Monday, July 29, 2013
I no longer own a television, and I don't have any current-gen consoles. (Until maybe four months ago I was still calling the PS3 "next-gen.") My phone isn't smart enough to be considered any kind of software platform; my laptop is only good for emulation up to the PlayStation and the smaller and sparser modern games (which I really inexplicably have little interest in playing).
What I miss most are fighting games. If King of Fighters XIII had halfway decent netcode I might have changed my mind about not investing in a PS3, but I'm tired of crying about it.
Meanwhile, my Magic: the Gathering binge has hit a wall. I have nobody but myself to blame; I convinced my friend (and most regular opponent) Jason to build that horrible monoblue Jin-Gitaxis EDH deck that my Sheoldred deck is incapable of countering. I mean, I could modify my deck to stand more of a chance if I were willing, but the price tag would easily approach the triple digits. The only sensible choice is to let it go.
So I've been playing a lot of chess lately. I want to get good at it. Of any competitive game out there, chess seems to make the most sense to me, in light of the fact that twenty-nine out of every thirty people I meet have no interest playing Street Fighter III: Third Strike with me. Chess doesn't require any hardware, software, or booster packs. There are no balance patches or tier lists. There will never be a shortage of players and netcode will never be an issue, and I can find people to play with in almost any crowd, no matter where I go.
I'm reminded of how I felt when I started mucking around with BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger when it first came out in North America. It's the same shiver of excitement and trepidation at recognizing the complexity of the game and how difficult it will be to get good at it -- and the same self-consciousness that made me refuse to humiliate myself playing against human opponents before I could put up a decent fight against the AI.
I've only played a couple of more experienced colleagues at chess, and I performed so poorly that my referring to them as "colleagues" seems somehow audacious. So I've been playing Chess Titans until my game improves. It's not looking good -- the AI pretty consistently kicks my ass. No matter what I do, it transforms the board into a machine designed to destroy all of my pieces, and it does so without me even noticing until there's no way to stop it.
I suck at chess. But I also think I love it.
Does anyone else who sucks at chess want to play chess with me?