Better Living Through GamingWhat Would Yoshi Do?Better Living Through Gaming - RSS 2.0
Once you become a celebrity - and rest assured, we'll all get our turn - there's suddenly lots to do: endorse your own fragrance, be photographed looking haggard in gym slacks and baseball cap, adopt an orphan from a developing country. But you're also abruptly elevated to the position of role model. Simply by being in the public eye, you're supposed to set a positive example for the rest of us. By this logic, Colin Farrell is a role model. Paris Hilton is a role model. (Seann William Scott was in a movie called Role Models, but that's just confusing the issue.)
We're routinely told videogames make more money than Hollywood, so shouldn't we also consider prominent game characters valid role models? Sure, these on-screen avatars are usually empty vessels into which we pour our own personalities through play. But some traits unique to the character remain, even if it feels like you're choreographing their every move.
There's a fascinating piece to be written about the constantly unfurling process of player/character transference and how it affects the way we negotiate and experience games. This isn't that piece. This one's about pretending to be various videogame characters for 24 hours to see if it improves my day-to-day life.
Such arbitrary quests are no fun without equally arbitrary rules, so here's the deal: My wacky choices must have been born in videogamedom rather than be licensed from other media. (Sadly, that means no Optimus Prime or Spider-Man.) Other than that, no rules. A plan is just a list of things that don't happen. Press Start!
Notable traits: Eats tropical fruit. Big tongue. Helps people.
Mario, of course, is way more recognizable but I can think of few things more annoying than jumping around in dungarees saying "It's a-me! Mario!" for an entire day. Cute wee dinosaur Yoshi seems slightly more bearable, in that he doesn't really talk and always seems keen to help in any way he can. I start off my day as Yoshi by eating some tropical fruit - well, a banana - but if it changes the color of my spit in any useful or meaningful way, I don't actually notice.
Thoughtfully chewing, I call up a friend who's in the process of moving house. "Hello Fluff," I say. "Do you need any, um, help?" Soon, we are taking a carload of dusty bric-a-brac to the local dump. I heave some stuff into the recycling bins, reveling in the honest labor. "Thanks for that, man," Fluff says. "It would have taken me twice as long if I'd had to do that myself." Yes, I think to myself. Yes, it would have.
Next, he wants to buy floor tiles. We drive to a large DIY store. I carry four boxes of tiles back to the car. They are each very heavy. I drag the boxes up three flights of stairs to his apartment while he takes a comfort break. I am sweating in a notably unattractive manner. "Thanks again," says Fluff. "Can I buy you some lunch?"