Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Goin' with Agon

Between job, school, my wife’s job and school, and our two kids, there’s not a lot of room to spontaneously create a bubble of play.

The one place where it naturally develops is with our kids, of course, and usually this is within the context of established games.  My son, Jack, loves Mario and is really quite decent at Super Mario Bros. on the Wii. 

Together (over the course of probably a year of playing on and off) we managed to beat the game.  We finished every level.  However, there’s a secret world that you can only access if you find special coins on each level in the game.  These are usually quite difficult to obtain.  Jack would be happy to keep banging his head against that particular wall for hours, but I have imposed a strict 3 level limit to our play time.  He gets to choose the levels we play.  Occasionally he’ll opt for one of the small bonus levels on the map and once completed he’ll turn to me and say, “But that’s not really a level.”   Clearly his own way of trying to keep the bubble of play open.  Once we play three “real” levels, he accepts that we’re done and moves on to other things.

My only free time this week was during the Super Bowl.  We were invited over to my cousins house for food, drink, and football.  I figured this was the best time to try to get a competition going, so I looked for any reasonable opening outside of outright discussion of the game… I figured that would be too easy.

It started with martinis.  My cousin makes a mean martini, but he had run out of olives, so he used pickled banana peppers instead.  I casually suggested that without the olive, it really can’t be considered a martini and must be named something proper.  The only real rule was that the name couldn’t have “ini” at the end.  The winner would get another drink.  The loser… would get another drink.  So much for high stakes.   So we started rattling off different names:  Ginanna, Pepprigo, Pepson (like a Gibson but with a pepper), etc.   My cousin finally won by naming it after himself (“The Pasley”).  We mutually decided that was best and most appropriate name.  I considered coming up with some other game to play, but after two martinis (excuse me, Pasleys) it just didn’t seem all that important.