Saturday, November 12, 2011

Games Unplayed

I've mentioned before in this blog that I'm a computer gamer.  Well, actually, I used to be more of a computer gamer than I am now.  Somewhere along the way I became halfways responsible and I spend a lot less time playing games on my PC than I used to, mainly because annoying distractions such as work, family and my home (i.e. the maintenance thereof) tend to place demands on the time that I used to spend playing games. 

But I still do like to tinker with them from time to time, and I'm a pack rat when it comes to computer software.  I keep everything!  Others play games and then, when they've finished them or they tire of them, either throw them away or give them to friends or sell them or something.  Not me.  I keep 'em, and collect 'em.  Incidentally, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool PC gamer.  I own no gaming consoles, nor to I plan to get any.  "Give me a game that requires a keyboard and mouse!" I say.

Even when I used to spend a lot more time playing computer games, though, I failed to finish them, more often than not.  Over the years, I've collected a lot of games.  There's a post on this blog entitled "Clutter" which shows some pictures of my little attic retreat, whence I go to play games, post to my blog or just get away from the world for a while.  Said pictures include a shot of my main computer game shelf (I say "main" because that's not all there is by any stretch of the imagination).  Click here for a look.  As your eyes scan the boxes and their various titles, know that I have not finished most of those.  Know too that, some of them, I haven't even started!  I picked them up because I'd heard good things about them and/or they were being offered for what seemed like a bargain price, but I just never got around to trying them.

I also used to read computer gaming magazines fairly regularly.  My favorite was the now-defunct Computer Gaming World (or CGW for short).  I found a really cool web site called The CGW Museum, where you can view or even download almost every issue of CGW that was ever published in PDF format.  Being the nostalgic fool that I am, I'm gradually downloading the whole collection.

I was browsing through the October, 1986 issue this evening (the pleistocene era using the computing time scale).  The inside cover featured an ad for a game called ROADWAR 2000.  "Hmm," I mused, "I think I might have that in my collection somewhere".  I seemed to recall purchasing a copy of something called "ROADWAR" several years ago, at a small computer store that was moving and therefore selling off their older inventory at bargain basement prices.  So, you see, ROADWAR was already dated even at the time!

I scanned my gaming shelf and, sure enough, there I spied a pale yellow box with the title ROADWAR emblazoned on its spine.  Interestingly, it said only ROADWAR, not ROADWAR 2000, so I pulled it down for a closer examination, in order to determine whether this was the same game that was being advertised in CGW back in October of 1986 or something different.  Well, it turns out that what I've got is ROADWAR BONUS EDITION, which includes ROADWAR EUROPE, ROADWAR 2000 and something called WARGAME CONSTRUCTION KIT.  Inside the box are three 5¼-inch floppy diskettes for IBM PC-DOS or MS-DOS PCs.  Yes, I said 5¼-inch and, yes, I said DOS.  And, yes, you guessed it, I have never tried these games even once.  And, yes, I still intend to someday.

P.S. - For those of you not in the know who are now protesting "But today's PCs won't run those games anymore!" I say, that's what DOSBox is for!

What did we ever do before the internet?

Update - September 25, 2012

Somebody out there appears to have created an online game especially for people like me who never finish games.  It's called You Have To Burn The Rope.  Click the link and have fun!  That's one more game that I've actually finished. 


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Browsing Through Chapters

My wife, my daughter and I are three very different people, but one thing that we do share in common is a love of books.  Of course, our individual tastes in books differ, but at least we all like to read.  For that reason, family outings to our local Chapters book store are not uncommon.

Because we happened to be near Chapters recently, my daughter suggested we go in to browse for a bit.  There was nothing in particular that anyone wanted or needed, you understand.  I'm always wary when Jessica suggests that sort of thing, because it invariably means that I'm going to end up buying here something.  Still, sometimes one has to bend a bit, so in we went.

As I wasn't looking for anything in particular, I just sort of sauntered around looking at the various covers.  Randomly browsing book covers can be an amusing experience.  Conrad Black has released an autobiography called "A Matter of Principle".  I smirked at that.  From what I've read of him, Conrad Black is the very last person who should be talking about principles.  What's next?  "Simon Cowell: I'm Okay, You're Okay"?  "Dr. Jack Kevorkian:  Choose Life"? "Adolf Hitler: Mazel Tov!"?

In the Self Help section, there was a book entitled "DO IT NOW!  How To Stop Procrastinating".  I didn't see the need to even open the cover of that one.  The title kinda says it all, doesn't it?

Speaking of procrastination, on the magazine rack, my eye fell upon the latest issue of Maclean's which featured a picture of the recently departed Steve Jobs, alongside the headline, "Let's Go Invent Tomorrow".  "That was the problem with Steve Jobs...", I mused to myself, "...always putting things off.  If he hadn't been such a procrastinator, he might really have been somebody!"

Speaking of magazines, I have in my collection a special issue of Time entitled "Your Brain: A User's Guide".  I highly recommend this one, and I really wish a lot more people out there would read it; especially certain politicians and so-called world leaders.  Here's a tip:  Defrag every so often.  It does wonders!

Having seen three titles outside of the humor section that made me chuckle, I wondered what other unintentionally amusing or ironic titles there might be out there so I turned on my computer and consulted that font of all knowledge, Google.  Not surprisingly, I quickly found several.  Here's a short list of some of the better ones, with links to their sources (credit where it's due):

A children's cookbook entitled "Cooking With Pooh".  (Ewww!)

"The Leadership Genius of George W. Bush".  This one goes side-by-side with Conrad Black's book.

"How To Avoid Huge Ships".  Paddle To The Sea should have read this one.

Here's a link to a web site featuring several titles that sound more suggestive than they're meant to.

There is one other intersting title that I personally stumbled upon, not at Chapters but at Cole's some time ago.  It was a journal, of sorts, entitled "F_ck You And Your Blog"  I suspect I'll be receiving several copies of that for Christmas.