Games Mistress

by Doreen Hinchliffe

She’s here again, white-haired and seventy if a day,
adroitly elbowing hordes of little boys away
and shooting from the hip. She’s razor sharp, she’s slick,
makes use of every martial art to get first pick
of used Play Station games. Those who dare to block
her path are soon vibrating from her dual shock.
Game shops on a Sunday are her default setting,
she’s even been accused of aiding and abetting
three teenagers to steal a four-way multi-tap
so fierce is her desire for a better scrap
in shoot ’em ups like Unreal Tournament and Quake
she’ll go to any lengths for competition’s sake.
Kids watch her playing demos hour after hour,
marvelling at her knowledge, speed and fire power.
Some queue outside the store to see if they can spot her
she’s more of an attraction now than Harry Potter.
A few approach her with respect, temerity,
to worship her superior dexterity.
She cautions against cheats and walkthroughs from the start
exhorting them to see true gameplay as an art.
Long years she’s studied. She started as a Space Invader,
worked her way through Lara Croft, James Bond, Darth Vader,
then on to Age of Empires, Half-Life, Baldur’s Gate
by way of Silent Hill and Fifa 98.
She’s picked up secrets, unlocked doors and studied maps,
she’s guided Gran Turismo cars round countless laps,
on snowboards, skateboards, skis, she’s raced at every venue,
quit game no longer features on her options menu.
From RPGs to warfare on the field of Flanders
there’s no one finer than this mistress of all genres.
Not for her the sing-songs, old folks’ clubs, day trips,
the meals on wheels or chats about replacement hips,
not for her the tea dance, bingo, talk of bygones –
she is the great iconoclast amongst the icons.