Last week C bought me an Xbox One as a present. Not as a birthday present (that’s on Halloween), not as a Christmas present (that’s in December) and not as an anniversary present (that’s…ahhh…well, we haven’t settled on a date for that yet) but just as a “it’s a Thursday and we are in Target” present.
I’m normally the opposite of nonplussed. Plussed? I don’t surprise very easily, is what I am saying. However, when C turned to the sales guy who she had asked exactly one question concerning the Xbox to and said, “okay, we’ll take one” I was nonplussed the fuck out.
“What?” I said, “Like, now? Really?”
“Yeah,” she said, very casually.
I half think she did it just to flummox me. It was extremely cool of her on several different levels.
It’s a fantastic piece of consumer electronics. It comes with a Kinect, which is basically a very fancy camera. It watches and tracks you, it can see in the dark and can individually recognize members of our family. If I am sitting on the couch and C walks in, it sees her and says “hello.” Literally, a message pops up on the screen saying “Hello C!” It’s a little creepy. You also can control it by hand gestures (which sort of works) and by voice commands (which works great). I can say “Xbox turn on” and it will. “Go to Netflix” will load up Netflix and we can make movies play, stop, pause, fast forward and rewind by telling it to do any of those things. T2 loves talking to it.
The only game we currently have for the console is called Assassins Creed: Black Flag. This is the fourth game in the Assassins Creed series, wherein you play the role of an assassin (duh) throughout history. The first couple took place during the middle ages and the third during the American Revolution. I couldn’t ever get into those. This one takes place during pirate-y times and it is awesome.
Two of my favorite games of all time are the Monkey Island series, a humorous take on pirates that the Pirates of the Caribbean movies more or less ripped of wholesale, and Sid Meier’s Pirates, which was a pirate simulator. Black Flag is basically an updated version of the latter game. I spend a lot of time piloting my ship around, attacking frigates and finding buried treasure.
T2 has decided he is my first mate.
He doesn’t play, he watches me play and back-seat pirates. Actually side-seat pirates, he sits right up against me on the couch, so close that it confuses the aforementioned camera. It has trouble distinguishing between the two of us as, I suspect, to it we look like some weird T2 and Patrick hybrid. He has picked out a guy on the boat and declared that character is him. The character he picked is a giant black guy with a shaved head and earrings. Honestly, it’s who I would have picked it I wasn’t stuck being the main character. Dude is cool.
T2 and I have a long history of being into pirate stuff. At one point, pre-move, I went out and bought a bunch of pirate gear (eye patches, hats, swords and flags) and arranged a treasure hunt that took place at a nearby park and my back yard. We were running around the neighborhood all decked out in costume, looking for maps and making a list of other pirates we wanted to defeat. The game is an extension of that, one that doesn’t require me to dig up sections of Cherokee Park. The discussions that take place as we play are, as I’m sure you can imagine, fairly amusing.
“Go get that ship! GET THAT SHIP!” T2 will yell and then, in an introspective tone, “ I’m bloodthirsty. It’s okay though that I am bloodthirsty because I am a pirate. Being blood thirsty is pretty much my job.”
“You need to go whaling,” he will say, suggesting a side mission where you have to harpoon humpbacks.
“Generally,” I said, “I’m against whaling. We even watch those shows where the Sea Shepard guys fight the whalers. I think I sent them money.”
“True,” he concedes, “but these aren’t real whales.”
“That’s valid,” I concede in turn. “Plus, whaling is perfectly acceptable during the time period of this game.”
“Also,” he points out, “we just killed like…100 people. In the game. So you aren’t really a good guy, exactly. Hellllloooo, pirate.”
“Would it make you happy if I went whaling?”
“Okay, whaling it is.”
So we do some whaling.
“Who just leaves these chests laying out?” he asks, referencing the fact that scattered through the islands are treasure chests we can loot. “I mean, I’m thankful. We need the gold. But people need to take better care of their stuff.”
He is always very concerned about the fate of the sailors on the ships we attack and board.
“Did you kill those guys?” he’ll yelp, “ They surrendered!”
“Not fast enough.”
“Okay well, we should take those other guys on as part of our crew. The guys you haven’t stabbed yet.”
“We can do that.”
When you are sailing around your crew sings shanties.
“This is my favorite part of being a pirate,” said T2. “The singing. These guys can really sing and the songs are cool. This song makes me want to go to Cuba.”
“I’d like to go to Cuba too,” I said. “But we can’t.”
“What? Why not? Just buy us a plane ticket!”
“We’re American,” I explain, “and because of a seriously out dated piece of foreign policy we aren’t allowed to travel to Cuba. On account of they are Communists.”
“What does that even mean?”
“Not much, anymore.
It’s a good time.
Occasionally one or the other of us will let out that old pirate standby, a hearty “arrrgh!” which is somewhat ironic because T2 has trouble saying his “r”s. He is sensitive about it.
The other day I walked in on T1 and T2 arguing.
“T1 is making fun of me!” said T2.
“I’m not,” said T1, “I’m trying to help you.”
“He was making fun because I have trouble with my r sounds! I can’t help it, it’s why I go to speech!”
“I wasn’t making fun of you,” T1 said. “You were having trouble saying (something, I forget exactly what) and I was trying to help you pronounce it. Really. Not making fun.”
“Besides,” I jumped in, “it’s nothing to get upset about. You have to go to speech. It’s not a big deal. Heck, so did I. When I was your age I sounded exactly like Elmer Fudd.”
This is true, but T2 wasn’t buying it. He looked at me and was suddenly older.
“You’re just saying that,” he said.
“I’m not,” I said, my heart breaking a little at the sadness in his statement. “I totally sounded like Elmer Fudd, I had to go to speech therapy for it. If you want, we can call my mom and she will confirm it.”
“I can completely imagine Patrick sounding like Elmer Fudd,” said T1.
“Okay then,” said T2. And then with a raised eyebrow, “Elmer Fudd?”
“Elmer Fudd,” I said.
Maybe while we are pirating we will avoid “arrggggh” and go with “avast” instead.