4.21.2009

If You Can't Find Me...

...I'm Probably Lost in the Borean Tundra

I resisted for quite awhile, but I finally gave in and began playing World of Warcraft. Partly because it gives me something fun to do with Mr. O'Kitten, and partly because I really did think I would like it.

I must have been pretty young the first time heard about Dungeons & Dragons, because I remember thinking it was awfully disappointing that you couldn't actually play it in a real dungeon, or at least in a cave or someplace someone had made to look like a dungeon.

The thought of sitting around in someone's basement rolling dice and looking lots of things up in a book sounded extremely tedious to me.

But now, of course, you can go into dungeons online. And believe me, they are spectacular, as are the forests, mountains, oceans, deserts, and plains, replete with varying flora and fauna. It is really something for someone like me who still remembers Pong.

Remember Pong? Home Pong was released in the mid-1970s and, if you're too young to remember this moment in history, it probably sounds like a non-event. What was truly revolutionary about Pong was that it marked the first time you could actually interact with your television set.

Before Pong, television programming was merely broadcast into your home--and if your home was like mine, you got maybe four of five different channels. This meant that your TV set was merely a receiver for broadcasts. For the first time ever, Pong made it your TV set an interactive device.

My family had Pong, but (revolutionary or not) it really was a snoozefest. Pac-Man, however, captured my imagination. "When Pac-Man was released [in 1980], most arcade video games in North America were primarily space shooters such as Space Invaders, Defender, or Asteroids. The most visible minority were sports games that were mostly derivative of Pong. Pac-Man succeeded by creating a new genre and appealing to both genders." I was 13, and appeal to me it did.

However, I am not of the joystick generation. Mr. O'Kitten, who is five years younger than me, is far more adept at all things arcade and videogame, from Space Invaders to Nintendo to mastering the finer points of the newer online games like World of Warcraft. By the time Pac-Man was installed in my local pizzeria, I just couldn't seem to develop the lightning-fast eye-hand coordination the game required. That didn't stop me from losing a few quarters, but I was never destined to become an arcade junkie.

So now I can be a big monster online. I really like being a monster--and even better, I'm a monster that can turn into a cat, which entertains me no end.

11 comments:

Mouse said...

I remember both games -- my parents had an Intellivision system in the mid 70's! My dad and I have always been video game junkies.. and my husband is one too. I haven't gotten into WoW or Everquest because I fear that the combination of gaming + real people on the internet would equal me never leaving my desk chair AGAIN. Also.. I loved D&D and LARP'ing -- I even have a tattoo from one of the D&D books.

Dee said...

We had Pong. My Dad was fascinated by the game.

I never was much good at Space Invaders or Pac-Man. Short attention span on my part. LOL

Chris said...

Ah, those first games on our Apple IIe - Raster Blaster, Lords of Karma, Swashbuckler, Zorg... I was hugely addicted to Diablo 2 a few years ago, but I'm recovering now. :D

CTJen said...

oh, pong. Silly pong. I never played many games at the arcade because it was too expensive, but we sure did enjoy our Atari 2600 and Ms. Pacman (et al.).

@Chris: Diablo 3 is due to come out ... at some point. So, yeah. Enjoy being addiction free for now. ;)

Jenn said...

WoW is sucking up my life too! :)

uhles said...

Pong+Unlimited root beer refills=Shakey's Pizza in Houston, TX circa 1974. That was, as they say on the street (well, some street) my jam.

Obsidian Kitten said...

i really have to be careful of the addiction factor! it's definitely one of those things where you glance at the clock and go "oh wow, four hours have gone by?" lol

it's been about 5 years since i played a MMORPG and the graphics and everything are just so incredible now. i mean, you can fly and see what's going on below you *in real time* and total 3D rendering--it's staggering to think of the kind of coding that goes into that sort of thing.

Laura said...

How did you luck out and have so many channels on your TV? If we got 4 we were very lucky indeed! It was so hit-or-miss in the rabbit-ear days.

Obsidian Kitten said...

We got ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS when the weather was good.

I guess that's only 4 channels...

mrspao said...

I loved PacMan - still love it!!

Those were the days...

Susan said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Susan

http://onlinemariogames.net