Monday, August 4, 2008

yes, it's my toughest level

The only time I ever felt truly rewarded for playing video games happened at a video game arcade on Lovers Lane in Dallas around 1982. We were rocking it old school on asteroids since the caterpillar game was being monopolized by seniors and we didn't want to risk a confrontation. My friend kicked the machine because he hyper spaced into an asteroid or his headband slipped over his eyes or something and the door on the front of the machine swung open... exposing two 1-gallon containers full of quarters (cue: heavenly music).

The statute of limitations has passed, so I'll admit that we ended up playing asteroids that day for a very long time with our new found wealth and didn't suffer from remorse because the guy who ran the place was a royal jerkwad (that was 1982 tough talk for someone who was a pain-in-the-ass. We actually didn't know what it meant but the older kids said it).

When I was about 13 yrs old my dad brought home one of those old school stand up video games. It had ONE game and two-colors (black and yellow). I struggle with the name of the game but it was something like "Chicken Egg". The premise of the game was to catch eggs before they hit the bottom of the low resolution screen and the game made this odd computer generated sound that if you tried real hard sounded like a chicken. Sorta. The quarter slot on this behemoth was fixed so you could just hit a button for "credits". My brother, sister and I would stand at that machine for hours. Squawk, squawk, squawk.... squawk. It soon lost its appeal and became a coat rack.

It's fair to say that I don't have an aversion to video games and I don't mind my kids playing age appropriate games. Meaning; no head shots, no running blood and no decapitation.

My tolerance has a breaking point.

I think it's apparent when the amount of game play has exceeded the recommended level. It's when games or game strategy become part of everyday conversation or worse when it becomes everything. This sends me over the edge and I have zero issues with ripping the video cable out of the machine and kicking the kids outside when I reach that point.

Example: A few years ago my oldest son (tallboy) was obviously hitting the video game crack pipe a little too much. I came home from work one day after "one of those days". I was worn out and collapsed on the couch. He had a look of total despair and understanding and asked "was it like your toughest level?” Tallboy spent the next 4 hours outside playing in the dirt.

This morning as I was preparing to leave for work I overheard Shoelessboy and Shirtlessboy playing games and talking upstairs. I heard the oldest (ShirtlessBoy) say to his younger sibling "I hope you fall off that chair and break your arm so you can't use the controller 'cause then it's my turn". WTF.

Anyone interested in a used video cable for a Wii?


I can admit when I'm a dork. I emailed my sister (who calls anymore?) to ask her what the name of that game was dad brought home. It's painfully obvious who got the brains in our family. Here is her response -- DTD

The Juggler. I'm not going to be able to get that song out of my head now. Thanks! Remember how Dad made us pay to use it at first, and you tried to tie a piece of string to a quarter? I think that contraption was Dad's way of getting back at us . . . making us pay literally and figuratively for whatever we were costing him and all the racket and whining he had been enduring up until then. Think about it. When you hear that song now, how long does it stick with you? Does your eye twitch? Do you lose sleep? I don't lose sleep, but I do feel a twitch now and then when I hear it. We were willing to dig for quarters to play that stupid ass game despite how annoying that incessant noise was. We thought it was so freakin' cool to have an arcade game in the house (didn't matter it was juggling stupid chicken eggs). And now I can't even hear the song without shuttering and the occasional eye twitch. See? Dad got the last laugh. (But I bet he can't hear that song without getting a twitch, too.) -- Toots

Dude, I so remember that now. I had a whole bunch of quarters as I recall... -- DTD


Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Dude (I really do call a lot of people dude, but I also occassionally call people dumbass), My friend Texan Mama led me your way and I am quite glad she did.

My kids got DS's when they were 4 and 5 for Christmas (actually they only got one TO SHARE from an uncle - who doesn't have kids, naturally) andthey were so cute and into it. It was all they wanted to talk about and I found it adorable for a while. I told my husband I could be a better mom by just sitting and watching them because it spoke THEIR LOVE LANGUAGE. Yes, I actually said that. He laughed out loud. Two days later, I was like " DUDES THE GAME GOES OFF!!!" Brian, my husband, was all in my face (not really cuz we don't roll that way) laughing about their lost love language. Smartass.


dadthedude said...

Yo dude... ette.

You know TXMama huh, then you are quite welcome here (now I feel like some sorta doorman letting in all the hot chicks). Tell her the check is in the mail.

1 DS between 2 kids?? WOW, I'm quite impressed. That truly requires an inordinate amount of sharing capabilities. My kids would end up in a head lock.

It's their love language. lmao.

Thanks for stopping in!

Texan Mama@WhoPutMeInCharge said...

Is this the appropriate place to say, DUDE! Do you remember Q-bert? How about Marble Madness? And what about Joust? I have tried to explain the concept of the Arcade (Aladdin's Castle, where I lived) to my kids (ages 8, 7, 5, and baby) but they keep asking, "So, was it like Chuck E Cheese?" Um, sorta but no. "How did you get there?" my mom dropped me off at the mall and I spent all my quarters except one, so I could call her and let it ring once then hang up and get my quarter back. That was the signal for her to come pick me up. I'd wait right outside of Sears. Did you ever do that or am I the only dork?

And in our house we don't have Wii, PS anything, Gamecube, etc. It is just too tempting for our kids and I know they'd each gain at least 15 lbs from all the couch-potatoing. (see how I just bastardized the english language there? I saw you read Dad gone Mad too) We just stepped up our technology from Gameboy Classic (aka Gameboy 1st edition) to Gameboy Color (aka 2nd edition). I almost lost it the other day when I saw a family walking through the mall and a kid was actually playing his DS while walking. In a mall. Surrounded by clothes, candy, bright lights, and inappropriately dressed teenage girls. At this rate, these poor kids' teachers will have to set their own hair on fire to get their attention in class.

dadthedude said...

TXMama - NO games but a Gameboy 2nd edition? Dude, now I feel like the dork. If my youngest ends up with a mysterious broken arm I'll sell you a Wii. Believe me they wont sit still long enough to gain anything...

We rode our bikes up to the arcade 'cause we were cool like that. Then after we ran out of money we would hang out front and dare each other to talk to the girls walking in and do wheelies to impress them till the royal jerkwad manager would run us off.

Dude, that might have been us in the mall. I have to do a pat-down on the youngest to make sure he didn't bring the DS - he pulls it out from midair. Was he wearing shoes? If so, then it wasn't us.

Carol said...

Dude, if Tallboy is still over-dosing on video games or any other couch-potato activities, send him my way. My lawn needs mowing. For that matter, any offspring will do, as long as they can push a mower.

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