Video 20 - Grandma plays Super Paper Mario
Well, Grandma beat Super Paper Mario on her Wii last night. As semi-RPG's go, it didn't take her very long to complete this cool little game. This game didn't invoke the full power of Grandma's frustration, but she did get annoyed at certain points in which her objective wasn't exactly clear.
More on this after the jump, as well as some fantastically awesome stuff that makes Grandma and I jump up and down within the limits of our capabilities.
***Update*** May 8th -- Holy shit, guys! Here we go again! Grandma made Joystiq, Destructoid, Kotaku, Canardplus and someone even submitted it to CollegeHumor where it made National Pick and ended up on the front page. You folks are cool as hell!--
First, a warning that should be pretty clear in the opening seconds of the video: Do NOT purchase the "DreamGear Charge-n-play" for your Wii controllers. The thing, as Grandma put it, "isn't worth shit." Granted, she's been spoiled by the relatively long lasting charges provided by the Bluetooth Sixaxis and her Wireless XBox 360 controllers. With a few notable exceptions, she's fairly cautious about third-party hardware.
She didn't sit and play Super Paper Mario for her usual four or five hour slots, she would usually progress to the next stage, save, and put it aside for awhile, happy to progress a little at a time. Even so, the DreamGear charger and battery pack would only allot her maybe 3 or 4 hours on a full charge.
So... buyer beware and all that.
She's looking into replacing it with a quality Nyko charge station, so if anyone has any experience with it, let us know how you like it.
The last Paper Mario game we remember was the Thousand Year Door, which was more of a turn-based RPG that fit in nicely with DS Mario games she had completed, like Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time. This one, however, went in another direction, back to the old days in which jumping on the heads of your enemies as they milled about waiting for something to happen was the zenith of Mario combat. It's neither better nor worse, but she founded it incredibly easy compared to some of the other, almost musical timing-based combat systems.
The Wiimote handled well, and she found herself pointing at shit on the screen she otherwise couldn't care less about, just to find out if there was some interesting back-story. Switching from 2D to 3D was fun at first, and to Grandma it felt almost like cheating, being able to circumvent obstacles entirely and exposing new paths and blocks. After awhile, though, it turned into a strange, Portal-esque maze of lines that rendered all the GameFAQs guides worthless when she got stuck; reading about as vague as "go over to the thing, change to 3D and jump on the other thing, then go down."
She loves using GameFAQs on those confusing parts, but maybe it was just too soon after release to get a more concise guide.
The sound was on par with all the other Mario games you love. Go ahead, admit it. You're among friends :) Some of those tunes are little TOO catchy, if you know what I mean. Subtitles weren't an issue for Grandma because like the last two Paper Marios, no one really speaks, the words are audibly given emotion by the changing of the pitch and speed of the crazy-ass typing ...um, sound... thingies.
There is the issue of phallic imagery in Super Paper Mario that I don't think I'm qualified to analyze, but Grandma puts it simply: "Dried Shrooms look like cocks. I'm not kidding! You tell me that doesn't look like a penis."
***Spoilers!*** The part that I loved to watch when I reviewed what to put in the video, the part that I otherwise would have missed because I was sitting in some back corner out of frame smoking a cigarette and reading a magazine, is her look of absolute, genuine joy at the revelation that Bowser, Peach, and Luigi were still alive and had returned to assist in the final battle. It's that tiny bit of an emotional leak that we all try to hide when watched playing; the reason we shoo people out of the room and tell people to leave us alone and shut the hell up during those final boss battles and cutscenes. It's the moments that we've EARNED by playing for so many hours; for paying attention to the storyline. It's the motherfucking PAYOFF.
If a game works, you get that moment. THAT'S what Jaffe was talking about ...fucking "game that'd make you cry." He wasn't talking about burning the movie "American Beauty" onto a PS3 disc and making a rather elaborate scene selection menu, he was speaking of a game that effectively creates those moments.
Was Super Paper Mario one of those games? Who knows. All I know is that Grandma was sincere in her interest for the characters. That's just how she plays. Hell, that's how I'd like to think I play too.
Think about all the games that made you feel something. Think about GTA: San Andreas. Didn't you want to find out who the FUCK thought they could kill CJ's Mom and didn't you want to show them how Grove Street deals with that shit? Think about Kingdom Hearts. Think about God of War. Think about Oblivion. Think about Gears of War! If you weren't as pissed as Grandma was when she got the "second ending" to Dead Rising then you might be a sociopath. Or a Replicant. Ever read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep"? It's like that.
Super Paper Mario is an awesome little game. If you have a Wii, go out and treat yourself.
Now! On to some really cool shit.
GamesRadar did a piece on Grey Gamers that included someone you all know. This piece was awesome not only because Grandma was awarded the coveted "Five/Five Walkers" rating, but also because it shows you so many other mature gamers out there. The one thing you notice in all those videos is that they're having fun; they're all getting into it, just like Grandma. When we tell people that Grandma's not unique for her demographic, that there's others out there just like her; people that have never HEARD of OldGrandmaHardcore or The G-Hole and do more or less the same sort of things for fun and entertainment, the response is almost always that Grandma's just being modest.
MODESTY doesn't even enter into it. Grandma isn't afraid of someone stealing her thunder, she's afraid that mature gamers, grey gamers, whatever you want to call them, will be treated like an oddity long after they've begun to become active in the gaming community. Grandma doesn't game for attention, she does it because she enjoys it. The GamesRadar piece illustrates that others do the same.
And THAT is fantastic.
SECOND THING! Insomniac Games made Resistance: Fall of Man and Ratchet and Clank. Insomniac Games has a website. That website has a podcast. The podcast with a special mystery guest comes out TODAY (Episode 5). Now, I don't want to spoil anything for the guys over at the Full Moon Show and reveal their mystery guest Yeah it's Grandma.
Not only were these guys cool as hell to Grandma, but they did something that made Grandma beam for the rest of the day. Fuck, she's still beaming about it.
"In honor of each Mystery Guest, Insomniac Games will donate $500 in their name to Child's Play!"
They laid that one on her at the end of the segment and it fucking FLOORED us. $500 is a lot of money to people like Grandma and me. Child's Play is damn near our favorite charity, and those guys know how to stretch that for people who really, truly need positive escapism and focus during times that scare the piss out of the rest of us.
Grandma can only say "thank you, guys. And keep making games, goddammit! Stop wasting time with me and finish Ratchet and Clank for fuck's sake!"
I'm still trying to get a good Guitar Hero video with Grandma, but the work schedule has destroyed my posting time. She's got lots of games to play, so there is much more coming. Thank you again for the comments and e-mails, everyone! Grandma reads them all.