Monday, May 11, 2009

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Lady Who Is Actually The Bomb

I appreciate how King’s interpretation of our ‘glory days’ has my wife out of the house, and us on the couch. Could this be the beginnings of a budding bromance? Or at least a bromantic comedy?

I’m only surprised that Mountain Dew isn’t involved, somehow, as if our palates had regressed to some stunted teenage state. Once upon a time, ten thousand cups of coffee ago, it was DRINK of CHOICE, if never exactly the CHOICEST DRINK. Parents of the world! You don’t need to bat an eye when your boys start showing interest in girls. But when they start to show an interest in single malt Glenfiddich, then it might be time for The Talk.

First on the block has been Braid, a task that was in turns exhilarating, tedious, rewarding and oppressively inert. I find it curious that a game advertised as one that “treats your time and attention as precious” would have a secret item that you have to literally sit still and do nothing for an hour and a half to acquire. Waiting for the glacially slow cloud to whisk us from one side of the map to another, King and I employed our newly reclaimed precious time to the fullest, him scrambling madly to develop a vaccine for the Swine Flu, and I conference calling Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas to see if we couldn’t “get this silly little squabble out of our systems.”

Guys. Come on. Knock it off.

With global pandemic halted and peace in the middle-east secured, we returned to our game to see how our precious time had been invested. We were surprised to discover that our precious Xbox had frozen.

So we got to do it again.

Due to my nature, I am often labeled as a “completionist” when it comes to videogames, a term with which I’m not sure I’m satisfied. I tend to read books all the way through to the back cover, if for the simple reason that that’s where the end is. But it never lends itself to conversations like this:

“Hey, how’d you like that Nabakov you borrowed from me?”
“Man, it was awesome. I hundred percented it.”
“Oh, yeah? Does that unlock anything?”
“Well, it lets you re-read it, but with foreknowledge of the crushing banality of modern life that will ultimately lead to the protagonist's destruction, undone by their own unfettered wants and desires."

Also you get to dress this guy up as a clown.

I am not greedy, and do not ask for a lot out of the endings of games. Years ago I would toil for hours, if only to be presented with some warbling 8-bit ditty or pixelized animation. Perhaps this may be understood as the faintest echo of Pavlov's operant conditioning: Ring a bell, then give me a high-five. Whatever the case, it made finally collecting the eight stars in Braid worthy as a task in itself, even if the process let me feeling a little cold.

Perhaps it's that the reward of the true ending, is, essentially, a bald assertion of the very thing that all the story had been hinting towards from the get-go. How could there have been any doubt about things at this point? It all seemed to be struggling to settle for all time that classic zen koan: "When is a princess not a princess?"*

I will swallow my constant urge to spoil things, and instead couch things in ridiculously transparent entrendre instead. I mean, I know that Tim and the princess had an explosive relationship, but he just hasn’t been the same since she split. All he wanted was a nuclear family, but things began to mushroom out of control. He wanders around Manhattan projecting his failed hopes on the city, a Fat Man rejected for a Little Boy. Even after their fallout, she could always make him glow.

Oh princess. You were The Bomb.

- Rook

* When she's a METAPHOR!**

** Metaphor? I hardly touched 'hor!


  1. There's 8 stars in Braid. It's obvious which one of us actually got the stars and which one of us screwed about and told me I was 'doing it wrong'

    Also, as Aristotle says "It is those who desire the good of their friends for the friends' sake that are most truly friends, because each loves the other for what he is, and not for any incidental quality"

    Which is to say I'm only gay for chicks.


  2. Next time you want to prove how hetero you are, you maybe shouldn't quote a guy who was okay with totally getting his groove on with his students. And I don't mean his LADY students. It's like saying "Yeah well Liberace thinks I look good in a t-shirt."

    Because, you know what? he probably does.

    Also: I'm totally editing this post so as to maintain the illusion that I am a person who is able to count to eight.