This holiday weekend, many people I know were gathered in cozy settings with friends and family, surrounded by the warmth and traditions of the season. Lounging around opened boxes and tattered gift wrap, cups of hot chocolate in hands, these people reminisced about holidays past. Elder eyes rimed with the crowsfeet of limitless merriment grinned onward as the youngest of generations exclaimed gleefully at the magic of the happy moment. All wonderful, homey and warm-fuzzly.

But I hit rank C in the Monster Arena.

One of the benefits of spending Christmas with like-minded people, is you can enjoy the season however you prefer. Turkey? Nope! Steak my friend – medium rare, just how I like it. Christmas carols and ancient Charlie Brown cartoon specials? Uh, no – 40 Year Old Virgin and all the blooper reels.

Waiting until Sunday to open gifts? Pffft. Yeah, I want to not be able to play with all the new toys until next weekend – suure. We opened gifts at 9pm Thursday night at my place. Good thing too – for among my holiday loot was a PS2, and the much-longed-for DragonQuest 8 (Hereafter known as the crack). Hey, just because I have videogame A.D.D., doesn’t mean the occasional title won’t turn me into a drooling zombie for several days, as synapses atrophy and unblicking eyes begin to crust over. After all, ’tis the season!

It was worth the wait too. I played DragonWarrior I-IV, skipped out on the next games that jumped systems and names, until DragonWarrior VII – which I found irritating, and only clocked 15 hours on. Then I just waited for DragonQuest(Warrior)8. And waited. When it finally arrived, I still didn’t have a PS2. Luckily, Santa came through (thanks dear), and a PS2 was sitting under the tree.

So, while everyone else was tripping on tryptophan and getting embarassingly drunk on spiked eggnog, I slogged through my new game. And slog I did. Three days, 40 hours, 26 levels. I don’t play console games very often at all, so my right forearm is aching like I did 6000 curls this weekend. Worth it though – the game rocks hard. Good enough to dredge up memories of marching around Alefgard looking for Edrick’s stolen goods. Those were the days. Remember when the NES got reset after an 8 hour session of no saving? Remember almost going to jail for the ensuing rampage?

Ahh, the memories.

Anyway, if you have fond holiday memories that include metal babbles, people named Ragnar and the joy of Explodet – then pick up DQ8. It’s totally awesome.

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