So last time around I’d gotten as far as my time at uni playing Halo so will continue here with another game that ate up hours of potential studying time.
6. Tiger Woods PGA Tour (year unknown)
You couldn’t pay me to watch golf. It’s interminably dull and mainly seems to include shots of the sky as a tiny white speck flies towards a hole followed by rich, posh idiots.
Despite this at uni my mate Rich and I would spend ages playing a simulation of the “sport”. I think the appeal was that it actually took skill to play, and that it was slow paced which gave us time to drink gallons of tea and chat.
It was another game I wasn’t particularly good at but I improved over the years and I quite liked the challenging part. Probably because my degree, in Film Studies, was quite easy in places.
This game is the only reason why I can name a golfer aside from Woods, Luke Donald.
7. Angry Birds
This game kept me sane on night shifts, when it wasn’t driving me nuts. The idea is stupid, but simple; pigs have kidnapped your eggs so your flock hurls itself suicidally at them to get them back.
The flick and tap style of play is easy. The levels are increasingly difficult and there is some strategy involved, and I’ll confess this is the first game that I sought out cheats for, watching walk through videos on levels that frustrated me.
I wasn’t proud of it, but it was that or sacrifice my iPod Touch to a rage quit episode. In the end I had to delete it because I was wasting hours playing it and getting increasingly angry at the green pigs.
8. Mario Kart
Returning to university to do nursing would turn out to be a mistake, academically speaking. But I met MWF and I quite enjoyed the extracurricular aspects of my year.
It helped that the gods of student accommodation smiled on me and I had five quality flatmates. Flatmates with whom I would hang out watching DVDs and playing intensely competitive games of Mario Kart on the Wii.
I mentioned while discussing Halo that driving games are not my strong point and to begin with I would crawl over the finish line in last place. However, as the year progressed I managed to get better and even got a few wins for Waluigi, who I’d adopted as my go to character.
My improvement was basically that I got better at throwing shells at opponents and would only crash once a lap. Unless we were playing Rainbow Road, a course designed by a sadistic madman which even threw Emma, who was freakishly skilled at the game.
After crap shifts on placement or mind numbing lectures I’d camp out on our sofa, screaming at the screen as Waluigi became a magnet for every banana, shell and oil slick in existence. It was an odd way to unwind, playing a game which could be incredibly frustrating, but it worked, and was a good flat bonding experience.
It also gave me a reason to invite MWF over before we got together, giving us a chance for us to hang out and for me to kick her ass all over Bowser’s Castle.
9. FIFA 13
I’m sure FIFA 13 isn’t the pinnacle of the series, but I picked it up for 50p and used MWF’s xBox to play for hours while I was unemployed. I’m six seasons into a career game managing Bristol Rovers (I elected not to manage Swansea because I would be far too emotionally invested in the game) and could probably have used the weeks of game time more productively but my obsession has gone too far.
Despite having got all the way to Champions Cup glory I can’t quite until I bag an FA Cup title, completing my collection of trophies at the club. The FA Cup is my white whale, and I will chase it round perdition’s flames before I give it up.
The other way the obsession manifests itself is that I will find myself thinking about squad decisions for future games (“I’ll rest Bale against Stoke and West Brom, and that way he’ll be fresh for the Juventus match”) or weigh up what I need to get during the transfer window.
The game has also showed I am far too emotional to be a manager, in that I hold grudges against players who ask for transfers or demand pay rises too often, and after Euro 2016, in a fit of patriotic pride I wound up buying four Welsh players.
I’ll probably keep playing, FA Cup glory or not, until MWF and I trade in for an xBox One and then probably get hooked on the latest version.
10. Pokémon Go
This year saw the release of a brand new Pokémon game which used augmented reality to allow you to hunt for the pocket monsters in the real world. It was actually a sneaky ploy to get children, and childish adults, outside and exercising, with players getting rewards for travelling longer distances.
For a while it was inescapable, people playing it everywhere, old people whinging about it in the press and stories of bizarre situations Pokémon trainers found themselves in.
It’s probably peaked now, and my own usage has dropped off because I’m tired of being swarmed by Pidgeys.
But I still have it and play now and then, and am still kinda obsessed with being the very best. The game isn’t helped by a few annoying flaws and the fact that as mentioned certain Pokemon have reached vermin status. But it’s fun and it means that folks are getting outside more, which makes it better than many if the other games I’ve written about.
Anyway, that’s my ten video game loves. If you have any thoughts, you know what to do. BETEO.