Shoot Club

Shoot Club: Night of the Cat, Part Two

Tom Chick | 15 Nov 2007 17:00
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The cat considers me with its yellow eyes. It seems bored, but happy to just sit on my desk. It's waiting to see what I will do. The ball is in my court.

"Dude, I'm playing Age III." I actually call the cat 'dude'. "You're messing me up."

It doesn't seem to care.

"Hey, look, he likes Age of Empires III," the new guy says. "You should put the mouse under his paw and take a picture of him. It'll look like he's playing. That would be funny."

"This is your cat?" I ask him. I'm frantically trying to use hotkeys to bring up my defenders - Are my horse guys on the 2 or the 3? - while Trevor's army falls on my base. Trevor's not good enough to know to target my villagers in a battle. He's more worried about taking out my barracks and stables. Bad move. My villagers run to safety. Trevor never learned the lessons of World War II, Vietnam, and Korea: to prevail in the long run, you have to target your enemy's resource production. I'm sure that's in Sun Tzu somewhere, but everything I need to know I learned in RTSs.

"No, he was at the door," the new guy says. "You told me to let him in. I don't even have a cat, so how could it be my cat?" He takes a pull from his IBC, satisfied that everything's been explained.

I'm trying to see around the cat's rump to make sure I don't have any idle villagers getting slaughtered by whatever Trevor's horse dudes are called. So far, so good. The horse dudes are chipping away at my barracks. Trevor doesn't know that cavalry are rarely good at attacking buildings, which Sun Tzu might have also had something to say about. Meanwhile, my horse-killing infantry beat on Trevor's cavalry. At least I think those are my horse-killing infantry, as I've lost track of what everything's called and there's no time to check the tooltips. What's a Qiang Pikeman again? Who knows. I'm too busy trying to build more dudes to check. Where's my barracks?

"So are you winning?" the new guy asks.

"Can you move the cat? I can't see anything."

"C'mere, cat." As the new guy picks it up off my desk, the cat's splayed legs sweep across my keyboard and queue up a bunch of god knows what units on the way to hitting the windows key. Now I'm staring at the Katee Sackhoff wallpaper on my desktop.


By the time I alt-tab back into the game, Trevor's army is arranged in a neat semicircle around my town center. He's got some kind of cavalry riding down my few surviving villagers, who blithely chop wood until they're killed.

"I'm in your base killing your dudes," he says, coming in from the other room. For all intents and purposes the game is over. I have only to resign. "I totally kicked your ass. Hey, it's a cat."

The new guy is holding the cat, offering it root beer. The cat isn't interested.

"The new guy found it. It was at the front door. The cat messed me up."

"He's not an it. He's a he," the new guy says, blowing cat hair off the lip of his IBC bottle.

"How do you know it's a he?" I ask.

"How do I know he's a he? Did no one ever explain that whole thing to you?"

"You're holding him wrong," Trevor says. "Let me."

The cat looks bored as the new guy pours its splayed legs into Trevor's arms. Trevor cradles it. The cat seems mildly pleased, but mostly indifferent. It blinks its yellow eyes.

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