Wednesday, May 04, 2011
The 8 Best Video Games, #2 (MiniBest!)
If you follow pop culture for any length of time, you quickly realize one thing: Most people are really lame.
There was probably a nicer way to put that, but since the theme of this series of MiniBests seems to be to insult people, I just went with my instincts, the same way I figure renowned chef/extremely fat person Ina Garten went with her instincts when she said she's too busy to cook a meal with a 6-year-old boy who's dying of leukemia, forcing him to go with his second-choice wish to swim with dolphins, which just goes to show that dolphins are kinder to kids than fat chefs are, and also goes to show that if you get mad at me for saying you are lame, at least try to keep it in perspective, will you? I didn't decide to horribly disappoint a dying 6-year-old simply because I'm too self-important/fat, like Ina Garten did.
Also, remember, I didn't pick you out specifically, I just said most people were lame, so if you're insulted, then, technically, you decided that you fit into the category of lame, not me. Don't kill the messenger, because the messenger is you.
I decided that most people were lame after I got a smartphone and then got Angry Birds, letting me finally see what people had been talking about for the better part of a few months last year, and when I did finally see it, I thought "Really? That's it? A revved up version of Atari's "Circus" game?"
See? I'm pretty much right, except that on Angry Birds the sound effects are slightly better. But it's pretty much the same concept. So why were people so excited about this game? Because people are lame.
Then again, video games, like movies, books, cooking TV shows featuring fat ladies, and pretty much every other form of entertainment are all just variations on a theme, aren't they? Someone once said that there are only seven basic stories, and then someone else once sent me a quote that took issue with that, saying that novels, in particular, have only two plots, but the point is, nothing is really original and everyone pretty much steals everybody else's ideas, so Art Buchwald definitely should not have sued Eddie Murphy is where I ended up with that chain of thought.
Video games tend to fall into one of a few categories, just as all other entertainment does, and the only reason that people aren't making fun of the fact that videogames have categories, too, is that most adult people don't care about videogames; no matter how many times someone at Slate hectors us with news that videogames now "gross" $500,000,000,000 per second or whatever it is that they make, we just can't get excited about it because in the popular consciousness, "video games" are not played or enjoyed by "regular people," but by people who look a lot like Kevin Smith looked in Die Hard: Whichever Number It Was That Kevin Smith Was In.
You have your first-person shooters, your racing games, your maze games, your games that claim to be totally different games that nobody can figure out, like Myst, and then your games that are, frankly, incomprehensibly categorized as "games" despite the fact that they are patently not games, like "The Sims", a "game" that I never understood the appeal of, either. How is it a game if you simply recreate a life? The time our Middle Daughter ("Middle") tried to get me to play it, she told me I had to make my Sim cook dinner, buy furniture and get a job... and those were all the same things I'd done that day.
(Well, except get a job; technically, I had one of those, but I'd spent that day at "work" reading comics online, so it all balanced out.)
The only fun thing about The Sims ever was my reading an article about a video game player who tried to drive his Sim insane, with hilarious results that probably mean that he, and I, and anyone else who thought it was funny, should be arrested and should definitely not be put in charge of other people such as employees or children.
You probably think, after all that decrying of video games that are just versions of other video games, that I'm going to now come out of left field and name, as the #2 Best Video Game, some video game that "broke the mold" or "changed the field" or "innovated" or something, but you'd be wrong. As a general rule, nothing I say in a post has any relation to anything else I say in a post; it's all a stream-of-consciousness rant that's designed to keep you distracted from the fact that major corporations have tiny remote laser capability, raising serious questions about the future direction of our society, because you just know that at some point McDonald's is going to start packaging Happy Meals with miniature lasers, and I, for one, cannot wait for that because I have always wanted a laser gun.
Remember: "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."*
#2 Best Video Game, which is:
Stop the Humanoid! Stop the Intruder! I have never forgotten those eerie-mechanical words emanating from the arcade console of this game, the latter part of the phrase raising in pitch to indicate that there were more than one robot talking.
Berserk was a first-person shooter game stripped down to its barest elements: No story line, minimalist graphics (because that was the best we could do at the time), no goal, even: just run through room after room of deadly killer robots.
You didn't know what you were doing -- but you knew you weren't supposed to be there, because you were the intruder. You might not even be human -- you were a humanoid -- and there wasn't even time to ponder all those questions because you had to keep running and shooting and running and shooting.
This is the part of the post where I wax philosophical about the game and its larger meaning in society, but, honestly, I'm a little scatterbrained from watching videos of videogames on Youtube, and also wondering if I shouldn't have picked Robotron 2084, instead, so I'm going to just let you Mad Lib it and finish up this post for me:
In fact, the video game Berserk makes ___________(insert pronoun) wonder whether _____________(pronoun for group) have some deep-seated ___________ (emotion) that we mask by inventing _____________ (social activity), which we then turn to whenever _______________(a kind of food that only grandmothers like) gets on our nerves, which, when you ___________________(a verb that applies uniquely to NASCAR) about it, is really what ________________(someone who once dated Barack Obama) meant when _______________(are you still reading this? Why?) said ___________________(punch line to your favorite knock-knock joke.)
Previous entries in this Minibest:
1. 2001 Madden NFL for the Playstation 2.