(but then what on this blog ever has been?)
Anyway, Alan's latest post (about the Wii) reminded me that I've yet to share my invaluable opinions about video games...
1) The old ones were better. And I'm not just being an old fart, here ("In my day, son, we had *real* clouds...") When video games were 100% fantasy (Centipede, Missile Command, DigDug, Frogger, etc) it was fun. As soon as they started trying to look like real people doing actual things (eg, Mortal Kombat, sports), they lost me. Now I had something to compare the game to (ie, real life) and the game was a cheesy, stupid, imitation. I found sports games especially ridiculous -- why would I stand here fiddling my thumbs *pretending* to hit a baseball or a golf ball or whatever, when I could play the real thing and it could be an actual accomplishment, with camaraderie and benefits to your health, and most importantly, something a *lot* more fun?
(Grammar nazis, please leave the previous sentence alone -- it's happy just the way it is, lack of structure and all...)
2) My brother told me that some posit that video games are one factor contributing to a lack of direction and motivation among young men nowadays. In real life, you have to expend effort to achieve power and control; with a video game, all you have to do is sit on the couch and move your thumbs. In the extreme case, it saps their enthusiasm to engage with the real challenges of life.
3) I played Guitar Hero for the first time last month. I had greatly mocked this game, for the reasons above -- why not get a real guitar and learn to play it instead of *pretending* to play a plastic guitar by pushing buttons and flicking a little lever? It seemed really stupid. And maybe it is. But it *is* fun. Somehow they've taken a bunch of pop/rock songs -- many of which I don't even care for that much in their actual versions -- and made them fun to listen to and given you a way to have input into making the song sound good.
So I guess that's all I have to say about that.
Oh, one other thing: since I have a real guitar, and can even play it a little, the game was pretty easy except in Expert mode. The people I was playing with were impressed that I could jump right to the Medium (or whatever) setting. The point: I never told them I could play a real guitar -- does that mean I'm evil?