John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey
the_gneech

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Digital Nostalgia, and Chess With Nekomimikun

I dreamt last night that I was playing a game of chess with nekomimikun. Unfortunately, while we had a board, we were missing several pieces and had to substitute D&D minis instead, which lead to a lot of confusion as we tried to remember "Is that silver dragon the bishop or the rook?" etc. Neko was playing a very traditional "master's" style chess game, planning out several moves ahead and trying to maneuver me into not having any options, while I was playing a much more aggressive, instinctive game in which I put all of my resources towards taking out his queen first, then his knights, then his bishops, etc. -- which vexed him terribly because I kept ignoring all of his gambits and making him defend things he didn't want to defend. It eventually ended in a stalemate, as he and I both only had our kings left.

This is actually a distorted memory of a game of chess I really did play with hantamouse centuries ago (at the Carolyn Avenue house), which went much the same way except that IIRC I beat him handily. (The way I remember it was that he was used to playing against praeriedog, who had a much more conservative, defensive play style.) Subsequent games against hantamouse were more evenly-matched as he learned to exploit the big defensive holes I left open in my zeal to decimate his pieces rather than lock up his king. Neither of us could ever convincingly dominate the other for long, so we got tired of it and haven't played for years.

Thinking on those days this morning has left me feeling strangely wistful for, of all things, "the old days" of personal computers, when games came on ten 5.25" disks, and every mall had a "Babbage's" and a "Software, Etc." PC games in particular have not really fared well in the time since then -- they've gotten very pretty with 3D rendering and high-res textures etc., but actual gameplay isn't actually any more fun and often is considerably less. When everything was new, people were more willing to try new and oddball ideas, like "Marble Madness," "Lemmings," or "Tetris" instead of the same ol' same ol' shooters, strategies, and sports sims we've got now. "DDR" was probably the last really innovative thing I can remember, and that has a minimal presence on the PC at best. I must admit that "Elite Beat Agents" looks like a lot of fun -- but it's not a PC game either.

But I don't want to digress about games; really that's just a tangent. What I miss is the "exciting new world" feeling of the time, when suddenly it was cool to be a nerd and there was always something new and nifty popping up out of nowhere. Composing in a word processor so you don't have to type, edit, re-type, re-edit, and re-type again? What bliss! An interactive murder-mystery game on your computer? What an awesome idea! Printed material right from your own desk? Amazing! That's the problem with living through a revolution, I suppose -- times that aren't revolutionary seem rather dull by comparison.

Probably the recent death of The Paper has something to do with it.

-The Gneech
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