Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What happened to all those great adventure games?

When I was a kid, I used to play a lot of computer games. At times that was all I did. Quite honestly, I think my parents were a little worried about that. Anyway, I have some good memories about those times, and the best ones are from playing adventure games. I just loved those games, where you picked up objects which you had to use in some situation to solve a problem, and where you really had to wrack your brain to figure out how to solve the game.

I remember how me and my friend tried so hard to come trough Maniac Mansion and Zac McKracken - at first the honest way, and then after a way resorting to walkthroughs and cluebooks. I remember escaping from Weird Ed in the kitchen of Maniac Mansion with my heart pounding in my chest, and shouting out in relief when I managed to slip out the door into the hallway without him catching me. Oh, weren't those magic times of computer games.

They don't make games like those I remember anymore. The magic of them is gone. The graphics might be better, and the sound effects might be .. well, in those first games the sound effects were just beeps and squeeks from the computer. But they had something about them that I loved, and that a lot of kids loved. They were genuine.

This is my top 10 list of the greatest adventure games ever, or at least the ones that I played:

1. Zac McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders - as much as I loved Maniac Mansion, the first adventure game I played, I do think Zak McKracken was better.

2. Maniac Mansion - Very, very narrowly beaten by Zac. Sorry, Dave...

3. Hero's Quest I: So You Want to Be a Hero? - I really liked this one, and I loved fighting those beasts in the forest. Baba Yaga frightened me a bit, though..

4. Gabriel Knight III: The Beast Within - I have some great memories about this game, which I played through one Christmas with my girlfriend. This was, I think, one of those rare games where the mixing of video and point-and-click really worked out. Even though I played this in my late teens, I have some great memories of it.

5. Leisure Suit Larry I: the Land of the Lounge Lizards - A classic. "Okey Dokey, Meester!" The hardest part was getting through those question in the beginning to prove that you were 18, which I wasn't, of course...

6. Indiana Jones III: the Last Crusade - This one was one of the latest ones that had the magic...

7. Monkey Island - Harrr..... I love pirates, and wanted to be one as much as Guybrush.

8. Monkey Island II - A worthy sequel..

9. Loom - Not very well known, I guess, maybe for a reason.. Still, I liked it somehow..

10. Police Quest I - I liked it better than King's Quest

Saturday, March 22, 2008

iPod, R.I.P.

My faithful friend through such a long, long time, my beloved iPod, has finally drawn it's last breath and gone to iPod heaven. It breaks my heart.

Friday, March 21, 2008

When my mum did the keepie uppie..

Since I did my last post on this blog on football, I'd like to continue on that track. It is a short story that I find absolutely great, written by a guy called Ole Alexander Ulvestad. It is originally written in Norwegian, and called "When my mum did the keepie uppie." It goes like this:

In 1992, I was an active little pup who had the energy for football 24 hours a day. I didn't give too much thought to overtraining and restitution. I had just started playing club football in a team which in my opinion worked out way too little.

My old man had a lot of good tips to give me. He had been a player on the national team, and had been a trainer for years. One thing he told me was that the best training was to do the keepie uppie. Thus, I used all my time to be able to do that as many times as possible.

Every day, I did new records. New borders were crossed. Ten, twenty, fifty. Hey, fifty! I was really proud, and ran to tell my father. Proud until my mum also wanted to try. Cocky as I was, with my new personal record of 53, I laughed at her. This was way before womens' football was accepted. I don't even think they had their own national team. And mums' football did definitely not exist. "Go on, I just hope the dinner will be all right," I said, maliciously. Until she started. And kept going. She did ten, twenty, and fifty, and petrified I watched her do 68. She had crushed me. In her sandals.

What I wanted most of all, was just leave the football behind. I have no idea how that dinner was. All that was on my mind was 68. I felt that I was at a crossroads. Should I give up? Or should I prove that I was a man (or rather, a little brat?) I put myself on a tough training schedule. I would let nobody know about my new record until I was sure that my mum would not beat it. I soon did 68, and crossed even new borders. 100. 500. 1000. I did not stop until I, 16 years old, made a record I probably never will break. 3.970 times.

The reason I won't, is that it takes a long time. Hours. And there are lots of other things to work out on. And anyways, as you get older, you notice that it really is important with restitution and rest besides the training. But I still haven't told my mum what my record is. I don't think she will beat it, but you never know. Suddenly she is standing there. In her sandals, and does 10.000 times. And I will be left there, in my shame, and will have to stand there doing the keepie uppie day in and day out again..

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ironies of Everyday Life, pt. 1

I don't like football. I don't see what all the fuss is about. And I don't know jack squat about it. I think I could count all the players I know on one hand, and even then I'd have too many fingers. And as for guessing which teams they play for - forget about that!

It's really not that I haven't tried to develop an interest in it. I used to think that, socially, it would be great to be, if not raving mad about it, then at least somewhat informed. It could make for good conversation, I thought - kind of include me into that fraternity of football-loving blokes. I failed miserably.

I think part of the problem is that my mind is way too tuned into academic mode for it to have any chance of success. My conversations would go something like this: "You know, from a sociological point of view, the game that was the ancestor of soccer..." Within 30 seconds, most people had either blanked out, left, or fallen asleep.

My success with playing the game has not been much greater. I have tried on at least a couple of occasions, when somebody desperately needed one more guy for a Sunday game in the park. As a last resort, they asked me. Quite frankly, I'm a klutz with a ball in front of me. I just don't know what to do with it. So, what I mostly try to do, is just kicking it over to somebody else as quickly as possible. If I actually succeed with that, and don't trip over the ball, it usually ends up with somebody from the other team.

It usually doesn't take very long to spot my inaptitude as a goalgetter or even defense player. So, as a way to limit the damage I'm pretty quickly put in as a goalkeeper. That doesn't help. Mainly, the reason I stink also in goal, is that I am afraid of the ball. I am scared stiff. For a somebody who's been doing boxing, kickboxing, and tae-kwon do, that is a bit ironic. I'm a wuss, I admit that, but a football heading my way is terrifying. When somebody is racing towards me, full speed, and I see they're going to shoot, I jump for cover. Never mind loosing the game - all I care about is saving my own ass.

Needless to say, I don't get invited to a lot of Sunday games.

A couple of weeks from now, I am going to relocate to Liverpool, home of Liverpool and Everton football clubs. I think that is kind of ironic.