Or, alternately, my love/hate relationships this month.
I’ve been gone a long time.
At least, it feels like a long time. I’ve missed you guys, and I’ve missed writing for this site. GameCola has always been really good to me, even if I haven’t always been really good to it. Missed deadlines, late articles, angry editors…all in a day’s work for the world’s most insensitive writer. But wait, come back! I’ve changed, I swear! Bear with me and I’ll make it worth your while. Let’s just go over a few quick things so you can get to know me better, then we’ll be all done with the hand shaking, bullshitting nonsense and we can move along to talking about the one thing you and I definitely have in common, or else you wouldn’t be here.
1. Videogames and I have always had a love/hate relationship. A l/ate relationship, if you will. But recently, I’ve fallen back in love with them like no time in my life since opening up that rectangular Christmas present way back in 1986 and discovering a Sega Master System inside. I love them so much I want to wine and dine them, take them out to the beach and watch the sun set with them. I want to park with them up on lover’s lane after a malted milkshake at the Ice Cream Shoppe and see if I can get to second base with them. I want to whisper sweet nothings to them. Oh, hello there Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. Fancy meeting you here. Buy you a drink? Oh, excuse me, but I believe Deadly Premonition is calling me over. Oh my! Is that a new shirt you’re wearing, Uncharted 2? How slimming! Ha ha ha, you’re being fresh, Alan Wake!
2. I’m not a multiplayer guy, never have been. MMORPGs? Nope, keep your World of Warcraft. I own every Call of Duty simply for the single player. As far as I’m concerned, single player is the most intimate part of the game, so don’t read this column expecting to see how I feel about Firefly Universe or how many armor shells I’ve collected in I Hump Wookies on Wookie World Online or whatever.
3. I curse like a sailor. If you go through any of my older articles and reviews on GameCola, you’ll see that. I know, only the ignorant curse when they can’t think of something intelligent to say, blah blah blah. But I still curse, and if you don’t like it, you can go to Build-A-Bear and build yourself a non-cursing friend to play with. You can name it “Aren’tWeAllSoFuckingSuperiorBecauseWeCanThinkOfThingsToSayWithoutResortingToCursing.” Or Snuffles. Snuffles is cute too.
4. Lastly, if my editors will allow me to, I’m going to throw in a really quick word every now and then about movies or TV shows I’ve seen and loved/hated.
Now that we’ve gotten this far, let’s go just a bit further, shall we? The list this month is going to go back a bit further than future ones so I can catch everyone up on what I’ve been doing and what I’ve been playing. So without further ado, here is this month’s…L/ate List Apocalyptic!
Alan Wake, Xbox 360 – This game is fucking awesome. I’d love to tell you more, but I just spent countless hours writing a review of it for GameCola, so go read that when it’s out, you lazy bastards. You won’t regret it.
Chrono Trigger, Nintendo DS – I was never a big SNES guy. I had myself a Genesis and TurboGrafx-16. For whatever reason, I was heartily embroiled in the US v. THEM bullshit we all seemed to subscribe to back then. You were Sega, or you were Nintendo. And that was pretty much it. Anyway, I went through my Japanese RPG phase, like most of us did at some point when we had time to grind through 40-60 hours for one game, but I never made it to Chrono. Then the PlayStation came out, and there were fancier, newer RPGs and I remember reading that the re-release of Chrono had too many problems. But I finally got around to it this year on my DS, and man, what a great game. Not perfect, no matter what anybody says, but pretty goddamn good. I love sprite graphics, and this game zips along nicely (with an FAQ, of course). I’ve found myself starting at around midnight in bed and not stopping until 5 or 6 in the morning, much to my girlfriend’s ire.
F.E.A.R. 2, Xbox 360 – I’m a First-Person Shooter Guy for sure, and I loved the hell out of F.E.A.R. This sequel is great—it’s not very challenging, but you will piss your pants walking through the elementary school in this bad boy. Crunching over spilled notebooks and crayons while a projector throws broken, crackling images onto the wall, you’re creeping along white-knuckled and then Alma appears in the hallway as the lights go out and blood starts pouring from the ceiling and then the music screeches and gaaahhhhh!!!
The Walking Dead, AMC – Ha ha ha, I’m just kidding. I haven’t seen one fucking episode of this thing, simply because every person I know has been shoving it down my throat un-mercilessly telling me how great it is. If I never see another zombie movie/show/game again, it’ll be too soon. While we’re at it, you can keep your Left 4 Dead, too; I’m tired of hearing about that one as well.
Snapped, Oxygen – I am so NOT kidding, and I’m also not ashamed of myself, in case you’re wondering. I was a paralegal for almost ten years, and forensic/law reality shows fascinate me. Somehow I found Snapped, which is a forensic show mostly about completely batshit insane women murdering anybody they can get their hands on, as long as that somebody has a penis. In between commercials about Vagasil, rape whistles and Beauty and The Beast hitting Blu-ray is an awesome little show you’ve never watched. The only downside is that I feel a screaming urge to knit and complain to my girlfriend that she should just pull over and ask for directions already!
007: Everything or Nothing, Nintendo GameCube – In his quest to watch me play every game of the last generation, my girlfriend’s son has discovered and become hooked on James Bond like nobody’s business. He sings the theme song until you want to shoot a nail gun into your fucking brain to just make it stop already. Never mind that he’s never seen—much less heard of—any of the movies, he loves watching me play the games. So I’ve replayed all of them, and while some of them are truly shit (see my hate list), Everything or Nothing is a gem. I’d love to play this game with a modern graphics engine, although it’s still fairly nice by today’s standards. The variety of gameplay is just astounding, and the care and effort they put into the presentation—from the theme song to hiring actual actors to portray the characters—is nothing short of remarkable. Shame about the other Bond games, though.
Perfect Dark Zero, Xbox 360 – This one’s good in a hahaha really? Kinda way. The ragdoll physics on the enemies is outrageously unrealistic, with the bodies flopping and flipping around. The nightclub level alone is beyond hilarious. You’re thinking, Really? That’s what they think a nightclub looks and functions like? The whole thing is superspy by way of John Waters. It’s campy, gaudy, poorly written trash, but I love it. This is the videogame equivalent of the Transporter movies. Shit, sure…but enjoyable shit.
The possible closure of Bizarre Creations – *Sigh* This one is just depressing. I’m not even a racing game fanatic, really. I like arcade style racers, like Split/Second, Burnout and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. But I can appreciate a gear head and their love of intricate racing games like Fortza and Gran Turismo. Bizarre had such a great racing pedigree, and to see them bought up and then summarily destroyed because of the failure of Blur is absolutely heart-breaking (even though Blur bored the living shit out of me). They were grand supporters of the beloved Dreamcast, and Metropolis Street Racing and Fur Fighters sit proudly in my Dreamcast collection. I wasn’t ever a huge Gotham Project Racing fan but, as I said, I appreciated it. The Club is a sort of cult videogame now, and I’ll have to play Blood Stone because of the whole James Bond thing. It just feels like the passing of an era, and the demise of a talented studio. R.I.P. Bizarre Creations.
Halo ODST, Xbox 360 – This game really pissed me off, and there’s not too much more to say about it. I loved Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, but something I can’t quite put my finger on just irked the shit out of me about ODST. From the beginning stage on it just screamed “adequate.” It never grabbed me, inspired me to keep playing, or surprised me in any way. The only game in the series I’m not happy about having in my collection. It’s like having Scarlett Johansson’s gloriously near-perfect body, except for a red, cracked, seeping, horrible bloodshot eyeball right in the middle of her fucking face. Yuck. Screw you for running Scarlett Johansson’s body, ODST.
007: Nightfire, Nintendo GameCube and 007: Agent Under Fire, Xbox – Collectively, it’s like something my cat would throw up and then eat, throw up again, shit on, bury, set on fire (yes, bury and then set on fire it’s that bad) and then scatter the ashes to the deepest bowels of hell. It’s like all the graphics were constructed entirely from UPS boxes by a child-walrus hybrid with flippers instead of fingers. Actually, that sounds pretty sweet.
Brütal Legend, Xbox 360 – I only paid $5 for this, and I adore Tim Schafer’s games to death. Win-win situation, right? Plus the licensed music, the underdog come-from-behind storied history, and oh yeah, Tim Schafer! But this game is just not that fun. Charm can only get you so far, at some point you have to take a long, hard look at this game and say, When did this shit go from a fun heavy-metal tongue-in-cheek open world brawler into a fucking tower defense real-time strategy game?
So, that’s it for this month. These are, of course, only my opinions, and I’m sure you’ll agree with some and disagree with others. That’s the great thing about being adults—we get to do that. Tune in next time for some more waxing poetic about the state of the industry and all that, as I know each and every one of you is waiting with bated breath near your computer screen, wondering When is Travis’s L/ate List Apocalyptic coming out, dammit? I’ve got a million more opinions, a big mouth and an even bigger mouse/keyboard combination. Until then, keep your hands on the controller and your eyes on the screen.