An Evening With Eva and The Fuhrer

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I don’t often go to midnight game releases, but when I do I meet some strange people.

It was late March. The game: Bioshock Infinite. I hadn’t originally planned to go to the midnight release because two words: midnight release. I am an old man and waiting until midnight for anything is asking a bit much. However, my mother was in town and agreed to watch the little one so my wife and I could go. We don’t get to go out much these days, so when I offered to take my wife on the whirling maelstrom of happy adventure that was Bioshock Infinite Midnight Release, she couldn’t help but say yes.

Most of it was fairly standard. Wait in line. Get your number. But that “wait in line” part can be packed with some entertaining stuff.

For instance, while we were all camped outside an old black woman drove up in a minivan. She was inquiring as to what game we were waiting for. “Luigi’s Mansion?” she asked. “Nope,” we all said in unison. She still pestered us all about Luigi’s Mansion for a good ten to fifteen minutes. Keep in mind, this was around ten or eleven o’clock at night. I got to thinking… what’s the deal with this woman and her obsession with Luigi? Furthermore, what strangled path of her life led her to this moment? She’d probably been waiting for this moment for months. I can imagine her out on the hunt. She’d probably stopped in every store. “You got ‘Luigi’s Mansion?’” she would ask. “No ma’am, this is McDonald’s.”

And why Luigi? Why not Mario? I can only imagine the talk at her hair salon. Yapping to her friends:

“You know that Mario – he a chump. He be all getting’ that girl from Bowser and she be goin’ right back. E’erbody know she humpin’ Bowser. How you gon’ go, ‘Ooh, Mario save me! I got captured again!’ See, now Luigi don’t get played like that. He a real man. And he got two jobs! Two! He a plumber and a ghostbuster! What Mario do? Get played like a little punk, that’s what he do.”

We also got to chat with, among others, a Pokemon fangirl and an inordinate number of cross-eyed gentlemen. I am not making that up. One in particular I had nicknamed “The Fuhrer.” He was a short guy dressed all in black. He had chains and silver military paraphernalia pinned to his shirt. Epulets, iron crosses, and whatever that bird is people plaster on something when they want it to look vaguely Nazi-ish. The works. He blathered on about Rammstein and getting bombed at Oktoberfest. And Germany. Oh, how he loved Germany.

His little girlfriend was dressed in black as well, but she had more of a goth/steampunk sort of vibe and was actually kind of sweet. She seemed a lot more normal. I couldn’t tell if she was actually into all the dressing up or just humoring her boyfriend. I’m pretty sure she’s different when she’s not with her SS soldier of a man. She’s probably just wearing a t-shirt and jeans… and comparing insurance rates and checking on how her stocks are doing. It was a very interesting evening and they did seem like nice people. However, it was a little hard not to be scared. I did not want to end up in some creepy couple’s sex dungeon without even getting Bioshock Infinite.

The evening came to an end. We all trudged home, Bioshocks in hand and immersed ourselves in a world of intrigue and adventure. Ha ha! I’m just kidding. We went home and installed discs, installed updates, and redeemed codes. Then we went to bed with the desperate hope that everything would be installed and downloaded by morning so we could actually play the game.

 

 

 

 

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My Top 5 Most Satisfying Video Game Actions

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I am a lifelong gamer. I started playing video games with the Atari 2600. The one with the old wood grain design. My grandparents got one for Christmas one year and it was the best reason to go to their house. I eventually got one of my own. My grandmother was worried that I wouldn’t want to play the one at her house. She was silly. Of course I would play her too. Good grief. Anyway, one of the reasons I play games is because doing game things is so satisfying. Certain things are more satisfying than others and here are my top five most satisfying actions.

1. Finding a New Item (Legend of Zelda series) – Back in the day there was nothing better than fighting through a dungeon, killing enemies, pushing that block and watching that staircase appear. Finally, you’d walk down that stair case and see your prize – a raft, a ladder, a magic wand. It didn’t matter what it was. You knew that getting that item would open up the entire world… again! As Link hoisted that item over his head in triumph you were already ticking off all the places you were going to revisit. Special mention goes to the Hammer in Zelda 2 as getting this item provided a rush of endorphins you just can’t replicate.

2. Completing the Marsh Cave (Final Fantasy) – The Marsh Cave might as well be the last dungeon in the original Final Fantasy. It is one of the two major hurdles you have to overcome in order to beat the game (the other one being the Ice Cave). It’s incredibly tough for the beginners. It’s a pretty long walk from Elfland to the cave to begin with. Not to mention almost every enemy can poison you – some can stun you. Then you have to beat two “Wizards,” which use no magic (ironically) but can put your characters in the ground in one hit. As if that wasn’t enough, if you manage to beat the “Wizards” you have to limp all the way back to Elfland. After the Marsh Cave you can get a huge stash of loot and money. The game becomes a good deal easier. A victory made sweeter if you could managed to get out of the Marsh Cave with your party intact.

3. Sniper Rifle Headshots (Gears of War) – Headshots are always pretty satisfying no matter what the game. I gave a special mention to the Gears of War series because I’ve never loved headshots more. Locust heads explode like melons when you hit them making a very satisfying SMOOSH! It helps that it’s not too hard to do either and the aiming for such an action seems pretty forgiving. In the two games I played I never passed up the sniper rifle. Ever.

5. Beating a Boss (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) – The thing I like about beating a boss in C:SotN is that second-long pause once you’ve made the final strike. It lends some weight to the action. It gives you a chance to say, “Yeah! Suck it, jerk!” just before the enemy launches into their death animation. It doesn’t hurt that each boss beaten extends your life.

5. Cuttin’ Up Fools (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance) – I just finished this game last week and I can tell you that the Zendetsu mechanic is one of the finest in video games. It allows you to slow down time and meticulously slice enemies into tiny, tiny pieces. The game even counts how many pieces you made. And it doesn’t matter whether its a low-level mook who was stupid enough to get in your way, a giant robot, or boss who’s bested you twenty or thirty times, slowing down time and turning them into giblets is awesome. I don’t care how short the game is, Zendetsu makes it all worth while.

There you go! My top 5 most satisfying video game actions. What are some of yours?

Catching Up on PS3 Exclusives

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I did it. I finally got a PS3. After years of having an Xbox 360 I finally scraped enough money together to get a PS3 and a metric ton of games. Honestly, I feel like I’ve come home. In the past month I’ve played several games. Here are my impressions on some of them:

Metal Gear Solid 4 – I’m a huge Metal Gear fan. In fact one of the items on my Bucket List was to finally play this game. I’m happy to say it did not disappoint. Granted, it has all the things (both good and bad) that one expects from Metal Gear Solid. I was still drawn into the narrative and and had a great time sneaking around and blowing up bosses. It stumbles in the final act with a crappy fighting “mini-game” type thing which infuriated me to no end. An amazing game despite that.

Infamous – I’m about three quarters through this one. It’s okay. I like the morality choices even if it’s pretty black and white. However, I’m getting to the point where the side objectives are getting repetitive. Also, Cole McGrath is not Spider-Man but he sure sticks to every single surface like he is. Overall, it’s fun but not mind-blowing.

Uncharted – This game can go die in a fire. Seriously. It can’t decide whether it wants to be Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider, or Gears of War. Sadly, it usually picks Gears of War leading me from gunfight to gunfight with foes who absorb bullets like they were made of kevlar. I mean, if you’re wearing no shirt and I shoot you in the chest with a machine gun, you should be dead right? Oh, and the jetski. UGH! Least fun thing since Mega Man 8’s ice sled. People said this game was like “playing a movie.” Um… no. The constant gun battles kill any momentum the game is trying to muster. I hope the other two are a lot better.

Heavy Rain – Just beat this one today. Oh. My. Word. What an amazing experience! The graphics are fantastic, the story is engrossing. While it is definitely an “interactive movie” more than it is a game, that’s okay! Still one of the most moving and interesting games I’ve played in quite a while. I’m not ashamed to say I cried at the end. Some of the voice acting could have been better, though. And the “sex scene” is…well… not very sexy.

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Haven’t played too much of this one. That being said I can say that this is the most gorgeous game I have ever played. The artwork and graphics are simply stunning. It’s from the guy who did “Spirited Away” and “Ponyo” and all those. The gameplay itself is pretty old school RPG. However, I’m finding if I use anything else than my first familiar I get school pretty quickly. I do want to see this one through to the end though.

Kingdom Hearts Remix 1.5 – I loved the original on the PS2 and this version is just as good. It looks bright and colorful in HD too. Not too much to say about this one. It’s Kingdom Hearts.

God of War II – I picked up the God of War saga out of curiosity. I guess I’m hoping that II and III might do something to make Kratos out to be a bit less of a douche. Kratos is, in my opinion, one of the most unlikable heroes in gaming. This PS2 sequel has dropped some of the camera angle/box puzzle nonsense from the first game. At least so far.

Dragon’s Crown –  I haven’t spent too much time with this one, but the time I have spent is fun. Great 2D graphics to boot. I’m not quite as angry about the big boobs as some other people are though.

That it’s for right now. I’m going to work on finishing Infamous, God of War II, and Na No Kuni.