My back is sore, my legs are sore. My eyes hurt, my vision is blurry and my wrists ache. As anyone who has ever been in the throes of a computer game addiction will know, it can be painful. My optometrist asked me the other night if I’d noticed any changes in my vision. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t referring to my newfound inability to focus due to prolonged playing of Bejeweled Blitz.
The problem is threefold, really. Mostly I just like dumb computer games – the kind at which zoo monkeys could beat me. Tetris, Jewelbox, Bejeweled. And obsessive playing of these games usually coincides with the later stages of pregnancy, for me. When I was pregnant with Mr. G, I asked one of Jason’s grad school friends to ‘challenge’ me on Bejeweled on a near nightly basis, because I’d exhausted my rights to the free online version. The only way for me to keep playing (free of charge) was for someone to invite me to a game. Even if they ditched me halfway through. And, frankly, Chau always ditched me since he could easily double or triple my pathetic score. With his mouse clicking hand tied behind his back.
So recently, while wasting some time on Facebook, I noticed many of my ‘friends’ were playing Bejeweled Blitz. A one minute, fast version of the game I played five years ago. I held off for several days, knowing it would only get ugly. But one night, bored and desperate, I caved. And just like that, I was hooked. And then, when I noticed my friend Jenny was ahead of me in the standings of the weekly tournament….well that was all the incentive I needed to spend the bulk of a day trying to improve my game.
I consider it cruel irony that I was able to come within 1300 points of her high score (88,500 to her 89,800) today. To come so close and still not beat her? That’s the ultimate in dissatisfaction.
My innate competitiveness very slightly exceeds the third aspect of my addiction: my apparent need for positive reinforcement. In my house, I just don’t get a lot of it. I asked Jason if he liked the strawberry pie I made yesterday. For a Canada Day potluck gathering. He responded: ‘yeah’. Yeah, isn’t exactly an enthusiastic response; nor is it indicative of any pleasure received from eating such a caloric piece of pie. But that’s Jason for you. ‘Yeah’ may very well mean ‘it’s the best piece of freaking pie I’ve ever had.’ Or ‘I’ve had better.’ Who knows.
But the voiceover guy from the Bejeweled Blitz game, is, or was, quick with the reinforcement I apparently crave. The game starts out with a ‘go’ which is particularly cute when parroted by my not quite two year old. And, as the jewels start disappearing, my announcer friend becomes more positive. ‘Good’ he’ll exclaim monotonously followed by ‘excellent’ and, if you’re really good…. ‘incredible.’
I might be more hooked on having my playing labeled ‘incredible’ than the game itself. Unfortunately, there was a long streak of games where I performed rather poorly, and the best my man friend would do for me was toss out a ‘good’. There may have been an ‘excellent’ thrown in occasionally, but there was no ‘incredible’ to be found. Anywhere. I started playing game, after game, hoping to improve my score so I could hear just one more ‘incredible’ but it’s as if he was purposely avoiding the word. The well of positivity had run dry.
So with tired eyes, and bad posture, I had to call it a day. That, and it was near the boys’ bed-time. And I felt like the world’s worst human being.
Funny thing is, Jason started out rolling his eyes at my newfound obsession, coming close to suggesting I was lesser-than for wasting my time in such a useless manner. And yet…the other night, as I was – yes – playing Bejeweled Blitz, I heard a familiar noise. It was him, sitting at the dining room table. Playing the same game on his laptop.
My announcer guy’s voice was a dead give away.
Friday Update: I’d made it all the way to 4.30pm today before logging on to play a game. Rather impressive, I thought. But, when I logged on, all that popped up was this message:
There was a major fire at Bejeweled Blitz’s server hosting facility last night. We would like to say that the heat of everybody’s gem swapping burned up the servers, but unfortunately in this case it was an actual fire.
Bejeweled Blitz will not be available until the damage is cleaned up and generators are brought in to restore power. Our current estimate is that we will be back up later tonight (Seattle Time).
When the game does come back up, you may notice that some of your friends’ scores from this week appear to have been erased. Don’t worry — all scores are safe and secure in our database, and they will start to show correctly as you and your friends visit the game.
Thanks for playing Bejeweled Blitz. We are working very hard to get the game up and running for you as soon as possible, and we appreciate your patience.
I can’t help but feel that I have incredibly bad luck as of late.