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Who's Playing
A Horse of a Different Color

Kyle Orland | 26 Jul 2005 12:03
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Danny Ripple, a white-bearded tractor-trailer repairman from Glen Burnie, sits on the opposite side of the setup, nursing a Bud Light. His wife stands to his side, looking on with a mix of confusion and excitement. Danny admits to knowing nothing about the game when he sits down, but he's plenty confident when it gets to the feeding portion. "I figured that horse would like carrots," he says. "I've been around farm horses. They like carrots."

As each of these players drop in and out of the game's periphery, Keith and Heather remain seated in the two front-row center seats, whipping their horses for at least an hour after Keith says they're "probably finishing up for the night." Heather laughs as her dad describes their friendly competition, which "hasn't been friendly all the time," Keith says. Despite a focused training strategy and careful jockeying, Keith admits he usually isn't able to keep pace with his daughter's horses. Heather is quick to console her dad, reminding him of a recent neck-and-neck race that Keith actually won.

When most people think of video gamers today, the image quickly coalesces into the nerdy teenager or college student, sitting alone in a darkened room for hours at a time with no interaction with the real world. For me, the laughing, talkative racers at the Derby Owners Club provide a much stronger image of today's gamer.

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