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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!


#48. I finished Half Life, Max Payne, and Red Faction.

Okay, these are not really overly impressive accomplishments. I didn’t save a life, or climb a mountain, or cure a damn disease or anything. But I did waste many hours and obsess over lots of tricky problems to finish these games, and so I’m gonna talk about it. I’ve only got my life to discuss, you know. Don’t try to make me into a hero, here.

Anyway, I went on a gaming kick for a while. Now, I’m usually semi-playing a game — I’ve got a simulated baseball season in progress, or I’m trying to put together a Madden NFL football squad that I like. But these are background processes for the most part — I’ll poke at them for a couple of days, and then lose interest, and then fire them up again to give it another go. That sort of thing.

But that’s not how it was with these three. Not at all. No, these three I played one after the other, in an orgy of shooting and dodging, and running the hell away from scary things. I spent two or three weeks on each, it seems, and blew through them in succession. I didn’t sleep, barely ate — don’t even ask how much work I got done. For a while there, it was all about finishing the game. And finally, I did. And I haven’t gone on another kick since.

Which is too bad, I suppose, in a way. There’s some wicked cool shit out there. Soon it might be time to go on a spree and pick up the latest two or three games and go at it again. I hear that the Rainbow Six games are sweet, and I never did buy either of the No One Lives Forever titles. And those are just the old ones — I haven’t really kept up in the last year or so, so who knows what’s stormed onto the market? My collection has definitely got a few holes that I’d like to patch.

On the other hand, I think I’m so happy about finishing the three games I mentioned because they’re the exception, not the rule. I’m generally horribly bad at getting all the way through a game, whether because of lack of skill or a vanishingly short attention span. I dabbled in Civilization III and Alpha Centauri, but never really got anywhere. (Guess I’m just not on the same wavelength with Sid Meier. Eh.) Ditto Homeworld, which I thought I’d play for months. (Turned out to be days, instead. Basically, I wasn’t all that good at it.) And recently, I picked up a bargain-bin copy of Commandos, which I used to have a demo of. (And couldn’t finish even the demo missions, so why the hell am I torturing myself again?)

Maybe that’s why I gravitate towards the sports titles. Besides the obvious fact that I like watching and playing sports, perhaps it’s the open-endedness of these games that appeals to me. I always play in franchise mode, so there are years and years of simulated action to take into account. A down year or two can be mitigated by rampant success later on. See, if there’s no real end to the game, then I can’t lose, now, can I? The only way to lose these games is to not play at all. Hey, I like it!

Um… on the other hand, considering that I invariably lose interest before finishing a single season, and then deciding to start from scratch each time I revisit that game… well, I guess I’m not exactly winning, either. *sigh* Maybe I should just go back to Pong. At least there I know when I’m losing. (And just because that’s ‘nearly always‘ is no reason for you to snicker. I’ve got a bad joystick, that’s all. Hey! I said, stop snickering! Bitches!)

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