Learn English | A new lesson every week
Book your course now

Danny's Reading: Playstation

Average: 3.7 (15 votes)

This afternoon, I played a PlayStation game.

This, I know, is hardly the kind of groundbreaking news that will have journalists frantically bursting into busy newsrooms waving copy in the air and screaming 'Hold the front page!' but, you see, I'd never played on a PlayStation before. Not once. Not ever.

This afternoon, I played a PlayStation game for the first time in my life.

And no, I've never used an Xbox or a Nintendo Wii either.

This confession, I've found, is generally greeted with looks of amazement and incredulous comments such as 'You're kidding!' and 'Are you serious?' - the kind of reaction that I feel would be more appropriate to statements like 'I've never tasted water', or 'I'm a big fan of Justin Bieber'. To be honest, it's not a confession I make too often, because it tends to launch whoever I'm talking to into an overly enthusiastic and incredibly detailed explanation of whichever game they happen to be playing at that moment - an explanation that lasts until I make my excuses and walk away, feeling slightly dazed.

My knowledge of these games consoles and all the bits and pieces that come with them is so limited that I'm not even sure of the language that I should use to talk about them. Take my first sentence, for example - 'I played a PlayStation game'. It's not the way I wanted to start, but I'm not sure if you play ON a PlayStation, or WITH a PlayStation, or simply play PlayStation. For all I know, it's a verb now, and you just playstation a game.

Either way, I did whatever it is one does with a PlayStation this afternoon. And, just in case you were wondering - I've been told that this kind of thing is important to 'PlayStationers' – sorry, but no, I don't know whether it was a PSP, PS2, PS3 or just a PS. It belongs to my nephew, if that's any help.

The same goes for the game we played - or rather, the game I tried to play while my nephew tried not to wet himself laughing. It was, apparently, designed for people with twelve fingers, lightning reflexes, and superhuman multi-tasking abilities. On the screen, I was a pair of hands holding a machine gun. All I had to do was shoot a bunch of people who, I was told, deserved to be shot, while trying not to shoot another bunch of people who didn't deserve to be shot, and, more importantly, not get myself shot by the first bunch of people, who didn't take too kindly to me trying to shoot them, regardless of how badly they deserved it.

It didn't go too well. My first attempt was over in seconds, as my character 'died' in a hail of bullets before managing to fire a single shot. I was quite relieved not to be able to see the look on his face as he went down. Even the pair of hands somehow managed to look baffled as they dropped the gun.

"Don't worry", my nephew said. "Just start shooting straight away next time."

So I did. I went berserk over the controls, stabbing buttons at random like a concert pianist attempting heavy metal. The sound of gunshots filled the room. This went on for a while.

"Wow!" I heard my nephew say, eventually. "You actually managed not to hit anything. Oh, and you ran out of bullets five minutes ago."

The bad guys on the screen had come out of hiding, guns lowered, and were standing around staring at me with looks of disbelief on their faces.

"Never seen that happen before", said my nephew.

Video games weren't this complicated when I was a kid. I remember the first game I ever played was that 'tennis' game, which consisted of two white oblongs bouncing a white circle from one side of a black screen to the other. Players today would undoubtedly find this game excruciatingly and mind-numbingly boring, mainly because it was already excruciatingly and mind-numbingly boring five minutes after it was invented. But then came Space Invaders. I spent many happy childhood hours playing Space Invaders.

Space Invaders was cool.

The Invaders weren't exactly strategic geniuses when it came to attacking a planet - they all bunched together in one big, easy target, and they only seemed to have one laser gun between them, that only fired once before needing ten minutes to recharge - but that was okay because I wasn't really the last line of defence standing between the armies of evil aliens and the total destruction of planet Earth...I was an eight-year-old kid with a stick and a red button.

A few years after I had saved the planet a million times, Pacman appeared, dodging ghosts and eating power pills in a perpetual maze. Then came Wonderboy, then Street Fighter and Mortal Combat, and then I ran out of ten-cent coins and just stopped playing video games.

Until this afternoon.

We gave up on shooting people and tried a different game, during which I discovered that I'm just as bad, if not worse, at Playstation football as I am at real football. My nephew scored twenty-six goals. I scored one, when he left the room to go to the toilet, and even that took me three attempts.

We tried a driving game.

"You should be better at this", said my nephew, grinning wickedly, "because...you know...you drive in real life".

The driving game was a lot more successful than the shooting game...I hit everyone and everything in my path.

"You do know you're meant to avoid the obstacles, right?" said my nephew.

After that, we just gave up, and watched TV.

But now, at least, when people ask if I've ever...er...playstationed, I can say yes, of course I have. And then make my excuses and run away before the conversation gets any more technical.

So...does anyone out there have an Xbox or a Wii that I can come over and play on? Or with? It'll only take ten minutes...

By Danny

Danny is a teacher at EC Malta English school.