Sunday, November 12, 2006

Nostalgia: Not What It Used To Be.

Last week, I did two very sad things indeed. I joined Facebook, and fell off the YoHoHo Puzzle Pirates wagon.

Facebook first: I've been resisting for ages, ostensibly on moral grounds (I'm far too cool to care whether people I was at university with are more successful than me!) but really because I had forgotten the password to my Oxford alumna email address.

Sadly, they've now opened Facebook up to the hoi polloi, me included, and the number of invitations pinging into my inbox was becoming untenable (not just from Facebook, but also the jauntily named 'hi5', Bebo and 'WAYN', short for 'Where are you now?', mais oui). Anyway, I joined, and was immediately confirmed in my suspicions that I shouldn't do things like this because I. must. be. cynical. I just can't seem to write about my life and achievements, such as they are, without affecting an arsey sort of jocularity, as if to underline the point that I'm not really taking this seriously and please listen I'm not a complete twat and you'd like me if you got to know me, honest.

It all leaves me feeling vaguely sullied, an impression now added to by the fact that people who I had lost touch with seem intent on reminiscencing fondly about twattish things I said at university. Oh, and I'm being chatted up by a physicist from the year above, who claims that I spent an hour during a Freshers Week pub crawl asking him if he was celibate. What can you say to that? It sounds eminently I like something I might do, but I haven't the foggiest as to whether I did. Conversation on that kind of basis is necessarily somewhat strained.

Anyway, it's better news on YoHoHo! Puzzle Pirates, which obsessed me for about two weeks after finals while I waited for friends taking other subjects to finish their exams (English being freakishly early in the exam calendar).

The one play on it I had turned out not to be a gateway drug to another fifteen plays on it, as I had feared, but instead served to remind me of precisely how dull a game it is. In fact, it's probably the least fun that has ever masqueraded under the banner of a game in history, apart from a Gladiatoral combat.

The premise is this: you, and your fellow players, are pirates. You sail round a variety of amusingly named islands pillaging, trading, and buying absurd hats. Unfortunately, the creators have obviously thought that other games are too, well, playable. YoHoHo is a bit like some kind of online totalitarian regime.

What you want to do, of course, is build yourself your own boat, pimp it really hard with some custom drapes and a gold rudder, and call yourself a Rear-Admiral. But the game won't allow this. Instead, you have to join a crew as a cabin-person (thank you for the equal opportunity to be a grunt) and play the puzzles of the title which bilge, sail and repair the ship under the aegis of your Captain (who will, no doubt, have been playing the game 14 hours a day for the last six months). Let it be very clear: there are no shortcuts to glory here, no cheat codes or secret tricks. Just hard graft for hours, at puzzles which quickly become old. Even worse, you're expected to make conversation with 14-year-olds from Idaho as you do this.

Anyway, I quickly realised that the rest of my life offered ample opportunities for staring at a screen, performing repetitive tasks and talking to people I have nothing in common with. So back to Guitar Hero and the dance mat it is.


Anonymous toowns said...

"Rear-Admiral" - snarf, snarf.

11/13/2006 3:05 pm  
Anonymous Laura said...

I didn't know you had a dance mat.... You have no idea how much i need one of those things. Especially if i can tape pictures of children's faces to the most-jumped-on squares...

11/13/2006 10:26 pm  

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