Friday, June 11, 2004

Dangerous Thoughts

Last night I had a blast from the past. I got together with my friend McComas (I call him by his last name because that's what guys do...also because everyone I know is named "Mike," so it helps to differentiate). We were roommates twice in college and once after I graduated (he's the one who instigated my move back to BG from Troy, actually), so we used to hang out all the time. We haven't been able to get together much for a while, though, with conflicting schedules and the fact that he has a kid now.

We've been getting at least a little bit better about it lately, though. We got together for dinner last night, then went over to his place and had a PlayStation football marathon.

We used to do this all the time back when we lived together. We'd sit there in the dorm, or in my bedroom once we moved off-campus, and play video game football for hours on end. During my senior year, we'd often still be awake and playing when our other roommate got up in the morning. We didn't play nearly that long last night, but we did get a few games in.

The second game we played was an absolute classic. EA Sports NCAA Football 2004 offers several historic teams, so I was playing with '94 Penn State, and McComas took '88 Notre Dame. He beat me 57-55 in three overtimes, and it was an absolute blast. The other two games we played we were just screwing around, playing with really bad teams, or with other historic teams just to check out certain players and old uniforms, but even those games were pretty competitive.

This got me thinking. I love the EA Sports NCAA Football franchise; I've got each year's edition dating back to probably 1996, when the game was on PC only. Most other games I play for a while and then forget about, but never these games. It's rare for the discs to come out of my system at all. I play them constantly. However, about 99.7% of that time, I'm playing against computer-controlled opponents, and as much fun as the game is, eventually there comes a point where I just dominate from start to finish and there are no close games anymore. I keep playing anyway, because in these games the recruiting is as much fun (if not more so) as the actual football.

Playing against human opponents is always more challenging. The games McComas and I play are always close, one way or another, and that makes the games themselves a lot more fun.

That being the case, I'm at least mildly considering the purchase of an online adapter for my PlayStation, so I can play football online against real human opponents when the new version comes out next month.

I've dabbled only a bit in online games before now (I used to play Counterstrike occasionally), and that's probably all for the good. McComas used to play Everquest, and I remember how it totally consumed his life for a while. That could definitely happen to me. I really thought about buying and getting into Star Wars Galaxies, but I'm not yet ready to cease all other activities. I could definitely get into it, especially considering how much I love all things Star Wars anyway. I'm still intrigued by the game, and I really want to play it, but I'm a little scared of losing contact with everything else that's near and dear to me. It's like getting into drugs.

It may be just as bad with football. Sometimes I have a hard time tearing myself away from it even when I'm winning games by thirty points each time, just because I love football and love playing the game so much. Add in the element of actual human competition, and I may actually stop showing up to work.

The advantage that football has over Galaxies, of course, is that it's free, whereas Galaxies requires a monthly fee in order to play.

When the new football game comes out, I'll definitely be spending a lot of time with it. If I decide to get the online adapter, I may withdraw from society altogether. If anyone wants to find me, they'll have to take me on in cyberspace.

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