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My Father is a Role Player... Sorta

by Kerry Jane

My father owns three business (heavy construction supply) in two states and is pretty much an ultra-serious business man. He was the one who got me interested in computers at an early age. He brags, "I was into computers before they were COOL." He knows Dos; he knows Unix. Windows 95 confuses the hell out of him (although he is getting better).

Spreadsheets. He is a big fan of spreadsheets. Any time I want to do something... or buy something... he says, "Make a spreadsheet."

Real Springs

Use these springs on your steering wheel and it will not break.

Even though he is a serious business guy (with a fairly good sense of humor), he likes games. But he does not like the kind of games that I like. I like games with stories and puzzles and party members to carry around your stuff that you might need but really do not know. Those are too involved for him. He likes Sims. Flight simulators... racing simulators... helicopter simulators... whatever. And he likes Minesweeper. He likes Tetris, too, but hates that I always beat him at it.

A few years ago, while my dad and I were playing 2-person Tetris:
My brother: "I want to play!"
Me: "Okay, you can play the winner."
My brother: "No, I want to play against Dad!"

I tried to get my father to play Sim City 2000... thinking he would like the construction end of it. But all he wanted to do was build roads. He built road after road after road, making them go in weird formations using up a ton of land, and then he was out of money and turned to me and said, "Now what?" Oh well. Sim City is not for everyone, I guess.

Anywho. Dad's favorite is Nascar Racing by Papyrus (Sierra Sports now). He plays it every night - no exaggeration. He has all the 'extra tracks' and add-ons and everything imaginable that goes with this game. He replays his crashes (in slo-mo, no less) for us and wants us to watch them with him. I am sure you can imagine the excitement I feel while watching him replay the moment of impact twelve times for me, saying: "See?? Right there. Ooohh.. That had to hurt!"

He had a joystick, but that was not cutting it. So for Christmas three years ago, we bought him the Thrustmaster T2 wheel. But the springs are starting to break in the throttle, and he is grumpy about that. So, for Christmas this year, we bought him the MS Force Feedback Wheel. It is supposed to be a good one. Not that I would know... but I read the reviews. And somebody on Usenet said "It Rocks!" ... so how could we go wrong??

In addition to the Wheel, we also bought him the new Nascar game. They are like peanut butter and jelly, you know. Can not have one without the other.

Okay... now here comes the role-playing part.

My father's name is Don. But when he races... he never calls himself that. He calls himself (get this) Goody Roberts.

When my mother goes in to talk to him while he is racing, she will say, "Don" and get no answer. Finally, after a few tries with Don, she will say, "Uhhh... Goody..." And he will respond with, "I am on the last lap and right behind Dale Earnhart!" as he peels around turn three at a hundred and twenty five miles an hour.

We tried to get more information about this 'Goody Roberts' person. Does my father think he is Goody? No, he said. Goody is somebody else. He goes on to explain to us that he is playing, but Goody is the driver... which confused us even more... because all we saw was my father, there at the wheel.

We asked him where he got that name. Was it a name of a real race car driver? Was it something he read in a book as a child? "I made it up," he said, with a little-kid grin on his face.

Somebody said something about the Wheel on Christmas Morning while I was over at my parents house to Have The Tree. I can not remember what was said... but my father's response was, "Well, the wheel is not really for me. It is for Goody." Which, of course, sent us into reels of laughter over Goody Roberts. My mother said, "It is better than an imaginary friend - it is an imaginary YOU!

That is when I figured it out. My father is role playing, and Goody Roberts is his character-slash-avatar. I asked my father if Goody had his own personality. He looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "Kerry... Goody is a Race Car Driver" like that was supposed to explain everything.

I think he is afraid to admit it. But I swear... that is what he is doing. He is role playing. Sorta.

Kerry Jane tends to like games that have stories, and can currently be found playing Ackadia.