Tuesday, November 18, 2003

"A routine will turn into an enchanting escapade."

Fortune cookie eerily relevant. The sky is winking.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Chronicling my slow descent into Starcraft:

Day 1: Following an impulse I occasionally get to revisit computer games I used to play in sixth and seventh grade, I challenged James to a light-hearted game of Starcraft. We ended up playing for over an hour; our humorous textual interplay had stopped about halfway. After we had had enough intergalactic death and destruction, we quit for what I thought would be quite a long time. I was mistaken.

Day 2: Once again finding myself with nothing to do and no incentive to pursue something intellectual, I organized a game with Bonnie, Jake and Jenny. The first two were quickly dispatched, leaving Jenny and I to butt horns and shake the earth. After forty-five minutes or so I crushed her with a fleet of Carriers, felt a mild sense of accomplishment, and then proceeded to sit at my computer for another hour, listening to mp3's, waiting for something to happen on AIM and browsing the same twenty sites I always browse.

Day 3: Unable to find anyone willing to play, I was alarmed to find myself entering the mouth of the beast: Battle.net. This seedy little cesspool is inhabited with what I have come to regard as the lowest, most inebriated, mindless neanderthals the internet has to offer. And I was willing to play with them. Since playing traditional Starcraft on Battle.net is made impossible by gaming zealots who have come up with new and original ways to utterly destroy you in under ten minutes, and are likely not house-broken, I opted for what I thought would be a more casual session of Use Map Settings games. These are Starcraft maps which have special rules to create a game with objectives more or less unrelated to the original game. For example, movie-Starcraft adaptations are very popular. Battle.net favorites include Gone in Sixty Seconds, The Matrix and Rain Man: a touching story of two men's battle to cope with Autism.

I chose an aliens-and-giant-robot-killing-machines version of the comic strip classic Calvin and Hobbes. The game consisted of bombarding your enemies with hordes of murderous space pirates which have been renamed to match characters from the comic. It's amazing. I had played the map so often in eighth grade that I could pretty much overcome any adversary. I was playing against two other guys allied against me, and when it became clear that they would lose, one of them spouted, "This game is fuckin rigged. God, ur such a newbie, fagget." un-humorous textual interplay continued for a while, before he was wiped off the face of the planet by my insurmountable army of tanks named "Mom."

Day 4: My friends, now recognizing my growing problem, politely refused to play with me. I again turned to Battle.net for my badly-needed Starcraft fix. In the shared opinion of the entire network, I was still a "fagget."

Day 5: Desperate, desparaging, I severed all ties with those I previously thought to be "friends." They didn't understand me, and were only trying to undermine my happiness. I wanted to be addicted to Starcraft. It made me happy, something which couldn't be said of certain social relationships. Plus, I could stop whenever I wanted. All I needed was my laptop, a few cases of Dr. Pepper and a bedpan.

Day 6: My harddrive now filled with Starcraft maps, screenshots, replays and screen savers, I sought for a way to expand my ever-growing collection of Blizzard miscellania. When I realized that selling what was left of my belongings wouldn't garner enough funds to buy more memory, I became desperate. That night I snuck into my neighbor's house and stole an external harddrive they had purchased recently; they were on vacation in Massachusetts, blissfully unaware their house was being raided by a Starcraft fiend.

Day 7: Finally recognizing and confronting my problem, I admitted myself to a rehab clinic for some time to collect myself and re-prioritize what was left of my life. Realizing just how much damage I had done to my friends and family, I swore I'd try to rebuild what I could, repent for what I had done, and never again allow myself to lapse into such depravity.

Day 15: After I was released from my short stay in the clinic, I found myself an alien in what had once been a life so taken for granted. My friends and acquaintances eyed me warily, always watching, waiting for me to do something unpredictable. While they spoke to me politely and in a friendly enough fashion, I always sensed uneasiness about them. Some day I'll conquer the demon of my past, but until then, there's always Diablo.