My Week Without Games

-Arron Ferguson

Last week this site was lacking an article from myself due to a hand injury. Whilst nothing particularly severe, I sliced my hand open deep in the process of food preparation, and as such was incapable of typing with the right kind of fluidity to generate an article. Whilst this is not exactly a pressing concern (unless, like me, you deem the urge to appear professional at all times a pressing concern) it did make one thing evidently clear. How do I play games when my finger does not work? I am aware more important things should have been on my mind, and to give me an ounce of credit, for a brief while they were. I could not send important emails for my other work or make phones calls, but once the more pressing issues passed, there I was in a hospital bed needing to pass the time- and I could not engage in game play.
It is safe to say my head found a way to transform everything around me into a game instead.
No longer able to jab away at my 3DS or Xbox my natural game playing mind found a way to transform everything else into a game. When people spoke to me I would set myself the challenge of spelling their words backwards as quick as possible, the cooking of food now became a game of precision and perfection, even reading a book (from the confines of a kindle where page turning is no issue) became a game of ‘how pages can I read in a minute’. This got me wondering if perhaps my brain had become too dependent and too used to playing games. By no means am I saying I’m addicted, despite how violent I got back in 2004 when my GameCube didn’t work for three months and my parents didn’t consider my desperation to play ‘Super Mario Sunshine’ a priority, but it got me wondering if my brain has been turned into one that instinctively solves puzzles and challenges itself or whether my brain has always been like this and computer games have merely been the perfect vice.
As my flatmates and I resorted to games of Chess and (don’t judge) Dungeons & Dragons in order to find something that wouldn’t require that particular finger to get too active, I found myself ecstatic to be engaging my brain in such a way. That is why I took the time to write down the 3 top games I found to play using just my mind, so that if you ever find yourself temporarily incapable of playing games, you have options.

3) Get Food in Someone Else’s Mouth
With this game requiring nothing more than an ability to throw, it truly is even more simple than the Wii. Whilst not exactly the most varying of challenges, by simply setting myself some internal rules, the art of trying to throw food into my friends mouth elevated from childish nonsense to full-blown game. With each successful ”food landing” he would take a step back, close his mouth a little more and I would have a larger piece of food to “land”, effectively creating ‘the next level’. A great game prompting hilarity all round. Sadly, I could not get passed Level 7: A burger in a near closed mouth from down the hall.

2) Match Up Lovers
I am sure we are all familiar with ‘Lonely Hearts’ columns in News Papers. This is a great “mind-based game” I concocted for those of you who may find throwing food into a friends face from a distance to be too barbaric. Think of this as the ‘Professor Layton’ of my inventions. Quite simply the name of the game is too read as many lonely hearts columns as you can (though, if like me, you can’t use one hand- a friend may be necessary to turn the pages) then try and find people who sound like they ‘match up’. It is then your job to ring the numbers and to try and pair up the lonely singles. Sadly it is a games that costs money (the phone bill), but is a great fun if you are willing to put up with a little bit of abuse from unwitting participants.

1) Chat Roulette Buddies
A similar game to ‘Match Up Lovers’ albeit with finding friends. Sadly this game is multiplayer only. A friend and yourself both go on Chat Roulette, desperately searching for some sane, nice person (instead of merely some naked male form engaging in personal coitus). Once you have found one each, you then turn your laptops toward each other and make the two people you have found talk to each over. If they enjoy one another’s company you have won the game. If not, the process begins again. It seems easy but is oddly challenging. This game is relatively cheap if you already have two laptops and the internet. For added fun, you need the bonus pack. AKA: A lot of alcohol. Myself and my hosuemate, Adam, succeeded after several hours with the combination of Caitlin from California and Dylan from Sweden. They got on like a house on fire.
If you ever find yourself incapable of grabbing hold of your consoles, these are just some of my suggestions for temporary replacements. Trust me, they are all fun engaging and challenging and perfectly good replacements for electronically produced products. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to play Skyward Sword. (well… my finger is fine now).