This past Friday, I unwittingly agreed to help a friend move out of her apartment. I told her she could move the supposedly limited amount of hair products and lipstick bottles (or whatever girls keep in their apartments) into my place for the weekend before she moved to her new place down the street. I showed up at 9pm to start the process, one I expected to take no more than an hour, and quickly realized how out-of-shape I've become by refusing to walk within a 5 mile radius of a gym for what feels like a decade.
Needless to say, the last box was loaded into my (totally inappropriate for a big moving job) car at around midnight. My legs felt wobbly and I could hardly lift my iPhone to tweet-complain about what a rough night I'd had. Boohoo.
I was frustrated, to say the least. I did not know, nor was I prepared for, exerting my frail body on a Friday night. Especially for someone whom I have no permanent attachment to, friends or otherwise. As I lay down in bed, utterly exhausted from a, God forbid, full day's work!, I saw the little Space Invader idling on my homescreen with headphones on. He looked a hell of a lot more content than I did.
I had yet to spend any time with the app, and had honestly not spent much time with any video games for the month of July. My uncle has been playing video games consistently for around 30 years, referring to his casual addiction as a method of stress relief. He is a radiologist and therefore stays on call for many nights of the week. Gaming keeps him sane as he waits patiently for a patient's scan to show up on his home computer. Although I enjoy gaming as well, there are very few occasions in which I won't yell at the television at least once in a session.
On Friday night, Groove Coaster soothed me. The fast-paced, no-risk gameplay coupled with some of the most inventive and eye-watering graphical effects (on account of me not blinking, in case that didn't come across clearly) served my needs more succinctly than I could possibly hoped for. As an individual who loves a good bout of complaining (see: above), I had nothing swirling around in my angry cranium but smiles and electronica.
Rhythm games have always fascinated me. They are not made for me, but I cannot stop myself from sampling each and every one. That glimmer of hope remained that one will grab me in the way Parappa the Rapper, Space Channel 5, or Rez did for so many gamers a generation or two ago. It must have been a mixture of my exhaustion, my desperation for escape, and the roller coaster-aesthetic of Reisuke Ishida's newest experience, but I was enraptured. Every missed beat was a lesson learned, every freshly unlocked, silly avatar was a fist pump-worthy reward.
Groove Coaster managed to exponentially lower my irritation meter to a much more manageable level on a rather rotten night. I would normally insert some kind of awful, awful roller coaster analogy at this point in the article, but I wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone who actually managed to stick it out…through the high points and the low ones alike (I'm so sorry).