Run for your lives! The city is in peril! A monstrous robotic menace has appeared on the horizon and is threatening to level everything in sight. Please, don’t destroy Chunky Burger! Citizens are scrambling left and right, unsure of what to do and where to go. All hope seems lost. But wait! Something equally as enormous has arrived on the scene and is quickly moving toward that metallic beast. Why, it’s Chop Chop Master Onion! With fire in his eyes, our hero enters into fierce battle with the foe. Cheers go up from the onlookers. The invader may be formidable, but Chop Chop is showing a level of determination and fortitude few knew the old master was capable of. Will his tenacity be enough to save us?!
After the last grueling step, when the final glimmer has faded and all seems lost… They watch, just as they always have. And the ascension shall continue.
My wife hands me a FedEx envelope and says, “This arrived for you today.” I always enjoy when companies are kind enough to send me press copies of games because it often means I have the chance to try out titles I wouldn’t normally pay any mind to. This is definitely the case here as I open up the package and find The Godfather II inside. The game has been so far off my radar that I didn’t even know it was in development, let alone being released. Obviously something so violent and mature isn’t appropriate to play in front of my toddler son, so I wait until after he’s asleep then pop the disc in my Playstation 3. I sometimes wonder why these types of games are so popular, but after a couple hours of playing the answer is clear to see. A very cinematic presentation, a fun combat system, an excellent map, plenty of depth in building your own “family” of mobsters, and too much more to mention would probably be like mafioso nirvana for anyone into the genre. In a nutshell, it’s good fun. However, even though I’m enjoying the game, a small voice in the back of my head is becoming progressively louder and keeps repeating one word over and over: “Peggle, Peggle, Peggle.” I’m sorry, Godfather II. You’ve earned my respect and I’m sure plenty of other gamers will deservedly love you, but I’ve got to put in something a little more my speed. Don’t despair, though, for now that I’ve tasted the fascinating world of organized crime I may be back before you know it. Until then, it’s time for Peggle.
Just a minute ago she was sitting atop me as if I were some type of amusement park attraction. Now she’s been gobbled up and is somewhere inside me. Everyone nearby ran in horror after witnessing this sight, but they need not worry about any harm coming to her. In fact, just moments later she’s blasted out of my rear end with a humorous sound. It doesn’t take long for the woman to regain her composure and in just a few moments she’s riding on my back once again. That’s just plain rude. I weave my way through a jungle gym, which causes her to fall off. I open my mouth and she’s back inside me, where she’ll stay put until I’m convinced she’s learned her lesson.
The noise and congestion are stifling. Even in the sanctity of my own home, the grimy outside world creeps in. Suddenly, I’m away from it all. Not a soul is in sight. A lone flower sits before me and soon a single petal flutters free. The petal and I fly forward through the valley, skimming across the blades of grass, grazing their tips as we wake up the rest of the flowers. More and more petals join the parade. In a cornucopia of colors, we zoom across the landscape and breathe new life into the world.
My poor, sick little son. His skin feels so warm and his eyes look out at the world with sadness and fatigue. I take him in my lap and hold him close. Lately he’s been obsessed with all things “car” and I know what’ll make him feel better. I pick up the Playstation 3 controller from the table next to our chair and fire the system up. Soon we’re zooming through the streets in GTI Club Plus. My son points at the screen and whispers, “Whoa.” Daddy’s not so good at this game and in our first run we don’t even make it through the second lap before time expires, but neither of us care. We start over and try different paths, weaving between opponents as we veer around the sharp turns. My son readjusts his position and snuggles against my chest. I kiss the top of his head and keep steering the car, both of us with our eyes fixed on the screen.
It’s all down to this putt. If I sink it, I claim victory over my opponent and can move on to the next set of challenges. But if I miss, all my efforts are for naught and I’ll have to start over from square one. I’m kicking myself because I blew it: I botched a few easy shots and misjudged a couple simple putts, basically giving the competition a free pass on almost half of the holes. As I’m gauging the putt distance, a family of ducks float nearby in a small pond and a chorus of insects and birds chirp their symphony. I finally make my move and the ball inches toward the hole, as if in slow motion. After what seems like an eternity, it finally drops into the cup. My muscles ease up and the elation that comes with a close victory courses through my veins!
It’s nearing 10:00 and my son is sleeping on my chest, breathing deeply. My wife sits near me, knitting and chatting with me about nothing in particular. My eyes are focused on the television, watching Lumines Supernova on the screen. Even though I’m playing the game, my mind isn’t paying attention. Instead, I’m content to enjoy a quiet, relaxing Saturday evening with my family. I notice the blocks rise and fall, the music periodically changes, and the visuals shift from one scene to the next, but the game seems more like something far off in the distance. Happily, so do the worries and responsibilites that usually consume my thoughts.