I’m not a joiner, by nature. I was a Boy Scout, briefly, when I was younger, but ditched the group when I learned that Camp Fire had girls. Even then, the depth of my membership extended only as far as summer camp. Apart from church choir and a library card, I just don’t belong.
Yet when a five-year-old boy presents you with a membership card for the ‘Woke Toke’ club, you don’t really have a choice in the matter.
This card, hand-printed and laminated in scotch-tape, was accompanied by an equally detailed, palm-sized walkie-talkie, the companion of which was nestled in Ian’s shirt pocket. All of this, of course, was a prerequisite for membership in the ‘Hunten Club’.
Last month, feeling nostalgic for the wasted hours of my childhood, I purchased a used copy of Final Fantasy XII. This is one of a continuing series of role-playing games which began with the original NES; the last I played was III, due in large part to marriage and rediscovery of natural light.
Final Fantasy XII features ‘Hunts’, whereby your party is hired to dispatch an expanding list of troublesome and implausible beasts for fun and profit. There is no dental plan, but you make your own hours.
Ian was hooked with our first hunt: the Rogue Tomato, which seems to be a hybrid of a tomato, rag-doll, and Garden Weasel. Our conquests soon included a Thextra, Rocktoise, and a Croakadile.
Hence the ‘Hunten Club’. Ian presented me with another membership card and a sword; he was carrying a bow. He’d drawn a menu of creatures from which to choose, from slimy blobs to fish with over-sized tongues. The walkie-talkies allowed us to separate for a more efficient search, and to call for help if absolutely necessary.
Our targets were elusive, so we regrouped at the Lego workshop to design a monster-detector:
We’re not accepting clients just yet, but we do have a waiting list.