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November 27, 2011 / jwaxo

Mario Party (Other Injuries)

My palms are hurting just thinking about it.

A long, long time ago, I made my fourth real post. It was about how video games helped me get through some hard times with injuries. You can take a look now, if you want. I’ll wait. The moral of the story was this: if you want to take your mind off of something painful, do something that you love, that hopefully doesn’t use the hurting part itself.

The problem is, this doesn’t work for all injuries. As noted at the very end of the blog, I refused to draw a picture of a certain horrible injury that I got from playing video games.

That is what this post is about. Sometimes, you end up hurting by doing something you think is very innocuous and inconsequential. And sometimes you pay for relaxing.

The circumstances that lead to my losing a good square inch of skin on my hand should be known to most kids who grew up with an N64 in easy reach. Back before the Wii came out, and all of its easy-to-pick-up party games, there was only one real party game: Mario Party. In Mario Party, 1-4 players, with computers filling in for any empty seats, traverse a board by rolling dice, and, depending on what spots all four players land on, play different games. If everyone landed on the same colored spots, they would play a 4-player free-for-all. If two landed on red and two landed on blue, they would play a team battle. And so on. The goal was to win the most games, gain the most coins, and gather the most stars before the specific number of turns set at the beginning of the game was up.

It’s a very successful franchise, because it’s a fun concept. The boards are almost always imaginative, the games are quick and normally pretty fun, and the stupid, stupid luck of the game is legendarily unforgiving.

Oh no, I rolled a five. Time to give up my stars! What fun!

People continue to buy them, and I’m pretty sure we’re up to Mario Party 8. But not since the original have we had a certain mini game.

In this game, the players are placed into a boat and need to row quickly to fight against the rapids and not smash into the side of the river. To row, each player needs to rotate the joystick of their controller, either clockwise or counter-clockwise, as quickly as possible. The problem is that the game was stupidly unforgiving, requiring one to rotate as quickly as humanly possible.

Obviously my thumbs were not up to the task, so I placed my palm, like so many players before me, directly onto the N64 controller’s joystick, and threw my whole arm into it.

After some time, and encountering more than a few games where I was encouraged to rotate the joystick, I started to notice a blister. And then the skin began loosening. All of this accumulated in the skin abruptly ripping from my hand, screams of pain, and my parents both laughing and looking concerned before helping me apply band-aids.

And thus a lesson was learned: you can’t even trust your recreation, not even the most innocent-looking act. Anything can be dangerous in large doses.

Even video games. :(

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