Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Level-- I mean Step-- One

When we were kids, my brother and I-- both blonde and blue-eyed with a natural SPF of about negative eight-- often sought ways to escape the relentless rays of the mid-day summer sun.

At the beach club, we'd commandeer a table in the bar and play backgammon for hours. And, on those days we skipped the beach and stayed at the house, we'd hide out down the road (and across an abandoned field) at a restaurant/bar that had an adjoining black-lit arcade with a Six Million Dollar Man pinball machine, Space Invaders, and Pac Man. We spent a lot of time and ice cream man money there.

All those hours spent in bars as a kid may be at the root of my problem. No, not a drinking problem. A gaming problem.

My susceptibility to the siren song of "Player 1" has manifested itself many times over the years: I spent hours in my brother's room playing Pitfall! and Hockey on the Intellivision; I was addicted to Snake Byte on our Apple II (I can still picture vividly the trailing green tail); and I know that I deserved a four credit A in Tetris for all the time I wasted playing it freshman year.

The kids always ask me to play Wii with them and I defer. My reason for saying no is not that-- at almost 40-- I think video games are beneath me or that I no longer have the requisite hand-eye coordination. I don't play Wii with them because I'm scared of a future that finds me home alone at 11AM on a school day working hard to help Mario and Luigi rescue the princess.

And then I got the iPad2. Alert! Alert! Turns out I know myself pretty well. And yet... that didn't stop me from playing Angry Birds Rio until I got three stars in every level.

My name is Weaselsnark and I have a problem.

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