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.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Return Of The Ghost of Ask Grandma Hardcore Goes West

Happy Halloween everybody! What do you want to know? Open Forum! Open Bar! OPEN!

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Oma liebt Deutschland!!

We are getting quite a lot of traffic from google.de searching specifically for "grandma hardcore god of war" and "old grandma hard core," with many different IP addresses and ISP's. It was too concise a search to be random. I thought perhaps a radio station in Germany or Austria had mentioned the BusinessWeek article.

It didn't take me long to find the source.

What I didn't expect was a mention within Der Speigel, a newspaper, magazine and news conglomerate that needs no introduction. (To view the article it may require registration) Grandma is honored!

So to our German friends, we invite you to watch the videos on the right sidebar free of advertisements, go through our archives, and write to Spiegel Online telling them they desperately need to link to the site so everyone can stop searching! Update: Not only did Spiegel write another article, it made the front page!! OF SPIEGEL!!

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Grandma Gets Back To Growlanser

After her recent brush with asylum based gaming with The Suffering: Ties That Bind, Grandma has put the second disk of Growlanser Generations, Growlanser III into her PS2 to get back to some pixel based renewal of honor. She begins her game by noticing some of the differences between Growlanser II and III. The theme music, for instance, is a bit different. The menus are switched around, but not more than a seasoned Growlanser warrior can't handle. Grandma is digging the new characters and voices, but one thing upsets her.

It's a little thing, no big deal, really- but it's worth pointing out.

Grandma can't change the names of the characters. She can choose blood type and astrological sign, but she understandably can't name her main guy "Crackhead" or "Sam The Dancing Frog." The recorded voice acting wouldn't be able to compute such a change, so she knows why. It's good to make the game your own, however. In every Final Fantasy game I've ever played, the main character is not "Cloud" or "Squall," it's always "Dude." The emotion of the game isn't diminished at all when a character screams in a silent CAPS voice: "DUDE! WE NEED YOU TO SAVE THE PLANET!!! Don't you UNDERSTAND, DAMMIT??" As long as I'm into it, it doesn't matter.

Grandma is the same way.

The map system is different than the GII, so that is taking some getting used to, but otherwise she's cracking some skulls.

Ask Grandma Hardcore returns tonight at 9:00pm EST! If you wear a costume, you GOT to let us know. The world must understand the reasons you sit at your computer dressed as Ryu talking to Grandma. This is your forum to do so. Also coming soon are Grandma's Podcasts, where she can talk about upcoming games and hardware and take your calls via Skype! If you don't yet have Skype, then go download it. It's about time, isn't it? It's free!

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Midway And Surreal Take Grandma To A Darker Place Than She's Willing To Go

Grandma is fucking freaked OUT. When I got home yesterday, she was playing a game of World Championship Poker. "I'm not playing The Suffering Ties That Bind anymore. It's not going to happen" she told me. Grandma didn't stop playing because she couldn't master the controls. She didn't stop playing blaming boredom or "shitty game syndrome," no, she actually became too disturbed by the elements of the game to continue.

I've started a save of my own now from morbid curiosity. What game could possibly freak her out so much?

The game is highly stylized for one, so it isn't as though the extreme realism; the gore left behind by the creatures proved too much for her to handle. This is a woman who has no problem with the graphics of some of the later Silent Hill series, who can sit in the dead of night with no other sound than that within her headphones and keep playing; the objectives of the game more important than the reluctance to enter the next house or open the next gate. She can handle gore and death.

In her words: "It was like I was... looking into the mind of someone who was crazy. I don't mean just, you know, ...the usual psychopath on a revenge streak, I mean FUCKED UP. All the people he was meeting that were still alive, the setting, it was just... I was actually uncomfortable by what I saw. I couldn't go on."

When she began the game, the flashbacks were acceptable blasts of exposition straight out of an Anton Ckekhov play, but after the story is established, they don't stop. It's the sort of seizure inducing montage of ugly one would expect from a photoplay prepared by a madman. In some ways it's really quite beautiful. To Grandma, however, it wasn't a tired device of storytelling. The flashbacks and static imagery were relentless attacks on her abilities to stay in the game; the comfort of looking away in the predictable fashion of grotesque cutscenes had been eliminated by their frequency and lack of warnings to their occurrence.

The Suffering: Ties That Bind, to Grandma, gave too much of a false hope of eventual sanity and calm; the cereal box UPC deal for a toy that never comes, or comes broken. Grandma sits shoveling the hallucinogenic dry cereal in her mouth, larger spoonfuls than necessary, eager to get that happy Trix Bunny wind up car, but a bad trip and a ride in an ambulance makes her forget all about the shipping and handling charges. The bunny never arrives, and she has a stomach full of rotten drugs, yet to be digested.

That place is where the game leaves you.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Halloween, Our Favorite Holiday

This is the one time of year Grandma looks out the window of her car at the hard contrast of red and orange against the black trunks of the oak and maple trees lining Diagonal Rd saying frequently "God, I wish it would just stay like this all year." Lows in the 40's, Highs in the 50's, it's called "football weather" out here, and it's fucking beautiful. It's just the sort of day you want to put in a VHS copy of The Ring with some cheese popcorn and a couple of sodas and scare the shit out of yourself.

Gamers have it considerably better. We have Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, and The Suffering. It's one thing to watch the movie, it's quite another to participate. When Grandma gets scared or startled in a game, you'd know it. First, her entire body just sort of twitches up in the air about half a foot, followed by a short scream, then chuckling, then vulgarity. It's doesn't really deviate from that order much.

Long time reader Citizenmuse had a great idea for such an occasion. Let's hear your favorite (or perhaps not so favorite) terrifying shit-your-pants style no-don't-walk-down-THAT-hall-stupid type moments in gaming.

We all remember that moment 20 minutes after we popped in Resident Evil for the Playstation, sat through the crazy cinematic cutscenes, then walked down the hall when THE FUCKING DOG JUMPS THROUGH THE WINDOW JESUS CHRIST!!!

Let's hear them.

Let's get in the mood....

--More coming tonight!!--

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

CBS Evening News... With Grandma

The folks from CBS Evening News flew out to Cleveland yesterday to do a story on our favorite video game grandma. She had already cut her teeth with MTV, so she wasn't nervous at all. She knew what to do when the sound technician hooks up a wireless mic to her shirt. She knew what "cheat the shot" meant. She's getting to know the complexities of white balance and depth of field. Most impressive in Grandma's growing broadcast repertoire, however, she isn't taking shit from anybody.

This isn't to say Grandma is getting rude to folks, not at all. She isn't screaming for her coffee to be prepared a certain way, she's not yelling at producers with the classic "no, I'll tell YOU where my fucking MARK is, BITCH!" The producer and host from CBS in New York as well as the camera and sound technician who freelance for our area, were all very polite and cool to her, and she returned the kindness. The only worry I have for their piece is the sort of questions they would repeat to Grandma to get a specific answer.

When it airs, you'll see what I mean.

This is what I mean. Grandma is getting better at interviews, so she has a little more information to give and a lot less pause before her answers. BusinessWeek and MTV both provided facts towards the trends of elderly gaming, or at least the consumer electronic buying habits of those over 50. In both of those articles, Grandma doesn't stand alone as entirely unique; the MTV article also mentions Doris Self for instance. This is fantastic for everyone. It's great for Grandma and those like her because the stigma of being an elderly gamer is slowly dissolving. It's great for the games industry, for the accelerated expansion of the market means more business. That's great for fans when a higher variety of games may result, the previous risks of a single demographic market negated.

I hope CBS will embellish a little on this sort of pattern. Imagine how dated their story will appear, even in two or three years, if they do not provide some evidence of a catalyst for a broadening acceptance of interactive electronic entertainment; for what used to be a stark section on the spectrum of age and gender demographics is rapidly becoming a thick swath on a desaturated gradient; the only barriers left being the means to acquire the games.

Perhaps I fear a fluff piece on Grandma, but I'll give CBS more credit than that. I'm not certain on the purposes of local news interests, but I would like to think a nationally syndicated news program will avoid traveling down that road. I don't think they will.

I'll post the air date as soon as I find out!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Grandma Was Very Busy Today

Sorry for the short post today. Grandma is very, very busy. Guess what she's doing. Go ahead. Guess :) I'll give you a hint. Look at the picture.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Grandma Pauses Between Growlanser Games To Kill Monsters In Baltimore

Growlanser Generations is a conglomerate of two games, Growlanser II & III, respectively. She finished the first disc last night, watching the credits scroll by, giving audible props out to Victor Ireland as his name appeared.


She decided to focus on The Suffering: Ties That Bind during her Growlanser intermission. In Grandma's opinion, The Suffering TTB is "one FUCKED up game." With all the injected flashback sequences, flickering lights and creepy religious folk standing around watching Baltimore pay for taking the Browns from Cleveland; their punishment embodied by crazy monsters killing everyone in grotesque displays of cruelty, one might just assume they've fallen into a David Fincher community theater production of "A Streetcar Named Desire."

In the interest of interacting with the game's environment, Grandma takes it upon herself to kill stray dogs and smash television sets whenever they appear. She "accidentally" murdered a character meant to guide her through an area. When asked why, Grandma only replies "...he was in my way..." The audio is fairly excellent so far, although for some reason Mr. Boogey from "A Nightmare Before Christmas" makes an appearance sometimes in the form of the big fat monster dude threatening to rape and kill his now ghost/flashback/guardian angel/hallucination wife.

But I won't ruin it for you.

The great thing about The Suffering TTB is the ability to switch between third person and first person shooting perspective, somewhat like Ghost Recon, although it would be nice if they had some sort of third option as a fixed view area angle much like Resident Evil, for it seems that the camera control is the only thing difficult for Grandma. Remember, it is the strain on constant camera movement that causes Grandma to perform sub par on FPS games.

I'll give updates as they come!

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Grandma On Doom: "It's A Laugh Riot!"

Grandma and I hung our heads in shame low enough to see the popcorn on the sticky floor of the theater in Aurora yesterday as we paid the matinee price for the movie "Doom." The $10 could have gone to Unicef or an alcoholic looking for change; something better. Grandma knew it was a video game movie, she knew it would suck, so her expectations of the flick couldn't possibly lead to disappointment.

The trailers weren't very blockbuster, although we both want to see "Jarhead" when it comes out. The advert for the Adam Sandler directed "Grandma's Boy" made us squirm nervously a bit, but Grandma laughed. I had my Skittles, a bucket of butter saturated popcorn and a big ol' Mr. Pibb as Grandma crunched down on her own saltless and bland bag of popcorn (I don't know what she sees in it) and Diet Coke, ready for some full on movie suckage.

So what did we learn? We discovered that The Rock is actually a BFG whore, Pinky is a camper (although I was glad to see an actor from one of the greatest movies of my generation, "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" still doing things, albeit graphically handicapped and named after the psychopath from "The Wall") and our perception of the end of all the Doom games have been greatly distorted.

After the movie I asked Grandma what she thought. She had this to say:

"It was hilarious! It was a really, very funny movie! Did it suck? Yes. But it was still funny."

That's about as good a review Grandma is going to give for a video game movie, so I suppose you could take that as a recommendation.

I liked it until the end, but that's only because it didn't have the same buildup of tension with the full out release of... well, DOOM that I was expecting. It was a very James Cameronesque "Aliens" type of cinema, only with much better close-ups with the classic horror movie cliche:

[long, drawn out shot of men walking looking for something with eerie music followed by absolute silence]
[something pops out with loud screeching noise]
[small, cute, furry animal reveals itself]
"Oh well, that's a relief"
[large, horrific monster jumps out and kills said character]

Not that there is anything wrong with that, it works when done well. I don't know, I guess it's a mixed final opinion of the movie "Doom." It could have been a lot worse. It could have been Resident Evil. Grandma didn't "hate" it, and that's a lot more than I expected. I think she's just jazzed they didn't try to make a movie adaptation of "Lumines."

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Grandma on ExtraLife Radio!

The one and only Scott Johnson of MyExtraLife interviewed Grandma and I for a very special fireside podcast. So grab a bowl of chestnuts and a warm cup of cider and gather around the computer with your favorite person; let your cold autumn days be gently heated by my Grandma's asskicking abilities.

Here's the show.

Thank you, Scott.

In an extra bit of old timey goodness, you all should know this was Grandma's first experience with Skype, and during the interview her hearing aid wasn't working well with the computer speakers so she held one up to the side of her head with her other hand on the microphone base, like so many World War II signal operators relaying the position of The Indianapolis, or Timmy's mom from Lassie calling the operator to get a hold of the Sheriff, for someone was in that god damn well and they aren't getting out any quicker.

It was quite a sight to see.


Seems like the servers are down at the moment that hold the .mp3 file of the interview, so we'll post when it comes back on.

All good! Servers back up.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Grandma's Better Judgment

Doom is out in theaters now. Grandma knows this but she tries not to discuss it around the children. One must not show their fear around the wee ones, the visible panic alone will clue them in to the coming end of days. Grandma hates movies made from video games. The announcement of an upcoming movie project based on a good game is followed by a loud hand-slap to the forehead and they phrase "FUCK! Not again!"

Sure, she laughed at Tron like the rest of us, but that was movie first, game second. Please, shield your eyes and back slowly away from your computer if you are not ready for some depressing recent nostalgia.

Let's go through some of Grandma's thoughts on the worst things to happen to video games since Jack Thompson, the movie adaptations:

Alone In The Dark (2005)

"It really isn't that hard to make a god awful shitty game into a god awful shitty movie, is it?"

"Jesus, when does this fucking end..."

"You know something, this guy was better in Interview With The Vampire, and he was only in it for 10 minutes."

"The only good thing about this movie is his apartment at the beginning. You might as well turn it off after that.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life (2003)

"What does this have to do with anything???"

"I think we've watched this before. I think they just changed outfits to make the sequel."

"Boob shot! That's like ...five now."

"Oh, yeah- that was in the game. Sure it was. This is so stupid..."

"Who wrote this shit? Someone was paid to write this down! THEY PAID SOMEONE. Tim, MILLIONS of dollars were spent on this. That money could have been used in much better places than this fucking thing. Like another game."

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

"Jesus GOD, they made another one."

"I like Mila Jovovich, what the FUCK is she doing in this movie?"

"Why don't we just PLAY THE GAME instead of watching this? It would be so much better if, at the movie theater, they just had a guy playing Resident Evil, doesn't matter which one, and they just projected the image on the screen for two hours then you leave. THAT would have been better."

"You know the same fucker that made Mortal Kombat made this thing? You would think he would LEARN."

Super Mario Brothers (1993)

[Before the movie] "Tim, are you excited? This is supposed to be cool! Just like the game! [...] Two popcorns please... yes we're both Nintendo Fans! Do you have like a special cup or something? [...] I wonder how they are going to have the Koopas!"

[During the movie] "..."

[After the movie] "What the FUCK was that? WHAT WAS THAT?? Did we just PAY to see that? Oh my God. Tim, I'm so sorry I drug you out to this thing. I'm sorry."

And yet, we see them every year. That's how they get us. They know that deep within our consumer muscle tissue there is a natural enzyme that must be replenished by constant flashbacks and references to games we love. We all seek that one big cutscene at the end of the game that explains everything, and Grandma is no different. The movies tease us with promises of easter eggs and obscure game-movie crossovers that only the true fans will enjoy. Then the studios, for one reason or another, walk smiling up to our open mouths as we close our eyes awaiting the sweet taste of the communion provided by hidden code and closure, only to open them moments too late as they piss down our throats screaming "HEY FANBOY CONSUMER!! THANKS FOR THE $7.50, BITCH!!"

Grandma HOPES David Jaffe is going to be a part of making the God of War movie. She HOPES American McGee's: Alice isn't going to be ruined by Sarah Michelle Gellar. She HOPES Bungie is intimately involved with the Halo movie. Silent Hill, Rainbow Six, and Splinter Cell; favorites all, are just awaiting to be raped by the movie industry. In the end, however, it is Grandma who suffers most.

All she has left is HOPE.

And $7.50.

We'll tell you what we think of Doom when we get back.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

God Damn You Games Industry, God Damn You To Hell

The industry does this to us almost every year. Shadow of Colossus is just barely out of Grandma's reach, we could drive down to Aurora right now and pick up a copy, but she has five games sitting here she wants to finish first. It is as though the rest of the world is at a different speed than we can handle! She's performing beautifully in Growlanser Generations and enjoying ever hour in front of her PS2. She's getting into The Suffering: Ties That Bind much more than I expected. Sly Cooper 3, complete with 3D glasses, has been completed by Mom and the kids, and awaits her approval. We bought Beyond Good And Evil anticipating a dry spell before November, but alas... as Modest Mouse says, "the good times are killing me." Grandma is gaming hard and I am trying to keep up!

Grandma is taking on a different character in her RPG adventures in Growlanser Generations. She is more precise and less brutal in her 10 hour a day campaigns. She still gets frustrated, she still curses the hand that fed her this glorious game every time her character dies (Vic Ireland, if you have experienced any strange pains in your legs recently it is because of voodoo. Grandma is sorry. It's okay now, though, she got past that boss last night, so it should start to heal.) It is the many facets of Grandma's character that make the woman so much fun to watch.

Victor Hugo once wrote:

"It is our conviction that if souls were visible to the eye we should distinctly see this strange fact that each individual of the human species corresponds to some one of the species of the animal creation; and we should clearly recognize the truth, hardly perceived by thinkers, that, from the oyster to the eagle, from the swine to the tiger, all animals are in man, and that each of them is in a man; sometimes even, several of them at a time. Animals are nothing but the forms of our virtues and vices, wandering before our eyes, the visible phantoms of our souls."

Case in point, my Grandma:

The Wolf - "No, no no- I want ...this guy to go to the south of these guys, then I can strike the fucker simultaneously. You pick off the weaker ones with magic and get it over with."

The Eagle - "Ahh..... I see you over there you sneaky bastard....I'll just....shoot you...with an arrow...."

The Oxen - "Hey! Tim! Guess what I did? [...what? what did you do?] I leved this dude up to 25, man. He's way beyond everything I'm facing so far."

The Vulture - "I don't even need this fucking ring, but I'm going to take it anyway. He's DEAD it's not like I feel bad about it. Fuck 'em."

The Poodle - "DIE BITCH!!! Just DIE already!!"

I get exhausted just watching her.

The Warriors is on Grandma's list, as is Shadow of Colossus and others; she's going to shelp me along with her on an exodus to Wal-Mart to see the XBox 360 later. I asked her if she was going to reserve one. "I can't afford it, there is no way I can afford it yet. I'll get one eventually, it will take some time. Watch, I'll probably get one right when the Revolution or the PS3 comes out and just get MORE aggravated!" I'm going to try to start saving so I can help her get it. "We'll see" is an answer most kids dread for the false hope in invokes, but for Grandma, that's as good an answer as any right now.

Game industry: slow down!! This is hard :)

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Worthy Petition

Grandma and I both have a lot of respect for the gaming industry's progress on accessibility issues; they are certainly getting better. One of our readers, Nadine from the lovely city of Calgary, sent me a link to a petition calling for greater attention towards captioning in games for the deaf. My own experiences not withstanding gaming with Grandma, I would have still signed the petition. Grandma does require captioning on many of her games, because her hearing aid doesn't work well with the XBox Live headset (feedback).

I believe the industry is paying attention to those with hearing impairments, so this petition is a good way of further addressing the issue.

Here's the link for you guys if you wish to sign.

It may be more work for designers and programmers and QC folks to implement captioning in games, but it works when done well, as Grandma and I can attest.

Captioning carries other benefits as well as aiding those who truly need it. It also assists those who might not care for particular voice acting within a game, and yet may still be able to enjoy it. It helps when it's 3:30am and important dialogue in FFX needs to be understood, and yet you've already received three noise citations this year called in by the people in the apartment upstairs who watch Pocahontas as loud as they please but call the cops on me for some reason, and it's not like the bastards work anyway (I assure you, not taken from personal experience. Really.)

Captions as a choice within the game's options really helps everyone, so its nice to see such a petition online.

We at OGHC encourage you guys to sign.


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Third Person Shooters / Platformers versus RPGs: The Grandma Difference

It occurred to me that our readers have always seen Grandma playing games in which ass kicking is not measured in small, floating HP numbers above the heads of Grandma's enemies but rather in a ferocious display of weapon power and blood, as in God of War or Resident Evil 4. I wasn't sure how you would perceive the differences in her behavior in an RPG, so let's go over what they are, in Grandma-Quote form:

The Suffering: Ties That Bind - "Jesus CHRIST! He won't get the FUCK OFF ME!!!"

Final Fantasy VIII - "Shit, he just got poisoned again, and SHE is DEAD. I don't have anyone to cure him.... FUCK."

God of War - "See, this is nice, because you don't have to aim the lightening bolts, you just select who you want to kill. I like that."

Xenosaga II - "Now this is cool, because I can find out pretty easy the best way to attack, it's usually pretty obvious."

Resident Evil 4 - "I KILLED YOU!! DIE, BITCH! YES! I took out BOTH those fucking giant-things. CHRIST that took forever."

Growlanser Generations - "YES!!! Shit, I fought that thing for like an hour, I thought it would NEVER fucking die. And then you have all those ...sand gollum things coming at you from both sides, so you just focus on- point is he's DEAD."

Games like God of War or Devil May Cry progressively get harder; a sharp elevation in difficulty followed by quick little drops when a new, more powerful weapon appears. In an RPG like Growlanser and Final Fantasy, one must level up constantly to stay above one's enemy. It takes a while, but the rewards are very real for Grandma. In this sense, it is an investment of life to walk back and forth between two towns to engage in random battles for no other reason than to inflict a show of power upon the next boss. Grandma very much likes to "establish her authority."

One great feature Growlanser of which Grandma takes advantage frequently is the ability to save at any time. She has numerous saves which point to different decisions within the game, and she loads back-saves often to discover what could have been; perhaps if she had equipped different rings, bought different gems, talked to different people, etc.,.

She's still gaming pretty hard, considering the long hours she spends leveling up, in that there is much vulgarity to fill the time. To be fair, however, she takes the position of General over a legion of characters, discussing battle plans out loud to no one in particular to help her remember who is to do what on the fields of carnage. Last time I watched Patton, he wasn't all that different from Grandma.

Except he was a man. And fought in World War II. And smoked. And could drive a tank.

He still swore a lot, though.

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A Funny Thing Happened On GameBlogs Last Night

Some fellow GameBlogs listed bloggers noticed the BusinessWeek article about elderly and adult gaming; Grandma noticed this cool post from Fuel Games Blog positioned directly on top of the feed from OGHC. Within the copy of the teaser was this phrase: "Apparently there is a 69 year old Grandma 'Old Grandma Hardcore' who's an avid gamer. She even has a blog..."

Thanks guys :)

We also received an e-mail from "HAL02frg" who writes:

Hey. I noticed you guys what, three times on Joystiq in the last week? Enough is enough, kid. First on the Zork Thompson thing and then the Business Week article, what do you have like a viral advertising deal going with Joystiq? I don't go to video game sites to read non stop articels about your Grandma, I go to read about games. If you're going to advertise, do it like everybody else, stop spamming.

Just so I can clarify for everybody, we don't have any budget for advertising, viral or otherwise. Every time Joystiq mentions Grandma we both get butterflies in our gut, man. The feeling of seeing a shoutout on a blog or news site that you read yourself... It's quite a thing. Also, I'll be 23 this December, dude. I wish I was still a kid; I could watch Cartoon Network without that guilty feeling I get for enjoying The Powerpuff Girls and Scooby Doo.

We have a lot more stuff coming for everybody today, so check back with us!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

BusinessWeek Article With Grandma; Grandma On Rock 106's Outlaw Radio; More News...

BusinessWeek Online published an article today about elderly and adult gaming featuring Grandma. Cliff Hahn, the author of the piece, was really great to Grandma and I during the interview and he quotes some very interesting statistics on the adult market. We can't reiterate enough how much gaming can help the bored pensioners of the world by giving them something to keep their mind sharp and immersing them within adventures not previously assumed possible, not to sound too corny. Gaming, truly, can help people if they give it a chance. We have already begun projects to assist older folks with the discovery of Grandma's favorite pastime, so I hope the article acts as a bit of a catalyst in joining the large yet isolated group of elderly gamers to better help their late arriving non-gamer friends. We have much more planned, so stay with us!

Also, Grandma certainly has fans in Louisiana, man. Grandma and I were on Monroe, LA KXXR Rock 106's Outlaw Radio today and had a blast. To the guys at Outlaw Radio, we both hope Grandma's little "slip of the tongue" doesn't cost you guys too much in FCC fines, I hope there was a delay of some fucking kind. Fuck. To be honest, I was worried at first. I've listen to rock stations all over the country, I know prank calls, I know what DJ's can do, I laugh with everyone else, but what do you do when they want you and your grandma on the air? I knew we might be jumping right into our own humiliation on this one- but these guys were great. They definitely talked like gamers, so they knew Grandma just like we know her, Grandma the warrior. Check them out by clicking on that little button right there. We're going to get some audio from the interview for you guys in the next couple days from Rock 106 so you can all hear Granmda in all her awesomeness and also hear my dumb-fucker stupid voice.

We're putting together some more links on the Ultimate Kickass Blogroll tonight, as well as a Press section in our sidebar. We have a lot more coming on Growlanser Generations and other games, as well as some new responses to the new addition to our holiday greeting card list, Jack Thompson. Friday, finally we will have OGHC apparel for us all.

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Grandma's Anime Conundrum

Leggo My Eggo!!We live in an anime/manga enabling house. The kids all dig Adult Swim and the classic subs, I've always had a soft spot for good animation, story and art, and Grandma has always loved the anime enriched RPG's. The problem lies in the connotations that anime has come to invoke.

She tries so hard, sometimes. She'll pound out 15 straight hours of Growlanser or Xenosaga without blinking an eye, then walk into the living room while me and the boys are putting in our share to the Ghost In The Shell or Neon Evangelion Genesis appreciation hour and scream out "you're letting them watch THIS?? Her TITS are hanging out!"

See, what Grandma enjoys, she doesn't consider anime. If she likes it, it somehow transforms its designation of "cartoon porn" directly to "beautiful art." That isn't to say she hasn't watched and enjoyed a few in her time. Recently (say, in the past six months or so), she's enjoyed Vamipre Hunter D, Tokyo Godfathers, and Spirited Away (although while not necessarily beloved in the anime community, all great movies in their own right). But, so help you- don't you DARE call them "anime."

So why is this? Is it because of my brother Josh telling her all about the "great classic" known as Golden Boy? Is it because of the dirty, unsettling feeling one gets from seeing countless nursing home ISP's on the site's log list coming across OGHC searching for unspeakable acts against nature? Or is it all because of a kid shopping at a GameStop so many years ago wearing a My Neighbor Totoro shirt who told her in no uncertain terms that Final Fantasy was for "posers?" [Side note: To that kid, if you still live around Akron and you ever read this, my Grandma could kick your ASS at any Gundam game you choose.]

All this brings us to Growlanser Generations, which Grandma is thoroughly enjoying. I have read that if you don't like anime, you won't like Growlanser. Three days ago, I would have agreed with this statement. Grandma:

"He looks like a GIRL! What's his name? WEIN? Why is he wearing a headband?"

"These people look fucking STRANGE. Why are the names German? This is not Germany."

G- "Okay, how do I equip different rings?"

me- "Um... it looks like the only way you can is to go to a town that has a Ring Artisan and pay to have them equip you."

G- "Well that's STUPID, it's a fucking ring, not an elaborate weapon that has to be synthesized..."

me- "You got the ring from a floating blob. Perhaps it was fitted for the blob's finger, so the artisan has to change the size for you."

G- "That makes more sense. ....wait- blobs don't have fingers."

me- "Don't they?"

She has gotten a whole lot better at strategy since then, and now she's instructing me on things. I'm thinking about popping in the second disc, Growlanser III, on my PS2 in the living room so we can both play our games obsessively without getting in the way of each other. I have to finish up FarCry Instincts and Brothers in Arms first, but we might as well just game away without any rigid system, as long as we finish the games we enjoy.

So, for that reason, Grandma is playing Growlanser II, The Suffering: Ties That Bind, and Resident Evil 4 for nostalgia's sake. I'm playing Brothers in Arms: Road To Hill 30, FarCry Instincts, and Growlanser III.

We also eat occasionally.

--More on the way! We're adding some more folks to our Ultimate Kickass Blogroll tonight, so make sure you check it out. T-Shirts and Hoodies will be available soon with your artwork in the selections at the store (finally, I know... I'm a lazy person) and we have some more stuff on our friend Jack Thompson and a new Press section, because you requested it and we will jump quite high when you say so :) Thanks guys!--

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ask Grandma Hardcore --Open Forum--

Tonight's topics are... Jack Thompson, the Avian Flu, the state of the housing market in suburban Canada, how to effectively use Craiglist, cooking poluted fish, or as always, Video Games! Anything you want to know, here is your opportunity to ask. It's 9:00pm on the East Coast so let's get started.

Open Forum rules, ask anything you like, please don't flame others, feel free to talk amongst yourselves, it's all good.

We'll be replying regularly well into the night to accommodate West Coast and International Readers as usual.

Game on!

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Grandma Goes To Battle: Growlanser Generations

Regular readers will remember that Victor Ireland of Working Designs sent Grandma a copy of Growlanser Generations after we posted on the site her undying need for an RPG to quench her level-up thirst. I was worried at first, because he didn't send the game for review, he sent it as a gift. So if she didn't like it, I would have to post up on the site for all to see that my Grandma didn't like her present. We ruled out lying about it right away, that would just take all the credibility of what she does and place it somewhere by Jack Thompson.

In the first days of her experience, this was a big concern for me. She wasn't getting the battle techniques right away, and the Ring/Gem/Armor combinations were not jumping out and saying "ha! look how easy I am!" Needless to say, she died many, many times. She was getting pissed.

Then she did what all gamers do after two days of frustrations. She read the manual.

The game has grown on her in a big way. Unlike most of the RPG's Grandma and I have played, this one has the ability to be a team effort in a style much less basement-player Dungeons and Dragons such as the four player Zelda she returned to GameStop recently. We find ourselves giving each other tips on strategy as the characters move around the playing field and watching the match unfold; celebrating together in a collective victory of wit.

Much more to come on this tomorrow.

Coming up at 9:00pm EST and continuing on into the night as usual, Ask Grandma Hardcore. We moved it from yesterday; much of the press linking to the site's participation in the Jack Thompson matter were linking to our main URL rather than the permalink, and Grandma and I both wanted folks to know what was going on. (That being said, if you're looking for all that, scroll down a bit, it's all in the last entry.)

We'll have a followup posted tomorrow about this whole ordeal, but Grandma is getting back to her gaming. We will follow Penny Arcade's example in that we will not ignore Jack Thompson, but we do have more important things at hand to deal with. The evil, traitorous wretch in Growlanser Generations that must be stopped, for instance.

See you tonight!

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

We Made Jack Thompson's Game, Await Confirmation of Payment to Charity

--UPDATE-- JACK RESPONDS --Scroll Down For More Information--

We did it, everybody- and you helped us out. I compiled the actionscripting today and finished the game about an hour ago, and then went through as much debugging as I could.

Here it is, for our submission to Jack's proposal and for your enjoyment:

Zork Thompson v1.0

Thank you everyone for helping us out with different ideas. Although they didn't really deviate much from our original script, they still helped us with structure and presentation. We did add some items and conditional endings, so if you want to take the time to look, they are certainly there for you.

As per the conditions of Jack's proposal, we have created and manufactured a game to meet his criteria, and will distribute it here for all freely (and if you like, you may take it and distribute it also) and if "selling" the game is also a factor, then we will appreciate any PayPal donations sent to my e-mail address.

It's your move, Jack.


Sunday Morning: We fixed some small browser and spelling errors, tried to e-mail Jack, but his public e-mail address on Stopkill bounces everything back. I Am Jack's Complete Lack Of Surprise.

Sunday Night: Fixed the interface problems of text-only clicking, so now it runs a little smoother, a little faster. I will call Jack tomorrow with the number provided by Stopkill. If that doesn't work, perhaps the Florida Bar Association will have a directory we can try. If you guys have any ideas for improving the game or additions, let me know.


Monday Morning: The always awesome Kotaku linked to us and Zork Thompson v1.0, so the game is being played by quite a few people! The Wikipedia entry for Jack Thompson now has a section for Jack's Proposal, and it lists other text-adventure games made in response at the same time we published ours, so you guys know what that means: great minds think alike, bitch!

So here they are, the list of text-adventure games the community has made in response to Jack's proposal:

Zork Thompson v1.0
Jack Thompson Presents... OSAKI!
A Modest Video Game Proposal
The Golden Rule: O.K.'s Revenge!

Each game addresses Jack's proposal to eat the young of the video game industry in its own way, so be sure to check each of them out. I e-mailed the folks who made "Jack Thompson Presents... OSAKI!" and we're pretty much in agreement as to the purpose of these games.

There you have it Mr. Thompson. The community has responded to you, Johnny-On-The-Spot as it were. Please respond to us, counselor.


I called the number provided on Stopkill this morning. Jack picked up quickly, said he was in another call and politely said he would call back the number on his Caller ID when he was finished.

And so he did.

We talked for about a half hour. There wasn't any screaming involved, and we both stayed fairly civil. Jack very much wanted to argue politics more than talk about his proposal. Some main points of the conversation: I stated I disagreed with Jack on a great many things, but that we could both benefit from this, for in his statement to Gamepolitics that claims the entirety of the proposal was satire on the likes of Swift, which would also mean that his offer of $10,000 to charity was also satire. If Jack would cough up the money, then at least he could save face. Also, our game has serious concequences for punching police officers and purhcasing guns for a murder. He changed the subject. He wondered what I meant when I said that I disagree with him on many things, and said it was because I don't actually know his positions, which he began to list.

I do know his positions, I did my research before we did this thing.

My disagreements with Jack were with Government regulation of video game sales, for starters. I don't believe the Government should get involved. He said they already do with alcohol and pornography, so they plausibly could. Alcohol, I said, shouldn't be sold to minors because it WILL cause harm. (Yes, I drink, I know the hypocrisy but I'm 22 and legal dammit!) Tobacco WILL cause harm. (Yes, I smoke Camel Turkish Royal, but I didn't start until college.) Pornography, like video games, I believe, is NOT harmful, and I think they should not have such regulation. He laughed at that one and called me a libertarian. Coming from Jack I have my doubts, but I took it as merely a classification rather than an insult.

Jack likes to use the phrase "you can't say with a straight face..." a LOT. I began to secretly make distorted, Kabuki theater expressions as I spoke to him, just to see if it were true.

We discussed other things about games, but here's the answer we've all been waiting for: "NO!"

Jack said we merely made a Flash game, not a First Person Shooter, and we are not "Moguls," we are not going to sell it in boxes at brick and mortar retail stores, and so we don't meet the criteria of his proposal (which, remember was a satire anyway, so I'm not sure why he's arguing semantics; ABOUT WHICH you will discover he was actually incorrect...) so you know what that means?

That means NO statement from Jack declaring the game made, and more importantly NO money for charity. As it turns out, we didn't read "I have a modest proposal for the video game industry. I'll write a check for $10,000 to the favorite charity of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc's chairman, Paul Eibeler - a man Bernard Goldberg ranks as #43 in his book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America - if any video game company will create, manufacture, distribute, and sell a video game in 2006 like the following..." carefully enough for Jack's liking, so the starving children don't get their money.

See, we followed the criteria TO THE LETTER. This site will remain online well into 2006, so consider the game done. Several times. With different results.

Jack is not paying.

It might be because Paul Eibeler gives money to a charity Jack doesn't approve of, like the EVIL folks at the ACLU or some such thing. (Note: I like the ACLU, I'd be a member if I could pay the $35.00 a year.) Jack may be trying to expose Paul as a crazy man who gives crazy money to crazy shit in the final breaths of battle, but who knows, he wouldn't tell me. "Call Paul Eibeler and talk to him" he says.

Damn, this is a lot of phone tag for a mesely $10 grand donation.

I told him that in the meantime, he should play our game, I've got the URL for it right here all handy like...

He said he didn't have time.

In his final words to me, he said "Like you said, we disagree on a great many things."

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Friday, October 14, 2005

We Are Making Jack Thompson's Game

We need your help. We have the basic structure and script down, but everything is better when the community gets involved.

Here it is, the text based game script taken from the violent, sinful style of the classic game "Zork."

Download it. Modify it. Change it up, make it yours; we'll have an entire collection of Zork Thompson scripts to use in the final adaptation of this fucker's proposal.

This is made in the defense of game designers, game publishers, game technicians, and gamers themselves.

Let's make this game.

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Jack Thompson Es Un "Fucker"

This morning, in another move that once again shows quite clearly how awesome European gamers are, the Spanish magazine MeriStation linked to Grandma in a short, online article explaining the woman. At the end of the blurb they ask the question: "¿A quién no le gustaría tener una abuela como ésta?" Well, my friends, I'll tell you who: Jack Thompson.

"Joe from New Jersey" wrote me the second he discovered Jack's new idea to get some press for himself, and this guy may be the lawyer form of the bad-guy wrestling character. In short, his new proposal is for video game designers to make a game based on the vengeful destruction of the game industry at E3 and elsewhere in retaliation for the damage it has caused to so many people. If they will do this game for him, he will donate $10,000 to any charity the game designers see fit. If you haven't already figured it out, Grandma and I hate Jack Thompson.

The gaming world is already rightfully screaming in its defense, and numerous comics and blogs have quickly seen the obvious flaws of this idiot's proposal. We at oghc are going to take this one further by making Jack's game. We'll do the game in the classic style of the 80's, just so Jack remembers how many types of games we heathens enjoy.

I should be done in a few days, I think. It's important to see Grandma's take on this blowhard- and she is supervising the production. In the meantime, Grandma is starting up Growlanser Generations and learning its battle techniques, status controls, and menu options so that she may kick some evil ass. We have lots of new stuff lined up, so make sure you check back with us for (at least) daily updates.

We just have to do our part to contribute in the community's education of this chicken fucker, and those like him.

Grandma is not just a single anecdote of the benefits of gaming; a singular response of "well, she's been playing for about thirty years, and she hasn't blown up a post office..." She has seen much of what gaming can do, positive and negative; she has seen the maturation of gaming from asteroids and pong to Resident Evil 4 and Condemned. There is much she understands that Jack Thompson refuses to study. "Cherry-picking information is a dangerous thing, Mr. Thompson," said Grandma. "If you want an information war, fine. You brought this upon yourself."

Game on!

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Grandma's Two Days With MTV: The Partial Story

The folks from MTV Overdrive were out to film Grandma for their show "Obsessed" yesterday and Tuesday. There is much to say about the experience, and that's leaving out all the stuff that we can't mention until the show airs. It's all positive, so don't ask if MTV reenacted the torture scene from Reservoir Dogs or if they pummeled her with requests to "do it again, and this time with more feeling," because they didn't.

Bottom line, MTV was quite awesome to Grandma.

For those of you who are not fans of the delicious desert known as the cookie, you should stop reading now, for in the interest of blogging journalism, here's what happened:


10:26pm - The producer of the shoot calls to make sure everything's groovy and to go over the itinerary for the next couple days. She says they arrived in Cleveland without any problems, I apologize for living in such a godforsaken city. Apparently their hotel had cookies and surprisingly good customer service. At this point Grandma is fucking nervous. We vacuum the floors and clean out the fridge and bathrooms one more time, trying to add some sparkle to our darkened, shitty neighborhood. I make sure that all the old gaming comics that adorned our freezer remain magnetically adhered to the outside just in case any of them have any doubt in Grandma's fan status. The dog-eared copy of the Penny Arcade comic "Baby Versus Rhino" has seen better days; I contemplate printing out another to display but dismiss the idea not wanting anything to be staged or fake. Grandma and I go to bed jazzed that Scott "The Man Hisself" Johnson had put up a shoutout to Grandma on MyExtraLife, and we dreamed our dreamy dreams of Mario and Pacman and how far the gang has come.


7:00am - Grandma and I wake up "early," knowing that the crew is coming out in the afternoon, but we want to be ready. The dogs give us one last stare of "how could you" before we banish the yippie little bastards to the garage, where they happily dine on old sports equipment and corrugated cardboard boxes to reap their revenge. Grandma and I choose our clothes for the shoot, knowing we can't have any logos or labels lest they mosaic them out in post like so many rappers. The XBox Live hat Microsoft sent us, then, is quite out of the question. It rests watching us with envy.

10:00am - Grandma decides that the best way to treat our upcoming guests is to serve them cookies and coffee. We both contemplate whether or not that would appear too 'old-lady like' but then come to our senses and realize this is what we do for everybody that comes over, and we aren't changing shit for The Man. Emboldened by her new sense of rebellion, Grandma breaks out the cookie sheets and blender and starts whooping some cookie-dough ass.

11:45am - Grandma decides the peanut butter cookies taste like "fucking SHIT." I enjoy a few with a glass of milk and conclude that they're fine. Grandma starts a batch of chocolate chip.

12:30 - 2:30pm - Grandma and I sit around playing Outlaw Golf 2 and bullshiting about what to expect when they get here. I wonder how it's going up at CIM with Martin, the Video Game Pianist, and think about the MTV crew getting parking tickets from the notorious University Circle traffic wardens and become depressed, knowing I still haven't paid any of mine. Fuckers. Grandma begins to relax in the wait for the wagon train of rental cars to arrive.

2:50pm - The MTV crew arrives, which consists of a producer, a host, a sound technician, and a videographer. They bring cookies and brownies for Grandma, Grandma presents them with cookies and coffee. I offer cigarettes, but there are no takers. After our ritual exchange of food, the fun begins.

3:30pm - After a change of clothes and mic setups all around, the host, Blair, goes outside to begin the outside shots of our house, dying autumnal flowerbeds and ceramic gargoyles no doubt in view. The demonic children that also live here hide on the couch playing GameBoy SP's in boredom so as not to appear in the window as they shoot outside; the kids look really awkward as though they don't know what to say to these people. Bobby and Kenny both look at the microphone with the flaming Overdrive "O" and MTV.com Logo with a gaze in their eyes that's halfway between amazement and exhaustion from lack of sleep from all the cleaning we've done in the house.

4:00pm - Blair and Grandma talk a bit in her room as they set up the reflecting lights, bouncing high powered fixtures off the ceiling making the room really fucking hot. At the request of everyone, we open up some windows and the back door; the onslaught of October black flies begins to make the house look like something from The Amityville Horror. They film for a while in Grandma's room of her gaming away. She has difficulty shuffling through all the games with all the different controllers back and forth, and doesn't feel at the top of her game. Her and Blair play some Outlaw Golf 2 as I wait outside sucking down some sweet nicotine.

5:30pm - They film Grandma in the kitchen, Grandma in the dining room, Grandma and the family in the living room, and I wait patiently for them to film Grandma in the bathroom reading some Game Informer or EGM, but, in retrospect, this understandably never happens. The phone rings three or four times during the course of the shoot, and I imagine the producer chopping down the telephone pole for the house in anger, but she takes it in stride like it's no big deal. Everybody seems to genuinely dig Grandma, even when the cameras are off. Grandma is having a ball.

6:00-7:00pm - They finish their filming outside, and give Grandma some presents we can't talk about without the powers that be striking us down with the fury of a thousand suns. Blair and the crew say goodbye to Grandma, and she's sorry to see them go. The family stays for a while and we all enjoy shots of Absolut and cookies, reflecting on the experience under a fog of a starch induced drunken stupor. Grandma tells everybody how cool Blair was, and we all go to sleep with a real feeling that it was definitely not as bad as we had feared.


8:00am - I surprisingly don't have a hangover of any kind, which is odd for me because I'm a fucking lightweight. I enjoy some breakfast and feel better after taking a shower and brushing my teeth. Grandma gets all her game systems ready for the day ahead. Mom discovers some great news we'll tell you about later, and we're all ready to work.

10:00am - 2:00pm - Ilse, the producer, arrives early and ready to go. It's just her today, and god damn her camera is infinitely better than mine. The last time I saw a Leica lens on a 3CCD MiniDV camcorder I was gushing about CNN. I leave out the equipment worship because Ilse seems cool enough, and I don't want to annoy anyone. MTV was fascinated with Grandma's experience with Fatal Frame 2, so they pay for another copy feeling bad about our eBay auction. The cursed game enters our house once more, laughing at our attempts to be rid of it. Grandma, however, sees it as an old friend. She films all sorts of Grandma activities before rushing over to Hopkins airport on the West Side (a good hour away) to catch a flight back to New York.

I then sleep for about fifteen straight hours, awoke energized and watched a Daily Show rerun with left over cookies and a glass of milk. A perfect end to a hectic couple of days.

We're back on schedule, though- and Grandma has her arsenal of games to enjoy. She's chosen Growlanser Generations to be her next thing, followed or paralleled by The Suffering: Ties That Bind. Grandma is eyeing King Kong and The Shadow Of The Colossus with the stare of Gollum, and I'm posting the next batch of buttons to OGHC's Ultimate Kickass Blogroll tonight.

Those two days, man.... that was a hell of a thing. The second I know when it will air on Overdrive (MTV's broadband channel, so you all get to see!) I will post it up here for everybody. MTV sent out a great crew who treated Grandma well and were not unnecessarily pushy or insincere. They, and Grandma, had fun with this.

Game on, everybody.

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Monday Night Grandma Blogging: Ask Grandma Hardcore

Open Forum! Grandma's nervous about MTV, so she's squaring off with me in a classic round of Outlaw Golf 2 for nostagia's sake.

What do you want to know?

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Grandma: My Gaming Link To The Past, Part 1

The attic is an interesting place in October. The flashlight beam still illuminates dust and feathers from the nests packed into the vents, just enough to replicate every horror movie you've ever seen that required some poor sap to check out the crazy noises upstairs. The box full of photos would have to be up there somewhere, I had already checked everywhere in the house, including those awkward places you don't expect to find anything but had to look anyway, like the tiny cabinet above the bathroom sink.

After spending an hour with a maglight clutching the nearest bit of fodder I might have to use to club the specters undoubtedly waiting just around the next support truss of the roof to jump out and kill me, all the boxes had been searched with no luck.

It would be the garage, chock full of autumnal spiders coming in from the cold, where I finally found the damn thing. Our garage is separate from our house, and also contains its own creepy attic, which I thoroughly searched before checking the shelves around the sides. They say it's always in the last place you look, but I must have glanced at that stupid thing 50 times that day, dismissing it as full of dishes- for it was clearly marked with black ink "Dishes."

I was hoping to find some evidence of Grandma at the arcades in the 70's, some picture of her and her son Ralph hitting the Atari or the NES, but most of the pictures of her, even those dating back to the 1940's, are of hands furiously attacking camera lenses, with the other covering her face.

What I did find were old family shots, wedding photos, and her graduation picture- which appears to be a black and white print hand colored with pastels hues, common for the era. See, Grandma started gaming back when the first arcade games were at bowling alleys and movie theaters, and soon waiting for the kids to come out of the bathroom at the pitch of a Space Invaders machine became a ritual.

Understand the mentality of someone seeing an arcade game for the first time. It was a pinball machine with a television. Then came home arcade games. The Atari console, Sears even made one. Remember Socrates? Mom and Grandma picked one up for me (it came with full keyboard and two badly designed controllers) for "educational purposes." Then Grandma bought an NES (quite pricey back in the day, there Nintendo...) then she received a Genesis as a gift. The whole time I was allowed to play her games sometimes if I behaved. The first mature game both of us got into was Mortal Kombat, followed by Street Fighter (backwards, I know...) While I remember her playing River City Ransom and some Friday the 13th knockoff, renting the occasionally dust cover protected titles, I didn't get to play those until later.

Other than gaming systems, we were a bit behind the times in other technology. I remember removing Journey albums on the turntable to play the punch out records included in Happy Meal coloring books, we had a betamax player until the late 80's. Tapes were the shit; my first CD ever purchased was Counting Crows: August and Everything After. If it wasn't for Grandma's gaming habit, I might have been stuck listening to The Bengal's album "A Different Light" while my friends were discovering the joys of new Guns and Roses tunes raving about that Sonic the Hedghog.

Fate would not always be on my side it turns out, and Grandma's innate coolness would not always protect me from the cruel fuckers at Olan Mills circa 1986- who would later watch Napoleon Dynamite and wonder to themselves "...why is everyone laughing? Is this not how life is?"

I will never forgive them.

To be continued....

--Ask Grandma Hardcore tonight at 9:00pm EST as usual. Grandma's getting nervous about the MTV thing, but she'll do fine I tells ya. Also- check out our new "OGHC's Ultimate Kickass Blogroll," and make sure your site is on it. A few of you e-mailed me for additions and I'm working on those now, but everybody else- look, don't be shy just say "here's my site- we talk about you so add our damn URL bitch! And make my button pretty!" Today I am your monkey Watch me dance. Before you say anything, yes, I realize there are some forum folks that browse OGHC, and yes, I realize the above picture is no doubt the very definition of "p0wn3d," but what can one do, eh? More stuff coming!!--

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Grandma's Pet Peeve #9,237: Real Life Punitive Actions In Gaming

When Dennis Hopper was arrested way back in the day, he wasn't thinking about King Koopa. Who would have thought the man would later provide his talents in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and welcome the gaming world with open, dinosaur arms. During his detainment back in the 70's, however, he was unknowingly participating in a big part of gaming, only without all the bothersome jumping and collecting and storyline.

Dennis might as well have been sitting comfortably in his chair waiting at the load screen, or watching a cutscene he's already seen 30 times, or watching a long list of level up points accrue for his party of heroes, or watching the villains who have just murdered him in cold blood laugh in a long animation filled with more bile than a Halo 2 Rumble Pit after middle school lets out on a weekday.

These are examples of punitive measures some games take upon you for sucking. In most games, one can skip a cutscene you've already watched, or it will quickly begin again from the last checkpoint upon your demise. Not Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, though; no- that would be letting your ass off easy now, wouldn't it? Silicon Knights without question developed the game with your actual mental destruction in mind, as sort of a bonus.

See, with Eternal Darkness, if you die, the GameCube resets. You first see a tiny anecdote scroll past writing the end of your history in this story superimposed over some classic candle lit memento mori, just in case you forgot that you died. Then that red Nintendo logo appears softly like you just began a game of StarFox, some crazy creepy dude starts reading Egdar Allan Poe, and the title animation (which luckily you can skip) begins again, from which you can load to the moments before your last suckage. This sequence happens every time you die. I'd like to repeat that for you, only this time with the caps lock on to assist in the emphasis of Grandma's anger towards this little feature of the game: THIS SEQUENCE HAPPENS EVERY TIME YOU DIE.

If you see it coming, you might be able to pause it and load from last checkpoint, but good luck with that.

Now in REALLY special areas with bosses, there are cutscenes before the fight, and if it's your first time playing through- then god dammit you're going to watch it and you're going to pay attention because so help me there will be a QUIZ afterwards so don't let me catch you sleeping, and Tim- I hope you're listening because this is strike TWO buddy.

Examples of this phenomenon in other games include Summoning, lengthy spell animations, waiting patiently for an entire battalion to pass your area so as not to raise your alert level, and Chocobo Breeding. Are they necessary in games? Yes. Unfortunately, the alternative is having a game where you just press buttons when they tell you and a tiny message appears to say if your objective was met by pressing said buttons. It would just be a slot machine. We pay for our enjoyment with our very lives. It better be a good fucking game.

Grandma, however- will seek out each of these so called "Silicon Knights" and take vengeance on the hours she was held prisoner by the title screens. She will find them and make them sit at the final boss battle in Eternal Darkness and make their character die many, many times until the tiny green meter floating above their heads disappears entirely, replaced only by pleas for sleep inducing drugs and a quick blow to the head.

The people on the outside forget we're in here, you know. You have to get busy living, or get busy dying.

Game on!

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Grandma And MTV; The Great Grandma Link Exchange; Other OGHC News

In the honored spirit of the storytellers of ancient history, we'd like to share what's going down here at OGHC with all y'all. MTV is flying out to Cleveland next week to film Grandma for their Overdrive show "Obsessed." The first item on their itinerary is Martin, the very talented musician who studies up at Cleveland Institute of Music, but you all know him as "The Video Game Pianist." Then it's off to our little gauntlet with Grandma; to get to know the real woman behind the pixilated asskicking.

Grandma is worried because she's not an actor, and won't know what to say. Mom is worried because we live in a shithole pit of a neighborhood and this isn't exactly "Cribs" material, if you know what I mean, so the weekend has devolved into an endless cycle of dusting and cleansing- including the demons that refuse to rest within the bowels of the east wing of our home, only we ran out of magical sea salt and moon crystals. I just hope we have enough coffee.

The producers all sound very nice, so it doesn't seem like they're out to make Grandma appear foolish. Also, MTV has been good to us in the past, so I don't anticipate any problems.

Also! I don't like having a short links list, it seems too exclusive. All of you "bloggers" and "livejournalists" and "crazy people" who spread the gift of Grandma along deserve some linkage in return. I want to make a nice links page sort of like the folks at VG Cats, to let folks know that we take care of our own, on the web as well as in battle. If you have a website that links to Grandma on your blogroll (and according to Technorati, a hell of a lot of you do), shoot me an e-mail so I can set up a little corner on our links page for you, annotated with love.

ALSO! Your t-shirt designs have come in and they all look great! I've attempted a few of the ideas passed along to us and will include them in with your submissions in an upcoming post. You warned us of the shoddy quality of CafePress apparel, so we're going to go another way, hopefully with the similar ability to make a teeny tiny markup (instead of a normal profit inducing one) so we can stick to our principles.

ALSO! Grandma participated in a few more interviews last week, so we'll post the links to those articles as they appear. We have some pretty exciting projects lined up, pending the approval of different firms and organizations, to assist the elderly gaming community as a whole, rather than simply acting in the interest of the demographic in the press. Our main objective is to provide resources for current elderly gamers on accessibility, the methods of reporting unprofessionalism against the elderly gaming market in retail locations and getting a response, finding similar minded folks in online gaming communities (we're setting up the mother of all elderly gaming directories), how to deal with the certain medical stigma some exhibit towards elderly gamers, and giving reviews and news on the latest coming from the industry.

The secondary objective of this project is to expand the thrill of gaming to those who haven't found it yet. There are a great deal of elderly gamers out there. There are also a lot more people in this age bracket who are not gamers. For those people, we'd like to provide easy to follow instructions on purchasing and hooking up your first gaming system, what games to try first, a simple genre primer for those new to different styles, an explanation of the benefits of gaming including mind exercize and rehabilitative therapy, how to game with the rest of the family, and ways to encourage the expansion of console gaming to retirement centers, independent and assisted living complexes, and senior citizen homes.

The wheels are turning already, it's simply a matter of gaining additional corporate and private sponsorships towards the endeavor to help fund some our ideas. Short of that, we're still going forward on the project the best we can. Grandma and I hope to utilize her fame to truly help some people with several decades under their belt who aren't satisfied with their hobbies and seek something new.

We're not changing the format of OGHC, you folks still get the same hardcore Grandma action you always did, we're only going to make sure some good comes out of it.

Game on.

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Friday, October 07, 2005


Sorry about your Grandmaless Friday, we're getting ready for some big events coming up. To keep you internet hungry folks busy- here are a couple things going down: CNN has decided to add to the hype about Video Game Addiction in South Korea. Our friend Annie (from I'm Blue fame) is seeking retribution for this. Also, I have found a very kind person from The Democratic Republic of Congo who has agreed to give me a small percentage of his fortune if only I provide him with a transfer opportunity to a bank outside his FDIC-barren country, so we might be moving in to a much larger house soon. I don't know. It all depends on his writing skills.

Big stuff coming tomorrow. BIG!

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Grandma Trapped In Time Vortex; Fights Both World Wars Several Hundred Times

Grandma was born February 1st, 1936 in Cleveland, O. She doesn't remember too much of FDR, but she does remember food rations; waiting in line for hours with her mother for substandard cheese and bread. A somewhat troubled home, she was sent to a "Fresh Air Camp" from which she subsequently escaped to see her brother. She remembers sitting next to him listening to her favorite radio show: "Innersanctum Mysteries."

These are some of the few memories Grandma has of the period. Thanks to so many game developers with a penchant for history, she gets to relive every aspect of World War II from every perspective; Axis, Allied, Neutral, Indiana Jones, Gangster, Superman, Space Alien, and numerous others. Just to keep the memory alive I guess.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem contains its own contribution to the reenactment of the deadliest years of the last century. This time it's the first World War, "The Great War"; and no one is talking about the Kaiser or a possible Mexican invasion of America via a man named Zimmerman- nope; it's all about those runes.

Amiens, France was apparently not the best place to be in 1916; especially if you happen to transcend the soldier-civilian paradigm; and most certainly if there are deadly ancient powers manifest as a giant Spider Monster standing in front of you.

Mustard Gas, I understand, was also a problem.

But not as much as Zombies.

It took Grandma a long time to get through Chapter 9 in the game. Her surprise was in the effectiveness of blade weapons over rifles against her enemies. She could target them much easier, finish them off without worrying about the awkward reloading vulnerability period or running out of ammo. She could focus on what is important in life: killing the undead.

"No!!! Fucker! ...got me with a FIREBALL, where the hell am I supposed to RUN?"

".....SHIT! No, RELOAD. 'B' Button! BEE BUTTON!!! I pressed the fucking thing!"

"Fuck this I'm using a sword."

"This SUCKS because you have to stand still in order to get the spells to work. You have to stand still, but then the zombies come at you and the only time you can hit him is when the zombies are up so you have to time it right and if you don't you're FUCKED."

"You motherfucker, you. How long does this shit go ON?"

"I GOT HIM!! Yeah, fucking DIE you ...spider...thing."

It was as difficult as you folks led her to believe, but she was ready. This game only has three more chapters, so it should all be over soon. Will Grandma defeat the ultimate evil? Will the final chapters be too much for our heroine? Our thrilling conclusion awaits!!

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Grandma Caught In Horrific Moral Dilemna

I posted previously on Grandma's use of strategy guides and GameFAQs, but it has never been this serious. Grandma simply doesn't want to use a guide if she doesn't have to, so when a game requires it, she very logically becomes furious at said game. Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem has a Rune system for it's magic. One must place the correct runes in order on a circle to form spells; the circles ranging from three to seven (that we know of so far) slots.

Does anyone else remember Materia? It was easy! It seemed crazy at first, but as the game went on it became clear. The rune system also looks simple enough, but Grandma has a problem with ...asking for help on stupid shit, I suppose would be the best way to say it.

Grandma - "Okay, Dispel... Man' Gotheik, how the hell do you pronounce that.. fuck it- just say 'Self,' ...alright... ...Power... It's not doing SHIT."
Me - "They have a list on GameFAQs about Rune magic I could print..."
Grandma - "NO! Fuck that! This shouldn't be that hard to figure out; there's only like ...seven of these things anyway."
Me - "Alright...."

[10 minutes later]

Grandma - "Self... ...Power....Area...Power...Creature? FUCK NO!"
Me - "You want me to-"
Grandma - "NO."

[10 minutes later]

Grandma - "There can only be so many possibilities to this fucking thing, why am I not GETTING it??"
Me - "If you look on the spell parchments you can see the symbols in that spell that are needed for the larger ones..."
Grandma - "You're talking out your ass, aren't you?"
Me - "No, I just read it on GameFAQs.."
Grandma - "......fine, print the fucking thing."

And once again she is resigned to the printed page for assistance. For some reason she doesn't revel in her new powers, she only becomes more ...Grandma-like.

Grandma - "Alright, this is why I couldn't do it- because you need FOUR FUCKING POWER RUNES!!"
Me [indeed talking out my ass] - "Four you say?"
Grandma - "FOUR! In a ROW! That's not fair, it shouldn't be so ...weird!"
Me - "So you hate Eternal Darkness then?"
Grandma - "No, it's pretty good, but I don't see what's so scary about it."
Me - "Well, you do have the sound turned off."
Grandma - "I need to hear the mail-man when he comes."

Thus you see our Wednesday.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Grandma Scores Her RPG Fix: Growlanser Generations

Remember Grandma's genre "problem?" We recieved an e-mail on the lines of "You ain't got no problems, Tim. I'm on the motherfucker. Go back in there, chill Grandma out and wait for The Wolf, who should be comin' directly."

Victor Ireland with Working Designs sent Grandma a free copy of their epic, Growlanser Generations. Grandma received the package today to find a bit larger box than she's used to getting for games. He sent her four Lunar 2 t-shirts (just her size) along with the Deluxe package, which includes some game associated bling, the soundtrack, and the first game-themed deck of cards she's ever owned.

It was the comparatively tiny PS2 two disc set lying underneath the enclosed wardrobe, however, that made her RPG withdrawal finally come to an end with tears of dialogue rich, tactical joy.

Grandma was into the LUNAR series like no one I know, so she was happier than an Akira fan on a souped-up motorcycle in Neo Tokyo when she opened up the trove Fed-Ex brought to us. A great many of you are intimately familiar with the Growlanser games, e-mailing us about the imports and people you know with "great collections to which you are entitled when they die" that could be "...obtained early." (What does this MEAN?)

The greatest joy Grandma has with the anticipation of beginning her quests (it's more than one game) is the immense scale of the game. As a standard go at the whole set ends somewhere between 80 and 100 hours and as Grandma, naturally, is driven by the need to complete every mission, destroy all those in her path (as well as the unfortunate few down other available paths) and watch the credits roll with an exhaustive feeling of closure, it could easily out perform her 130+ hour record with Final Fantasy VII.

Grandma is fucking PUMPED. Thanks Vic!!!

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WWW Dot OldGrandmaHardcore Dot Fucking Com!

It took us hundreds of thousands of pageviews, thousands of e-mails, hundreds of comments, 15 cartons of cigarettes, 134 posts and $9.20, but we finally snagged www.oldgrandmahardcore.com from the throws of the porn industry. We still use the traditional blogger domain but now we have a DotCom status symbol from which to forward. You won't need to change your bookmark or RSS feeds or anything, it's all taken care of.

For the few hours in between the purchase of the domain name and the effects of the forwarding option taking hold, GoDaddy.com's placeholder was just filled with all sorts of geriatric sexual sites that wished they could have taken the domain from our favorite granny gamer, but it was not to be.

So now all you stalkers can find us via a simple WHOIS search, if you're really that dedicated. Hooray!

--More stuff coming today--

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Monday Night Grandma Blogging: Ask Grandma Hardcore

Alright everybody! Let's talk about the FUTURE. The future of the industry to be exact, although feel free to make whatever other predictions you wish. Will the Nintendo Nex-Gen controller confound people? Will the Halo movie be any good? Open forum as usual, we're going well into the night, so West Coast and International readers get a chance to do some Mano y Grandma question asking.

Miss Cleo doesn't have shit on you folks.

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Jack Thompson, Shit Head

Popular Culture Gaming published a few days ago that Grandma's nemesis, Jack Thompson, somehow found a publisher that hires teams of estrus maddened oxen for its editing staff.

Congratulations Jack, you pompous douchbag pig of a man. Doctor Reverend Thompson's new book is entitled "Out Of Harm's Way," and let me tell you its going to be a fascinating read for the twelve family members who pick up a copy.

Here's the scheme: piss off a whole lot of people under the veil of morality. Make sure those you infuriate with such zingers as "...his new name should be Coward Stern" have already painstakingly built up an audience of their own, thus providing your lazy unmarketable ass with free publicity when they inevitably retaliate. Google your own name constantly, finding every person who makes any statement at all about your shoddy work, respond with bile and watch the invites for news programs come rolling in as your Technorati search rating climbs and your name becomes synonymous with "Penis." (This is brilliant, actually- almost half our population, in fact, have penises; so the product tie-ins alone will bring in $30,000 a year.)

Grandma loathes Thompson enough where she isn't really curious at all as to what he has to say in his opus; certainly not enough to actually buy it and not enough to risk the late charges that come from taking it from the library and accidentally using the binding as an ashtray. So I have a solution. While one cannot reproduce copyrighted material on a website legally without the permission of the author, one can summarize all they wish; so here it is free of charge:

I present to you: "Out Of Harms Way" by Jack Thompson in Chapter Abstract form:

Chapter 1 - To The Gates Of Hell

So I really hate this Howard Stern guy, right? I mean LOOK at him, with that HAIR, and those SHOES; he is soo shock-jock 1993, I mean, Hello! Did you see his pants? Oh my good lord, that's tacky. Anyway, Hi! I'm Jack, and I am so excited to write a book [~\~finally :)~/~] and I want to thank all my friends at Take Two (Hi guys!) who made me famous and stuff, and Jesus. I am all about Jesus, you know it was Jesus who said "To be able to love once-would not that be better than all the homage in the world?" No, wait- that was Max Beerbohm, but he TOTALLY stole that one from Jesus, I mean come ON.

Chapter 2 - People Really Like Me

Okay, if you're still reading this, that means you're totally in to me, and that's okay- because a lot of folks are. Miranda, she likes me, and Phillip at Food Lion always slices my low-fat turkey just the way I like it. Thanks Phillip! Oh, and Jesus. I am all about Jesus, you know it was Jesus who said "To be able to love once-would not that be better than all the homage in the world?" Oh. My. God. Let me tell you, ghost writing is SO HARD. I am SO repeating myself. Anyway there are a whole bunch of Family Christian Moral Family Jesus Family groups that invite me to speak, and they pay me (Thanks guys!).

Chapter 3 - Hillary And Me

Mrs. Clinton walked in to the room slowly holding a piece of legislature like it was a part of her smooth, sexy body. "Why Jack," she cooed at me softly, her American flag pin glistening in the Christmas tree light. "I didn't get you anything."
"No Hillary, it's too soon-" I said, tempting her aggressions with denial. "Your husband-"
"Oh, don't worry about him..." she began, but I knew it was coming. We went for hours. Her delicate hands brushed across my tiny member so many times suddenly I knew for sure what love was for the first time. In the morning she brought me a cup of cafe olay and a cigarette, I'm telling you: my balls; like fucking concrete....

Chapter 4 - Rockstar Games

Okay, this game "Grand Theft Auto," it like; teaches kids how to shoot people- the military (The Army I think. Hi Guys!) down at Ft. Jackson totally uses GTA to train its troops, but I like the troops, so its not their fault they are cold blooded killers conditioned by Canadians with their filthy, filthy games. But it's not just that! No! They included boobies! And sex! They thought they could get that one by me, but I showed them what's what. No one should have to see sex, it's just not natural. If sex was natural, then God would not have invented Pay Per View. I like Jesus. I am all about the Jesus.

Chapter 5 - The Media

It was SO COOL to be on television so much, and all the reporters were SUPER nice to me. At CNN, they give you all the coffee you want, but FOX News is where it's at because they have doughnuts and I have a chocolate cream addiction like you wouldn't believe. MSNBC was all like "We want you on in five minutes!" but I was all like "I can't! My Tie is stuck in your super powerful toilets!" and they were all like "Dude, no one has had a problem with our bathrooms but you. If you can't be out there we have to call it off," and I was all like "Nooooo!!!" like Darth Vader in Episode 3 (That is SUCH a good movie, man I want to meet Hayden Christiansan SO BAD. Like REALLY BAD. He's so cool) and they laughed and I laughed and it was pretty funny.

Epilogue - What's Coming Next

Oh my GOD, I wrote a BOOK! That's so cool! And it was all me, too- I didn't have a ghostwriter or anything, seriously I DIDN'T. And if you say I did, then I'll SUE you because I'm an awesome attorney with nothing to do and that's a dangerous thing, my friend. Anyway, there are all kinds of cool games coming out that I can exploit with my patented "It Causes Kids To Kill" bullshit that people seem to like so much. I can't WAIT for Condemned to come out for the XBox 360, that looks so awesome. I'll like, play it- then I can SUE them and get my money back because it made me violent. Thanks for reading my book! (Hi Guys!)

So there you have it. Now you don't need to torture yourself knowing the librarian will look deep into your soul as she glances through your records to find an entry under the category "Asshole Autobiography" and assume you read Pol Pot's recently published recipe book.

I'm glad Grandma and I could help.

--Ask Grandma Hardcore is at our usual time tonight of 9:00pm EST, continuing on into the night for West Coast and International readers. Thanks Everybody!--

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