That’s how I feel these days. Initially because a gaping hole opened in the ceiling of my apartment and it flooded, twice, and I had to move back in with my parents. But now mostly because my kid brother keeps punching me in the back of the head.
I’ve tried to culture the lad by downloading a classic to his Wii every time I see him, but we’ve already gone through Mario, Balloon Fight, Sky Kid, Wrecking Crew, and Bubble Bobble, so it’s getting harder to find something 2-player that’s both edifying and age-appropriate.
My spirits lifted a bit when he asked if we could “get a shooter,” as apparently one of his friends’ dads has a Galaga cabinet. So I thought we’d grow some roots on him with a go at Space Harrier. I remember how awesome this revolutionary 3D shooter used to feel on my Sega Master System, but it hasn’t really held up so well. Kid Brother was un-moved by the graphics and frustrated at how the lack of decent perspective never shows how close the incoming bullets are. On the other hand, the resulting death wail from running Harrier Guy into a tree kept him entertained for a whole three minutes.
So we tried Forgotten Worlds. Doomeru and I got this Genesis game some Christmas past and it collected dust until we discovered that its impossible 1-life-and-1-life-only single player mode was balanced with an infinite continue 2-player mode (so long as you don’t die at the same time…). The automatic fire mode (turn it on and it literally never stops firing) gave me an automatic migraine, but Kid Brother observed that every time one of your muscle-bound flying freaks got hurt “it sounds like they're farting,” so we had a good time with that for a bit.
Last try for a shooter was Mega Man, which I described to Kid Brother’s glee as “Like Mario except you get a gun. Lots of guns.” But jesus christ fuck that game was hard, and I fear years from now the boy will be talking about those creepy flying drones in therapy.
Thus River City Ransom. It’s beyond question classic, 2-player cooperative, requires resource management, and if the kid asked me why there were no guns I could point and say “look, that dude just said BARF!”
It’s been difficult convincing him that instead of joining me in face-to-face fisticuffs with some Squid he should sneak up from behind and bash them with a pipe, but I chalk that up to development of his group work skills. On the other hand, as testament to his above average quantitative proficiency, he’s very quickly grasped the concept of us killing each other before entering a boss screen to maximize our health, and converting cash into more stable investments such as pharmaceuticals and cheeseburgers.
The shopping process itself has raised great discussion points as well, such as when Kid Brother didn’t have enough money to buy a bottle of Recharge™, he skeptically objected to purchasing a cheaper item, saying, “why would taking something called ‘Date Saver’ increase your stamina and willpower?”
Unfortunately, because he didn’t let me do the talking like we’d previously agreed, I haven’t been able to convince his mom that this game is age-appropriate. When she asked what it was about, Kid Brother summed it up like so:
“Well, I think we’re trying to rescue my girlfriend, but mostly we beat people up for money to buy drugs. It’s fun.”