Plugging In, Zoning Out with Xbox 360

So the Missus bought me an Xbox 360 this past Christmas.  Her justification for such an extravagant gift was that it was our last holiday before we would spend most of our money on the baby until the day we died.  This made perfect sense to me and I happily accepted the most expensive time-waster I’ve ever owned.

Previous to this, the last gaming console I possessed was the Atari 2600.  (I had a Commodore 64, too, but since I had the PaperClip word processing software — anybody remember that one? — it wasn’t technically JUST for gaming.  Only 99% or so.)  My brother had a Nintendo 64 that I played a bit, but that was really the extent of my video game experience until I met the Missus.

My wife — then the New Girlfriend — had  an original Xbox that her sister had won in a raffle and given to her; she never played the thing but kept it around in the hopes that it would help ensnare any man she lured into her apartment.  Apparently her scheme worked, because after we got together I spent most of my free time at her place (okay, it wasn’t just because of the Xbox), and eventually I got around to playing the system.  Much to my surprise, gaming had come a long way since, oh, SUPER MARIO BROS 2.

To make a long story short, I started to get hooked on video games again, an interest that led to the purchase of said Xbox 360.  Not that I’ve actually bought many games since then — LEGO STAR WARS… um, LEGO INDIANA JONES.  And I’ve borrowed a few.  But for a variety of reasons too lame to mention, I had never plugged in and tried out Xbox Live… until now.

Today we went out, I bought an ethernet cable, we came home and put the Peanut down for a nap.  The Missus and I plopped down on the couch, I plugged in the cable and we proceeded to enter the 21st century.  Sort of.

First game downloaded?  FROGGER.

Then DIG DUG.

Then DISCS OF TRON.

It was like 1985 all over again, minus the acid-washed jeans and Benetton T-shirts.  And it was great fun.

Finally the Missus downloaded a new game… BOOGIE BUNNIES.  Not exactly HALO, but these bunnies are pretty damn cute.  And she kicked ass (or bunny, as it were) at the game, too.

Toward the end of the afternoon I downloaded the demo of STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED and promptly had my mind blown: “Ah, so THIS is why hardcore gamers have no lives.”  I’ve played some amazing games recently (particularly BIOSHOCK), but this was particularly awesome and I couldn’t put down the controller.  The Peanut began to fuss and the Missus was working on dinner, so I strapped the kid into the Baby Bjorn and played standing up.  After a while, I noticed that the baby was dead to the world against my chest.

In fact, she looked… dead, actually.

I panicked and rushed into the kitchen, where my wife and I proceeded to poke and prod the Peanut into consciousness again — Coma Baby blinked, looked around like, “What the hell is going on, here?”, then sacked out again. 

Okay, maybe we — okay, maybe *I* — overreacted, but I was still relieved.  Every new parent is allowed to have a freak-out like that every once in a while, and I would have hated to have my daughter asphyxiate against my chest while I’m trying to cut an Imperial chicken walker in half with a lightsaber.

If nothing else, we confirmed that the Peanut has definitely taken to the Bjorn; now that I know I can play video games with her hanging off me like that, the next experiment will be writing.  Maybe I can put my PC on a dresser and type standing up.  After all, Hemingway wrote that way — only something makes me think his manly image would have been shattered if he wrote A FAREWELL TO ARMS and FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS with a baby strapped to his chest.  Then again, he was drunk — what would he have cared, anyway?

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5 Comments on “Plugging In, Zoning Out with Xbox 360”


  1. Finally!

    When you wonder where you went wrong with your life, and why your screenwriting career never took off, you can look back at this post and pinpoint the exact moment you destroyed your future.

    My first computer game was Adventure, an all-text “adventure” game. I played it on a massive computer that took 8″ floppy disks at my step-dad’s work. Those were the days.

    BTW, you ARE feeding the Peanut, aren’t you?

  2. WriterDad Says:

    Peanut? Peanut who? 🙂

    Normally your prediction might actually prove accurate, but fortunately for me and my writing career, the Missus has been hogging the 360 — she just can’t get enough of those Boogie Bunnies. 🙂

    I totally forgot about ADVENTURE! Another big game for me on the C64 was TELENGARDE — man, I loved that game, though apparently I may have been the only person in the world who bought it. Anybody else remember it?

  3. Tim Albaugh Says:

    Philip Roth writes standing up, too…although I doubt he plays video games.

  4. WriterDad Says:

    Tim — yeah, I have a feeling that Roth would be knocked out by such cutting edge technology as a pinball machine, let alone an Xbox. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  5. maryc Says:

    I totally forgot about ADVENTURE! Another big game for me on the C64 was TELENGARDE — man, I loved that game, though apparently I may have been the only person in the world who bought it. Anybody else remember it?

    I do! LOVED that game! The teleporting rooms were maddening, tho.


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