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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Shopping Carts

I got home from work today to find Grandma screaming at the television. "STUPID BITCH!!! I can't figure out how to kill this motherfucking OLD BIDDY!!" Apparently, in the 10th Chapter of Fatal Frame III: The Tormented, a certain crazy post-elderly person, who is dead, runs you over with her weapon of choice, a shopping cart.

About ten minutes later, Grandma scored a fully charged fatal frame shot that wiped out the old hag, and Grandma had successfully defeated ...Grandma.

Grandma finds the game extremely challenging (or as Grandma puts it "fucking IMPOSSIBLE) yet satisfying. She had a moment of clarity when a Washington Post reporter asked me how much time Grandma had put into Fatal Frame III, and I responded "only about 40 or 50 hours..." I gave the phone to Grandma and he asked the same question. She paused the game, glanced at the game-clock and replied "about 20 hours." When she told me about her answer, I told her that I gave a total cumulative time, including deaths, not the successful total completion time. Grandma played for awhile, paused, and fetched me from the kitchen. "You were right! If I die, the clock starts back from when I loaded, it didn't keep going. ...but that means... the times in OTHER games are probably... Jesus Christ!"

In other news, a friend of ours bought for their child a brand spanking new XBox 360, an act that has drove Grandma into a pure state of jealousy with a young boy. I will now share the tale that was passed down to me through Grandma, and then you can tell your children one day, and eventually through the filtered eyes of bloggers it will evolve into an event of apocalyptic proportions:

They stood in line for a few hours at a local ultracapitalistmerchanttradingcenter that shall remain nameless for the sake of the child who is to receive the gift. They held their ground approximately 23rd in a line of 50. The manager, carrying only 15 unfortunately named "pink slips" found himself under the hateful gaze of everyone standing at position 16 and beyond. The 15th lucky recipient of said pink slip had their XBox 360 for only a few euphoric moments before another man bolted from the shadows, grabbed the box, and ran to the counter, exhibiting an ability to pay and leave at such incredible speed, his inhuman asshole-qualities were almost set aside as those around him admired his skill.

As our friends stood around trying to decide on an appropriate substitute gift, the manager, a modern day knight of the highest order, rolled into the attention of so many hopeful shoppers with five XBox 360 boxes in a shopping cart. The subjects of our tale leapt into action, procuring one for themselves, and swiftly made their way to the checkout counter, XBox 360 resting patiently in their shopping cart.

But a monster would meet them where empty aisles had been expected.

A monster of unimaginable strength and power:

The Sneaky Lady.

She came from the West, deftly swiping the not yet purchased XBox 360 from their cart and began to run, only this time, the mobs were prepared.

"That's not fucking FAIR!"
"She wasn't even in LINE!"
"SAVE THE XBOX 360!!!!!!"

The manager, weary from battle yet firm in his authority, divided the surrounding crowd and approached The Sneaky Lady. The crowd told the tale of her trickery, they described the horrible plague she inflicted upon the townsfolk, they pleaded with the manager for justice, and by the gods- justice would be done.

The Sneaky Lady did not cry, she scowled.
The Sneaky Lady did not plead, she screamed.
The Sneaky Lady did not give back the XBox 360,
But her biggest mistake-
The Sneaky Lady did NOT sneak away.

The manager saw his opportunity. The Sneaky Lady tried to fight, but it was too late. The XBox 360 was taken from her horrific grasp, and placed back in our traveler's shopping cart product-holding apparatus. It was then whisked away to the checkout counter, only this time it came with an escort.

The XBox 360 awaits it's first breath of life on a shelf somewhere now, counting the days until a little child, full of promise, will reach under the branches of an artificial conifer to find the greatest fucking game system yet known to man.

And now, with this story, we all shall wait with it, and despise that child until we get one in our own shopping carts.

Also, everyone want to see something cool? For those of you who are not I'm Blue regulars and didn't notice yet, check out the computer screen in this comic. Notice anything? ;) Thanks Annie!

Game on!

Read the rest of this post...

Monday, November 28, 2005

To Double Fine Productions: Grandma Loves You!!

Grandma received a package today from Double Fine Productions, only it wasn't just any package. It was an extraordinary, very sweet present to Grandma.

Grandma and I celebrated a bit, as you can see. (Double Fine didn't send us the Vodka, before you write letters.)

They did, however, send Grandma "the motherload" as they say.

Grandma is sporting a cool, gangsta style Double Fine hoodie, complete with the two headed logo, and oh is it nice. I don't mean "the-thought-that-counts" nice, I mean Grandma is basking in its warm, snuggly goodness. It is a functional piece of apparel that will heat Grandma's days in the cold Cleveland weather. It has quickly become Grandma's favorite shirt.

Scott C. sent Grandma this excellent caricature of herself, surrounded by her Psychonaut friends. Scott, this shall be framed so all those who enter Grandma's game room shall be greeted with its elegance. No shit, man- Grandma LOVES the illustration. It's absolutely beautiful.

Mark Hammer made this in Double Fine's Action Comics!! Thank you Mark. Grandma is hereby immortalized.

Then came the final piece; the document that made Grandma's day. Tim Schafer and the whole Double Fine team made Grandma a signature book of cartoons and character studies from Psychonauts in a very personal way of saying "thank you for playing" one million times over. The folder is filled with personal notes to Grandma. I would scan every page and show you all, but to Grandma- this is, understandably, a private and intensely special artifact of sorts that was made just for her. It means that much.

She will treasure it always.

Usually I can come up with some smartass or witty post, but today I am at a complete loss for words. So I'll say this:

Double Fine Productions, you did a lot more than make Grandma smile today- you gave her tears of absolute bliss.

Game on, everybody.

Read the rest of this post...

Grandma's Magazine Subscriptions

Grandma has held subscriptions in her name since Nintendo Power first came on the scene, later buying copies of Official Playstation Magazine, Official XBox Magazine, and GamePro from the racks of the local supermarkets as the release of exciting games dictated. Today she only has three magazine subscriptions: Electronic Gaming Monthly, Computer Gaming World, and GameInformer.

As I began to write this post this afternoon, incredibly strange things happened. We found a cool mention of Grandma's appearance on MTV Overdrive on Dan Hsu's blog, the editor of none other than EGM magazine. Second, we found a mention to Old Grandma Hardcore in an article in December's GameInformer. It gets better.

Coincidence? Or Paul Thomas Anderson-esque proof of the existence of God?

I tend to think it's the former than the latter, but here's how it went down.

Grandma received both magazines in the mail today, which arrived as it usually does at 12:30pm EST. Grandma brought them both in, plopped them on the desk and started taking off the plastic that served as both an armor to the winter tempest and also to conjoin the magazine to some AOL disc which she quickly inserted into her paper shredder because CD shards in the wastebasket look fucking cool. I thought it strange that they arrived on exactly the same day and saw the opportunity to post about Grandma's opinions on upcoming games via her response to the articles. I took a couple pictures to accent the post, handed Grandma GameInformer while I browsed through EGM when suddenly:

"Hey! What did you get for Stubbs The Zombie?" she asked.
"Ummm... 8.5, 8.5, 9.0," I replied, feeling much like an Olympic Games commentator on a radio show somewhere talking about freestyle ice-skating.
"I got 8 & 7.5 in GI." This had begun to resemble cheating in Honors Algebra II.

It went on like that for a while until she started to read those "other" articles. You know the type- the letters section in the front, interviews with famous developers, rumors, etc.,- the kind she reads AFTER the reviews.

"HA! YEAH!!" Grandma belted.
"There's an article on that pig-fucker Jack Thompson, it shows him getting his fucking HEAD flushed down the toilet!"
"Let me see-" I said, skimming the article. "Holy shit, Grandma we're IN this article."
"....Thompson recently contacted....proposition....$10,000 of his own....leaders in the industry.....OLD GRANDMA HARDCORE!! Holy shit, we're in GAMEINFORMER!"
"That's too fucking cool!"

After all that I called up the local GameStop thinking they would get a kick out of one of their regular customers appearing in their magazine. Shit, I was excited.

"Thanks for calling GameStop where you can buy and trade used games, this is Josh, how can I help you?"
"Hey Josh, who is the manager today?"
"That would be me."
"Dude did you get December's GameInfomer-"
"Can you hold for just a second, I have a customer right now-"
"Oh yeah, go ahead, no problem."

He set the phone down and I picked up the conversation with said customer.

[voice of woman] "So do you have any XBox 360's?"
[Josh] "No, we're all out, probably won't get any until February..."
[woman] "Damn... well they are popular..."
[Josh, typing] "Okay, it looks like we can't buy that one from you because this copy of GTA still has that.. um, adult element in it and we're not able to sell the old ones anymore."
[woman] "Really? I mean, it's my husband's game he said you could like.. I don't know, go with hookers and stuff."
[Josh] "Yeah, well there is more to it, there is this cheat where you can...control the man and the woman as they... well, you know."
[woman] "He didn't mention that part!"
[Josh] "Well, it's an extra, you have to do some stuff to find it..."
[woman] "But I could sell this myself then, right? This is probably why I couldn't sell it on Amazon."
[Josh] "Actually, because the unmodified game is harder to find now you could probably sell it on eBay and get some extra money."
[woman] "So like, how much would I sell it for?"
[Josh] "I'd start it at $20 or $30 bucks..."
[woman] "Okay, that sounds good. Thanks!"
[Josh] "Sure!" [picks up phone] "Okay, GameInformer..."
"Man, that's nuts you can't buy used copies of San Andreas that still have the Hot Coffee content?" I asked, distracted.
"No, it now has an Adults Only rating, so we can't touch them."
"That's wild, man. Anyway, turn to page 42."
"42...okay, what am I looking for?"
"See where it says "Jack Thompson Gets Roasted?"
"Yeah." [chuckles]
"Okay, go down to the third paragraph. See where it says Old Grandma Hardcore?"
"She shops there, man! That GameStop is where she gets most of her stuff!"
"In fact, a reporter from the Washington Post might have called you guys last weekend, he asked me where she shops and I gave them your address and number."
"I was just being honest, man- anyway, I thought you should know! I'll talk to you later."

I hope my over enthusiasm for our appearance in the magazine is apparent. I probably bugged the poor kid, but whatchagonnado, eh? You find something like this you want to tell people, right? Jose of the Washington Post has spoken to Grandma and I over the phone a few times in the past week, so his article may become QUITE a big deal. THE WASHINGTON POST!! I wonder if Hillary Clinton will read it when it comes out. Grandma has a few choice words for the woman about the Hot Coffee politicizing of video games.

Soon after the epiphany of the magic of internet publishing ascending to popular print publication and then mailed to us via the postal service faded (about three seconds or so), I checked my e-mail to see if anyone else had heard the news.

Ray from Chicago wrote:

Dude! I saw your Grandma on the MTV thing from Dan Hsu's Blog on 1UP, here's the link [blahblahblahblah] Man, you should capitalize on this shit, you know? Do you know who that IS?

Yes, Ray- we know who that is. Fuck yeah! It was an old post from November 17th; it was strange we didn't find it until today, but there it is. Dan Hsu, if you ever stumble across this blog, know that the copy of EGM Grandma holds in the MTV piece wasn't a prop, she actually reads religiously. That was HER copy. We're glad you found out somehow that your demographic swath is a bit thicker than perhaps you had thought. Thanks Dan!

So lets go over the phenomenona:

Grandma receives two magazines about video games on the exact same day. One mentions Grandma in an article about Jack Thompson, who led the attack against Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive in the production and distribution of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a game which is denied a trade from a woman who claims the game belonged to her husband (an adult) at the GameStop I call about the article, which might have also been contacted about Grandma via the Washington Post, the number one newspaper in Washington D.C., where Hillary Clinton, Jack Thompson's former partner in scandal, does business on behalf of her constituency in New York, where MTV is based, who hires Grandma to review video games in a video; a video seen by the editor of the SECOND magazine, who posts a link to the video in his blog.

[head asplodes]

I'm going to have to watch Magnolia again to get all this straight.

After the demonstrable evidence of the existence of the paranormal has found us today via this experience and also from Grandma's victory of a many armed bitch in Fatal Frame III: The Tormented that has plagued her for two days, Grandma has this to say:

"Hey cool! Maybe we can get a free magazine subscription or something! My renewal notice came with GameInformer today..."

...Game on!

Read the rest of this post...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

On The Importance Of Family

Our house is possibly the polar opposite of the traditional images of "family." Our Thanksgiving dinner is usually prepared and devoured in perfect sequence; the table is set but it is a mere formality, a useful function to decide how many plates, forks and knives will be needed before everyone digs into the bounty and returns to their respective places, be it a television or a gaming system or comfortably bullshitting with visiting relatives- anywhere but sitting around a plank of wood.

Sometimes, however, we have our Americana moments.

That is, if you count all of us crammed into Grandma's room watching Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children with the amp turned to dangerous levels, loudly debating RPGs importance within the history of gaming as "traditional." In our defense, we did manage to get everyone in the same room without bloodshed.

It is important to note first that each member of our family, immediate and extended, could easily be construed as a gamer even in the most conservative definition of the term.

My mother, Linda, has just completed Sly Cooper 3, sans the included 3D glasses. She would tease Grandma and I while we waged war in Growlanser Generations, or basically every Final Fantasy we've ever played.

Mom - "What I don't get is you have these tiny sprite characters just sort of ...dancing on screen; I mean look at their legs! They don't do anything but bounce up and down- bounce up and down... look- this is what they do [demonstrates bouncing] the whole time, and then sometimes they'll look like their walking but they aren't really going anywhere, like some Bugs Bunny cartoon- and THEN; then you have these three monsters, all lined up who WAIT to attack you while you build up magic or something and it's always "I SUMMON THE GIANT MONSTER TO KILL YOU!!", big monster comes out of the sky, huge explosions, the earth shakes, trees fall over..... and then, after everything... you see this little number appear, just this.. little tiny number like "200 health points" or something FROM ALL THAT WORK! Now explain to me why that's so cool?"

Grandma/Me/The Kids - "WHAT?! How can you say that shit!?"

Grandma - "There's a LOT more to it than that, there is STORY, there is STRATEGY-"

Me - "They do the little bounce thing because they have to stay in motion otherwise they'll be easier to- come on, haven't you seen a Kung Fu movie? They don't just STAND there, they... you know, GROOVE a little."

Mom - "OR! Hold on, OR.. whatabout these skimpy little outfits the girls ALWAYS wear in these games."

Grandma - "What about Sly Cooper? You liked that game and the chick is dressed sexy."

Mom - "That was a FOX. That doesn't count. EVERY single girl is dressed in ways that wouldn't make it very easy for them to FIGHT."


Mom - "Who's Tifa?"

And that's how it began. We put Advent Children into the PS2 and watched it together. Shouts of "Marlene! Cool, they brought her into this one!" and "Vincent!! Barret! CID!! Yuffi is STILL annoying... Rude! That's exactly how I pictured Rude, man" filled the room, with Mom drifting off into a Turkey slumber, the sopophoric effects of her misunderstanding of the plot and her giving up battles about the lack of realistic physics portrayed in the game forcing a mid day sleep.

After it was over, Grandma put in a demo my brother Josh had brought her: Dragon Quest VIII. We all played for awhile, SquareEnix finding its way into our hearts once again. Grandma is DEFINITELY going to give this one a shot, just after she finishes pulling out her hair and cutting strange symbols in her arm over the frustration that is Fatal Frame III: The Tormented.

Grandma is stuck in the sixth chapter of the game, she has very little film and no way to replenish her supply. Thanks to the warnings you guys have been shooting our way [ Bi-Coastal Eddie, I'm looking at you :) ] she knows it's only going to get worse. Grandma is ready to start the thing over again if necessary so she can finish. It won't be the first time she's had to "restart that fucking GAME." In fact, the original Fatal Frame had just such a false surrender.

Grandma sent out a notice to all those on her friends list on XBox Live that had "XBox 360 Dashboard" or "Call of Duty 2" that she "is jealous as hell" and "hates them." To anyone who didn't get the tongue in cheek qualities of the message: Grandma doesn't hate you. She just has the Green-Eye as they say when it comes to the 360. Grandma looks at the riots outside Maryland Best Buys and horror stories of armed robbery and massive theft over the console with a chuckle and a shake of the head, however in every radio interview with the woman in the past week or so she has said right out "I'd kill for one."

Grandma will get her XBox 360 one day. She has to.

It will not, however, involve a felony.

Game on!

[Sorry for the lack of posts lately, and I'm sorry I haven't replied to all your e-mails and questions yet (I will!) We used the holiday as an excuse to get ready for the big move coming up. A major bonus of the move includes a Game Room all for Grandma :) Also, we have BIG news coming soon, folks. HUGE. (And also T-shirts) More posts coming tomorrow! Hassah!!]

Read the rest of this post...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

GOD, What A Day! Radio Interviews, Cookies From Annie, Advent Children From Shawn, CBS Video From Alex, Happy Goddamn Thanksgiving!

A snowstorm pounded the roads around Cleveland today, causing accidents, fender benders, appointments missed, lives changed, and windshield wipers to cringe in futility. All the while Grandma and I were having quite a time getting ready for Thanksgiving, while simultaneously rocking the controllers and enjoying some cool shit.

Here's what went down.

We woke up this morning to phone calls from several radio producers who were relieved to find their search for Old Grandma Hardcore her-own-self had come to an end; our extended family more or less the only possessors of the St. Hilaire name around Cleveland. Grandma happily gave short interviews to folks in Washington and California. To all those who heard us- cool! Let us know! Shoot me an e-mail so I can tell the world you found us via the mysterious powers of electromagnetic waves and copper coils hooked to magnets. I still find that shit amazing.

Annie, the artist behind I'm Blue, sent Grandma and the family a package that arrived today, complete with two, kick-ass t-shirts from BlizzCon and some delicious cookies. Here's a picture of Grandma and I adorning our new threads while we all furiously hold up our cookies in defiance of those who would dare oppose the crunchy yet chocolaty goodness:

I don't know why Bobby and Barbie are leaning down like that. I guess it's just something people DO in photos now. Our lunatic dog Charlie has a cameo trying to eat a cookie.

Shawn Jones from Windsor, Ontario somehow figured out a way to hurl a DVD across Lake Erie and have it land in our mailbox. That DVD my friends, is none other than Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Grandma and I watched it today using the Playstation 2 (because, dammit; WE CAN!) and it was truly beautiful. There is so much more to say I'll leave that for a post this weekend for a full on Grandma review but the bottom line is if you are a fan or were a fan or know a fan of Final Fantasy VII- this movie is worth a purchase. It was made by Square Enix, not some company interpreting the Final Fantasy universe into something grotesque, rather made more epic by the very hands which sculpted it. It was QUITE a ride.

For those of you who can't watch the video of Grandma's debut on CBS Evening News on their website, Alex captured it for all y'all in QuickTime format (including Bob Schieffer's awesome segue and sign off). As soon as I make sure CBS won't sue me, I'll put it up on Putfile or somewhere so you guys can check it out.

Tomorrow, here in The States, it's Thanksgiving. That means Turkey, Alcohol, and Grandma's Stuffing, all in remembrance of our theft of a large chunk of the North American continent from those who inhabited it. Whatever its dubious beginnings, it's still a good excuse for the family to get together and yell at each other in a harmless "Yeawhh, Ah' still LOVES ya" sort of way and game away time others find better spent on watching football.

So from all of us at OGHC, happy Thanksgiving everybody.

Game on!

Read the rest of this post...

CBS Evening News Segment On Grandma Also Available Online

If you missed it yesterday or if you're one of our many international readers, it's all good- CBS has the full video up.

The piece turned out great! Grandma was a bit unhappy that her national television debut featured a rare loss to yours truly at a round of Outlaw Golf 2. "That's journalism, though! They can't LIE!" I said, trying to console the half evil grin she shot may way.
"Yeah, they can't lie- BUT YOU COULD HAVE LET ME WIN!! You saw I was nervous. Fucker."
"Nah, they would have seen right through that. Besides, you did beat me in the next round. And you DID beat Richard Schlessinger at Time Crisis 2 or some such thing at the bowling alley."
"Then why did they show THAT one?!"

Our house last night was covered with snow for the first time this season, so it was a sharp contrast to the lush green garden bungalow you see in the segment. I just noticed also that Grandma was wearing the Lunar 2 t-shirt Vic Ireland with Working Designs sent over under her jacket. Also, if you pause the video at 0:16, you can just make out the names of the characters fighting Sephiroth in FFVII: "Crackhead, Dude, and Kitty."

After the segment aired on the East Coast and worked its way across the country, our phone kept ringing with family and friends of family asking Grandma how it felt to make Bob Schieffer laugh. On the full news program on air, Bob looks into the camera after the segment and says: "She doesn't look that old to ME..."

It was interesting to see the spike of traffic every 30 minutes for 4 hours as people turned to Google, MSN, and Yahoo to find out more about the woman. Every search was Old Grandma Hardcore, Gaming Grandma, Gamer Grandma, Video Game Grandma, Grandma Likes XBox CBS, MTV G-Hole Grandma, and "Barbara St. Hilaire." The article on CBS Evening News is more or less a transcript of the piece; you'll find the video just to the right and down a bit.

So... NOW lets see what happens!

Game on!

Read the rest of this post...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Grandma is slowly roaming the dream world halls of Fatal Frame III: The Tormented, searching for those etheric bodies who would much rather choke her to death than pose for a netherworld tourist photo-op. The ambient low bass frequencies of the game's soundtrack vibrates the walls or our house; occasionally masking out the small screams of panic Grandma lets escape upon the emergence of a new ghost.

Most of her apparent terror is ignited not by the intensely spooky apparitions flowing through walls trying to kill her but rather by the lack of warning before their appearance coupled with her diminishing inventory of film and health. This brings about the appropriate vernacular response:

"SHIT! Where the FUCK did YOU COME FROM??"

"No no NO NO NO!!! I didn't SAVE!!! Not yet DAMMIT!"

"Come on... give me some film... I don't have- FUCK! I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die!"

"You motherfucker. Tim, this thing is moving WAY TOO FAST, there is no way I can take it out without upgrading the camera, and I don't have the goddamn POINTS."

Fatal Frame III tends to completely dissolve our disbelief in the spirit world. If emotions and thought processes are determined by chemical activity within organs of our physical self, then ghosts are manifestations of the aura of those who have passed- thus, they do not contain said organs- so they cannot form rational thought.

Apparently these ghosts didn't read the literature on the improbability of the paranormal; they are PISSED and seem to blame Grandma. Before a visible attack, Grandma hears them in her headphones; a crescendo of whispers "Why did you KILL DADDY!?" or "....stay....BACK.." (It's easy to assume that my nightmares are going to be a bit more interesting over the turkey induced sleep this weekend.) The controller for her Playstation 2 vibrates her hands, jolting the upcoming battle between her camera and the beasts into focus.

The game has two difficulty modes, Easy and Normal; so Grandma chose "Normal" to get the full Ghost-Hunting experience, not wanting a successful journey back to the Lost Village to be just ...handed to her. This decision perhaps means more ghosts, more shots needed to destroy them, and less supplies which to use to accomplish her objectives.

That doesn't mean she's going back to hours of World Championship Poker on XBox Live or attempting a go at our copy of Sly Cooper 3 everyone else finally finished or even continuing her quest to defeat the infamous God Mode to God of War to alleviate her frustrations, far from it. Fatal Frame III is the principle topic of conversation when she and I are driving somewhere or eating lunch. Today for example:

Grandma - "Did you see that comment Bi-Coastal Eddie left the other day? Apparently the poor bastard is stuck in Hour 7. Now I don't feel so bad about having troubles with this bitch."

Me - "Have you looked at GameFAQs? Maybe there is a decent guide you could-"

Grandma - "Not this time. This one has to be done just right, that's why there is so little film to find; you have to KNOW when to shoot and when to run- otherwise you're FUCKED. No guide is going to help that."

Me - "Well you have been at the thing for a while..."

Grandma - "It's a lot of searching, Tim. It's not always obvious where you need to go. Everything's ...subtle. It's difficult, sure- it's hard as FUCK, but ...I like it."

Me - "Well now I have to play this.

Grandma - "Well, you're going to have to WAIT."

Me - "Yeah... I know."

I think it's safe to say she's into Fatal Frame III.

Game on!

Read the rest of this post...

Tivo Alert!! CBS Evening News Segment On Grandma Airs Tonight

CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer will air the piece featuring Grandma tonight, so if you want to see the woman on "that thar television picture box," now is your chance!

We're going to have a CBS watch party tonight at the house and more posts are coming later, most importantly about Grandma's current frustrations with Fatal Frame III: The Tormented.

The nationally syndicated CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer is on tonight at 6:30pm EST; check local listings for Western time zones. The correspondent who interviewed Grandma and I was Richard Schlessinger; the producer was Linda Karas. So you all know- they were both very cool to Grandma, so its worth the watch to see what they did with it!

Game on!

Read the rest of this post...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monday Blog Roundup

It's Monday! So we'd like to share a couple things Grandma and I have found via Grandma's Ultimate Kickass Blogroll (a work still in progress.)

Let's get started-

Kotaku posted about Fake Girl-Gamer sites spamming the gaming blogs community because apparently Females + Controllers = High Alexa Rank. The sites, to which neither Kotaku nor I will link, bought up some decent domain names and republish Weblogs.inc & Gawker RSS feeds.

Grandma: "Girls gamers are not such an oddity that people need to make fake fucking sites. Did you see what they were selling? Motherfucking INSURANCE. The assholes who made those sites must EVIL."

Kidflash over at Photon Torpedoes is freaking out because his wife WANTS TO BUY A PLAMSA TV AND HE NEVER PREORDERED THE XBOX 360 HOLY FUCK!!! We can completely empathize, although we haven't saved enough cash to pre-order ours yet- but the man's getting a big screen sans the greatest system made to date, so it's sort of like buying HDTV cable and watching it on a 13" Black and White portable Zenith.

Grandma: "Damn. NOW she tells him. This poor guy is fucked, there is no way he's getting the 360 before January."

Tracy over at Ycart Nixod is having a cat problem. Let me just say it involves a sneaky landlord SPY. Godspeed to you and your quest, Tracy.

Grandma: "I fucking hate cats."

Collin's corner of the web at Fizzle & Pop ponders the infamous "Las Vegas" question about cigarettes, oxygen tanks, and striking people.

Grandma: "I fucking hate cats. Collin drew a cat. Also, I've never used an oxygen tank, I don't smoke, and nobody has ever hit me- they knew they'd get it back ten fold in return! So I can't help you there."

Boris is waiting to open the GOOD vodka over at Sovok of the Week; they are THIS CLOSE (see my fingers? -THIS CLOSE- nah..you can't see me, forget it) to reaching their 1,000,000th visitor. Give em' a hand! If you are the millionth visitor, there may be fantastic and wonderful prizes! In Soviet Russia, the prizes are not as good, you spoiled capitalist dogs! Be thankful!

Grandma: "If you had 1 million dollars, you could live off the interest. In Russia. I've never been to Russia, it might be cool."

Ivory Netsuke HAS STOPPED PLAYING Worlds of Warcraft!!!!! She's turning to the consoles to get her gaming fix. This may turn into a MMORG vs. Console Goodness battle for one person's patronage- so go give her your opinion!

Grandma: "I'm not touching this one, too many of our friends online play WoW; I can't take sides. [Go Consoles!] Now that I think about it though, I do want to sort of ...try it."

And finally Joystiq has launched a new site for da fanboys of the XBox 360, and I guess after take away the research through magazines, playtime on the Kiosks, e-mails from folks who have tried it, websites analyzing the specs, and reviews of the games... Grandma is still a fangirl at heart. At least when they launch the fucker, then after a year or two she can truly look back at the quality of the machine.

"I'm not a goddamn fanboy; I'm excited because it's AWESOME. Shut up."

Game on!

Read the rest of this post...

Grandma Reaches Front Page of MTV.com; Suck It Ashley Simpson!

A big ol' honking captured frame of Grandma taking out some Zombies adorned the front page of MTV.com today, and for those of you keeping tabs on such things, Hillary Duff has a tiny photo underneath, followed by other rich folks. This proves the class-wars of the American media manifest in photo size hierarchies are unsubstantiated! Grandma's upper lower class and she made it, bitches!

Oh yes. Radiohead; Nirvana; Gorillaz; Daft Punk... GRANDMA. Notice poor Hillary underneath the gaming champion; proving that this week- it really is the week for gamers at MTV. Last night we watched the True Life show on Professional Gaming. Man, now THAT is talent. Grandma's hardcore to be sure- but she's not like the pros out on the MLG circuit; wasting folks in record numbers in CounterStrike and Halo 2 and Super Smash Brothers. That has to be a TON of pressure. Shit, all Grandma has to do is enjoy them, they have to be on top all the time, or they suck.

Also now on MTV.com is Grandma's Q&A for the Obsessed piece. On the page you'll find some of Grandma's favorite movies, songs, bands, etc., as well as a nifty photo slide show of a bunch of new and old pictures. Grandma hates looking at pictures of herself, so you can imagine the sort of reaction I heard. "Get that off the fucking screen! I look STUPID! I can't believe you sent them that picture!"
"Oh yeah? Look at that picture we gave them of me playing Nintendo back in the 80's! THAT's stupid! You look cool!"

Which is true, she does look awesome. MTV suits her personality just fine.

I, on the other hand, end up looking like Peter Goddamn Pettigrew.

We have some more posts coming today; a lot of forums are mentioning Grandma and the responses are ...interesting- so I thought I'd highlight a few Grandma and I found enjoyable to read. Also, Grandma is playing strong on Fatal Frame 3, but wouldn't you know it- ghosts are somewhat of a bitch to kill! Also coming tonight is our Monday Night Blog Round-Up; in which we feature some of Grandma's friends and some gaming news just in case you missed it. Knowing our regulars, however, it's unlikely you missed ANYTHING.

Game on!!

Read the rest of this post...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Grandma Buys Fatal Frame III

Grandma made a trip out to Gamestop in Aurora last night for one reason. She didn't go through the usual browsing of new titles, playing the kiosks or bullshitting with the sales associates, she had come to buy one game, pay quickly, and leave so that she may begin.

That game is Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented. Her photographic war against the spirit world has commenced once again.

It must have been a new guy up at Gamestop, newly hired holiday help; the company preparing for Black Friday and the ensuing mobs of game hungry fanatics, i.e., our sort of people. He kept asking me if there was anything more we needed to buy, if we wanted to reserve any games or systems, if it was I who wanted a bag for the cursed disc for which Grandma had just traded currency. Grandma didn't have time to explain it was her game, that she was really excited after the terrifying ordeal she experienced with Fatal Frame II: The Crimson Butterfly. I only politely answered his questions by pointing to Grandma and saying simply "it's up to her."

When she arrived home, the game was in the Playstation 2 and spinning before she removed her coat.

My, oh my- how the series has grown.

We turned off the lights and cranked up the surround sound. In a matter of minutes, Grandma was moving through a Japanese house with angry ghosts attacking her throat as she desperately tries to get their image on film. The thing no one told Grandma about the beginning of the third installment is the woman begins with a camera, only it's very much NOT the Camera Obscura. So you can take pictures of your attackers all you want, but it won't damage them; only provide a bit of Blair Witch footage for the investigators to find after your strange disappearance.

Grandma's first impression is that the graphics have improved somewhat. The opening CG video and the "JESUS-CHRIST-WHAT-THE-HELL-IS-THAT!?" sequences that appear periodically when you open doors or find some creepy shit are sharp at first then trippy when they need to be. The audio, like the first two, is beautiful. The voice talent on this game is so wonderfully appropriate.

Grandma is jumping left and right, scaring herself into little yelps and screams followed by a slight chuckle to relax; so the game has already achieved its presumed goal in Grandma's first six hours of gameplay.

Grandma likes.

I want to put another video up for you, but I don't know if I want to risk the new camera you all bought for us by making the same mistake of trying to film Grandma playing Fatal Frame. I'll leave it up to you. Should I try, or should I respect the haunted qualities of the game and film something else?

Game on!

Read the rest of this post...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Norway!! Hva skjer?!

Grandma had a great mention today on Dagbladet.no, a fantastic online Norwegian newspaper. When I told Grandma the news it was the sort of reaction I expected: "Norway? Jesus! I've only seen pictures of Trondheim, it's gorgeous!"

I would say more about it, but- beklager, jeg snakker ikke norsk!

Read the rest of this post...

Star Wars Battlefront II: The Legend Of Curly's Gold

On Grandma's recent trip to rent ...stuff, she picked up a copy of Star Wars Battlefront II to become Yoda and blow shit up for a temporary, structured, fee based period; unable to commit the full $50 dollar donation to George Lucas' second pool. She played as a Rebel, murdering Storm Troopers, she played as a Storm trooper, murdering Jedi and she played as a funny looking pilot dude that once again proves to us all that a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away- old timey space pilots dressed like assholes.

The fundamental goal in the single player ground based missions usually is a massive game of King Of The Hill. If one stands long enough by an enemy held red glowing ...thingy, it turns blue. If you do this enough, somehow the battle is turned and they admit their defeat; their decision obviously influenced by the humiliating number of glowing blue lights on the fields of carnage. Grandma would get pissed when enemies would spawn right next to the damn things, stopping your take-over timer for a moment until you kill them.

Other objectives include the obvious "go take out this very important thing" or "don't let this very important thing explode." These were easy enough; just find a vehicle or switch to a heavy trooper with an ammo droid somewhere close by and you can get the job done fairly quick on Normal mode. Aiming is a bit tricky if you're going for headshots and can't discern where the head of the droid is exactly. If you've ever played another Pandemic Studios game before, say- Destroy All Humans, it's roughly of the same sort, only with the added confusion of tons of folks running around you doing their own thing; just as we imagine a real skirmish with a division of droids would be.

The space battles were cool enough, but not the impressive display of X-Wing dogfighting we were hoping to see. Grandma's old copy of Star Wars Arcade for the Sega Genesis 32x, now lost to time and trade-ins, was more of a challenge than the skippable fleet missions on SWBII. The controls were reminiscent of Crimson Skies; the PS2's "O" button followed by a single or double press in a direction executes a special maneuver. The fact that you don't even have to play some of them reminded Grandma of all things- Jade Empire without the insane Contra-like scrolling battles.

The sound was spectacular for the most part. Grandma could tell a Tie-Interceptor from a Tie-Fighter flying over her head very easily, and the dialogue screamed by sergeants of the Republic ("For The Chancellor!") reminded us of the tragic futility of war, ESPECIALLY against an army of droids and certainly when your fearless leader turns out to be a douche. The voice acting was of course fantastic, because- come on; it's fucking STAR WARS.

The game was fairly easy, which is probably it's biggest flaw. That can be changed with a flick of the difficulty however, so it all evens out in the end. The multiplayer mode is a lot of fun for Grandma and I to screw around in for a while, and chopping at each other with lightsabers is always enjoyable.

We liked it, but we probably won't buy it just yet. Grandma is holding out for KOTOR 3, if ever the lords of Bioware would again agree to the task.

Game on!

Read the rest of this post...

Friday, November 18, 2005


Christian Stöcker interviewed Grandma for a brilliant, long article on Spiegel Online. As of 9:00am EST here in The States, the article is still on the frontpage of www.spiegel.de; so as you can imagine, Grandma is getting a lot of e-mail from the folks in that beautiful country.

Most are from people congratulating Grandma on a mention in such an influential online magazine. We're familiar with Der Spiegel over here; with the war in Iraq and a crazy presidential election in 2004, the international press gave the US a good case for self reflection, and Der Spiegel was at the top of a short list of "foreign" news sites that provided great insight into issues while most of the local press here gave merely cursory overviews and sensationalism. We had great national press from MSNBC, CNN, CBS and NBC- sure, but I know at CWRU we also read BBC, Der Spiegel, CBC and Le Monde perhaps just as frequently. Knowing Der Spiegel's reputation made the interview a little intimidating at first for Grandma, but Christian put her at ease; he's definitely a gamer himself.

As with all great influxes of traffic, the "other" e-mails come out as well, including a gentleman from Hamburg who states "[...] If Grandma ever needs someone to take care of her, I think I might be the geezer to do it. Please have her call me so we can arrange a meeting [includes phone number] ...I believe in love at first sight." There are a few possibilities on this one: First, it might simply be a guy with good intentions that noticed from the blog that Grandma is single, and wants to meet someone with similar interests. Second, perhaps it's a prank by the German equivalent to some radio station's crazy "morning zoo" of "wacky" DJ's trying to get the woman on air, because "hitting on the elderly is funny!" If this is the case, then I think they'll be glad I deleted the e-mail, because Grandma handles such situations her own way, so to speak. The Wrath of Grandma has been known to trigger wars that make a football hooligan riot look like a harmless shoving match.

I'm trying to save lives here!

The article was fantastic. It includes the story of Helge Tantz, a 65 year old man who also has a passion for gaming. Christian's description of Grandma and Tantz doesn't portray them as crazy old people with a weird hobby; he writes of gaming's benefits; as well as Tantz's feeling of solitude amongst an apparent sea of young gamers online, even so much as to conceal his age on forums. The comparison between Tantz and and Grandma revealed they have so much in common; many of the similarities are conditional of each of their love for video games.

I'll stop describing it and just let you read it; it was VERY good!

There was one question Grandma couldn't answer in her interview, it was too big; too much without warning: Christian asked if Grandma had anything to say to folks in Germany who would be reading the article, folks who might consider gaming, her fans, everyone. She couldn't think of the right words at the time, so now she'd like to answer:

Grandma loves you too, Germany. Game on.

Read the rest of this post...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

New Feature On OGHC: Grandma Rents Some Shit... Or Something

There are a lot of games out right now that Grandma would like to try before she buys. Gun, The Warriors, Radiata Stories, Draqon Quest, Star Wars Battlefront II are just a few she'd like to be charged late fees for enjoying too much. She doesn't want to discover a game's suckage; she gets no enjoyment from making her Playstation 2 spin that shiny black disc more than it should for something that reminds us how much money is spent designing and promoting absolute shit. She has come to know a few designers and she doesn't want to hurt their feelings. That, and if she buys a game, she's going to finish, god damn it; and THAT means taking names off the credits to add to her shit list.

She doesn't like adding names to her shit list.

So renting certain games is the key. Sure, she's going to line up and buy Halo 3 and Final Fantasy XII the night they are released, but apart from the diehard fan loyalties, the woman has to be sure.

Today she rented two games, Star Wars Battlefront II and Resident Evil 4, both for the Playstation 2. RE4 was more of a luxury rental, she's beat her Gamecube copy many times over last June; Grandma just wants to see if the extras are worth a second copy. She played a few campaigns of Star Wars Battlefront II at Gamestop or somewhere and wanted to get the full picture.

Here's how it went:

Resident Evil was one of Grandma's first loves for the Sony Playstation. It's goofy FMV opening sequence with Grizzly Wesker and Friends was a real treat; and the dialogue was hilarious. That isn't to say it didn't scare the holy hell out of her. Looking around a big mansion for ribbons, crests and cranks filled with zombies and their zombie best friends was a blast.

Oh how far you've come, Games Industry.

She picked up the Gamecube version of Resident Evil right after EGM and GameInformer shit themselves with delight. She was most impressed. After the initial "JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! A CHAINSAW GUY!" village level, her skills improved, although cursing was abundant and, sometimes in the purest form of rage, simply guttural noises of anguish. Grandma loved RE4 dearly, and played enough to get the Chicago Typewriter and Infinite Launcher, both of which Grandma says makes the game "less challenging and less fun, but cool nonetheless."

This is why Grandma went for the tin case at Hollywood Video to see if playing as Ada just a bit longer and snagging some crazy new weapons would be worth a $30 trip down nostalgia road.

It's not.

It isn't so much the graphical difference between the two systems, or even the controller switch; firing on the GC version requires a quick press of the sticky right shoulder button and a tap on that big ass "A" that dominates the whole right side of the instrument, while the Sony version is a little more delicate, more like Silent Hill, less of a "boom" when you hit some poor European cult member who was unlucky enough to light a stick of dynamite right before you shot him in the arm.

It comes down to the strange changes, real or imaginary, that Grandma perceives different.

"There was ammo here in the Gamecube version, I know it."

"This is BULLSHIT. The Chainsaw guy is supposed to go down after FOUR headshots with the rifle, not FIVE."

"Why is the bell ringing already?? I thought you had to kill fifteen!"

"He TURNS too damn slow. It wasn't like that in on the Nintendo."

"Do you remember that dialogue? I don't remember hearing that ever on the Nintendo; he just walks down the hall then BAM! -fucker grabs him by the neck. They added that."

"This was a great game, why don't I just play it again on the Gamecube? I like it better that way."

I would say it was some form of conditioning with the GC controller, but Grandma had no troubles switching systems for the same titles in the past; she began Prince of Persia: Sands of Time on the XBox, but finished on the Gamecube- not out of preference, it was just how it went down. I would say she's not a Sony Playstation girl, but I KNOW that's not true- she LOVES her PS2 more than she loves affordable healthcare. I think it's more like watching an episode of Star Wars with added scenes that doesn't quite smell of the old friend you knew in the 80's. Grandma is just attached to her GC copy; so she won't buy the PS2 version.

The PS2 version of Resident Evil 4 is excellent. So much in fact, that if you do not have a Gamecube but you do have your trusty Sony- you should buy this thing. Not rent, BUY. Grandma thinks, however, that if you loved RE4 for the Gamecube; if you saved up enough to get the collectable chainsaw controller and you have the Leon Dies Via Lumberjack Equipment poster in your room, there isn't really a good reason to pick up the PS2 copy unless you feel your Ultimate Capcom Fanboy status will find itself revoked.

Star Wars Battlefield II, however, is a whole different beast. We'll have more on this Friday (double posts coming tomorrow), but know the short of it is- it's too damn easy. That's not a brag, shit when I tried my own file on RE4 on the GC last June, I almost gave up on the first Village level, trapped in a room with Spaniards coming in through the fucking windows and me with only ten 9mm bullets and a god damn red HERB, when Grandma grabbed the controller and said "HERE, you have to ...HEAD SHOT! See? Shoot them in the fucking HEAD. They STAY down. Or just cap one in the knee and then kick the lot of them." Grandma knows her shit more than I do, and I found this game too easy. Does that mean it isn't fun? FUCK NO! I'll tell you all about Grandma's adventures in a galaxy far, far away tomorrow morning.

Oh, and do we have some more big news to tell you. DO WE? Yes. Yes we do!

Game on!!

Read the rest of this post...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Grandma Would Like To Clarify: "We Like The Police"

The QuickTime teaser circulating on "teh intarwebs" included Grandma muttering a phrase that has caused a bit of e-mail to come in asking "what exactly did you mean by that?" Grandma was playing some Grand Theft Auto III when MTV came out, and she said quite clearly: "Let's beat the COP up..." and then proceeded to do just that; pounding away at the digital effigy of authority while laughing heartily.

Grandma doesn't want people to get the wrong impression of her, so she asked me to post a clarification.

Grandma has the deepest respect for police officers. No shit. Sure, she's gotten speeding and parking tickets in her time, and she's probably cursed several men and women in uniform for making her insurance go up a bit, just like the rest of us; but that doesn't mean she doesn't like the police, or even that she wishes to take out her vengeance for traffic court in a safe and private way. Not at all. In short: it's just a game, Grandma didn't mean anything by it.

The police put themselves in danger to enforce laws every day; they deserve recognition for the importance of their work. Grandma doesn't hate the police, it's very much the opposite. At the same time, however, she's not going to apologize for her game dialogue. For example, Grandma has said the following pieces of politically incorrect elderly diatribe while gaming:

"I wish that fucking DOG would fucking DIE!!"

"GOD, I hope that bitch shuts up."

"I ran over a CHILD! Two points!!"

"See, if I can convince The Don that Cloud is really PRETTY, then maybe Cloud will beat the shit out of that RAPIST PIMP FUCKER right before he gets his dick out."

So you see, Grandma doesn't advocate the killing of animals, even though she kills plenty in video games for no other reason than to try out new weapons [see Resident Evil 4]; she doesn't want to propagate violence towards women, especially in bitch slapping "SHIT THE FUCK UP" form, even though she says it all the time while gaming [again... see Resident Evil 4]; she doesn't hit kids with her car, but it is quite funny when pedestrians use ragdoll physics to fall into each other avoiding the wrath of Grandma [see Crazy Taxi, Grand Theft Auto, many others]; and her desire to immediately execute those she deems morally unsound in video games in no way reflects upon her views on rehabilitation and reform rather than punitive torture against those with felony sex crime convictions. Shit, I think she's for legalizing prostitution if the women and men doing it make their own choices [see Final Fantasy VII, Super Mario Brothers 3, others...]

To all the fine folks who read OGHC who work in law enforcement, know that Grandma loves you, she didn't mean any harm. She's just doing her thing.

[More posts coming today; we had to backdate this post because I thought it went up yesterday, and those who subscribe to our RSS feed would feel left out if we didn't. Grandma rented RE4 for the PS2 to see the difference in graphics and gameplay than her copy for the GC; we also rented Star Wars Battlefront II, so Grandma has a lot to share! Also, it was discovered that the new version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is best viewed with Vodka. ...you know, just- ...FYI and all. Game on!]

Read the rest of this post...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Grandma Destroyed Growlanser Generations

Last night, Grandma did it. Final time on Growlanser III: 64hrs 45 min. Final time on Growlanser II: 31hrs 10 min. Total combined time on Growlanser Generations: just under 96 hours. Solid. Total bags of popcorn consumed: 37. Total cans, 12oz Diet Coke consumed: 54.

Final thought:

Fucking AWESOME.

Grandma received the deluxe version of Growlanser Generations as a gift from Vic Ireland with Working Designs, who decided her addiction to RPG's, threatened by the influx of third person shooters and platforms, should be reignited with an epic example of gaming. Sweet Jesus, she agreed.

At first, Grandma wasn't digging the battle system, which requires you to scope out routes to your enemies and plan your attacks carefully, rather than maxing out your weapons and magic to the point where the "X" button on her Dual Shock becomes a lethal panacea to all things Grandma deems evil. Her Squaresoft way of thinking finally drifted away, however, and she found herself audibly planning her campaigns; her War Room a comfy armchair; her soldiers anime characters with 2D dialog faces.

After she mastered the Ring / Gem / Armor combinations, and later in Growlanser III, the necessary "unknown ring" "Judge Ring" skills, she sent her characters into battle prepared. Much of the random battles within Growlanser III delt with protecting livestock which she dubbed "her turkeys," which were sort of a Chocobo-Cow crossbreed.

Basic combat training out of the way, the boss battles were difficult not because of the difficulty of one particular beast or enemy but rather because the collective strength of their platoons of minions. Growlanser III was particularly hard in that the large groups of controllable characters, an intimidating list of friends with varying abilities, were eliminated, leaving Grandma only four players. Grandma bitched about too many characters on screen in Growlanser II, but missed them dearly in Growlanser III, proving once again that you don't know what you got until its gone.

Grandma found the voice acting on the second disc a significant improvement to the first, as well as the better map system. The ability to save at any time on the first disc was replaced by a save point system, which created long nights in dungeons facing particularly hard monsters. "Jesus CHRIST, this just keeps fucking GOING!!!" she would lament at the discovery of a new sub-level. She was persistent enough to get some badass rings with 9-9-9 gem capabilities and across the board stat increases, so it was worth it, man.

The length of Growlanser Generations did not disappoint. Here's Grandma: "I REALLY liked Growlanser Generations, it deserved a lot of the hype it got when it first came out, although the 'anime only' designation really isn't fair. Shit, Xenosaga was more of an anime game than Growlanser, and I don't hear people bitching about THAT. Then I ask people who claim to be into RPG's what they thought of the Growlanser series, and they tell me something about not wanting imports or some bullshit and ask me how much I loved Final Fantasy X-2; let me tell you, Growlanser Generations may not have the graphics of FFX-2, but as far as gameplay and just...you know, FUN goes, Growlanser Generations blows Final Fantasy X-2, which amounted to a really long game of dress-up, out of the fucking WATER. If you have a Playstation 2 and you like RPG's, there is no reason you shouldn't have played this game; especially if you have FFX-2 in your games cabinet. It reminded me a lot of Final Fantasy Tactics, another hard-to-find gem, so if you were into Tactics, you'll like it. One thing though, it's fucking LONG. Two discs, two games, it's BIG- so be prepared for that. Otherwise, just be ready to level up as much as you can through random battles, get your strategy right, and you'll get through just fine. Oh! In Growlanser III, try to get the Transport magic as soon as possible; you'll thank me later."

Game on!!

Read the rest of this post...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Grandma's New Position: Reviewing Games For MTV

The launch of MTV.com's new show The G-Hole revealed the big secret Grandma and I have held in confidence like the location of the second marker revealing the path for Indiana Jones and his band of stock characters.

The folks at MTV were impressed by Grandma enough to give her a gift before they left the foggy hills of Cleveland to head back to New York. That gift is the one and only translucent green XBox Debug Kit, a console that solidified MTV's offer to Grandma: To put it simply, Grandma is now the senior correspondent for the G-Hole on MTV Overdrive.

It works a little like this...

The XBox Debug allows Grandma to play early builds and beta versions of games before they come out, getting MTV Grandma's opinion on the "fuck yes!" or "what the shit?" qualities of games for the XBox before all others. This doesn't mean Grandma's reviews will be XBox exclusive, far from it. Grandma has ALREADY RECEIVED, as she would say: "a SHITLOAD of games" from MTV, and you bet your ass each system was represented heartily.

It has begun.

This is a huge deal for Grandma, for many obvious reasons. First, in her words: "YES! FUCK YEAH! Tim, you know what this MEANS?? GAMES!! For FREE! All I have to do is fucking PLAY them, and then tell them what I think. It's a CAKEWALK; it's the best job on the PLANET!! HOW THE FUCK DID THIS HAPPEN????" Second, she doesn't feel bad now when she gets a free game and has to tell the world she thinks it's horrible. She hasn't lied about a game yet in exchange for some play time, and she doesn't intend to start. Third, this puts her in a position of gaming journalism, so to speak, and you know what means. The chances of her achieving her ultimate goal and going to E3 has become more likely.

Grandma is gaming around the clock now, even more than her average of 10 hours per day; switching between games and systems not "like a pro," but AS one. She has so many new games to play. Not just "try"- rather she takes them head on as she would any new purchase. Grandma is READY for this. She has waited for this opportunity since she picked up her first copy of Nintendo Power and said aloud "man, this would be the ultimate job."

She is getting everything she could ever want as a gamer. Grandma is in her glory; more importantly- Grandma is in her prime.

When she looks back at the past six months, she only has to wonder for a moment as to the cause of her success:

It was you.

You guys linked to Grandma in your blogs, you wrote articles about Grandma in your newspapers and magazines, you talked about her on your radio shows, you invited her to your podcasts, you sent her your ideas, you mentioned her at gaming conventions, LAN parties, and arcades. You gave her e-cards and clippings when she was in the hospital, you mentioned her in forums, you had her back in battles, you held her up when she was down.

It was all you guys and don't you ever fucking forget it.

And then there were the rest of you. You know who you are. Ubisoft, Surreal Software, Microsoft, Sony, Working Designs, Midway, Double Fine- all you guys dug Grandma enough to give her some swag or send some games her way and share the love; proving to Grandma that the industry she's adored for thirty years cares about her too.

You, all of you know Grandma enough now through the blog to know what this means to her. She considers you all to be an extended family of grandchildren, and nothing is more important than family.

Grandma has opinions she'd like to share with you; she has much to say.

Old Grandma Hardcore is ready.

Game on.

--To see the show, go to MTV.com/Overdrive and click on the "Games" tab. The Overdrive Channel is a broadband version of MTV with exclusive interviews, news and shows like the G-Hole. Overdrive is optimized for Internet Explorer, so Firefox and Safari users can download an updated version of IE to see Grandma do her thing. The blog continues, we go back to our daily update schedule tomorrow! Coming up... CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes (possibly), Der Spiegel, Grandma's Project, etc.,....--

Read the rest of this post...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Grandma And MTV

MTV released a QuickTime teaser for its new show, The G-Hole, which airs Monday, November 14th online. They were cool enough to send us a copy of the clip so everybody knows what to expect. There are no spoilers in the teaser clip; Grandma's big secret shall be revealed Monday on the full show.

Here's the clip!

A few things about the teaser: First, you get to see what our house looks like; if you want to know where to fire the bullets and throw rocks with attached notes of promised violence, Grandma's gaming den and the place from which I type up the blog is the window on the right. Second, you see some family. The clip has shots of my cousin Drew, (Grandma's son's son- big dude to the left of Grandma on the couch), Kenny, looking jaded to Grandma's right wearing a Mettalica shirt; Bobby looking up at Katamari Damacy from Grandma's feet, and Barbie in the chair next to me. I look so god damn dumb you can frighten your friends by e-mailing them a copied .jpg frame.

Blair was very cool to Grandma, and she considers him a friend; hence her relaxed answers to his questions. The smiley face cup from which he drank delicious coffee with Grandma was a present my freshman year of high school, back when smiley faces weren't equated to WalMart. Yes, she actually painted the picture of the unicorn shown in the clip, and that's Grandma enjoying some classic Grand Theft Auto III action.

Again, the full show comes out Monday, so let everyone you know that's down with OGHC it's coming. Lord knows I'm going to promote the hell out of it, so you won't forget :) As Grandma says, we have so much new stuff coming "it's not even funny." This is also why posts have been scarce this week; next week is an explosion of information. AN EXPLOSION.

Game on!

Read the rest of this post...

Grandma's Holiday Fatigue

In the period of time between Halloween and New Years Day, Grandma appears a little more alert; perhaps more on-edge than usual. In this city, she has good reason. The Greater Cleveland area has numerous malls such as Richmond Town Square, Parma Town, and Randall Park. There are technically three malls downtown: The Galleria, Tower City, and pictured here is The Arcade. On one side of the structure is a hotel, a polite uniformed man standing out in the cold calling out time and temperature; hailing what few cabs transverse across the barren city for guests. At the other side is a cheap sign pointing to Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips, a fast food chain that makes certain a trip downtown will be met with laughter by any friends from the UK.

The suburbs are teeming with WalMart, Target, BestBuy, Circuit City, EB, Gamestop, RadioShack, all wanting a slice of business from the competitor next door. In the end, no one wins; the sales increase for the fourth quarter is a guarantee unless the lot burns to the ground. The bonuses for retail folks or high commission checks were assured when the companies began posting notices that extra help would be needed last October. Packages are wrapped quickly and smartly; credit cards invoke involuntary chuckles to relax ourselves after every swipe. So much money exchanges hands that every bit of charity is dismissed as just another 'impulse buy.'

Grandma has never been shy of repeating the stories of holidays back in the day. "We always got what we needed! If I needed a coat that year, that's what I got- and I was damn happy to get it too! You look at these kids now; how long did those GameBoy SP's last before I find them in the van or under their beds with the backs taken off? Or I'll walk in their bedrooms and they'll leave controllers just lying on the floor. They don't respect what they're given." This immediately brought back memories of the Sega GameGear I had received as a birthday present sometime around the 6th Grade. I still don't remember what happened to it.

Every year, members of our family ask Grandma what she would like for the holidays, and every year she responds the same way. "I don't want ANYTHING." The means to get her what she wants, rather than simply what she 'needs' is there, but the decades of conditioning on low budgets and high modesty hasn't left her greedy. She'll leave hints around, such as an EGM or GameInformer turned to the page of some well reviewed game she's anticipating. Sometimes she'll give us the obligatory "...you know that new system from Microsoft- wazzitcalled... the Ex-Box, that looks cool as hell." This, you see, is somewhat deceptive. She knows the name. Shit, she knows what sort of processor is inside, whether or not it has component or HD Video capabilities, and the button layout on the controller. This is Grandma's way of being honest with folks without explicitly asking for something.

This year, however, there is a whole new element that screws with her traditional patterns of games acquisition: You. In the days following Halloween, folks began to discreetly ask for Grandma's address to send a card and some old Playstation One game they thought she'd enjoy for the holidays. The e-mails, however, went right into my Yahoo inbox, to which Grandma has access. It's where we get all our e-mail for OGHC, so I gave her the password. Grandma read a few of them, marked them as unread, and let me think I had stumbled across new stuff to see how I would react.

Would I ask her permission or would I just give out our address so strangers can send copies of Parasite Eve? Would I delete them in fear of actual, rather than digital, hate-mail? I noticed her hovering around the computer when I checked e-mail and stats a bit closer than usual.

I know my Grandma, I knew what she was doing. So I said nothing, getting her to sweat the question a bit. Finally, one day while driving to god knows where, she said "You know, people want to send games and gifts for Christmas and Hanukkah... what did you tell them?"
"Ah, so you read those..."
"Well, yeah! So what did you say?"
"Nothing yet, I wanted to see what you thought about it."
"I'll tell you, I thought about it and it would be better if they gave to some single mother that doesn't have anything, or if they bought some homeless guy a meal then spend shipping costs to give ME a game I've probably already played."
"Does that sound too corny? I mean, that's what I've been thinking though."
"No, that's fine. No address giving then."
"Well, not unless it's a company or something, then give it out all you want."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, if Sony fucking e-mails you and says they have a copy of the new Ratchet and Clank and they need our address, that's cool. If it's a reader than has to go out and buy something for me, I'd just rather not do that to someone."

So that's her answer, I suppose. In the meantime, we will travel some more into the electric ether of shopping malls, people watch at the food court, bullshit with the folks at Gamestop, and do what we do every year: enjoy the season.

Also, today is the day we officially recognize Veterans for their courage and selflessness, (as though one day is going to cover it), so if you're here in The States, don't use the day to plug away a few more levels of Call of Duty; (well, you can, but I mean otherwise...) seek out a Veteran, and give a sincere thank you. No matter what your politics, these folks deserve it.

Read the rest of this post...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hours And Hours And Hours of Growlanser

At this point, sitting at the computer typing, I can tell which characters are chiming in after a battle, what attacks Grandma uses against her foes, and out of habit I tap along to the fight songs. Grandma has conditioned me into complete Growlanser appreciation.

She's close to finishing the game, according to the chapter list on GameFAQs, but at the moment this is all she does. She has Beyond Good And Evil for the XBox she hasn't really touched yet, not to mention Sly Cooper 3 that has now fallen to completion by two of the kids and mom. "Not until I'm done with this one..." she tells me while switching on XBox Live to play Poker.

She's using the teleportation magic a LOT, and she hasn't lost a battle for days. Occasionally she'll ask my opinion about her Ring / Gem configuration, but I never need to correct anything or give her suggestions, and she interprets this as LIES.

Grandma - "So, because she has the best indirect attack at the moment, I should leave her in the back with a Cycle Up and cure those with swords when I need, right?"
Me - "Yup."
Grandma - "And there is nothing I need to change, all of their rings are good..."
Me - "You have the best set up right now."
Grandma - "..."
Me - "What?"
Grandma - "What aren't you telling me?"
Me - "What? Nothing! What do you mean?"
Grandma - "I'm going to get a Mission Clear or Mission Fail instead of complete and you're going to sit their laughing because I didn't do something. What?"
Me - "Come on, why would I do that?"
Grandma - "See?! I can't tell if you're being sarcastic!"

It's a tough road.

Grandma loves that a character is named "Viktor Hugo," and he has a German / Hungarian / Polish / Standard Foreign Guy accent, but not a hint of French. She also has the tendency to call Monika, very obviously a female character, the "knives dude." Upon correction, she tells me "in anime all the guys look like chicks anyway, it doesn't matter!" She also refers to Slayn as "Sven."

Her last bout went from about 1:00pm to ...well, she's still playing (she went to the store this morning.) Last night it was sometime after 6:00pm to 2:30am, then after a quick nap (her neck hurt a little) she played some more until sunrise, which is ominously happening later and later nowadays. Yesterday we chopped up seven pumpkins and grinded up the meat to make pies, and god dammit we have too much pumpkin. If we can figure out how to ship them, we were thinking of sending MTV, CBS, Ubisoft, Surreal, Microsoft, and Working Designs each a pumpkin pie.

Maybe one to Jack Thompson too, just as a sign of good faith. Knowing Thompson, however, he'd just hire some local kid to taste it first so he knows it isn't poisoned.

In other news, we're STILL getting a lot of e-mail about the Chris Crawford deal, and everyone has a right to an opinion so no problems there. We've just been so busy with stuff (SECRET, HORRIBLE things that will reveal themselves in time) we haven't had a chance to reply to his grand essay on how he has faced his martyrdom at the hands of all of us at Old Grandma Hardcore with any clarity. Luckily, someone else did. That someone, is Thomas.

Read the rest of this post...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Monday Blog Roundup

Our video game playing Grandma is on top things on those "internets," and she's gots opinions.

So here you go! It's our new deal, the "Monday Blog Roundup," or the alternate title: "I couldn't think of a way to make an interesting post about Grandma repeating the word 'Fuck' for three hours playing Growlanser Generations."

Gamepolitics points out to those of us who don't watch Fox other than for The Simpsons and Family Guy that the smash hit, completely original, awesome writers of the show "Killer Instinct" (not to be confused with the game of the same name) have penned an episode in which "Cavanaugh and his team investigate gaming-world deviants who reenact murder scenes from their favorite video games."

Grandma responds: "Yeah, I'd like to see the episode when the strange 10 Ton weight murders are prompted by crazy fuckers who reenact everything they see on Looney Toons. That makes a whole lick of sense. Killer Instinct... didn't we get a soundtrack with that game or something?"

Prodigious Gaming reports that Phillips, the same electronics company that got the song "getting better all the time" stuck in your head for three years, has developed a way to extend the gaming experience into the real world. For example, when playing Katamari Damacy, your cat becomes affixed to the television screen until sent into the sky making a fusion star. Animal rights groups are furious. The system, known as "amBX," essentially l33t speak for "ambitious," will allow gaming systems or it's own proprietary system (they don't specify which) to control devices such as lights, fans, heaters, vibrators, etc.,.

Grandma responds: "This could be like that artist with the Goldfish thing. Just hook amBX up to your fishtank's air filter. If you don't complete a level in time, your fish DIES! This could actually be interesting for vibrating chairs and mood effect lights and stuff, but it's hard to see how they're going to pull this one off."

TriXie, the resident Jackie Brown of XBox Live, has been having some problems with her mom, her apartment, and a screwdriver. Amazingly none of this has to do with alcohol.

Grandma responds: "I just have Tim build everything. Then if he fucks it up, it's not my fault!"

GameCola.net reviews "Zork Thompson, v1.0" this month in "Captain Eric's Super Thumb." The review is so positive I peed a little reading it. Then again, it may be sarcasm. Maybe not. Either way, it's my kind of humor.

Grandma responds: "So does that mean you and I are a game company now? DO WE GET TO GO TO E3?"

Blue went to BlizzCon last week and wouldn't you know it G4 was there to meet her! She was on for a split second on Wednesday's "Attack of the Show!" at the very end, so after you watch the show, her image is the last thing you see before you die. Luckily, she was permitted to speak on Thursday's show in the piece on "The Plight of the Murloc."

Grandma responds: "That wasn't even fair, they should have given her a full out interview, and they should have mentioned her comic, and they should have gave her things. Ninja things."

That's all for today folks! Coming soon: Der Spiegel interviews Grandma, the CBS Evening News piece on Grandma will mostly likely air within the next week, 60 Minutes is doing a piece on Professional Gamers and they might have a clip or two of Grandma to add to the "demographic mix" (maybe; they called us... funny story actually...), MTV's Obsessed piece on Grandma is coming soon, and oh do we have some surprises for you.

Big ones.

Read the rest of this post...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Grandma Touches XBox 360, Bursts Into Flames

Grandma got to play an XBox 360 today, albeit in a WalMart; arching her neck in grotesque angles to see the screen above. She has concluded that the 360 shall be hers, whatever the consequence, be it a stint in the women's ward of a county (or federal if need be) prison for falsifying documents and crimes against humanity, or possibly the sale of any number of limbs or organs to a Colombian fellow named "Steve."

Here's how it went down. We had to leave the house for a couple hours while the realtors showed our magnificent suburban palace to potential suburbanites (we're selling the house to buy another.) Grandma asked if we were all hungry, to which responded "fuck YES." We drove to Steak and Shake in Streetsboro and proceeded to all make highly specialized paper airplanes out of our nifty placemats and (accidentally) dogfight with the staff of the restaurant. We tipped well.

With still an hour to go, we schlepped our way across the street to WalMart so Grandma could play the new 360 kiosk demo. Across the customer service desk at the entrance was a dry erase board with some photos attached which was titled, I shit you not, "Costum Juding." One of the awards was for "Most Scariest." It was then we came to our senses and realized that indeed, we were in a WalMart. We stood by the board and laughed a long and hearty laugh, not unlike pirates answering the question "...so, will the Captain show me mercy?"

The five of us ran as though the Higbees Santa awaited our arrival in the electronics department to find a flat screen panel deliver the most horrible message in digital floating dialogue box form: "Signal Not Found | Check Connection." There it was, the XBox 360 gathering dust in the glass cabinet; the controller jutting out of the cabinet eager to be used, and a black television screen above declaring its impotence for all to see.

We asked the employees in a calm and rational way indicative of the very word 'civility' why the 360 was not operational. "HEY! Why doesn't this work?? I want it to WORK! Can you make it work? PLEASE?! Grandma must PLAY!!" The lady looked at us with the eyes of a hardened warrior; she had answered this many times before.
"I'm sorry, the rep didn't give us the right cables, we have to wait."

We all reacted as kids do when they discover that no, they can NOT go to Kevin's party, they're grades were not sufficient. If there had been a rock on the ground in the path between the exit and our van, we would have kicked it with a strong "Shucks" or "Jeez" to alleviate the pain.

Then Grandma told us her idea. "Look, this was just one WalMart that had the cable thing screwed up. Let's go to the Aurora WalMart and play THAT one."

And so drive we did. Streetsboro and Aurora are right next to each other in the grand scheme of things. Who cares that gas prices force the stockpile of Ramen Noodle soup in the cupboard to slowly disappear, one brick at a time?

Grandma must play.

The Aurora WalMart is positioned across the street from a large amusement park, formerly a SixFlags / Sea World combo happy fun world, now closed for winter. Nothing in that huge monstrosity of a park interests Grandma in the least. The multicolored steel roller coasters make an impressive skyline of artificial mountains under a grey November sky, but Grandma only wants that which rests across the street.


This WalMart had a fully operational 360 tucked away in the a corner of it's electronics department, and Grandma immediately went to work, judging everything. Most impressive to Grandma was King Kong, the two playable demos provided by Ubisoft were fantastic, although it just isn't the same without surround sound when the T-Rex turns a corner to find your sorry ass with a film crew.

Grandma then played Kameo, which looked like Jax and Daxter 3 with graphics so crisp, you'd swear someone had slipped LCD into your Cherry Coke Slurpee. The controls were smooth and easy to learn, the story had a touch of humor and a hint of evil that just BECKONS Grandma. It was then Grandma submitted her proposed business arrangement with Satan. She would HAVE to own one of these.

She watched Bobby play some Kameo, me play some GhostRecon, all the while Kenny lost his dignity hammering away at Mario Baseball on the GameCube next to us; the crowd completely ignoring his ineptitude. Then we watched some videos, most impressive was Project Gotham Racing 3.

Grandma was astounded. It may seem strange or naive to see her looking up at the screen as though watching the announcement that an end to all war had been successfully negotiated, but this is what Grandma does. This is to what Grandma looks forward. This is Grandma doing what she loves.

One day, she will have one. Oh yes.

Game on.

Read the rest of this post...

Friday, November 04, 2005

Chris Crawford Responds... ...Sort Of

I'm not sure how many of you are still reading the comments section of our article regarding Chris Crawford's piece in The Escapist on "Women In Gaming." Anyway, here is the "witty banter" Chris and I have been volleying to each other for the past day or so:

  • At 2:12 AM, Anonymous said…
  • If they are that intested in the games I play as a Girl. Why don't they just fucking ask me, because that would be too simple....

  • At 12:59 PM, Chris Crawford said…

    I went through the many comments here and compiled some of the comments:

    In reference to me:

    "know it all"
    "major blow hard"
    "full of shit"
    "a hack and a moron"
    "go get fucked with a rusty spike"
    "rudimentary grasp of evolutionary psychology"
    "sad and childishly elementary"

    It would seem to me that people are devoting a great deal of attention to my personal worthiness as a human being. Might I suggest that my personal merits are of little import? Who cares whether I'm a good guy or a bad guy? Why do you want to talk about such a meaningless topic when there's so much to discuss about the ideas I present?

    Next, I notice a great many straw men or caricatures of my assertions, such as:

    "Those who question evolutionary psychology are fucking morons."
    "Timothy St. Hilaire is a twit."
    "The games industry doesn't know anything about women. Chris Crawford does. Chris Crawford is The Ladies Man"
    "he portrayed the females something like rutting pregnant pigs."
    "women are helpless, trite social butterflies"

    These are distortions of my statements. If what I wrote is really so wrong, I'm sure you can devastate the actual statement without resorting to distortion.

    Then there is a class of complaints that I did not present the entire corpus of evolutionary psychology. This is true. As I pointed out in the article, I presented a simple overview of the basic points, and suggested that readers who are interested follow up on any of the books that I offered. ANY representation of ANY phenomenon can be castigated for failing to include the entirety of the truth, because the entirety of the truth of any phenomenon is infinite.

    There were a few substantive comments presented here. However, I do not see any substantive criticisms of the article here -- just a pile of vitriolic opinion. I will be happy to discuss issues raised by the article, but I do not have the time for dealing with childish name-calling. Please, if you have an issue to discuss, by all means present it.

  • At 1:42 PM, CtrlAltDelete said…

    Chris, maybe you didn't understand. I said "I toned the post in this way to illustrate a point." Strawman? Yes! name calling? Fuck yeah! Why do I need to resort to using argumentative fallacy to get my point across?

    Because I do not believe you notice that you do it also.

    "some twit"
    "dogmatic fools"
    "picky-picky natterers"

    Are these not set up devices for ridiculing those who would question your statements? If people disagree with you, even if they have valid arguments, have you not already dismissed them as stupid?

    Yes they are distortions, Chris. We put your words up on the page in blockquote form, and then followed them with our perceptions of your statements. It was "this is what he said, this is what I think he meant..." We also made you look silly. I think you should empathize more with readers who may possibly question your propositions, rather than declaring yourself master of theory.

    We're a bit vulgar here, I'll admit. (It's a way of reproducing a vernacular form of language including off-color or taboo words to establish a repor with the potential readers who similarly speak in such manner and build a sense of sincerity. We engineer every word with the psychology of the reader in mind, you see. Complete and utter manipulation on our part.)

    For an issue as important as gender representation in gaming you provided very little actual information, and set up the article with caveats to a final statement and called it "insight." If people are going to learn something about women in gaming, they should, oh I don't know, ask a woman, maybe?

    The Escapist has done that. They're recent update contradicts some of your assertions about women and FPS gaming.

    Do you honestly not see how someone could construe your article as pretentious or hostile and respond accordingly? The article was a lecture, my friend. It was a day on the syllabus of Chris Crawford that ended with understanding of the topic replaced by a bibliography.

    If you would like someone to respond to your arguments in a polite concise report, then you must understand how difficult it is for professors and TA's to do so when given a paper supposedly about The Battle of Waterloo that rambles on about the primitive notions of violence and the psychology of agression and ends with "and that's why Napoleon lost."

    It's frustrating.

    If you want us to take the time to respond to you, you must also take the time to better prepare your articles. At the moment your article seems less like a statement to form new discussions on women in gaming, and more like an attempt to establish some published stock in your conclusions of social reasoning so that one day, if the ball rolls right, you can stand up to be the man who had told everyone; the Galileo of female gaming. Is this incorrect?

    Otherwise, prepare for a mirrored attack on your words, using the same systems of argument you yourself utilize.

    Other than declaring the article bile, what about it's premise?

    See what I mean?

    -Timothy St. Hilaire

  • At 2:48 PM, Chris Crawford said…

    Ah, but you have not quoted the article properly. The correct quotes are:

    "...dogmatic fools who think evolutionary psychology amounts to some kind of genetic determinism"
    "...some twit who points out that there are some women who can run faster than some men"
    "... picky-picky natterers who will point out that there are some men who are better at social reasoning than some women"

    Notice that relative clause introduced by the pronoun "who". It appears in each of the three comments. Every one of my comments is directed at a defined group of people, not any particular person. If you think that evolutionary psychology amounts to some kind of genetic determinism, then, yes, I think it's fair to call you a dogmatic fool. Do you?

    If you respond to my argument about the female pelvis by pointing out there are some women who can run faster than some men, then, yes, I think it's fair to call you a twit. Do you?

    If you respond to my claims about social reasoning with the argument that some men are better at social reasoning than some women, then, yes, I think it fair to call you a picky-picky natterer. Do you?

    There's a huge difference between insulting a class of people defined by their undesirable actions and insulting an individual, don't you think?

    So, where is that straw man that you claim hides among my words?

    "If people disagree with you, even if they have valid arguments, have you not already dismissed them as stupid?"

    Again, re-read the sentences in question. Are you claiming that the arguments I deride are good arguments? I did not attack good arguments, I attacked arguments that are absurd.

    "I think you should empathize more with readers who may possibly question your propositions, rather than declaring yourself master of theory. "

    You seem to be laboring under the assumption that I should write to make people feel good. That is not my objective. I write to communicate ideas. If an idea I wish to communicate is painful to some people, that is not my concern; my concern is to be truthful. Perhaps the truth will be of benefit to them. When did you ever learn from something that merely confirms your existing set of ideas?

    "We engineer every word with the psychology of the reader in mind, you see."

    Indeed. Perhaps my failure to lather my writing with obscenities renders my participation here inappropriate. I just don't use the lingo.

    "For an issue as important as gender representation in gaming you provided very little actual information"

    I disagree. There's a lot of information in that article. Do you mean to say that the article lacks footnotes? That is would not work as a scholarly paper? Perhaps it had little information for those already familiar with evolutionary psychology. That's OK. I could write something terribly complex about Erasmus or physics, should you wish to read something that goes over readers' heads. But why write over people's heads? What is accomplished?

    "Do you honestly not see how someone could construe your article as pretentious or hostile and respond accordingly?"

    No, I honestly can't. Please provide a quote that demonstrates pretention.

    You seem to suggest that my article is beneath your intellect, and therefore you see no point in responding to it. Surely you could find one tiny little point that could be demolished in a few sentences -- couldn't you?

    Lastly, you seem to suggest that I slapped the article together with such haste that it does not deserve a response. How much time did I take preparing this article?

  • At 4:20 PM, m.R said…


    damn i read this stuff, now my head hurts!

    Flame wars are lots of fun ... if you can understand what people are actually talking about.

    ... why don't you just skip the arguing part, you won't make it anyway and just jump to the name calling? You both seem to be very creative and I do need to improve my english cursing vocabulary.

    Would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks a million,


  • At 5:29 PM, CtrlAltDelete said…

    Oh dear. How should I put this delicately...

    Alrighty, lets start from the top:

    "Ah, but you have not quoted the article properly..."

    Did you quote the comments against you properly? You compiled a big list of nasty words and concluded that everyone is against you, and not your words. (I can't really speak for everyone so I couldn't tell you their intentions.) So I did the same sort of list and threw it back at you. It was sneaky, but the message lies in the medium if you know what I mean.

    "There's a huge difference between insulting a class of people defined by their undesirable actions and insulting an individual, don't you think?"

    Nope. It's a conditional insult, Chris. "if one believes X, then one is ______" Replace "one" with "you" and it's the same remark. What are you saying, exactly? That if one person disagrees with a statement you make, then because they fall under the defined classification of all those who also oppose your arguments because of their disagreement, the person is not stupid, "they" are "collectively" stupid? I don't understand the relevance of your point.

    If it makes you feel better, I disagree with everyone in the world that takes the position that Chris Crawford's article was informative and relevant to the issues of women and gaming and find them to be poopy heads.

    Now it isn't a personal affront to you, just your "people."

    "If you think that evolutionary psychology amounts to some kind of genetic determinism, then, yes, I think it's fair to call you a dogmatic fool."


    "Do you?"

    Not if they provide evidence to their arguments. To me a "dogmatic fool" is one who makes statements without providing evidence and preemptively insults those who may question the logic.

    Evo Psychology, in it's current form, has been used for both good and bad, I hope you know. Genetic determinism? How do you interpret that term? Would you see marking genders and races as inferior or superior based on the humble life struggle of their genetic ancestors thousands of years ago, so that accommodations can be made to suit the needs of their modern counterparts as genetic determinism?

    You mention in your article something about ..if we didn't teach people to fear snakes then they wouldn't fear them, this is bullshit, any rational person could examine the studies and conclude its bullshit...etc.,....

    See, this is pretentious. You don't provide any evidence that such a study is incorrect, only that it is.

    If you prefer an exact citation, here you go:

    "They claim fear of snakes is some sort of cultural artifact, and that if only our culture stopped teaching people that snakes are fearsome, nobody would be afraid of snakes. A careful, scholarly analysis of this claim, based on experimental evidence and thorough review of the literature - as well as common experience - forces us to only one conclusion: This claim is complete crap."

    See, I could try to define what it is to "teach" and "learn" to describe how the claim actually have some merit. I could point out observational learning is an integral part of psychology. I could point out that your next paragraph on "Human Choices" was outright laughed at by some of psychology department faculty members who read OGHC regularly who e-mailed us about your piece, but it wouldn't matter, because obviously the snake claim is complete "crap." (Watch your language, mister!) Such is the essence of pretension and self importance. You are an authority. You have read the books. you know what you're talking about. We, the readers, do not. Provide some evidence. It doesn't have to be a footnote, you don't have to right it out in APA format, but give us a HINT of what the hell you mean.

    "If you respond to my argument about the female pelvis by pointing out there are some women who can run faster than some men, then, yes, I think it's fair to call you a twit."

    Ah, so you are calling ME a twit, then yes? We come back to that conditional insult phase you like to use so much in the article.

    The reason this is such a ridiculous statement is its lack of relevancy to anything at all. It's like saying "If you respond to my argument that McDonalds food is unhealthy by saying the Queen of England enjoys skydiving, you are an IDIOT." I sure am! It was a jibe at myself, Chris. Learn to lighten up a bit! The fact that statistically men can run faster than women is sort of an half minded attempt to set up women as being the birth-giving home force of the tribe. Other than that, it was sort of a silly thing to add in your article. So I make fun of myself instead of debating it.

    "Do you?"

    Yup. I am a twit. You got me on that one, man. Men statistically run faster than women. That's why Grandma didn't like Resident Evil 4 when she played as Ashley; bitch didn't run fast enough.

    "If you respond to my claims about social reasoning with the argument that some men are better at social reasoning than some women, then, yes, I think it fair to call you a picky-picky natterer."

    I'm sorry, man. You are going to have to define "pick-picky natterer" before I can conclusively say it is what I am. I'll replace it with another term, say "daft cunt."

    You opened up a big ol' can of "what the shit?" when you mentioned social reasoning as a skill that women have come to possess through years of manipulation for security. Is it true? Who knows! It's difficult to judge such a thing. So difficult, in fact, that would you not agree it to be absurd to send in a woman rather than a man to judge someone's character abilities in a job interview? Do you think women do a better job than men identifying social inadequacies?

    If so, how do you explain all the black eyes in the women's line to the bathroom at NASCAR races? They made some dandy fine relationship choices now, didn't they? Or for that matter all the shiners and bruises on the men at a Nine Inch Nails concert?

    That was a joke, Chris.

    "I did not attack good arguments, I attacked arguments that are absurd."

    Why? Why not face good arguments with factual evidence debating their accuracy?

    "You seem to be laboring under the assumption that I should write to make people feel good. That is not my objective."

    I don't think you write to make people feel good. I don't think you write to make people feel shitty. I can't really say why I think you write what you do, because that wouldn't be very classy of me, and I'm a classy person. Although, so you know- it did make a lot of folks feel some positive emotions. My Grandma was laughing so hard she cried a little by page 5.

    "I write to communicate ideas. If an idea I wish to communicate is painful to some people, that is not my concern; my concern is to be truthful"

    It was painful for Grandma to learn she wasn't statistically a female.

    No, I know, that's understood, Chris. That's another reason we responded as we did; so that you get negative reaction from writing a certain way, alter your style to avoid such a response, and through a system of natural selection provide more solid arguments that receive a much more informative response from people far smarter than I. From what I've read on our e-mails, however, that time is a bit of a ways off on this particular article. Sorry.

    And look at you with your Pulp Fiction finesse! "If my answers upset you..." Man, you ARE Sam Jackson! Tell me again how you're not pretentious.

    "Indeed. Perhaps my failure to lather my writing with obscenities renders my participation here inappropriate. I just don't use the lingo."

    You should try it! It's very liberating to call zombies "cocksuckers." Go on, give it a whirl!

    "I disagree. There's a lot of information in that article. Do you mean to say that the article lacks footnotes? That is would not work as a scholarly paper? Perhaps it had little information for those already familiar with evolutionary psychology. That's OK. I could write something terribly complex about Erasmus or physics, should you wish to read something that goes over readers' heads. But why write over people's heads? What is accomplished?"

    Oh my... What are you saying about The Escapist? You underestimate the readers. You patronize them with a very elementary primer on evo psych and end it with a non-idea. I believe The Escapist is a bit more on the educated side of gaming journalism, I don't think you give folks enough credit.

    And I learned what I did of Evo Psych mostly in High School, Chris. Not college. You spoke of fundamentally debated principles of the theory like it was an issue of "BLAST!" and we were the fearful public. Thus, your ideas are not fresh, I'm afraid.

    You attempted a somewhat scholarly article, did you not? You expect a good debate about your contentions, yes? Then why not go the full monty and just publish a little evidence to back your claims?

    "Please provide a quote that demonstrates pretention."

    From the article or your comments or your website? Which would you prefer?

    "You seem to suggest that my article is beneath your intellect, and therefore you see no point in responding to it. Surely you could find one tiny little point that could be demolished in a few sentences -- couldn't you?"

    No, man! I'm an idiot, let me make that perfectly clear. Your article was not prepared in such a way to deserve a proper response from the right sort of people.

    That's why you're posting comments on an article on "Old Grandma Hardcore."

    "Lastly, you seem to suggest that I slapped the article together with such haste that it does not deserve a response. How much time did I take preparing this article?"

    Are you asking me? I don't know. What I do know is that if it took you longer than say, six hours- you should reexamine your editing methods, I think.

    I think it deserves a response, Chris. I tried to provide one for our readers, who, mostly female, were somewhat offended to learn they suck at Halo because of that extra X chomosome.

    Mr. R., I don't know many good insults, I was raised by Grandma :) We just call each other fuckers.

  • At 5:42 PM, Anonymous said…

    At this point I think it's important for Chris to know something about the blog, the author is transgendered.

    Tim might have been offended by your remarks at the beginning of the article that basically say that Ms. Pacman is a transsexual and not a "real" female.

    That might explain some of the hostility.

    Tim, I'll say this, it was a low blow. I don't agree with Chris Crawford's article at all, and your reponse was adequate enough to convince me of that, but if it really is because you're TG, he should at least know who he's talking to.

  • At 6:11 PM, ChristopherCrawford said…

    Anonymous, thanks for pointing out Tim's background, as it certainly explains the intense hostility. However, I concentrate on the facts and logic of the argument, not the people making the argument, so I really don't care about Tim's background.

    Tim, I must say, you have written such a pile of poor reasoning that I am at a loss to address all of it. I'll just take a few comments at random:

    You defend deliberate misquoting by blaming me of the same thing. Yet my compilation of insults was nothing more than that: a list. You impute conclusions that I did not draw.

    You seem to have a problem understanding subjunctive mood. Subjunctivity is quite different from indicativity. I won't bother belaboring the point.

    You insinuate that psychology faculty members hold my statements in low regard. If those statements are so far off-base, why do you have to provide non-quotes from unnamed sources? Shouldn't you be able to dismiss them with a few terse sentences?

    You suggest that I try using more obscenity in my writing. I don't think so -- I pride myself in the quality of my writing. Obscenity is useful only as a way of communicating intense emotion. You are obviously very emotional about this. That's fine -- you're young. I try very hard to concentrate on the facts and the logic, not the emotion, so I have no need for obscenity.

    Your examples of pretentious writing on my part aren't very convincing. If you were to apply those same standards to the many pejorative comments you have offered here, you would have to conclude that you are vastly more pretentious than I am -- and since I doubt that you would agree with that subjunctive, I must conclude that your claim disintegrates.

    Lastly, I will ask you, why are you so emotional about this? Why does an intellectual disagreement trigger such rivers of anger, such vituperation from you? If we were to disagree about the value of the 22nd decimal place in the value of Heisenberg's Constant, would you explode into a rage?

  • At 6:55 PM, CtrlAltDelete said…

    Anonymous, that's fair enough. I don't think I have been as hostile as Chris perceives me to be, though; and I NEVER claimed to know more about women and gaming because I have a perspective that transcends it- my friend I will not walk down that road.

    Chris, well...

    It seems it's all winding down now, yes? When we both resort to bashing each other's comments rather than the article at hand, there is little to add to a flame war.

    So I'm TG. Big deal. You responded that it explains the hostility, but you never confront the issue of Ms. Pacman. Shit, I didn't even bring it up; but an apology would have been nice. I won't hold my breath.

    So I'll say this: I don't see my writing as intense emotion, with vulgarity or otherwise. I tried to write a breakdown of why I think your article isn't very good. Perhaps you don't understand the purpose of our site. Perhaps you don't understand the humor.

    Perhaps you simply searched for your own name in the GameBlogs archives and only wish to keep the article alive just a bit longer after the mention in Slashdot, so you find this blog; this silly website about some college student who's grandmother plays video games, and you begin to read.

    I imagine it made you a bit angry to see your name and work slandered through the filtered perspective of some smart-ass kid who thinks they know a bit more about the subject than you do. Who is this kid to criticize? You see some flaws in the argument against you, you are insulted and frankly hurt by some of the comments left over from the downfall.

    You are motivated to post a response.

    Why? Is it because you believe you can win over some folks who read OGHC as they decide for themselves which side to accept? Is it because you think you could win any intellectual argument with this nobody, this industry non-entity, and someone needs to put them in their place?

    Or is it something else?

    Speculation is the tool of the damned, and I am certainly going to hell.

    You claim to concentrate on the facts and logic of arguments rather than the people making the argument. Chris, you realize these comments are archived; I won't begin a match of "yes you do -- no you don't," I'll let folks decide for themselves, if they even read this old post. I contemplated posting an update, "Chris Crawford Responds," but I'll leave that to you. Do you want the arguments you've presented here to get some more traffic? If you do- I'll post an update tonight. Otherwise, I'll let this die. Our readers are not so completely loyal to Grandma and I that they will dissmiss your claims out of spite, they're a pretty smart bunch- so it wouldn't be an entirely biased place for presentation.

    Chris, I fail to read anything that suggests I've "exploded into a rage."

    So I'll finish this comment with your words, to let people understand my frustration with your article, and why we shake our heads, as it were, in disbelief.

    "I pride myself in the quality of my writing."

  • At 7:22 PM, ChristopherCrawford said…

    Tim, I agree with you that it's time to wind this down. A few brief items:

    I re-read the section about Ms. Pac-Man and for the life of me, I can't see anything to apologize for.

    As to my reasons for doing this, your speculations are way off the mark. It is likely that I was coping with professional criticism before you were born, and after a while, one learns to take the adulation and the criticism as so much ephemera. I really don't care what other people think of me -- what matters is what *I* think of me. And I am by far my own harshest critic. The criticisms offered here are wild shots in the dark, complete misses that have no effect on me because they're so completely wrong. But I seek out good criticism. That's why I came here. I was hoping to see if anybody could offer anything substantial. Nobody did -- just a lot of hot air, verbal violence, chest beating, all signifying nothing. But I keep looking -- I might get lucky.

    My other reason for coming here was the desire to teach. I'm still a teacher at heart, and rationalism is the star I set my course by. So when I saw these grand irrational hyperboles, I realized that I had a great opportunity to teach an important lesson about rationalism. All that wild chest-beating came to a screeching halt after I posted. It's so easy to trash another person when they're not present, but when the reality of their presence thrusts itself forward, it can be quite a shock, can it not?

    I also wanted to show you a better way to handle disagreement. Despite several complaints that this is a flamewar, I know that none of the flames came from me. The best way to handle falsehood is to simply state the truth. That's what I did here.

    I realize that you're so angry with me that you won't immediately learn these lessons. But what I have done today is created some emotional jars that might shake some people into a more careful rationalism. And that's what I set out to do.

    Vaya con dios, my friend.


More importantly is an e-mail I recieved from the Julianne Greer, Editor of The Escapist:

Hello Mr. St. Hilaire,

Thank you for writing in and posting about the piece on your blog.
I am glad to hear that you are still reading our magazine and are enjoying it.
And I did read what you wrote on your blog.

As far as a counter-point to Chris' arguments, we certainly have had several
in the form of letters to the editor, some of which we will certainly
publish in next week's issue. Additionally, people like yourself blogging
about their thoughts, outrage or ideas spawned by the article are providing
a wonderful rebutal to his arguments.

And this is part of my goal as an editor - spurring discussion of games
and the issues surrounding them. I like to make sure that we provide food
for thought, discussion and action. Yes, the article has found opposition
in many locations. But what I find heartening and very positive about all
of this is people are talking about, in very well-thought out discussions,
why more women are not involved in gaming. And THAT is a wonderful thing.

I hope that you and Granny continue to enjoy the magazine. Again,
thanks for

Best regards,

Julianne Greer
Executive Editor
The Escapist

I find this to be a wonderful response from the online magazine. It's true, her job as editor is to stimulate discussion, and so she has. It's also worth mentioning that the article was Slashdotted, so I'm sure she was flooded by responses about the piece. She didn't have to respond to us, but she did anyway. That was pretty good form.

I don't know what you folks think about all this, so let's hear it!

Read the rest of this post...