…or, why Viva Pinata is sitting on a shelf, collecting dust.

Don’t get me wrong–I like Viva Pinata, liked it a lot when I first got it. It was bright, shiny, full of fluorescent pastel colors and fluttering things and people who looked like they were made out of leaves. Or something.

It was, most definitely, candy for the eyes. The cute little whirlms–well, they whirled around in their cute little mating dances, made cute little babies, and eventually turned into cute little food for other pinatas. And oh, the other pinatas! In the beginning it was easy; I could drop a flower seed into my garden and three new pinata would show up that night. The addition of a pool brought myriad more, and I was honestly surprised at the new creatures that showed up when I just stuck a torch in the corner of the garden.

I’ll admit, I got a little overwhelmed; there were times when I wanted to tell Leafos to back off, but then she was just so nice, giving me all those tips, and I’d be lying to you if I said that I didn’t like it–so I kept playing, breeding pinatas, dousing those bastard sour shellybeans that kept wandering into the garden. I realized pretty soon that I had to stop naming all of the pinatas (this was after Wiggle, one of my first whirlms, got eaten by something or other) and so began just naming the first two to enter the garden. Losing Wiggle was hard, but I chalked it up to the seedy underworld of the garden, vowed that it wouldn’t happen to Mick and Peg, and moved on.

And boy, did I move. First, I was just dealing in the whirlms–breeding them like mad and selling off the babies for cold, hard chocolate coins. And yeah, that didn’t bother me–by this time, I was a hardened veteran. I was changing the colors of fluttery pinatas, directing my tafflies to jump through flaming torches so that they’d evolve into reddhotts. Hurt much? I didn’t care–breeding two more exotic pinatas just meant that their babies earned me more cash money, yo.

And then, I don’t know, I think it was when I was beating my shovel on the sparrowmint house to drive out Tad and Sophia that I realized–these sparrowmints have been with you practically from the beginning, you monster, and suddenly it’s all ‘out with the old, in with the new horstachios’. I was this close to doing it–to selling off their house, driving them out after I’d bred them to make money off selling their children.

…okay, I exaggerate. A lot. Point is, I played the game hard, for quite a while, until it just became repetetive–lure in new pinata, check. Breed pinata, check. Sell babies, check. Drive out/feed pinatas to other pinatas, check. Repeat. It’s the same reason I get burned out on The Sims–micromanaging someone else’s life is really fun in the beginning, when your SimwhohasanIQof60 is setting the kitchen on fire and peeing on the living room floor (why am I suddenly thinking of Britney Spears?), but then, after cleaning them up, getting their life in order and on a schedule, it’s not fun anymore.

Don’t get me wrong–I truly do like Viva Pinata, and I’ll pick it up and play it again (soon, probably). The graphics are gorgeous, and the possibilities are endless. And I think that’s why I had to take a break; I got overwhelmed. My garden, overrun with new pinatas, had no room for the old pinatas and, okay, I admit it, I’m not cold-hearted enough yet to feed innocent mousemallows to syrupents.

Okay, fine. I did it once. But I didn’t inhale.