Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Lumines II, Final Fantasy III, and more Grandma press
Goddammit, I'll say it. Bottle Rocket is a guilty pleasure.
Here's Grandma's initial take on Twilight Princess:
Before I even tell you what I think so far, I have to ask you- please don't hate me. I love Zelda! I'm a Zelda fan! I've loved them from the beginning. Shit, Tim will tell you how much I got into Wind Waker. I'll admit I didn't like Four Swords too much, but other than that, I've watched Link grow up. I have to tell you that apparently because I see how much people pounce on those who suggest that Twilight Princess is kinda... ...mediocre.
It's not a shitty game at all, but it isn't what I expected. Granted, I'm not that far into the game, maybe only a third of the way through I guess, but from what I've seen I can't say I'm impressed. The graphics aren't too hot, for one. From what people tell me, The Wii version looks better, so there's always that, but I've seen some incredible looking games on the GameCube, so I'm not sure why this one is so choppy. Graphics are hardly everything, though. The controls are frustrating to say the least. Maybe it's just harder and I can't quite cut it right now, but it sure doesn't feel that way. It's just... ...frustrating! The button combination needed to attack something, put away your weapon, pick something up and run with it just feels weird. I HATE when Link turns into a wolf, which is strange considering how cool Okami was. For some reason it's just a pain to control Link-Wolf with Midna sometimes.
I don't know. Like I said, don't hate me, and I'm not that far into the game yet, but I'm going to need to finish this one before I can really have an opinion. Right now, all I know is: it's a bitch.
Grandma's playing it right now, riding a horse, shooting arrows at some flying something or other and damning the controller verbally. We'll get back to you as the situation changes.
305031015072. Apparently, that's the friend code you'll need if you want to taunt me while I'm trying to level up my FF:III characters. I can't imagine what sort of message you'd send, though.
"Hey, Tim! You're a goddamn loser! Look at you sitting around, mindlessly walking a little sprite around a screen until some arbitrary, meaningless number goes up a few digits. Say yo to Grandma- Peace!"
"Tim. What are you doing with your life? Anything important? Doubt it. Shout out to yer G'ma for me, LOL."
"Tim, you know what would be great? If this was a multiplayer game, I could totally whoop your ass. But it's not. So I'll just tap out this message so you know your ass would be kicked. That is, if this was a multiplayer game. But it's not. So I won't. Tell Grandma I said hello and such."
Leveling up is a staple of the Final Fantasy series we've come to accept and love, but Jesus Christ it takes forever to get their job levels up to anything usable. Ah, well. It's still fun!
Lumines II has a nifty new feature the first game lacked that adds the sense of excitement that public shame and embarrassment provides. Lumines II is awesome, there's no doubt about that, but when you find yourself turning down the volume on your earphones when Hollaback Girl starts up lest the rest of the otherwise silent denizens of the dentist's office conclude that you're a Gwen Stefani fanatic, you realize that some games really highlight one's insecurities. Really, I mean- who gives a shit if I like listening to some shitty Missy Elliot song, or the Black Eyed Peas' horrible resampling of Dick Dale tunes?! I don't care! Let the bastards think whatever they want to think!
And yet I still turn down the volume and angle the PSP ever so slightly so that some Middle Aged watcher of sensationalist nightly news segments doesn't confuse the beautiful game I'm playing with the "Playstation Pornable" material that would cause her to cover her mouth ever so delicately to stifle the exclamation "oh my word!" before she averts her children's eyes and starts to pray.
It's the fact that I catch myself turning down the volume that's most embarrassing of all. Grandma? Grandma doesn't give a shit. Grandma plays on MUTE. She's pretty much deaf and headphones aren't very comfortable for her. I couldn't imagine Lumines without the music.
The Press Conundrum.
Grandma has been around in quite a bit of press in the past month or so. The Newark Star Ledger did a lengthy piece on Grandma and the "phenomenon" of elderly gaming, which prompted WCBS in New York to call her for a short interview; Igromania Magazine had a HUGE spread on Grandma that garnered a lot of Russian traffic; Frauenzeitung Fraz magazine had an article on Grandma in the same issue they discussed the graphic novel "Persepolis" (which is awesome); Cleveland Magazine's January issue was just released, naming Grandma as one of the Most Interesting People in Cleveland (more on that in another post); NPR and the one and only Alex Cohen produced a short segment, which was picked up by Joystiq (who we love), but there lay the conundrum in plain sight in Joystiq's comment section:
2. I personally find it hard to believe that 25% of the gaming demographic is over the age of 50. Excuse me for a moment whilst I perform some research...
Posted at 11:01AM on Dec 8th 2006 by Unimental
OK, as of 2004... 19% of "gamers" were over 50. I put gamers in quotes since gaming can consist of consoles, PC, handhelds, and (what I think boosts the stats here) online quick-and-casual games like popcap et al. I would assume playing a round of solitaire at work would put you in this crowd as well.
Posted at 11:12AM on Dec 8th 2006 by Unimental
10. "kick butt with her grandson"
that makes it sound more like she watches him win and pretends it was her idea. i know the type (i am the type).
Posted at 11:37AM on Dec 8th 2006 by spoot
20. 25% of all gamers are over the age of 50
I CALL BULLSH*T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted at 12:09PM on Dec 8th 2006 by JimmyHACK
23. Another bullshit research such as some Nielsen recent ones: they mix "gamers" of traditionnal PC/consoles games and "casual gamers" of free online games.
But it is trendy those days to say crap like "there is more women 18 to 35 playing than boys 12 to 18..." and so on.
Posted at 12:26PM on Dec 8th 2006 by gabur
26. I should have gone with God of War: Bed Pan Prophecies. That's better than Splinter Cell: Geriatric Showdown.
Posted at 12:53PM on Dec 8th 2006 by matthew
30. "She has 13(!) grandkids"
Thirteen grandkids isn't really that many...my grandma has almost 40....
Posted at 2:38PM on Dec 8th 2006 by Chyld989
The NPR piece didn't mention Grandma's nickname or MTV or even this site, which is fine in that we don't make any money from this site so traffic fluctuations aren't hugely important. What's surprising is that it's been what, almost two years now for Grandma's press, and Doris Self has had a lot of mentions, and there have been a ton of segments about adults playing video games, and adults waiting in line for PS3's and Wii's and 360's, and adults playing in tournaments, and the benefits of video games for adults and yet even NOW, when the industry itself says the target demographic is 18-35 year olds, people STILL say it's all bullshit and games are for children and immature teenagers.
So..... why the hell do people think this is such a rarity, anymore?! Grandma was not the first, she's just the most recognized. She's not the best, she's just the most recognized. She's not the oldest, either. There are MANY people just like Grandma out there! So all this press, all this attention, millions of people reading hundreds of sites and newspapers and watching syndicated news segments, and some people still think it's unusual to see an older person (or a woman, for that matter) enjoy gaming means that the problem must be with us. We're not doing a good enough job at getting the message accross.
So we're going to have to get better then, aren't we? :)