Not so much Best Buy, no.
I'd been meaning to get Mom a gaming keyboard, since the wireless set she has now is a.) old, and b.) keeps slowing randomly and slowing her hunt for--some thing. I have no idea what. She's started working in groups with other players in Guild Wars, and apparently, the response time is really bad, though she was sure she was just old and therefore on a slow and inevitable decline toward senility or something. I stared at her blankly and remembered this is the woman who has conquered every Zelda game ever and checked her keyboard and mouse. They both worked okay, but sticky keys and basic wear and tear on a wireless desktop; I figured in any case, it was time for a replacement and to, you know, kind of psych her into thinking it was the keyboard and not her. So I said, with thoughtful, considered tones, "You need a gaming keyboard. That's the problem." She looked at me with a kind of vaguely cynical hope. But this is me; I made her a Guild Wars junkie. I am totally that kind of manipulative daughter.
Actually, she needs a better system period, but a good gaming system is hideously expensive and will have to wait for either a.) my next raise, b.) a miracle or c.) me unexpectedly marrying into money.
So Saturday morning we went to Best Buy, where I went looking for a new keyboard and mouse. But there is a second, darker side to this tale of daughterly fidelity; I was looking for a Nintendo DS.
Okay, the thing is, the Wii thing is pissing me off. I won't buy used, because--I think there was some idealogical reason, but whatever--and I cannot find it anywhere. They get like, a shipment and it's gone three hours later! And so I stare bitterly at online shopping and wonder if Nintendo is infusing them with like, the souls of the dead or something, because oh my God, they cannot be that slow to build them. So the last time I walked out of a store Wii-less, I swore to the heavens that they had better start killing more souls right quick or my ass was going Playstation 3. Do you hear me, Nintendo? Playstation 3!!! And X-Box 360! AND ANYONE BUT YOU.
I felt like such a traitor.
Anyway, the rest of the story: while at the hospital when I couldn't hold Niece II, I played with their Nintendo DS and fell utterly in love. So did, in fact, my mother and my son. Touchscreen! Things! I got Child a Gameboy a couple of years ago, but it wasn't like this; this was magic. It had this brain age thingie that was almost hysterically addictive, and I had a bad moment of remembering Tetris and my slow decline during that period of my life and then had another bad moment of realizing the kind of parent I actually had become. The kind who uses her Child to buy cool electronic toys! And I found it good. So then and there, I said "I want this" and my mother looked up and said, "Let's stop on the way home."
Well, we didn't, as I am trying to be fiscally responsible, but by Saturday, both of us were panting for it, wanting the touch-screen to discover our brain age, play pacman with a delightful sense of nostalgia, get that damn Zelda game and ooh, Mario, the first love of my young life. So with the new keyboard and mouse stashed under one arm, we searched the store, and then braced ourselves and asked the clerk, nicely, "Where are the Nintendo DS?"
There were none, and that is like, the fastest way in history to make me want something enough to stare them down until they stumbled out the next delivery date.
Today, we trekked back, clutching our tattered dignity and beelined for the display, snatching one up like it would be pulled away (Wii scarred me), then browsing games. Brain thing and pac-man, with Zelda up next month. We have a schedule.
It's just so lowering. Also grabbed the two Bourne sequels, because I was on boycott for DVDs when Ultimatum came out and a new DVD for Niece I so she'd feel that not everything was about Niece II's awesome babyness.
As we were leaving, my mother, son, and Niece I stopped to play with the Rock Band special edition, and all of them turned huge, hopeful eyes at me while I began to panic, because a.) God that looked cool and b.) oh my God that looks so cool! And secret c.) Oh God, I want to have a concert in my living room! And then we left, in physical pain, and here is my ultimatum to Wii.
Get. A. Wii. In. A. Store. Or Come April first, I am not only getting X Box 360, I am getting that rock band thing. And Halo 3. I have no idea what it is or how to play it, but I am in that place where I will not only learn, I will become obsessed and buy all the stupid shit that goes with it. This is not negotiable.
The DS is pretty cool, though. I forgot how much I love hand helds.
So the Keyboard:
We ended up with a Razor Tarantula keyboard and DeathAdder mouse. And--okay, I can sound like an infomercial and say, Jesus. That's good stuff. And mean it.
The new keyboard and mouse are showing a definite and really, really noticeable difference in response time and speed. I'd expected a small improvement due to being new (the wireless desktop is a couple of years old and the keys do sometimes stick) and a psychological edge (my mother is open to suggestion if I'm very careful how firm my voice is), but it's like a 500% improvement and her killrate (capture rate? I have no idea. I think they hunt and kill things?) on the thingies is huge. Enough that she called me into the room, launched into a horrifying spate of gamespeech (I was a fool and set her up with the Guild Wars forums and urbandictionary.com; let's say that l33t is knocking at her door and she's this close to welcoming it with open arms) that I finally translated to: "OMG AWESOME."
I can't be sure it's not the newness, but I never noticed a particularly bad response time on the keyboard when using it in general and nor did she, just her gaming was slower than she liked. Now granted, this is the difference between using Microsoft Word and playing a game, but huh, so it's not just a neat new way to make money. It also glows blue and is programmable, which will tempt her into new and startling feats of definitely-not-senility.
Currently she is kicking the ass of some eighteen year old chippie at something or other, "She's kind of slow," Mom says, bewildered. "It's not that hard to do :::insert gamespeech here:::". I watched her play for a bit and nodded thoughtfully.
Still have no clue what she's doing, though it involves gate monkeys (I don't even know what the hell) and experience points. But she's having fun.
I really want to try her at World of Warcraft next. For no other reason than she has a viciously competitive streak and the first time someone annoys her, she'll suddenly snap into this terrifying killer of souls and it's just hysterical.
And that was my day.