Apparently my brain is stuck on relationship-related gaming musings. Today's brought to you by a Katy Perry song that's stuck in my head. I have a love/hate relationship with pop music. It just gets in there, I can't help it, and then... then... bah! Not very warlockerly, I know.
On the opposite end of the things-that-stick-in-my-head spectrum is a gaming phenomenon. Tell me if you've ever had this one. It could just be me.
Freshman year of college (almost ten years ago now, holy cow), I had a random-draw roommate. You never know what you're going to get, right? In this case, the guy was pretty cool. I'm a strange hybrid of athletic and nerdy. I love sports and playing sports, always have. And I'm pretty decent at just about any of them in a casual way. Similarly, I've always loved gaming and can sit down to a new game and not be completely awful. I span several worlds, I guess you could say. (Oddly enough, the dichotomy worked against me in most circles as far as acceptance went. To the jocks, I was a nerd. The nerds, I was a jock.)
Random Roomie was completely vested in the burgeoning nerd culture. Yes, this was back before nerds were "cool." He had a tricked-out Alienware laptop that I was insanely jealous of. We shared a passion for the X-files. And more than once I asked him what game he was playing so that I could give it a try.
Back then, I was more of a FPS player than I am now. Halo parties were The Thing, especially when you have 8 floors of dudes in a wing and can run Ethernet cords all over creation. Random Roomie was more into Tactical Fleet Simulations (TFS, a term I didn't know existed until recently). He also wasn't big on the social component of, well, anything. Apart from our nightly X-files marathon sessions, we didn't really hang out. Yet, I would hesitantly call us friends. We certainly got along better than a lot of other roommates.
One of my most vivid memories was of a TFS-like game he was playing one time. I walked in from a Halo session, perhaps after a few bevvies, and saw a whole bunch of really cool looking spaceships on his screen. He was launching some mini-probes and there were lasers, and it looked epic. I watched for a bit before asking him what game he was playing. The answer has since been lost in the sands of time.
Keep in mind, this was before things like Steam and easily downloadable games. Generally, if we wanted a game, we went to the local Best Buy or GameStop or whatever and plunked down $50. As a college student, that's a lot of beer. I mean, money. So, the game got relegated to my "sometime when I have money" list in my brain, where it was promptly drowned by copious amount of alcohol, I'm sure.
Ten years later, I found myself having a sudden craving to FIND THAT GAME. I don't know what it was. A boring Sunday, time on my hands, money no longer the biggest issue in my gaming life... I wanted to play THAT game. Not a similar game, but that one.
So I spent probably 4-8 hours (I lost track of time) wandering the Interwebs, looking for a screenshot to match my memory. I learned what a TFS is. I spent $20 on a Steam game that I played for all of 5 minutes before realizing that it was not the one (it looked similar). The best search term I had to go on was "like Civilization, but in space with cool lasers." I researched the history of 4X, turn-based games. I found a myriad of top ten lists in both genres... but it was all for naught. True Blood came on at 9pm and that effectively ended my search.
This isn't the first time the desire to find the mystery game has struck me. Random Roomie and I have lost touch over the years, but I suppose I could shoot him a Facebook message. "Hey, remember me? How are things? Listen, do you remember that cool spaceship game you were playing that one time? I don't know, I think it was a Tuesday. It had lasers. And celestial bodies. Whaddya mean that doesn't really narrow it down?"
Okay, so I don't really want to go that route. Where's the fun in that? Plus, it seems fruitless and awkward, and I try to avoid fruitless and awkward whenever possible. Instead, I'd rather whittle away countless hours hoping to luck upon it through the wonders of Google. Excuses, excuses.
And before you ask... no, I don't really know any more than this. I know, I can't even describe the screenshot adequately. If I could remember like a faction name or a symbol on the side of the ship, one of you could probably name the game in a heartbeat. But I can't. And the memory only gets fuzzier with each passing year.
Do you have a game that "got away?" Were you able to find it years later? Did it even live up to your rose-colored expectations? (I have a sinking suspicion that even if I found this game it would turn out to suck.)
Maybe in another life, I'd download right away, so I don't have to say you were the one that got away. The one that got away.
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