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.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Two Ways To Play! This Week- Condemned: Criminal Origins

Grandma and I began to play Condemned: Criminal Origins for the XBox 360 today. It began to give her the same sort of "creeped-the-fuck-out" feeling as The Suffering: Ties That Bind. Luckily, we found one feature on the XBox 360 corrects the mood of any game that may intrude on your sanity:

It's iPod compatible.

It's no secret the 360 pretty much plays any mp3 player one hooks up to the two front USB ports, and in the case of Condemned and others- one can turn on the music whilst playing. Now depending on the music you choose, this can transform Condemned into a happy, playful romp down through the semi-abandoned hallways of the post-apocalyptic Disneyland offices; or, if the wrong music is played however, it will simply augment the strange nightmares featuring bloody manikins and Clive Barker paintings.

We put together a little guide to assist you with your choices but we need your help to expand our two playlists. So far we have "Condemned: The Living Nightmare" and "Condemned ...To Be Happy."

Let's start with the WRONG way to play Condemned. It's already a terrifying game, and if you're the type of person that stopped playing Fatal Frame because you didn't want to walk down the hallway and turn the corner because "OMIGOSH, A GHOST COULD BE THERE!!" then this technique will surely drive you to buy your very own Safe Room.

First, let's set up your environment:

You're going to need cigarettes. I prefer Camels, but for the purposes of this experiment, I would suggest those cheap sawdust cigarettes you find for $1.75 a pack, usually named "American Pride" or "Freedom Awesome America" or "War Bonds." You should also wear some Old Spice or some other inexpensive, serial-killer approved fragrance. The nicotine in your system will hype you up, causing frequent panic-attacks when some motherfucker jumps out at you with a lead pipe. Also, the very act of picking up and putting down the cigarette forces you to pause every once and a while, building the tension and breaking your momentum.

Notice the used band-aid in the ashtray. Consider planting one in your own ashtray to simulate the experience of recovering from some unknown injury, or covering up the track marks on your arm before a scheduled visit to your parole officer, who in any instance must be named "Scagnetti." Also include one of those broken wire-ties so that you too can pretend you just cut the makeshift handcuffs from your wrists, evading whatever law enforcement agency happened to be on your case.

Other useful items include a cardboard box labeled "Gwyneth Paltrow's Head," random biblically themed books (bonus points for inappropriate messages carved into the binding with a broken, plastic spork from the recreation center's cafeteria), razor blades, and an assortment of undressed decapitated Barbie(tm) Dolls. Use your imagination!

If you haven't already, hook up your iPod and pop in a copy of Condemned: Criminal Origins. Navigate the menus first; then when your level begins hit the big ol' green button at the center of your controller and go to "Select Music."

You'll notice our copy of the game is displayed by our lovely The Price is Right model: Chainsaw Steve. Chainsaw Steve might be employed by Capcom, but his heart goes out to Monolith on this one. Right now, he wants to get to some tunes, so let's dim the lights, chain the dog to the front of the house and go through the songs that Grandma and I selected to make Condemned our top horror game of the ...um, year... so far.

Playlist Title: "Condemned: The Living Nightmare"
1. DJ Shadow - "Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt"
2. Aphex Twin - "Vodhosbn"
3. Schubert - "Ave Maria"
4. Incubus - "Megalomaniac"
5. Iron Butterfly - "Innagoddavida"

6. Godspeed You Black Emperor! - "The Dead Flag Blues"
7. Mogwai - "Like Herod"
8. Nine Inch Nails - "A Warm Place"
9. Death In Vegas - "Soul Auctioneer"
10. A Perfect Circle - "The Noose"

Okay! Now that you're hiding in the closet with a flashlight, and a taser brandishing a piece of metal conduit, let's try the same thing only without all the years of therapy.

Let's start by removing the cigarettes and identifying paraphernalia and replace it with a healthy bowl of delicious, air-popped popcorn with light, melted butter on top (with extra salt, or course) and a glass of chocolate milk. You'll notice that this glass is half-full because the photographer couldn't control their urges and took a giant swig already. The milk will have a calming effect on your nerves and the popcorn is easy enough to eat so that you may run through the hallways of Condemned, bashing folks left and right to your heart's content without pausing for a breath.

Now give Chainsaw Steve a break and use instead a cute, fluffy snow-leopard (or any creature that falls under the cutesy genus within the animal kingdom.) Just make certain you don't get any fur blocking those ventilation holes! Your house will burn to the ground. Yay! This next playlist features songs that Grandma and I have determined are the best terror-breakers for Condemned, or songs that happen to contrast the game so comically, you'll die smiling instead of bleeding; and that's a GOOD thing.

Playlist Title: "CONDEMNED ...to be happy!"
1. Guided By Voices - "Glad Girls"
2. Jurassic 5 - "Jurass Finish First"
3. Ace of Base - "The Sign"
4. 2 Unlimited - "Get Ready For This"
5. Basement Jaxx - "Romeo"

6. Chemical Brothers - "The Sunshine Underground"
7. The Eels - "Last Stop: This Town"
8. The Flaming Lips - "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Part 1)"
9. Dexy's Midnight Runners - "Come On Eileen"
10. Green Day - "King For A Day"
11. Folk Implosion - "Free To Go"
12. The Postal Service - "We Will Become Silhouettes"

So go try it out! Most of the songs are available through iTunes, Yahoo Music, or MSN Music. Also, submit your own playlist nominations via the "Add Comment" feature here so we can use your ideas throughout Grandma's game. We need more ideas.

Game on!


  • At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Holy crap...that's me. I couldn't play Fatal Frame because I was too afraid of the ghosts. I would play for fifteen minutes and literally start to hyperventilate. If I played Condemned I can only imagine the horror I'd go through (especially since I HATE gore stuff).

  • At 5:23 PM, Blogger Reeve said…

    (smiles at the thought of playing such a game to the tune of "Jurass Finish First" and "Come on Eileen")

    I might have to give that happy list a try should I ever get the chance. Personally tho', I'd swap "Jurass Finish First" for "Swing Set" (another great Jurassic 5 track), but that's just me :)

  • At 6:18 PM, Blogger DY357LX said…

    I played (and finished with 46 achievements unlocked!) Condemned in the pitch black and late at night. Whilst it did keep very tense and on the edge of my seat, it didn't make me jump more than once.
    (I won't name the area for the obvious spoiler reasons!)

    My sister laughed her ass off me as I was playing it one night though.

    I was sitting quite close to the screen (looking for the dead birds y'see, listening out for the flapping/cooing noises some of them make) when she walked into the room and said "When's the new Lost on?".
    I didn't even hear her enter the room so I wasn't quite expecting to hear voices behind me! I almost dropped the pad as I jumped up and shouted "Fuck!".

    She thinks it's hiliarious.

  • At 9:52 PM, Blogger ivorynetsuke said…

    Got the shirt today, it's awesome! =)

    Okay, so here are some additions, in no particular order ...

    Condemned: The Living Nightmare
    1. Gary Numan, "Exile"
    2. Malice Mizer, "S-Conscious"
    3. Dream Into Dust, "Dissolution" and "The Lost Crusade"
    4. Marilyn Manson, "Cryptorchid"
    5. Die Form (one of my all-time favorites), "Electric Brainpan" and "Transvocal Mutations"

    Condemned ... To Be Happy
    1. Gorillaz, "Feel Good Inc."
    2. The White Stripes, "My Doorbell"
    3. Royal Crown Revue, "Hey Pachuco!"
    4. Primus, "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver"

  • At 3:47 AM, Blogger Art Green said…

    I got through Chapter 3 or 4 in that game and really couldn't finish. Good game, just too freaky for me. I fucking hate horror games because I'm a big wuss.

    Happy list -

    I have no idea what the song is called, but it's goes..."You can dance if you want to, you can leave your friends behind..." I think it's called the safety dance or something like that..

  • At 11:38 AM, Blogger paine said…

    if i had a 360 this game would be one i love to play because i love horror games and movies

  • At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Man I can't beleave you guys are so scared of this game.This is how I play at night. I only play at 12am or later when its really dark. I shut all the lights out and have a pretty good 5.1 Dts system so I can pin point where the guys are saying fuck you from.I live in a 30 unit apartment complex on the beach in Venice ca. Can't really say too much about this place but I do hear noises sometimes Im sure it's just all my neighbors but sometimes I hear the guy that took his life a few months ago. See it was summer I was playing some battlefield I heard a "Car backfire" didn't think any thing of it, than the guys wife got home and I heard screaming. That will fuck up your day from that point on.So when I play the game around the witching hour It would be typical to hear a crazy homless lady screaming in the alley by my place or some guy yelling that he has no drugs so while I play my game I hear this madness in the background that makes me freak out that much more... hehehehehe



  • At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    some good ones for the "to be happy" list...
    Safety Dance - Men Without Hats (already suggested, just not by name)
    Kill The Dog Next Door - Arrogant Worms
    Teddy Bear's Picnic - Henry Hill and His Orchestra
    What Is Love - Haddaway
    Oompla Loompa Song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
    Pretty Fly for a Rabbi - Weird Al Yankovic
    Bananaphone - Raffi (oh yeah, i went there)
    Rhinestone Cowboy - Glen Campbell
    Walkin' Round In Women's Underwear - Bob Rivers
    I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston

    and that'll do for now. i'll think up some ones for the other list later...

  • At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Lightnin' Rod: Sport
    Kool and the Gang: Hollywood Swingin'
    Ernie and The Top Notes: Dap Walk
    The Winstons: Amen Brother
    Real Thing: Can You Feel the Force
    Aretha Franklin: Mr. Bigstuff
    Marlena Shaw: California Soul
    The Jonny Otis Show: The Watts Breakaway
    Elvis vs. JXL: A Little Less Conversation
    Bucketheads: The Bomb
    The Beatles: Tomorrow Never Knows
    Daft Punk: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
    Daft Punk: One More Time
    Add N To X: Robot New York
    Yu Miyake: WANDA WANDA
    Yu Miyake, Masayuki Tanaka: Katamari on the Rock
    Deltron 3030: Positive Contact
    Prince Buster: One Step Beyond
    The Specials: A Message to you Rudy
    The Shins: One by One All Day
    Neko Case and the New Pornographers: Laws
    Harry Belafonte: Jump in the Line
    Harry Belafonte: Dolly Dawn
    Pizzicato Five: Twiggy Twiggy
    Pizzicato Five: Lupin The 3rd Theme
    Simon and Garfunkel: Cecilia
    Bobby Darin: Somewhere Beyond the Sea
    Monty Python: Sit on My Face
    Beethoven: 9th Symphony (Choral)
    Tchiakovsky: Sleeping Beauty (Waltz)

    Not Happy:
    Combichrist: This Shit Will Fuck You Up
    Haujobb: The Noise Institute
    Hypnoskull: Psychotic Bass
    Radiohead: 2+2=5
    Biosphere: Translation
    Headcase: Zero Zero Four
    Jetone: Flowers No. 4
    Jetone: Fkstrtowr
    Profokiev: Montagues and Capulets
    Saint Agnes Schola Cantorum: Tui Sunt
    The Tiger Lilles: Pall Bearers
    Badgerlore: Culling the Fire Lions
    Steve Reich: City Life, Track 01
    Bjork: Hyperballad (Over The Edge Mix)
    James: Burn the Cat

    Aphex Twin takes the biscuit for "not happy" with Selected Ambient Works vol II. Particularly: White Blur 1 & 2, Radiator, Grass, Tree, and Spots.

  • At 7:23 PM, Blogger HandOverFist said…

    This is my favorite passtime(besides gaming), just exchanging bands with friends. I love music. But I'm way too lazy to write out a list. game on!

  • At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    They Might Be Giants - Particle Man
    Weird Al - Trigger Happy
    ??? - The NumaNuma song

    I can't think of much else that would fit. I've got like 50 random little songs I've downloaded at random places on the internet, but I'm almost sure you can't buy they on CD.

  • At 12:28 AM, Blogger mw said…

    Also Try Mr. E's Beautiful Blues, for the happy times. Good lists though.

  • At 12:37 AM, Blogger Dragonlady said…

    I suggest Golden Earring's Twilight Zone for the nightmare scenario.

  • At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Building Steam with a Grain of Salt is an incredible song. Nobody I know ever knows what that song is. Awesome.

  • At 2:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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