Game Time With Mister Raroo logo [Mister Raroo's been a very busy man in the past few months, which means his regular GSW column has been a little on the sparse side a of late. However, anyone looking for a Raroo fix should note that he has been quietly chronicling the games he's been playing on his relatively new blog, Moments. Here's some highlights...]

Mass Effect (Xbox 360)
As my party and I approach the Presidium on our way to the Wards, we encounter an argument between a Turian officer and a Hanar evangelist. The poor officer seems at wit’s end trying to dissuade the Hanar from continuing to preach without a license. Even though I’ve got more important business to take care of, I decide to step in and see if there’s anything I can do to help.

The Hanar claims to have no money but feels it’s wrong to have to pay to spread its message. The Turian, on the other hand, is just trying to do his job and obviously would rather not be dealing with such a trivial issue. After hearing both parties out I decide to pay for the Hanar’s permit and everyone is happy. I linger for just a moment to take in the strangeness of the jellyfish-like Hanar’s appearance before continuing on my way.

Lumines Supernova (Playstation 3)
It’s nearing 10:00 and my son is sleeping on my chest, breathing deeply. My wife sits near me, knitting and chatting with me about nothing in particular. My eyes are focused on the television, watching Lumines Supernova on the screen. Even though I’m playing the game, my mind isn’t paying attention.

Instead, I’m content to enjoy a quiet, relaxing Saturday evening with my family. I notice the blocks rise and fall, the music periodically changes, and the visuals shift from one scene to the next, but the game seems more like something far off in the distance. Happily, so do the worries and responsibilites that usually consume my thoughts.

Ridge Racer 6 (XBox 360)
I make the first turn on my favorite course, Airport Lap. It’s sunset and the sky is adorned with a beautiful orange hue. My car drifts through the curve and I power ahead. “Whoa-ho-ho! Nitrous ready!” The game’s announcer is extremely excited. “Watch out! Someone just fired off some nitrous!” A rival car speeds up behind me from the left. It’s time to take action.

I use a can of nitrous and regain the lead. “Woo hoo! Nitrous!” Turn after turn, drift after drift, “nitrous” is the only thing the announcer is concerned with. As the race progresses, planes come and go all around the course, but I’m too focused to take much notice. I speed past the finish line with the help of my last bit of “crazy” nitrous. “Ha! Ha! You did it! First place!” How I love that nitrous-obsessed announcer.

Tetris DS (Nintendo DS)
My wife and son are in bed next to me, fast asleep. The sound patterns of their snoring intertwine and create an odd but calming unison of white noise. Lying on my back with my head propped up on a couple pillows, I’m holding my Nintendo DS overhead. I’ve got the system tilted away from the sleepers so as not to disturb them with the light of the screens. Too lazy to put in headphones, I have the volume all but turned off, with only a faint sound effect or hint of music escaping the DS’s speakers from time to time.

As I arrange the falling blocks to clear lines, I smile at Mario adorably running across the top screen. My eyes are getting heavy and harder to keep open, but I want to play for just a few minutes more. I know that once I turn off the DS and close my eyes, I’ll be fast asleep, speeding towards the sound of my alarm clock barking at me to get out of bed and get ready for work.

Trax (Game Boy)
At first glance, my tank doesn’t seem like it has what it takes to topple the enemy. In fact, it’s downright cute. But take another look and you’ll see that not only can it move in any direction in a flash, but it’s easily upgradable with formidable firepower. In other words, my tank may be small but it is definitely mighty. That’s a good thing, too, as I’ve got to charge through plenty of hostile territory before the day is done.

I’m being blasted at from every direction, but my vehicle is deft enough to dodge the attacks and lob plenty of explosives back at ‘em. Still, it seems amazing that one vehicle can topple such a massive army. Then again, with enemies including a dragon-headed tank wearing boxing gloves, a gigantic mech that keeps tripping over its own two feet, and a lunatic metal clown whose main weapon appears to be its long tongue, perhaps my enemy is more comedic than fierce after all.

Opoona (Wii)
Opoona the Ranger has been assigned to patrol a nearby mine in order to keep it free from monsters. However, he’s standing behind a counter at Eat Everyday taking orders. The current customer has asked for popcorn, minestrone soup, and eel sushi, and Opoona is scrambling to fulfil the order quickly and accurately.

Should he impress the manager, not only will Opoona earn his pay, but he may improve the chances of getting an assignment at the Blue Desert Hotel, where there is a man who can help him get his Miner’s License. As a Ranger assigned to patrol the mine, a Miner’s License would come in very handy. But for now Opoona needs to focus and make sure not to goof up any of the customers’ orders.

[Mister Raroo is a happy husband, proud father, full-time public library employee, and active gamer. He currently lives in El Cajon, CA with his family and many pets. You may reach Mister Raroo at mister.raroo@gmail.com.]