Letter from a Paul Simon Concert or How The Universe Paid For Me to Get “StarCraft 2″ (Almost)
I’m standing at a Paul Simon concert a few rows from the back, enjoying the best view of the performers I’ve been able to get all night.
Some jackass right behind me, probably drunk, has been blabbing away the whole evening (“Wow!” he exclaims every time Paul Simon begins to sing another song, as if something unprecedented has just occurred. “Wow!!”), bothering me and going on and on about how he wishes he could get a better view, if not for the person (me) who’s standing in front of him.
(Editor’s note: This does become relevant to games, I promise. Hit the jump to find out how.)
Suddenly, I feel him tapping at my shoulder. I turn around, and he’s revealed to be a doofus in a striped hoodie that makes him look like a hipster prisoner. “Hey,” he says to me, holding a bill in his meaty hand. “I’ll pay you twenty dollars if you move five feet to your right.”
“Seriously?” I ask him, befuddled. Mind you, this fellow is well over six feet tall and the concert we are at is general admission. If he wants, he himself can step five feet to the right and get a better view. But this guy will have none of it. He has a better plan, involving paying people to move out of his way.
“Yeah,” he answers. “I’ll give you twenty dollars if you get out of my way and move five feet to your right.”
Not one to pass up a deal, I grab the $20, give him a patronizing pat on the back and move five feet to my right. The easiest money I have ever earned.
“I just paid that guy twenty dollars to get out of my way!” he then boasts to the people around him. Nobody responds.
As for me, I’m enjoying the show just as I had before- except now, a $20 bill is burning a hole in my pocket. “I’m halfway there!” I think to myself.
Now, how does this relate to gaming, or anything really, whatsoever? Hear me out for a moment, if you would, as I rewind my story back a bit.
It’s the afternoon, and I’m lying on the floor of Padinga founder Breakman’s home office-cum-studio. This is the only untidy room in the apartment he shares with his wife and is, consequently, the only one I feel truly comfortable in. I’m not sure what I’m doing on the floor, but it probably has something to do with the fact that I’m still dead tired and sunburned as fuck from the weekend I spent listening to music under the hot desert sun at Coachella (I know, pitiable me). I stopped by to pick up the hard drive for a USC film we’ve been working on, but now I find myself unable to get up off the carpet.
Sensing vulnerability, Break sees an opening for one of his many devious plans, and pounces.
“Did you know that Q just got StarCraft 2?”
“Wow,” I answer, stunned. Aside from myself, Q had been the last remaining Padinga member to keep away from the game, and he’d been pretty vocal about his resistance. I am impressed he’s been turned. “How did you manage that?” I ask.
“Well,” Break responds, “In return for getting it, he made us promise we’d all play Dungeons and Dragons when he’s here for E3.”
To this I grimace. Q had driven quite the hard bargain.
“You know what that means?” Break asks- more a statement, full of menace, than a question. I have a feeling I know what this means, but I let him continue. “You’re the last one who still doesn’t have StarCraft 2.”
Now I am the sole remaining hold-out, the lone voice of dissent bravely holding down the Alamo of Starcraft 2 disinterest. Fuck! They’re closing in on me!
To be fair, my interest in StarCraft 2 is pretty low. The last PC game I ever played was a rip-off Tom Clancy Cold War submarine game called Silent Steel, and it sucked. Worst Christmas present ever. That was at least fifteen years ago.
But did I really want to be “that guy”? Shit.
“I don’t have any money,” I say, as a rebuttal. (This is true, I don’t. I’ve been living off student loans, and since I’m less than a month from graduating they’re quickly running out.)
“It’s only $40 today, on Amazon,” Break storms back, not one to take ‘no’ for an answer. “It’s their deal of the day.”
“I’ll buy it when The Universe gives me the money to buy it!” I answer, taking a stand.
Now, I am not a religious person; I do not believe in God, per se. (Feel free, however, to substitute whatever you want when I mention “The Universe.”) But sometimes The Universe has had the uncanny habit of giving me money right when I’ve needed it. Not always, or even often, but… sometimes. Like that $50 you’ve forgotten in your jacket pocket, that you find right after you’ve just gotten yet another L.A. parking ticket. What sweet relief! The timing couldn’t possibly be better. The Universe!!
I decide I’m going to wait for just such a moment…and then, and only then, will I buy StarCraft 2. If The Universe truly intends for me to buy StarCraft 2, then it will make itself known, and I will get it.
Break doesn’t like my answer. “Come on!” he shrieks at me, almost wheezing in the process. “The $40 deal is only good for today- you have to get it now!!”
He does have a point. If I don’t get the game today for $40, The Universe will have to give me 50% more money for me to get StarCraft 2 later, at its regular retail price. I decide I might as well just go for it now, and let Divine Providence do its work retroactively.
Break sees that I’ve cracked. I am a broken Captain Cluster. Break 1, Cluster 0. He grabs my laptop. He taps away furiously. “Here,” he says, jabbing my computer back at me. “All you have to do is log in.” He has opened up my browser to Amazon and already added StarCraft 2 to my cart. All I need to do now is sign in and press “Buy”. Break has loaded the gun for me; all I need to do is pull the trigger. I press “Buy”. Done. It’s over.
I can barely open my eyes, to view the damage. I am now a StarCraft 2 owner.
I open my eyes. Fuck!!!!!! What have I just done????? I am so very, very broke. Where will I get the $40 to cover buying the game?
Fast forward a few hours. I’m back in my apartment, doing more recuperative lying on the floor. I remember that I’d bought a ticket long ago to see a Paul Simon concert, and it was tonight!
I’m at the concert. Some jackass behind me keeps blabbing away, complaining how he wishes he could see Paul Simon better.
He taps on my shoulder and offers me twenty dollars to do something so stupid as to move out of his way.
I take it…
Universe, you’ve done it again!!! $20- I’m halfway there to $40. It’s official: The Universe wants me to play StarCraft 2.
Now about that other $20…
What’s the moral to this story?
Honestly, there is none. Just buy StarCraft 2- everyone seems to love it. And give me a couple months to get good, and come play me. My name, as always, will be: CptCluster.