Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I just returned from the restaurant across the street. To my delight, I discovered a Galaga machine on the upper level and immediately commenced zapping interstellar vermin.

In case you've forgotten, Galaga is the 1981 shoot-em-up that allows the player to willingly sacrifice his fighter spacecraft in hopes of subsequently freeing it from the alien flagships. If you're a good enough shot, you can actually rejoin your former ship in the form of a "doubleship," which is sort of the game's Holy Grail; although a bigger target for the enemy critters, the doubleship offers twice the firepower of a single ship. It's great fun to acquire the doubleship and blast away at hapless invading bugs.

Or at least it used to be. Tonight, I couldn't get the enemy ships to abduct my fighter. They just swarmed politely at the top of the screen, ignoring me. It was like their heart wasn't in it. No fight. I'd cease firing and maneuver right beneath one of the flagships, virtually begging to be tractor-beamed to the top of the screen. I wanted the doubleship so bad I could taste it. But the marauding bugs weren't biting; their movements betrayed a stubborn resolve to make my gaming experience as anticlimactic as possible.

Finally, one of the blue flagships lofted my fighter to the top of the screen. I blasted the abducting craft . . . and instead of uniting with my erstwhile ship as promised by the rules, I watched my own ship join the space bugs in their assault.

I think there's some sort of message here for me to decipher. Possibly something Zen. Or maybe some cryptic Freudian commentary on my ego. Whatever.

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