Saturday, July 10, 2010

Taking Notes & Approaching The Point Of No Return

Writing on this blog is the closest I have ever really come to keeping a journal.

I have recently been thinking about keeping a journal. Not the lock on the cover, deepest darkest secrets, who I think is neat and who I think is smelly kind of journal. What I have in mind is a much less productive and enlightening type of journal.

I’m considering keeping a video game journal.

I’ve mentioned before that age is taking its toll on my video game dominance (see The Brett Favre Of Gaming June 23rd). While I’ve, admittedly, lost a step or two on my reaction time, I’ve also lost what I refer to as Enemy Placement Retention (or EPR). EPR is the ability to restart a level after losing a life or after a day of not playing a particular game and being unable to accurately recall which enemies will appear at which precise times in the level or the precise methods by which to defeat said enemies. EPR might be called memory in layman’s terms but that’s merely semantics.

EPR is exactly what makes me believe a video game journal may be a sound idea. I would be able to make notes regarding where I left off on Bioshock. I could document important information from Fallout 3. Tecmo Bowl passwords would be instantly at my fingertips. I could keep a comprehensive list of the best order to defeat the Mega Man 1-6 bosses in without having to constantly pause the game (much to my sons’ chagrin) and use my iPhone to look up the walkthroughs that some other nerd published online.

Much like HGH did for Barry Bonds, my recovery time between bouts away from a game would be greatly abbreviated. I would no longer need to restart a game where I left off and die three times before I regain the hang of it. I could take a few short minutes to flip through my journal and remember that Sam Fisher should use a sticky camera to distract the security detail outside of Third Echelon’s headquarters before opening fire on any of them. I would be ready to roll on my first attempt.

This journal could sit in the drawer where my controllers rest. Each time I reach in to begin a new session, I would see the journal and be reminded of its benefits.

As you can see, I have all the details worked out. I’ve put quite a bit of thought into this. Yet, there remains a problem. I hesitate to move forward on my plan of keeping said journal.

To keep a video game journal is to take a further step into the twisting, sinister abyss that is nerd-dom.

I’ve long considered myself less of a Dungeons & Dragons nerd and more of a Can’t Buy Me Love nerd. My tendencies, my likes and dislikes, my vocabulary, put me in the nerd category. However, I’m merely a decent haircut, a new wardrobe and a recommendation from a moderately popular person away from fitting seamlessly into normal society without anyone guessing what lies beneath. In fact, I’ve lived on the fringe between regular Joe and geek for years since graduating form high school. I was relatively well-liked through college and convinced a pretty girl to marry me.

But decisions need to be made from time to time that place this entire persona in jeopardy. Months ago, after a great deal of hand-wringing, I went forward with my decision to read a Star Wars graphic novel (see I Fear I Came Out Of Hyperspace Too Close To The Geek System from March 16th). I’ve littered the shelf above my desk with toys and action figures that have been stolen or conned one way or another from my sons. I’ve stocked my t-shirt collection with Marvel and Star Wars themed clothing.

Each time a choice that threatens to jam me more permanently into the category of nerd presents itself, I find it only responsible to take some time to consider its potential effects. I worried during sleepless nights through each of the aforementioned dilemmas. Each time, the irreparable crack that I have left in the mask of my regular guy disguise has caused me pain. I’m slowly destroying a work of art that it took me years to create.

However, what is to be left behind is simply me. After all the years of hiding it, it is making its way out. You can’t hide the nerd inside.

And so I suspect that, within a few days, I will have a black and white covered composition book tucked neatly into my game drawer, its pages filled with codes and tips. And I will thus be further down the slippery slope from which no sports car or expensive pair of jeans can pull me back.

Remember me.

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