Monday, April 16, 2012
What's Gonna Work? TEAMWORK! (Greatest Thing In The World, Ever.)
This is not a rant about how games were better back then. This is a comment about how sometimes simple things can help connect people across generations.
Simple things like "the joy of chopping an alien in the head with a hatchet and then unleashing a meteor storm."
Mr Bunches likes to play with my phone, and I'm always on the lookout for new things for him to do, so I'm always checking out video games that I think he might like. And about a week ago, we found a major hit when I got "Aliens Invasion," a free game that lets you play as a cowboy walking through an old west town that for some reason is infested with I'm-sure-not-copyrightable? aliens. You are armed with a hatchet, and a pistol, and your bravery.
I like the game because it's supersimple to play: Walk left, walk right, shoot, chop. You can hop into saloons and collect more bullets (which is good because it might take up to 17 bullets to kill one alien) or money. I wasn't sure what the money was for until I actually finished a level and got to walk through a saloon where you can buy a first-aid kit, or a shotgun, or a fireball.
The fireballs are what Mr Bunches likes; he loves this game, although I'm not sure he loves it for the same reasons I do. Mr Bunches and I will take turns playing what he calls "Cowboy," and when I play my job is to collect as much money for us as I can, because when he plays Mr Bunches likes to make it rain fire from the sky like a vengeful alien god.
The fireballs that you can buy are meteors that when you press a button cause a meteorite shower that kills all the aliens on the screen. Mr Bunches does not use it for that. He makes it rain death on the saloon, or cactuses, or anything but aliens, skimming through his meteors fast and then being disappointed.
Mr Bunches is also oddly unsympathetic to the cowboy. If you don't fight well enough, the aliens surround you and send out their little mouths to eat your face. Mr Bunches puts up a token fight for a while, shooting and hacking, but then he sits back and watches as the cowboy succumbs to an overwhelming wave of aliens.
We've played this game for about a half-hour every single night since we discovered it. What makes it so great for me is not just that it's easy to play and doesn't require 37 different buttons and a motion sensor; it's that the simplicity and fun of it has allowed me to bond with Mr Bunches, working as a team.
A team that, sitting on our couch, works hard to collect a lot of money to buy meteors so that we can first kill a bunch of aliens, then watch the aliens kill a cowboy.
But a team nonetheless.