Sunday, October 26, 2014

Edge Of Tomorrow

It took me about a decade to earn my first degree from Marshall University. There were some legitimate reasons for the delay: I changed my major three times in the first four years, and took a semester off here and there to work. With hindsight, however, it's clear there was  one primary reason for my slacker behavior:

The video game arcade housed in the university Student Center.

It will make little sense to Millennials, but in the mid-1980s one had to travel to an arcade (while carrying a pocket full of quarters) to play one's favorite video game. The university arcade had all the games: Pac-Man, Tron, Donkey Kong, pin-ball machines, foosball. Whatever your taste, it was there for a quarter.

And I spent my quarters on Commando.

Super Joe, the soldier who kicks ass and takes names in the world of Commando, gets airdropped into the jungle and has to shoot and grenade his way past enemy soldiers to complete his mission. Commando progressed through increasingly difficult levels. Players became experts at Commando by playing it over and over again, learning from each failure to advance another level.

The formula was always the same: Drop a quarter, get shot and lose a Super Joe, remember the pattern of the enemy specific to that level and space, drop another quarter and don't make the same mistake again.

I spent a lotta time as Super Joe. I recall once skipping a History final exam so that I could keep riding the great game I was having. (Like I said, I wasn't the most dedicated of students.)

Edge Of Tomorrow reminded me of those days as an undergraduate, plopping in quarter after quarter for a new Super Joe. Major William Cage, the character played by Tom Cruise, lives the last 48 hours of his life hundreds of times as he tries to save the planet from an alien invasion. Learning from each experience, Cage lives, dies, and repeats until he finally gets it right. The flick was surprisingly fun to watch. Dramatic and complete with appropriate moments of humor, Edge Of Tomorrow kept my attention and had me craving more.

I'm just thankful I didn't have to miss a History final exam to watch it.

1 comment:

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