This morning I was taking my kids plus a friend's child to school and I overheard the friend say this from the backseat:
Friend: In Super Mario Party 8 Luigi wins by doing absolutely nothing!
Finally! A game I could actually be good at.
When I was very young I had dreams of being a medical doctor, more specifically, a general surgeon. And then I had a revelation (thanks to Atari) about how truly horrible my eye-hand coordination was. If my general coordination were as bad I wouldn't be able to walk across a room.
My parents gave my younger sister, Page, and me an Atari gaming system for Christmas when we were 6 and 10 years old, respectively. Does anyone remember Pong, Space Command, and Missile Invaders?
For those born after the Dark Ages (i.e. before computers, cell phones, and modern video game systems) Pong was a game in which you moved the outside "lines" on the screen to bounce a tiny square dot between them. Like table tennis. Riveting, huh?
Well, my sister would either play one another (in two-player games) or take turns (in one player games). When playing alone we would hand over the control to the other at each "death." This was a losing proposition for me. My turn would last about 15 seconds. I would then "die." And then I would have time to go gestate or write a dissertation or build a car from scratch, or whatever, before it would be my turn again. Because Page was that good. She was scary. I never did get any better. She probably did, but she was so far ahead of me I couldn't tell. So I gave up on video games and found other things to do. And after quickly mastering the cutting-edge games of the day Page got tired of the system and came out too. Until Nintendo came out. And then PS3. And then Wii....
And then, a few Christmases ago, Page sent a Wii to my house for my kids. Because she
hates me loves her nieces and nephews and wants to watch them humiliate me at a new game share her love of video games with them.
In any case, I credit Atari for the beginning of the end of my surgical dreams. My mom was wrong. Video games aren't just mind-numbing time-wasters. They also save lives.