Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

250px-PlantsVsZombiesCover400ppxIf you’ve never played Plants vs. Zombies on the computer, your phone or iPad, or PlayStation 3 (and soon on Xbox One or Xbox 360), maybe it’s best that you don’t start. It’s sooooo addictive. (If you’re not into videogames and are rolling your eyes right about now, don’t worry. There’s a point to this beyond videogames.) The concept seems insane—using plants and fungi to repel brain-eating zombies. But the game, first released by PopCap in 2009, has won “over 30 Game of the Year awards,” according to the PopCap website. The game also has sequels (Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time; Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare).

I downloaded Plants vs. Zombies and Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time on my phone, because I played Plants vs. Zombies years ago on my computer (loved it). I’m fascinated by the combination of zombies and plants/fungi in a game. It’s like peanut butter and jelly, hydrogen and oxygen, eggs and bacon, chocolate and peanut butter—they work well together. And yet they’re not a natural fit. I mean, when you think of zombies, maybe you think of a blow torch, machete, sword, or an axe before you think of a sunflower or a mushroom. Or maybe you don’t think of them at all, and your life is all the richer for it. Yet the combination has triggered one of the best videogames ever.

plants_vs_zombies

Know what else goes together? You and that blank page before you. (How’s that for a segue?) You know the one I mean. The one you sometimes give up on. Oh, I get it, believe me. Two such disparate creatures were bound to misunderstand one another from time to time. Sometimes you think you weren’t made for it or it for you, don’t you? But you were. The blank page challenges you to use your imagination, to go beyond your comfort zone, to give till it hurts. And you give the blank page a piece of your soul: words full of verve or illustrations worth a thousand words a piece. It’s where you work your magic on an idea that seems too unbelievable to exist, and turn it into a masterpiece.

Blank lined notebook page

All because you and the blank page dared to meet.

The blank page—it’s where you want to be. You know you do. So, don’t act like a stranger. Kiss and make up. Accept that blank piece of paper. You were meant to be together. And when you’re done, it won’t be blank anymore. It’ll be history—the history of how the two of you made magic together.

Plants vs. Zombies images from Wikipedia and gamezone.com. Blank page from freeimages.co.uk.

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36 thoughts on “Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

  1. Absolutely love Plants vs Zombies; I just detest that Part 2 is a Freemium game where you have to buy plants to get them. I’d much rather pay for the game right out and unlock everything I need and even things I may not need as I go through the game.

    Are you interested in Garden Warfare? Thoughts?

  2. Haha I’m so not a videogame person. I watch people play candy crush on the bikes at the gym and that’s enough for me. I am, however, a zombie person. And this post has got the wheels of weird turning in my head.

    • Always glad to help get the wheels of weird turning in a good direction! Um, people are playing candy crush at the gym??? Wow. That wouldn’t get me revved up. I’d be listening to music or something.

  3. And the award for ‘best segue in a blog’ goes to… L. Marie. Inspired.
    I’m no gamer either Aussa – even though I’m responsible for three mobile games (Go figure, as you Americans seem fond of saying) but Plants vs Zombie’s is definitely good fun.
    I was thinking about Democrats vs Republicans for my next one. or Maybe Sarah Palin vs. Bears with Machine Guns?

  4. I feel like the listener to that old Carley Simon song where she says,”I bet you think this song is about you, don’t you, don’t you?” Seriously, I feel like you wrote this for me. I needed to hear this. Not that giving up is an option, because writing has it’s claws dug deep in me. But I was thinking of a break from this WIP. Thank you!

    • Your instinct was right, Laura. 😀 You inspired this post. But I needed it too. I always need it. The blank page and I are like those old Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots. I hit, I get hit. A vicious cycle. But the battle needs to be fought.

  5. LOVE this, Linda. “Kiss and make up with the blank page”, that’s perfect!! Yes, good segue! 🙂
    I keep getting candy crush requests and I avoid them like the plague because I know I will get addicted. Thanks for introducing me to Plants vs. Zombies – I’ll have to use more self control now.

    • You’re wise to avoid Candy Crush like the plague. I have that on my phone as well. You know you’re addicted when it’s 1:30 a.m. and you’re trying to make the next level. My life could easily be an after-school special. Let this be a lesson to you: don’t start! You will get addicted.

  6. I have some many drugs-of-choice in video game land, but I haven’t played PvZ, believe it or not. My wife was hooked for awhile. Now it’s all about Simpson’s Tapped Out for her (she’s a big Simpson’s fan).

    But Me vs. The Blank Page. That’s one of the hardest games I’ve ever played!

      • I once turned in a book without really proofreading it. So I can’t laugh at you. I felt embarrassed when it was returned with typos circled.

    • Okay, now I need to look for that Simpsons game. I used to be a diehard Simpsons fan in the early days, like seasons 1-7. Haven’t seen any new ones in years.

      I’m facing a blank page right now (it’s at the left of my computer–my notebook). I need to fill it with something.

  7. “It’s where you work your magic on an idea that seems too unbelievable to exist, and turn it into a masterpiece. All because you and the blank page dared to meet.”

    I love that so much.

    • It’s very addictive, Lyn. If you’ve got other projects to work on, you might not want to start. (I do recommend the Angry Birds card game. My family loves it.)

  8. It’s harder to face the blank page now that I’ve finished a book. I’ve got about 40K words of the next one, but it’s farfarfar from a real story. In some ways, it still feels like a blank page.

    • It’ll be interesting to see how your Natchez Trace excursion informs your writing. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one day we look up to see that your book has been optioned for a film.

      • I hope it will be optioned for a film. I’ve always seen it in my head as a big movie. Weird, I know. I hear voices and see visions, and I feel like such a weirdo. 🙂

      • I think every writer feels a little schizo, especially when we say, “The character told me I’m not writing his story correctly.” I interview my characters to find out what they thought. I only show the interviews to my beta readers. Anyone else would probably think I was crazy.

  9. I haven’t played plants vs zombies but you know how I feel about nontraditional zombies ;). I’ve got blank page-itis right now, great kick in the butt.

  10. I LOVE Plants vs Zombies. I got the first one for free and I’ve been reluctant to buy the second.
    Good analogy by the way. I recently got a new notebook for a brand new ms I want to work on. And the blank pages are a bit intimidating. 🙂

    • They are. Out of the corner of my eye, a blank page in my notebook winks at me. But at least the gesture is friendly and inviting. I need to add something to it.

      Um, I played Plants vs. Zombies just this morning. I feel like I need an intervention. This game is so addictive.

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