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S. S. Wilson discusses a video game with his M.I.S. (Moralizing Inner Self)


SSW: Hi, I’m Steve.

MIS: Hi, Steve.

SSW: I wanted to tell you about Plants vs Zombies. 

MIS: You’re an addict.

SSW: It’s this really great PC game from PopCap -- wait, what?

MIS: This is an intervention.

SSW: A what?

MIS: Don’t pretend you don’t know what an intervention is.  We’re here to make you see that you are a video game addict.

SSW:  “We?”  There’s only you.

MIS:  It’s a metaphorical “we.”  But that’s beside the point.  You play video games as a way to avoid writing, avoid chores, and possibly to avoid life itself.

SSW: That’s absurd.  All I’m saying is that Plants vs Zombies is an excellent game.  Very inventive.  I’ve played it all the way through probably ten times, studying its various delightful nuances.

MIS: Ten times?!  And you’re not addict?

SSW: It takes time to do justice to a good game, okay?  This one has like thirty levels, spot-on music, a funny boss battle, even a funny end-credit-roll video with a singing plant and dancing zombies!  And, by the way, I got it for only $9.95.  On special.

MIS: Getting a good price for your drug doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

SSW: I’m not an addict.

MIS: Defensive, aren’t we?

SSW: Oh, so now you’re going to say you don’t even care that there are almost fifty different plants with different powers, and like 25 different kinds of zombies (really funny ones) and you have to choose your plants really carefully to keep the zombies from breaking into your house?

MIS: You’re just making our case here.

SSW: You’re not even going to try it?

MIS: We don’t want to.  We know where that leads.  Just look at you.

SSW: Will you knock it off?  It’s not like all I do is play Plants vs Zombies.

MIS: Some days, Steve, it is.

SSW: Look, when I engage in something, I do it thoroughly.  I am not cursory.  You obviously are unaware that the game includes a ton of built-in mini-games that expand on the various zombie/plant powers.  Plus there are in-jokes -- like the Bejeweled mini game -- and Easter eggs -- like piñata zombies!  And growing my Tree of Wisdom to over 1000 feet required nurturing dozens of plants in my Zen Garden.

MIS: My God, what on earth is the Zen Garden? 

SSW: It’s where you take care of the plants you win during zombie attacks.  You water them, buy bug spray and plant food and so on.  When they’re fully grown, you can get money.  But you have to pay attention, because you don’t make as much as you’d think.  I’m not sure the bug spray ever really pays for itself.

MIS: The plants give you money?

SSW:  Don’t be stupid.  You sell them to Crazy Dave.  He gives you the money.

MIS:  Real money?

SSW: What are you, a child?  Of course not.  “Money” as in credits, okay?  Points to use in enhancing the game play.  Oh, and here’s a trick I discovered to get more money.  If you’re clever about adding marigolds to your plant defense layout, and use a gold magnet to grab the coins, the marigolds produce extra...

MIS: Making our case, Dude.

SSW:  Just listen.  With added marigolds I made over $5000 on one level.  I had so many coins popping up that the magnet couldn’t get them all!  Seriously.  Ooh, I should try it with two magnets next time.

MIS: I say again: Making our case.  This is starting to sound like Farmville.

SSW: It is NOT anything like Farmville!  I would never play Farmville.  That’s a social networking game.  THIS is a multi-leveled, imaginative, strategy-based tower defense game.

MIS: Which is your way of saying, “Not a total waste of time”?

SSW: Look, where’s the harm?  I’m just getting my money’s worth out of it.

MIS: Real money or zombie money?

SSW: You know what?  I’m not talking to you any more. 

MIS: Gotta get back to your precious PC?

SSW: Shut up.  I’m leaving.  Good bye.

SSW exits (mentally).

MIS: (to himself) This did not go well., pub-8117823763915578, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0