Danny has more video gaming experience than I do. After I had conquered a few dragons in the game Adventure — remember that? when your character was just a yellow box? No? Anyway, after Adventure I had a few early years with Atari, and in elementary and middle school I shared a Nintendo and Super Nintendo with my brothers. I had a brief affair with Metroid, and there was a time in my life when I was kind of a Donkey Kong master, maneuvering Diddy Kong through the circuitous railways of an underground mine with what can only be described as careless ease. CARELESS EASE, PEOPLE.
Once the Super Nintendo lost its cache, I didn’t pick up a controller for years. No quirky video game soundtracks. No puffing air into a game cartridge to remove dust particles. No up up down down left right left right A B select start. When I started dating Danny my senior year of high school, his roommates in Apartment C had a gaming system — some version of the Playstation, probably? — and I would sometimes watch for a while, but I could never get the hang of Halo, their game of choice. I once spent an entire game thinking my controller was maneuvering the figure on the left side of the screen while the man on the right remained strangely frozen in place, dying over and over again. Oh wait. That’s me?
All of this is to demonstrate my gaming inadequacies. BUT! Times are changing. My dad and stepmom gave Danny a Best Buy gift card for Christmas, and he used it with a few coupons and reward bucks to buy a Wii. We have a Wii. I amso psyched.
The day we hooked up the system, we quickly set to creating our Miis. (For the uninitiated, Miis are the avatars you create on the Wii system — cartoonish caricatures of yourself that can maneuver in the… the what? The Wii-verse?)And I’ll tell you something. I’m not sure if it’s Danny’s training as an illustrator, or his general aptitude at all things spatial and visual, or his self-awareness, but his Mii is much more accurate than mine. He managed to peg the shape of his face, the placement of his nose, and bushiness of his eyebrows within five minutes. When I took over the controller to create a Mii for me, it took forever. And I have to say, I don’t really like considering so carefully the exact roundness of my cheeks, or where on the sliding scale of svelte and obesity my avatar should fall. And the nose. Hmmmm. I’d like that cute ski-jump one, but let’s be honest. The creation of my Mii turned into a series of terribly cliched exchanges between Danny and me. “Is this nose right? Should my eyes be closer together?” I might as well have been whining, “Do these jeans make me look fat? You didn’t even look!”
Overwrought insecurities about your physical appearances can creep up on you anywhere, even in seemingly innocuous places.
Now that the Mii is complete, however, I am thoroughly enjoying my re-entrance into the video gaming world and loving, in particular, a game that requires me to stand up and flail, which is refreshing after a marathon of dissertation work. We only have Wii Sports at the moment, the game that is included with the system, but I’m already a Wii Tennis MASTER, and I schooled Danny at Wii Golf. He still triumphs in Wii Bowling and Wii Baseball.
On a side note, Danny was a good sport, despite the fact that (a) golf is his lifeblood and (b) he is probably the most competitive person I’ve met. One Thanksgiving at the Ford household, Danny and I played that game Boxes — where you draw lines between dots in the form of a grid — for hours. Okay, maybe not hours. But far longer than anyone has any business playing Boxes.
He really wanted to win.