October 3, 2012 Comments Off on
I’d never held a video-game controller until last fall. Which is a pretty sad admission, as if I’d said in 1966 that I’d never watched “Bonanza” or heard a song by the Rolling Stone. s. My sixteen-year-old son and his friends—his male friends, that is, all of them polite, funny, good-hearted kids—play video games just about every day. They don’t watch much TV; they don’t have time.
I still haven’t played Nazi Zombies. But since last fall I’ve been buying some of the biggest new game releases and trying them out.
So those were the games I tried. They showed me many sights I’m glad I’ve seen, and some I wish I hadn’t seen. I liked Uncharted 2 best, but Red Dead Redemption had the prettiest clouds and hootiest owls, and the taciturn Modern Warfare 2 had the deepest moral snowdrifts. My son has been trying out Crackdown 2, where you leap around a city shooting mutant freaks and collecting energy from green orbs. But he’s playing less now; he’s waiting for September’s release of Halo: Reach, which will let players construct intricately ramped battle structures that hang out over rocky coastlines. I think it’s time for me to take a break. No war, no gods, no bounties, no kill chains, no vengeance. No convoys in Afghanistan. Just end it. Maybe I’ll try a game like Flower, for the PlayStation 3, which is a sort of motocross game for wind and petals. Or even go outside, with my pants legs tucked into my socks so that the midsummer ticks don’t crawl up my legs. I miss grass.
Nicholson Baker, born 1957, writing for New Yorker