Red Alert

I am not a huge video game fan, but there are some games I definitely enjoy. Probably some version of golf is my favourite. There is a lot of strategy involved, as opposed to hand-eye coordination, so the playing field is pretty level for an old guy like me. The absence of gratuitous violence, pneumatic sex slaves and buckets of blood, gore and mayhem helps maintain my attention span as well and the graphics get better every iteration. When I was younger I enjoyed problem-solving games like the Legend of Zelda and Myst, though anymore I just don’t have the time to invest in such a lengthy puzzle. I did used to enjoy Frogger, back in the day, and I think I still hold the family record in Asteroids, whatever that is worth.

Red Alert is an older game that eschews blood for strategy, and there is plenty of that to keep one occupied. Or two, for that matter, since like Risk, it is much better to form alliances and take on a common enemy that fight alone against all comers. Last year as our grandson turned seven, his Dad and our other son in Calgary played an online version with limited success. Limited by my ignorance, largely. I had trouble just getting things built, let alone deployed. It was pretty much a rout as Dave had to bail my sorry ass out on too many occasions to be able to fend off his brother as well.

This year Ben is about to turn eight, and his strategy skills have improved. However, this year I acquitted myself a little more honourably as well and between Dave and I were able to win best two out of three against the Yanks in Seattle. First taste of victory for the old man, and although I had the least number of “kills” I’d like to think that my defenses were strong enough to have least slowed down the attack enough for David to rally and win.

My life doesn’t allow for much leisure, so this was an added treat to my holiday down time. Dave and I had a back channel open through Skype to talk strategy, which was only fair, given that our grandson and his Dad can play sitting beside each other and it was very nice to visit with him as the game progressed. In fact, the whole thing was very enjoyable and I am looking forward to this becoming a Christmas tradition. Now if we could just get an online golf game going I might have an outside chance of winning!

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