I Take It All Back

Yeah, remember all that whining I did about the stresses of weddings? Where I talked about how, if you are planning on getting married, I suggested you give yourself a break and elope?

Screw that noise.

For those of you that have not figured this out yet from my past brilliant adventures, let me just clarify here: I’m an idiot. Why anyone would EVER listen to me is beyond me. But once again, God has seen fit to demonstrate how little I know.

This past Sunday was Kwipette’s bridal shower. Let me just explain the concept of a bridal shower for those bachelors out there (because, up until Sunday, I had no idea of these things either, and I feel the need to share my new-found knowledge).

Here’s how it works: you’re getting married. To the men, this usually means thinking about things you’d never consider (ie, floral arrangements, appropriate music and wearing underwear). To them women, this usually means the fulfillment of a life-long dream (taking control of a man to govern for the rest of his life). To celebrate this union, the bride’s girlfriends and female relatives throw her a party.

A party where they give her PRESENTS!

And that’s not all: not only are you expected to come with a present, but there is also present a “Wishing Well.” Into this wishing well, you’re expected to deposit at least one small kitchen utensil or other household item. So now we’ve got a billion chip clips – and personally, at the rate I open chip bags without finishing them, this is a lifesaver.

And the presents themselves – I’ve got this blender that’s so powerful I’m pretty certain could easily whip up a 1976 Ford Fairmont Station Wagon milkshake if I so choose. The thing has a digital readout and SUCTION CUPS. This thing will attach itself to your counter so firmly that nothing short of a nuclear blast will discharge it. I love it. And while we may have had a lot of pots and pans for Kwipette to slap me around with previously, now they are MATCHING pots and pans, for the fashionably aware husband beater. You don’t even want me to start about the towels, towel racks and mirrors. Let me just say that after this weekend, if you can find a bathroom that’s better color-coordinated than ours, you better be standing in Martha Stewart’s potty. Well, before they repo it, that is.

So, just to recap this: yes, the bride and groom will be getting married in a month. At that wedding, it will be expected that you bring a present. BUT – and this is the important part – if you’re a chick, you have to show up to this PRE-wedding party, and give ANOTHER present! So that means we’re getting like TWO presents from people – for ONE wedding!

I mean, imagine your birthday party. Now imagine if all your friends had to show up a month BEFORE your party and give you a present. And THEN they had to show up at the birthday party with ANOTHER present. Or, preferably, CASH.

Whoever thought of this wedding thing is a genius.

Where Death Goes When He’s Bored…

Meridian 59 is old school. I mean like OOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLDDDDDD school. Like “Bob Dole used to play this game as a teen on his abacus” old. The graphics are pretty rough – I think the only chip you’d need to run this thing is a Dorito.

Now, having dissed thusly, this is THE game. When you talk about graphic MOGs, M59 was around before the likes of Lord Briton still thought the Atari Adventure game was the shit. The game has all sorts of history behind it. Truth be told, I can barely keep up with the history of whether or not I put my underwear under or over my pants. So trying to track down the years of history that went into this game were WAY beyond me. But when I first spotted the ads on Penny Arcade – well, that was enough for me! I mean, advertising on that site takes some serious duckies (in other words, they’ve still refused to put up my banners in exchange for me power-leveling them on Darktide). So this MUST be a legit game!

(Good grief. Can I just take a moment to focus on what a pathetic victim of commercialism and a sad fanboy I am? Let’s face it – if Penny Arcade ran an ad stating the benefits of hitting yourself in the face really hard with a hammer, I’d doubtless give it a pretty good go. I’ve got my hammer already picked out and everything.)

Anyway, I go around and tried to find something out about it. It seems that everyone I talked to knew about the game; they all heard about it. It’s just like these bastiches not to tell me about cool stuff! Yeah! Remember that time you ‘forgot’ to tell me water will put out fires you set in your crotch, Quix? Huh? Remember that? When I walked around with the fires, and the burning, and the…uh…never mind.

So there’s this new…er…OLD game. It’s basically a sword and sorcery sorta deal. Yeah, I know – a MOG based on swords and sorcery? Insane! And there’s a lot of similarities here to other games – to cast spells you need certain components; there’s three different kingdoms you can ally yourself with; monsters prowling the surrounding lands like to eat you – yeah, it’s all been done before. Er – well, actually, after. Anyway, it’s nothing unusual.

What is unusual – and pleasantly so – is the in-game communications. Not only is there chat and broadcast abilities, but you can send email – IN THE GAME! Yeah, it’s HAWT. I mean, normally I have to wait until I log off to read all my hate mail. Not any more! Now if you hate me, you don’t have to take time away from your game to tell me! It’s awesome!

But this game is CONFUSING. Don’t bother looking for any nice and easy starting missions! I spent a good hour wandering around the starters’ town, and it still didn’t help me when I got to the ‘real’ world. Instead, I plopped out into the real world, and promptly got eaten by a rat. Weeeee.

And you think Death sucks in other worlds? Buddy, Death in M59 is like DEATH. He’s been pumping steroids and working part-time as a supervisor in a Kathy Lee Gifford Sweat Shop just to make sure he’s the right kind of sadist for the job. When you die, you might as well just sit down and start crying and get it over with. You lose what you’re carrying, all your money, half the stuff your friends were carrying, most of your sanity, half of your health, the clothes in your closet, some stuff in the store that looked interesting and any lint in your belly button.

Yeah, Death sucks THAT much.

So of course I spend most of my time running into him.

You say, “Oh look, what’s that thing over there? A pile of dirt?”
Groundworm eats your face!
You say, “AAAIIIIIIIIIEEEEEE!”
DEATH says, “Hey baby. Bend over!”
You cry.

You say, “Hrm…zombies! They’re dumb and slow! I can tank them!”
Zombie says, “BRAINS! BRAINS! BRAINS! Er…wait…Kwip? Hrm. INTESTINES! INTESTINES! INTESTINES!”
DEATH says, “Toss that salad, boy!”
You weep.

And the thing is, it’s bad enough to just die and be unhappy. But then you’ve got to find your way out of the underworld! There’s all these portals you can choose from, and of course I have no idea where I was when I died, so I have no idea where I should get out…bleargh.

But people in this game – sakes alive. They actually HELP you. It’s pretty insane – there’s such a low population, you can actually say hello to everyone in the game when you log on! That’s just kooky.

Anyone else playing this? If so, drop me a line. I’d love to hear from someone that actually is good at this game. They make a big deal out of the fact that even low-level people can help out in guild wars. Right now, the only way I’m thinking that’ll happen is if they use my dying as a distraction for the enemy…

JumpGate nothing, this is CRASHGate.

So. Some of you may or may not have heard about my latest obsession: JumpGate.

It’s basically this hyped-up version of Wing Commander : Privateer. In that you fly a ship, you can trade stuff, shoot stuff, mine stuff and crash into stuff.

Out of those four options, I’m getting REALLY good at crashing into things. Like, REALLY good at it. In fact, if they gave out experience points for that, I’d have maxed out my rank in my first day and they probably would’ve had to create a new level cap just for me.

Basically, you zip around from station to station, blowing up the evil aliens, mining from asteroids, fleeing from pirates and finding unique ways to die. Traveling from sector to sector is accomplished via JumpGates – wormholes in space that are kept stable via some fancy warp thingies. In game, people call these devices “Death Petals” or just “Petals,” because they look like flowers. Personally, I call them “Things You Will Crash Into At A Billion Miles An Hour And Splatter Like A Watermelon”.

The thing that’s tricky about these JumpGates is that you will come out the other side at whatever speed you’ve set your throttle to. So most people zero their throttle as they enter the gate. Not me though! Lawks, no! That’d be too easy! For whatever reason, I maintain a velocity of what has been proven to be physically impossible for my ship to achieve as I come out.

Right into the Petals.

So then I’m back at the station, and I have to re-equip my ship. That takes me about two years. See, there’s GOOD bits and BAD bits to put in your ship. I keep picking the bits that are so bad they make my ship explode as soon as they’re loaded.

But now I’ve given up on these silly transport missions. I’m going to mine some roids! Yaaaah, baby! I get set up with a couple of mining lasers and away I go.

Now there’s all sorts of ways to mine, and all sorts of roids to mine from. However, the really GOOD ones are in the more dangerous sections of space. So I charge out there, and only when I’ve got a billion alien monsters closing in on me do I realize that my mining lasers don’t do any damage to alien ships.

Oh yeah.

So now I’m back at the station. Two years, re-equipping. But this time, THIS time I’m not leaving this sector! Heck no! I’m gonna just mine some nearby roids, get some common ores, and sell them off. It’s an agonizingly slow process, but it’s a SAFE process.

Or so I think.

Until I realize that I’m no longer alone in the cockpit…

Death says, “Hi there! Can I fly?”
You say, “No! Get out of here!”
Death says, “Awww, come on! Hey! What’s this button do! Oooooooh, missle launches! That’s cool! Looks like it’s heading towards that guy over there…”
You say, “Ack! Attention all ships in sector! I’ve mistakenly launched a missile! I’m sorry!”
Death says, “Lying! He did that on purpose, guys! He’s a madman!”
You say, “Shutup! Go away! I’ve got mining to do!”
Death says, “No, I’m your co-pilot! Here, lemme help! The secret is finding a good spot to land on a roid!”
You say, “You can’t land on a roid!”
Death says, “Sure you can! Watch this!”
You say, “Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

Boom.

Sigh. One thing that’s fun in the game, though, is that from time to time the aliens will ‘infest’ jumpgates. They grow some funky thing over the gates so you can’t use them. How do you get rid of them? Why, the same way you get rid of any annoyance: nuclear weapons!

It takes a LOT of missles to blow the hell out of those things. It’s a pain. But it’s a lot of fun…and pretty damn dangerous. At least, if I’m anywhere nearby…

I don’t really try to get people around me killed. Honest. But see, you can toggle through the different targets in the sector and see who’s all there helping you. And if you forget you moved your targeting from the infestation to one of your wingmen…

Well, it’s what we call “not good.”

But I’m working hard. I’m ALMOST able to take a flux. Provided it’s a little one. That’s been crippled.

And I’ve got a few nukes.