I am the oldest person in my office. With the average age of my colleagues at 25, I am an old fart by their standards. This also means that when we play computer games, I am not as good as they are.
That's right. I am hiding behind my age when it comes to computer and console games. How else am I going to explain my level of ‘suckage’ when I play with them?
When I say we game in the office, I mean that the office is a working place by day, and is like a LAN Gaming shop by night. The computers are networked for a reason, and that reason is DOTA and Battlefield.
We also have a PS3, PS2, Xbox, Xbox360 hooked up to a big-screen TV, and pretty much everyone else (except me) has a PSP and/or Nintendo DS Lite (or newer).
It is like a giant toy store, this office of ours. Hey, we have writers, artists and a photographer/videographer under one roof, and creative people need to play, ok?
Every day, someone will either buy a new game or we'd be gathering around someone's computer to watch some HD trailer of an upcoming title. If a game looks promising for LAN-based play, the gang will run out and buy a few copies so that we can kill each other on the network.
Sometimes we get lemons. I still have a pristine original copy of Hellgate: London sitting on my shelf. The company that developed this multiplayer role-playing game went under and it is now only played in Korea where a Korean company continues to develop for it. Without game servers, if you installed the game on your PC, it will be in gaming purgatory, floating in some limbo, I am sure.
Recently the boys acquired the PS3 game, God of War 3, where a character named Kratos goes around killing the Gods of Olympus, wielding his two enchanted kitchen cleavers. It has gorgeous graphics but man, is it violent. Lots of blood spilling everywhere, heads flying off and guts spilling. One of the scenes I saw involves Kratos gorging out Poseidon's eyes and chucking the sea god to his death, off a mountain into the sea.
I guess the sea creatures will have to be content with being ruled over by just Aquaman now.
The comments coming from the guys as they watch one of us play the levels is as entertaining as the game itself.
"Whoa! Side boob!" said one, when the giant Mother Earth Gaia, a Titan, is climbing towards Mount Olympus.
"Athena looks hot! Is that Zeus' wife?"
"That's his daughter lah."
There is always a scholar of Greek mythology amongst us, ready to correct a Philistine.
Some games have a permanent place in our Shelf of Honour. Soul Caliber III and IV were played for a very long time. The current console game that is played daily is Street Fighter IV.
Most of the guys in the office play this fighting game well. Some of them even go to arcades and play against random Ah Bengs and students, and to learn how the Masters play it.
I am the whipping boy of the office. The punching bag, if you will. When you need to beat someone up in Street Fighter IV, feel free to call on brown and he will be glad to spar with you using the only character he knows how to play: Sagat.
While my friends switch effortlessly between the characters of Street Fighter IV (they can play multiple characters very well), I can only switch between the colours of Sagat's boxer shorts.
While my friends can string multiple combos together and read the moves of their opponents in order to deliver an appropriately-timed Ultimate Combo, my playing style can be best described as... random.
As I send my Thai-boxing Sagat punching and kicking over the screen with my button mashing, once in a while, I win. This is because my friends, used to playing against a rational opponent, become thrown off by the sheer chaos of my playing style.
My friend Ryan recently delivered one of his Words of Wisdom to my opponents, when he watched one of my matches.
"Don't bother trying to fake out brown with your moves. He doesn't know you are faking and he won't fall for your tricks."
To me, he had these words of advice:
"Do not think, brown. When you think, you lose. Your brain simply takes too long to tell your fingers to do something. Instead, you must play with your mind empty."
Lately I have gotten better. I have started blocking attacks instead of hurling my face into fists. Instead of throwing myself at my opponent's hadokens, I sometimes manage to jump over a fireball. Occasionally, I even manage to produce a fireball when I want it, and not let one go, by chance.
My friends say I have risen from being an amoeba of gaming, to becoming a two-cell gaming organism, able to understand one new aspect of the game.
I look forward to evolving into something that crawls on the ground soon. Preferably within this year.
mrbrown aka Mr Kin Mun LEE is the accidental author of the popular Singapore website, mrbrown.com, and has been documenting the dysfunctional side of Singapore life since 1997.
Affectionately known as the Blogfather of Singapore, his readers follow his writings closely, which these days range from current affairs, his family, and even his trips abroad.
Currently, mrbrown also hosts the mrbrown show (mrbrownshow.com), probably Singapore's best known comedy and satire podcast.
mrbrown is married to Ginny, his long-suffering wife for 12 years, and is father to three lovely kids, Faith, Isaac and Joy.