The birthday thing worked pretty well last year, so I tried it again this year. Again I invited six title="01/12/2008">friends: Harel, Avri, Eliav, Nati, Moshe and Tamir. I didn't bother inviting my family this time; I like to think I've learned from some of my mistakes.
My actual birthday, 21 February, was Shabbat. I went over to the Feldmans to ask Tamir what he thought of the first episode of Joss Whedon's new show Dollhouse (I thought it was fascinating.) and tell him how Alias ended. I always talk to him about Alias because I know nobody cares and Tamir's the only person I know with such a quiet personality that he'd never tell me he's not interested. But it didn't matter- Tamir wasn't home. So I played a variant of Monopoly we made up (called Moneyloopy) together with Eliav and Coren and a girl who was staying by them. It was fun. Oh, and first I talked to Harel. I don't remember what we talked about, though I probably enjoyed the conversation at the time. Most likely something involving comics or computers or science-fiction TV shows. I asked him whether Monday might be a good day for him to come over, and he said it would. Then I went to Avri's house to wait for Eli and Coren to get back from Aviv, and there were a bunch of guys over at Avri's house playing Tigris & Euphrates, so I watched their game. It went in some wacky directions. Anyway, I told both Avri and Eli to come on Monday, and they both said they would. During the day I went over to Nati's house and we talked about Fight Club, because I'd just watched that for the first time, and I told him to come on Monday and he said he would. On Sunday I called Moshe to let him know about the next day and see if he was free (He said he was.), and talked with Tamir to tell him to come and while I was at it briefly ask him about Dollhouse and tell him my personal hunch about where it's going. (I think Caroline was trying to bring down the Dollhouse from the inside.)
I bought Tetris Party for WiiWare. 12 bucks, which is awfully expensive for such a small game, but I figured four-player Tetris would be fun. Then I went to a neighbor's to borrow a Wii remote, because I only have three. And I cleaned up the room a little, so there'd be somewhere to sit.
On Tuesday I woke up at 12:00, had lunch (I didn't want to have to eat while there were people there, so I didn't wait until 2:00 or 3:00 like I usually do.), and started messing around on the piano to pass the time. No one knocked on the door, so I started playing Tetris over the internet. I played for around an hour, I think. I browsed the web, noticed some people had finally played my game (Yay!), and seemed to be enjoying it, went back to the piano, played a little Art Style: Rotohex on Sprint mode, and kept waiting. Finally I sent an instant message to Eliav, who said he'd just gotten home from somewhere or other but would be over soon. I told him to bring a Game Boy or two if he could, so that we could play Four Swords Adventures. He came over a little later (around 3:00) with an old GBA, we picked a random level and we were off. Four Swords Adventures is so much fun, though of course it's better with three players.
Tamir came over maybe 45 minutes in. He watched us playing, then (when I won the level) I handed over my GBA SP so that he could play a level with Eli. They played one of the first levels of the game, so that Tamir wouldn't be in too far over his head. I think we all enjoyed it, though I'm not sure Tamir got past his initial awkwardness with the controls. (He insists a keyboard and mouse is the best input for a game, which is of course ridiculous!) I think it's best played regularly, from start to finish. Then we played a little three-player Tetris, which neither of them were particularly interested in so we left quickly. (I didn't understand that we could play without a computer player, which made it much more awkward than it should have been.) With Eli's permission, I played a two-player game of Rotohex with Tamir, which we completed. And then Eli wanted to wait and watch the credits before moving on, which I don't think Tamir particularly cared for. They are really cool, though. Then a little Maboshi's Arcade, and finally three games of Pac-Man Vs., which Tamir particularly enjoyed. Actually, we all enjoyed that. Tamir commented that whoever designed it was a genius, which of course he is. (That person being Miyamoto.) And then Tamir left, off to study for some tests. Eli was sticking around, so we played a little Super Mario Galaxy, and I think I pushed him to bite off more than he could chew by jumping to the really challenging levels. Sure, they're the most fun levels in the game. But if you don't make it through, they're frustrating. Eli got a Game Over (What an antiquated notion!) and we switched games. I suggested Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat, which it didn't occur to me until a little later was from the same exact team and following very similar design principles. And once again I got him into one of the hardest levels of the game, not remembering that the second half of the level was a bit tedious compared with the brilliant first half. Eli got a Game Over (which doesn't come easily in DK!) and left with the Alias discs.
So I waited around for a few hours. I quickly gobbled down some supper, so that I wouldn't be in the middle of eating when whoever came came. I was sure Harel would knock on the door any minute, or Nati, or Avri, or Moshe. Okay, well maybe not Moshe. You can't rely on him for anything. Anyway, I waited around, improvising on the piano and whatnot. Eventually I started a game of Art Style: Orbient from the beginning, and got as far as around level 18 or thereabouts (having amassed around 60 lives, the silly things) before shutting it off. I waited for a long time, and then Avri came a-knocking.
He'd expressed an interest in World of Goo (Check the comments to the last real post.), so at once I showed him one of the cleverest bits of humor in the game. He explained that he'd already played through the PC demo of the game, so he knew all the basics quite well. But he didn't know that gag, and it was a really good gag, so I showed it to him. He got a bit antsy at the cutscene at the end, but otherwise he enjoyed it. Anyway, then we played Tetris. And it turns out he loves Tetris. We played it over and over and over, each time we finished jumping right back in for a rematch. He was really out of practice, having not played multiplayer Tetris in probably a decade or so, but he kept getting better until eventually he started putting up a good fight. Then I showed him (for his amusement and/or disbelief) some of the silly minigames included in the game. And then we switched to Maboshi's Arcade, which I don't really understand too well yet from a gamistic perspective but wanted him to see because it's just so darned weird. I think that's when we called it a night.
We went out and talked about the comics I'd been lending him, and then he went home.
I went back on the web and saw that a few more people had played my game, and were speaking very positively of it. Oh, and that's in addition to Deirdra Kiai, who on 21 February said it "spoke to her", and it was exciting to hear from her because I'd thought she might understand where I was coming from. But there were other people, on the two other forums I posted it on, both reactions positive.
Don't you care what I think?
You're imaginary. So not really, no.
Fine, then I won't tell you.
Okay. So anyway, that brings the count of people who've played my game through and actually enjoyed it to at least eight. And sure, it took a while. But y'know. I wanted to engage people, I did that. It could have engaged more people quicker, but what really matters is that it worked.
Anyway, I've gotten into a whole big huge digression here. I was talking about my birthday celebration. 3 out of 6 people came. I figure Nati forgot, Harel was busy and Moshe was oblivious to the world's existence. Which is fine, I guess. I can't speak for everyone who was there, but I think we had fun.