Sunday 28 November 2010

There’s something not quite right about my latest obsession.  Well there’s not something quite right about most of my obsessions, to be fair.  However, if I was being completely honest about my current hobbies I would have to include – and somewhere near the top – playing games where the simulation of throwing/hitting penguins is the main part  of the game. Yeah, I know.  I didn’t really see it as a genre either but, as usual, it’s the fault of Facebook.  There is a game on there called Penguin Toss.  The amount of skill involved is minimal, there is a certain amount but is mainly chance that is the deciding factor in how far your tossed penguin will go.

The genius of this is that you get 10 tokens a day to play it.  Perhaps if I had free rein i would not have gone looking for another fix.  But unless I am going to pay real world money (I am not, though yes I have considered it several times.  An admission I am not proud of) for a basic luck-based game.  Of course my refusal  to pay left a gaping hole in my life where the tossing of penguins should be.  At this point an onlooker might say “What about your PS3 and the games you have on that?  What about your Nintendo DS for which you have even more games: almost all of which are better than a game simulating the throwing of a penguin.  What about all your DVDs, Blu-Rays, Books, Satellite television??  Can these not entertain you?  Can you not spend your time talking to people? Real world people who have thoughts and ideas to share and discuss with you – could you not talk to them instead of clicking your mouse twice in a second in order to throw a pixelated penguin as far as you can (with the assistance of springs and bombs)?”   I’d probably tell this onlooker to fuck off and point out that as dull as my life is, I am not stooping to the level of monitoring how much time an overweight no-mark from Manchester is spending playing games about penguins.  Who is the real loser?

If I was a contestant on the Apprentice describing my next step as something like this:  When at the age of 32 I realised my playing Penguin Toss on Facebook business was limited to ten gos a day I didn’t accept this as the end.  People tell me I’m the best person they’ve ever met at finding ways to do things which are so pointless they almost shame the verb to do by using them in association with the things I ‘do’.  I immediately researched and set up several other playing similar games businesses – all of which I am the Managing Director of.  And then say something else about being a born winner and able to sell something to a group of people the group of people clearly don’t need by their very nature, the traditional example being snow to the Eskimos [though I assume that should be Inuits now], I’ll be frank here [another thing Apprentice contestants always advertise as one of their leading features “I speak my mind”, sadly their mind is generally something for which the world would not moan if it lacked vocalisation] I think selling snow to Eskimos is an idle boast that no-one has ever backed up with sales figures.

And what I mean by the above paragraph is that I had to settle for inferior versions of the game as there isn’t a free version out there for me to play to my heart’s content.  There is one where you throw a penguin vertically up between two walls, this has little-to-no merit for me.  I’ve never been a fan of things where something finishes where it started after notable effort: boomerangs and Formula1 spring to mind.  The second best game in this genre is this one  (It is good and healthy that a 32-year-old man knows what his favourite three Penguin throwing Internet games are.  And has ranked them.  And anyone who says it proves I am a wanker is just being malevolent and trying to hurt my feelings unnecessarily.)  Clearly I have and ideological problem with the concept of the game involving  penguins projected ‘baseball style’ from a large club.  You do have to take into account that it is the Yeti who is doing clubbing though and not me in person.  And that it is a game.  Anyway there is a much less couth version of this one where blood spurts out of the Penguin as it flies through the air.  So, me playing this clean version (like the children’s version of Mortal Kombat) is a bit like something  Ghandi would have done.  I imagine.

Phil, you’re wasting your life playing (poor) computer games on your free days.  No I am not, today I also managed to watch 4 films and the first 2 episodes of Series 1 of The Apprentice.  Shame on you for judging me so hastily.  You are no better than the onlooker from earlier.  In fact you are probably exactly the same.  And the only person interested in what I have done with my day is the same loser typing this up – yes dear reader it is I, your narrator!  Wow finding out that I am the onlooker and the judgemental person from earlier in this paragraph has really shocked me, it’s as big a twist as Se7en or Fight Club.

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