Grand Theft Art Imitating Life

This was one of those rare occasions where the universe wrote the comic, and I just had to draw it. I asked Josh to show me “GTA IV” so I could see what all the fuss was about. I hadn’t played a GTA game since Vice City, and even then I pretty much ignored the missions and just blew stuff up until the cops chased me into the ocean. We literally sat there for 30 minutes watching in game cartoons on Nico’s TV. Then when he finally started to play the game, there was this whole complicated courting process he had to go through with Michelle. He actually said, “The nicer the clothes I buy, the more likely she is to put out on the first date.” You have to manage the expectations of your in-game girlfriend? This is scary shit people. That is WAY too real for a game that’s supposed to be about stealing cars, and then using said cars to murder their previous owners. I know I wouldn’t be able to play through the actual missions of this game because the moment it asked me to buy clothes and get a haircut to impress the fluzey I just met on the street, I would be reaching for the nearest blunt implement, or machine gun, or chainsaw or machine gun that fires chainsaws…on fire to murder her with.

I know the game is excellent. You don’t have to convince me of that. I just wouldn’t ever get past the parts that were as boring as my real life in order to complete it properly. At no point during Sonic 2 or Street Fighter was I asked by the game to go to the store and pick up cat litter (or hedgehog litter).

This reminds me of when my friend Wes had overclocked his P3 to play the first “Deus Ex.” He opened the computer case and turned the AC (in the abandoned apartment he was squatting in) down as low as it would go. It was September and you could see your breath in there. Wrapped in blankets we watched him play this revolutionary game. My turn came and I chose to start over from the beginning. About 5 minutes in I was supposed to sneak into a medical complex and do something important. I walked in the front door, guns a blazing and killed every person in the lobby. Alarms sounded and troops were dispatched. I died and the game was over. The whole thing lasted under 6 minutes. I just remember breaking the icicles off my nose and saying, “This game sucks. I’m out of here.”

I guess that’s why I’m a Wii Tennis man. Pick it up, play for 10 min, put it down…whatever. Just keep it casual.

UPDATE:

Apparently Yahtzee agrees with me:

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Call it a going away present


Back up in your ass with the resurrection.

Back when things really started to look bleak for Toshiba and HD-DVD I said I had always been rooting for them, but I really didn’t care who won as long as there was a clear winner and we could stop all this foolishness. Well, finally the troops are pulling out and coming home. The war is officially over.

I’m still not ready to buy a Blu-Ray player. Let’s pretend this format war never happened and consider this to be the day High Definition optical media is first released. Essentially it is, because the war stifled the format adoption, market growth, title availability, etc for the last 2 years. We would probably be looking at sub $300 Blu-Ray players and $15-17 Discs by now if not for the unforgivable stupidity of the movie and technology industries. Instead we are looking at the PS3 being the only Blu-Ray player worth buying (t’s firmware upgradable and has the online connectivity that most other current players do not offer) and $25-30 for new titles at big box retailers.

The price drops we saw from the HD-DVD camp around November and December of 2007 were false so they don’t count. By that I mean they were slashing retail prices for players WAY below the cost to produce them in the hopes early adopters would flock in and secure their position as the de facto HiDef disc. Instead of a viable consumer install base they now have about a half a million angry Wal-Mart customers that want to beat them to death with their shiny, obsolete “Ayche-Dee-DeeBeeDee” boxes.

Josh said, “I don’t care! I want to watch beautiful moving pictures on my new giant HD-TV!” and bought a decent sized library of HD-DVD’s. He contends that the are still playable, no matter who won. I contend that his choice was bad and he should feel bad. Those of you in the same predicament may want to consider converting your HD-DVD collection to Blu-Ray. All you need is a bunch of money, nearly unlimited time, and a master’s degree in computer science. You could also just pretend it was a fancy DVD player and play like it never happened.

I can’t think too hard about the contestants and the outcome, because Blu-Ray winning makes no fucking sense. HD-DVD was cheaper to produce, cheaper to buy, higher capacity (at first), region free, more interactive right out of the gate, and posessed the foresight to give their product a LOGICAL name people could understand. If we are looking for a replacement for sandwiches and the contenders are “Sandwich-2” and “Purple Explosion Ninja” I am certainly going to be curious about the PEN format but I’m also not going to immediately recognize it as something tasty and nutritious for my lunch time enjoyment.

The thing that really bugs the shit out of me is the fact that Sony actually won a format war. God damnit.

Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway Comic Book Presale

I’m in a comic book! Sort of (not really).

There is a such thing as a video game. And in that realm of that product that have what we, in the internet, call a WWII FPS MMPORGOMGWTFBBQ. The best of these is a series called “Brothers in Arms” produced by Gearbox Software. They are currently developing the third installment, “Hell’s Highway” (originally titled “Brothers in Arms: Life’s a Beach…Stom It!“)

I care about this:

A) Because every single person I know in the world (including the characters in this webcomic who are NOT me…and not Tom Cruise) is hard at work this very minute making it all happen, and
B) I’m in all three games

In the “Brothers in Arms” series, I play Pvt. Michael Garnett. Garnett dies in the first game, but the circumstances of his death are shrouded in mystery, and possibly shame, and possibly unsportsmanlike conduct. In the second game Garnett shows back up as a zombie time traveler, reanimated by the Nazi’s. Not really, but that would be cool. In “Hell’s Highway” you may finally learn the secrets of his death and who is responsible (I know, but I’m not telling).

My good friend, Mikey, is the writer for all three games and now a comic book title based on the game. This comic looks fucking slick (especially issue 5 which deals with Garnett’s backstory). Even though you can’t hear my voice in the comic, you should think of me when you read it. I asked if we could have those interactive comics, like in “Big,” but Mikey said that was just a movie. Mikey is also the voice of Cpl. Corrion (who doesn’t die in the first game). We might podcast the comics reading only our parts, pausing for the rest (so you can read along) and making tank noises.

The comic is up for preorder here:

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The thing that sets this franchise apart from EVERY OTHER WWII shooter is the story. Each and every character has a unique personality, friendships, families and a reason to try and survive (most of them don’t). When you play the game you get lost in the story. You try and keep your men alive, not to get to the next mission, but to make sure your friends don’t die (they die anyway). Playing the game is a sobering experience. It’s confusing, chaotic, and terrifying. It feels like war.

The narrative, the graphics, the whole experience of these games is top shelf. Do yourself a favor and preorder the comic, play the games and rest easy in the knowledge that sometimes when you hear “GET DOWN!” or “KRAAAUUUTS!” it’s me, saying “Hi.”