Monday, December 17, 2012

Can't Do It

Either before 6th grade or after 6th grade in summer school at Pompano Beach Middle in Pompano Beach, Florida, we who could nearly fill up an entire computer lab spent time there playing the games available on the computers, including Breakout, in which you had to use a paddle at the bottom of the screen to keep a ball in the air, hitting bricks. One day, we had a tournament in which the prize was half a box of donuts. Dunkin' Donuts I think. It was a large box.

One kid had gotten what was thought to be the highest score any of us could get, but then I beat him with a slightly higher score, and no one could beat me. So I won the donuts.

But what I remember fondly, though not as fondly as after it had just happened and a few years after, was the game Marathon, in which you had to defend yourself against an alien invasion. I remember the guns and I remember the aliens. Ugly beasts. I didn't realize until looking at the Wikipedia page just now that the game takes place aboard a ship called Marathon. But I remember the rocket launcher, and the napalm, and the various other weapons. I remember most the multiplayer mode which a few of us in the computer lab played, either next to each other or across from each other. In multiplayer, you were in an arena and you had to kill your opponents many times over. Or there was a race to see how many suicides you could rack up by pointing your weapon straight at the ground and firing, killing you instantly. The rocket launcher was a favorite for this because when you fired, your body flew into the air, bloody enough as it was and then landed hard on the ground. Who cares if we were in teams? All that mattered was that rocket launcher.

I write this because I wonder if my 6th grade self would have bought "James Bond 007: GoldenEye" for the Wii. Was I that excited over Marathon that any other game with weaponry and running-and-gunning in it would have been equally appealing? I don't think so.

Ever since we got the Wii, I've been eyeing "James Bond 007: GoldenEye." The Bond series is my Star Wars, so it would seem an obvious fit. Plus, you can play as Oddjob, Scaramanga, Rosa Klebb, and a few other characters from the movies. You would think I'd like that.

On Saturday, we went to Las Vegas Premium Outlets South (The North outlets are near Downtown), just outside the city limits, before the start of the Strip, where they have a permanent Disney Character Depot location. Being unceasing Disney fanatics, we had to go see what they had, and there, I found Mom a pink Walt Disney World t-shirt with the logo we knew from the late '80s, with Mickey Mouse in the middle. I knew I had to get it for her and I did. But before I did, I saw in a square glass case sitting on the counter near the register a copy of "TRON: Evolution - Battle Grids" for the Wii.

I love Tron: Legacy and I'm psyched that director Joseph Kosinski is going to make the third one. I'll follow him anywhere. I loved this dystopian computer world, and, of course, Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn. To me, it's what movies should always do, and this one did, in sucking you into a vastly different world and showing you around.

I eyed "TRON: Evolution - Battle Grids" with that in mind. I looked at it once in the glass case and then walked back to where Mom and Dad and Meridith were, and just after I got there, I went back to the glass case to look at it again. This is a sign that I'm probably going to buy it because the same thing happened with a framed art print of a tranquil courtyard at Colleen's Classic Consignment in Henderson. I kept walking back to it and then took it off the wall and paid $41 for it.

"TRON: Evolution - Battle Grids" was $14.99. I gave the woman behind the counter the shirt I was buying for Mom, and then pointed to "TRON" in the glass case and asked for it. I want to explore that world from different perspectives than just what the movie offers, which I of course proudly own on DVD.

"James Bond 007: GoldenEye" should be just as natural a fit. But it isn't. While "TRON" has the light cycles and the disc battles, and the light runners, "GoldenEye" has the guns and the bloodshed and the collateral damage. I can't do that. Ironically, I can watch it through all 22 movies I own, and Skyfall when that comes to DVD. But I think that's because I can leave it behind. It happens and later, the end credits roll and that's it. The DVD comes out of the player and goes back into one of my two heavy-duty DVD binders. Gone until the next time.

With "GoldenEye," I'd involve myself in it for hours, even days. What made the multiplayer mode in Marathon palatable was the camaraderie between all of us who were playing. We'd throw jokes at each other from across the room, next to each other (One classmate whose name I've long forgotten used to sing a song with me that we made up for it: "See us fly, watch us die, home run derbyyyyyy...."), and keep racking up the death totals. We were young. It was easily dismissed.

But I don't want to spend my time pointing a video game gun at other characters, firing, and moving on to the next part of the mission. I don't want to be Bond. It's not in my nature. I'm not a GoldenEye, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto-type person. I fully understand the pleasure those games give others, but it's not my kind of pleasure. I'll stick with the Bond DVDs.

But I did buy this clock for myself. Now that's definitely me.