Old Grandma Hardcore

This blog is the chronicle of my experiences with Grandma, the video-game playing queen of her age-bracket and weight class. She will beat any PS2, XBox, GameCube, etc., console game put in front of her, just like she always has. These are her stories. She is absolutely real. She lives in Cleveland.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Grandma's Psyche Moves Beyond Insane Into Batshit Crazy

"Clear away WHAT cobwebs?"

"Shit.... Shoot the arrows, man....THE ARROWS!!"

"Fuck, not this damn thing again..."

"Okay... He doesn't HAVE any more magic! Will you GET HIM you ...stupid ass..."

"Fucking ASSHOLE, you're getting hit by the ...damn ...stupid... THING! MOVE!!!"

"Oh shit, they're gonna blow up..... FUCK!!! I can't stay away clear enough from him! DAMMIT!!"

Cambodia. It all began in Cambodia. It wasn't so much the Ho Chi Minh trail or the killing fields or sharing stories about filming in Phuket and laying stoned on the beach next to some German supermodel with Spalding Grey before he laid himself to rest in the Hudson River, no: it's Angkor Wat, and the terrifying flashbacks Grandma associates with this magical place.

As she continues down the path of history with Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, she returns to this place- somewhere which she had no intention of stopping by. Grandma's gaming travels first took her to Angkor Wat in the mid nineties, when she was younger, stronger, more naive perhaps but curious enough to try a dual shock controller to see the difference; in that one game that took away so much of her life, yes- the franchise that brought Sony into the kingdom of frustration and titties: Tomb Raider.

It wasn't until Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation for the PC that they finally came out and said "yeah, it's totally Angkor Wat... just like the movie!" but Grandma knew. You take some ruins, add some dragon heads, some creepy, fucked up tree roots devouring the ancient grounds in a misty, South East Asian valley, and you know where you are. They can call it Tibet, they can say it's Thailand, but she knew. Grandma looked around in the Burmese levels of Medal of Honor: Rising Sun with a thin layer of fear over her eyes as though she had recognized the scenery.

Tomb Raider was one of those games that Grandma spoke to herself throughout, as though trying to build up the courage to go somewhere else. She wasn't manhandled by the Khmer Rouge, she was raped by Lara Croft. It all started at the mansion, where she was meticulously trained how to climb up a ledge, run up a ramp and stick to a wall with all the grace of an 80's Olympic gymnast. It was all downhill from there...

"God damn fucking shit COCKSUCKING.... FUCK!!!!" she would say in earnest. It was not Lara's pixilated C-Cup that everyone else was talking about, it was running through the other sort of booby-traps that the ancients had installed for her.

Eternal Darkness brought it all back.

"Aw, come on- not THIS SHIT!! I already went through all this before!!!"

This will only end in tears...

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Grandma Has Gone Insane

Grandma's current $13.00 guilty pleasure is Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem for the Game Cube. Her only complaint-like comment has been "Jesus, can't you ever play as one person and stick with it?" This "M" rated Silicon Knights epic has been around for a couple of years and, given the mass of e-mail telling her to try it- there is probably very little I could tell you about the game; you already know it by heart.

One of the "huh, that's weird" factors in EDSR is every monster you encounter just makes you a little bit more crazy, just like in real life! One's sanity meter goes down and must be replenished lest you want to play the game as though it was Jhonen Vasquez's latest nightmare. The sounds of Grandma wandering the hallways in some ancient dystopia are filled with the imagined screams of the innocent and the violent meeting of steel and stone.

Try working with THAT in the background.

Grandma has been able, so far, to figure out the puzzles relatively quickly- and the combat targeting system is subtle enough for her to master. Now it is simply a matter of finding every little thing in every level to make her happy. You will know when she isn't.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Grandma Destroyed The Indigo Prophecy

Grandma finished her game this morning, just in time to return it to Hollywood Video and rent "The Ring Two" and "Monster In Law;" both horrific movies in their own way. I knew Grandma would have had to at least form a final opinion of the game, after a few days of standing in between "this is a great game" and "what the hell am I even doing..." I talked with her as she moved her controller around her head, navigating the puzzles of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem.

All that was left of her Indigo Prophecy experience was a few printed pages of GameFaqs.com guides, angrily crumpled and set aside. This seemed odd to me, because Grandma had paced through the game in a fairly linear sort of way- and it didn't seem like a game where she would need a guide- just... go where the characters say they need to go; mash some buttons; next scene. [Before anyone sends me more e-mail saying "you didn't GET Indigo Prophecy, god dammit! It's not SIMON, motherfucker- It's got DEPTH," know this: Grandma sort of dug Indigo Prophecy, she wouldn't have played it through if she didn't. If Grandma doesn't like a game at all, she'll let you know right away- ESPECIALLY if it's rented; because if you return it early, you get a coupon!]

I'll try to give Grandma's recount of the ending without giving away too much for those who have not played yet:

"That game fell flat on it's ass- it was just starting to get really good; ...you remember that girl at the beginning he saw after he murdered that dude? Well she [redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses] and then that cop was [redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses] so he's left standing there with [redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses] girl! And then he says [redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses-redacted to appease the masses] and that's the fucking ending! That was it! I looked at Kenny and I said 'That's it? THAT's the GOOD ending?' I couldn't believe it! I mean, you wait for all that, and then THAT'S the god damn ending, and that's the BEST ending according to the guides I found online. I guess there were WORSE ones, if you can believe that. I had to look it up to be sure. ....It fucking SUCKED."

Grandma told me not to reveal too much to you guys, which makes me think she still sort of ...recommends it, I suppose. It's a love-hate relationship not seen since Milon's Secret Castle. If Indigo Prophecy is anything like one of those "you decide the end!" young adult novellas we were forced to buy from Book Fairs in elementary school, it was at least compelling enough to stay for the epilogue. This may be a more harsh "Grandma Critique" than the game deserves, but understand that Grandma's last adventure anywhere near this type of structure was Jade Empire and Knights of the Old Republic II before that, so Grandma has a certain concept of "closure" that she feels wasn't achieved in Indigo Prophecy. Perhaps if she had not felt the pain of the falling to the Dark Side (or more recently, the way of the Closed Fist) the ending would have held her more.

Or maybe she's reading too much Dean Koontz.

Either way, blame it on exhaustion, blame it on circumstance, I was really hoping she would have enjoyed this one- alas; it wasn't a match made in the frozen streets of New York; not unlike the mess Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan got themselves into over a radio show and a little boy's call- only this time with more ritualistic murder.

Not much more, but more.

--Grandma's playing Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem for the GameCube; more updates on this and more on the way! Thanks folks!--

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Grandma Gets The Suffering: Ties That Bind, Battles Giant Lizard

Grandma told me she received a suspicious package in the mail yesterday, a package containing the gift of "Suffering." Seeing how successful Surreal and Midway are doing with the franchise; I mean- MTV just acquired the rights to transform the beast into a movie- this was a pretty cool thing to do for Grandma. Thanks guys! I'll have more on this news when I get back to Aurora tonight; it seems that Grandma is up to her eyeballs in new games for about a month, and I want to be there for the show.

On a stranger note, someone in our neighborhood decided the best place for a five foot long, vegetarian, sub-tropical reptile would be on the fence in our backyard. The neighborhood kids told us they found an iguana, and I figured they found a salamander or a newt and just got confused. No. It was a god damn iguana, and the thing looks at least 5 years old because it's HUGE. I got the raptor-like animal into a big 55 gallon aquarium which barely held it. Grandma and the kids put in some lettuce and Mom and I got out the heat rocks and lamps (oh yeah, dude- we're ALL about the herpetology) and asked around the development to see if anyone left their windows open and let their guard dragon escape from its post.

Our worst fears were realized, however, when some kids pointed out the house from which we had just received a "nope; no iguanas here..." did in fact own the gentle monster. They just left it out because it got too big, I suppose.


Grandma wrestled the feisty thing on to her arm and took it to a local pet store that was happy to help out. With all of us circled around the battle of Grandma and Godzilla with our boxing-conditioned bobs and weaves just in case it made a move for our faces like a bunch of pussies; in retrospect could have used a camera. The kids were afraid to come near it, and rightly so; for it was bigger than them. I have no excuses for the rest of us.

Little bastard scratched the SHIT out of us.

So if you notice any symptoms of salmonella poisoning manifesting themselves in my posts, call for help; although- except for spelling I'm not sure how you could.

--More posts coming tonight! More videos soon! Thanks folks!--

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Grandma Fucks Around In Indigo Prophecy

The format of this post may seem silly right now, because mobile blogging, while "the shit," doesn't have all the options one would imagine it has. Bear with me....

Playing "Indogo Prophecy" is more or less playing Simon with a story. The game itself is a mere cutscene behind the primary element of gameplay, a series of flashed directional commands set to a colorful circle. Sound familiar? This makes for interesting dialogue from Grandma in the form of audible corrections to her movement followed by heavy vulgarity.

Exhibit A:

"Left... Right... Up, UP UP!!! FUCK!!!!"

"Right... two down.... two up... no Green! GREEN!! GOD DAMMIT! WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH CRAZY PEOPLE?"

"Left... up... dodge the angels THE ANGELS, FUCKER!!"

"I PRESSED UP! Tim, look at this shit, I PRESSED the fucking thing."

"Oh That's BULLSHIT- it goes faster!!"

"No asshole! Don't fucking COUGH! THE COP WILL SEE YOU!!! Up... Left.... ....god damn this stupid fucking thing.... This is impossible."

One reader refered to it as "track and field gameplay" and that's about right. The Left-Right shoulder button repetitions appear at the most difficult of moments, to Grandma's "delight."

"Oh, yeah- I love this fucking game. It doesn't get any better than THIS FUCKING SHIT."

Sarcasm is not one of her stronger areas. In Resident Evil 4, the button mashing techniques were spaced out, appropriately designated for cutscenes and tense moments. In Indigo Prophecy, however, one scene depicts Lucas' apartment falling around around him, with different objects flying at his head every few seconds for about six hours (or so it seems,) creating a ridiculous scene to watch. Imagine a man standing in a heavily furnished hotel room waiting around for shit to fly at his head, rather than taking cover or hiding. Now imagine this goes on for 10 minutes, all the while you have to match up directions and colors on each thumbstick. Now imagine 15 more minutes have passed, and you're still doing the same thing. Now imagine your head exploding, creating a messy layer of brain matter and skull for your family to clean up.

This is Indigo Prophecy.

The game's saving grace is the story- which truly is riviting. The game itself is rather short, but it can take bloody forever if you choose Hard Mode, in which your game of Simon goes beyond the occasional fondue party slap of the plastic and travels into the dimension of pain and suffering; or "Hell" as it is dubbed in many cultures.

The voice acting is also surprisingly well done, even after you die for the nineteenth time by falling off a building. That scream is always followed by a sense that, however many takes it required in the sound studio, by God that was the best one.

Grandma is almost done with her first time through the game, which makes me think this would make an excellent rental, and a great buy when it reaches the "Classics" list. I'll have Grandma's final thoughts on the matter after her ordeal is over, and I'll try not to slip any spoilers for you who haven't played yet.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Grandma Goes Game Shopping

Grandma's slowly finishing up her first time through Indigo Prophecy, but she wanted to get a head start on some purchases. We drove up to the Aurora GameStop and Grandma was happy to share her stories with the friendly clerk.

She picked up a brand-spankin' new copy of Sly Cooper 3 for PS2 to start, and then bought two or your suggestions used because, "hey! They were fucking cheap!" We now have Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem for the Game Cube, and Beyond Good and Evil for the XBox; so we filled up all three systems which makes Grandma proud of her loyalties.

I have some great Indigo Prophecy stories to share with everyone tomorrow, and we have some big things coming up for Grandma we need to let you know about.

Our Technorati rating keeps going up; and all is right in the world- for Grandma has games.

Thanks everybody!

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Grandma Ama L'Italia!

Grandma and I are by no means press whores, but we'll gladly do an interview if asked. A very groovy fan of OGHC, Ivan Fulco, interviewed us for the Italian Newspaper La Stampa, so... check it out!

Grandma loved the fact that, when run through the Google Translator, the article refered to her as "The Barbarian Grandmother" which pretty much fits the bill. A lot of traffic is coming from Italy today via Italian blogs linking to the article, so we just wanted to say hello to that beautiful country.

We get a great deal of European traffic from Finland, The Netherlands, Italy, The UK, France, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Slovakia, Romania, Turkey and Belgium, with other countries signing on from day to day. Most send us great e-mails saying "Grandma Rocks!" or some variation of, and it's important to return the love.

Thanks everybody! More stuff coming this evening... Grandma did a little game shopping :)

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Ask Grandma Hardcore

A lot of new games are out and Grandma has opinions- but it's your opinions we want to hear, so speak! What are you playing? Why? What do you think?

"Indigo Prophecy" or "Vaguely Purple Prediction?"

Inquiring Grandmas want to know!

--Open Forum (as usual)--

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Grandma On Indigo Prophecy: "What the Fuck?"

Grandma took your advice and rented Indigo Prophecy to see if it would be her next game. She was surprised our local Hollywood Video even had a copy, seeing as they never have copies of the newer games until they're scratched to hell by the "Aurora snob-spawn" who call ahead to reserve them and intimidate the poor bastards who work there with a Barrington address. They don't even carry God of War.

Grandma started the game with a short tutorial on how to "fuck around" in Indigo Prophecy. She says you don't really "play" the game, you just sort of ...fuck around. There are a few things to clear up first- you don't start a "New Game" at the title screen, you start a "New Movie." The tutorial explains the overly strange controls of this KOTOR like RPG, but they never say exactly what drugs the designers were on when they made them.

One doesn't have a dialogue menu like in Jade Empire where you scroll down from a selection of choices and press "X" to say it. No, that would be too easy. Indigo Prophecy has a series of short-topic phrases like "See Anything?" and "Advice" from which to quickly select, lest the dialogue timer runs out and you ruin your chances to ask a question. The selections are divided by movements of the right thumbstick. To choose the first phrase, one might have to move the stick to the left, the second one would be down, and so on.

Grandma: "You control several characters within the game, but the need to switch between them isn't very clear; for example- you play two detectives at the scene of the murder; so does one look for clues and the other talk to witnesses, or can one just do both; or will that create like... tension between the two because one partner is hogging all the work in the eyes of the other officers; or should the woman ask the waitress the questions because one is comforted more by a female officer than a male.... The game states right out that each decision holds a consequence on something else in the game, but how far should you think ahead?"

This isn't to say Indigo Prophecy all out sucks; it doesn't. There are many things to which one must pay attention and interact- the voice acting seems excellent, the graphics look great, and it has an engaging story. Already Grandma has made her character die from drinking alcohol and taking medication at the same time, piss, wrap his arm, hide bloody clothes, convince a cop nothing is going on, do the laundry, and drink some milk and a whole lot of water.


"Hey, he's got a MP3 player! ....sounds like Nickelback or some shit- he shouldn't listen to that he's already depressed..."

"Okay, get your band-aids, [Grandma screams] AHHH!!!! Holy Shit, and I knew that was coming!"
Me - "What?"
Grandma - "When he looks in the mirror in the bathroom, he's sees the guy he killed, and it scared the shit out of me and that's the SECOND time that's happened!"

"Nooo..... I can't get the fucking... camera! This is fucking weird...."

"No don't look at the picture! I didn't want to do that! Now he'll get depressed!"

Me - "So what are you doing now?"
Grandma - "I read his e-mail and closed the window. He won't play the guitar."
Me - "Ah."

"What the hell are bonus points?"

This would have been fairly easy to master for Grandma after a half hour of play but the game suffers from a fatal accessibility flaw- there are no subtitles available for Indigo Prophecy. It is vital that one hears the characters speak, and Grandma, even with the headphones, can't fully understand everything being said, creating moments of "No! Wait, I don't know what to say! WAIT!! I don't know what he said!! SHIT!" Update: Hey! There are subtitles! They are hidden though, one cannot select them in the pause options menu, at least not on the PS2 version. The game just got better.

She spent the money on the rental, so chances are she's going to keep trying. If Grandma doesn't buy it I probably will. Without subtitles, however, it's unlikely she'll choose it for her next big thing.

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Friday, September 23, 2005

Grandma's Game Hunting: Sly Cooper 3; Honor Among Thieves

Grandma enjoyed the first two Sly Cooper games enough to speak up at the mention of a third. It had a nifty sort of comic animation to the graphics that resembled Fear Effect to some degree, another one of Grandma's favorites that, sadly, has no raccoons.

It's not that Grandma enjoys stealing things; hell she's never even used a file sharing program to get emulated games. She just likes to see authority fall from the greatest of heights and then laugh when the miserable cowards scream into the night over their stolen ...documents. Or jewels or something. I don't know. Whatever needs taking, Grandma can do it in Raccoon form.

Sly 3 comes at an awkward time, however, in that there are sequels coming out to other similar franchises that can't be ignored. Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Aresenal really hit it off with Grandma after she beat it. Twice. She loved Jak 3 as much as the other Jak and Daxter games- and now this happens. One would think it would make for a great trifecta of awesome, but it's not always the case.

In gambling, if one is on a streak, one assumes that the chances of losing increase with each win. The same goes for gaming. If every game you've played recently fucking rocks, then chances are you're going to be stuck playing "187 Ride or Die" expecting the same results only to have your hopes and dreams ripped out of your head long enough for you to reconsider gaming at all for a couple days before you get your senses together.

Don't get Grandma wrong, she's not expecting Sly Cooper 3 to be on any level near 187 Ride or Die; she has too much respect for Sly's creators.

But one must be careful.

And so she hunts....

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Grandma's Game Hunting: We Love Katamari

It's difficult to make a judgment to a game that proclaims exactly how much we admire the series in the title, even before we play it. And yet, it's true- we do love the original Katamari Damacy.

The reply value is phenomenal. It isn't difficult to understand the game's popularity, and its rigid caste-system of lower class Katamari fans followed by a thick gradient up to the upper-class Katamari worshipers just adds to the fun. After one has mastered the levels enough to get 100% in each category, Eternal Mode in all missions that allow, and every present without bugging every last person in the house to disclose the location of the infamous "camera," there's still a lot to do in the game.

Specifically: drinking games.

In college, one must play drinking games to prove to your betters that you are indeed "a team player," and what better way to do it than Katamari Damacy? Grandma scoffs at the idea, telling me that "getting sick" over playing a game is "fucking stupid," like she's one to talk, having played through colds, flu epidemics, and cardiovascular episodes in the hospital like nothing could come between her and her baby. Grandma reminds me of a mama bear in this sense; and yes: she will rip your god damn face off.

Before we get started I'd like to point out that the ESRB has rated this game "T" for Fantasy Violence, so if you're scared; it's okay. We'll take good care of you.

"The Dance of Katamari" is a particular favorite among undergraduates here in The States. To play, one must have:

1 Playstation 2 game system
1 copy of Namco's Katamari Damacy
1 controller
2 24 packs of the beer of your choice (or three kegs, whichever you prefer)
Friends (preferably more than 3)

Each person is assigned a beverage, including the one playing adding an element of panic. It's best to identify and choose your "worst" Katamari roller to begin the game. Try to use a new file if possible, and go through the introductory guide quickly to familiarize newbies and get to Make A Star #2.

Nobody drink a god damn thing until I say, okay? It's about SAFETY people!

Every time they roll over something that's alive, everyone else takes a drink. Every time the person rolling gets hit by something alive and bounces around, THEY take a drink. If you can't make the designated time for each star (take turns, now- it's all about sharing) everyone takes a large drink. If the person playing DOES make the time goal- everyone chugs their beverage at the end of the level until the star is in the sky.

"J-Pop Karaoke" isn't really a drinking game, but it's best done drunk. Go ahead and loudly sing along to your favorite Katamari music track, much to the disdain of whoever is playing. Try to do this in the Moon Eternal Mode, because it lasts awhile, and the songs; they change! Drink up, Alanis Morrisette- show us what you can do! Grandma finds this game "really annoying."

"Jesus Fuck!! I Can't Feel My Katamari!" is a personal favorite, in that it doesn't involve beer, rather it has your favorite 80 proof. Tequila, Gin, Vodka, Whiskey- whatever your poison; this game is a two player inebriated festival of life, so make sure you have a second dual shock lying around. In two player mode, whenever someone "traps" the other person in their own Katamari- the trapped individual must drink. After three or four games, someone will likely vomit- at which point everyone yells "Jesus Fuck- I can't feel my Katamari!!" in their best celebratory impersonation of a Greek wedding.

Make sure you have a bucket.

"Roll You Up" is a Katamari drinking game with complete improvision at its core. The choice of beverage, the drinking triggers are to be set with the same patience and consideration as the dealer who decides the wildcard in poker. Some triggers used in games personally enjoyed include:

Drink when they roll up an animal.
Drink when they roll up a person.
Drink when they roll up a mode of transportation.
Drink when they roll up a child.
Drink when they roll up a building.
Drink when they roll up that crazy "Afro-Man."
Drink when they roll up a kitty.
Drink when they roll up "American Man."
Drink when they roll up vegetation of any kind.
Take three drinks whenever the King shows up for any reason.
Take two drinks whenever they roll up a cousin.

The list goes on....

Grandma finds these games to be "not her thing" and "dumb as all hell," but I can attest to their effectiveness at parties and study sessions alike. Namco really seems to know their stuff on this one; so the sequel may be worth a look. We'll let you know what Grandma thinks.

The hunt for the next game continues....

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Grandma Just Wanted To Share...

She won her first tournament in World Championship Poker on XBox Live. She celebrated a good long while. Maybe too long.

"YAY! I WON! I won my first tournament! You know I'm starting to like playing online! I still like single player games the most, but there's something too this! This is cool, I beat like 60-some people and came in first place. It took forever! But I did it, I showed that one loud kid that was screaming into the headset, man- I SHOWED HIM! WOO HOO!!!!"

[a couple clicks of the controller later]

"What?! What the FUCK?? IT SAYS I LOST! It's not showing up! IT'S NOT FUCKING SHOWING UP!! NO FAIR!!! That's not cool! What's the deal? [reads] ...Number of tournaments won- ZERO. That's fucking bullshit, THAT'S FUCKING BULLSHIT. Where's the money I won? THERE'S NO MONEY! Son of a BITCH!!! Fuck this game. FUCK IT!"

Grandma just wanted to let you know; first that World Championship Poker, despite the dumb graphics is a really great game online, with a big community and fun gameplay, and second: it's the worst game in the history of computers, and to "throw up on it" if you see it in stores, "fuck this game."

I think it hit a nerve.

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Grandma's Game Hunting: The Suffering; Ties That Bind

Grandma has had her eye on The Suffering for a while now. Quite a few of you recommended she give it a try, and Grandma digs what the folks at Surreal Software do- so it's worth a look. With a mature rating and enough blood in the advertising trailers to save several kids in desperate need of a transfusion, it seems perfect for Grandma. We looked up the reviews you sent us and looked at the opinions of our favorite game journalists.

She remembered that one her regular magazine subscriptions, Computer Gaming World, came recently with a demo disc for the PC version of the game.

At the little desk here in her bedroom there are two PC towers; mine and Grandma's. Grandma uses her computer to check her e-mail, look up strategies on GameFAQs, read your comments, appease her Sid Meier fix, and install every god damn demo she comes across. I use my computer to work, so I make it a point to never install anything, for The Workhorse is a hungry animal. If Grandma wants a decent framerate playing Unreal Tournament and Quake she sticks them on her computer, knowing I'll hide under a tree somewhere and cry if Macromedia takes too long to render, all the while muttering about "New Programs Installed." The whole problem would be fixed with a simple A/B Switch but every store around here looks at us like ...well, we are crazy... but the point is they don't have them.

If you haven't guessed already- I was forced to install the thing on The Workhorse, my baby. Also predictably, it didn't work. She got all the way to the loading screen that shows the layout of the standard 101-keyboard with 98 different functions to learn and the screen went black- a small whirring noise that can only be the tiny screams of thousands of chips and processors went silent for a moment, and it restarted.

This could be another Fatal Frame curse, we're not sure.

If Grandma is going to try The Suffering, she's going to need a copy on one of her consoles to do it. So what have you heard about this game. Have you played it? Let Grandma know.

She's hunting.

--More updates coming today! Thanks for helping us everyone, we trust you guys.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Grandma's Game Hunting: The Indigo Prophecy

In last night's Ask Grandma Hardcore; Ross asked the old lady the following question:

How would you feel about The Indigo Prophecy? I've just started it and I'm loving it. But the whole "track and field" thing might not be too good for the old RSI.

So, I followed the link and showed Grandma the site. The Indigo Prophecy (aka Fahrenheit, depending on where you are) has a decent fla
sh site with a trailer, some character bios, a storyline, etc.,.. Grandma noticed the graphics look somewhat like a cross between "the first Silent Hill and GTA III." The story seemed strange enough to grab her attention, and it had a couple decent reviews from a few of Grandma's favorite sources.

She loaded up the screenshot menu and found this: (click to make BIG)

Grandma exclaimed her confusion in no blunt terms. "He's depressed?? He has a depression meter? ...The fuck is that? Do you go around finding boxes of Paxil to cheer him up? .....Weird...."

So I don't know if this is going to happen. Ross, if you care to provide an explanation for the character's melancholy trip to the local shake stop, sans savvy Manhattan date, it would surely enlighten us. He doesn't have a ragged cut out Craigslist apartment directory for Queens, he isn't smoking any strange substances and he isn't killing any locals with a bat; which makes Grandma think he isn't an NYU student with a heavy paper due Friday and he isn't Michael Bloomberg.

She's intrigued.

Grandma will do some more game hunting this week for her next victim. We'll keep you posted on what we find.

--Updates on the way!--

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Ask Grandma Hardcore

Alright- what's on your mind? Come on, you can tell us. What do you want to know?

Open forum!

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Grandma Has Destroyed Psychonauts

Double Fine Productions, Tim Schafer, and Majesco Entertainment made Psychonauts dark. Grandma was thrilled with the graphics; she loved the way each level appropriately held a personality of its own. She adored the characters and the story. She laughed, she screamed- ...well, mostly she just screamed.

In a game where the main character is symbolically named for the occultist advisor to the last dynasty of Imperial Russia who was brutally assassinated by poison, stabbed, shot many times and dumped into a icy river before the royal family were sent to exile awaiting their inevitable execution by a bloody, undignified firing squad; men women and children alike pleading for their lives only to meet the metallic taste of bullets in their final moments of absolute terror- it's a surprisingly heartwarming tale of a boy and his daddy.

Because the story takes place at a "camp" of sorts, it is in fact the kids, the counselors, the teachers that steal the show. I will admit Grandma and I both cringed at a few of their voices but I'd like to think it was because they were supposed to be annoying, as those of us who suffered through summer camps for psychic ability can attest. Personal Grandma favorites include the board-game like level in which one must convince very French people to come out of their very French homes to fight a very French war- because Grandma indeed has a French last name; she gets a kick out of the mention of cheese. Most of her time in that level was spent laughing.

But then, the end- the final level; a circus tent made of meat with all sorts of steak-fillet platforms and butcher blade obstacles enough to fill mouths of any vegetarian with bits of vomit- as Grandma put it to me earlier- "This level is a BITCH..."

It took her awhile, about two hours I think, to finally make it from the bottom of the meat circus tent to the end of the game. It was her mountain, her K-2; and like most climbers, she had thoughts of returning to base camp for better weather more than once, the summit appearing unreachable. I urge you to go back a few posts to read her statements of cowardice; because in this one I'll only include the triumph:

"YES!! YES!!! IT'S ABOUT FUCKING TIME!!! God DAMN! WOOOOOO!!!! That's it! That's IT! It's over! FINALLY! Thank. Fucking. CHRIST!!! Ahw, God, that was fun. It was FUN! But now- it's over. It's FUCKING OVER!!!"

The cutscene concluded the story in a manner not unlike The Incredibles, and the credits rolled by; featuring some artwork from the game, followed by a picture of the staff over at Double Fine Productions, who don't appear to be as hideous as one would expect after playing Psychonauts. They in fact look like a nice bunch of folks.

The Psychonauts Brain intro appeared on the screen once again, ready for another go. Grandma asked "Hey, go on GameFAQs and see if I get anything for beating it..." expecting to be able to keep some powers for a second try at the game. I looked it up for her.
"No," I said. "But there are a whole bunch of cheats you could use."

She gave me the dirtiest look I've ever seen since the DHL lady delivered some free stuff from TriXie over at Microsoft addressed to "Old Grandma Hardcore."
"What do you mean there were CHEATS?? And you didn't THINK to tell me that while I threatened to throw the FUCKING XBOX out the GOD DAMN WINDOW???"

Right now Grandma's trying to finish up God Mode on God of War as her next project, which- like Psychonauts, Grandma has declared "fucking impossible."

If you haven't picked up a copy of Psychonauts, Grandma strongly recommends it- but make sure you know what you're getting into.

--More updates on the way! Thanks for the comments and e-mails, you know what we like... Also, as usual, tonight is Monday night Grandma Blogging; so 9:00pm EST is another edition of Ask Grandma Hardcore. See you there!--

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Grandma Needs Your Input, God Dammit! (T-Shirts)

Of the all the e-mails we get each week, there are always ten of you who ask "Where are the t-shirts? I want a t-shirt. Give me my t-shirt." You guys were nice enough to point out the CafePress.com offers a service in which we can have a tiny markup on the production cost so as not to disrupt our obsession with not making money off of the back of Grandma's gaming turmoil.

We have a few artwork ideas, but Grandma really doesn't like any of them, and let's face it- it's her image; so I don't want to fuck this up. It has to be done delicately. She's perfectly fine with vulgarity and using her picture in any number of stylized ways, but we need your help.

We need ideas, and if you're willing- submit some artwork.

We'd like to have the blog address somewhere on the shirt, but it doesn't have to be huge- we don't want an army of walking promotion, we just want something cool to offer you guys.

What do you think?


Okay! You guys have some great ideas, and the artwork you're sending us is fantastic. I'm going to give you photoshop masters some source pictures later this week, hopefully Wednesday so we can all see your take on Grandma. I'll put up the "best of" artwork that's been submitted, and some of the template restrictions that CafePress provides so we know with what we're dealing. I'll also show you some of the text-only proposals come into fruition- and if you greenlight those we'll start up a store right away for yas.

You are correct in saying we should have three classes of Grandma based attire- one being a "FUCKING BITCH COCK MARIO ASSHOLE" class. The uncensored content will enable the shirt to be adorned for your favorite weekend punk performance, or everyday if you work in a tattoo parlor; under your BDU's if you happen to hold a Geneva Convention Identification Card, or if that's just the sort of shirt you wear anyway- we don't judge. The second class is safe for work, school, church, and job interviews at Six Flags; no swearing, a dubious "OGHC" in place of our more multi-layered title "Old Grandma Hardcore." The third is in the middle- just so you can turn some heads with a "...huh" reaction instead of the inevitable "follow that one; I think they're going to take something..."

It's all up to you. We just want to give some choices. There is more coming this week about this, so ...brainstorm amongst yourselves. Use this thread if you need until we open another. Thanks for the advice everybody!

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Now Available- Grandma's Video Transcripts

Drift your pretty eyes over to the right. Yeah, that's it... Yeah, baby don't be shy now- look a little bit down the video menu.... Okay, further, just a little more, yeah- Shit, not too far, that's the links section now- go back up. There you go.....

Our videos are pretty short, so if you're looking for a specific Grandma quote, there is your place to do it; uncensored and lightly annotated for your Grandma gaming fix. I'll update this and the music track listings every time we get a new video, more content coming tomorrow.

--Sorry for the short update, more stuff coming tonight! Thanks folks!--

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Video #11: Grandma Versus Her Father

Grandma is past the "BUUNNYYYY" giant and is now in some sort of weird aerobatic circus of meat. (I'd like you to read that last sentence again. Strange, no? One word: Psychonauts. Nothing is strange to me anymore.)

To better show you what's going on, here's a new video:

[WMV; 02:11; 5.05mb]

It was made from graphics on the laptop, so it's a bit different from previous videos (no PNG graphics for the titles, strangely enough). After going through Grandma's "Habitat Cam" footage, I've come to the conclusion that she won't have ANY problems with the new Nintendo controller. You'll see what I mean.

--Thanks folks!!--

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Grandma Wishes Psychonauts Dead

Grandma has peaked in Psychonauts. Her temper has reached it's worst, and she has uttered the phrase "I should throw this GOD DAMN FUCKING GAME OUT THE FUCKING WINDOW GOD DAMMIT!!!! FUCK!!!!"

She's stuck.

She has to put the beat down on a very large dude with a meat cleaver who moans "BUUNNNYYY!!!" and trys to chop you. One has to run up his arm (sort of like the Giants in Resident Evil 4) to get to any point of doing damage. She just can't do it yet. I wrote down her statements of the past 10 minutes or so, uncensored. If there are any children around you, send them to bed and tell them something scary to make them stay there. It gets bad from here on in....

"Motherfucker! This cocksucking asshole keeps- MOTHER FUCKER!!"


"God damn, this fucker.... you fuckhead, you shit you- NO!! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!! FUCK!!!!"


Me- "How do you kill him?"
Grandma- "You have to run up his GOD DAMN ARMS!!! SHIT!!!"
Me- "I'm going to go turn on the dishwasher or something...."


"I don't understand how you're suppose to stay on!! I DON'T UNDER STAND HOW YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO GET ON--- MOTHER FUCKER!!"




"This is the dumbest god damn thing... I don't get this! I just don't get it! I'm going to throw this fucking game away-- because it's never going to END-- IT'S NEVER GOING TO-- GOD DAMMIT!!!!!"


"Cocksucker.......Fuck......BITCH!.......NOO!!!!!! NO!! GOD DAMMIT!!! [speaking to game] Do you realize how LONG I'VE BEEN AT THIS?? YOU SHIT?! FUCK YOU!!!"


"I fucking give up... I'm putting on poker, this is FUCKING ridiculous, I can't DO THIS SHIT!"


"FUCK!!!!! MOTHER FUCKER!! KISS my ass, you giant fucking ASSHOLE!!"


"JUST DIE already you piece of shit.... it just keeps fucking GOING...."


Grandma- "Get Bobby in here, maybe he can do it."
Me- "Alright..." [fetches the boy]
Bobby- "What?"
Grandma- "BEAT THE SHIT out of this guy."
Bobby- "Okay.... what does this button do?"
Grandma- "NO! You have to run up his arm-"
Bobby- "How do I jump?"
Grandma- "RUN UP HIS ARM!!"
Bobby- "I can't! I don't know how to play this game!"
Grandma- "FUCK!! Tim, you do it, I give up."
Me- "I don't know the buttons or anything, I haven't started a file yet..."
Grandma- "FUCK!!!!!!!"


[Game]- BUUNNYYY!!!
Grandma- [high crazy voice] "BUNNY!! BUNNY!! FUCKING BUNNY!!! Say it again, go ahead- SAY IT AGAIN!! FUCK, I'm tired of this guy!"


..........you bitch. I'll see you later.......

Then she got up, turned off the console and replaced the game with WCP and signed on the XBox Live, ready to kill. She's going to pick it up again tonight when she's more relaxed. Psychonauts has penetrated HER mind, ironically enough, and it found her "Anger Core..." It's going to be a long night....

--Updates coming tomorrow! Thanks everybody!--

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Grandma to Nintendo: "What the hell are you smoking? Hey! That's pretty cool!"

Well this year we found that Mark Felt was the inside source that revealed the corruption of the Nixon Administration. We discovered that Tutankhamun was not in fact murdered in comedic blood sport by Brendon Fraser, but died of a gangrene infection caused by being a clutz. We all cried February when two of my favorite authors, Arthur Miller and Hunter S. Thompson drove the Shark to that big drug orgy in the sky.

Then this happens.

Nintendo held out on telling us all about the controller for The Revolution, a system aptly named for the usually bloody political upheaval that defined the lyrics of The Monkeys. (Note: this may still be a codename for the system, the names "The Imperial Dominator," "The Proletariat," and "N64 Times Ifinity Squared" have not been ruled out.) The secret is secret no longer a
s Satoru Iwata finally hopped out of his green pipe and jumped on a turtle to show why Nintendo games have so many mushrooms.

The new controller is a remote control / game controller / magic wand / iPod, proving that Harry Potter and Apple marketing campaigns have influenced the deepest realms of Japan. Grandma pushed me away from the computer so she could go to Nintendo's website to get a better look at the damn thing.

"THAT'S a controller?" she asked no one in particular. "How the fuck to you press the- there are no THUMBSTICKS! No thumbsticks! It's like an old school NES directional pad."
"Yeah, but it has motion input, so you can wave it around to move a camera angle, or jump, or hit somebody within the game," I said, feeling wise.
"....I already wave the controller around."
"Yeah, but this time it DOES something."

"I don't know about this thing. Here..." she picked up our handy dandy Adelphia DVR remote and made a swash buckling demonstration. "...If I'm swinging this around, it's moving more of my wrist and my shoulder than I normally have to playing a game."

"So if they think this is going to attract a larger audience- I mean look at the fucking EyeToy! That was supposed to change gaming- or DDR, or those stupid BONGOS we pass at Gamestop. Do you see me playing any of those? It's not because I don't want to it's because I can't. Physically. I have to try this out somewhere before we get a Revolution- I like Nintendo, I just don't know if I can take this sort of thing."

The controller definitely continues Nintendo's tradition of being innovative, and Grandma likes the idea of taking her frustration out on a game and getting points for it. Nintendo is going to have to let Grandma know how this doesn't exclude folks like her who want to game hard without dishing out an ice cold plate of Rheumatoid.

The keynote speech mentioned older gamers as being a market Nintendo wants to create, just like they've "expanded" the women's market with the DS. (Thanks Joystiq for the heads up on this.) I'm sure all our female OGHC readers will be surprised to find that it was in fact Nintendogs that was your gateway drug into gaming all along (cause it's so CUTE! And girls just LOVE cute things!) Come on Nintendo!! Give us some Metroid Prime sequels!! Give us another dark Zelda! You're a great company, don't DO this to us!

Or prove us wrong. You have a woman turning 70 in a few months that needs you to be as loyal to those like her as they have been to you. Show us the way and we'll help you convince the rest of the world, because right now- they're not biting. People are mentioning the PowerGlove under their breath and glancing the other way.

--More updates coming today, folks!--

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Grandma: The Witching Hour of XBox Live

If you find OGHC logged on between the hours of 1:00am and 7:00am EST and she's logged in playing World Championship Poker, chances are you've heard first hand the unique mixture of sleep apnea and "Holy Shit! A player!" In WCP, she sets up a table for Texas Hold Em' and patiently waits for a new victim to sign on to her game. In that time, the only thing one sees on screen are two Sims like people (The Dealer and Grandma manifest in digital form) sitting in silence around a large table with a clock in the background making its usual boring noise. Sometimes she'll wait up to 15 minutes before anyone will show up for a game. This extremely dull image coupled with the medication creates a series of "Poker- Sleep- Poker- Sleep" cycles that continue for hours, with median intervals of about 10 minutes.

The folks on the other end of the broadband don't know this, though. Grandma's crazy lady snoring voice sounds like weird static in the headphones. They log on, the table fills up, and all Grandma has to do is press the "Black" button on her controller to begin the game. Instead, she continues to explore dreamland (with her mouth wide open as though to slowly eat the microphone on her nifty Major Nelson headset TriXie sent over) and her gaming compadres begin to get, understandably, impatient.

"Start the GAME!! COME ON!!!"
"Grandma, you alive?"
"Hey! HEY!!! WAKE UP!"
"What the FUCK? Did she go to the bathroom or something?"

I roll the chair away from the computer and tap Grandma on the foot. "Do you want me to turn it off for you?"
"No! Why? Shit, I got players...."

Grandma doesn't always realize she had been asleep. When she is in that serene REM slumber, I'm pretty sure she DREAMS she's still playing the game. Her thumbs twitch a bit like she's been at a week long marathon without food or water but insists on carrying on to honor her country. Most of the time, however, she does hear the shouts of "HEY BITCH!" and responds with
"God dammit, wake yourself up Barbara, pay ATTENTION." I must have heard that phrase this morning at least sixty times.

So, Grandma offers her sincere apologies to anyone who experienced this phenomenon. I thought about putting images of the sleeping beauty up today to illustrate this point, but I'm pretty sure the flash would have woken her up, ruining her perfect impersonation of the corpse from Weekend at Bernie's. Grandma says in closing: "Cut me some slack, I'm an old lady!"

--More updates coming! We're making a couple new videos for you as well. Thanks everybody!"

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

OGHC- The Unforeseen Consequences; Good God, What Have We Done?

When I started this blog, I thought about many scenarios in which the content could be portrayed as hurtful to others, depressing instead of funny, or even dangerous to my family and I've tired fairly successfully to avoid any nastiness.

I didn't anticipate, however, the damaging effect our now beloved title "Old Grandma Hardcore" would have on the general population. The blog has been run through many language translators since its creation last June, and I often wondered about the retention or the semi-pornographic silliness of the title. We've received funny stories of folks walking in on someone laughing at the blog, looking at the title and immediately weeping to their mothers that the love of their life wouldn't share their most intimate fantasies, no matter how unorthodox. All these stories have had a happy ending where Ctrl+H and five minutes of reading confirm that they don't in fact have a geriatric fetish to worry about.

One story, unfortunately, doesn't yet have a happy ending, and I've agreed to help out a bit for a few reasons. First, because- hey, man: anything to help a reader! And second because stuff like this just writes itself.

Let's all give a big hug to J____ from Florida. I've agreed not to print the kid's name so it doesn't pop up in conjunction with all the other various off-color search terms that bring a small percentage of readers from MSN and Google each day. We'll call him "Jay." Jay needed a quick OGHC fix Monday, and was excited to find out that Grandma would be coming home from the hospital. He chose to load the page from his high school library.

I'm sure you can guess where this is going.

Jay was spotted by the ever present gaze of the librarian reading a page titled "Old Grandma Hardcore," and reported him to the disciplinarian bodies that be. Jay has now been given an "In School Suspension" and won't be able to access the internet at school for the rest of the year for viewing "questionable material" using the school district's equipment (which, by the way, runs an old version of Safari, which doesn't make the site look that pretty anyway.) The most important element of this "internet tale of woe" is now the boy has the words "accessing pornography about old people" on a document somewhere in his permanent record. You know there have to be kids working the offices at this school that hear about this mess thinking "well, that's a hell of a rumor..." I don't want this guy to be a granny-porn-pariah for his remaining years of high school angst, so I drafted a letter to those who hold power over his life to request mercy. Here's the letter:

To whom it may concern-

It has come to my attention that one of your students was issued a punishment for accessing our website (http://oghc.blogspot.com, hereinafter "OGHC") using the school's computers. I submit that his perusal of the site was merely for academic reasons, thus our website's classification as "questionable material" should change and his disciplinary record over this matter cleared.

Contention #1: OGHC is a daily chronicle of the life of Barbara St. Hilaire, an older woman with a heart of gold and a passion for video games of all types. Often she becomes frustrated at certain obstacles within these games that cause her to use a fascinating post-cold war American vernacular that shows not only the human condition in times of extreme emotion, a status not easy to replicate in labs and impossible to fully understand in such tests as the Stanford-Binet or the MMPI-II, but also the product of years of technological evolution from the popularity of the radio to the implementation of a complex global network that is the internet manifested in a string of vulgar exclamations.

Contention #2: Many authors of books no doubt contained within your library were also considered obscene and "questionable" within their date of first publication. We beg you to research the condemnation and subsequent censorship of authors within the Elizabethan, Romantic, Modernist, and Post-modernist periods, and try to empathize with future literary scholars to find your own definitions of "questionable" antiquated, thus expanding your view of this matter.

Contention #3: OGHC may have a title of "Old Grandma Hardcore," but that title is meant not only as a "gamer-specific" technical term to be understood within the community of video game enthusiasts, but also as ironic. The use of irony is an often misunderstood matter within classroom discussion, and our site may better illuminate this term for your students. OGHC does not contain pornography of any kind.

I hope we can exchange correspondence to better our understanding of this situation, and I thank you for your patience and your time. I regret that I had to write under these unfortunate circumstances and am sure that rationality will prevail in the end.

With thanks,

-Timothy St. Hilaire
Creator, Writer:

I asked Grandma about it, and she said her letter would be something like this:

Dear Assholes,

It's not a porn site. I don't do porn. Leave the boy alone. Good God, didn't you even look at the site? ...Poor kid.

Thanks for nothing, fuckers.


If anyone needs us to patch something up for you because of the site, don't hesitate to ask- we'll do our best. Most of our readers are of drinking age, so I don't imagine this will happen very often, but we're here if you need us.

--More updates on the way!--

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Grandma Vs. Psychonauts The Sequel: The Rumble In The Jungle

Playing XBox in the hospital was a different experience for Grandma. As predicted, she had several doctors, nurses from all over the hospital (including one from the pediatric department who mocked the children's N64 by saying "There's some old lady that has an XBox up on the second floor..."), and a few patients find their way into Grandma's room to see the spectacle that is Psychonauts. Because it's a place of "rest" and all, Grandma refrained from swearing too loudly most of the time. This must have affected her gameplay the same way some folks get annoyed by restraining their need to "drive the controller" trying to get that extra few feet jumping to the infamous ledge. Now that she's home, however, she is in full Optimus Prime vulgarity mode, uninhibited in her off-color superpower and kicking ass.

Here's a tiny example of Grandma's homecoming:

"Okay, so now I have her mind.... now what the fuck do I do?"

[Game] - You're technique is dull... HAHAHAHAA!!
Grandma - "This guy is the most annoying cocksucker I have ever- HOW DO YOU FLOAT INTO THE MUSIC NOTES?? It doesn't always work, look! I can get so far then- FUCK!!!!!"

"Oh my god. You did not just fucking- OH MY GOD."

"See, I have to use telekinesis to move this dude, and then he fixes the bridge."

[Game] ...I can't wait to die for his cause!
Grandma- "Yeah, I bet you can't."

"What the fuck is this? Tim! What the fuck is THIS?"

Grandma - [slams hand onto arm rest]
Me - "What?"
Grandma - "It starts you ALL the way back here. And I mean ALL THE WAY. That's no god damn fair..."

"Look at this guy! HA!"

"You ....fuzzhead- just jump; just once- JUMP! JUMP GOD DAMMIT!! [...] FUCK!"

"I quit. This is impossible. These assholes kill me every time. I quit! I give up!"
[30 minutes later]
"MotherFUCKER!! God DAMN! It's about FUCKING TIME!"

Grandma's back, bitch! And she has plenty to do. God of War is so close to being played to its ultimate end, after which the "replay value" comes into effect- to show people who come over for Thanksgiving "Hey, you have to check this game out..." World Championship Poker is still her current XBox Live addiction, and she's looking for a game to keep her Gamecube company in those long dark nights ahead, after she's done with Psychonauts.

Quothe the Grandma- "Thank GOD I'm back. Hospitals are a pain in my ASS."

--Updates on the way! We're back to a steady schedule of Grandma goodness for everybody.

Also- Thank you all for the support you showed Grandma. The comments, the e-mails, the get-well e-cards, everything- it meant a lot to her. It especially helped when everyone here wasn't sure what was going on, what could have been wrong; preparing one's family for the possibility of open heart surgery, not trusting the doctors, freaking out, etc.,... You guys stayed cool for us. I'm sorry I couldn't respond to everyone's e-mails when the shit hit the fan, I know you guys understand; I'm just putting that out there. You have again vindicated my respect for the online community as a whole and of what it is capable. Many of you are gamers, some of you aren't- but you all helped out Grandma.

From the bottom of our hearts- Thank you.

Now let's rock the fuck on--

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Monday, September 12, 2005

The Bitch Is Back!! Ask Grandma Hardcore: Hospital Food Edition

She's back yo! Grandma had some fun days with saline drips and Psychonauts. Whadya wanna know?

--Open forum; [those letters at the end for verification are just to prevent spammers; we had a few of them, you know...] It's all good!--

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Grandma Comes Home Today; Future Badass Status Not Threatened

I'm leaving now to be there while she's having a heart catheter- a procedure she's not really enthused about. After she recovers for a few hours, she's coming home to kick some Psychonaut ass.

Tonight at 9pm EST: Ask Grandma Hardcore: Hospital Food Edition

--Updates on the way!--

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Friday, September 09, 2005

See Grandma On G4's Attack Of The Show! ...Someday In The Future, Perhaps

Grandma received an appearance request to be on G4's Attack Of The Show for early October. I understand the value of good news in times of frustration, so I took it to her pretty quick. Again, the hospital doesn't have WiFi so I surprised her by printing out the invite and including it with a bunch of fan letters and get-well cards this morning when I went to visit. I wondered how long it would take her to notice.

Oh, she noticed!

Unfortunately, Grandma gets really nervous about traveling by herself, let alone doing the show without me there- not to mention she just had a mini-stroke-heart-blockage ...thing, and transcontinental travel can be lonely enough without having to worry about medication. So, she had me write back to the coordinator of the show to say she just couldn't make the trip alone.

Me- "You sure?"
Grandma- "There's no fucking way I could do something like that by myself, not like this! You've GOT to be there."
Me- "Alright..."

He understood the situation and was very sympathetic. They have a travel budget like everyone else, and two people for a small feature just doesn't jive this quarter, if you know what I mean. It's not G4's fault, they didn't know. He said he'd keep our information and call us back at the beginning of next year, when they have a new travel budget. For what's it worth, I believe him.

We'll just have to wait a while to see Grandma on G4, yet how appropriate would it be for my brother Kenny to see his Grandma on a recorded episode of AOTS right before watching his 40+ recordings of Anime Unleashed? Tivo is a great thing when used for the powers of good. (The kid has an addiction. We live in an Anime friendly house. We are all enablers.)

Someday soon! One day our hero Grandmother, to whom we are all Hardcore Grandchildren, will freak the shit out of you by being on TV again. At that moment, you will look at the screen and spit whatever cereal you happen to be eating out through your noise and proclaim to your spouse, coworkers, family, friends and pets: "THAT'S HER! It's OGHC! Game on!"

Just not yet :)

--More updates on the way! Video 11- Psychonauts At The Hospital.... Ask Grandma Hardcore Hospital Food Edition.... Etc.,...... Thanks for the comments and e-mails everybody!--

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Souless And Uncaring Hospital: Meet Psychonauts

Grandma is going to be kept over this weekend because they won't do the heart catheter until Monday. She's bored out of her mind.

Mark and Kim (family) are trying to arrange a television cart to be brought in so her many requests for Psychic Battle can be fulfilled. I'll bring up the XBox when I leave here in a minute. She feels that a God Mode victory in God of War is not suited for painkillers. It awaits her return.

We might have major news coming today, something unrelated to Grandma's fascinating trip down "ScarethefuckoutofTimandgotothehospital" Lane. Something good. A nice change of pace, god dammit!

When this is over Monday I am going to sleep. Chances are that little beeping noise the heart monitor makes will be in my dreams then too.


--Thank's for your patience, everybody. Grandma loves your letters and e-mails and e-cards. Today she told me "Make sure you thank everybody for me- I mean it, put something on the site letting them know I actually read their e-mails! Just tell them thanks." I'd tell you to send flowers but she would just use them to get into the Graveyard in Psychonauts, or possibly brandish them as a weapon with some pollen-based Bio attack inflicting 2000HP and a Hyper status in some other game. She's creative, but don't waste your flowers, she'll be out soon anyway! Thanks everybody!--

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Scream Heard 'Round The Hospital

Picture a hospital. Imagine you are walking through the cold, sterile hallways of some cardiovascular ward passing someone carrying flowers to someone in the maternity level upstairs who just had a baby; someone else talking to their family in hushed voices so as not to wake the kid with a broken leg in the bed next to theirs; some white coated grad-student walking quickly for rounds in the emergency room with some intimidating doctor who thinks the show ER was real and Michael Chrichton is a screenwriting god; you pass some other folks going to the hospital's chapel for some kind of relief, some kind of solace as their best friend is wheeled, bed and all, into an awaiting O.R. for surgery; some kid playing with abandoned electrical scooters being chastised by her mother for "disturbing the peace." You are calm, everything is clean, and other than the occasional page from the loudspeakers for a surgeon who spent a little too much time in the cafeteria, everything is quiet.

Then you hear it. You hear the scream.

Grandma has the newest edition of one of her favorite magazines, EGM, Electronic Gaming Monthly. I made sure she had at least something to read in that god-awful place, and the issue came just in time. On its cover this month is a picture of Cloud from Advent Children and the headline underneath reads something like "Final Fantasy XII, The Definitive Report." Apparently, they knew that Square Enix has oodles of material coming up and they needed a big story. They found it in the rumors behind the delays; the story of Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus and a possible but unlikely version of FFVII for the PS3.

In the copy of one of these stories they mention the release date for Dirge of Cerberus, the shooter staring Vincent and friends after the destruction of Midgar.

That release date is not this fall.

I wasn't there when it happened, so like you I can only imagine. I can guess it was a long, pronounced assault from the guttural cries of some ancient animal from which Grandma evolved, echoing off the long hallways and glass doors of the hospital.

Specifically I think it went something like:

"MOTHER FUCKERRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

--Again, THANK YOU for the support everybody, Grandma needs it right now. She had an ultrasound of her heart and neck this morning, along with a big ol' shot of Cumidan (a blood thinner) into her stomach. Thank fucking Christ I wasn't there for that one. As Grandma put it- "Meh... It wasn't so bad." Fucking A it wasn't Grandma. I wasn't at your bedside to pass out. Rock on! Thanks everybody!!--

I went to see Grandma again tonight. The hospital doesn't have WiFi so I went and printed Grandma's fan mail and "get well" messages :) She read the articles you sent, the comments you left, everything but the animated e-cards (she'll see those when she gets home).

So far, the news is she's staying again tonight. They ruled out blood clot and are moving back towards the heart after an abnormal stress test result. They said not to worry, no big deal; but I trust doctors as far as I can throw them, and that's just before it would reach second base anyway, so ...the fuck good is that? Here's what they're doing tomorrow: They make a small cut into her leg, then very carefully shove a probe into her artery and up to the heart to check shit out. Most of you know about that sort of catheter so I'll leave the description at that. Bottom line, Grandma HATES to have this done, and she let the doctor know it in her own special way. I was there :) After speaking with the doctor there today, I think she's going to be alright. She'll be set to go back to gaming with more energy and possibly the organs of a more ferocious beast if we pay extra, I'm hoping baboon.

It's like you guys said. Piss and Vinegar, man.
Piss and Vinegar.

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Grandma In Hospital Awaiting Tests, Jonesing for Game Systems

I was able to speak to Grandma very early this morning when she called from her room. She told me her room number and told me what's going on. The doctors at the hospital think it's a blood clot. Somewhere. It could be in her legs, could be in her chest, who knows? She's on blood thinners (again) and is being told to go about her everyday life. After hours of more tests, of course. Last night the best we had was "well, something happened, we know that, we just don't know what" so I suppose this is an improvement.

This is Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna, OH. You need a little backstory to understand my apprehension of these folks.

A long time ago, back in 1970 during the Vietnam era, Nixon decided to allow troops to cross into Cambodia to deal with the Ho Chi Minh Trail issue. No matter what your politics of the decision are, Nixon entered the 1968 election with the promise to get out of Vietnam, and here it was being escalated. Some people were, naturally, pissed. They held a massive protest at Kent State University, the next town over from Ravenna. The protest lasted for a few days before it ended abruptly when then Ohio Governor Rhodes (for whom a skyscraper is named in Columbus) decided it would be a good idea to have live rounds in the weapons of the National Guard monitoring the protest, and the inevitable happened. Four students died.

They were taken to Robinson Memorial, at that time in downtown Ravenna instead of near a field of cows like it is now.

Fast forward to Grandma's first knee replacement surgery a few years ago. The surgeon had to demand twice that the instruments used be taken away for cleaning, and Grandma still got an infection.

When I went to High School, teachers used to pass out Emergency Medical forms and tell the class "if you value your life, don't ever put 'any available hospital' on this form, for they will take to Robinson. If you go through all of High School and you learn nothing else, know that."

That place frightens me. Walking through it is being led through a cold museum without any art, only to find the door to the parking lot is guarded by flanking nurses and orderlies on a cigarette break, and you know they're going to ask you for a cigarette when you leave, even though there is a gas station within sight, even though they just raised taxes on smokes in Ohio, and you know you're going to give them one because you can never say no......

I get off track sometimes when I'm nervous.

Grandma, however, is not frightened. She is the very opposite of afraid, she is restless and bored. "I can't wait to get out of this fucking dump" she told me in confidence as a nurse could be heard rattling a food cart into the room, to whom no doubt Grandma smiled and was very polite (she likes nurses; never really gave them problems.) I told her about the game cart idea some of you suggested, but she dismissed it: "The last thing I need right now is to stay here, and if I start up a good game and they notice.... well you know how they are sometimes. 'Games are for kids' like fucking 'Trix are for kids.' The hospital is no place for an eccentric to be noticed. I just want to get the fuck out of here."

Sitting here at home, lonely and untouched, is Grandma's PS2 with God of War still inside with the memory card that says the end of God Mode is only a few mountains away; her XBox with World Championship Poker (she's made about $300,000 fake dollars she's proud of) and Psychonauts put to the side with a folded piece of paper from GameFAQs outlining the next mission.

When she comes back, hopefully today, I know exactly what she's going to do.

--Thanks for the piles of e-mails and comments and e-cards for Grandma, everybody. Know that Grandma will see all of them! We BOTH appreciate the massive response!--

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Grandma In Hospital; Updates Coming

Ally and I drove down from Case after Mom called us from the emergency room at Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna, OH. Before everybody (including me) panics, here are the facts so far:

Sometime this afternoon Grandma was balancing her checkbook and going through the bills for this week and became dizzy. She went numb in places on one side. After a trip the the emergency room, they first suspected a stroke. They haven't ruled anything out yet, but they are focusing on the possibility of a blood clot moving towards the lungs. They took a CAT scan, they studied her heart from all possible angles, and they have scheduled a test tomorrow to view the lungs using a special dye (to which she happens to be allergic.) Because of possible complications from the dye, they are using a technique unavailable at triage using a breathing mask as the delivery method rather than an injection. She is being given blood thinners right now and is to be kept overnight and restricted to bed until a blood clot is ruled out.

She should be home tomorrow, and up and running around doing her thing in a few days. When I find out more I'll post it here for you.

When Ally and I were finally able to go back and see her, she was pissed for two reasons. First, she was mad they would only let her use a bedpan and not the restroom: "I hate those fucking things, I can go with a nurse if they want but bedpans suck." And second, she was angry they were keeping her overnight because "I want to get back to that game. I finally got through- you know you posted yesterday that I was stuck? Well someone on the site wrote it was the flowers, and that's what it was! But now I have to go to this post office or something and use clairvoyance on this guy to get in, but I'm not fast enough... and then this shit happens.... FUCK!!" I'm just glad she's alright.

She really needs your support right now, though. I'll bring the laptop up tomorrow for her to see some get well e-mails from all of us.

Thanks everybody. I'll post any changes tonight and tomorrow morning, I think it's going to be a long night, so I'll be awake to answer any questions.


Update: 9:09pm EST

Mom called from the hospital asking how to turn off the iPod. They aren't letting anyone back to see her at the moment, but we know they are looking for blood clots. Blood clots scare the shit out of me. The EKG graphs appeared erratic, I didn't know what to think. Grandma doesn't seem that worried. She's a tough old bitch, that's for sure. Mom says she's looking much better than when she was admitted. Apparently when she arrived she looked like James Carville on shrooms, but now she's back to her pleasant self. I'm not sure what sort of tests they're running now, but I'll update as soon as I'm able to get through to her room.

Also- Thanks for all the comments and e-mails, everybody. Thanks as well to all the gaming industry folks who e-mail get-well messages, you guys didn't have to do that, but it's going to make Grandma's morning when I show her. She's received more get well cards in the past four hours or so than all the hate-mail she received while the site was featured on Slashdot, Kotaku, Blue's News, MTV, MSNBC, Screenhead, Fazed, Digg, Memepool, and Metafilter combined, so there is a lot of love out there for Grandma. Thanks, guys.

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Grandma Will Never Play Nintendogs. Never!

Here's why:

We have in our home two lovely little puppies that go by the handles "Charlie" and "Buddha." Charlie was named after Charles Dickens and is a West Highland White Terrier. He will happily shit on your shoes before eating them behind the couch. He is a cute little booger, though. Buddha was named after the popular deity / spiritual leader of the same name and is a Shitzhu. I am aware at how offensive this is; I didn't name him. Buddha looks like an ugly Ewok and growls at everyone, but is an otherwise pleasant pet. If it were not for the two trying to hump each other hourly ending in barking and gnashing of teeth, they would be two cool pups.

And then there is Grandma.

Grandma would never hurt an animal. Grandma HAS never hurt an animal. The threat of pain and mutilation, however, comes frequently and in varying degree of craziness. I don't believe the dogs understand English entirely, which is both comforting and disturbing. If they do know what she's saying and they still wag their tales awaiting a pat on the head, they're just plain stupid or playing dumb for safety. If they don't know what she's rambling on about, I fear they assume even worse punishments than she describes, which, for a dog, is unfathomable.

"CHARLIE!!! MOTHER FUCKER!!!!! [quiet] Did you eat this shoe? DID YOU?? Stay the FUCK out of Linda's ROOM!!!"

"Buddha you son of a bitch I swear to Christ if you piss on this carpet one more god damn fucking time I will rip out your fucking EYES!!!! Yeah! YEAH! GROWL AT ME!! GO AHEAD! I dare you. I dare you to fucking growl at me you worthless piece of shit dog!!!!!"

"Oh! Charlie! I love you Charlie, who's my little puppy? Who! Yes!!! Yes, you're my little puppy, I love Charlie. I love you Charlie!"

"Buddha!!! BUDDHA!!! GET BACK HERE!! ...If I have to come after you dog, you are going to REGRET IT, you fucking hear me!?"

"Buddha! Yay! Who's got a buddha belly? Yes! You gots a buddha belly that likes to be SCRATCHED! YES! You like some attention! You want a treat? Okay, here you go, here's a treat for my little buddha...."

Grandma - "CHARLIE!! You Fucking Dog!!! Jesus FUCKING CHRIST!! I JUST LET YOU OUT!!"
Me - "What?"
Grandma - "Fucking DOG just shat on the carpet AGAIN!"
Me - "You just let him out."
Grandma - "I KNOW! He waits to come in the house, he shits on the rug, and then looks at me like 'what? I didn't do anything!'"
Me - "I'm sure he didn't mean it."
Grandma - "No, don't tell me he doesn't fucking know what he did, he fucking KNOWS, Tim. He understands me. I'm serious, one of these days I'm going to drive out to the middle of the woods and drop his fucking ass over on the side of the road. THEN we'll see where he shits...."

Again, Grandma has never followed through with her threats, and she won't. A half hour later the dog will put on a happy "I love you" grin and hop up on her lap and lick her hands. She start with some "Don't even ask for forgiveness you stupid animal!" but will eventually be won by their charm and treat them like kings. It is interesting to see the whole process go down, though. Grandma always seems to go for shock value with Mom and I when she threatens one of the dogs so that, after one of us says "hey, wait a minute, you wouldn't actually do that to a DOG" we have accidentally taken the dog's "side." Then for whatever wrong the dog has committed, we are justly blamed, and must correct, be it scrubbing up the carpet to picking up tiny pieces of Fiscus all around the living room.

Nintendogs, I think, would only simulate that one part of Grandma's life that involves evil cackling. That's a part I don't think needs to recreated into a tiny digital form. Not until her demons are cured.

--More updates coming! T-Shirts!!! Fuck Yeah! Grandma now officially has a cult following based on our traffic numbers, you guys asked for them, we're getting them for you- T-Shirts and Hoodies! (The markup is going to be incredibly small, again- we're not here to make money from you folks.) Anyway, I'll open up the store here very soon. All I have to do yet is choose the best artwork from our current choices... We'll have some reader input on this as well, we'll show you what we've got and maybe you can improve on our ideas.

Also! I'm typing this on Case's wireless network so if this post looks funny, I'll correct it later tonight for consistency. Thanks Everybody! Comments and E-mails will as always be read by Grandma herself, so you don't have to censor yourselves, it's fucking Grandma, you know?--

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Telephone: Grandma's Arch Enemy

While at Case today I called Grandma to see how she was doing. She was cursing in a whisper at some other XBox Live player who would wait until she would call a bet in poker before he would go all in, always when it was her turn, never other players. Her mic was off, but it sounded as though she still carried the fear of the anonymous player overhearing her misgivings, and adjusting his strategy accordingly.

Grandma is stuck in Psychonauts. It was difficult for me to understand the situation over the phone. Here's what she said:

Grandma - "So, I'm in this one point, where... you're outside- you need to get into a graveyard, see? And I got passed the one guy, I had to give him a Stop Sign, right? But- okay, you need these garden shears that are supposed to be in the trunk of this fucking car, but there isn't shit in there! So I went online, I went to GameFAQs, they said it was in the trunk. I went up to get a strategy guide, but it's just going to say it's in the fucking trunk, and I've ran around there so many god damn times I KNOW it's not in the fucker!!"
Me- "What are you looking for again?"
Grandma - "Garden Shears. Clippers, I guess."
Me - "In the trunk of the car."
Grandma - "Yes. To get into the graveyard."
Me - "Are there other cars?"
Grandma - "There isn't shit."

If this were a conversation about some criminal activity, the investigators would surely find hidden messages and symbolism for "garden shears" and "stop sign," a code for the hierarchy of evil in some insidious cell of mafioso badasses. Strange when it turns out to be about a boy at camp.

The phone turned out to be a poor way of communicating Grandma's frustration, which is a positive turn I think. This means I would have more luck understanding what she's talking about if I'm there with her and I get another excuse for hanging out with Grandma. Also, imagine the conclusion people reach as they watch a scrawny kid in a Weezer shirt strolling across campus yelling into a cell phone "WHAT?? You have to go in the TRUNK to get the GARDEN SHEARS to get into the GRAVEYARD?? Okay!! I'll look into it!!" during Rush Week. No, there is no strange cell-phone yelling, ritualistic, fraternity acceptance option, it's just my Grandma.

--More updates on the way!! Lots of new stuff coming for everybody; comments and e-mails are always welcome. Thanks folks!--

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Grandma Almost Doesn't Survive Marathon

She made it! After about 30 hours straight of Psychonauts; God of War; World Championship Poker; Halo 2; Outlaw Golf 2 and various other sundries later, we're both exhausted. Nothing is ever over, however, as she still has a lot to go yet with Psychonauts, and we both discovered God Mode in God of War is ...a bit difficult.

It was an exciting Labor Day to say the least. I'm back up at CWRU for the moment but will go home again tomorrow to continue with our current block of destruction. There are a few games out right now Grandma hasn't tried yet, for she has a taste for blood that can never be fully satiated.

Much needs to be discussed.

Also- peruse your eyes to the menu on the right and you will notice I divided Links and Comics for you. I made a point to only include comics Grandma gets into, prints out, and cackles loudly reading; so for a deeper view of Grandma's inner Psyche, check out those comics!

--More updates on the way!! We loves the e-mails and the comments! Loves them!!--

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Sunday, September 04, 2005


Happy Labor Day from us at OGHC.

Grandma and I will spend our holiday gaming like a motherfucker. And eating burgers or some such thing.

I'll update you tomorrow on our marathon-gaming death streak of DEATH! I'm finishing up Hard Mode on God of War, Grandma's going strong on Psychonauts.

Thanks everybody!

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

The New Grandma Experience: Headphones

Usually Grandma cranks up the surround sound when she plays a game. The low bass hum coupled with shaking furniture from the awesome power of our wattage makes the dialogue in Psychonauts, already heavily accented in some instances, difficult for Grandma to understand.

The makers of the game anticipated such people so they give you the option of subtitles, which Grandma dutifully turns on; but Grandma doesn’t lower the volume, that’s just not her style. So, I gave her a nice huge pair of Koss skull-sucking headphones and a six foot, 1/8th to 1/8th plug extension cord with a 1/4th adapter so she can turn it up as loud as her already deaf ass will allow, I can turn off the speakers so the dogs come out of hiding, and we all live and die happy.

Or so I thought.

This has created a situation I had not anticipated. The television is turned toward Grandma and she’s wearing headphones, so unless I choose to pay attention to the game, I have no idea why exactly she’s screaming at the television to “BURN!! BURN ASSHOLE!! BURN!!!!”

I have now entered the realm of the contextually defunct. As I type what she says, I imagine only other players of the game Psychonauts will really understand what the hell she’s talking about. The rest of us can only imagine. Seeing as I have no fucking clue, I find myself as confused as some lower level intelligence agent relaying code to “Headquarters.”

See if this means anything to you:

“SHIT! He keeps falling off the- SHIT!!!!”
“Come HERE you stupid fucking squirrel! I NEED that!”
“He won’t grab onto this- SHIT!!!!”
“Is that kid playing with himself?? What’s he doing to that hole?”
“You dummy, you missed the rope.”
“Shut the fuck up, you annoying brat!”
“Oh!! Emotional Baggage!!”

Your guess is as good as mine.

--More updates on the way! Thanks for the comments and e-mails; you know what we likes!--

--Update: I Swear to Fucking Christ

I turned on the speakers so I could get a hint of what's going on in Psychonauts while she plays, and I was treated to a full half hour of a looped kid crying as he tried to get out of a lab to go to the bathroom. I leaned over and the subtitle read simply: "WHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!" This word does not nearly edify to you enough to the pain I felt drifting through my spine down to my feet creating a phantom sting on the very bottom of my soul. Grandma is having a blast, but Jesus CHRIST!


God Damn...--

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Grandma Becomes Psychic; Foresees much Swearing

Grandma decided to go out and buy Psychonauts today for the Xbox. She popped it in and played for a little bit without saving just to see what the game is like. There is a formula for deciding which games will be particularly frustrating for Grandma.

Four or five components make up the formula.
The values for V [Crazy Voice Acting] and A [Incredibly Arrogant Main Character] are curiously linked to the number of necessary "double" jumps (J) and the number of times Grandma "dies" within the first 20 minutes of gameplay (K, or in this case 9) which are proportionate to the Golden Total Death/F Ratio whereas F = number of audible vulgar outbursts.

The usual game, say- Crash Bandicoot for Playstation has low values for both V and A and so, expectedly, J - K > (D/F) We give this a Grandma Value of Frustration set at 3.

The more challenging game, such as Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver has a low value for V but a high A; thus J + K > (D/F) This game has a GVF of 5.

Then there is the "S" class of gaming, say ...Resident Evil 4. High Values for both V and A, so J = 0; K = 20 < (D/F) This game has a GVF of 9.

We're still searching for a perfect 10.


Formulas suck.

Anyway, this game has, so far, a lot of crazy voice acting and a whole shitload of arrogance on behalf of the main character; lots of double-jumping and buckets of stuff to collect, buy and upgrade. God damn right. Grandma is digging the gameplay, and the graphics are certainly what one would expect from Schaffer's earlier work. I think she's going to enjoy this; I also think that enjoyment may come at a horrible price. After completion of Psychonauts, I fear that a Nun somewhere on earth will feel an uncomfortable, cold shudder and write frantically to The Vatican that a great disturbance to the force has been detected.

That disturbance will be the chain of profanity invoked by Grandma's XBox, coldly pulled from her mouth like a dentist slowly removing many meters of swallowed floss.

Looks like this could be fun! The game looks very cool, prepare yourselves for a trip....

--More updates coming, but you already know that. Thanks for the comments and e-mails everybody!!

Also; I'm jumping on the blogsphere's call for action- There was a bit of a thunderstorm down in the delta this week of which I'm sure you're aware. PLEASE help if you can. Grandma has a lot of friends down there who know her through the site and she's always asking if anyone e-mailed to say they're alright. (Like people would e-mail me; who the hell am I? I think they have other things on their mind.) One of the most profound things I've ever done is watch Mississippi and Louisiana drop out of existence on our incoming links / ISP board early Monday morning. That wasn't nearly as terrifying as what they had to go through; so if they need volunteers leaving from my area to help, you bet your ass I'm down there. Please do what you can, folks. Otherwise we're still bringing everyone some Grandma to lighten their day.

International readers; bear with me, we're all having a meltdown over this thing.

More Hot Grandma Action coming tomorrow!--

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