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, January 27, 2006

It's A God Damn Wild World Out There...

A lot of folks recommended the Animal Crossing series to Grandma. Good people. FINE people. People who, if you met them on the street would probably be pleasant and cordial and friendly. People with jobs. Intelligent people. People with dark, terrible secrets in their past. People who know the location of no fewer than three decomposing bodies in the woods by the local Wendy's.

The game is sort of like a "dialogue only" version of Psychonauts to Grandma. She waited with a confused look on her face for something to HAPPEN, only to find that her character needed to go to work to pay mortgage. Look, Grandma's RETIRED. Why the hell would she want to deliver FURNITURE?

In Animal Crossing: Wild World, Grandma found herself trapped in a post nuclear winter dystopia in which a new race of animal-humanoid hybrids live, work and pay taxes. They invite Grandma, apparently the only "genetically pure" human for miles, to stay in their midst in an apparent move to further promote successful integration through controlled breeding and pacification through a capitalist system of acquiring furniture and clothes; quietly replacing the "self actualization" section of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs with the desire for a new couch.

Grandma named her character "Dr. Beej."

The DS presents a challenge for me to find out exactly what Grandma's doing in a game. Instead of watching a big ass screen, listening to her bitch, then posting about it, I have to come right out and ask her "so.... what are you doing now?" The first thing Grandma noticed is the primal behaviors of the animals has been swapped with polite conversation. This game really teaches you what's important in the life.

Me - "So what's going on in Animal Crossing?"

Grandma - "I just moved in to this town, and then I went to work, but I forgot to change into my work clothes so I got bitched out about it, then I had to deliver this fucking PACKAGE but she wasn't home, so I had to go LOOKING for her ass."

Me - "Do you like it?"

Grandma - "I don't know yet."

[30 minutes later]

Grandma - "I don't WANT to give you a stupid GIFT! I NEED THAT! I don't even understand why you have to be FRIENDS with this bitch, it's not like the relationship is worth it."

[10 minutes later]

Me - "So what are you doing now?"

Grandma - "Well, I found this museum, but it doesn't have anything in it."

Me - "Yeah, I think you have to buy things and then 'donate' them to the museum.

Grandma - "WHY!?"

Me - "Think of it like a trophy room, to show off your riches for the good of the community."

Grandma - "That's BULLSHIT. Why should I have to do every fucking thing?!"

Me - "Because you're the human, and they are the animals, and that makes you superior somehow."

Grandma - "This game is RACIST."

Me - "No, they're ANIMALS."

Grandma - "Yeah, nice little way of putting it isn't it?"

Me - "Are you suggesting that Animal Crossing is nothing but a socialist caste system in which the rich are necessary yet exploited?"

Grandma - "....Yes."

Me - "How do you figure?"

Grandma - "Well, I move into this town, right? And they already have their shit together- they have a mail system, telephones and mass communications, and free fruit in the trees that anyone can take and eat if they just shake it."

Me - "Okay."

Grandma - "But look at the museum. There isn't anything there. They have this building that they have decided will be used as a museum but they don't have anything to put inside it, and they ALSO leave this rinky-dink shit hole house for me to stay in."

Me - "What are you getting at?"

Grandma - "The animals have everything they need to LIVE, but they need a human for CULTURE."

Me - "You might be on to something."

[30 minutes later]

Grandma - "Alright, I got another one for you."

Me - "Shoot."

Grandma - "Their LANGUAGE."

Me - "What do you mean?"

Grandma - "Well, when they speak, I SEE the subtitles, but I HEAR jibberish. When I write or talk to them, I SEE AND HEAR the letters pronounced correctly."

Me - "So?"

Grandma - "It's as though their saying I'm the only one who can speak properly."

Me - "Hmmm."

Grandma - "Or think about the occupations of some of the characters. The guy who owns the store is a Raccoon, right? Raccoons are nature's thieves. They're also 'nocturnal.'"

Me - "Okay."

Grandma - You can't say that doesn't MEAN something."

Me - "Maybe."

Grandma - "Or look at the mayor! The mayor is a fucking TURTLE. Turtles can put their heads in their shells and IGNORE the rest of the world."

Me - "Just like politicians?"

Grandma - "Exactly."

Me - "Alright, what about the Duck?"

Grandma - "What duck?"

Me - "The duck at the post office."

Grandma - "A duck's a duck. That doesn't mean shit. What I'm curious about it the sisters that make the clothes."

Me - "Why?"

Grandma - "How old do you think they are?"

Me - "So you're saying.... sweatshop?"

Grandma - "Fucking A."

Me - "So let me get this straight. Animal Crossing represents a microcosm of the current Global Economic history, where you, the HUMAN, represent the Western ideals of capitalism and expansion of European religion and culture, and the ANIMALS represent the natives who require you to teach them the ways of the world, even though they are capable and educated in their own right. And thus, it's ethnocentric and evil."

Grandma - "Not exactly."

Me - "Okay, so the ANIMALS represent the working class, who can get by on their own, understand technology enough and enjoy life, but you, the HUMAN, represent Andrew Carnegie, and you have to buy them some libraries otherwise they'll never learn?"

Grandma - "No."

Me - "The HUMAN represents The First World, the ANIMALS represent the third world, and Animal Crossing tries to submit the fallacy that the two systems can work in harmony without anyone being too upset."

Grandma - "....Yes. It's more like that one."

Me - "So, do you like it?"

Grandma - "No, not really. All I do is walk around, talk to people, and buy stuff. I can do the same thing in Knights of the Old Republic, only I get to kill things with a lightsaber."



Game on!!

30 Comments:

  • At 2:04 AM, Blogger Good Ol' WT said…

    shit. If I wanted a sociological lesson while playing a game, I'd still own "The Political Machine" where I have to make contradictory statements of my views to different states so they'll vote for me in the election.

    Man that was a crappy game. Did you guys play it?

     
  • At 2:08 AM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…

    No, man. I'm still waiting for a Democrats vs. Republicans version of Dead or Alive ;)

     
  • At 6:07 AM, Blogger Alice Lee said…

    You have no idea how much I cracked up reading this post. Very well written, I can definitely see some of the parallels that OGHC drew from the game.

     
  • At 9:01 AM, Blogger O0 said…

    That reminded me of "Baldies", a game for PC in which all you had to do is breed... bald people. Yeah, it was a community filled with bald MEN that somehow reproduced by jumping on a bed (!!). There was no much to it, just like there doesn't seem to be much to AC.

     
  • At 9:44 AM, Blogger Leci said…

    In the GC version of Animal Crossing you CAN'T buy anything to put into the museum. You had to dig up the fossils and catch the bugs/fish with your net/fishing pole.

    The game is sort of addicting if you play for long enough, but then you sort of get bored with it, since it is the same thing all the time.

     
  • At 10:47 AM, Blogger Becky said…

    As a sociology student, I must say: that was fucking brilliant. Cracked me up.

     
  • At 12:09 PM, Blogger Stephanie said…

    I think that was the best description of Animal Crossing I have ever seen.

     
  • At 12:25 PM, Blogger Reeve said…

    Azalee: The museum works the same way in the DS Animal Crossing.

    I just started the game myself, so I can relate (though I'm also a Harvest Moon fan, so maybe Animal Crossing isn't so dull to me...). Yours and Grandma's analysis was both disturbing and hilarious.

     
  • At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Toffe said…

    Too bad you didn´t like the game.. It´s absolutely one of my favorites, I´ve played it for 1-2 hours a day since the day I got it, which was around December 10th. Well, it would sure have been a blast to visit you guys sometime over WFC, even though I don´t have a WiFi-adapter yet.
    Oh, I played the last Animal Crossing almost everyday for 5-6 months, it sure is addictive, but I guess it´s not for all types of persons. (But just to make you guys understand that I´m playing other games too, I´m currently playing Ocarina of Time and I just finished Final Fantasy VIII).
    And as Celeste would have said, Hootie-TOOT!

     
  • At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Toffe said…

    I´m sorry to doublepost, but I just noticed what you have named the pictures, it was so damned funny it made me sad, game on!

     
  • At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That was by far the most introspective (and hillarious) dissemination of a game I have ever read.

    I do believe I have just been converted from the Church of Burgertime to Animal Crossing socialism. =p

     
  • At 9:14 PM, Blogger Anne Packrat said…

    Heh, Grandma certainly has an interesting view on stuff. If she continues to play let me know when you'll be online and I can give her stuff!

     
  • At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    good grief, when am I going to learn not to be drinking anything while reading this site...

    Mystifyva

     
  • At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Sam said…

    I remember when I first played AC on the GB. I didnt like it at first, I kept getting pissed at how the animals would always steal the one thing of value in your inventory and claim it was 'good to share', but you'd run all over the town doing favours for them and they'd only give you their shoddy old clothes. As if anyone wants clothes than a donkey had worn for God knows how long. But then I got into it some more, and then a little more, and before I knew it I was getting out of bed at 5am because a particular fish only came out at sunrise and I wanted to catch it. Not long after that I went down the local game shop and sold my copy of AC. I've been 'dry' now for about a year.

     
  • At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Ethrin said…

    >No, man. I'm still waiting for a >Democrats vs. Republicans version >of Dead or Alive ;)
    Yeah, but I don't wanna see Dick Cheney's man boobies bouncing.

    WHAT DID I DO TO MYSELF!? AUUGH!

    As soon as Grandma frees herself from the shackles of Nookie Mart, she should go to the gate(press X, look for the red Space Invaders base looking icon) and talk to Copper(he's on the right.)

    Get your friend code and post it. You'll have a ton of people begging you to add them and let them add you. In order to visit another person's town, your character has to be on their characters' list and vice versa.
    You can't just waltz into some random schmuck's village and start hacking down trees like a mo fo.

    I'd be happy to hook you up with tools, furniture and all the various fruits in the game(if you sell non-native fruits, you get 500 a pop.)

    Check your email, I sent my friend code.

     
  • At 11:28 PM, Blogger HandOverFist said…

    Gah! My brain! Wasn't AC first geared to audiences 13 and under? So maybe Japan has underlying plans for the youth of America, subliminally sending messages through their games. Mario was sending a communist vibe telling kids that it's ok to be on the the lower levels of the working class because you can still be a hero and marry a princess much like the richer people of the land which makes everyone equal...equality...everyone is the same...you get the same wage as the princess does...we promise.

     
  • At 7:00 AM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…

    toffe, ethrin, everybody who likes Animal Crossing- she still love you guys, it's all good. :) It's true that Grandma hasn't experienced the cooler complexities of the game, it just reminds her too much of another beloved game that she can't stand: The Sims.

    Grandma has this built in hate-mode for "games that remind her of games she hates." Indigo Prophecy was too much like Simon. She hated Simon, so Indigo Prophecy will suck. Etc.,. Later today I'm posting about Grandma's very EXCELLENT experience with Mario & Luigi Partners in Time. I would have done it last weekend, but I worked from sunup to sunset so I couldn't post what I wanted.

     
  • At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hey, so when is grandma gonna play call of duty 2 big red one on ps2 dtischerd

     
  • At 7:46 PM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…

    Anon-

    She has Call of Duty 2: Big Red One on the XBox. I'll talk a lot more about it later, but for right now lets just say: Crucifix Hill on Hard Mode might as well be called "You don't have a FUCKING prayer."

     
  • At 2:09 AM, Anonymous Richard "MechaSlinky" MacDonald said…

    About the Able Sisters (porcupine sisters that run the clothing shop). It's not a sweatshop. They're adults. If you talk to the quiet one who works on the sewing machine every day, she eventually starts telling you stuff about her past. It's actually really interesting. Kind of depressing. A tale of lost childhood, crushed spirits and broken dreams.

    Their parents died when they were young and the older one (the one on the sewing machine) had to work to support them. She also talks about Tom Nook, who has been her friend since childhood, and how he helped out and then left for the big city to become a success. He never made it, and returned to the small town, but he was never quite the same.

    The rest of the animals aren't nearly that interesting. I mostly talk to them so that I can eventually teach them swear words.

    On a side-note, I recently bought a "Tiny Mustache". It's a Hitler mustache. Not entirely sure if it could mean anything. But the pig that recently moved in seems to really like me.

     
  • At 8:27 AM, Anonymous blackroseowl said…

    Hey, Grandma (or Tim). Did you play Fatal Frame II on the PS2 or the XBox? Because if you played it on the XBox, do you have any tips to share regarding Survival Mode? That thing is whipping my backside and I've barely gotten into the Tachibana house! The damn ghosts just come out of everywhere and *BAM* you're dead, or you lose your Stone Mirror and half the time Mio won't pick one up from the floor even if she needs one. Ugh...

     
  • At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is my first time reading through this blog, and I have to say it's quite an awesome read. I watched the God of War video with the box, and I swear I had practically that same conversation with my brother while playing, except I didn't swear as much as your grandmother! haha, this rules!

     
  • At 3:01 PM, Blogger Siesh said…

    I love this fucking site.

    Makes me laugh EVERY time I read it.

    And I fucking love it.

    Thanks!

     
  • At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Courtney said…

    YOu know, I am on the fence with Aniaml Crossing. I have the GC version and think it's great and all but I am not sure I'd be that excited about just hanging out as animal/people.

    Maybe when it's $20

     
  • At 9:27 PM, Blogger Nin10dude said…

    Haha, great post.

    Only, I LOVE Animal Crossing. It's not a game where you sit and play for hours like a normal game. You pick it up, play for 30 minutes here, 15 minutes there, and it's just something to kill time every once in a while.

     
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