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Rational Animal avatar 8:45 AM on 03.30.2009  (server time)
Standing Up for Gaming (Warning: Misleading Title)

Some of my earliest memories as a child involve me standing in front of a 14" CRT television in my parents' bedroom, playing Nintendo until my thumbs could take no more abuse. I've chosen my words carefully in the preceding sentence. Despite the presence of both an awesome flip-chair and a leather beanbag chair in the room with me (both circa 1987 and, thus, truly radical), I was perpetually standing in front of that screen. You see, as a child, I had a complete and utter inability to play video games while sitting down. I have since outgrown the behavior, but I've never quite come to terms with why I did it in the first place. I don't know if I felt that it took me out of the action too much if I sat down, or if I just felt my seating options were not suitable, but what I do know is that it made for some memorable (read: awful) experiences.

As many of you will recall, during the early console era, the lack of a save game option in many titles was often overcome by a password-based level unlock. This led to countless hours of debate as to whether or not the barely legible character scribbled on the back of the manual or that nearby napkin was a numerical 0 or a capital O, but I digress. However, there were many titles that made no such effort to help you make it through to the end of the game by spreading things out over multiple sittings. These were the titles that required a dozen or more consecutive hours of gameplay to defeat.

While I could go on for hours about times when this combination of idiosyncratic behavior and mid 80's technology led to considerable pain in my developing joints, there was one game in particular that punished me like a Catholic nun for my quirky behavior. That game was Godzilla: Monster of Monsters for the NES.

First of all, the game was and is awful. Every stage on every level was nearly identical and there were about 50 million stages. It was unbearably repetitive and you were essentially forced to defeat every level twice: once as the awesome Godzilla and then once as the completely worthless Mothra. Your means of attack, particularly with Mothra, were laughable. Both characters were capable of a standard attack and a special attack, which had to periodically recharge. Just to give you a sense of how bad the game was, Mothra's special attack was to molt on her enemies (seriously). You flew directly over top of them and shed portions of your wings onto their heads.

Even Godzilla can not contain his laughter at Mothra's molting attack and the terrible level design.

Anyway, by my recollection, I spent roughly 14 hours or so, on my feet, defeating this game one Saturday as a kid. I recall being sore for several days thereafter. So why am I sharing this oddball anecdote? I have actually met more than one adult gamer who is still stricken by this compulsion to stand while playing, even in situations where comfy seating is readily available. While I outgrew it, I get the sense that this is actually a more widespread behavior than most people realize/acknowledge. Any Dtoiders out there who feel the need to stand up for gaming?

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