Hey Gamers: Pop a Prozac with a Slim-Fast Chaser

Posted on August 18, 2009. Filed under: Misc. Geekery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

File this under “Obvious”.

The Centers for Disease Control, killing time while trying to cure AIDs or cancer, is set to publish a study this October in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine about links between gaming, and health and personality.

This just in: Gamers tend to be fatter and sadder. Yes, mostly causation vs. correlation takes a backseat, but the pattern remains. The psychological and physical profile of a gamer fits exactly with the stereotype: a socially awkward 35 year-old, tending to be male, with a proclivity towards cheetos and frozen burritos, although it mentions nothing about living in their mothers’ basements. They should have asked about that, THEN we’d have a punchline.

But anyone with half a brain can tell you that statistics SUCK. I’ll grant, statistics can be useful, but statistics paint a very cold, and even judgmental picture without telling you the whole story.

PC World brings up valid arguments about how gamers lifestyles and career preferences do lean more toward the sedentary side (usually tending to being chained in a cubicle farm for many hours, like Mario, and after those long hours, you want nothing more than to continue sitting on your ass and pwning some n00bs until it’s time to get 6 hours of sleep).

Not just gaming, but jobs can make you depressed and overweight, life events can make you depressed and overweight, genetics can make you depressed and overweight, cruel school bullies can make you depressed and overweight, that asshole who cut you off on the highway the other day can make you depressed and overweight, and your Mom’s famous tuna casserole made with cream of mushroom soup can make you overweight (but depressed?).

Too. Many. Fucking. Variables.

C’mon CDC, you should know this shit by now!

And the BMI system is an antiquated and flawed one. Schwarzenegger, at the height of his bodybuilding days, was at his peak of health and nothing but kick-ass muscle …and would have been considered obese. FAIL.

*

A different angle — How about the argument that we humans, despite how technologically advanced we are, are still primitive creatures. We hoard. We gorge. All because our monkey brains have no clue when our next meal will be, even if we are aware it’s spaghetti and meatballs night when we get home from work, yet we’ll still reach for that candy bar because we feel drawn to. Who knows, maybe your car will break down on the way home in the middle of nowhere. Your brain is not fully aware that you also have a cell phone and maybe some flares in your trunk.

Also in spite of technology and how much time it has saved us, we’re still always in a hurry and that hurry seems to just get worse and worse (thanks entirely to a globally-connected economy that puts pressure on business, that in turn put pressure on its employees — not saying being global is bad, I’m just saying HOW it’s being handled is unhealthy). It’s breakfast, but we’re in a hurry–Let’s choke down some pop-tarts. It’s lunchtime, but we’re in a hurry–Where’s the nearest microwave so I can nuke this mega-sized meat and cheese burrito? It’s dinnertime, but I’m in a hurry to relax from my hectic day–Let’s get pizza delivery.

We no longer have to hunt or forage (or, hell, even cook a meal from scratch), but tell that to our primitive brains. You can’t. And I believe THAT is the biggest reason why so many people are overweight or obese. We have advanced technologically faster than we humans have ourselves, creating a large disconnect that we can’t possibly catch up to. Not to say that we’re not responsible for our own damn actions. We absolutely are, just saying there’s more to the story than just making poor choices or blaming genetics (which I feel most people use as an excuse rather than a real explanation. Don’t tell me it’s freaking genetics when you’re getting your third helping of fried chicken and mashed ‘taters doused in country gravy. Save it)

Technology could also be a reason for depression as well. Going back to the cubicle farm and all the globally-connected pressures, this causes stress, which in turn causes depression. This could also then cause a thirst for violence without actual harm, or for simple want of an addiction turn to gaming (or alcohol, or drugs, or food, or hookers, or putting babies on spikes).

That is ONE way of interpreting the statistics. ONE possibility. Another is that gaming itself, regardless of technology and life, causes depression. As far as we know, the study mentions nothing about causality, making the statistics sound nothing more than just pure coincidence.

I fit a great deal of their profile: socially awkward, depressed, connect mostly online, lowered health status, although I am considered a normal BMI, and I am NOT a gamer. I’m trying, but it’s just not in me to be a “gamer”. I haven’t touched Halo 1 in over a week, and I feel no pull to play it even though it’s a damn good game and I greatly enjoy it.

You see, I’m a casual player and a voyeuristic enthusiast.

That sounded dirtier than intended. I like it.

~Peach

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The World of Warcraft’s Gone Mad

Posted on July 31, 2009. Filed under: Misc. Geekery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

((Before I get into the article, I will NOT be playing GTA IV. I tried. I failed. Immediately. Mario recommends Halo 1. Any ideas for a beginner such as myself? Please nothing cutesy. Had enough of that.))


Here’s a little entertainment for you during this post. The title’s a play on the title of the awesome collaboration between Handsome Boy Modeling School and Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, “The World’s Gone Mad”:

I came across this article a few days ago, Addiction Therapists Signing Up to World of Warcraft.

The funny thing is for most of high school, I wanted to become a therapist (people always came to me with their problems because I’m trustworthy or some shit, so why not legitimately make some money off of it? Oh, and help people. Right). Mario becomes addicted to games easily and focuses intensely (he’s currently driven to finish off Fallout 3). He’s even been knocking around the idea of joining WoW again after he finishes building his computer.

Never thought I’d actually say this, but THANK GOD WE ARE POOR BASTARDS.

But who needs WoW, when Star Wars: The Old Republic will be out next year? And that’s when Princess Daisy and I both become MMO widows.

So the deal with the article is therapists are actually JOINING MMORPGs, observing patients, and administering therapy in their patient’s addictive environment. Tricky business, especially if the therapists may become addicted themselves, then all hell breaks loose and there are suddenly no more boars to slaughter, so no more backdoors to level up, pussies!

But probably going (NSFW, duh) Clockwork Orange on all their asses would be best for WoW addicts. (God, I love that soundtrack. Ludwig Van)

The program sounds both simple and convoluted at the same time (as all sciencey things invariably do). Therapists join the game, create avatars, play the game, and all that jazz. They also recruit what they call “peer mentors” from those who do indeed play WoW, but are somehow miraculously NOT addicted –Isn’t it usually a cycle where you play 16-hour days for weeks, then just get burnt out and not play for several months to get another job to support yourself –that is until you pick up the latest expansion pack and then quit your job and resubscribe? I thought with WoW, you’re either an obsessed current player, or else an obsessed player on furlough.

Here’s what makes me itchy, though: Therapists are crossing their fingers that Blizzard Entertainment will give them discounted rates, or else all together WAIVE the fees because it’s–OH NOES!–pricey.

But that’s the cost of business, right? It would be written off as a business expense come tax time. I don’t know how it is in the UK, but in the US therapists get paid around $200-something an hour, and that’s a middle-of-the-road therapist, so why the hell can’t they pay the $19.99 for the game disk, and the $29.99 and $39.99 for the expansion packs ONCE upfront, then the 15 bucks per month to subscribe? Really? And I would hope that the people they would be treating on WoW would be paying them through their insurance and co-pays for their in-game therapy.

Technically, they are being PAID to play.

As an aside, I recognize that the $200 therapist fee does not go straight into the therapist’s pocket. It goes towards their receptionists, rent, bills, etc as well, but it’s all in the cost of business, and with WoW, there’s A LOT of business to be found. So I say the cost of playing WoW is far outweighed by the business that would be generated in their practice through WoW.

How CAN you get cheaper than 15 bucks a month on such an immense game as WoW? That’s $180 a year, granted, but they’ll make that one year’s subscription all back in ONE HOUR. At least their addicts aren’t hooked on something like cocaine. Then their immersion therapy would be a hell of a lot more expensive, and you could NEVER get a discount on that shit, even the stuff cut with baby laxatives. …Not that I know, but I could imagine. Then again, one of the therapists in the article is quoted saying that WoW is “more addictive than crack cocaine.” Would HE know?

And, let me guess, those “peer mentors” aren’t paid, but are “volunteers”. Am I right? Every time I’ve ever worked with the title “peer mentor”, it’s been on a voluntary basis, and the fact that I improved another person’s life was my payment. No indication one way or another in the article, but I think I can be safe in my assumption, or perhaps their only compensation would be a free month depending on the number of hours they put into peer mentoring, and a liter of Mountain Dew with a long crazy straw.

What. The. F##K? Maybe I should become a therapist so I can exploit WoW users and even Blizzard themselves.

Let’s say Blizzard does indeed give a discount (or even waives their fees) in an effort to cure gaming addiction. Does this mean therapists and even doctors can now count on Jack Daniels to help foot the bill at the Betty Ford Clinic, or maybe Big Tobacco can pay for Grandpa Jim’s double-lung transplant? But all the while the patient and their insurance still pay, so they get paid TWICE.

So Blizzard would be literally PAYING to lose customers because those unfortunate souls got a well-intentioned but misfired therapy that the patient is ALSO paying for that cures them of wanting that specific addiction, rather than treating what DRIVES them to addiction. Once their WoW addiction is supposedly cured, the poor sods will find an addiction elsewhere because many people are hardwired to just be addicted to something; anything. And then they have to pay for more therapy.

I was at first intrigued and even in support of this online therapy idea, but now after reading the article and seeing all the WTFs involved… Let me say, I am amazed I have defended WoW. Holy hell.

I’ll take The Rapist for $400, Alex.

~Peach

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Castle Crashers: Technical Knockout

Posted on July 28, 2009. Filed under: Game | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

((I know, it’s really long, but I try to be entertaining. I swear! I’m still finding my footing with this blog. Any suggestions?))

After… SEVENTEEN days. Two and a half weeks (I simply don’t have the focus of a gamer, apparently). I have finished Castle Crashers. I started on July 7th, and finished July 24th.

I played as the Gray Guy.

Iddn’t he kyoot? Aww. One of his eyes is angwy. Makes me wanna pinch his gway cheeks. XPPPPPPPP

I’ve played the game before. Long, long ago. So I started as the Gray Guy. He was MY character. I left him off at a level 11. I couldn’t get past the freaking demented River Cat with the bloodstained sock puppet and living white evil teddy bear. I would usually play Mario’s Alien Hominid because he was so darn cute, his ‘magic’ was super effective, and I would just play to level his character up (He’s now at 51. You’re welcome). Since his Alien Hominid had already beaten the game, I would be able to bypass that smelly cat (What are they feeding you? –I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.) and try other levels. I only tried the Tall Grass Field and The Parade (but would get killed practically instantly).

I tend to freak easily, so I avoid things when I know I’m gonna freak, then that leads me to spaz, then I just want to scream, curl up, and suck on my thumb while singing “Take On Me” soothingly to myself, so this whole new experience has been quite interesting to say the least… Controllers flying everywhere. It’s a wonder that I haven’t broken anything (yet) or the neighbors haven’t called the cops. I should really film my adventures in gaming. It would bring the weird.

Anyway, I ended the game as a level 37. I was so excited when I reached level 20, so then I could use the best weapons. My favorites were: the Butcher Knife, the Club (those crit hits attracted me), the King’s Mace, and the NG Golden Sword. Before then, I preferred the Pumpkin Peeler and the Broad Ax.

I also loved how we could use animal orbs to help us out. My constant companion in the beginning was, of course, Giraffey, so I could level up faster. Then as I got closer to the end of the game, I started using these guys: Chicken, Spiny, and the Troll (which I SWORE by in the last cluster of battles before and including the Final Battle.

How did I build up my character? I mostly assigned points to Strength and Defense since I’m not that used to the controller yet and need to smash my enemies quickly and deftly (and to lessen the duration of my freakouts). Then after I had my Strength and Defense built up, I did Agility. I had a few in Magic, but the Gray Knight’s Magic is lame anyway and me pressing the bumpers just gets me hit and killed, so I didn’t bother. I don’t have that speed-thumb yet either. If I had experience in either the controller or speed-thumb, I’m sure I could have cut those 17 days in half. But, alas, I am a novice. I am learning. Slowly.

Since it’s been a few (busier than normal) days, let me try to gather my thoughts…

Everything up until the River Cat I’m quite expert and adept to, so not much to comment there. When I did start playing this time around, however, I did start from the beginning just to feel more authentic, I guess. But it was easy to just re-do stuff here (and it helped level my guy up further. Bonus). Whenever I play Super Mario Galaxy, I WON’T be doing that because some stars I HAVE achieved months and months ago were pains in the ass (btw, that will not be the next game I play).

Level-by-level play-by-play, after the River Cat:

Tall Grass Fields: I spazzed at those blood-stained teddy bears with sharp teeth. Button-mashed my way out of there.

Pipistrello’s Cave: …dotdotdot… Pipistrello sounds more like a teddy bear Italian father figure who runs the best damn pizza joint in the county, but instead he’s an enormous bat who shits smoky green poo on me, and then had his wittle bat minions nibble me to death. Here’s the kicker, I defeated him, but then one of his minion nibbled the last of my health and I DIED before I was officially declared the winner. F&$%^#*&%*$*$$&$#%#@KKKKK!!!!!!

You could say I was a smidge miffed, but I finally got my sweet, sweet revenge. BTW, it wasn’t until here, I believe, that I discovered what those potions were for: restoring health. Thanks Mario! Now I know to set my bumper so I can just tap B during a battle and be all set.

Flowery Field: Oddly, I don’t remember much about that level. I definitely don’t recall encountering any bees. I would totally remember it because I would have screamed “NOT THE BEEEEES!!! AHHHH!! THEY’RE IN MY EYES!! MY EYES!!! AHHHH!! ARRRRGG!!” a la Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage. But I don’t have the best of memories anyway, although I have a tendency towards savantism at times (mostly towards cooking/food trivia and classic cinema …or even crappy or campy cinema like the above example).

Wedding Crash: Another PITA level. Clusterfucks everywhere, and then the boss. Naturally, I get squicked when I first come upon a boss (whether I’ve fought them before or not) and then my heart feels like it’s gonna explode, then that adrenaline shoots into my elbows before radiating down to my wrists, then thumbs. It’s a weird sensation. It makes me jumpy and anxious. Is that how gaming is supposed to feel like, or is that generally reserved for n00bs like moi?

Anyway, that Groom is an ass. Nobody fricking fights fair. It’s all long-range stuff. What happened to dueling or even mano-a-mano? Guess dueling went out of style thanks to the pompous ass that was Aaron Burr (who dueled with another pompous ass, Alexander Hamilton …but that’s history). Whatever. I dodged those bombs and Y-ed the shit out of him when I had a chance, but as you get closer to defeating them, they get insanely faster. How can you compete with that?

Man I’m whiny. My n00b is showing. Is there a soothing salve for that?

Regardless, I beat his ass. And he taught me a valuable lesson: You always leave a note. They are BOSSES. They’re ENEMIES. No way in hell they are going to fight fair. They want you DEAD. It’s one of those things that you “know”, but you have to GET to know to actually KNOW it. …if that makes any sense. I know I hardly do. –And that’s not something I “know”, it’s something I KNOW.

#_#

What do I know? I’m used to Sonic the Hedgehog bosses.

Parade: OOH! A parade? You mean I get to put on a pretty bonnet with all the frills upon it and dance with Fred Astaire? Wait, no? Monkey balls. Instead I get to keep tapping Y, fighting yet another Massive Troll, and avoiding his lasers. Easy peasy. Intense, but almost sickeningly easy once you get used to it. My heart was still pounding the whole way through, though.

Cyclops’ Cave: Pretty basic and straightforward: you step into an area, get various minions, fight them off, get the blinking hand, go to the next area, get various minions, fight them off, etc, etc…

Cyclops’ Gate: Avoid lava splatter. That is all.

Cyclops’ Fortress: Those Coneheads are tough little bastards. Damn their lightsabers and agile movements in HEAVY ARMOR.

Lava World: Oh… no. Those Fire Demons are the tough little bastards. The Coneheads are their cuddly little cousins. They keep using their long-range magic attacks that leave me idling to get back up, only to be pelted by yet another fireball. Ugh. Then I got to the Volcano, and I thought ‘oh, this will be too easy’. Then I actually started fighting. Those fire demons just kept coming. When I killed them, they turned into a sandwich. I picked them up thinking they were health that I desperately (always) need. Then I started to go hit the Volcano, but it took NO hits. I finally figured out that I needed to USE the nummy PBJ sammies.

I defeated his magma ass and was ready for the next level. …Wait…what…?

THERE’S A DRAGON WITH A SOCK PUPPET??? The damage had been done. I needed new underpants. I was so scared, I returned to the map. I lost ALL my progress! So I had to start all over in Lava World. I was so miffed. Even if it were easy, it is time-consuming. And it is not easy. I shot Mario an email, bothering him at work. He simply told me to, well, avoid things and keep hitting him. …Okay. But he at least made me feel like I could do it (Buck up, little camper! Everyone’s a winner, champ! …but not really)

My strategy: Make sure my potions are all filled and ready, then switch to sandwiches being ready at the Volcano, then switch back to ready potions at the Dragon. With the Dragon, I stayed near his mouth the whole time, fighting the one minion, getting fire breathed on me (which didn’t deplete much health in the first place, come to find out later), do X-Y repeatedly while his head was down dousing me with flames, and not giving a damn when a boulder came and hit me since it also didn’t deplete much.

This boss’ bark is FAR bigger than his bite. Still scared the crap out of me, so I felt deceived, but nonetheless victorious! I slayed a dragon!

Industrial Castle: Those damn minions were tough and just kept coming, but it wasn’t insanely hard. It was just enough difficulty and pain-in-the-ass-ness; no more, no less. The headscratcher, though, was getting past those spiked mallets WITHOUT getting hit (which you can’t. Meh). On the rising platform, I X-Y-ed the snot out of everyone.

Then, the puffy purple boss with the Snidely Whiplash mustache. I’ll call him Baron von Douchebag, because he looks like he’s of feminine product nobility. Of course, in honor of cowardly bosses everywhere, Baron von Douchebag trumps them all by getting BEHIND a glass wall to control a MACHINE (obviously constructed by a freshman engineering student at Rutgers).

I’ll give that it is a tricky machine when you are first confronted with it, but then you get to know its quirks and choreography, so it’s easy. You just have to be patient to finally get the finger-walking arm, and the other dangerous substance-shooting arm.

Then once you explode everything, the Baron browns his puffy pantaloons and goes running away, but all there is is a balcony, so you excitedly punt him off it and collect a seeing eyeglass, so now you can get passage on the ship.

Pirate Ship: So I finally collected all 3 of those damn trinkets.

NINJAAAAS!!! Not pirates, but NINJAAAAS!!! Ninjas that take two hits, then turn into a log. Much like real ninjas. And they just keep freaking coming. Is there any end?

Desert: Sufficiently challenging without ticking you off. Those poison-spitting worms are annoying, but you gotta get right next to them to kill them and they will gnaw on your flesh a bit, then you have a few more baddies to slay as you dodge scorpions.At the end, there’s random alien spaceship that plop out Alien Hominids that you kill with one single hit, but they keep spitting out one to replace another. Then when finished, you have no choice but to get abducted.

Interesting level. Pretty damn straightforward and almost boring, but after all that adrenaline-pumping fighting before this level, the Desert makes a fine calming moment.

It’s like a mixed-tape: After you pump it up, you gotta bring it down.

Then HOLY SHIT IT GETS BROUGHT BACK UP AGAIN!!1!

Alien Ship: Im in a laser cage, but I use my mad archery skills to bust myself free, but then I get swarmed by cute and semi-deadly Alien Hominids. I slay them, collect their coins, gems, and food products, and then destroy another laserbeam cage.

Um… who the hell is that? Why is there a Beefy Alien and why is he in a cage? Oh shit he’s charging for me. Oh, he’s busting buttons. AHHHH!!! Self-destruct! I only have a minute to escape??!!!

You know how long this took me. A few hours over two days. Many, many, many attempts. I would barely make it to the velvet rope before we got blown up. Then I’d have to start ALL over again with the easy, but timely slaying of the aliens. Then there were a few times I got close, but then the next attempts would have me make stupid mistakes like getting hit by smoke which idles me, or hit by the ambushing aliens which again idles me.

Desert Chase: Just an interlude level. Again, to calm me down.

Sand Castle Interior: OMFG AMBUSH!! Why do you toy me so, Castle Crashers??

Sand Castle Roof: o_O? A volleyball game? It took me a while to figure out wtf was going on, and even longer to figure out HOW the hell to PLAY it. I got defeated countless times (they all pointed, laughed at me, and yelled “FAIL!” I hung my head in shame. I wanted my mommy).

The depth perception of the game SUCKS. You only THINK you’re right at the ball ready to whack it at them, but nope–it ends up flopping on your side and THEY get ticked a point and I get ticked off.

A few times I got close, but then I FREAKING WON!!! Boy did that feel good. I did a little dance.

Marsh: Easy as pie. You kill skeleton zombies and plunder graves. All in a day’s work. Those Forest Knights are sons of bitches, though.

Corn Boss: Super easy. Quite predictable. You just keep running across the map to better avoid where he may pop up. You can see him snapping at you from a mile away, and whenever he’s doing his weed-whacking movement, he always starts in the same spot and goes across in the same places. It’s just at the end when he’s constantly burrowing underground and popping back up at an insanely fast rate, so it’s harder for you to deliver the last blows. He’s also more likely to hit you, too, then, so it depletes your health, so I had those potions ready.

Flooded Temple: For some reason, once I got to this level, I was REALLY impressed with the game. I mean in terms of sheer imagination and art style. They truly thought of everything. Those large Fish Men were an interesting foe. Not too hard, not too easy, and the right amount of intimidating without making you crap your pants. I like that. I enjoy clean underwear.

Medusa’s Lair: Aaaand heeeeere’s where I crapped myself, since it’s a boss. I paused and shot Mario an email, asking for advice. Come to find out, like the Corn Boss, she has a predictable modus operandi. Block, short burst, block, short burst, block the cosmic rays or you’ll be turned into stone, etc, etc…

Full Moon: SCREW FULL MOON!

Ahem. I always got killed. Never could progress. Then I got Mario to play with me, so we had two characters. But as soon as we logged on together, suddenly the next level was unlocked. No need to play Full Moon.

Needless to say, we never played Full Moon and never looked back.

Snow World: Those Iceskimos are pesky little bastards. But we kicked the shit out of them.

Ice Castle: OMFG. Getting TO the boss was tougher than the actual boss. I had to keep reviving Mario’s guy (since he had to play a level 1 on the same machine as a different player) WHILE dodging arrows and ice balls. Not. Cool. *grumblepun*

We finally made it to the damn Frost King (Reminds me of the Snow Miser. ‘He’s Mister Icicle, he’s Mister Ten Below’, anyone??) We had to do a lot of quick stepping to avoid his attacks, his ice formations, and his falling icicles. So we got a couple of hits at a time here and there, but it took a long freaking time. And, naturally, as we got close to defeating him, he quickened his pace and had a greater barrage of falling icicles.

But we got ’em. We melted his ass.

…and he screams like Howard Dean? WTF? Creepy. And such a shame.

But now it’s time to take off your pull-ups and put on your big-boy pants. All that other crap is done with. Now, we come to the big stuff…

Wizard Castle Takeoff: Not much here, but certainly an introduction to all the trouble you’re going to be thrown into. You just walk through a desolate landscape with pretty purple lights, and then stop at 4 bosses (the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, and the paininmyass) who take off. Then you whiz off into the sky and you have to avoid falling rocks.

Wizard Castle Interior: Those Wizard Minions. They aren’t the toughest minions (I think the Stove Faces (and especially their Beefy ones), BY FAR, are, followed by the Industrialists and Fencers), but they certainly are up there.

I get through all that crap, then I’m taken to a room with 4 doors. 3 are sealed. I go into the first and am met by The Painter. He’s quite irritating because first it’s like ‘Who the hell IS this guy? And what the hell is he doing here?’ He seemed so out of place, and it deviates quite far from the overall feel of the game and even the art style.

The paintings are just as irritating. How the hell do you kill them without harming yourself? The Painter won’t come back down (giving you chance to attack) until his current batch of creations are destroyed somehow. So I was resolved to using my right trigger and the B button to bomb them.

And bomb them.

And bomb them.

So either I have to keep bombing them umpteen million times a piece, or I give up and let them hit me, taking off some of my health (thankfully I used the Troll orb to restore it bit by bit, so the bombing interludes were beneficial when I needed to keep my health and not use potions until later bosses), but it also makes those bright cheery bastards disappear, freeing up their asshole creator, so I can X-Y the shit out of him for another 2 seconds.

Then at the end, he has a whole roomful of friends join us as I make the Painter come down with a case of food poisoning (“It must have been something I ate”), and then barfs up fresh food for me to eat. Yum. Yum.

Cyclops II is by far the creepiest anything in this game. He’s a freaking zombie (who you first defeated earlier) who carts around the coffin of his zombie friend (or rumored to be his son) The Groom. I cannot emphasize this enough: It is fucking creepy.

So the Cyclops spits fireballs at you, then sits on top of the coffin, lets out the undead Groom who ghoulishly chases you while bloodcurdling organ music plays, and the Cyclops ass-slams his way around on top of the coffin to try to squish you.

O_O

As creepy as it is, it is unbelievably easy since there is a definite rhythm. All you have to do is keep running around the room to avoid stuff and get closer as you know the Cyclops is idling himself so he’s open to attack. You’ll know when he’s going to body-slam the coffin into you (and he attempts about 3 times at a time), then he spits fireballs (which you simply block), and then releases the Groom and does ass-slams. Easy, easy, easy.

Creepy. Well done.

Ahh, the Necromancer (is that a portmanteau for someone who romances dead people?). Here’s where the ‘T’ in the ‘TKO’ comes in.

I never defeated this guy.

What happened was I’d button-mash my way through all the crazy freaking chaos, but I’d end up hitting B a lot and would deplete my potions really quick. I did ALMOST defeat the second wave. It was down to me and one of the Beefy minions. The Beefy minion won, naturally. I was frustrated, so I had Mario play the rest of the game, beating it all.

I wanted to watch to see what I’d be up against.

Thing is, I never could defeat that damn second wave at the Necromancer’s level. So I skipped that and went straight to the…

Final Battle: There are about 6 incarnations of The Evil Wizard. It’s easy, but exciting. I enjoyed every second of playing him, unlike the wretched Necromancer. I, myself, defeated the Evil Wizard.

So it was a KO, as I played the Final Battle by myself, but a TKO as I never got through the Necromancer myself.

And the coup de grace was we unlocked the bane of my gaming existence:

Stove Face. Freaking Stove Face.

I never plan on playing the game again, so this just taunts me miserably.

Overall: The game is deceptively cute. It is far more difficult than you’d think it would be. The creators but a lot of work and thought into it, and I respect that immensely. There are many parts where it is either way to easy or else wickedly difficult, and not a lot of balance.

I can say I fucking did it, though! I DID IT!!!

I also wanted to use my Gray Knight to play the Ice Arena and beat it to get Mario the Iceskimo, but so far my efforts have been full of fail. I might have to use the Alien Hominid to blast them all to kingdom come. And also easily go around to obtain the Sausage (or Kielbasa to us Polaks), the Pitchfork, maybe the Ribeye, and maybe a few others. We shall see.

So what is my NEXT game? Well, I’m thinking there was one game I really laughed my ass off watching Mario play. Maybe it’s time I play it as well. Doesn’t seem too hard, but not too easy. Maybe I can even co-op with Luigi, as I had the pleasure of watching Mario co-op with Luigi to hilarious results (backing up SWAT trucks over each other and such). Good times.

GTA IV, bitches.

~Peach

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Hot Off the Truck Knockoff Consoles

Posted on July 22, 2009. Filed under: Game, Misc. Geekery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I have a new favorite site, You May Also Like…, that finds the shit people trick you into buying after either a drug-fueled binge or getting your AARP card (or both? Tweaking grandmas?). So, out of sheer curiosity and wanting a good laugh, I went to one of their usual haunts, the Taylor Gifts website. Honestly, I have gotten a few ideas of what I need to spruce up and organize our little apartment in the Mushroom Kingdom that are actually useful (like an over-the-door pantry rack, or this decorative rack, and something to create more counter space in our teeny tiny kitchen) but I REFUSE to buy anything from them because I can find it elsewhere for much cheaper and be able to return it much more easily and directly without ponying up s&h a second time. Screw that.

I also found a lot of shit. A LOT. Lazy shit, useless shit, stupid shit, overpriced shit, worthless shit, gross shit, what-the-hell-does-this-exist-for shit, etc.

All they are good for is a roaring laugh at the expense of people being duped into debt (not that I’m one to talk, I have student loans).

But then I paused–I froze, much like this device probably will–when I came upon this gem: The Zone Wireless Game Station (yet it is curiously labeled as “Reactor”):

What… the… hell?

For 60 bucks, you can go to GameStop and get a used PS2 or 2 Gamecubes, which would be SOOOOOO much better than this. There aren’t even any reviews up for this yet because their loyal customers are nothing but a bunch of grannies, but maybe during the holidays they’ll get this because their Social Security checks unfortunately cannot cover the extra $190 (honestly, whose paycheck can these days at all? Even if the full $250 is affordable for a brand new current gen console, but still, get a freaking Wii or get something else entirely. But not a shitty-quality Michael Jackson commemorative T-shirt that looks like something Jermaine bedazzled and sells from the trunk of his 1973 shit-brown Ford Pinto–I’m only guessing. Don’t sue me). Better yet, just give the precious snowflake the 60 bucks.

…Actually, now that I’m looking more, that shit-inspiration is really the SECOND GENERATION. The first gen (with 7 games instead of 32) is on clearance for $39.99, so get it now while supplies last!

*facepalm* btw, it’s 16-bit. As much as Sega Genesis was awesome, the point is to progress technology, not to regress.

And OMFG, they are BATTERY-powered–even the consoles! No indication of an AC-adapter. TEN AA batteries. Cannot possibly be ALL for the wands. Just pure batteries that will suck you out of money. You only THINK you’re helping the environment by not using the electricity through your light socket, but no, they will end up in a New Jersey landfill. Fail. You lose, good day, sir. Next time you’re at a beach in Atlantic City using your preferred-player casino-hotel nights, wave hello to that pile you wasted. And, no, this shit never works.

However, if you do have a REAL Wii, the fine folks at Taylor Gifts also offer some shitty peripherals:

Only $9.98 a pop. Sorry golfers, only the bat and the racket are left.

Whew! That site exhausted me. Let’s see what else is on the internets…

Ah, this What-exactly-is-this-knocking-off knockoff:

The box says:

  • Excelencia
  • Entusiasmo
  • Disfrute
  • Hospitalidad

No, it’s not saying it’s going to excellently and enthusiastically dismember you so you end up in a hospital and are subjected to playing this piece of shit until you recover.

  • Excellence
  • Enthusiasm
  • It enjoys
  • Hospitality

That’s the literal translation according to Babel Fish. A console that’s hospitable? So it offers you a drink whenever you are at its house? In that case, make it a double.

Only ONE of the controllers is a rumble pack, but I wonder, wtf kind of games could you play? You couldn’t play a 360 game because it is a network (and has a way higher graphic quality, I’m sure, than this sad knockoff can handle). Perhaps PS2 games, or maybe Gamecube? And bonus: this “console” comes in black or white, so you can choose to coordinate that shitty hardware with whatever else (either as black as the heart, or white as the hair of the person who buys this for you)

Oh, and btw, they’re only available in bulk orders of 1000. You do have 999 friends, right? No word on the price, but I imagine it’s much higher MSRP than anyone would be willing to pay for that dust-collector. Psh! I’d rather see it used as a portable toilet.

…Ho…ly…shit…

I found knockoffs I could actually love: The Retro Duo and Gen X

It plays Sega Genesis, NES, and SNES cartridges. My favorite childhood consoles!! Found something like it for 80 bucks, but they’re way overpriced since a brand new Wii console there will set you back 275 clams. Might as well get that Zone Wireless Game Thingamajigger. Wait, no. No. Just no.

There’s no school like the old-school.

…but… wtf is this shit?:

I can’t even tell what it is or what it (supposedly) does, but I read in this very short gizmodo article that this circa early-90s-lunchbox-looking “console” claims to play 999,999,999 games. You really couldn’t do just ONE more to get to the full billion? FAIL.

I know there’s a shit-ton more knockoffs, but these are the ones that amused me/saddened me most.

After going through all that, I’m gonna need one of these:

Of course, I can find it cheaper than $29.98. Or, shit, just give me the freaking bottle. No need to dirty anything else.

Yes, Xbox-PS2-Atari-wtf-are-you knockoff, I WILL take that drink now. Screw the rocks. I’ll take it straight.

My shit counter is at 21, including that last shit.

Shit. 23.

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Another Way to Say to Gamers That They are Dirty, Dirty Bums

Posted on July 20, 2009. Filed under: Misc. Geekery | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I follow Etsy on my Twitter. I don’t know why. It’s a cool online store, but it’s one of the most useless and self-indulgent Twitter pages ever. …oh, so that’s normal. Difference is that it is not amusing.

And then came this gem: The Sega Controller Soap

Sega Controller

Used to be 13 bucks earlier today, but now it’s been slashed to only 12. A whole 7.7% savings.

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Honey, guess what I bou–OW!! Why are you hurting me??

Posted on July 12, 2009. Filed under: Misc. Geekery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

So, Mario gathered up a bunch of games and decided to do a trade-in to get something. He just wouldn’t tell me what it was. He was being all coy and playfully secretive about it (trying to play into my obsessive love for all things leading to the living god and my other boyfriend Alton Brown) by saying he intended to get something multifunctional instead of unifunctional. I’m all for practicality and multiple usages. This somewhat comforted me — somewhat — but since we’re still dealing with the gamerbf here, I still had heavy reservations that weighed upon me until he returned.

And then he dropped this gargantuan beast onto the bed when he came back, complete with a huge shit-eating grin.

The poor bed. I stared daggars at Mario because our Mushroom Kingdom is not that plentiful. At all. (plz be to hire me!) Mario started explaining himself, but it was all in gamerspeak, so it was just blah-blah-blah. Daggars. Still staring. My hand lunged towards him and he cowered in fear. I merely wanted the receipt. With all his discounts, he ended up paying around 50 bucks. I know to gamers that’s not all that much in terms of such goods, especially periphirals, but daaaaaamn. 50 bucks is approximately one utility in one month, or 1-1/2 tanks of gas. I seriously asked him how he pulled the money out of his ass and if it was because he had a secret second butthole, and if the later, why didn’t he tell me before?

The funny thing is, Mario made fun of people getting this device of the devil. Now he has one. Granted, the major difference is he didn’t drop 150 clams before tax and got what was essentially a 60% discount. But still, Jesus Krispies. I can name a lot of things I can get for 50 bills. Like… 50 items from the dollar store (not counting tax of course).

But Mario’s sitting in front of the tv, playing his Street Fighter IV and having a ball (and kicking major ass thanks to the new, still pricey, but awesome peripheral!). I’m glad he’s happy. He’s had a rough couple of weeks at work. That and he’s going to make us some mac ‘n’ cheese with peas and turkey dogs tonight. Mmmm…

~Peach

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Ok, NOW We gamergfs Can Wield Power Over Video Games…

Posted on July 9, 2009. Filed under: Misc. Geekery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Yeah, yeah, yeah, there’s been a parental control on the 360, but how the frick was I supposed to know?? You think Mario would tell me? Psh!

But now there’s something else… Invented by a grandparent, no less.

I find it amusing that the headline and the entirety of the article refer to children playing too much being not so kosher. And only the precious snowflakes.

Naturally, I hear about it just 4 days after making a pledge to become a pseudo-gamer to better understand my gamerbf. Now this shit’s just teasing me.

On the plus side, it’s only 30 bucks; half as much as a brand new game, fresh from the pressers. Yeah, you know you all loooove that new-game smell. They should make it into one of those tree deoderizers for your car. That stuff would make me gag, though. I hate new smells: new game, new car, new baby… All those things need to be either used many times, or cleaned before I’m no longer feeling barfy. Hey, babies can fit into washers with your other delicates, then they can drip-dry to be economical and eco-friendly.

But Mario has mentioned this before; whenever we have little ankle-bitters of our own running around, he will play games WITH them and EXPLAIN to them that it’s all fantasy (like with more violent video games. Even I curse that Thompson guy! Turd sandwich, or douchenozzle?) and we will set boundaries.

Of course, we still have yet to test that brilliant plan, so we’ll see what actually happens…

But a major con to this is I think the 30 dollars is too high a price to pay to simply put your foot down. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Easy for me to say since I’m childless, but I’ve got a gamerbf so suck on that, toots!

Does this technology come in MMO-size? I know Mario’s dying to get back into WoW. Oh my.

~Peach!

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It’s Not Just the Internet That’s for Porn…

Posted on July 8, 2009. Filed under: Game, Misc. Geekery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

I’m not a gamer, so I’m late to things. Forgive me.

Warning: These videos are NSFW. Kind of a given, but some people need to be told. Disclaimer: It is not my fault if you get fired from your job for not doing the proper thing and bringing in your own laptop and connecting to a nonwork-affiliated wifi. Or just waiting til you get home you horny jackass.

XP! LET’S PLAY SPOT THE PUNS!!!

So CheapyD just twittered about “The world’s first action adventure porno video game”– BoneTown. They had to be that specific because it’s not the first porn game (I keep trying to spell ‘pron’… damn leets). Porn games have been around since the early 80s. I’ve known about this for a while (so I’m not THAT n00b-y) because it’s amazing what you can stumble into within just an hour of surfing on Wikipedia. Now these games are just kitschy and hilarious, like anything you’d find on the Home Shopping Network. I wouldn’t balk if the gamerbf came home with these since, well, they’re funny collectibles, certainly coffee table conversation pieces, and we also don’t have the consoles to play them on. C’est la vie.

The company Mystique filled the “Swedish erotica” hole in the video gaming market in 1982. From them came a slew of Atari 2600 games, such as the classic gems like “Beat ‘Em & Eat ‘Em”, “Bachelor Party” (no young Tom Hanks here, as it was still 2 years before the film’s release, sorry ladies. Atari was ahead of its time), and the fabled “Custer’s Revenge” where a naked, erect General George Armstrong Custer tries to find a way to bang a naked, big-breasted Native American woman tied up to a totem pole. It’s too ridiculous to be offensive. That and the 8-bit graphics help keep the X-rating down to more of a modern-day PG-13 with all the unintentional pixelization. It’s looks more, dare I say, cute than it does like something your twice-divorced 40-something cousin would actually get his rocks off on. ‘Cute’ in the sense that your hormonal 12-something cousin would be making those games for a giggle to gross out their sisters, and 8-bit’s the best he could do on his hand-me-down computer.

Besides, how in the hell COULD you manipulate TWO joysticks at the same time?? Especially with how bulky and stiff the Atari joysticks were. But if you’re a basement-dwelling, mouth-breathing, twice-divorced 40-something cousin eating failure piles in a sadness bowl and shitting into pringles cans, you’ll find a way.

So here’s “Beat ‘Em & Eat ‘Em”

“Bachelor Party”, where a suggested guy sprite literally bangs suggested girl sprites:

And, of course, “Custer’s Revenge”. I assume ‘revenge’ for being a media whore and getting fatally shot while commanding a one-sided battle:

Let’s be honest here, setting aside my twin X-chromosomes, she’s blindfolded and tied up. She’s really being raped. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting all up in arms about it. I’m not going to burn my bra or tie my black patent boots (which I don’t have …sorry honey) on tight, but let’s just call it as it is. That’s his ‘revenge’. Now that said, if I did get my hands all over that and started playing around with it, I’d laugh my ass off. But let’s just call it as it is, is all I’m saying.

Anyway, here’s BoneTown in all its gloryhole …um, glory…

Now it’s probably because I’ve got the double-whammy of both being a chick and an outright entertainment snob… I feel dirty, like my underwear contents have shifted unpleasantly and violently, and suddenly I have a pile of soiled counterfeit cash on my dresser that smells of sweat, blood, and cocaine. Now even though “Chariots of Fire” is one of my favorite films, I also love things that are raunchy and dirty, like any film from the 80s. You could say technically, like Molly Ringwald, I HAVE given panties to a geek. But I digress, I like dirty, but not DIRRTY.

What’s with the bust-waist-hip ratio that’s even worse than Barbie’s? It’s not body image I’m concerned about. How can they even do anything remotely doggie-style without snapping like a Slim-Jim? And there’s a Jewish redneck? Hell, the dude’s a rabbi! Ron Jeremy?! Mr. Jeremy, I have to say, is the obvious highlight. How can you have anything sex-related and NOT have Mr. Jeremy? That and the line, “We are not Arab, you ignorant pieces of shit! We are fucking Indians!” That made me quake so hard with a thousand ecstasies that the Earth moved.

I went to their official website. Of course, like any responsible mature website, you have to be at least 18. I’ve got almost 7 years on that, but I put down that my birthday’s January 22nd, 1960 anyway. Like any 12 year-old could. But it doesn’t matter because they have a woman on that same age verification page on all fours with her brown eye trying to say hi. Silly gooses!

At least the game is educational in case any 12 year-olds sneak through with their lying and daddy’s credit card number, as it tells us about history. In place of Puritans colonizing the US and cheating the Native Americans out of, erm, everything, instead they have the Mormons, as Puritans died out eons ago from sexless lives. Mormons are the 21st Century’s answer to the 19th Century. Instead of the Salem Witch Trials killing Puritanical influence, it took a plane crash of hard rockers to find all the drugs on the island and lick it up (that damn song…). Anyway, other cultures get wind of this freedom and freelove, and the island becomes a government-less melting pot.

DUN DUN DUN! But then, someone had the bright idea to introduce *gasp!* Crack. Oh noes! The black people did it! Money, power, and influence grew with the crack market and a corporation called “The Man” took control of it all, while society bent over and took it. Then after The Man had its fill, they criminalized all drugs and started passing more laws based on decency, sex, and conservatism.

Oh, and your own personal power and influence is dictated by your ball size.

They have notable characters in the game like Ron Jeremy, Moses, Jesus, Joseph Smith (who, according to the game, discovered Mormonism while on shrooms–Shroomanism!), ButtMan, Sexbot 0069, and Captain James T. Jerk, who probably has the biggest huevos in the land.

Their communities are broken down into these varied groups: Pygmies, Natives, Mormons, Hippies (duh), Mexicans, Blacks, The Man Corp, East Indians, White Trash Jews (what?), Asians (the people who finance us), Greeks (Frats and Sororities), Rockers (one rocker died next to his 50 wives and 200 children …Are you sure HE wasn’t Mormon?), and what every society needs: Crackheads.

…They need to proofread their pages, not because of any spelling and grammar errors, but because they’ve copied and pasted the same descriptions on the same page more than once. Sloppy. Oh, and they use a Star Wars reference for Capt. Kirk/Jerk. Fail.

The game is astutely observant to how the world currently is and twists it even further from there into fucked up angles. I don’t know whether to be utterly offended or highly amused. So I’ll settle for generally confused. I’ll play it. I won’t buy it, but I’d try it if given the chance just to see for myself.

I do have to say that for a game so full of rampant racism and misogyny, they certainly put a lot of thought into it.

And, for your enjoyment, here’s some more videos from their site.

~Peach

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