Back to gaming?

I came home from work and the wife said she had a present for me. I don’t like presents! I feel uncomfortable receiving them and never remember to buy any for others. I feel as though my random daily thoughts override my social obligations – I think (actually I get a reminder on my phone!) about buying some flowers for my wife but then I forget. Instead my brain wants me to explore whether communism can actually be a good thing or other random thoughts. My poor wife, she is the opposite to me in the gifting department. She loves buying and wrapping but most of all receiving. You can see her anticipating a “wow, thanks dear that’s really thoughtful” but instead gets “…..” and a confused face.

I was told to close my eyes. I open them and there is an Xbox one console on the floor. “Why?” I ask. Apparently it’s an early birthday present. My birthday is 3 months away. I immediately think what a waste of money but better try my best happy face. It takes real effort to produce a genuine happy face!

This feels weird. It’s like an old addiction / vice come back to tempt me. I haven’t really touched video games for years. As an analogy, I don’t really drink alcohol now and rarely buy it myself so this situation is like buying me a few crates of beer. Do I have time? Do I really want it?

“Turn it on, turn it on” she excitedly demands. After half an hour setting up the console it needs an update. There won’t be any gaming today! This took a considerable amount of time. The next day I can look forward to finally play my game that came with the console. I’m looking through the box trying to find the disc… I discover a slip of paper with a code on, looks like I have to download it. Not before signing up to some sort of online Xbox service though. After some head calculations it looks like the game will take 8 hours to download!… A few days later…I realise my subscription allows me to download games for free, yay! Kids will be happy after another couple of days downloading… Finally get my game after prioritising my children but needs an update to play it though! Now it seems like I have to set up an online account to play the game, I only want to play by myself though! When I finally get to load the game up the next day the Xbox online services are down!

I thought it would be better to just buy physical games, a lovely shiny disc (made of rainbows according to my youngest daughter) and an actual box to store it in. That was all I got however, you still have to download the game despite having a disc! Madness. Growing up in a bygone era I was used to owning physical copies of music and games. Now my games have to be downloaded and my music isn’t actually mine, just available in a digital cloud somewhere and only accessible through an app or program. Mind you it’s not as bad as my first computer, a zx spectrum (really showing my age here)!. To play a game you had to either buy a magazine and painstaking type out pages of code or load from magnetic cassette tape. The games inputted with code were seriously basic and not worth the time spent. Looking back, the cassette games were unimaginably torturous. You had to hook up a cassette player to the computer and ‘play’ the cassette to load the game. Every time. It took hours! You also had this digital ‘nails on chalkboard’ white noise to listen to, still gives me nightmares! Worse still, there was no guarantee that after waiting for hours to load the game that it wouldn’t crash. I would never want to go back to that but feels like we have taken a step backwards. I guess you, the reader could enlighten me as to why we can’t just run games from discs? Piracy issues?

By next week I could happily be playing Tomb Raider which would take me back to my gaming glory days, hopefully anyway. What was your favourite game or console? Which game has the most nostalgia for you? Girls: are there any games you wish were made?



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