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On Being Grounded and Other Gaming Inconveniences


A fellow Dtoider blogged earlier today about his ideas for a Twisted Metal reboot; it reminded me of a time, circa 1997. After a bad report card my mother began rummaging through my backpack, looking for all my undone homework - she found a copy of this, which I had traded for with a friend from school. 

A "Teen" rating wasn't always certain doom in my house, but a cover like that... yep, it was soon taken away from me.

It also reminded me of Twisted Metal: Black. To support its online "initiative" (laughable compared to Xbox Live, naturally), Sony sent out online-enabled, multiplayer-only copies of the game to members of - whatever, I forget. It offered two modes: 1v1 for those with dial-up, and full matches for broadband-only. At this point in 2002, I don't remember if dial-up was still the standard in the US, or if my family was just behind the times - probably both. 1v1 was a snooze, and I longed for - begged for! broadband so that I could get the full gaming experience (not to mention get disconnected anytime someone in the house picked up the phone...). Online console gaming was in its infancy, and I never had access to a decent gaming computer. My older brother had one, but he practically kept it under lock and key - no doubt to make use of what the internet was REALLY made for, that filthy fapper. The prospect of broader multiplayer really, really appealed to me - I was one of those dudes who played Everquest Online Adventures, for chrissake. And then the first SOCOM game came out. 

Something about pre-ordering a game really appealed to me back in those days. It was also a way to get around buying an M-rated game. Contrary to media reports about who-gives-a-fuck Gamestop employees, I was often restricted by employees from purchasing games with a Mature rating (this was the Jack Thompson era, after all), and my parents were kinda-sorta diligent about it - particularly when it was their money. But they never restricted me from pre-ordering any game - and paying for it in installments, so that when, say, GTAIII came out, I simply had to walk in and pick it up. A clever workaround, if I may say so myself. 

I pre-ordered SOCOM 1, with its included headset, eager to cap some - oh, shit, it's broadband only. 

For months I agonized, playing through its dull campaign, wishing, hoping, dreaming of broadband. Meanwhile I get caught (this is high school) with alcohol, and I'm grounded from games for a few months. It's this moment when my parents decide to upgrade to broadband - mercy, it's agony! There's no real punchline to this story - just that, even after waiting for broadband, I still had to wait a while after that before I could take advantage of it. And SOCOM became one of my favorite games. 

Long before that, somewhere in the 1st or 2nd grade, I remember having my Game Boy taken away from me for a week because I kept yelling "JESUS CHRIST!" while playing Zelda: Link's Awakening. I'm not a Zelda fan - it's the only entry in the series that has ever captivated me (believe me, I've tried to like the series; I just don't). It's a frustrating game. 

Later on, when Halo 2 was the rage, my mom overheard me muttering "cocksuckers!" over a game of Capture the Flag to my friends online. This was also the year Deadwood started airing, and I fancied myself a fine connoisseur of premium television programming (I think I just liked the fact that every Sopranos episode opened in a strip club). 

(On a side note, Halo 2 holds great memories for me. Not only was its MP honed to near-perfection, but it was also a game that seemingly everyone played, nerds, jocks, drama weirdos, and everything in between; we had entire full-team matches consisting of half the graduating class. Something that's never happened to me since.)

My mom's solution this team - clever, but not quite - was to just take away my controller for a week, to make it easier on herself I suppose. Little did she suspect that I kept another, rarely-used one in the closet, which I simply retrieved late at night, or when they went out to dinner. Gotcha, Mom. Still, to be unable to play Halo 2 at a time when its online play dominated my life... painful. 

So! Dtoiders. Tell me your stories about particularly agonizing groundings - or better yet, your clandestine way around them, your loopholes. We've all held a Game Boy in between the covers of a book, pretending to read; we've all been caught; we've all anxiously awaited the return of our goods.

Sorry about the lack of images; I'm feeling sort of lazy, and I haven't blogged in nearly a year. Yep. 

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About touchofkielone of us since 5:43 AM on 08.07.2014

Playing games, writing about them. A vague validation for this strange time-wasting hobby of ours.

RPGs are my bread, and platformers are my butter. I love old games and Marvel Comics games, Final Fantasy and Atlus, beat-em-ups and tactics RPGs.