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 13, 2006
Two Ways To Play! This Week- Condemned: Criminal Origins
Grandma and I began to play Condemned: Criminal Origins for the XBox 360 today. It began to give her the same sort of "creeped-the-fuck-out" feeling as The Suffering: Ties That Bind. Luckily, we found one feature on the XBox 360 corrects the mood of any game that may intrude on your sanity:
It's iPod compatible.
It's no secret the 360 pretty much plays any mp3 player one hooks up to the two front USB ports, and in the case of Condemned and others- one can turn on the music whilst playing. Now depending on the music you choose, this can transform Condemned into a happy, playful romp down through the semi-abandoned hallways of the post-apocalyptic Disneyland offices; or, if the wrong music is played however, it will simply augment the strange nightmares featuring bloody manikins and Clive Barker paintings.
We put together a little guide to assist you with your choices but we need your help to expand our two playlists. So far we have "Condemned: The Living Nightmare" and "Condemned ...To Be Happy." Let's start with the WRONG way to play Condemned. It's already a terrifying game, and if you're the type of person that stopped playing Fatal Frame because you didn't want to walk down the hallway and turn the corner because "OMIGOSH, A GHOST COULD BE THERE!!" then this technique will surely drive you to buy your very own Safe Room.
First, let's set up your environment:
You're going to need cigarettes. I prefer Camels, but for the purposes of this experiment, I would suggest those cheap sawdust cigarettes you find for $1.75 a pack, usually named "American Pride" or "Freedom Awesome America" or "War Bonds." You should also wear some Old Spice or some other inexpensive, serial-killer approved fragrance. The nicotine in your system will hype you up, causing frequent panic-attacks when some motherfucker jumps out at you with a lead pipe. Also, the very act of picking up and putting down the cigarette forces you to pause every once and a while, building the tension and breaking your momentum.
Notice the used band-aid in the ashtray. Consider planting one in your own ashtray to simulate the experience of recovering from some unknown injury, or covering up the track marks on your arm before a scheduled visit to your parole officer, who in any instance must be named "Scagnetti." Also include one of those broken wire-ties so that you too can pretend you just cut the makeshift handcuffs from your wrists, evading whatever law enforcement agency happened to be on your case.
Other useful items include a cardboard box labeled "Gwyneth Paltrow's Head," random biblically themed books (bonus points for inappropriate messages carved into the binding with a broken, plastic spork from the recreation center's cafeteria), razor blades, and an assortment of undressed decapitated Barbie(tm) Dolls. Use your imagination!
If you haven't already, hook up your iPod and pop in a copy of Condemned: Criminal Origins. Navigate the menus first; then when your level begins hit the big ol' green button at the center of your controller and go to "Select Music."
You'll notice our copy of the game is displayed by our lovely The Price is Right model: Chainsaw Steve. Chainsaw Steve might be employed by Capcom, but his heart goes out to Monolith on this one. Right now, he wants to get to some tunes, so let's dim the lights, chain the dog to the front of the house and go through the songs that Grandma and I selected to make Condemned our top horror game of the ...um, year... so far.
Playlist Title: "Condemned: The Living Nightmare" 1. DJ Shadow - "Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt" 2. Aphex Twin - "Vodhosbn" 3. Schubert - "Ave Maria" 4. Incubus - "Megalomaniac" 5. Iron Butterfly - "Innagoddavida"
6. Godspeed You Black Emperor! - "The Dead Flag Blues" 7. Mogwai - "Like Herod" 8. Nine Inch Nails - "A Warm Place" 9. Death In Vegas - "Soul Auctioneer" 10. A Perfect Circle - "The Noose"
Okay! Now that you're hiding in the closet with a flashlight, and a taser brandishing a piece of metal conduit, let's try the same thing only without all the years of therapy.
Let's start by removing the cigarettes and identifying paraphernalia and replace it with a healthy bowl of delicious, air-popped popcorn with light, melted butter on top (with extra salt, or course) and a glass of chocolate milk. You'll notice that this glass is half-full because the photographer couldn't control their urges and took a giant swig already. The milk will have a calming effect on your nerves and the popcorn is easy enough to eat so that you may run through the hallways of Condemned, bashing folks left and right to your heart's content without pausing for a breath.
Now give Chainsaw Steve a break and use instead a cute, fluffy snow-leopard (or any creature that falls under the cutesy genus within the animal kingdom.) Just make certain you don't get any fur blocking those ventilation holes! Your house will burn to the ground. Yay! This next playlist features songs that Grandma and I have determined are the best terror-breakers for Condemned, or songs that happen to contrast the game so comically, you'll die smiling instead of bleeding; and that's a GOOD thing.
Playlist Title: "CONDEMNED ...to be happy!" 1. Guided By Voices - "Glad Girls" 2. Jurassic 5 - "Jurass Finish First" 3. Ace of Base - "The Sign" 4. 2 Unlimited - "Get Ready For This" 5. Basement Jaxx - "Romeo"
6. Chemical Brothers - "The Sunshine Underground" 7. The Eels - "Last Stop: This Town" 8. The Flaming Lips - "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Part 1)" 9. Dexy's Midnight Runners - "Come On Eileen" 10. Green Day - "King For A Day" 11. Folk Implosion - "Free To Go" 12. The Postal Service - "We Will Become Silhouettes"
So go try it out! Most of the songs are available through iTunes, Yahoo Music, or MSN Music. Also, submit your own playlist nominations via the "Add Comment" feature here so we can use your ideas throughout Grandma's game. We need more ideas.