True Confessions

Hello. My name is Jayne, and I am a gamer.

I started gaming with my first computer back in the early nineties. I had a four-year old and a one year old in 1991. I rationalized that getting a computer would jump-start their education, and having a word processing program would make my life much more productive. Gaming wasn’t a consideration back then, unless it was labeled “educational.”

We would have so much fun going to the electronics department to pick out a new game, I mean educational software. Underwater adventures counting fish, dinosaurs eating up the wrong words, just to get to the fireworks at the end declaring you won your certificate.

This was a wonderful bonding time for my oldest son and me as he sat on my lap watching me add 2+3 and then collect the gold at the bottom of the ocean floor. The bonding time wasn’t that long because playing on his swing set seemed more fun, but I knew we were building lasting memories.

Remember shareware?

As my son grew, we branched out and drifted away from educational games. We found ourselves victims of the shareware craze. It wasn’t long before we found the “Commander Keene” series. Since it was free and G rated, I let my son enjoy the game on occasion. Of course, when he had trouble, I had to be the one to “fix” the problem, meaning, get past the hard part. Pretty soon, I found myself anxious for his bedtime so I could have my gaming time.

Pretty soon, we found the game “Prince of Persia.” This game actually made my palms sweat as I tried to lead the Prince across crumbling floors to avoid spiked bottoms while fighting turban-clad guards with swords. I finally led the Prince to the princess, while my son proudly watched. That was a special moment for the two of us. I don’t think I could have done it without him cheering me on.

As my son got older we started to develop our own individual tastes in video games. I continued to gravitate toward the adventure; he liked the simulation games. Lucasfilms developed a couple Indiana Jones games, that I enjoyed while my son took to the “SimCity” games. This was a defining moment for us. I knew that we were drifting apart. Although he would occasionally play my Indiana Jones games to break up the monotony, I knew his heart wasn’t in it. The generation gap was starting.

On my 42nd birthday, I realized we would probably never share our love of the same computer games. My son gave me a very popular game that I never would have picked for myself. I didn’t like timed games. They made my nervous. I was a sophisticated gamer. I used my mind to solve puzzles, and lead my hero through mazes to reach his goal. I was exercising my mind; computer games were as good as crossword puzzles.

But there it was. The happy looking face of Flo smiling at me, and I don’t mean Progressive Flo. This was Flo from “Diner Dash.” I was supposed to seat, serve, collect and clean up all in record time. Oh, the rush when I got all-stars and the title of “Expert.” I guess you could say that this was the beginning of my time management period.

I dashed through “Dashes” and went looking for others. It was around this time I joined Big Fish Games. The days of waiting for your game to arrive from Amazon were over. You could download the game as soon as you decided what you wanted. This was nirvana. An instant fix. I went through all the “Build-a-Lot” games and a couple of “Ranch Rushes” but knew that I couldn’t continue at that pace. I soon developed MFF (Mouse Finger Fatigue). Was it time to hand up my mouse?

My television time was suffering, after all, and it was a constant battle to get computer time with two teenage boys in the house who needed their fair share of gaming time.

But my son wouldn’t let me disconnect from the gaming life. He continued to suck me back in. On my next birthday, he gave me a game called “Tropico,” introducing me to the strategy-based games. I got to be dictator and build stuff for my loyal comrades. How fun is that. I played through two versions of that game. If I couldn’t get two teenagers to do as I wanted, at least I could control hundreds of citizens on my little island.

Big Fish Games is a great way to enjoy a variety of games.

Big Fish has supplied me with cheap entertainment off and on for almost ten years. Most games are $10, and sometimes you can get them for half price. I fell in love with the “Mystery Case Files” games where you have to solve puzzles and find hidden objects. This was like being a kid again, reading the “Highlights Magazine” in the doctor’s office.

These days the industry offers a new alternative. Give the game away, and if you want something special in the game you can purchase it with game coins. “Farmville” and “Candy Crush”work like this, both of which I’ve played. I’m happy to report that I spent $5 total on the two games. I skipped my McDonald’s lunch for that week.

Although I am an avid gamer, I am happy to report that I have not mortgaged the house to pay for my game coin habit. This is an ingenious idea the gaming industry created. To buy a video game you usually pay between $10 and $50 and the game is yours; there is nothing else to buy.

This new idea of buying coins, diamonds or gold to spend in the game, keeps you buying. I read in a game forum where someone spent $300 on coins. As long as the game company keeps adding new levels, the game can be endless, and so is the revenue.

These days, I spend my free time traveling through the ages, building my city, raising an army and trying not to get plundered by the likes of Balls Chapped, Youbuttplug or Firecrotch90 in “Forge of Empires.” (Yes, those are real players, probably prepubescent boys or middle aged men still living with their parents. I can’t decide.) I am happy to report that I have yet to spend a dime for precious diamonds on this game. I prefer to save my money for the real ones.

 

 

4 Comments

  1. I was playing a game called Sparkle Drop there for a little while. A easy, relaxing game but you have to have coins to continue. I think I spent around ten dollars for coins. I eventually deleted the game.

  2. I’m glad I could be the inspiration for your gaming career, as you were for me at a young age. From watching you play Carmen Sandiego to where I’ll be going home tonight and playing batman and the Witcher 3. Good memories of msdos and cd/run commanderkeen remain though!!!!

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