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.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Grandma's Pet Peeve #9,237: Real Life Punitive Actions In Gaming

When Dennis Hopper was arrested way back in the day, he wasn't thinking about King Koopa. Who would have thought the man would later provide his talents in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and welcome the gaming world with open, dinosaur arms. During his detainment back in the 70's, however, he was unknowingly participating in a big part of gaming, only without all the bothersome jumping and collecting and storyline.

Dennis might as well have been sitting comfortably in his chair waiting at the load screen, or watching a cutscene he's already seen 30 times, or watching a long list of level up points accrue for his party of heroes, or watching the villains who have just murdered him in cold blood laugh in a long animation filled with more bile than a Halo 2 Rumble Pit after middle school lets out on a weekday.

These are examples of punitive measures some games take upon you for sucking. In most games, one can skip a cutscene you've already watched, or it will quickly begin again from the last checkpoint upon your demise. Not Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, though; no- that would be letting your ass off easy now, wouldn't it? Silicon Knights without question developed the game with your actual mental destruction in mind, as sort of a bonus.

See, with Eternal Darkness, if you die, the GameCube resets. You first see a tiny anecdote scroll past writing the end of your history in this story superimposed over some classic candle lit memento mori, just in case you forgot that you died. Then that red Nintendo logo appears softly like you just began a game of StarFox, some crazy creepy dude starts reading Egdar Allan Poe, and the title animation (which luckily you can skip) begins again, from which you can load to the moments before your last suckage. This sequence happens every time you die. I'd like to repeat that for you, only this time with the caps lock on to assist in the emphasis of Grandma's anger towards this little feature of the game: THIS SEQUENCE HAPPENS EVERY TIME YOU DIE.

If you see it coming, you might be able to pause it and load from last checkpoint, but good luck with that.

Now in REALLY special areas with bosses, there are cutscenes before the fight, and if it's your first time playing through- then god dammit you're going to watch it and you're going to pay attention because so help me there will be a QUIZ afterwards so don't let me catch you sleeping, and Tim- I hope you're listening because this is strike TWO buddy.

Examples of this phenomenon in other games include Summoning, lengthy spell animations, waiting patiently for an entire battalion to pass your area so as not to raise your alert level, and Chocobo Breeding. Are they necessary in games? Yes. Unfortunately, the alternative is having a game where you just press buttons when they tell you and a tiny message appears to say if your objective was met by pressing said buttons. It would just be a slot machine. We pay for our enjoyment with our very lives. It better be a good fucking game.

Grandma, however- will seek out each of these so called "Silicon Knights" and take vengeance on the hours she was held prisoner by the title screens. She will find them and make them sit at the final boss battle in Eternal Darkness and make their character die many, many times until the tiny green meter floating above their heads disappears entirely, replaced only by pleas for sleep inducing drugs and a quick blow to the head.

The people on the outside forget we're in here, you know. You have to get busy living, or get busy dying.

Game on!


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