Mind Games (Playing With Myself)

Today, as I played my “favourite” time-wasting “game” with the XBOX movie-playing menu system, I thought about this whole practice of making up games to play during downtime. I’m going to go out on a limb and pretty much assume that everyone does this and that I’m not, you know, an obsessive freak. Anyway, I thought I would teach you how to play three of them.

First up is the XBOX movie menu game, which you play with the menu in the picture to the left there. Basically, you control which button is selected with the left thumb-stick. The game is that you have to hold the thumbstick left, and then let go in time for it to stop on the leftmost button. Then you hold it left again, and make it stop on the next left-most button (without missing it obviously). And then the next. And so on. It’s kind of challenging, because the stopping seems to have some momentum, and because it can be hard to stop on the buttons further to the right because you have to judge the cursor jumping from the leftmost to the rightmost. Variations include, doing it from the rightmost… and stuff. I do this a lot. Like, every time I see that menu. Which is a lot.

Harking back to more olden days, there was another game – kind of – where I would be sitting in the car on one of those many long drives up North (or down South) and imagine myself skateboarding outside the car. The challenge in those cases was for your imagination to move fast enough to deal with the terrain and included me imagining horrible accidents as my virtual skateboarder smacked into barns, cows, and other cars. There was a weird lack of scale at times, and a definite ability to skateboard on any surface, including grass, as high speeds.

Finally, the other game that I actually still end up playing quite involuntarily is one for pedestrians. As you walk around on city streets you must not be “exposed” to cars driving past – you need to be shielded by something, usually a parked car. Otherwise you, you know, die. In the game world. Oddly, this doesn’t lead to intense running for cover and stuff, but is all based around more subtle quickening of pace or pausing discreetly – I suppose because I don’t want people to notice I’m acting like a paranoid idiot. Still, it’s a fun game and gets my pulse going a bit, what with the threat of death.

These are some games you, too, can play as you go through your life. All you need is an XBOX, or a car ride, or a pavement and some traffic. Simple pleasures.

18 April 2010
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