Sep 3, 2008

Games Upon Games

Photo: *SNORE*

One thing I really like about my boyfriend's family is they play board games. My family used to play board games--Shoots & Ladders, Candyland, Clue, Jenga, Trivial Pursuit (and on truly ambitious evenings: Mousetrap)--but playing a board game has specific pace requirements (SLOW) that my family can't realistically meet. We don't leisurely hang out very much, we just stop in and catch up; a board game could take up to two hours, which sounds unnecessarily luxurious. Also, I think my parents have a Wii now, which is the only gaming console I believe to be inhabited by very tiny, very intelligent people (how else does the damned thing work?!). Everyone has one except me--it's the Cool Table in high school all over again. I'm going to shake my fist at Nintendo the next time we drive past the campus--that'll show 'em ( 'em my fist, anyway). Actually, I'm just going to shake my fist at Cory, who lives downstairs; he works at Nintendo, and that's more of a direct blow to The Man. I'm all about simple solutions.

We play a lot of Apples to Apples with the Esq's family; it's THE GAME OF HILARIOUS COMPARISONS! The rules are simple: there's a rotating Judge holding an Adjective Card (ex: DELICIOUS!), and you have a hand of Noun Cards (ex: apple pie, Johnny Depp, babies--all prime examples of something 'delicious')--you choose the card that will convey the most 'deliciousness' to that particular judge. If I was the judge, and you chose 'babies', you would have won the green card. Everyone takes turns being the judge, and the point is to win a certain amount of green cards. There's an immigration joke in me somewhere that's dying to get out, thanks to all the green card talk, but I just don't have the energy today. My lack of enthusiastic racism concerns and frightens me.

Even though there are hundreds of cards, we all have our favorite Noun Cards; mine are usually a bit on the genocidal side of things. My favorite cards: AIDS, The End of the World, Adolf Hitler, and his wife Oprah Winfrey, The Challenger Explosion, The Internet, and 9/11. My favorite second-stringers are Canada, Babies, and Mormons, all used in a hideously negative fashion, which is my favorite fashion to wear.

We were at the Red Balloon Company on Capital Hill, goofing around, when I found the Games section; it was in the corner. I stood there in amazement, eyes adjusting to the sunlight pouring in from the big picture window. I curiously read each game title, writing each one down in my notepad, and all I could think of was, what the fuck is this crazy ass bullshit?

My Favorites:


In this board game, based on the New York Times best-selling book Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons, you will travel the world by AIR, LAND, SEA (and BOARD) gathering knowledge of nine different species of dragons, using ancient spells and-- you know what? This sounds like science class at the Renaissance Fair, which makes me think of math, and I don't want to do Renaissance math, or dragon math, or any math
at all. I am never playing this game.


Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary describes the word 'solitary' (from which the game Solitaire was probably named) as:

1. Being, living, or going alone or without companions.
2. Unfrequented, desolate.
3. Taken, passed, or performed without companions.
4. Being at once single and isolated.

Taking Solitaire and adding five unwanted cohorts on top of the 'roid-raging word FRENZY is unrealistic, and doesn't sound like 'going it alone'; there is no 'aye' in TEAM, because Solitaire is for pirates, and pirates play alone. Everyone in the world has played Solitaire at one time or another, whether you were avoiding homework or in a drunken blackout; all you wanted to do was relax, veg out, get some peace and quiet. In this new and improved game, frenzied relaxation is easy to achieve when you're emptying the Bone Pile and stomping your opponent with a Racing Demon, or with the obscenely-named Double Swinging Door Nertz. It's just hard for me to imagine playing late-night Solitaire in my kitchen, looking up at 3 A.M. and thinking, this game could only get better if I had five frenzied friends here with me. I just don't see it.


That's right, folks, everybody's favorite reminder of childhood failure, the Rubik's Cube, is teaming up with everyone's favorite modern math game--Sudoku! As a child, I saw that cube for what it really was: man's inhumanity to man. I could solve that thing in five minutes flat, but only because I practiced really hard at cheating. I even had a surefire way of removing the stickers cleanly, and putting them back on with the precision of a brain surgeon. But a brain surgeon that did not make me.

What is Sudoku? Can anyone really tell me? It's a math game? *SNORE* It's a logic-based number placement puzzle? *SNORE* The Japanese predictably love it? *SNORE* With such an interesting objective (was there one?), and a fun-loving attitude (MATH: IT'S FOR EVERYONE!), a game like this could only be improved if an equally frustrating game were its' whorish gay lover. What, you don't think Sudoku is gay? Really?

CAREERS: The classic game of fame, fortune, and happiness!

I'm scared of the child who marches into Toys 'R' Us and demands this game. I wish games had a more realistic bent to them. How about CAREERS: The classic game of drinking on the job and getting canned. Or CAREERS: Getting Knocked Up In College Can Hurt Your Career. How about, CAREERS: What's the Point When There's All This Pot to Smoke? Or my favorite, CAREERS: You'll Never Amount to Anything. To me, this game sounds like a deflating balloon that is filled with feces. Which is what MY career sounds like, incidentally.

Heil Apples to Apples!


Mathias N Oz said...

Yes it is gay, but I think it is pronounced Suk-Dik-oo...

RiverMist said...

omg I love DRAGONOLOGY and those other books, I've never heard of a game board version, I'll check it out, sounds fun.

just wanna say at least you've got to experience a family board game, I rememebr when I was lil' i always asked my parents if we could play monopoly or something, and they always said no, now that i'm an old teenager I'm no longer interested.

konichiwa, bitches. said...

sudoku is TOTALLY gay. Japanese and Germans are like, culture soulmates, except that when the Germans are shamed they don't commit seppuku, they just deny everything. Everywhere I go I see people playing sudoku. You would think they're some kind of geniuses but these are the same people who will wait at a deserted intersection to cross the street because the walk light is still red. They don't give tickets here for jaywalking but you will still be screamed by civilians at for crossing against the red.

Um, how did I digress that far? Sometimes I amaze myself.

matt the robot hippo king said...

OMG. it's 11:15, and i WAS playing computer solitaire, but i just had this TOTAL frenzy to call people over!!!
then i had:
thoughts on a project to pitch: full-contact-12-person-hungry hungry hippos!!!! would be like twister. but with life-size ROBOT hippos, and everyone would be stuck in an arena, and the marbles would be DODGEBALLS instead, and do i need to spell out what would happen if you got too close to the HUNGRY HUNGRY ROBOT HIPPOS?

since you're not doing anything, i think we should pitch this to milton bradley...

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Oh my god, all of you guys make me LOL. But in regards to the life-size robotic Hungry Hungry Hippo: count me in. Brilliant.