Friday, October 30, 2009

playing the game

However unlikely it may be that humanity in general has been wondering where I am and what I've been doing these past few days, I thought it only fair to let a couple of my best friends know. I don't co-pilot many of the video games my husband enjoys playing but there are some very special ones I'm just so grateful to be able to witness (and sometimes help puzzle solve). Among a few others like Zelda, Ico, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid and Persona 3 we've been fans of Ratchet and Clank. The series began in 2002 shortly after the introduction of the Play Station 2 and the last major game called R&C Future: Tools of Destruction with its cliff hanger ending was released in 2007. Two years is a long time so you may understand we've been very eager for the latest and likely the last ever of the series that arrived in the mail a few days ago - R&C Future: A Crack in Time.

There seems to be a shortage of video games that are challenging, witty and beautifully designed and it's true to say that most of the ones that fit those qualifications aren't made in the United States. However, Insomniac Games, the group responsible for the design and production of Ratchet & Clank, is based in Burbank California and even though they're contracted to produce games for Sony they are American, if not necessarily the apple pie kind. Imagine the Marx Brothers as high tech gaming wizards and you might come close to understanding what these guys are up to even if you don't play or have access to a 16 year old's button pushing skills.. or one who's much older but keeps up the effort.

How could anybody not appreciate titles like: Going Commando, Size Matters, Secret Agent Clank or my favorite - Up Your Arsenal? So for the last few evenings I've been swept up in the sheer chaos and hilarity of outrageous battles against the destructive plans of evil overlords who want to destroy the universe. We've been rail riding, flying, solving puzzles and just plain enjoying the fun of using outrageous weapons (a giant burping monster gun or Mr. Zirkon, a flying robot weapon who talks, 'Mr Zirkon needs no nanotech to survive; Mr. Zirkon lives on fear') against hordes of monsters all in the effort of reuniting a pair of friends. That's a worthy enough goal in my opinion. Just in case you'd like to see a little bit of the action here it is. Happy Halloween.

and yes, I will be visiting.


  1. From Jung to Ratchet and Clank in a few easy moves. I'm impressed.

    Red Book, an RPG based in the mindscape of Jung... I'd be picking that up in a second.

  2. haha. i've been known to disappear for weeks at a time in a new computer game. what i've learned is to allocate a certain time now for computer things, and work and tv and all the rest. yes, sometimes i feel regimented, maybe even over-organized. but it took me a long time to get here. now instead of looking for time to get things done, i search for time to waste. i don't know which is better/worse.

  3. joss - I'm very glad to see you're back and I don't mean that in the sense of the Irish toast. Yes, that could be a very cool RPG or perhaps a platformer..

    sera - I've got a pretty good right hand but the left one only serves to hold me up when I exercise. In other words, I'm good at only a few of them. Maybe you see yourself as over-organized but that's just another phrase for one who moves smoothly through the world and that's good. You never know what treasures you'll find in your search for time to waste :-)

  4. Now that looks like fun. Shame that I always reeked at computer games!

  5. I'm out of the loop when it comes to computer games so I'll just take your word that it's a lot of fun. Happy Halloween to you and yours.

  6. Does that look pretty damn cool or what, I mean, where are the 20-foot phallic weapons and oversized boobs? That can't possibly be an American video game.

  7. I always loved watching the kids, or my husband play. He finally gave up on us during Tomb Raider because we all kept yelling at him to be careful, watch out, go left, stop, ... well you get the picture.

  8. I don't know why I can't seem to wrap my head around this type of animation. I'm not usually narrow-minded about any type of art (as you know from TPS) and yet this does nothing for me. My head just sort of rejects it, like a bad organ. ;-)

    I also have the added annoyance of children in my classroom who live in the worlds created by video games. That is to say, that it's really hard to even talk to two of them and be able to relate on a human level. Further, I'm sure what most of the kids are playing isn't nearly as creative as this. But I do believe one of my little ones mentioned Ratchet and Clank.

    In any event, I thank you for the video because it gave me a glimpse into what the kids are up to. And in your case, the adults as well.

  9. jams - It's fun til your eyeballs start to bleed.

    liberality - Some are way more fun than others.

    randal - Yeah, it's amazing, isn't it?

    nancy - I've learned when to be quiet :-)

    pagan - I understand what you're saying. So far as Jer and I are concerned young kids shouldn't be watching television either. Goodness only knows how their little brains are getting rewired.

    Nevertheless, Jer plays a lot of games and every so often there's one that appeals to me too. The graphics on this one are the most intense I've ever seen and extraordinary on our 42" Sony.

  10. What fun!!! We never got a gaming station, and have not gotten into the modern games. But we greatly enjoyed Myst, and still love that kind of puzzle.

    Just a quick visit - got to go to bed and start another work week...

  11. time to waste *is* the treasure.
    i hope you had an awesome halloween, susan.

  12. steve - I don't game much myself but every so often I go along for a ride. Myst was fun and so were the old Infocom games but puzzle games are very rare now.

    sera - Yes, 'it' is :-)
    Halloween was fun but we kept our treats to ourselves again. No little visitors when you live in medical student land.

  13. I never really got in to gaming..... except for Tomb Raider. My son gave me his old PS1
    and I went totally nuts on Laura Croft... I guess there is a puzzle solving element that appeals to me.

  14. What Joss said!

    I never imagined that any of the women I know in the bloggy sense of knowing would be into any video games at all. And since I am so easily addicted it's a good thing I don't have a game playing mate, seein's how twitter swallowed me whole.

    I hope it doesn't take me so long to pop in again, but it's always a pleasure when I do.

  15. never got the hang of gaming.... i get motion sickness and migraines from them.... but i do appreciate the art and animation.... amazing on some of 'em. one of my nerdy kids is in computer engineering.... designing games is on his list of things he wants to do when he grows up.

  16. i took a bag of leftover halloween candy to work. and i froze the leftover butterfingers. we'll snack on those "as needed."
    we had about 40 kids but bought enough candy for 100. there's always a point in the night i worry that we don't have enough candy for all the trick-or-treaters, but we always have too much.
    because of my broken thumb, i didn't carve the pumpkin we bought. if i get the energy, maybe i'll bake some fresh pumpkin muffins. maybe.

  17. Susan- sounds like you’re enjoying yourself with those games of creatively inspired mammalian robots amongst the amazing graphics –but I prefer to read your stories or look at your pictures.
    Best wishes!

  18. okjimm - Yeah, Laura Croft for the puzzles.. I believe that :-)

    utah - I have to be honest and say it wouldn't have happened to me on my own. Too wacky but fun to watch.

    See you again soon :-)

    g-fid - I can relate to the dizziness for sure. Once we're into one like this it's like being on a roller coaster - you don't leave til the ride's over :-)

    sera - We had no little visitors but that's the way it is when you live in a housing complex with mostly medical students and young doctors. We were prepared but will have to eat the candy ourselves too :-)

    lindsay - How nice of you to say so and it just so happens I just wrote another little one. More pictures soon and I'll be by to visit :-)