Monday, March 20, 2006


I am in a mood today. This mood can be described as grumpy or pissy depending on you level of tolerance for such feelings. For the record, my level is rather low, so in effect, I'm continually annoying myself. These days rarely balance themselves out with a deluge of good fortune in the later hours, so I think the best I can hope for is to continue to bear the brunt of life's annoyances until I go to bed, content that tomorrow is another day. At worst I'll be hit by a bus.

Today's post is going to be about some gaming things in general as my mood is making me shy away from coherency. I have another episode of Ghost Recon Theatre milling about in my brain, but I need to do some research first. I feel that my story, as it is currently plotted, is rife with inconsistencies. I am loathe to publish it in it's current form, lest I be accused of either lying, or poor researching, by the GRAW fans that would, no doubt, descend on this site like a hoard of locusts.

Before we start, though, allow me to recant a tale of my earlier errands. While at the bank today, I saw a poster soliciting donations, in the form of purchaseable, sneaker shaped pieces of paper, for the March of Dimes. The tag line was something like "Buy a sneaker and save some babies." The slogan itself wasn't interesting, so much as the implied alternative. As if you didn't purchase a sneaker, you were damning babies to certain doom. I also liked how the slogan made it seem so simple, like it was the easiest thing in the world to slap down a fiver, and BAM, just like that, babies the world over were saved. In my mind, I pictured myself buying a sneaker, and the bank teller would look over her shoulder and nod to a nurse who is holding a sickly infant. The nurse would then inject said infant with a subtance that would cause the child to quickly regain color and mobility, and it would bound out the door, to live life anew. In my mind, the substance was blue and glowing, signifying that it was of either extraterrerstrial or radioactive origin.

I think that they should post these signs next to the vending machines at work, so that you can feel guilty for buying snack cakes on multiple levels, both caloric and charitable. In that context, the unspoken slogan would be "Enjoy your twinkies you dirty baby hater." After the bank, I went to the grocery store, where they hawk Shamrocks for Jerry's Kids. The child in that poster seemed pretty happy. Perhaps she's accepted her fate of being afflicted with MS. Perhaps she just has a cold. At any rate, her smiling face said to me that even if I decided not to buy a Shamrock, perhaps because I was buying Ritz Bits crackers instead, it wasn't a big deal and I shouldn't feel bad about it. It's not like Jerry Lewis had a gun to her head as if to say, "Buy a shamrock or the kid gets it." For the record, I purchased neither Shamrocks nor Ritz Bits crackers, however now I'm regretting not purchasing the latter.

After spending a fair amount of time with the title, I'm content in stating that Burnout: Revenge provides the most amount of fun you can have on the 360. You can take this as a matter of opinion, but I'm rarely wrong in these areas, so put up yout token resistance so that you can feel better about yourself, and then just go out and buy it. My initial distaste for the Crash Junctions has been replaced with glee. Now that I am free from the shackles of the multipliers, I am reveling in destructive freedom. Last week, despite getting a gold medal in a Junction, I immediately did it again, because the post carnage flyby showed a gaggle of buses snickering at my inability to paint them in destructive finery. I remedied that with a quickness. They snicker in hell now.

It took me some time to realize that there was subtle in-game advertising, which means that the advertising is either doing its job extremely well, or not very well at all. I first noticed the advertising when I unlocked a Hardees burger van as a Crash Junction vehicle, then I saw Hardees billboards everywhere. I think it's funny that real life car manufacturers won't allow their cars to be used in a game that builds puzzles out of vehicular homicide, but Hardees is like "Sign us up!" Then again, after watching them unleash various Monster Thickburgers on us, I think it's clear that Hardees won't rest until we're all snuggled deep in our graves.

I think it's odd that whenever the notion of violent videogames is raised, the Burnout series never gets a mention. I'm assuming that it's because those incensed about the issue just pass Burnout off as a racing game. Either that, or they believe that the cars in the game are all piloted by faceless automotons, programmed to just drive around, all for our amusement. Here's something that's fun to do as you go through a Crash Junction. After your car smashes into a fuel tanker that subsequently explodes, imagine that the van next to it is filled with a vacationing family of 6. It's a hoot!

Oblivion drops tomorrow, which means that the anal retentive side of me will be in full swing as I try to complete every quest available. I have no idea what kind of person I'm going to be. Usually I try to be a thief with a heart of gold, but only because there's no option to be a hooker with a similarly gilded organ. I know that Andy is going to be an evil Battlemage. He likes being evil because he can do things in game that he can't do in real life. Well, that and his soul is as black as night. Kidding! I always try to be evil but then there's a quest where I'm supposed to kick a puppy and I just feel too bad to carry it out. I don't know all of the character types, so it's hard to make a determination quite yet, but I think I'm going to really try to be evil this time, or at least mildly dishonest, like I'd take a penny, but I'd never leave one in return.

With Oblivion coming out, that probably means the end of multiplayer Ghost Recon for some time. That's too bad because I was wracking up achievement points willy-nilly. Yes, some of them I rigged the game to get, but the one where I got 30 multiplayer kills in a match before getting killed was 100% earned. It's easy, from this achievement, to think that I'm some sort of bad-ass GRAW ninja or something, however there are a multitude of cooperative multiplayer modes that pit you and your crew against throngs of floppy-hatted banditos. Should your host set up one of these matches with infinite enemies, and you can take your M60, with it's hojillion rounds per second rate of fire, and lay down in the tall grass with it, you too can kill several dozen banditos before taking an errant round in the brainpan. That's not to say that I'm not a badass though, as many the time in Friday night's matches did I find myself on top of the leaderboards with my high number of dispatched banditos. Should you be of the mind to get the 100 headshots achievements, simply follow my previous advice and aim higher. After several matches, you too will appear to be a killing machine, hell bent on destruction. It won't be long before Hardees is seeking your services.

Finally, I was in Target this weekend, it being a staple of any Cackowski-Schnell weekend, and I saw a young lad with his DS attached to his ear, as if he was using it as a cellphone. My first instinct was to knock him to the ground and take the handheld, to see if he had managed to get a prerelease copy of Metroid Prime: Hunters, it making use of Voice over IP for in-game chatting. The only thing that stopped myself was my next thought which was that if I try to use the in-game chatting in such a capacity, I'm going to look like a fucking retard. By the time both thoughts passed, he was gone with his mother, no doubt to buy cargo shorts, floor cleaner and Pringles. Tomorrow I hope to have the game in my sweaty paws, which makes it much easier to live with my decision to not commit a very public form of child abuse. Had this been last month, that fucker would have been toast.


Bones said...

I finished the campaign in GRAW tonight. I always start up the 360 with the intent to get some multiplayer going, but I was so wrapped up in the story that I couldn't bear to kill bad guys without some feeling of urgency to make it to the next objective. Now that it's over (on normal anyway), I'll be focusing more on the multi.

Haven't decided what I want next. Burnout looks like fun, and gets your seal of approval, but I'm not really big on racing games. I don't really know if I'd enjoy Oblivion or not. Never played Morrowind, it looked boring. Plus I'm not sold on the whole "First Person RPG" thing, it looks clunky to me. What to do, what to do.

monique said...

I don't play video games, but Gabe just finished SpongeBob something Bikini Bottom. I laugh everytime I say Bikini Bottom and I think it's hilarious that kids don't get the mental picture. But I digress...

The solicitation stories: I like the March of Dimes. Their work actually has actually helped save a lot of preemies. But I get so tired of feeling like a B**** because I don't want to fork over $1 to everyone with their hand out. I make most of my donations to org's that I know are reputable...and through the mail

Kojubat said...

I agree about Burnout. I haven't gotten very far in the world tour, but I'm finding it just as fun as I remember. And it helps that the explosions are more explosiony.

But yeah, Oblivion is going to be the game-to-play for the forseeable future.

Booster MPS said...

[quote]After your car smashes into a fuel tanker that subsequently explodes, imagine that the van next to it is filled with a vacationing family of 6. It's a hoot![/quote]

Actually the van is filled with 3 or four of Jerry's Kids......

suburbanjoe said...

If only I had bought the Shamrocks! Nice one Booster.