Sunday, May 11, 2008

we interrupt our regular programming for this important message...



a few words (by request) from susan's worser half:

i began playing computer games in the early 80's, & switched over to consoles/handhelds (thanks primarily to ico , the single-greatest video game evah!) in the early 00's (sony/nintendo - no xbox/360, thank you). as well as having a helluva good time, i've learned a lot from gaming over the years. one thing i've learned is: never, ever pay any attention to what the msm has to say about it. with the rare exception (see n'gai croal), they don't know their sunni from their shi'ite about actually playing games, & basically exist only to stimulate sales &/or stir up controversy. & another thing i've learned is, there's more to video games than the gameplay: good games, like good movies, are a dense collaboration involving a number of talented people, many of whose other, unrelated work is well worth checking out...

which brings us to grand theft auto 4 (aka, gta4), & the above video. i'm a gta noob, btw - i'm not all that fond of driving irl, &, therefore, the idea of doing it in a game has never really appealed to me. but, hey, metal gear solid 4 (aka mgs4) isn't due til the middle of june, there's little to come between now & then, everyone on the game board i frequent's raving about gta4, the story actually sounds kinda interesting for once, & so, for right now (until the driving missions become too much for my lamer skills, anyway), i'm playing gta4...

now, one of the cool features about the gta series is the radio stations you can listen to while driving - lots of all kinds of music (i was pretty floored when, at one point, i switched to the ambient/electronica station & out came some of phillip glass' koyaanisqatsi soundtrack(?!)), along with lots of bogus ads, talk, etc. anyway, my favorite station has turned out to be 'radio vladivostok' (which is included, i'm guessing, owing to the east-european origins of the game's hero & early cast of characters). & my (& a number of other players) favorite song on 'radio vladivostok' is the song in the video, 'schweine', by 'glukoza' (aka, 'glykoza' & 'glyukoza'), who turns out to be an extremely young russian pop star, surrounded by an apparent army of very clever songwriters/musicians/artists (check out some of her other videos - they're equally awesome, & even include a live-action, 'some like it hot' parody!)...

so what's my point? (help me out here, susan...)...

i guess it's that... there's more to gta4 than running over pedestrians?... there's more to manufacturing a pop star than short skirts?... i can be happy to see you and have a ds in my pocket at the same time?...

actually, most likely, i suppose it's that there's more to gaming than meets the eye...

but don't just take my word for it. if you haven't played a video game in a while (or ever), i strongly urge you - get yourself a ps2 (they're pretty cheap right now), a copy of okami, & be delighted, entertained, frustrated, amused, & amazed by the power of a medium that's waaay too much fun to be just for kids :) ...


we now return to our regular programming...

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post about a very popular medium. I marvel at how my kids take to what appear to me to be very complex video games. I spent plenty of time and quarters playing simple games like PacMan and Galaga, but I'm amazed at the complexity of what my kids play.

Maybe it's time I join them instead of just watch them.

Randal Graves said...

Ah, MGS4, the game that might get me to buy a $400 PS3. I haven't played much of the GTA games, but I think, overall, games were a bit more challenging back in the days of side-scroller SNES (and even NES) stuff. They're certainly prettier now, and longer and I'm sure there are exceptions, but this is why I wait and don't pay fifty bucks a pop for the damn things. :)

Seraphine said...

Games? Games?
I don't have no time
for stinking games.
Most games are so eerily
alike, it's nice to find
one like gta. It's just
plain fun.
(I haven't played the
newest, but the first
two were great).

gfid said...

most of the games i've tried give me motion sickness. the graphics on some are stunning, and strategy games are kind of interesting, but i'd still rather read a good book or have a conversation with a friend.

gfid said...

sorry about the duplicate... our server is a bit twitchy lately

numb said...

qfid -

thanks for the instant deja vu!...

re: your comments - i don't play first-person games (&, oddly enough, neither do the japanese). it's not so much motion sickness that gets me as the lack of peripheral vision (which may induce motion sickness in some?). &, as a long-time reader myself, i can only say that there are aspects of pouring 50+ hours into well-wrought (ie: good story, characters, & dialog) role-playing / strategy games that, as an over-all experience, can't really be duplicated by reading books (or watching movies, for that matter). & it's not simply a matter of active vs passive entertainment - susan's watched me play thru a number of games, & enjoyed them, as well...

the best video games don't take you where the best books & movies do: they take you somewhere else :) ...

randal -

if you're serious, i'd suggest this. the 80gb ps3 features software-based backward compatibility (meaning almost all those thousands of ps2 games will run on it, also)...

if you're not serious,... well, you should be :) ...

seraphine -

i'm enjoying gta4 - but when it comes to 'just plain fun', i'm gonna hafta go with ratchet & clank :) ...

(.)(.) -

thanks! - &, yes, it's time (for a ds, at least :) )...

Seraphine said...

Ha! I tried to see Ratchet and Clank, but I don't have the Flash player. There is, however, a large body on Google search on the game. It sounds fun and funny: "normal rules of relativity do not apply"

Ingrid said...

oh susan.. I better not let my 10 yr old read this. That said, two parents (a married couple who met up while working in gaming) work in the gaming industry so for a while, my so wanted to be video game designer. Thank god he's switched to wanting to be a scientist as he has a brain to match and ought to use it wisely!! Anyhow.. that said, the aforementioned parent (da mom) emailed us all with an opportunity for our kids to sign up to practice on a locally designed beta game (whatever that is). If signed up and chosen, he'd have to give feedback about the game and its userfriendliness. I haven't told him that I signed him up for it but if he gets picked I expect a 'awww you're the best mom' award!

great story Susan..I told my son the other day that no way in hell could he play GAT..killing pedestrians are no seeds for the brain hehe.
Nice tidbit to know about the radio stations though. There are some kids in his class who talk as if they're playing it and I suspect some bragging and fibbing. Now I know how we can find out if they really have the game or not! (note to self, ask about radiostations)

Ingrid

susan said...

ingrid - This one actually was written by my very game oriented husband. I think he'd be encouraging your son to get into game design since it's (unlike science and medicine where we work) fun, creative and potentially very profitable.