Fiber Arts and Videogames

At this time, my main hobbies, the ones I’m most likely to spend my time doing, fall into two categories: fiber arts (mainly knitting) and videogames (mainly console or handheld).

I got into both relatively late.  Although I occasionally played console games at friends’ houses, it wasn’t until a) my sister was given a(n) NES by a friend and b) a friend of mine moved into the house I was living in and brought his consoles that I started playing them much myself, because they just hadn’t been around earlier.  Both of these were around 1993-4.  Because they were mostly older consoles and/or hand-me-down games, I wasn’t playing any of the then-current releases and it was several years before I played something that wasn’t used and several years old.

I actually have a specific date for when I started knitting and it took long-term: 31 October 1997.  My friend Ielith and I had met for lunch and then to go to Michael’s so she could buy knitting needles, since she’d decided she had enough afghans and wanted to start making sweaters.  I had a ball of yarn at home left from a recent abortive attempt at crochet and decided to buy a pair of knitting needles and give that a go again, 15 years after I’d first learned the knit stitch.  (It was another 15+ before I tried crochet again.)  So I started knitting around when I was also starting to actually seek out games to and play rather than just waiting for them to come to me via friends and friends of friends.

Knitting was probably the first hobby I’d had that I could do something else at the same time, for a limited range of activities.  I could converse while beading and sometimes while playing the piano, but with knitting I could both converse and read — or watch something.

But I still couldn’t knit and play games at the same time.  Which was fine, since both my housemate and my sister were happy to do the playing while I knit and watched and contributed useful suggestions like “There’s a chest in that room/on that ledge/back there/that you missed.”   (I used to call us the brain and the brawn.  I was the brain, figuring out things to check while my housemate dealt with the enemies on the screen and such.)  This had already been a bit of a pattern, especially with my housemate, who would tend to fall asleep if he were the one watching.  But now at least I had something productive to do while watching.  And still do, with my husband doing the playing.

As with any other specialized interest, references to and glimpses of knitting and similar(1) started jumping out at me in games.  My abovementioned friend Ielith, who also plays games, put it pretty well just earlier today: “I’m tickled by the novelty of my yarn hobby showing up in a video game at all.”  I’m also interested in seeing how such hobbies are portrayed and what their inclusion contributes, though not to any great rigor.  So I started noting down examples casually, just from games I’ve played or watched(2).  They’ve been on my list of things to post about for years, and I’m finally getting to it.  Stay tuned.

(1) I’ve seen examples of and references to knitting, spinning, and weaving.  Oddly enough, I’ve seen no references to crochet, although a lot of Yoshi’s Wooly World appears to be crocheted (I haven’t played or watched this yet).  Crocheting is also one fiber art I can’t do so well while watching or reading, but I think that’s mainly that I’m still relatively new to it; I know other people can crochet without looking.

(2) I have a few examples from games I haven’t played, which may or may not be included.


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