X Marks the Spot

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Chapter 17

“I see nobody on the road,” said Alice.

“I only wish I had such eyes,” the King remarked in a fretful tone, “To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance, too! Why, it’s as much as I can do to see real people, by this light!”

I started playing my first video game the first minute I got my first game cube. I was eight years old and I loved it. It was a cube by Nintendo that had little play disks. The next summer when I got home from summer camp my dad bought me a PS2. I played the mondo out of it. It was a great system.

There are kids today who still play game cubes and PS2s. There is no reason to kick a good thing to the curb. That’s what grown-ups do, always getting tired of it, looking for the next thing to make them happy. That’s why there’s junk and trash and garbage everywhere. They can’t ever be happy doing one thing.

I never stopped playing video games, but I didn’t play them much for a while, which was the summer I was eleven years old. I got a used xBox when I was ten years old, but I went back to my PS2. I didn’t like the XBox, not at first. Then, two years ago, I got a new XBox. Now I only play it, nothing else. It is the greatest, the boss.

It’s a Limited Edition Controller. It’s better different state-of–the-art, with lights on the side, and the triggers are a new style, the latest. They light up green. There are tactical set-ups, using different buttons, and it’s complex overall. It’s not for amateurs. There are many different ways to play. It’s not for children.

You can either play the tower or you can play on-line, although it costs money to play on-line. Play Station 3 lets you play for free, but the connection to the game is not good. It’s not bad, but it’s not great, either. You have to pay to play xBox 360, but it’s reasonable, and it’s definitely worth it, since they have more dedicated servers.

I play a lot of guys and sometimes even a few girls. There aren’t many Daisy May’s, but there are some of them. We talk to each other on our headsets. But I broke mine, so I had to beg my dad to buy me a new one. You can talk to your friends while you’re playing laugh have a good time get into the flow. Fee fi fo, walking to Detroit.  You can play seriously, too, telling everybody, hey, there’s a guy here, come and get him!

Some guys take video games too seriously. “The world outside burns through skin,” they say. But then they take it too far. Whenever a new game comes out, they have trouble in school. They don’t necessarily get F’s, but their grades start to sink fast, because they’ve gotten addicted.

That’s never a good thing and why it’s not cool to play video games all the time.

There are some guys who play every day, start playing the minute they home from school, and stay up late on school nights. They play just about any chance they get. They even skip their part-time slavery jobs so they can get on their consoles. They don’t have any spending money, but they don’t care.

My ex-friend-to-be Mario at St. Mel’s plays video games all the time, which is basically any chance he gets. He’s chunky and doesn’t play any sports. “It’s the only thing that’s fun to do anymore,” he said. He doesn’t get good grades anymore, though. He has a C- in my science class and it’s definitely because of video games. He is getting chunkier by the minute.

You get addicted to them and don’t even know it’s happening. All you can think about is playing. You think, I just want to play this! Then you play it all night. The next morning you wake up, shake it off, and go to school. Then when you look at your planner, oh, my God! I had all this homework and I forgot to do any of it!

Even if it happens only four times for only one quarter for only every class, that’s four homework assignments, which are usually ten points. That’s forty points off your grade. It adds up fast to a butt load of bad grades.

Our teachers don’t know what’s happening, or if they’re deluded and think they know, they don’t actually know. No one ever tells their teachers they’re failing because they play video games. “I’m just having trouble,” is what everybody says. Nobody says I’ve been playing video games all the time and didn’t write out any of my notes.

It’s not just video games, though. It can be anything.

CJ is in my history class and sits in front of me. He’s a good artist and all day long he draws pictures of basketball and football players because he’s gay. Gay as in gay. We take notes every day and I have at least a twenty-five-page book filled back to front, but he doesn’t take any notes, at all. Taking notes is a big thing in our classes. I started taking them and it helped me super immensely. It showed on my grades.

“CJ, what are you doing?”

“Dude, shut up,” he says.

Cartooning isn’t video games, but it’s the same thing.

I study my notes at home every day, which is something you just have to do. If I didn’t my time would be gone up in smoke playing video games. I would have a test the next day and fail it.

You can’t just get on your console and think you will be in control. Everyone thinks they have board control, but it’s usually the other way around. Your parents will know. If I sat at home every day after school and played Call of Duty, when my stepmom got home she would notice, and there would be trouble. When my dad prints out my grades and I have a D he would know it wasn’t because I didn’t understand things, but that I was playing video games every day after school. He’s no dope, not when it comes to the facts of life.

I don’t have dibs on many parents playing video games. Some of the on-line commentators are probably parents, because they’re old, or at least older. But they make money off of it. They have a boat load of subscribers on YouTube. They don’t care. They’re rich as dictators and playboys and movie stars.

The very oldest adults who play are probably twenty-five. They’re mostly guys on their headsets, sitting at home, who don’t have a job, in their sweatpants noon to midnight. You rarely see girls playing. It’s not for them. They don’t have what it takes, not really. They’re better at dating sims than doming.

Adults always say video games are bad for you. That’s what they say about techno music, too. They say it about everything kids do, except schoolwork and housework and all the other kinds of work. What do they know? My grandmother says the screen will weaken my eyesight. Now it’s all about how video games will make you violent. I don’t know about that. Everybody knows murder in real life is illegal.

The one thing I know is spending all night at a console will get you girlfriendless. I love video games, but sometimes you need to get up and do something. Otherwise you start to grow a sofa butt. The pretty girls don’t go for that.

Almost everybody plays video games, although some guys aren’t allowed to play some of them. But if you’re a smart parent, and your son likes playing video, you should let them. That’s how they connect to people. That’s definitely how I connect to many of my friends. If they didn’t play the same video games as me then we wouldn’t be friends. But we do, and when we became friends, we notice we have many other things in common, too.

We get our own clubhouse going.

Video games are all about reflexes and aiming. That’s it in a nutshell. You have to have good reflexes, or you’re sunk. You MUST be able to RUSH and SLOW DOWN.  You have to be able to go fast in slow-motion. There are different maps everyone plays, so knowing the maps is a huge part of it, too. If you know the maps you know where people are going to be and you can strike fast, faster than the turtle who just duck and cover. They always lose.

Staying focused is super important. When you’re playing on a twitch you have to control your emotions. Some people get ticked off and that affects their play. When you’re angry you don’t play as well. You end up running around trying to kill that one person who’s hiding in that one spot you just have to scratch. You’re so crazed about it that you can’t see anything. They can see you, but you can’t see them, and they’ll see you first time every time and shoot you.

It’s better to control other people’s emotions. That’s best and better. It’s the max plan to make them angry rather than to be a madman yourself. Every time you play video games it’s a first-person experience. Only you can torch it. It’s all up to you. Nobody can tell you anything. There’s no time for that.

Killing other people is fun, especially doing it with friends, and other people who might be your friends. They’re all around the world and talking to them about it afterwards is fun, too. You kick back and count recount the corpses.

When you play on-line there are game modes, like free-for-all, which is where you’re by yourself against everybody else. There’s also death team match, which is where you’re on a team killing other teams. Whatever way you play, whoever gets to a certain number of points wins. In the end, it’s all about wiping.

There’s domination, which is like capture the flag. There’s sabotage, which is where you have to find a case, unlock it, and type a code in. There’s demolition, which is a search-and-destroy game. There are just a carnival load of different games.

The idea is to prestige it. As you do that you get different guns better guns bigger guns more and more guns. You get SMG’s, assault rifles, and grenade launchers. There are no cannons, but rocket launchers, yes. You get more bullets for your magazines, higher power, and more accuracy. There’s just a arsenal of better everything because you’re on a higher level.

Video games are a great way to connect with other people all over the world. Even if it’s just your friends at home it’s all good. In the winter you’re not going to go outside for three hours straight. You can stay inside, relax, and play some video games. It can be an icebreaker if your friends are new friends.

War games are the biggest attraction, DEFINITELY. Massively multi-player on-line games are tremendous. It’s all about first person shooting and killing. But it’s not JUST shmup and bleeding all over the place. When you get shot, because it’s from a first person point-of-view the screen gets a little bloody, but it’s not like blood spurting out of your arteries, although it is.

Back in the day I loved fantasy role-playing games. You would become a character, start at a low level, and grow your parts. I fought monsters and won better armor. I used to play those all the time, but I quit. The last one I played you could tell it was going all to hell, so what was the point?

Guys who are good at video games are different than other guys. They don’t say they’re better than you, but when they’re playing, and they’re better, you just know they’re GODS. If you go back and watch their games in theater mode, you can see how they play is much much different than everyone else. They don’t run around all crazy. They’re cold-blooded and calculating. When I started I sucked. But after a month of playing I got into a rhythm. I could do what I wanted on the maps and I thought that maybe one day I could be a GOD, too.

Guys who don’t play video games act like you’re stupid if you do. They’ll act superior by saying their parents won’t let them. They act just like their crappy parents, all serious and smug. My dad understands that I’m not going to run out on the street and really kill people because I play war games. We all know it’s just a game.

If I was on my xBox every day, not that playing every day is bad, although it can be a bad thing if you play too much, my dad would probably not like it if he found out, but I think he knows I’m responsible about it.

Some parents are probably scared of their kids being introduced to violence. They say it’s INAPPROPRIATE. They think it is bad news to play any games with guns. I don’t know of any other reason they would be scared. They don’t like violence, shooting, and a graveyard of gore. I’ve heard about parents who believe a guy played Call of Duty and afterwards went out and murdered a girl. It never happened, but it doesn’t matter even if it happened. I don’t think that should be a reason for not playing.

You can’t say, oh, my God! VIDEO GAMES ARE EVIL! Playing a video game doesn’t make anyone get a real gun and shoot a girl or a random dude on the street. That doesn’t have anything to do with playing Call of Duty. A lot of grown-ups try to pull that stupid argument, but they’re only being self-serving. Sometimes video games are just scapegoats for crappy parents. The only bad thing video games can do for sure is get you bad grades in school. Some guys take it too far, quit their jobs, and literally play games all day. That is truly bad and stupid. But it’s a personal problem. It’s not an awful thing if it’s personal. I like to say, it’s your life. I play it smart, sure as a thunderstorm, but I don’t interfere.

Video games are a way to feel good about yourself. If you get made fun of at school, and people don’t respect you, playing video games is a way to get away. It makes you feel good, and important, like you can do anything. It makes you feel like you can take on the world.

It was a big day when Modern Warfare Call of Duty 3 came out. I had my AC130, which is my gunship, and I got on a kill streak. I was literally mowing guys down, making them spawn tracks, just mowing them down with my gunship. WHOA! You feel big and bad, like those jerks at school don’t have anything on you, just for the little bit of time that you’re playing. You always have to go back to real life, of course, but you can go back to the game later and feel good again.

Video games are ridiculously popular, although some guys say it’s all a waste of time. “I can do so much more, so many better things,” they say, all smug and sure.

They might be a waste of time, but it’s fun to lay back, relax, and not take it too seriously. I don’t know what those guys do instead of playing video games. I never ask. They just say it’s a waste of time. They were probably raised that way. Some of them get angry about it.

“What’s the big deal, dude?” I ask them.

“Who cares? You?” they say.

“Yeah, yeah,” and I walk away. I don’t walk in anybody’s shadow.

“Dude, you’re a tard,” CJ told one of the haters, even though CJ doesn’t even play video games. “If you like the games, that’s cool, if you don’t, you don’t have to say they’re stupid and a waste of time. Mind your own business. Move along, move along.”

Some grown-ups think video games are fine. They don’t care too much. The real geezers don’t care at all because they’re beyond caring. Many grown-ups are sulky about them, bitter, and kind of mad. But I hope they’re not against them, in general. Everybody should know something about video games. You shouldn’t say they suck when you hardly know anything about them. Grown-ups do that all the time, like they know everything.

That’s useless talk, that’s all, just comments in the comments section that nobody cares about.

 

 

 

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