I have an addictive personality. At the age of six I impersonated a lemur for four months. I’ve avoided serious addictions like gambling (marrying Husband was a MEASURED RISK), alcohol (except on social occasions) and hard drugs (unless you count chocolate or cheese – which I never have). You don’t need these crutches when you have sulking, telly, tag, pulling your brothers’ ears, solitaire, ginger snaps, killer sudoku and computer games.
Over the years, I have successfully kicked all the above, except computer games. I just can’t seem to get a foothold on the wagon. Several times I have resorted to asking Husband to remove computer games from my laptop, or block certain websites.
When I asked Husband to block Killersudokuonline, he said,
“Block it entirely? But you should be able to play it now and then, if it relaxes you.”
“Really? That’s what I think!”
“I mean, how long do you spend on it?”
“Er, four days and counting.”
I’m not even addicted to cool games, like . . . ok, I don’t know any. I gravitate towards advancedly tragic, nerdy games like Minesweeper, Tetris, and Frogger.
Last night, my brother Eoin invited Daire and I to his new gaff for dinner and the conversation shifted to vintage computer games.
Back in the early eighties, my parents were the proud owners of a Vic20. I was resolutely unimpressed with the thing. It couldn’t do anything apart from some simple arithmetic – although admittedly, it made a great fan heater.
When we upgraded to a Commodore 64, it came accessorised with games. In particular, I recall one where the operator was required to pilot a chubby little bank robber across the bottom of the screen to grab a sack of money; then convey him safely back. Not as easy as it sounds, because he was getting pelted with fat drops of acid rain, which were apparently pretty injurious to bank robbers. I have no idea what sort of twisted mindset would think of juxtaposing a bank robber and acid rain – but it was inspired.
After reminding my brothers of this game, Daire said, “Remember Pong?”
Eoin and I said, in unison: “Ah, Pong.”
<Reminiscent pause, lightly seasoned with nostalgia.>
Me: Remember Frogger?
Daire: What was Frogger?
Me: You had to get this little frog across the six lane highway to the nice lily pad without getting splatted by articulated lorries or sports cars.
Daire: Oh, right.
Me: It’s on the Internet.
Eoin and Daire, crying out in one voice: REALLY?
Then Eoin, the ‘rebel’, the ‘challenger’, who always has to be ‘pushing the envelope’, said,
“Who remembers Lemmings?”
There was a ghastly hush. I spent most of my student years in a Lemmings stupor. I had Lemmings binges, after which I would feel inadequate and ashamed. I would tell myself I would stop, that I could live without Lemmings.
Daire unsuccessfully attempted to find an online version of Lemmings on the Internet, but I knew I could find it. I spent the rest of the evening thinking up likely search expressions.
The ease with which I tracked down an online version of the game this morning leads me to believe Lemmings was calling me from a fourth dimension of the Ethernet.
If you tend towards even mild compulsion, do not click this link