Smile and Nod

Smile and Nod
Games are Addicting: Your Mama

Russ Pitts | 14 Jan 2008 17:00
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I am victorious. I know this because the slightly stilted female voice told me so. She's kind of haughty, but calm and reassuring with a pseudo-British accent and the enunciation of Julie Andrews, which is slightly erotic for reasons I can't identify. The pronouncement is accompanied by soothing chimes and gongs, like the constant, life-affirming patter of the electronic therapy white noise you hear in a Vegas casino, and it serves the same purpose. Every time I hear it, it makes me want to hear it again. I want more victory, more soothing reassurances - more life. So I keep playing.

My name is Russ, and I'm addicted to Puzzle Quest.

Today I'm pleased to unveil the fruits of our art team's labors, the branding for my column here at The Escapist. I've been writing some sort of missive here every Monday for about a year, but we haven't deigned to call it anything until now. To brand this space, I've resurrected my old "Smile and Nod" column title from the GWJ days. I wrote an editorial once per week for almost two years under the Smile and Nod aegis for GWJ, so when The Escapist asked what I wanted to call this new column, it's the only title that made sense. Also, they wouldn't let me use "The Eagle Semen Guy." The art folks were kind of enough to make a cheerful, yet creepy set of pics for the new column, and so now I feel all at home. Two years later. These things take time.

So, as I'm wont to do, I was sitting around yesterday trying to decide what I wanted to write about on Monday, and my mind kept wandering back to Puzzle Quest. And then instead of thinking about playing it, I was playing it. And then the sun, which had previously been up, was down, and I realized I'd spent an entire day playing a stupid, little puzzle game that makes me feel like one of Pavlov's dogs. And even this realization didn't persuade me to turn the damn thing off.

If I'd ever gone to an AA meeting, I'd know which step this was; the one where you accept your problem, but still don't care. But I haven't, so I don't. But that's where I am. I know I'm not just doing it to relax, I know I can't quit any time and I know it's going to suck me down into a nether region of my own devising and leave me a tortured, empty shell of a man. And yet I don't care. I'm imagining Julie Andrews dressed as a Vegas showgirl, twirling a peacock feather in her slender hand as she congratulates me on yet another victory. Victory is sexy. Victory is good. Victory is right. Who cares if it's killing me?

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