Study suggests video games are good for you

Noah Bakshis, 15, plays a computer video game titled "Dust An Elysian Tail" at his home in Plainfield, Ill.

(The strategy guide for the popular new video game, Tommy’s Worst Nightmare®, was not included in the package with the actual game. Those instructions are provided here free of charge. The manufacturer apologizes for any inconvenience.)

WARNING. While playing Tommy’s Worst Nightmare®, a very small percentage of individuals may experience an adverse reaction similar to that experienced by readers of this column — nausea and dizziness.

Tommy’s Worst Nightmare® is a role-playing adventure game designed for one player. You will traverse a Dali-esque landscape, one devoid of purpose or meaning, while attempting to avoid a legion of supervisors. Each supervisor has a fixed visual and hearing range and follows a set patrol route. Try to avoid detection and reach retirement.

Basic controls

Use the Square button to cringe. Use the Triangle button to flinch. Use the O button to run backward. Use the X button to wildly flail arms.

To hide under a desk, press the Triangle button while pushing down on the analog stick.

In certain places, pressing the Triangle button will cause you to jump and hang from a light fixture. Be careful—if the Grip Gauge reaches zero, your character will lose his grip and fall onto a supervisor.

Game scenarios

The Standing Committee Meeting

The objective of this level is to find a way out of a standing committee meeting without adversely affecting your performance rating. Caution is required. If you pause at the box of donuts, you risk being cornered by a supervisor. If this occurs, Hold the L1 and L2 buttons simultaneously and the invisibility shield will activate. The invisibility shield will not activate if you’ve eaten one of the donuts.

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The Sick Day Excuse

The objective of this level is to take a day off without using a vacation day. You must first accumulate excuses by acquiring as many maladies and family emergencies as possible. Use of more than three deceased grandparents may cause the game to lock up.

The Deadline

The object of this level is to dodge flying deadlines while simultaneously navigating through a maze of stacked file folders and sheaves of paper and multiple supervisors.

The Slough of Despond

The objective of this level is to calculate your projected retirement income using the digitally-rendered abacus. Then, you must locate and open numerous medicine cabinets in darkened corridors until you find an aspirin. The longer it takes you to find and take an aspirin, the larger the deductions taken from your pay check, and the smaller your pension.

The Retirement Party

When you reach this level, the game is almost over. All you have left to do is find and open one of two disguised portals. Through one portal is a beach house in Tahiti; through the other you are returned to the Standing Committee Meeting level and your journey to retirement begins anew. Beware — the two portals at this level are never in the same place twice.

We think you’ll have the time of your life playing Tommy’s Worst Nightmare®. GAME ON!

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