Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What's a little competition between friends?

One thing I really like about my Xbox 360 is the Xbox Live Arcade. All you have to do is look at my recently played games to know that. But the reason I like it so much is that it made going to bed so much easier.


I loved playing Star Wars Battlefront right up until bed time. Unfortunately when I crawled into bed my adrenaline was pumping and sleep was a long way off. I figured out if I played something like Bust-A-Move or other mindless arcade type game before I went to bed I could calm down enough that getting to sleep wouldn't require a hour or more of tossing and turning. Unfortunately that meant changing from my original Xbox to my PS2 every night. When the 360 came out and I had those type of games on the same machine it made things so much easier.

After a grueling session of Gears of War I could load up Pac Man and try a couple of levels while my heart slowed it's beating to a more normal level. And if Pac Man wouldn't do it for me there were numerous other games I could play. For some reason Jewel Quest seemed the best game for "powering down" late at night. Uno was another good one . . . until recently.

A friend of mine bought a replacement Xbox 360 while his is in the shop and it came with an Xbox Live Arcade compilation disk. Uno is on the of the games on it. So he started playing it. Myself and a couple of other friends would join him in a room and play away. And I have to tell you it's so much more fun (and faster) to play with a full group of friends.

Now Uno doesn't strike me as a competitive game. It certainly wasn't for me. And I didn't think it would be for anyone else. I also didn't think how much my "ultra competitive I'm going to shoot everyone" guys would do in a non-competitive game like Uno. They figured out a way to play the game. They made it competitive. If you stick them with a draw four card suddenly the game is personal. Throw in the stacking of penalty cards and the "draw until you play" option and the game can get pretty heated. Who knew Uno could be an intense battleground for gamers?

The games do get intense. But in a much different way. Instead of adrenaline pumping action it's face grinning, laughing at others action. So much so that sometimes my cheeks hurt . . . and not the ones I sit on. We've laughed at others misfortunes and even laughed at our own. Although we tend to growl first before laughing when the game takes a sudden turn for the worse when you go from one card left to 16 cards all in one hand. This game is no longer the relaxing game I play before going to bed. It is a game we play to win. And hopefully screw the person to our right and left in the mean time. So, what's a little competition between friends anyway? Except now I've got to find a game I can play to calm down from playing Uno.

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