Friday, February 27, 2009

Life imitates video game

This was actually a story that came up over dinner at a Christmas party last December, but I never got around to writing about it. Better late than never I suppose, though I have forgotten some of the details (namely, exactly where my friend's story takes place and why he was there... but these aren't so important).

My family has been friends with these two families, the Longs and the Smits, since I was about four years old. All three of our families have three kids, we roughly match age-wise, and we've grown up together so we see each other almost like cousins. Each year, when the "kids" are all home for Christmas (I say "kids" even though we're all over twenty by now), one of our families will throw a Christmas party and invite the other two families. This time we were at the Longs' house. The dinner was served buffet style, and the parents sat at the small table in the eat-in kitchen while the kids went to sit at the larger table in the dining room. At some point over dinner at the kids' table, the eldest Smit sibling, Ben, told a story about buying beer.

Ben was staying with a bunch of friends in a small town for some reason (I mentioned that I had forgotten these details, but work with me here). He was trying to find a place to buy some beer to take back to their motel room. Unfortunately, it being a tiny town in the middle of not very much, he discovered after some significant searching that there was no place in town where he could buy beer that late in the evening (and by late in the evening, I mean probably about 8:00). No place, that is, except for the bowling alley. Ben learned that the local bowling alley was still open and that they sold beer, so, as silly as it seemed, he headed over to the bowling alley with the sole purpose of buying beer. When he got there, though, the clerk at the cash register said the bowling alley rules dictated that he could only buy one six-pack per visit. That would never be enough. Ben turned to leave disappointed, until the clerk said, "Wait, I haven't told you what counts as a visit."

"What?" Ben asked.

"Each time you come in those doors from outside, it counts as another visit."

"So... all I have to do is buy some beer, walk out the doors, turn around, and come back in to buy more beer?"

"Right."

So that's exactly what Ben did, walking in and out the bowling alley doors until he had bought enough beer for his friends.

As Ben finished his story, we all laughed and concurred that this was ridiculous and pretty funny. And then I commented, "It's just like a video game."

Pause. Then more laughter. "Yeah, it is like a video game! Haha."

You know what I mean: You need to stock up on potions or arrows or something, but the storekeeper only has five of whatever you want, so you repeatedly leave the area and return, or maybe just close and reinitiate the conversation, in order to get him to restock and sell you more. It always seems stupid and unrealistic. But Ben has proven that this kind of situation can be encountered in the Real World.

I found the conversation to be memorable not just because it was kind of funny, but also because the moment was somehow very touching. I said that we've all known each other for a long time, but the truth is that we haven't seen each other very often since the other two families moved away when I was about ten, and now that we've all grown up and gone off to college and have our own lives, we see even less of each other. My video game comment would not have flown in most social circles. The fact that they all appreciated my joke made me realize that, in spite of the distance, we were still a good old group of friends.

1 comment:

Sebastian said...

Damn these modern games that have a 'controlled' market! In some games you can't even rob the store at night, and then sell the goods back to the store owner in the morning!

Fond memories of Daggerfall, and making enough money to buy large portions of the major cities...