When I was a kid my mother never let my brother and I play video games. I think it's because of that that I spend pretty much all of my free time shooting people in the face via Xbox live, or playing the classics on the Super Nintendo the girlfriend bought me when I was 22 (which was the first gaming system I ever personally owned). I love video games so much that I have gotten to the point of reserving new titles months in advance and attending the midnight release of these games. I haven't done this very often, but in the past few months I've been on several occasions, and it's super weird. I've always thought of myself as a nerd, but the kind of people who go to these things are putting me to shame.
For example, I reserved and went to the midnight release of Batman: Arkham Asylum. When I arrived, there were pimply faced goons and thirty-something geeks and even a few nerdy looking cholos. The highlight of the night was the weirdo in army pants, complete with all kinds of knives and flashlights and shit attached to this utility belt he had. At first I figured that he was in the Batman mood, but as he walked around talking to nobody in particular about nothing in particular, it became clear that this guy was for real about his belt, and just loved different sized knives and flashlights. I suppose that if he ever got stranded he would be prepared, but it still struck me as odd. A Transformers t-shirt and a pair of gigantic steel-toed boots rounded out his outfit, and his over-gelled hair really pulled it together. This guy went on and on so long that one of the other nerds totally lost it, and told him to "Shut the fuck up, chump." No joke. I'm happy to report that there were no stabbings.
A few weeks later, I showed up to the midnight release of Brütal Legend, and the scene was decidedly more mixed. The game is not only aimed at nerds, but also metal-heads, so if you can imagine a bunch of geeks in Slayer shirts and glasses you might get the idea. I made a point of rolling up my sleeves to show off my tattoos, thereby proving that I am far cooler than any of the people who were there.
This action went unnoticed by many, as a couple of the weirdos there were arguing over which band was better, Metallica or Megadeth. Not wanting to get beaten up by these clowns, I decided not to mention that both of those bands suck huge. In retrospect, I probably could've taken them. I mean, I'm out of shape, but not like this. These people were sweating just standing there. Also, I think it goes without saying that these people's lives are a series of crushing defeats punctuated by their mothers coming into the basement to pick up and do their laundry (I'm pleased to announce that I no longer live in mom's house, so I at least know what I'm talking about.)
This brings us to Monday night at 11:30. I was standing in line at the video game store (this time with the girlfriend to prove that I'm not as loser-ish as I appear) staring at the clock wondering how it is I got to the point in my life where I couldn't simply wait a few more hours to pick up a video game. This time out, some dudes cut in line, causing the strangest outburst of asthma-ridden scoffing and whining you've ever heard. I actually laughed out loud, only to be stared at by the bespectacled, chin-strap beard wielding nerds. Still laughing, I managed to blurt out a half-assed "I'm sorry!" which seemed to narrowly save me from being murdered. I was waiting for Borderlands, a post-apocalyptic vision of an alien planet's wasteland. After playing the game for a few minutes, I came to the conclusions that the developer's vision of alien worlds looks just like Utah, and that country-rap-rocker Uncle Kracker is indeed a cracker, and produces some of the worst music I've ever heard. I'll forgive you, though gaming developers. You provide me with a few midnight releases a month, and the fodder for some of the best stories I have in my arsenal. Word up to the nerds, too. You guys keep me laughing and thinking that maybe I'm cooler than my bad skin and patchy beard make me feel.