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, October 24, 2007

Grandma not dead, doesn't want to go in the cart

It's not the first time something like this has happened; in 2005 I actually received a sympathy card. A single anonymous comment in a thread somewhere can trigger that sort of thing whether it's a joke or a misunderstanding or ...something, but allow me to clear things up right now by stating that Grandma, in every sense, be it biologically, cognitively and philosophically, is still alive.

She is not dead.

She's doing Science and is still alive.

She feels fantastic and is still alive.

Which brings me to the game Portal...

But how the hell can I talk about Portal when I haven't mentioned everything else for the past few weeks first?!

Dig: Evan emails Grandma to see if she'd like a copy of Halo 3. She was playing the copy of Blue Dragon he sent her so she's on sort of a Microsoft kick at this point; her poor Wii and PS3 just patiently counting down the days until she picks up copies of Metroid Prime 3 and Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction, respectively. Of course, she quickly gets back to him to say something on the lines of "fuck yeah!" It came about a day after that. Seriously, it was quick. Evan, you're very much like Santa Claus, I hope you know.

As Grandma sat listening to inane dialogue spoken by the most annoying English speaking voice actors towards the end of Blue Dragon (which was a phenomenal game, otherwise) she noticed her friends list exploding with Halo 3 requests. Her friends list on Xbox Live is at capacity, and she hadn't seen nearly as many people play BioShock upon release as she saw Halo 3 begin to saturate the entire list, and she thought BioShock was pretty dominant. Even that one guy who only ever seems to play Texas Hold 'Em for hours on end was now available in Social Slayer. Simply put, she was as excited as the rest of us.

Now, here's the funny part: literally the DAY that Halo 3 arrived, as she was playing Blue Dragon, her 360 died.
Her second Xbox 360. No red-rings-o-death this time. It would just sort of... freeze then fizzle away. She tried a different controller. She tried resetting it. She tried letting it sit and cool down for a few hours. Sure enough, five minutes in, *poof!*
At least it was consistent. She tried Halo 3, thinking that perhaps the third Blue Dragon disc was just wonky. It got all the way past the opening cutscene for the single player campaign, but after just a few moments, the same digital-artifact laced frozen screen was all she could see, rather than the texture rich helmet of the Arbiter leading Master Chief's squad through a jungle to attack some Brutes.

Well.... shit.

To their credit, Microsoft got this Xbox 360 to the repair center in Texas and back to Grandma in about two weeks.

In the meantime, Grandma had some money in the PS3 wallet since buying flOw awhile back, so she downloaded the worst online poker game in the history of online poker games. I don't even know what it's called. All I know is that it's on their online store, and Grandma fucking hates it.
"You can't turn off the goddamn animations, so whenever somebody calls or checks or folds, you have to see them scratch their chins or look at their nails- I swear to god they must think all women who play poker want to be portrayed as bimbos or some damn thing. I mean, it's fucking POKER! It's a CARD GAME! I don't give a shit about the graphics, there really doesn't need to be much more than some decent looking cards and a table. What's all this other shit?! And even THAT sucks. I remember being able to character customize better on old Xbox games. And there's hardly enough people on there to play, although at least it doesn't cut out as often as the 360 did. I don't really like it."

When her XBox 360 arrived from the repair center, I was lucky enough to be the only one home (she was out shopping, I think). Shiloh barked at the door, which was unusual for Shiloh because he's not really much of a guard dog. FedEx guy had me sign for it, and in about two minutes I had the power supply, ethernet and AV cords hooked up and was signed in under my gamertag playing the first level of Halo 3. I remember finishing Halo 2 around the same time as the rest of the world, but it all came rushing back. The Covenant, the Flood, Truth, Cortana.... I completed Heroic later that night.

I think Grandma let me take over just that one day. It had been awhile since I really had time to get into a game; I'm always worried that if I start one I'll play into the night too late as she does and feel groggy and shitty the next day at work.

After that- it was all her. It took her a bit longer to finish a Normal campaign, but that's because Grandma deals with The Flood a bit differently than regular people. She can't just run through and get to the next checkpoint, she has to blast every last one of the fuckers until there's no little red dots on the radar, which isn't always the best strategy. She was pleasantly surprised that the online demeanor of folks in ranked matches has matured a bit. There's less body humping and people calling nobody in particular "faggot" and the match playback system is the stuff of genius. If you find someone who's really good in a match and want to see things from their point of view afterwards, to study it; learn from it- you can! That, and seeing newer players unfamiliar with different maps run repeatedly off ledges to their deaths is sort of enjoyable in some sick, voyeuristic way.

She's still trying to plow her way through the rest of the game.

But she has something else in her cabinet that's causing distraction: The Orange Box.

She's been waiting for that thing for a looooong time. She bought the Xbox 360 version because hey: Achievement Points are good.

It didn't take long to get through the infinitely wonderful Portal, although she still has a lot of medals and advanced maps to get through (without using YouTube to cheat a solution, as I shamefully did.) "What's the point of playing a puzzle game if you're just looking up how to do it?" she told me. She's worried that her reflexes aren't quick enough for some of the Momentum based jumping sections of the advanced levels, but I think her problem is that her frustration shows and affects her game (if it didn't I don't know how interesting this website ever would have been.)

She's started in the middle of the Half Life series, opting to play Episode 1 first, then Episode 2, then Half Life 2. Why? Who knows. I'm still trying to get her to play Team Fortress 2 as well.

We'll be talking quite a lot about Halo 3 and The Orange Box in the coming days, I promise you that.

Let's see, what else...

Ah: you've sent Grandma lots of links and videos recently of other older folks getting into gaming and to say the least, she's thrilled! We're going to be talking about that too.

And to our Australian readers (one in particular, you know who you are ;) Grandma will be appearing on the ABC television show "Good Game" here pretty soon, so watch for it- I'll be posting more about this as it comes in! Grandma and I are both huge fans of The Chaser's War; so we're all about ABC.

Also: the Jeep is back and repaired, the insurance covered everything, we found a hell of a body shop that did an incredible job, and that nightmare is over. My work schedule is much more structured now, so hopefully these long gaps in between posts can be eliminated.

We have lots more to talk about but if I try to cram it all in one post it's going to be bad. More on the way!!

Game on!


  • At 4:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for posting this! Even if you hadn't had anything new to post (which you did) I was grateful just to see the post to squash the false rumour.

    Damn, it sucks that the X360 died again, and on the day that she got the game, no less! At least it's back and alive now. I'm also glad that the Jeep is okay.

    I'll be keeping two eyes fixed firmly on the TV set for "Good Game" - thanks for the heads-up!! I'll tape it and bribe/force my Mum to do the same so that I have several copies.
    Love, Jen

  • At 5:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Grandma needs to play folklure and Hevenly Sword on PS3 they are awesome. Also it wold be fun to see Grandmado a video review of Lair :P

    Game On

  • At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yay I'll have to keep any eye out for good game this week, you get the ABC in the states?

  • At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I really missed you guys. I'm very glad you're back.

  • At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Christ. Was worried. Am happy!

    WB, and GL in HL2 EP2 - it's good stuff!

  • At 9:19 AM, Blogger Klopzi said…

    It's great to hear that Grandma's doing well and back to gaming.

    I actually mentioned to my wife that I thought that something may have happened to Grandma since it'd been a while since the last post.

    Anyway, glad to see I was wrong and I'll never doubt Grandma again.

    Game on indeed...

  • At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    O my god, thank god grandma is alive, I cant believe i fell for that. I feel stupid now, but more releaved.

    Also when is GRANDMA GONNA PLAY METROID PRIME 3 CORRUPTION. I want to hear her take on it, it is a Fantastic game i want to hear her take on it badly.

    Hopefully next update wont be a month away

    - Matt

  • At 10:31 AM, Blogger Crazy Raven Productions said…

    The end theme to Portal is magnificent. Heeheeheehee. :) Jonathan Coulton is a minor god. The game itself is neat...the color of the game, that eeeevil robot voice, is what made my husband and I plow through it in one luscious 3-hour sitting. :) (In answer to the doubtless question, "we?", Rob plays the game and I act as a tactical advisor when he gets stuck.)

  • At 11:51 AM, Blogger Ambience-Studios said…

    try getting a cooler for the 360 that might help with it dieing alot.

  • At 3:36 PM, Blogger Jess said…

    YAY! Glad everyone is well! We recently acquired Halo 3 and The Orange Box too. Can't wait to hear more!

  • At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Blue Dragon was a great game. I finished it a few weeks ago, and if I wasn't staying with my girlfriend till December, I'd be on my 2nd playthrough right now.

    Hopefully you get her to play Team Fortress 2 soon, and give some thoughts. I'm thinking about getting the Orange Box when I get Halo 3, and I need to make sure all the games inside are good. Lol

  • At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, how many times has your 360 died now. Man these 360's seem to break every day.
    Anyway, glad to see a post finally! I was wondering myself what was going on. Halo 3 is awesome, although I havn't gotten to really play the single player yet. The multiplayer has to be the best multiplayer ever. Plus the Orange box looks awesome, I don't have a 360 so I'm waiting for it to come to the PS3. I'm worried I won't understand any of it because I don't anything about the series but what really sold it for me was Team Fortress two. That simply looks amazing. I mean, it's like Incredibles meet Saving Private Ryan. It looks crazy! You got to get Grandma to play that, I can't wait to hear about it.

  • At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Man, glad to hear grandma is alright. I hope youll get Metroid prime 3 and CoD 4 also when it will come out. (CoD 4 is going to be AWSOME by the way.)

    From Montreal

  • At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Now I understand why Granny hadn't been online for a good while there...good thing she's doing great though. I'm happy to see her back on Xbox Live and playing The Orange Box, following her progress.

    Thanks for the update Tim, I'm glad to hear about the Jeep! I hope you have the time to capture Granny on cam playing The Orange Box!

    Game on!

  • At 10:40 PM, Blogger Gamer Named Tim said…

    Good to know everyones still alive! I really didn't think grandma would get so psyched about Halo 3, but she did, and that's awesome! Can't wait for more updates! You guys ROCK!

  • At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just found this blog, and I have to say, this is the most awesome thing ever.

    I look forward to reading more.

  • At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    been waiting for a post.
    I'm glad Grandma likes Halo 3
    and Portal! Hope to see some Halo 3 videos of her pwning people! LOL

    sucks that the 360 died again :( Hope this one runs smoother!

  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger Jamie said…

    Am glad everything is going back to normal and everyone is doing ok.Good to hear that you got the orange box it looks really good am hoping to get it soon oh and halo 3 dam theres so many good games out at the moment and thank you tim for posting this cant wait intill the next post take care

    from Jamie

  • At 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Got ratchet & clank future tod its cool titanium bolts , bolts , pretty harder & have you seen the graphics woo there good. hope you like it.

  • At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Grandma should try Timeshift! That in itself would make a great video.

  • At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Good Game piece aired last night. You can watch it online here:

    Sadly not as much of OGHC as I'd like!

  • At 3:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OMG thank god she is ok.

    Here in Guadalajara,Jalisco Mexico we love her,shes one of the greatest gamers and also my hero,she prove that the videogames are no only for kids and she is definitely an icon

    Some friends and i are thinking to make a fan club here in Guadalajara it will be called "oghc guadalajara" and we will play at contest and tourneys in her name.

    So if there is a reason that we cant make the fan club and gamers group,pls can someone let me know?

    Anyway,i'll like to talk to someone about it,hoping to maybe talk with her some day u.u

    Well thats all,you can contact me at ivan-kun@hotmail.com

    Good wishes grandma and here in Mexico everybody loves you ^^

  • At 11:08 PM, Blogger electric goldfish said…

    Phew,. I'm glad she is okay. Makes the world a little more stable.

    Game on, grandma!

  • At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Heh just flicked on the TV and guess who was on TV, it actually seems to be a good piece...but they got the blog name wrong, "old hardcore grandma"

  • At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm sorry about the xbox. I just had to send mine in, it's a pain in the ass. And thank God Grandma is okay, and thank you for posting.

    I loves Grandma. =]

  • At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was wondering if Grandma had Metroid Prime 3 yet, great game, I am playing it at the moment, along with Phantom Hourglass on DS, which I also thought grandma would check out.

    The Orange Box is awesome, I went through Half-Life 2, then Episode 1, then Episode 2, played some TF2, and finally did Portal, which I am still not finished with yet. Did Grandma play Half-Life 2 on Xbox? If not, why did she start on Episode 1, she would have trouble I'd think following the story.

    I would also urge her to try Folklore, on PS2, a fine action-adventure with RPG elements. Has she ever played Heavenly Sword? Short but sweet. I just started Ratchet and Clank on PS3, very very good, and am waiting on Call of Duty 4, Super Mario Galaxy, Assassin's Creed, and Mass Effect. Oh, and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Hope to see another video soon.

  • At 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    yea ratchet & clank on ps3 is a good game dont need faqs to complete it 100% its...right there

  • At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Finally you are back! I missed the posts and videos

  • At 4:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    She is got goingDiablo 3 items in the core 50 % Life collection, deciding to experience Occurrence One very first, next Show A couple of, after that 50 percent Living Two. The reason why? To know. I'm still trying to find the girl to learn Crew Citadel A couple gw2 goldof at the same time.


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