Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Time lost to old times

What a stupid title.
ANyway, old video games always held an oddd hold on my life. Not the Atari systems that predated my dad having a paying job, or even the heart-and-soul joyousness of the original nintendo.
I'm talking the original, PC (which stands for "personal computer")-based strategy games.
Civilization was a dreamworld of power, power, power. Sim City let me finally make the world in my image-- I brought to life a town that spelled my name in perfectly cubic residential, commercial, and industrial zones, surrounded by clean, efficient mass-transit tracks.
But my arch-nemesis was a second-generation strategy game called Colonization. Within, a world of imagination ran rampant, obliterating any desires I had to do homework, take baths, or brush my teeth.
In 1995, I searched the wild and uncharted waters of 1492, searching for the new world. Every move was breathlessly thrilling as I discovered continents! Hidden Cities! Angry, bloodthirsty cannibal tribes! Starvation! Spanish assholes who would somehow have 20 soldiers and 20 dragoons three turns after the game started, and who would proceed to kill you between their gentle visits to the native villages. During these gentle visits, the Spaniards would also kill the natives, so there was no favortism.


One morning, in 1998, I woke up alone and drooling on the floor under the computer desk. With my limited research skills, I learned that I had aged three years TO THE DAY from when I got the 14 floppy disks that made up Colonization. I had a 14-foot-long beard, and was unable to lower my arms or close my legs, because the layers of filth on my body had grown so thick.
Above me, in its glory, blared colonization's screeching, tin-can internal-speaker repetitive music, mockingly announcing, ironically, that I'd ffound the fountain of youth on the continent I'd named "Oh, God, Kill me-onia." As settlers lined the docks, I curled up further beneath the desk, afraid at this strange new world I'd been thrust into.
In the strongest act of self-discipline I've ever performed, I deleted the game. Line by line, using DOS, I told the computer to delete each and every life-sucking file.

Dateline: 2006. Three days ago. I hear music I haven't heard for a long time in my head. I involuntarily shudder.
My hand moves involuntarily. A-b-a-n-d-o-n-i-a-.-c-o-m is what I type into my computer. This is a graveyard for old, dead games that nobody cares about.
c-o-l-o-n-i-z-a-t-i-o-n is what I type into the search engine.
The music resumes.


Yesterday, at 4:30 a.m., I look at the computer. The Spanish are killing me. I am SO FUCKING TIRED that my eyes hurt. My body reeks of neglect. My underwear is part of my flesh. I've been at the computer for three days. I spent 5 hours in the last three days in bed. Two hours eating (one of those in front of the computer). The rest playing that game. I realize that I've been slouching for so long that my back is almost completely hunched over. My chin rests on the keyboard. My facial hair has grown into the keyboard, and keys pop out when I try to raise my head.

"Colonization!!!!" I scream at the top of my lungs. I resolve to go to bed. This involves opening a can of beans, getting a spoon, sitting back down at the computer, eating beans, and playing the game until well, forever.

Yesterday +1: I get a call from my girlfriend. "Where are you?" she asks accusingly.
"I think I have a problem," I reply. "I haven't slept in three days."
"Why haven't you been calling me."
I don't know what to say. "There's someone else in my life. They're ... Spanish."
SHe doesn't get it. That's ok.


The game gets deleted soon after. In an anticlimactic ending to a boring story, I pledge never to play colonization again. "See you in 2011!" I hear it call.
I'm so afraid. Someone hold me.


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