It’s that time of year again—the leaves of non-native maples have fallen, high winds of disturbing warmth are flying, and the inspiration (and for some, the duty) to give gifts to our loved ones begins to overwhelm us. After all, isn’t Christmas, like, tomorrow or something? If you’re anything like me, thinking up presents for the younger generation is one of the harder tasks of this special time. Don’t get me wrong–obviously there are many, many (too many!) options to choose from. What’s tough are the myriad considerations you’ve got to take into account: is it useful? Is it fun? What is its physical volume-to-average rate of attention engagement ratio, and is it sufficiently inappreciable to merit serious consideration?
But perhaps more importantly—is it something they want? Is it something that reflects my character and values (so I won’t feel guilty about giving it to them)? Am I becoming the sort of aunt from whom you really don’t want to receive presents?
“Thank goodness for the government in times like this!” I always say. Because in this, my time of need, the federal frickin’ government has stepped in to save the day. And as a bonus I won’t even have to spend a penny.
The DOE has gotten a whole gang of miscellaneous state and federal energy groups, the Ad Council, and a host of corporate
sponsors partners to come together in the name of necessary virtue in order to spread the gospel of energy conservation to the next generation of American consumers. “Sounds remarkably…boring,” I can imagine you thinking right now. “How can they possibly be effective?” Why, if there’s one thing this administration knows, it’s how to make the medicine go down. And for this season’s gift-giving-made-easy, it comes in the form of the cleverly packaged guise of a specially-designed, mega-fun, completely free online video game: Energy Hog! Zork: An Indelible Classic
Energy Hog starts off as all good video games do: by completely immersing the player in a new, fantastical world. It takes the tried and true mechanism for entering a new environment via a crack in the window from the illustrious video game forefather Zork and *turns it on its head*. Instead of entering a building unawares through a crack, your video game persona tries to *prevent* the villainous, stupendously mohawked Energy Hog from using the crack to waste precious energy.
But let’s get to the good stuff; what kind of weapons are we talking about, here? Hold your horses—Energy Hog will *not* disappoint. But first, let’s have a look at what’s come before.
The Pixel Shooter of
Space Invaders (1978)
A classic—influencing ballistics from Centipede to Gauntlet to The Legend of Zelda.
The Vector Gun of
An innovation in slightly more versatile missile-projection.
The Fireballs of
Super Mario Bros (1985)
Ricocheting projectiles with Bowser’s name written all over them.
The Crowbar of
After an onslaught of FPS guns, a refreshing return to low-tech weaponry.
The Redeemer of
Unreal Tournament 2004
A return to ridiculous weaponry.
Energy Hog adds new technology to this arsenal of storied video game weapons. Behold:
The Caulk Gun
of Energy Hog (2005)
You don’t want to be on the receiving end of this baby!
As the press release states:
At [energyhog.org], where the game is available, a player, whether young or old, has to work fast to electronically caulk a window to keep the Energy Hog out.
But that’s not the extent of it. There are five different nefarious Hogs who are trying to waste your energy, doing everything from using non-Energy Star-certified appliances to refusing to substitute compact fluorescents for standard incandescents (dastardly, dastardly Hogs!). These bad boys are aching to be taken down, and the little budding conservationist of your acquaintance is just the one to do it.
In the spirit of general conservation, consider making your own gift certificates (complete with Energy Hog URL) for the kiddies this year and bask in the fervent esteem with which they repay you. Because it’s only a matter of time before Energy Hog is installed in the Pantheon of Greatest Video Games of All Time, and the lucky scamps who know you will cherish the opportunity you gave ’em to be ahead of the game.