Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I've found Paradise . . .

On Tuesday, as a thank you to our department, our Director took us all out to lunch at Dave and Buster's.  An adult Chuck-E-Cheese complete with bowling alley, billiards and lots of arcade games.  I loved it. 

We had lunch (average food) and then we were off to play games.  We were divided into 2 teams and given a list of 4 games we had to play.  Each team would pick their top score and try to out score the other team.  The team that had the most high scores would win. 

My team won.

Because of me.

I'm a very competitive person.  You say something can't be done and I'll prove to you that it can.  You make a bet and I'll take you up on it.  There was no way I was going to let the other team win even if I would have to get the highest score for all the games.

The first game we tried was Skeeball.  I got a 170, but another person on my team got a 200.  I tried again for a higher score but the game only gave me 8 balls instead of 9.  I went up to the guy at the counter to see if he could do anything about it but all they did was reset the game which meant I lost that last ball.  I had 180 up until then.  Our high scorer tried again and got a 230 on the second time.  The other team only got a 200.

Another game we had to play was Need for Speed Carbon.  My time (and the fastest of my group) was 3:18.  That included one very stupid crash where I ran into the end of a median divider and had to wait for my car to be reset.  The other team came in with a time of 2:48.  They didn't beat me by much.

The next game we played I can't remember the exact name.  Raizing Storm or something.  It's a 1st person shooter.  Oh, you should have seen how big my eyes got when they mentioned that.  Everybody else on the team was excited for me to play but I had someone else go before me so I could watch and figure everything out (especially the timing of the enemy).  They were horrible.  I was the second one to play and I got about 60,000 points before I died.  The other two people on my team played and I don't think any of them got more than 20,000 points, if that.  The last person on my team watched everybody play so he had a really good understanding of the rhythm of the game and where and when enemies would come out.  He played and scored 69,000 points.  (Not to be deterred, after we had finished all of the games we needed to play I went back and played again and got 76,000 that time.  Our scores were already submitted, but take that anyway.)  My team had the highest score for this game as well.  Even if that guy hadn't have beaten my score we still would have had the higher score.

The last game we had to play was Galaga.  I laughed when that was announced.  When everyone asked I told them I had that game.  Granted, I haven't played it in a long time and playing it on a stand up cabinet would be a lot different than playing it on my comfortable couch and TV but the game's the same in any event.  I let everybody else play first while I wandered around and looked at all the other games available.  I played a game like a touch screen slot.  Three rows and columns of fruit spin around like a slot machine and when they stop you're suppose to touch the screen of any three fruit (horizontal, vertical or diagonal) that are the same.  The faster you do it the more tickets you get.  I got a lot of tickers for my team (who then went and traded those in for a lot of sour candy that I don't like).

When my turn finally came for Galaga I swiped my card, sat (awkwardly) on the stool and started the game.  I scored 19,400 points.  I was rusty.  The highest score the other team had was 13,360.  Smoked it.

My team won and we got to pick first out of the prizes my director brought.  They were all the same ($25 gift cards to various places) and the losers got to pick as well . . . just after all of us winners got the good ones.

It was fun and nice to get away from work and have fun with people that are usually crabby and ornery to be around.  We all loosened up and had a good time.  AND I GOT TO PLAY GAMES!!!!  I still have points left on the cards they gave us and I kept it because I will definitely be going back there some day soon. 

Walking through that arcade was like reliving moments of my childhood.  There was a HUGE arcade by where we lived but my family didn't have the money to go often and it was too far to go on my own.  I remember going a couple of times when we could afford it and it was always a magically place to me, made even more so with high infrequency at which I got to go there.  The first cabinet arcade game I every played was Star Wars.  It was just lines on a screen but it was wonderful.  Casino's might have more bells and whistles in their games.  But an arcade with cabinets old and new is paradise to me.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Finally . . . and finally again!

I"m a completionist at heart.  I know I've mentioned that before but it needs to be repeated.  If I can pick up every item in a game; I'll look for it.  If it mean exploring every nook and cranny; I'll be there.  If it means getting every achievement in a game; by golly I'll do it.

There have been 2 games that have an achievement in them that has alluded me for many months.  The first game was Battlefield 1942.  When the arcade game came out my friends and I played it a bunch.  I wasn't very good and wasn't enjoying the game, but I still played because I enjoyed the time spent with friends.  There's an achievement for playing 100 matches and my friends seemed to get this one pretty easily.  Remember when I said I was a completionist?  That's where the nagging feeling of not having earned everything I could in the game comes in.  I needed to play a bunch of matches but I didn't know how many.

The problem with playing that game is it's not that fun without my friends.  But they had moved on.  I was left to get this achievement on my own.  So, whenever I couldn't concentrate on other games and I had no one else to play with I would start this game and try to play a couple of matches before calling it a night.  I did this for months.  And then FINALLY I finished a match and I hear that wonderful little beep that told me I had a message . . . or a friend just came online . . . or heaven help me AN ACHIEVEMENT!

I think it was almost 4 years after my previous achievement before I finally got the one for playing 100 matches.  Now I can say I've done everything in that game and I could move one.

And what I decided to move on to was Borderlands.

Maybe the feeling of euphoria at having finally completed a game I decided that tackle an achievement (and a mission) that has dogged me for several months.  The Braaaaaaaaaiiiiiinnnnnnnsss achievement (or whatever it's called).

When I started playing Jacob's Cove DLC in Borderlands I was forewarned about this mission and the achievement that goes with it.  Get head shots.  Collect their brains.  I was doing that throughout the area only to find out that I had to accept the mission first in order for all those brains to count.  But silly me I left that mission to the very end before accepting it and going for the head shots.  With no other missions to do I was left to wander around all those dark and dreary places looking for zombies to kill.  Not very exciting.  And not very fun when I discovered how many levels there were to the mission and how many head shots I had to get.

When the final 250count level was unlocked I couldn't do it any more.  I was tired of the game and I never wanted to see Pandora again.  But . . . energized by completing Battlefield 1942 I put this game back in and started roaming the paths of Jacob's Cove.  Grand Theft Auto has nothing on one pissed off vault hunter looking form 250 brains.

I was able to get a lot of brains in fits and spurts.  When I got to 170ish all of a sudden I couldn't get a head shot of there was a string tied from my bullet to their brains.  And I wiped out everybody in so many areas that it was taking forever for zombies to respawn.  So close and yet so far.

I stuck with it and FINALLY got that last head shot, picked up that last squishy brain and made a beeline to turn the mission in.  I thought it was the most tedious mission (partly because I didn't get it right away) but I could finally say I have completed the Jacob's Cove DLC for Borderlands.

I love playing games.  They are an escape from the drudgery of life and a fertile ground for my imagination.  But when trying achieve things in a game turns into something similar to the drudgery of life it ceases to be fun any more.  Unfortunately for me my Completionist Devil rears his ugly head and says "YOU MUST FINISH THIS!"  And who am I to argue with the only real man in my life.