Monday, January 2, 2012

Plants vs Zombies

I was never really into video games as a kid. I suspect I escaped this vice mostly because I had bad hand eye coordination, since I was willing to watch others play Super Mario Brothers or Doom, in order to be social.

But that all changed last month when I bought Plants vs Zombies. I bought an iPad last month and, on the recommendation of one of my friends children, bought Plants vs Zombies. I figured it might be something I could play with my nephews-maybe I'd enjoy screwing around with it myself. As it turned out, I had just purchased an app to make time disappear. I started playing it one night and the next thing I knew it was an hour and a half later-during which time I had not moved. I'm a fidgety person, I stopped going to movies because I can't sit still long enough to enjoy films (certainly not to allow the friends who came its me to enjoy the film). So it was a surprise to me that I had sat still for that long.

This proved to be a reproducible phenomenon- the same thing happened the next night. I started feeling the need to get home from work or from social occasions in order to plant snow pea plants and kill bucket heads. I was glad to have an activity that was so diverting, but I was a little embarrassed to be obsessed by a kids game. I looked Plants vs Zombies up online. Apparently there are versions of it for Windows, Mac, Xbox and Nintendo, as well as iPad and iPhone (one of my colleagues told me about the phone version.)

Over the weekend I let one of my buddies who is regularly into games play Plants vs Zombies. He revised his original statement--" this is just a kids game that's kind of fun." after it kicked his ass a few times. Then he bought a version of the game himself.

I brought the iPad home for Christmas. I downloaded a copy of the book I was reading onto the bookshelf so that I wouldn't have to haul it down to New York-I could just bring this slim device instead. I didn't read any of my books on the train ride home ( this is a first) instead I killed zombies between Boston and New York City.

I was unable to really interest my nephew in the game ( I stopped trying after it gave my niece nightmares) but I played it to relax the whole of my Christmas visit and the whole way back to Boston. I'd gotten to a level where I had to kill an almost indestructible zombie. In stead of just repeatedly getting my brains eaten by zombies I started to think about strategy--I would need a lot of the plants that blew up when planted. Would the freezing mushrooms help? I started experimenting in the quick play part of the game ( you can pick a level and just play it if you've got only a few minutes to kill or if you want to practice killing a particular zombie before having to do it "for real."

I was *practicing*--rehearsing before trying to play a particular zombie. How often do I do that in real life? My gamer guy friends were amazed "I love seeing how obsessed you are by that game." said one. My girl friends laughed at me as I was quietly horrified by the degree of my obsession.

I'm glad to have something that interests me this much--even if it's just a game. What I really wish however was that there was some activity that fascinated me so much that I could take up *professionally.*