First up, because I know everybody's curious, Grand Theft Auto IV:
Solid fucking game. You empathize with the characters and the story. The over-the-shoulder shooting style rocks, particularly with the auto-aim feature. Gorgeous graphics yet- it's still GTA. Shit, even the radio stations are good.
For Grandma, though, the game has one major flaw. Well, it's not the game so much, and it's not a flaw- it's Grandma. She can't drive for shit.
And she's not the only one. A lot of people have been bitching about the driving physics in GTAIV, but you have to realize that- alright, if you're driving in a city, and you're on a straightaway and you pass an entire city block in a couple seconds, chances are you are going at such a speed that wouldn't quite allow for a 90° left turn into that narrow alley ahead of you.
Now, nobody wants to play a game where you assassinate a motherfucker, get seen by police, and drive 35mph to the nearest safehouse. But there are consequences in the decisions you make; decisions about which car to steal, the route, or following the GPS or just gunning it to make the boundary to lose the wanted level. And of all people, Grandma has learned to appreciate those decisions.
"Shit... Goddammit... No... GODDAMMIT- FUCK, now they're chasing me; cops are chasing me and I still have to stop THAT guy......... fucking minivan can't corner for shit. But if I hop out and steal a Banshee then this dude will get run over by the cops or I'll lose that other guy.... I quit."
"GARBAGE TRUCKS GO FASTER THAN THIS. This is BULLSHIT."
"I've tried this over and over again. I can't make it! There's no guy when I get there!"
-"Yeah there is, he's in the tunnel. After you pick up the car from Little Jacob, get just before the GPS says you've reached the destination and there's a tunnel underneath the road. I couldn't find it either the first time."
[several minutes later, Grandma plows through the tunnel, killing everyone.]
"I KILLED HIM! I FINALLY MADE IT BUT I KILLED THE GUY! Here, YOU do it."
Also, the helicopter and Grandma are not on good terms.
I think she's something like 75% completed with the main story, and just about done with the Brucie missions and the Assassination plot.
It's an on-again, off-again relationship.
Meanwhile, she's been into golf more than usual. She's played Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds near to DEATH on her PS3, maxing out every character and unlocking every course. She likes the game, although it's sort of cartoony, and not in the Outlaw Golf way. The character animations before each swing can get sort of tedious after awhile, and she was just getting used to Advance Shots when she got into Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08', also on her PS3.
It's a stark contrast to Hot Shots Golf for obvious reasons. More realistic courses and players, although the ability to apply spin while the ball is in the air kind of takes away from the ultimate skill of the thing. I'd pay MONEY to see Tiger Woods use his magical mind-powers to force a ball into spinning forward mid air after flopping the thing from a fairway. If lasers came out his eyes and storm clouds began to rumble over Pebble Beach, all the better.
But she'll have a lot more to say about those later.
Speaking of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08', she auditioned for a spot in EA's next run of commercials for their sports games- but who knows if that will happen. We were contacted by somebody at Wieden + Kennedy about the possibility a couple weeks ago. Grandma and I had talked about such things last year; if it came up- what to do; where we stood. Basically, if Grandma really digs a game she'd absolutely be thrilled with endorsing the thing, if someone really felt her endorsement would mean anything. Thing is: she wouldn't even consider it if the game was shit. Oh yeah, big talk from the lowest places of the internet. Who the fuck are we, really. But that's the way Grandma feels. And I agree with her!
Sure, she'd do a commercial. Fuck it. But she's got to honestly love the game. Otherwise, what's the point? She dig's Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08'. She loves that fucking game. Now, if they came to her and said "alright, we think you'd be great for a Madden '09 commercial", chances are she'd tilt her head slightly to the left and say "...but I suck at it."
Like I said, it probably doesn't matter because there are no doubt a lot of hats thrown into this particular ring, and a 72 year old woman in a commercial for an EA game directed by Errol Morris (from what I understand, Moxie Pictures is producing the creative for the broadcast portion of this particular campaign, and Morris would be the likely director) is probably not their first choice.
I could go into the reasons why perhaps it should, but that would be just another advertising rant about risk and demographics and I'm not going to pretend I know what I'm talking about when it comes to Wieden + Kennedy. That shit's intimidating.
If you'd like to see her audition video, well-
Here ya go!
You got to crank your speakers up for it, I had some audio levels issues with compression (my fault).
I think she did an awesome job. I decided to be a smartass and edit the thing like it was Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. If the commercials are going to be directed by Errol Morris, then goddammit we're allowed to be smartasses.
We'll let you know how it goes!
Also in the news of the awesome, Grandma did an interview with these guys via Skype a little while back. Fun fact for those of you who didn't know (because I didn't)- you can just plug your Xbox Live vision camera to a USB port on your computer and Skype just automatically picks it up and uses it perfectly. I'm kind of curious how it looked on their end, so if any of you Kiwis happen to see it on their show, let us know!
Grandma will update in a couple days with a vCast for everyone, I just wanted to say hi and let you know what was up.