Even More Useless

As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I very much dig the neighborhood my new job is in. I almost fell over when I realized I’d somehow, for a month, overlooked the fact that a FLGS was right across the street.

I went in there for the first time today, helping a friend who played D&D years ago buy some stuff for his son, who was interested in learning how to play. I considered briefly having him sign up for the playtest, but I didn’t want to spook a brand new player with such things. I hooked him up with a D&D Essentials Rules Compendium. He wanted some adventures to run and some baddies to fight, so I suggested Monster Vault – a fine supplement I have used to great effect in my own game, chock full of stuff to kill and a low-level adventure.

We go up to pay, and the guy at the counter wrinkles his nose and goes “uhhhhhhh whyyy are you buying this”, pointing at Monster Vault. And I explain, my friend’s son is learning to play and these are starter materials. He wrinkles his nose harder, and says “I uuuhhhhh this is useless for a player”. I’m starting to get irritated, but I explain a little further. “He doesn’t have a group yet. He might DM or play, we’re not sure yet.”

This yielded an eyeroll, and an unprecedented LEVEL THREE NOSE WRINKLE. “This is even more useless then. I don’t know why you’re suggesting he buy this. Yeahhhh I dunno, I just…. I dunno….”

I thought about arguing, but I tried simply listening. No alternate suggestions or anything useful happened. Just “uhhhhhhh” filled with derision. This lasted for a good minute, laced with the finest awkward tension available over-the-counter.

There was a part of me that was curious what this guy wanted us to buy instead. That part was crushed by the part of me that wanted to scream “HOLY COMIC BOOK GUY STEREOTYPE BATMAN DO YOU HAVE AN ALLERGY TO THE MONEY OF CUSTOMERS WHAT IN THE NAME OF PELOR IS YOUR PROBLEM!!???!!?”

Instead, I simply said “I think we’re good. Let’s check out.”

I hope that guy wasn’t the owner. I am disinclined to return to that place, and that makes me sad.


Memories I Can’t Refuse

Surprisingly, Sam was not a fan of S.T.U.N. Runner.

Yesterday, we had Godfather’s Pizza for dinner in Pekin. That particular restaurant holds a lot of memories for me. We’ve been going there as long as I can remember, and the pizza has always been delicious. It comprises about 85% of all birthday dinners in my family.

It also happens to be the site of the very first time I played Ms. Pac Man, and countless other arcade adventures.

It pleases me to no end that the place is still very much as it was some 30 years ago, except for the part where it’s almost never busy and a lot of the arcade games are old and broken. I worry that the place doesn’t have much time left. All the other Godfather’s restaurants in the area have closed, and the company itself isn’t doing so well. We don’t go very often, and I never really understand why. I think I just take it for granted.

I’d had a craving for pizza all day yesterday, and we’ve had Papa Johns and Mickie’s about four thousand times in the last month. Sarah suggested Godfather’s, and it sounded really good. Sam, being Sam, wasn’t particularly interested in eating anything, so I mentioned they’d have arcade games. He squealed and yelled “OKAY!” and ran to get his shoes on.

On the way there, we talked about what kind of pizza we were going to get. Then Sam said something I’ll never forget.

“And then we’re gonna go to the arcade and I’m gonna play with you, daddy, because I love you.”

If you heard a pop about 6pm yesterday, that was my heart exploding. I could not craft a sentence that more perfectly fulfilled my every need as a father. I was stunned. My lower lip quivered.

When we got there, he ran around in circles until we ordered, and then he ran to the machines and did some more circles while I got quarters from the change machine and told him how the sound of the coins coming out used to be my favorite noise in the world. Since he’s so young, he usually doesn’t stick around to finish whatever game he’s playing — unless it’s a driving game. For some reason, those keep him. His experiences with gaming are so different from mine at that age. He’s used to my Xbox packed full of games he can switch between whenever he wants, and he looks at me like I’m crazy when I tell him we’re out of quarters. But he loves bright colors and weird synthesized noises, and that means he loves the old stuff from when I was a kid — even if it’s just for awhile.

He’s been bugging me to play games on the MAME cabinet in our dining room lately. I’ve had a couple parts loose and some stuff that needs configured on it for a few months, so it hasn’t seen much use. He heard Froggy’s Lament from Buckner & Garcia’s Pac Man Fever album on the way back from Grandma’s last week, and he’s been wanting to see that froggy. I think it’s time to fix that.

Definitely loving the whole “dad” gig right now.

Reliving the Dark Ages

Tonight, we played Dominion (the Dark Ages expansion). I like that game, but I always get wrecked. It’s not like I’m the best in the universe at CCG’s like Magic and WoWTCG, but I haven’t wrapped my head around the continuous deck building and cycling like some of my friends can. Maybe if I played it more often, I’d have some strategies. As it is, I find myself only knowing what about half the cards do on the table, and then forgetting to read the rest until it’s too late halfway through the game. Still fun, though.

The Dark Ages expansion has some interesting mechanics in it. Lots of weird ways to trash cards and gain crappy cards to make deals for better cards. I bought a ton of Cultists and forgot to buy victory points before it was too late. (It was a nice change from buying too many golds and forgetting to buy victory points until it’s too late.)

We played a few games of that and sat around swapping old D&D war stories. Well, I should say two of us regaled the other two with old D&D war stories, because only half of us had played the game at all previous to this campaign. I hope they weren’t too bored. (I’d had just enough hard cider to not to care at the time.)

I find it endlessly strange and awesome that ten years down the road, it’ll be old war stories about our campaign they’ll be tossing around. Hopefully, I’ll still be there and then we can all bore the crap out of yet another person. It’s the circle of life.