Middle school games and something else…

I notice that friends have been going in for the “ten songs you’re digging on” meme, which is tempting to me, but as I thought about doing it I realised that the song i’m diggin on most requires a little explanation.

One of the many ways I avoid interacting with my current circumstances is by playing video games. I can’t really call myself a hardcore gamer though. I rarely beat games, don’t feel rabid about cetain platforms and have little or no interest in online games. I never owned an Atari, a Colecovision, or any of the other sacred early game systems – I’m basically too old for that. I’m lousy at pulling off combos in fighting games, hate realistic racing simulations, and generally don’t like too many things going on at once.

Here’s the game systems I’ve owned: Sega Genesis (sold when I moved to NYC) Super Nintendo (same) Sega Game Gear (sega’s handdheld system that you could buy a TV tuner for – I used it to watch TV in the aftermath of the loma prieto quake, then it was stolen as I was using it as a video monitor in an installation) Gameboy, Playstation, PS2, Nintendo Gamecube.

I got the PS2 in 2000 after much debate. It died on me in 2003 and I replaced it with a Gamecube. Because the PS2 was backwards compatable I never got rid of my old playstation games and when I returned from upstate this past July I got the urge to haul out my old playstation and plug it in again. I obsessively played my way through Ape Escape, and Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy. And then I dusted off my copy of PaRappa the Rapper. I don’t know how many of you have played it, but it involves hearing a few songs over and over again. And over again. This is alright because the songs are pretty fucking great. My current fave, the song I find myself singing at every odd moment of the day, is Cheep Cheep’s song which sounds like something Diggable Planets should aspire to:

Every single day, stress comes in every way
I ain’t got no time for nobody
My style is rich, dope, phat in which
We’ll make a cake that looks rich

Crack crack crack the egg into the bowl
M-I-X the flour into the bowl
Crack crack crack the egg into the bowl
M-I-X the flour into the bowl

Baking a cake, yes, means you gotta try
I’m doing this for years, but don’t ask me why

Butter butter butter joins the bowl
We’re making us a cake that you never seen before
Heat up the oven, now we’re on a roll
Cheap cheap cheap’s the name of my soul

The other day, I was called a little turkey
But I’m a chicken, got it? Ya beef jerky!

Put the cake in the oven for a while
Leave it there, come on, clean the pile
Put the cake in the oven for a while
Leave it there, come on, clean the pile
Here, I got a little sample
‘Cause ample time’s just what we don’t have

A chicken in the kitchen is making all the sound
The cake is done while we were sitting around

All we gotta do is apply the final touches
Take out the shrimp, the clam and the perches
The perch goes here, the clam goes there
The litte tiny shrimps just go everywhere
Whatever you like’s in the middle, fiddle
Seafood cake comes just like the riddle

OK, OK, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

That’s rapped by a paper thin chicken with a cooking show and a tremulous voice.

The only justification for video games is that they allow me to write sentences like that last one.


  1. Really? See, I think of playing Tempest and Bubbles in the arcade as being old school. That’s why I used “middle school ” in the title.

    I’ve also been grooving on the “Jet Baby” song from PaRappa.

  2. I completely agree with you. Lord knows I’ve dropped enough quarters into Tempest and Crystal Castles to actually own one of their machines by now. What I meant was, despite the mere 8 years gone by, everything from the PS1 feels old school to me in the progress consoles have made since then. But then you get a game like Katamari Damacy (released last year for the PS2), with graphics that were so blocky and minimalist, but gameplay so mind-numbingly addictive (not to mention the inventiveness) that you’re reminded that the classics we love aren’t necessarily the best-looking games, but the most rewarding.

  3. Exactly! I’m actually bored by the trend towards realism in games. One of my fave SuperNintendo games was Clayfighter. Katamari Damacy is the only thing that has made me contemplate replacing my defunct PS2 – well that and my urge to play REZ again.

  4. Not to mention the Katamari sequel, We ♥ Katamari, which comes out next Thursday. Glee!

    Rez was one of those games that never got its’ due. I’ve heard word that the developers, despite losing money on it, are still pondering a sequel because it was so beloved by a small (but rabid) core of gamers.

  5. You’ve kinda hit the nail on the head regarding my indifference toward modern video games. Apart from the fact that the first-person POV tends to give me nasty motion-sickness*, the emphasis on dull sports games and exploitive crap like the Grand Theft Auto series (jeez, and they thought Mortal Kombat was bad!) has left me disaffected by the current spate of video game series. Enough to be a total luddite and stick with my SEGA Genesis/SEGA CD.

    The fact that most of the games can be had for peanuts helps, too. The only “collectible” ones tend to be RPG types…unfortunately for me, as this is one type of game that most appeals to me. One of my most-wanted games, Phantasy Star IV, seems to change hands at a minimum of $25.

    I did luck out with some of ’em. I got a copy of Pirates! Gold, one of the rarest and most collectible SEGA games (no instruction manual, but it did come in its original box!), at Half Price Books for all of $4! That’s the exception, though. Most of the best games (the Sonic games, the Mickey Mouse/Donald Duck games, Vectorman, Ristar, The Lost Vikings, Rocket Knight Adventures, etc.) can be had dirt cheap.

    *actually, some 2-D ones do that too. Ecco: The Tides Of Time was a game I had to give away to a friend for that very reason. It’s all the swirly, swoopy motions, combined with the moving backgrounds, that did it. And if I play some platformers, like Sonic 2 or Vectorman, for long periods when sitting too close to the screen, I’ll get it too.

  6. I’m a goofy video game lover too, as you know. Animal Crossing is probably my all-time favorite game.

    You might consider a DS. It’s really not a VirtualBoy phenomenon (they just sold 350,000 copies of Nintendogs in two weeks!). Yoshi’s Touch-and-Go is video game crack, and Nintendogs is more compelling than I really want to admit.

    Speaking of which, I need to go feed my virtual chihuahua.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.