up with something to write about and fast.

After some discussion with HBK, Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ve come to the conclusion that what I bring to the table, and what sets me apart from every other anti-social, troglodytic, light-deprived game writer on the â┚¬Ëœnet is that I actually have: 1) A job not directly involving computer sales, repair, or service; 2) A family, thatâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s wife AND child; 3) Things I do other than work, family time, and video games. In short, Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m probably more representative of that 18-34 demographic that actually buys the games than most writers, and definitely more representative of the upper half of that demographic.

We just donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t have enough to time play, do we? Of course, dealing with a family clues you in to exactly how much time you spend playing games otherwise. My wife finally starts to complain about all the time Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ve been spending in front of Tiger Woods 2005 (and yes, I still have two reviews to finish, yet I have three new games rented which Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m immersing myself in. This proves that I have some form of ADD) after Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ve sat in front of it for five hours straight. Veronica and I have actually been in negotiations as to when I can have a regular multi-hour block of gaming time. Kicking and screaming I am being dragged into adulthood.

But not kicking and screaming as much as I used to. I have a son now, and as much as I want to finish the Legends Tour on TW2005 (and frankly, itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s so easy I think I could let him play it and finish it no problem, and heâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s not even 2) I want to play with him even more. And itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s finally been beat into me that keeping the house clean is a priority, if for no other reason that a clean house makes for a happy Veronica, which makes for a *ahem* satisfied Cory, and unlike Mr. Lucard, I donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t turn down sex for video games.

And then thereâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s work. I had been in the mode of thinking, â┚¬Å”Okay, the wife and child are in bed. I can play until midnight or so. I can operate on five hours of sleep!â┚¬Â No, I USED to be able to operate on five hours of sleep. Now, my powers have faded somewhat; Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m beginning to see the advantage in afternoon naps. Problem is that my body tries to take them by force now, and when this happens in the middle of a coordination meeting â┚¬Â¦ that Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m supposed to be presenting during â┚¬Â¦ bad things happen. I actually do have a bit of ambition to do advance in my job (ergo: get paid EVEN MORE for designing and building simulators) so Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m finding that I want to be rested and ready at work, and thus â┚¬Â¦ you guessed it â┚¬Â¦ Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ve found myself putting the kibosh on my own late-night gaming fix.

But you canâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t give it up completely. You NEVER give up what you love completely, even if the realities of life force us to cut them back. I love golf, but Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m never going to have enough time to practice like Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢d want, and I simply lack the natural talent to blow through Q school without studying. Does that mean Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ll never play golf again? No, in fact I got a new driver for my birthday. I may only play a handful of times each year, but I will play. And as long as what you love to do isnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t utterly self-destructive (heroin isnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t a very good hobby, so I hear) the people close to you should support you in loves, even if they have to tell you to put the controller down once in a while.

The gaming population is getting older. The average gamer is â┚¬Â¦ well â┚¬Â¦ is my age. We were raised on Atari 2600 and Odyssey 2 and Tempest in the corner convenience store. Weâ┚¬â”žÂ¢re taking the experience with us, but I donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t think thatâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s a bad thing. Itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s not like thereâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s no games left for little kids, it means that thereâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s even MORE games than there ever was before? Anyone out there remember the 2600 game library? As big as it was, does it even compare to the PS2 library? Thereâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s room in the gamer culture for all of us, and even better, Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m planning on keeping my chops up at least until my son is through high school. I had a friend back then whose dad was game-literate, and we hung out at his house all the time. We probably avoided more trouble because it was just so much fun to hang out at his house and play games and watch SportsCenter that we didnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t want to go do anything else. If I can make that sort of safe place for my son and his friends, I want to do it.

So, this column is going to be dedicated to you, the adult gamer. The gamer who hasnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t quite gotten around to renting Manhunt yet (I STILL havenâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t, and if Roni gets her way I never will). The gamer whoâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s struggling to balance the love of his youth with the loves of his adulthood. The old slob of a gamer like me who has to work for a living and change diapers. Us.

Pimp-Licious

A HUGE thanks to The Kliq in general and Lucard and Widro in specific for talking me off the bridge analogy again.

A-Will did his part, too. I really need to get my Xbox hooked back up. I feel the need to â┚¬Å”throw down.â┚¬Â

L.C. is angry. That’s really all you need to know.

Angeloni talks peripherals, and makes me feel okay again for actually buying a GameCube. Thank you, A.J.

Oâ┚¬â”žÂ¢Reilly talks Star Wars games, which were heading the direction of Star Wars movies until Battlefronts came out. Strafing Ewoks and blowing up Gungans should get it nominated for game oâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ the year.

Eric is far too cynical to be that stalwart a supporter of the Democratic Party. I have a feeling this all may be a work.

Murphy and I have come through the Chiefsâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ bye week refreshed and without fear of what lies ahead on the schedule. Oh, and he provides more evidence (albeit in a roundabout way) that ESPN is, in fact, going downhill.

Quasi-Random Thoughts

In Memoriam: Ken Caminiti. Every so often, something happens to make me glad that Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m an engineer and not a major league sports figure. This is one of them.

Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m writing this early Monday afternoon, because I took the day off. Because I wanted to. Talk all you want about how idyllic childhood was, to have my own money AND be able to take days off because I want to is trading up in my opinion. Plus the sex. ALWAYS the sex.

Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m not writing the review for Tiger Woods 2005, but I have to say this much, it looks great, it sounds great, it has tons of great features, and it even has a â┚¬Å”hardâ┚¬Â difficulty setting. That being said, I didnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t think I could find a golf game less challenging than Tiger Woods 2004 until I played Tiger Woods 2005.

And still no Phil Mickelson. Are they blood enemies or something? Does Phil have his own game contract that I donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t know about? Give the Lefty some love!

I know this isnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t my sports column, but Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m already on the subject of Tiger. My prediction is that he wins a major next year, probably the PGA, although possibly the British Open. Now that heâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s hitched, he doesnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t have to worry about pleasing her 24/7 and can get back to work on his game. A bonus prediction: He re-hires Butch Harmon, telling him, â┚¬Å”Boy, and I thought YOU were hard to live with!â┚¬Â

Remember how I said that I wasnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t that interested in poker? Well, how about that I wasnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t interested in it enough to get in trouble over. Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m seriously trying to figure out how I can get a Texas Hold â┚¬ËœEm tourney in during my two-day mini-vacation. (And Cris, there is nothing to forgive or even worry about. You should know better than almost anyone else that Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m a competition whore.)

Next week, something to gripe about. Because Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m old.

Until then, get some sleep

-Cory