I can’t help falling in love

The first love always leaves the deepest scar. Mine was a burly, enthusiastic Italian with a strong fist and a gift for piping. He started out blocky, then he smoothed out and dressed like a frog for a short time. Eventually he took my hand and asked me to lie back and think of England, and leading me through a door into a castle he suddenly sprouted a third dimension.

All those childhood years spent in the thrall of Nintendo were spent unfaithfully. When Mario was asleep in his cartridges, I would sneak off to my bit on the side. My first illicit mistress was a crafty Dickensian grifter called Sensible Soccer. The affair offered me no-nonsense simplicity and frenetic excitement, with little guilt.

Then I went to a dinner party with my beloved plumber and I got talking to a elfish little thing wearing a green tunic. It had me at a wordless “hello”. Link and I were wed shortly after The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released. I confess that I have not been faithful to my vows over the years.

Sometimes, it’s a single aspect of a game that I fall for. Something small it does, like brushing its hair behind its ear, or providing physics-based weaponry and some toilets to fire at guards. Half-Life 2 had more of the latter charm than the former.

These days, I often just find myself going through the motions. I strike up short-term relationships, and use most of these contemporary titles for the cheap, fast thrills they are. Some of them give me a rush and make me feel dirty and guilty afterwards; Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s campaign left me a sweaty, giggling mess. Some of them aren’t even that flashy. Some of them, like Saints Row, just sit there at the end of the bar, provocatively sipping at a bottle of Smirnoff Ice and giving me the glad eye. It waited for me to finally drunkenly meander over at closing time. It was not love.

I’ve had affairs of substance with some in the last few years though. One has hurt me profoundly. I’ll confess it’s an unattractive package. Masking its weaknesses with macho bravado, it also plays the fool at parties to get people to like it.

Somethin' tells me I'm into somethin' good
Somethin' tells me I'm into somethin' good

Earth Defence Force 2017. We found each other over two years ago. Ours is the love that dare not speak its name. The love of a gamer for a game that treats them like scum. I want to leave it. I’ve defended the Earth successfully on all difficulty levels, but this game knows my weakness. It knows how to dress in the naughtiest undergarments and tempt me back in for one more session. I have 170 weapons, but there are 171 to find in the game. I can’t break the spell it has over me without that last tool of destruction. For 15 hours I’ve irrationally and feverishly scavenged through the lusty curves of its levels on my quest for that final grenade launcher, and for 15 hours it has been withheld from me by my temptress. Earth Defence Force 2017 is a comely tease.

There have been gentler affairs this generation. Grand Theft Auto IV continues to softly cradle me in its strong arms, shielding me from the outside world and actively encouraging me to blow my friends up. I remember rushing out excitedly to pick it up on release day, dashing home, excitedly ripping it from its clothing and lustily stuffing it in my drive. Fallout 3 beguiled me the second I saw a raider’s smiling face flying off in a different direction to his body after making sensual, passionate contact with my sledgehammer. Dead Rising was a wonderfully promiscuous flirt, but it left me after I once spent 14 straight hours lurking inside it. I explained it was for a really cool achievement but Dead Rising never spoke to me again.

Assassin’s Creed II is my most recent squeeze. I met it at a trendy party. It was sat in a lonely corner, wearing a dark beret and smoking a pipe. We don’t get on most of the time. I swear at it and call it names when it clumsily falls over, and it replies with something forceful in Italian. Yet I love Assassin’s Creed II because it is a philosopher. It pokes fun at other people and makes me feel clever. We skip down the street, hand in hand, pointing at people and laughing. Assassin’s Creed II has gone away and left me now though. It said it might be back at the end of 2010, but I’ve heard these promises before.







14 responses to “I can’t help falling in love”

  1. Celeste avatar

    Wow, I’m not sure whether I want to pick up a game or go and get laid.

    Great piece, Simon. Real easy read. Goes down very smooth.

  2. Darach avatar

    15 hours and EDF is still holding out on you?
    Dude, you need to man up and take control o’ that situation.

    Also, if you’re looking for a good time, you should have a word with Bayonetta *winks, taps nose* 😉

  3. Tony avatar

    Welcome to RU, Simon.

    “Mine was a burly, enthusiastic Italian with a strong fist and a gift for piping”

    You are one funny sod!

  4. Markatansky avatar

    I bet GTA4 spent a good amount of time stuffed into your drive. ;D

  5. Laura avatar

    Wow, dude… you’ve been around!

  6. Kat avatar

    Excuse me I need a cold shower now.

    Welcome to Ready Up “Simon”. I fall into hate with games too often. Use ’em up til I’m satisfied/bored then ditch them for the next one to come along.

  7. John.B avatar

    Ahem, sluuuuttttt. 😛

    Great article, look forward to more 🙂

  8. James avatar

    Heavy Rain has four main characters. Interested to see what happens when you get your wandering hands on that one. Love pentagon? 😉

    Great stuff. Welcome to the fold. 🙂

  9. Van-Fu avatar

    Simon is quite clearly the Tiger Woods of Ready Up. Watch out for one of these jilted games to teach you the error of your ways with a golf club.

  10. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    Near fear Simon(?), you’ll always be Cuddles to me, you will get that weapon out eventually and make EDF your bitch.

  11. Del Torro El Sorrow avatar
    Del Torro El Sorrow

    This blog makes me want my wedding to be sooner.

    It also makes me want payday to come sooner so I can buy Earth Defence Force 2017!

  12. Conners avatar

    The relationship analogy is a valid one.

    After years of infidelity, I have settled down with the mundane but predictable Fifa. It’s really just an exercise in frustration and I’m starting to realise that things aren’t getting any better, but we’ve found a comfortable malaise of a sort.

    Every few weeks or so I’ll boot up Quake3 on the PC for a bit of guilty, online-deathmatch pleasure. I’m good with her, but she always chews me up and spits me out eventually. I crawl, wearied, back to Fifa who never says a word but simply loads up United vs. Inter and, before I know it, I’ve forgotten love ever existed.

  13. Stephen avatar

    Championship/Football Manager has been my wife for many years, but I have had many many mistresses…

  14. Ramone avatar

    Simon its me rbrxtn from twitter! I loved this blog! It was kinda sexy LMao! Good stuff!

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