Chasing Amy

by Tom Chick

April 13, 2001

I'm on the phone with my girlfriend Lisa.

"Trevor has a date coming over to Shoot Club tonight. We need to know what kind of games a girl would want to play."

"Well, how would I know? I don't play those things."

"I know, but I've showed you some of them. If you were coming over to play a computer game, which one would it be?"

She thinks for a moment. "What about the one where you pick up stuff and dress up?"

"You dress up?"

"Yeah. That one."

I don't know why girls can't remember the names of games like boys do. Now I have to play twenty questions with Lisa to figure out which game she means.

"The Sims?"

"I don't know. You kill little monsters and get gold and hats and stuff."

"Oh, you mean Diablo."

"I don't know. You can wear a sash and boots and gloves. I think you also get swords. You made me be the amazon."

"That's Diablo. What other games would you play?"

"What about the one where you chase the chicken?"

"Chase the chicken? Which one is that?"

"You know, where you're the little kid and you chase chickens. You're running around in a room full of chickens and the feathers go flying."

"What on earth are you talking about? There is no such game."

"Yes there is," she insists. I've learned that most of the time men think women are wrong because the man has long since forgotten whatever it is the woman is talking about. Women remember everything. Lisa can repeat, verbatim, the exact things I said in a fight we had last year. Any fight. Every fight. So I'm sure there must be some chicken chasing game that we could play with Trevor's date. Now if only I can get Lisa to help me remember what it is.

"You're a little boy in a green outfit and there's a tinkerbell fairy that follows you around. We played it on TV."

"Zelda? Zelda on the N64?" I can't believe a thirty hour game that spans a generation over several decades and an entire continent, Miyamoto's greatest accomplishment, is remembered by Lisa as the game where you chase the chicken.

"I don't know what it's called. But the man throws the chicken in a whole flock of them and you have to get the right one in a certain amount of time. It's right before you get the horse."

"You're talking about Zelda. That's an N64 game. We can't play that at Shoot Club. It doesn't even have any multiplayer."

"But you and I played it."

"That's different. We played it together."

"Well how is that different from what you do at Shoot Club?"

There are some things you shouldn't even try to explain to a woman, so I decide I'm just going to move on.

"Okay, so there's the chicken game. But what else? What games on the computer that you've seen would a girl like?"

"The city game."

"SimCity? Where you set zones? You hated that game."

"No, the one where you can name your cities."

I eventually figure out that she means Civilization. She liked it because she could give the cities any name she wanted. She had no desire to build military units, research technology, or manage her economy. She just wanted to give names to cities. She named them after the pets she'd had as a child. She named them after her girlfriends at work. She named them after characters on Ally McBeal. She even named one city after Robert, her ex-boyfriend, just to annoy me. I have it in a saved game on my laptop. Every now and then I boot it up just to let Robertville starve itself off the map.

"Look, maybe you can you come by tonight. Just for a while."

"No way. You guys fart on each other."

"No we don't."

"Yes you do. Eric told me."

Eric told her? That rat.

"Well, we won't do it this time, because Trevor has a girl coming over."

"What difference does it make if I'm there."

"Come on, Lisa. Just for a little bit. Trevor's really nervous. It'll make it easier if there's another girl there."

"I already have plans to see Someone Like You with Molly. If I don't go tonight, you and I are going to have to see it this weekend instead of going to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon again."

The things I do for Trevor. "Okay, fine," I say, figuring I can talk her out of it later in the week.