The one thing that’s been missing from my life was finally fixed a couple of weeks ago. After 8 months of living on my own, it finally seemed like the right time to make that commitment again.

I bought an X Box.

It’s been on “The List” (shit I WANT for the house, but have to justify the expense since I don’t really NEED it) since I moved in here, but whenever I had any spare money it was always on the month with birthdays or Christmas so it always got pushed to the back. At the end of January I decided that enough was enough and took the plunge.

My son, Joseph, has his own X Box at House #1 and, although he frequently brought it with him, it was a bit annoying for everyone concerned (apart from me) to keep lugging it back and forth.

I am not a Gamer, really. “Geek” covers such a multitude that one person couldn’t possibly do everything under the banner. It’s like saying you play “all sport”. It’s just not gonna happen. I like some games, but I’m not hardcore. It’s a rare occasion when I will buy a new game for myself, preferring to head to the pre-owned section when the fancy takes me. This usually means I am way behind the curve on what’s cool. The kids love games, obviously, but for me the X Box is my portal to watching the movies and tv shows that I have on my hard drive without having to burn them to disc or watch them on the laptop. The USB is a wonderful thing.

After wandering around Oldham checking out the prices I ended up in GAME. Since I work in retail and know how vocal people can be when they get bad service I’d like to point out that the guys there are excellent. Friendly, not pushy and smiling. I explained what I wanted, the guy helped me out, didn’t rip me off and I had a decent chat as well. I might not spend much money on games, but you can guarantee that I’ll be heading back there when I want to pick something up. He even managed to talk me into filling out an online questionnaire¬†when I got back home!

So I bought the X Box and Joseph brought up all (which amounts to about half a dozen) of my games. He was happy just to have something new to play with, even though it’s the same as the old thing that he played with. However… it quickly became apparent that my daughter, Grace, didn’t have a lot of choice in the games that I own. She likes the Arkham games (well, she likes the running about bits, not the fighting – she’s only 6 so she gets her big brother to do that stuff) but hasn’t shown much interest in Aliens Vs Predator or Dead Rising.

I ended up buying Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes for them both, because A) Lego is cool; B) Lego games are awesome to play and C) they bought me Lego Superman and Wonder Woman keyrings for Christmas so I thought it was a nice circular thing.

Grace: Happy as a Klingon with a tasty Rokeg Blood Pie and a nice pint of¬†Chech’tluth.

Joseph: “Lego games are for kids”. This is despite the fact that he loves playing with Lego. And he’s only 11.

It took a grand total of about 10 minutes of Grace playing the game before Joseph started paying attention to what was happening on the telly. Grace loves playing computer games, but she’s not exactly brilliant at them, particularly if there’s any form of problem solving involved. You could see Joseph gradually start to twitch more and more as he watched her play (it really IS a good game) and he really can’t stand it when he thinks that he knows what to do and Grace keeps running about, not really doing much, and bursting into fits of giggles whenever the character bursts into pieces. On Lego Indiana Jones she once spent a good 15 minutes repeatedly throwing Indy off a cliff as if it was the funniest thing she’d ever seen.

Eventually the ‘advice’ started. “Do this…” or “go over there…” or “you need to pull the lever and the gate’ll open”. It was quite entertaining to watch. Grace can only take so much advice and, in the end, launched the controller at Joseph’s head with a “YOU DO IT THEN!”. It also became apparent that Joseph didn’t really know what he was talking about, but he was methodical about not knowing what he was doing. They basically both had the same result.

It reminded me of the time I bought them Soul Caliber – Grace used to whup Joseph’s arse time after time because she was just smacking the buttons however she wanted, while Joseph was trying to do proper combinations. Some of the special moves she came out with were amazing. “How’d you do that?”; “Dunno”, and she would win 90% of the time. Poor lad, being beaten by the sister half his age.

Two weeks down the line and Joseph has admitted defeat. He’s started the game on his profile and is adamant that he’s going to get past Grace as quickly as possible. They help each other out, of course, but Grace’s version of ‘helping’ frequently involves pushing Joseph off a building.