Grinding the World

Aug 20, 2002

Play a game enough and it can invade your thoughts, tormenting your
brain with its twisted visions.

“Hey you could grind that light post over there, do a quick transfer, and finish your grind over on that fence.”

“Would you need to manual between the two or can you clear the gap?”

This was quite close to a conversation that the wife and I had
the other day, after a couple of long sessions of
Aggressive Inline
for the
Yes, a conversation
with my wife.

For those of you not familiar with that game in particular or
inline skating lingo, we were discussing some features of the
roadside as if we were still performing impossible stunts
on our pretty black box of gaming, not driving along to our

Aggressive Inline is a game that fits into the extreme sports
genre, one that includes such great games as
Tony Hawk
SSX Tricky.
Basically, you have a huge assortment of tricks that you can perform,
some realistic and some not so realistic. A game level consists
of a single, often quite large, environment for you to explore as you
see fit. Each level comes fashionably with a set of objectives, often aquired
from various in-game characters littered across the landscape, and your
job is to go about accomplishing them.

Accomplish one of these objectives and the level often changes in
some way – for example, at one point you sink a cruise ship, providing
a whole new area to explore. Accomplish another and an entirely new
level may be unlocked. It quickly becomes a twisted game of trial
and reward. Think of a donkey chasing the carrot on
a stick and you’ll have a good sense of what this game
can do to a person or, in our case, the both of us.

It hasn’t helped that the wife has been happy to join in.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the fact that she wants to play.
I suppose some part of me is happy that her experience
with Aggressive Inline and its spiritual predecessor, Tony
Hawk, has given her a taste of my hobby and a taste of why
I play games in the first place. However, the fact that
she does play has provided extra incentive to continue
my habit. It is sweet that we can share some quality
gaming time together but, in reality, it is more like
one addict trying to help another.

But play too much and it can play with your head, blurring the real
world with the fancy antics of the video world.
(Hmm, anyone interested in building my neighborhood
with its in-game editor? I’d love to grind my neighbor’s car.) I
just hope this doesn’t happen when I begin to play the
Super Mario
game. Lord knows where I may stick my butt.

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