LevGrossman

Posts Tagged ‘wumpuses or wumpi — what’s the plural?’


Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Writers Who Love Video Games

When I was in first grade something weird started happening. Kids were getting taken out of class in groups of three or four, and when they returned they were … altered. I was pretty sure that the time had come, and we were finally being replaced by our replicant doubles, and I just hoped that when it was my turn I would meet my fate proudly and not beg.

Instead when it was my turn we were taken down the hall and down the stairs into our school’s fallout shelter (yeah, yeah, I’m old. Saw me in half and count the rings, why don’t you) and ushered into the presence of this:

This was a Commodore PET computer. (PET stood for Personal Electronic Transactor!) As a replicant double it wasn’t a great likeness.┬áBut it did play games. Specifically it played Hunt the Wumpus. As a result of this electronic transaction, I became a gamer.

(This is only partly true. We got Pong around that time too. But anyway somewhere in there I became a gamer, which is my point.)

I often get a surprised reaction to the fact that I’m both a books guy and a games guy. They’re supposed to be mortal enemies, fighting it out for a slice of the unexpanding pie of our entertainment hours/dollars. But then I’m surprised at their surprise. I mean, come on, you were introverted and socially anxious when you were a kid, right? Right? What else did you do besides read books and play video games? Where does this schism come from?

What, were you out there playing kickball? Jock.

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