29 March 2010
The kids next door had a Pachinko machine. Or at least they did until we stuffed it full of broken candy canes and their parents chucked it. (Why broken candy canes? Why not? Kids are stupid.)
I haven't seen one in years but I was always enamored with them. Maybe that's why I dig Peggle so much. It's a little more chaotic than pinball and a little more controlled at the same time. It also could be the first game I ever convince my wife to play for more than 6 minutes.
My hope is that the illusion of simplicity and the goofy characters will draw her in at first. Then I'm counting on the game's crack cocaine-like addictiveness to keep her on the couch. Still, this won't be easy. My wife isn't a gamer. She makes Tipper Gore look like an Arcade rat. She doesn't like the violence or the inactivity that is championed by many aspects of my hobby.
And her sense of its cultural relevance is not sharp. Last weekend when I arrived at the PAX East gaming convention in Boston I called her to let her know how it was going.
Me: "There's a guy standing next to me dressed like Mario."
Her: "Mario Batali?"
Me: "No, Mario. Luigi's brother. Savior of princesses. King of the platformer."
Her: " Is he cooking anything?
(It occurs to me now that someone dressed as Mario Batali at a gaming conference would be putting the I back in irony. I bet it happens at E3.)
One Tuesday night soon I'm going to hatch my plan to get my wife to play a video game with me.
Because Tuesday is "Lost." It's the only piece of sci/fi media she's ever truly enjoyed. Since she'll be in the mood to get her geek on, I figure that's when I'll strike. Maybe a quick game before "Lost" starts. Maybe she'll get hooked? Maybe we'll skip "Lost" to keep playing Peggle?
Probably not. But you can be damn sure that I'm going to spend the next few months trying to get one of my gaming colleagues to dress as Mario Batali at E3 this year.
By Victor Paul Alvarez