Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Good Test of my Deodorant

At the local fun park, I don’t play the driving video games. Nor do I fly a plane, ski, or mess with secret martial arts moves -- at least, not any more, not since I gave up trying to make the character of Yoshimitsu, a swordsman, behave properly in the game Tekken, versions 1 through 3, years ago.

He just got weirder and weirder, with more and more moves that never really worked, like that thing where he sits down and masturbates with his sword and gets life back.

That’s always a good way to get clobbered. It happens by accident at just the wrong times, too. You’re trying to do the leg sweeps followed by the rising kick, and you hit the foot buttons at the same time rather than one after the other, and right there in the heat of battle he’s sitting down and masturbating.

I see Tekken 5 and I do try it once, and I find Yoshimitsu's skin now sunken in against his bones, his eyes glowing. Poor guy needs some lotion.

So I do it old school. I go to get a gift certificate for some kids in my family, and then I head into the fray, going past the 3-d pill-box shooter, past the pinball games that give you, like, 3 balls for a dollar now, past the game where someone rips off your head and pours your brains down his throat like he’s chugging beer from a pitcher.

I go to the Williams Electronics games of yesteryear, the mid 80’s, when video games ran on abstraction and geometry and they still used lasers by God. Lasers. That’s fair weaponry in video games. That’s Geneva Video Game Convention approved. You don’t gotta go online to some chat room to learn the code to fire your laser. You don’t gotta deal with some nearly naked Bruce Li -- though, to be honest, the video game characters, acting through their polygons, are better actors than Bruce Li.

Nope. You move a spaceship or a little dude around, you shoot a laser, and that’s pure and honest. When you're done, you're done. There's no inserting more coins to continue. No one gets resurrected either. You have your lives, usually starting with 3 and getting another every 10,000 or so, and once they’re used up, that’s it. The problem with kids these days is, they think they can just come back to life or something. Save the game. Sheesh. You think you got time to save the game when the last humanoid has been abducted and the planet surface is unstable and the whole thing’s about to go ka-flooy and all the landers will turn into mutants? No. No pausing, no saving. You step up to the plate and you’re there for the duration. You gotta class to go to and you’re on a roll? Forget it. You skip the class.

It's my first game of Stargate in years, and I forget to warp from the first level. Damn, that used to always be the thing to do. When it's over, tendons of my right hand hurt from dealing with that whole problem of manipulating the fire, thrust, and inviso buttons at the same time. When I was 14 I never hurt like this.

I next go to Robotron which, I later learned, was invented by EJ and LD, the same guys who brought us Stargate (and it's predecessor, Defender), after EJ received a hand injury in a car accident and needed to play a game that did not have buttons to press. So it's therapy for me as it was for him.

In Robotron, you just have to get in touch with the base of your spinal cord and not let any nerve impulses come any higher, because that takes too long. Fighting the grunts, you can shoot and move any which way. But when the pulsing red circles appear, quickly look to where most of them are on the screen and head toward them. Root them out. Shoot them as fast as you can before they start emitting those gray things that shoot little “plus” signs. In chasing the red circles, you get to the edge of the board, so now just start moving around the edge shooting diagonally into the center of the board or ahead of yourself to clear a path, watching out for the flying “plus” signs coming from the grey things that were emitted from circles you didn’t get to in time. Damn, that automatic weapon just doesn’t shoot fast enough.

When you get to the brains, at least they are kind of slow so you can pick them off pretty easily, but if you let them reprogram too many humans, you’re screwed. And often they are on screens with the red circles/grey things anyway, so mostly you have to deal with the red circles/grey things.

There comes the wave that begins with those pulsing squares moving all around you. They turn into larger red robots that roll quickly and shoot fireballs that bounce off the walls. Now you need a whole new strategy. Do not head for the wall and run around the outside like you did in chasing the red circles, because near the wall and especially in the corners, you have to deal with the fireballs bouncing off the walls. Instead, stay in the middle, where you only have to dodge them on the first pass. Run in little circles around the middle, shoot everything as much as you can, and just stay alive as long as you can, and hope for luck. You will probably die at least once on every level like this.

On every level, sweep up as many humans as you can. This is the best way to get points, extra lives, and prolong the game. Always, when there’s just one robot left, leave it alive until all the humans are swept up.

I got to 300,000 points on Robotron, probably the best I’ve ever done, though perhaps some of you readers have done better -- and note that some Immortals' scores are well into the millions.

Then, back on Stargate, I again missed warping on the first wave. Darn. But on the second wave, I found myself with three humanoids in tow. Was that enough? I hit the Stargate and BAM, there it went, the warp to wave 4. On that wave, I actually got three humanoids in tow again and warped to wave 7 or so, skipping over the Yllabian Dogfight, a disappointment since that wave is cool. By the way, Yllabian, as in Yllabian Space Guppies, comes from Bally spelled backwards. Also, the green lander aliens are of the Irata race -- Atari spelled backwards -- and the Munchies are based on Pac-Man. Bally, Atari, and Pac-Man are all competitors of Williams electronics, and are creatures you have to save the world from in this game. Meanwhile, the Dynamo and Space Hum are homage to the Frank Zappa song. This info I get from here.

I lose the planet at some point near 90,000, but finish the wave and arrive at the Firebomber Showdown. Here I confuse Pods for Firebombers on the scanner, and I end up smart-bombing a bunch of Firebombers when the Pod Intersection was occurring somewhere else. I'm out of smart bombs, so when I do encounter pods I shoot them with the laser and then shoot each Swarmer. Any Stargate player will tell you, when you are shooting the Pods and Swarmers with your lasers, you're in deep trouble. But I did make it to over 100,000 in that game, also a personal best, also not so hot compared to Immortals' scores.

After the second game of Stargate, I have more tendon pain in the right hand plus the old blister on the little finger of my left hand where I grind it under the up-down lever. When I was a teenager, I had a permanent callous there, and no tendon pain.

Driving home, I do hand and wrist stretches I have learned in arnis.

Playing these games makes me sweat more than anything else, except exercising outside in the summertime. Exercising at any other time -- outside in the fall, winter, or spring -- does not make me sweat as much as playing these games. And coming away from them, I feel like I’ve been somewhere I can’t explain, some other place where I was simply on, livid, living, and loose if it went well. If I play too many, I tighten up. So I leave before finishing my own fun card. Plus, my hand hurts.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, well, when the tendons of your right hand hurt from dealing with that whole problem of manipulating the fire, then it's actually a good thing to run out of quarters.

--Lisa S.

Cathelou said...

That tendon pain--a sad, sad testament to being over 18 and trying to recapture your youth.

Did they still have Centipede? I got 600,000 on that once . . . .