The Gamer

I rediscovered the gamer in me this weekend. It had been ages since I let myself get sucked into an artificial environment, otherwise known as a “game.”

Who had time?

But I’ve lately been bemoaning how much of my days are being sucked up by work and writing, feeling bad when I didn’t devote every waking moment to one endeavor or the other, and getting pissed off at myself for it.

If I was working or editing, I was being good. If I wasn’t, I was being bad.

WTF! Who made up these rules? I was asking the question even though I knew the answer. I was making up the rules, and when I deviated, I wallowed in guilt… or worse.

I work hard. Why shouldn’t I play hard, too? 

Saturday, I tried to load my favorite world-building game, Zoo Tycoon 2, on the new desktop. It has tons of memory and a 24″ monitor. Unfortunately, though it installed, it wouldn’t play other than the first time. I spent at least two hours researching the reasons for this, and after trying various things, realized I was never gonna play that game on that machine.

Disgusted, I turned to my Acer laptop with the 17″ monitor. It works on that computer. I played for almost three hours. It was glorious.

Concerned I would soon lose the ability to do that as operating systems progressed, I started researching similar games and discovered Wildlife Park. I’d heard of it, but that was it. Never paid it much attention, which surprised me because I remembered it showed animal mating much more realistically than ZT2.

Google led me to Steam, a gamer site. I knew R and a few other people of my acquaintance used it, ; I asked R about it, and he said go for it! So I did, and Sunday, I spent five hours playing Wildlife Park 2. 🙂

It was so cool. I learned new things, got a minor headache from concentrating so hard, felt bad about ignoring Suki, who hates it when I’m sucked into the computer, and in the end, loved every minute.

I bought seven modules of Wildlife Park 2 and can’t wait to explore them all. And when I’m finished with that, I’m moving on to #3.

R doesn’t get my fascination with these games; he’s into the “run around and kill everything in the way” games. *eyeroll* Can’t stand ’em. So boring. I require games that demand input from my creativity. I want to see a direct correlation between my vision and the game, and these world-building games give me that.

Isn’t it odd that no one is making games like this right now? The ones I like are all old, at least five years old, but those are the games I like. SimCity is another favorite, though the last iteration pissed off me and a lot of others because they insisted you play on their server. Fuck that! I don’t want real people getting in the way of my fantasy. 😉

Today is Monday, and that means it’s back to the regular schedule. Work, writing. It’ll be another wonderful day in south Florida. And maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to set aside a couple hours to play. 🙂


Christmas happens this week, so I won’t be posting Friday. I have a lot of things to do. 🙂 Have a terrific holiday! Hope it’s everything you expect and need. See you again next Monday.



About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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15 Responses to The Gamer

  1. Helena Stone says:

    That post fascinates me since I don’t get it at all. I am not a gamer and never have been. I remember watching friends playing Pacman and wondering what all the excitement was about. Part of it is probably my utter lack of competitive streak I don’t care whether I win or lose whatever game I play. As far as computer games are concerned, another part is me being too lazy to figure out how it all works, what I’m supposed to do and what outcome I’m aiming for. But I’m delighted you reconnected with your inner gamer; all work and no play not only makes for a dull boy, it’s also very bad for your health.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and don’t forget to relax. ❤

    • I’ll be with R’s family and friends over Christmas, which is nice, but it will only point up how much I miss my friends up north. I was part of that group for twenty years; I’ll miss them a lot.

      As far as gaming goes, I dabbled off and on for years without feeling much compelled to play. I like hidden object mysteries; I play these when I really need to engage the brain without revving it up. Low-level stimulation.

      But when I discovered the zoo game (now plural, ’cause of the new one), I got all fired up. The challenge is to myself, no one else. The game sets up certain parameters, and I have to build and run a zoo to meet them. This isn’t as easy as it sounds! Last night, I completed the Java rhino test: take photos of it exhibiting certain behavior, then breed them. The zoo had to reach a certain fame level, too, before I could “win.”

      I’ve done this one several times, but there’s always several months, even years, between attempts. It’s always fresh enough, it’s almost like new. Achieving the five-star marine sensation zoo is a bitch! I’ve done it ONCE. The dinosaur challenges aren’t easy either, because they’re mean, and escape and go on the rampage a lot. Heh.

      I don’t like playing against others, but I love rising to meet challenges.

  2. Allison says:

    It’s great to see you having so much fun! It sounds like something I’d like to try but I tend not to have enough time to play those games. I’ve always been more into puzzle games because they are easier to walk away from when I need to.

    Have a wonderful week! I hope you get to spend more time exploring your WP2 world.

    • There is a jigsaw on the floor in the spare room. I usually work on this at night before going to sleep. Totally mindless and soothing.

      And yeah, I can walk away from it. The Java rhino game took me about six hours of game play to “win.” I love the little rush I get when it happens, though!

  3. Jaycee Edward says:

    I totally get it. Told you I got caught up in the King’s Quest games years ago and just heard they are making a new one. I’m not competitive either – except with myself, which is what those games are all about. I tried the type you’re playing and they are hard as heck. It is basically like landing a job building and running a zoo when you’ve never done it before. I watched some YouTube clips on your new one out of curiosity and it looks awesome, but still too much like Sim City for me. Told you I never got out of the Bronze Age. Wildlife has enough trouble without me killing it. It’s wonderful to hear you so happy and joyful, though. I’ll bet your work and writing will actually be better because of you taking some time for yourself. Have a very Merry Christmas in your new home, Fen. You’ve earned it. ((Hugs))

    • Not five seconds ago, I looked up and noticed the sun sparkling on the water. I could watch that glitter forever and never tire of it.

      I’m so thrilled to be here and warm instead of in St Paul and freezing. 🙂 Wind is out of the south today, so it is toasty warm. The fan is running in the lanai. A perfect, wonderful day.

  4. suze294 says:

    A change is as good as etc!
    Hope you have an enjoyable time over Christmas – roasting in the sun instead of in front of a fire!

    • It’s 36 in St Paul today. That’s practically balmy, especially after the horrendous long stretch of really cold weather they had. 🙂

      I have a fireplace DVD. I put it on when I want to hear the crackling. Heh. If I really want to experience winter again, I could turn on the a/c and blast it while sitting under a fleece throw.

  5. ludwigcarol5 says:

    I remember a game called castle quest that was awesome. I got hooked and could not wait each day for my kids to go to school so I could play. I was so sad when I made it through to the end, that I stopped playing games all together. I would love to find a quest game like that again. I also have a puzzle on my card table that I go to once in a while when my daughters best friend comes over to do it with me. Though that’s not so often right now, as he has a new boyfriend he’s spending time getting to know, as he should be. You have a good Christmas Theo and enjoy your gaming time. Merry Santa to you and your Suki to.

    • Thanks. Same to you.

      I own another Microsoft game that would not install on newer systems, proving their programmers are short-sighted at best. I loved that game. It was called Kwazi’s Quest and was the singular most interesting Mah-jonng I ever played. He was on a journey/quest, and the player had to go through many scenes to get to the end. I don’t even think I have it anymore. 😦

  6. diannegray says:

    I don’t play those games because I love them and find it really hard to stop 😉 Have a great Christmas and a safe and happy new year xxxx

  7. A.M.B. says:

    “I don’t want real people getting in the way of my fantasy.” Ha! That’s great.

    You were definitely being way too hard on yourself with all of your “rules.” You deserve the break from the work and the writing (just try not to ignore Suki!).

    Have a great holiday too!

    • I’m so busy, it’s hard to arrange for down time, but I really have to attempt it; working seven days a week is wearing me down. To get at least one day off a week, I’ll have to work harder the other days, but it’ll be worth it.

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