Kalmfist gives me a nudge, I look up from my magazine. I am sat on a train travelling to Manchester Airport. I take the DS from him, click continue and am faced with a collection of tanks and men arranged on a small island. I can only see half of the island, the rest is obscured in fog. I move my units and contemplate what to buy, finally deciding to hoard my money for greater delights next turn. All done, I pass the DS back to Kalmfist, take a drink of beer and return to the article I was reading. Travelling doesn’t get much better than this.
For the last week I have been obsessively trying to recall my past life with a game. It all started last Wednesday, me and Kalmfist were round a friend’s house chewing the fat about games. Kalmfist mentioned in a quiet, embarrassed voice that we used to spend all night playing Advance Wars, passing the DS between us, one person clicking, the other quietly waiting for their turn.
It was obvious that the Red Scorpion Militia (RSM) needed to be dealt with, even before the Rangers arrived in their territory. Talking to the locals confirmed the Rangers’ worst fears; the RSM were not a militia, rather they were a brunch of bandits who raped, murdered and tortured the people they were supposed to protect. So wiping them out seemed like the right thing to do and the Rangers dutifully performed their task until they encountered the Prison’s defensive guns. Despite careful scouting and a good defensive line, the Rangers were wiped out without firing a shot.
Playing games always seems to have been part of my life. I have tried thinking back to my childhood to try and pinpoint when I started playing games. But I find it an impossible task. While I can recall my first role playing game experience (Maelstrom), playing my first home computer game (something involving ‘blocks’ on a ZX-80) and my first ‘modern’ board game (Settlers of Catan), I cannot pinpoint playing my first game, because before all the other games there was cards and Jibash (an old family dice game) with my mum, dad and brother. So it feels as if I have always played games, and that to some degree I come from a family of game players (more so my father’s side). But why do I play? I suspect I won’t ever really know the answer but maybe I can muse on it a little.