I recently recovered from an addiction. Or, if you subscribe to some counseling model, I’m still recovering. Whatever. But I’m talking about an addiction of a most serious kind. It’s a sinister addiction, the mere thought of which afflicts mothers of male college students with recurring nightmares. I’m talking about video games, and Wii bowling was my drug of choice.
As a warning to those of you thinking of trying it, consider the destruction that a one-time use can cause. Let me share the story of my gateway experience.
Half-heartedly attempting to escape the suburban bore my home presented to me during Thanksgiving break, I strolled out my back door one evening the same way I had begun so many plain evenings of my youth. Crossing my backyard, I traced the same tree branch-dodging, fence-hopping path I’ve known since I was seven, arriving at the house of my dearest friend Max for a night of talk, TV, video games and snacking on whatever his mom had bought at Costco that week. I was hoping for chips and guacamole. But soon, none of that would matter.
As I planted myself on the couch in Max’s family room, I found the familiar, obsolete gaming consoles of my adolescence had been replaced with the petite and unassuming – yet supposedly unimaginably awesome – Nintendo Wii. When it comes to video games, I’m bordering on a Luddite, endlessly preferring a game of Ken Griffey, Jr. Baseball on my Nintendo 64 to whatever flavor-of-the-week game you’re playing on your newfangled machine. So I had yet to donate an instant of my precious time to this impure system.
But I’m no chicken, so when I was offered a game of bowling on Wii Sports with my other friends watching, I placed that fat white magic wand in my hand and prepared to put my virgin skills to the test. No instructions for me, thank you. Of course, my first few rolls were pretty amateur: no strikes, no spares. I decided to swallow my pride and at least examine Max’s technique: big backswing, explosive surge forward, abrupt snap of the wrist. I understood. I was ready.
I set my feet, took a sizeable backswing, thrust the controller forward and . oh shit. Before my brain could process what was occurring, the controller was ripped from my hand on inadvertent contact with a chair, careened off the coffee table and struck the top corner of the family’s brand new bigger-than-yours plasma screen TV. As the controller came to rest on the carpet, a big, black bullet hole-style shatter wound appeared on the corner of the screen; a hideous spider web permanently imbedded in the picture like the freeze frame of the moment seared onto my retina.
Absolutely humiliated, I retreated to the couch, hung my head in shame and resigned to never touch a Wii again.
My insides were wrought with pain. I was in utter agony, and I needed a way out. And I immediately found it: another game of Wii bowling. The only emotional experience more powerful than the pain of quitting a game of Wii bowling is beginning a new one. All the shame and destruction of my first time was erased from my mind and body by the euphoria of trying it again. I didn’t care whose TV was broken in my wake; I was hooked.
And on it went for months. I need not bore you with the details of my full-fledged addiction, but let’s just say Wii took priority over life’s more important things. Like studying.
Now that I’m finally clean, I hope others can learn from my experience. If you’re ever caught up in Wii like I was, an experience I would wish upon no one, I leave you with one more piece of advice: If you’re ready to kick the habit, there’s no better remedy than bowling a 300. It worked for me. Oh, and the 7-10 split pickup didn’t hurt either.