The Temptation of the Cheater
I admit. I’m a cheater. But you don’t understand the temptation. It’s a grind, day in, day out, the same thing. The banality gets to you. You just want to move on. To be done with it, so get that release that you crave.
So I start looking for how to get around the rules. Those ways to keep undetected, shuffle some things around so I can get my fix. After all, nobody has to no. Nobody will be hurt as long as I keep it to myself, right?
Yet - even if all that is true, why do I feel like a schmuck for trying to edit the save game on my copy of Pokemon Emerald?
Off and on for years now, I’ve been playing through all of the Pokemon games. Earlier this year, I played through Pokemon Yellow - the original Game Boy Color game, and then played through Pokemon Red, then used the save game and an old tool to copy over my Pokemon Red save game file over to my Pokemon Blue cartridge instead of playing the game for a *third* time, so I could catch the last few Pokemon I needed. Other than that shortcut, I didn’t use any cheats (I did use a glitch to capture Mew). No Gameshark, no other codes - just playing the games, go to each location to find each Pokemon, using all of the tricks and tools to capture those hard to catch legendary Pokemon - and finally using my MasterBall on the powerful Mew2 himself.
So why with Emerald is the challenge to stay “pure” so hard? I played through both Pokemon FireRed for the Gameboy Advance and Pokemon LeafGreen for the same - no cheats, just going through the game. But something about Emerald has just been rubbing me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the higher level of backtracking in the game, or how it feels like a bigger “fight lots of Pokemon to level up really high to take on the gym leaders” kind of game.
It feels more grinding, more repetition in fighting enemies over and over and over again to become powerful enough, and it’s wearing me down.
The temptation to cheat in other games has always been there. I’ll confess - I used the “God Mode” to get through the last 25% of the game Doom 3. Not because it was that difficult, but because it was a kind of boring game. I just wanted to get through the end.
I recently finished playing Fallout 3, and actually started the game 3 times because the temptation to cheat and enhance my character was so strong. The start of the game was so difficult I found myself typing in those tasty tasty cheats and giving myself a little pick me up, then just a little more - and next thing you know, I was sprawled out in my office chair while my character had leapt to nearly godlike status.
Ultimately, I’m glad I played the game “pure.” After awhile, I either got better, or my character got strong enough to handle the challenges. Over time, the temptation went away.
So I know as tempted as I am to just cheat at Pokemon Emerald - I’ll leave it as it is. Maybe it’s even best to take a break from the game for awhile, let it stew, and then come back to it and go the final slot to defeat the Elite Four. I already know it’s going to be a hard battle, that I’ll want to throw my old silver Game Boy Advance across the room when I get wiped out by a flying dragon type using *Earthquake* of all things on my electric type Pokemon -
But I also know victory will taste that much sweeter when I *do* win.
Geek Girls Do GeekGirlCon
There are some things that just go together perfectly for us geeky girls. Geek tees and converse. Feminism and cosplay. Superheroes and villains. Geek love/adoration and cons. This past weekend in Seattle, city of major tech giants and über geeks galore, GeekGirlCon was born. This was the first ever Con devoted to us geek girls. I know what you’re thinking. Don’t scores of girls show up to cons all across the nation each year? Of course we do. And you know what? We still get asked to defend our right to call ourselves geeks. Or we get harassed for daring to dress as slave Leia because no way can we be true geeks and hot at the same time.
Tricks of the Gamer Dad
Whenever I talk to other parents about their children, usually at some point I talk about how I play certain games with my children, like Pokemon, or Super Smash Brothers, or Castle Crashers. What I hear back is “Oh, but video games are so bad for children but mine would play them all the time.”
I’ve got children who are getting straight A’s in school, who participate in school events - and they game. In some ways, games are <em>why</em> they’re where they are.
But that’s only because I am an evil genius. Bwahaha. Bwahahahaha! Bwahahahahahahahahaha!
OK. But really, there are things I’ve done with my children. Some of these are just general tips, others are specific things that I’ve done.
Tip #1: Pokemon at 5.
When each of my children turned 5, after years of reading to them at night so on and so forth, I give them a challenge:
If they can read ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ without a single mistake, then I’ll get them a Nintendo DS, and their own copy of Pokemon. So of course the idea of playing the cartoon they’ve been watching is OMG YAY TOTALLY GOING TO DO IT!
So over the course of a month, I’ll practice with them. Make them sound the words out. Point to words out of order so they can’t just memorize the book and regurgitate it.
Then when the day comes, and they’re able to read it without a single error, they’re so proud. And then they get Pokemon…
And realize that they have to read to play the game. Read the instructions. Read what people tell them in the game, read what happens to the Pokemon they catch, sound out the names, and on and on. So now if they’re going to play the game, they have to read. They have to think and look at the numbers to know how much power their Pokemon have. They have to use logic and strategy in understanding strengths and weaknesses.
I Can’t Watch My Kids Play Games
When I first had children, part of my future dream was for them to become old enough that we could play games together. Catching Pokemon with my kids, or having LAN parties inside the house.
What I never imagined was the complete frustration and aggravation in watching someone else play a game, and they’re doing it *wrong*. Not just wrong as in “they missed a jump.” I mean, that’s OK.
I mean like having my son play Super Mario 64, and he spends 10 minutes purposely grabbing King Bob-omb and throwing him off the sides when he knows he’ll just come back up and lecture him. Hearing the sounds over. And over. And over again, and he thinks it’s the funniest thing he’s seen.
Or my older son playing “Final Fantasy Tactics” for the first time. I’m trying to hard to keep my mouth shut when he’s letting his warriors get too far ahead of his support troops, knowing they’re going to die, wanting to scream out “Noooooooooo!” but I can’t. I can’t because it’s *his* game, he has to learn it himself. I might talk to him later about battle tactics, about how it’s best to, as Sun Tsu’s words that “You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended. You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.” Showing him how it’s best to go after targets that can’t hit you back- and then I watch all of his troops die because he rushes ahead. Again.
Gamefly goes Digital
Once, there was Gametap. And it was pretty good - it’s Mac support wasn’t that great, but it had plenty of older and even some new games to play. And then - it went away.
During that time, other digital services arose, with the leader being Valve Software’s Steam service, though other competitors such as Green Man Gaming, Gamers Gate, Impulse (which is now owned by Gamestop), and of course EA’s Origin.
Computer game rentals aren’t anything new - as mentioned earlier, Gametap was the most famous, until they went out of business. Onlive offers their own unique streaming gaming service where the gamer can stream the game from a remote server so they don’t have to worry about their hardware platform.
But Gamefly’s service looks to be something different. Gamers can purchase and download games like the other stores. But they’ll also be able to download and install computer games and play them as long as their subscribed to the monthly Gamefly rental service - and once you terminate the service, you lose access to the games.
This could be a game changer in the industry. Imagine being able to not just play the demo for the game, but the whole game just to try it out through your computer game rental service. Don’t like it? You’re not out the $50 per game.
Keep an eye out, folks. The digital game distribution battle is just heating up.
Geek Cred at my Daughter’s School
No parent will ever admit this, but we worry about how our children see us. Or how their friends see us. At least - we don’t want to embarrass them and turn the into social pariahs.
I remember when I was a teenager in a wrestling match, hearing a crowd of girls cheering me on - and then having them all fall silent when my mother started screaming at my opponent. I remember the guy I was wrestling looking up at me and smirking before I pinned him.
So when I was asked to chaperone my daughter’s class trip to the Japanese cultural exchange, I wasn’t too worried about becoming friends with the crowd of 11 to 13 year old kids. But I didn’t want to do anything that would make my daughter into “that girl,” the one with weird embarrassing parents.