the resigned gamer, everything I hate about the thing I love the most

Plants vs. Zombies: style vs. substance

Posted by Sir Cucumber at 8:04 AM on Monday, December 14, 2009

plants vs. zombies, pogo zombie, resigned gamerYou won't hear me say this often- in fact you've never heard me say this: It's not what you say, but how you say it. Not what you do, but how you do it.

You won't hear me say this cliche again, because I resent everything it implies. I resent the idea that truth could matter less than presentation, or that the facts could have less bearing on a situation than the audience they're presented to. I resent that I should have to check for wrinkles before checking my work, or give someone whose already wasting my time another five seconds of it so that I might focus myself on telling them to fuck off without displaying emotion.

But mostly I resent it because it's true.

Any smart gamer is wary of titles that tout gimmicks or graphics, because these things are so often substituted for actual gameplay. Take Breakdown, or Mirror's Edge, for instance. But in Plants vs. Zombies, the presentation is so top notch that anything lacking in gameplay, namely difficulty, is easily overlooked.

plants vs. zombies, squash, resigned gamerIt won't matter that no new plants you get will be better than a chomper, or that new zombies keep falling for old strategies- you'll just want to see what they come up with next.

Perhaps it says more about Resident Evil 5 than it does about Plants vs. Zombies, but I was playing the former before Doomeru gave me the latter, and I haven't picked it up again since. Poor Sheva has had no one to waste my herbs on for weeks.

An "executive coach" has been scolding me for explaining the stupidity of my corporate co-workers to them for the last two months, and someone I admire very much has told me many times that "no one hears you when you scream," but it took the casual infectiousness of Plants vs. Zombies for the lesson to take root.

When, over the Thanksgiving holiday, some middle management hack tried to make his problems mine, and in turn a lot of other people who didn't need his shit, my previous reaction would have been to run across the hall and gnaw his brains out.

Instead, I went home and wrote plants vs. zombies, balloon zombie, resigned gamera three-page memo that calmly let the facts speak for themselves. The facts have always been on my side, but it didn't matter until I put bullet points next to them, and erased the expletives.

Anyway, life is just as fucked up as ever, but this game has helped me feel a little bit more in-control. It's also extra gratifying to be playing it on my work computer. Score one for personal growth and casual gaming.

Until next week, my fellow zombies.

plants vs. zombies, resigned gamer, sir cucumber
- Zombie Cucumber

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