Monday, January 9

On Getting My Head Chainsawed Off.

(So, I went 2 for 4 in my playoff predictions. Nonetheless, the AFC is still in my favor, and I like the Redskins anyways. I'm still sticking with my Conference Championship picks, however. The following post is rated TV-PG for violence.)

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"Screaming Like The Littlest Of Girls: The Resident Evil 4 Story."

I'm what the hipsters would call a 'retro-gamer.' Having grown up in the golden age of home gaming, I've devoted a huge chunk of my childhood (along with an embarrassingly large piece of my adulthood) to video games on my television.

Up in the CDP rumpus room, you'll find an Atari 2600, NES, Sega Genesis and (basic) Coleco Vision in perfect working condition with dozens, maybe hundreds of games. It's a beautiful sight, and I'm quite proud of it. Throw that in with my ever-growing collection of Pac-Man memorabilia, and you've got yourself a shrine to a wasted youth. I sometimes go up there to cry when the Missus is sleeping.

I've resisted the urges to hop on the next generation of console games, strictly because I don't like the direction they're heading. From the time I was 6, right up until now, video game manufacturers have been targeting me as their prime demographic. In the 80's, video games were for kids my age. In the 90's, video games started to be marketed towards teens my age. In the 21st century, video games are outselling feature films, and they are marketing them towards male adults just like me.

I'm in the male minority when I say this, but I don't really like the marketing. I think video games should be for kids, first and foremost; regardless of if they educate or entertain. I recall that feeling of magic and amazement when I played Missile Command for the first time on my 2600; it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. These days, kids have to grow up fast enough as is; now they don't even have any decent games to play. Each day of a child's life is spent wanting to be older, and when they lean their heads against the display case at a video game outlet, it's the same story. That sucks. I can't argue with results and cash, it's just sad that my generation has been the only one fortunate enough to be marketed by this billion-dollar conglomerate for the last 24 years.

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I dragged myself into the new millennium when I purchased a GameCube last month. Sure, it's already 3 years old and out of date, besides being the least-popular console of the 'Big Three,' but I chose it for the reasons I stated earlier. The GameCube has more user-friendly and multiplayer-oriented games, and they focus more on less-complicated titles for novices. In a nutshell, it's a great console to play with the Missus when we're bored. If I wanted to sit by myself and play complicated video games, I wouldn't have gotten married and cut my hair in the first place.

So we picked up Mario Kart and Mario Party for the both of us, along with The Sims 2 for her and Madden '06 for me (all awesome games, by the way). I also acquired the Sonic the Hedgehog collection to satisfy my retro-needs. Sure, I have those original Sonic games in the rumpus room, but that's all the way upstairs. I enjoy the way the GameCube handles; and their limited library is not a problem whatsoever for me and the Missus.

Looking for a good game to utilize the components of a last-generation console, along with something scary and engaging, I picked up Resident Evil 4 last week. Most people will tell you that RE4 is one of the best, scariest and jaw-droppingly gory games ever made. I've never had the opportunity to show my ID when buying a game, so this whole experience was altogether new to me. I played the original Resident Evil on a Playstation that I owned for two weeks when I was 17, and it seemed pretty cool then, so I popped the game in and got down to the getting of getting on.

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I'm far from what you would call a 'manly man,' but I can hold my own. I have a soft spot for splatter films and I'm only afraid of like, two things (drowning and Zell Miller). I watch sports constantly and senseless violence bounces off my forehead like a ping-pong ball. Underneath this sensitive indie shell, I guess I'm sort of a club-dragging loser, but within two minutes of playing Resident Evil 4, I pooped in my pants. In fact, I pooped in the Missus' pants, too. If this game is scary and intense to those who play them constantly, imagine what it's like for a guy who's been in a video game time capsule for 7 years.

The first time I screamed like a girl was when I got my head chainsawed off (see top photo). There I was, minding my own business in a filthy, blood-speckled farmhouse. I had just dusted off a few zombie-like townsfolk with a shotgun blast to the noggin (including a few women, which sort of unsettled me), and was admiring a female corpse that had been affixed to a wall via a pitchfork to the head. It was rather nasty, and I can still see it when I close my eyes really hard.

All at once, I heard the door behind me burst open, with the unmistakable sound of a revving Skil saw. I turned around just in time to see this lumbering whale of a man looming over me, wearing bloody overalls and a burlap sack over his head, with cut-out eyeholes.

I screeched like a Yoko Ono record. You should've seen me; I looked like I was being electrocuted. Sparks should have been emitting from my body.

One meaty swipe and a half-second later, I fell to the ground in two pieces. I looked over to the Missus, who was pale-faced and laughing her ass off. It was all over; there wasn't a dry seat on the couch.

The biggest asset to the terror factor is the rumble pack. For those who don't know, your controller vibrates in your hands now, based on the action on the screen. So, when a snake jumps out at you, or say, Burlap Leatherface decides to split you down the middle, your controller jumpstarts you like a difibulator. I'm still not used to it, and I've got a laundry basket full of soiled Dockers that proves I'm not lying.

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You see all those guys? If they catch you, they're going to eat you. In the grand scheme of things, there's no reasoning with someone who plans on digesting you once they get their mitts on your tender brain. No peace treaty. No utopian society. Not even a head start. They're even going to show them eating you, and it's going to be bad, so don't let them eat you. What more explanation do you need?

I'm about 5% of the way through the game, but I fully intend to finish it. To ratchet up the atmosphere, I always make sure the lights are off and the volume is up. I didn't spend $45 so I could play this game at noon with the dishwasher running. I pay top dollar for my scares, which it why I own two Limp Bizkit albums.

That's why video game companies keep following me around. It works.

Comments:
An ex-girlfriend and I used to play the Silent Hill games at night with all the lights out. It was pretty much like watching a scary movie, only you're controlling it.
 
I can't play computer or video games anymore after having a roommate that was completely addicted, along with all of his friends who were always there playing, even when the roommate wasn't. It was pretty neat. All I heard from the time I got home till the time I went to bed was gunfire, swearing, and techno music.

There was a short stint a couple years ago where I had a PS2 and played lots and lots of Tony Hawk 3, which is really just an updated version of the arcade game 720, without the killer bees.
 
The Silent Hill games are comparably frightening. Good call.

Yeah, if you're surrounded by gamers who prioritize it over basic life decisions, I can see why you'd not want to get too involved in it. Me neither, really. It's okay for kids to do that, but uncool when grown men do it. The Missus keeps my feet on the ground, although she can play the Sims for hours at a time.

I didn't play a lot of 720, but I did like Skate Or Die!

No AD on tonight. Could last week's episode be the last hooray?

"Dude, it's 'hurrah,' not 'hooray'."

"Shut up."
 
I thought AD had 13 episodes ordered this season, and the last one was the 9th. I searched on Yahoo TV and it didn't show any episodes for the next two weeks.

Last week's Office was great. The dance scene might even be better than the dance scene in the BBC version. Although the BBC one took place in the office, so it was a little more surreal. The whole ship analogy discussion at the beginning was cracking me up, too.
 
I'm a little concerned with AD. There's still 4 episodes to go, but you never know with FOX. Maybe after last week's episode, they've opted to burn out the last 4 episodes at 3am on a wednesday. Even bringing back Futurama will not make me any happier with that network.

In fact, FOX could start a sister network containing all of the great shows they cancelled over the last 10 years.

The Office is still top-notch. The ship discussion was hilarious, because it was 3 minutes long and went absolutely nowhere. I also liked the power struggle between Steve Carell and the boat captain. Oh, and Dwight manning the ship.
 
With Freaks and Geeks, they stopped airing them with three new unaired episodes left to go, so it's possible Fox just decided to cut their losses and not even show all the episodes they bought. On the AD boards there was some argument as to whether or not AD was showing tonight, apparently there were last minute schedule changes. So now there's two eps of House.
 
Yup, 2 hours of House tonight. Not like that's bad or anything, I'm just concerned for AD is all.

What if they found a way to end the series, and now FOX won't even show the last 4 episodes? That's a fate too horrible to even be speculating.
 
I remember when Dig Dug used to make you happy!
 
Dig Dug still makes me happy. I love how the music only plays when you're moving.
 
Yeah, really. The basic point of this essay was a chance for me to hitch up my pants real high and talk about the good old days of video games. I re-bought Dig Dug on one of those 'plug and play' games, just so I could rock it without having to use the Old Skool 2600.

I'll take anyone on in Missile Command, anytime.
 

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