Sunday, March 31, 2013


I finished a round of XCOM: Enemy Unknown for the XBox 360 yesterday.  I don't finish much on the XBox (or the Wii, or the PS2 for that matter). I'm just not willing to dedicate the time, even when I'm laid up in bed for a month or two.  I did finish all the achievements in Minecraft, but you can't really finish that game, you just wear out.  The same can probably be said of Skyrim and definitely of Call of Duty. XCOM is a fond memory for me, because back in 1994 and 1995 (around the time we were moving between Richfield and St. Louis Park) I played a lot of XCOM: UFO Defense and Terror from the Deep.  The new one doesn't bring back the joy I had when I was twenty years younger and it looked like this.  I found myself a little disappointed because I missed the buttons and the imaginative detail I put into the less well rendered soldiers.  But I renamed quite a few of the soldiers to compensate.  Kyle died twice, and only Kyle III was around to participate in the end, although he was back at base recuperating.  And a combination of a sniper named after myself and a psionic solider named after Amy from Doctor Who (red hair, despite a Japanese last name) won the game.  Eryn got into it when she realized I'd renamed the characters and that they'd been developing a bit of history over the course of the game.  She's started playing now that I made it through it once.

Given how much time it takes to win these games, I wonder that I ever had the time to play through these not once, but many times each.  I was working hourly wages about 50-60 hours a week at the time.  It gets stranger for me when I realize 1995 was four years before I started at my current job as a contractor (I went full time about two years later), so in 1996-1997 I had been at my first full time contracting gig for a year.  That seems about right given I remember how excited I was when VB 5.0 came out in 1997.  This computer technology is one to two years older - max, probably less than a year for Terror from the Deep - than when I started working as someone who programmed computers with Visual Basic 4 (16 bit).

And yet, here I am again, finishing a game of XCOM.

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