Well look at me trying to Monthly Muse it up. My P2Ö..hmmmm. Iíve had a few. Having played video games most of my life, I have found that the people I gamed with was just as important in creating a lasting memory than the game itself. With that thought in mind I am going to attempt to tell you about some of the people I have had the honor and pleasure of calling my P2.
Cut to 1997. I was a just another chubby angry teenager in a Weezer ringer tee. I didnít have a lot of friends and the few people I hung out with felt more like an obligation than a joy. Through circumstances befitting my waking world (a game of Star Wars Monopoly) I met this new group of people. They were nerdy and watched cheesy horror movies and played video games. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had found a home with these folks. I was nervous at first hanging out with them. I was coming into a group that had been established a few years ago and being the new guy is always awkward. Add in the fact that I am a naturally a nervous, quiet person and what you got was essentially the human equivalent of every episode of My So Called Life
with patchy facial hair and a cock. So Iím hanging out and making chit chat but every inclination in my head is to run far away and listen to a Smashing Pumpkins album and hide in my room. Then someone suggested we play GoldenEye. I would soon discover that I had found my first P2. My life would never be the same.
Golden Eye would give me a chance to express myself in a way that I just simply couldnít do in normal situations. Having a quiet dinner at the Macaroni Grill with close friends? You cannot yell out ďsuck my honkey assĒ. However, when playing power weapons on facility, behavior like that is a perfectly fine. These guys didnít think I was strange or see me as the angry, lame kid I knew I was. They saw me as a friend and confidant, as someone they could trust. A guy they could cry in front of and wouldnít get shit for it. They accepted me and embraced me for who I was and helped me to learn to embrace myself. And it all started with GoldenEye. Fourteen years and countless laughs, counted tears, one dolphin candle, a lot of beer, and a few thousand microwave pizzas later, I still know and love those guys with all my sequestered jury heart.
I started college in 1999. It was a great experience for me. Lots of interesting moments. Lots of new people. One of those people I met was Nathan. He was, and remains, one of the most crotchety and lovable individuals I have encountered and one of my favorite P2ís ever. He is strange and funny and a bit of an asshole. He is the guy in your group of video game nerd friends that will watch you play an rpg when no one else wants to. He also is a huge survival horror fan. Any survival horror game that came out, he bought and we would play together. Usually with a lot of beer and some adequate Chinese food. Some of my fondest gaming memories are of Nathan and I playing a game, taking turns and screaming at the tv as some zombie/demon/little girl thing jumped at us.
One of my favorite gaming moments ever was our first play through of Silent Hill 3. Having played Silent Hill 1 & 2 we both knew what to expect in terms of being terrified and we were craving it. Playing the game with the lights off, drinking shitty beer and yelping at points was lovely and fun. However, nothing could prepare us for the Mirror Room
. If you are unfamiliar with this moment in Silent Hill 3 then I implore you to play the game and experience the beauty. Iíll try not to spoil anything beyond the idea that it was and remains fucking terrifying
. There was a small group, five or so of us watching Nathan play when we found the Mirror Room. Nathan entered it with a vague feeling of unease which, to be fair, had been with us for the entire game. Gradually it grew into a throbbing ball of tension in our hearts and minds the longer we stayed in the room. Like that moment you walk into your house and thereís a clown standing in your kitchen and heís got your fatherís eyes. You know something is fundamentally wrong
The Mirror Room ended that night of gaming for us. After we all stopped screaming and I climbed down from the top of the couch, we decided that we should play something else. Though the terror passed after a few cigarettes, I will never forget that moment. It was brilliant, not only for the fact that it scared us all but also that I was able to experience it with Nathan, who embraced the joy of being afraid with me and helped further cement our love of video games. Nathan would go one to become a programmer for a video game company while I would place the crystal shard back into the Dark Crystal and free the land from the tyranny of the skeksis.
Cut to post college life circa 2004. I was working at a large chain bookstore and basically killing time till I figured out what I wanted to do with myself. I also happened to be dating this girl. I was crazy for her. She was a nerdy tomboy and we spent a lot of time together playing video games and talking shit. We would often play Crystal Chronicles on the Gamecube and Halo and drink all night after getting off work. It was loads of fun and I donít think I ever loved her more than when she would take a long pull off a beer and sweetly tell me to suck her dick after killing me in a game. She was the first girl I ever loved and the P2 that taught me how the love of video games and the love you can have for another person can go hand in hand. Things eventually ended between us but I am grateful for the moments and lessons she and all my other P2ís have taught me over the years. Gaming is a lot of fun but itís the people you meet and connections you make related to gaming that elevates it to something amazing. I wouldn't be half the gamer, hell, half the man I am today if it weren't for the P2's in my life, past and present. For that, I am eternally grateful.