Wednesday, September 6

CDP Top 30 Posts Of All Time - #23.

CDP Top 30 Posts Of All Time - #23
"On Getting My Head Chainsawed Off."
(Originally published 01-09-06.)

(The following post is rated TV-PG for violence.)Image hosted by
"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 Sure, it's already 3 years old and out of date, besides being the least-popular console of the 'Big Three,' but I chose it for the reasons I stated earlier.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.

I'm still reeling from your muffin bait-and-switch, and now this. I think I'll have Godot tell me when it's safe to come back.

(Just kidding ... only the CDP could make terror seem amusing.)
It should be noted that I haven't played the game since I wrote this essay.
It takes too long to play that game...
I tend to work around and go to school with a lot of guys. I'm kind of a tomboy, at least in some ways, so whenever I begin to feel out of touch with my double-x chromosomes, I'll watch one of my friends play Resident Evil (or something akin). That's when I'm brought down to earth and realize that I definitely am a girl, sometimes even a girly-girl. That game makes me cringe, blecch.

Also, 3-D games have the tendency to make me nauseous, so Resident Evil [4] is definitely not the game for me. I'll stick to my Rolling-Screen-Adventure-Super-Mario-type games, thanks. Besides, I don't have the hand-eye coordination for these new fangles controllers even if i wanted to play them.
I'm kind of in the same boat as you (concerning the controllers, not the girly-girl thing). May I recommend anything from the Mario Party series. The kids love it!

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