Playing Games

Whenever my wife or my parents ask me what I would like as a gift for some occasion like Christmas or a birthday, my response is always the same: "You don’t have to get me anything, but if you do, surprise me." In this regard, I love surprises, and most of them have been very pleasant and unexpected over the years.

Yesterday, when my wife asked, I thought about it for a few seconds and replied: "an Xbox 360." Yep; I want me an Xbox for Christmas, dammit. Good thing I asked before I read Karen’s scathing assessment, though I must confess that I’ve said or thought a lot of those same things about gaming — often about certain family members. But see, we recently had some work done on our cabin in the mountains, adding a bedroom, half bath, and an entertainment room — primarily to get the TV out of the living/dining room area where people are congregated when we have family over, especially at holidays and such.

We’ve got a pretty large wide-screen HDTV, but no cable or dish; just a growing library of DVDs, of which, some of my favorites are WWII documentaries, video encyclopedias, and news clips from that era. We also have a library of lots of books, many of them large-format pictorial histories of things as broad "the world" or as narrow as "skyscrapers." The idea is to be able to get beneficially into something enlightening and educational in an hour or two — especially if you’re a guest for only a day or two. Of course, I absolutely forbid lending anything out.

I think a game console will be a good addition, and in fact, I also want to add a real pinball machine and a refurbished original classic Asteroids arcade game, in time. Given that I have not a single game loaded my my computer other than the ones that came installed (and I never play), I doubt I’ll get hooked. But who knows?

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Kyle Bennett on November 26, 2006 at 18:26

    I'm not much into gaming consoles myself, but I'm really intrigued by the Wii. The motion sensor controllers look like they can add a level of control that has not been possible before – particularly for sports games, which to me have always been so inadequate as to not be worth playing.

    I've never owned a console, but I'm tempted to get a Wii, though I can't really afford the time I know it will suck out of my life.

  2. Richard Nikoley on November 26, 2006 at 22:48

    Regarding the Wii (pronounced wee), I was watching a video clip at the Cnet website regarding the release, and at some point, the reporter said:

    "Most people don't seem to want to sell their Wii on eBay. They just want to go home and play with their Wii."

    I laughed like a 5th grader.

  3. mandrill on November 26, 2006 at 17:01

    You don't really want an xbox 360. Its just a PC in a different box. Even a mid range PC can deliver visuals to rival the 360's, and whats more the games are expensive and nowhere near as innovative as PC games are getting. The problem is developement costs. Games publishers and developers are having spend huge amounts of money developing games for these super consoles and as such don't take risks. All your going to get for the xbox are rehashes of the same games over and over again, either as a franchise (FIFA, MADDEN, NHL, Project Gotham, Need for Speed, Halo, Call of Duty) or as a movie license (all the Harry Potters, Lord of the Rings, James Bond, Pixar etc etc.) Originality has left the console industry (unless you count the Nintendo Wii) Whereas the PC games industry is being forced to innovate to compete. Take a look at

  4. mandrill on November 26, 2006 at 17:03

    My comment got chopped cos I tried to use a link. is where you want to look.
    Seriously don't fall for the hype, I did the first time around and now use my Xbox as a doorstop. It was a waste of money.

  5. Billy Beck on November 27, 2006 at 05:39

    I loved Asteroids. It's my all-time favorite arcade video game.

  6. kelley on November 27, 2006 at 13:25

    You sound like my husband; I have recently been informed that he will be receiving a Wii from me for Christmas.

    I am happy to oblige; I'm just glad that I finally got him to get rid of the arcade machine that graced our living room for two years.

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