Weird Things Seen In Stores: All Video Game Edition

I’m always on the lookout when wandering around in stores for things that seem odd or funny to me.  I can’t help but snap a picture for later amusement and sharing with my friends.  Lately, I’ve spotted a few different things that seemed quirky or odd to me, all in relation to video games.

Wii Baby

I was shopping at Costco, one of my favourite stores to wander around aimlessly in.  I never miss the section with all the books and video games because they’re always at least five bucks cheaper than anywhere else.  I was in the gaming section when I frowned, seeing a stuffed doll and thinking it was out of place.  I was wrong.  This is an interactive baby that’s also a video game.  Yes folks, that’s right.  As far as I can tell, you shove a Wii-mote up inside the baby and it becomes a video game.  Not only does that sound like something that really didn’t need to be made into a video game, but also the concept of putting the Wii-mote into the baby to make it a video game controller just isn’t right.

Bioshock 2: New vs. Used

I’ve been curious about Bioshock for a long time, but was never able to play it until recently when we got an HD television.  I tried on the boyfriend’s PC once and almost threw up because of the first person perspective.  We were checking out EB games one day and as always, I checked the prices on the used PS3 games.  Bioshock 2 used was priced as $17.99.  On a whim, I checked to see what it was priced as new.  I stared dumbfounded at the price sticker on the new copy that told me it was only $9.99.  I picked them both up and looked at them in shock and then smiled happily to myself as I put the used one back and purchased a brand new copy for myself.  I sincerely hope it was a pricing error and I got to stick it to EB games that day because the prices on their used games generally suck.

Mary-Kate and Ashley's Sweet 16

I remember when these two were on Full House and they were funny and cute and we all learned good moral, family values every Sunday night.  I also remember when I stopped caring about them.  This was in the used PS2 game section at EB and honestly, it kind of ticked me off.  for one thing, the price is $14.99.  Who the hell is going to pay $14.99 for a game about a sweet 16 birthday party…even if it does have Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen in it?  The part that really irked me, however, was written near the bottom right  of the cover.  It says, and I quote, “Real Games for Real Girls”.  Really?  Last time I checked, I was a girl.  I can’t really see myself playing this and haven’t really missed its presence on my shelf beside games like Call of Duty: Black Ops or Resident Evil 5…both of which are MY games.  I get that there are girls that would enjoy this game, to each her own.  I have no problems with that.  What I have a problem is them making it seem like girls have been sitting around forever, waiting for a game to come along that was all about girly pink birthday parties and turning sweet 16.  Finally the day has come.  It’s almost as bad as the stupid Wii Baby.

Dirty Dancing for PC

I loved Dirty Dancing when I was a kid.  I still love it.  It’s one of my favourite movies of all time.  But I can’t understand who would think it would ever make a good video game.  The concept of the movie lends nothing to a video game whatsoever.  In fact, as far as I could tell from reading the back of the case, the premise of the game was that you were staying at the resort in the movie and all you do is play little mini games.  It is like a million other pieces of shovelware out there and they decided to slap a classic movie title on it, hoping to sell more copies.

Scott Pilgrim at Starbucks

I actually saw this one last fall and it isn’t something I found weird.  I found it to be totally awesome.  I know that the Scott Pilgrim thing is actually a comic book and a movie as well, but it counts as a video game because I own the video game and freaking love it.  It’s also awesome, because I love Pumpkin Spice Latte and was thrilled to see its return with the approaching Thanksgiving/Halloween season.  Whomever drew this rules as a Barrista, a nerd and a human being in general.  My hat off to them.

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Bluetooth Etiquette: What Not to Do When Playing Online

As previously noted here, I have recently gotten back into first person shooters and I’ve been playing the crap out of Call of Duty: Black Ops.  I never knew I could have so much fun playing online with strangers.  I was a little intimidated at first because I’d heard stories about people being mean or condescending over the Bluetooth, especially if you’re a girl.  However, my gamer tag isn’t overtly feminine and I never had anyone razzing me about anything at all, so I kept playing.

Eventually, because there were a few folks that I would group with from The Games Day Podcast on Sunday night for SLAM, I decided to get the boyfriend to hook up the Bluetooth he had received for Christmas so I could converse with them when we were playing Domination or some other team based game option.

Since then, I have noticed a few things that are more than annoying when it comes to people and their Bluetooth use.

For instance, if you’re going to have your Bluetooth on and picking up sounds…don’t be eating food.  We can hear you chewing and it’s distracting and gross.  All you have to do is point the microphone away from your grinding jaws for the duration of your eating so we can play the game in peace.

Another horrid annoyance is people who have music on in the background.  Guess what?  We can hear that too and not all of us like your music selection.  I wouldn’t go about making you all listen to the soundtrack to some musical I like, so why do I have to listen to crappy rap music in which only the heavy bass beat and some tinny sounding lyrics float through my television speakers to piss me off?  Either turn the stereo off or turn off the headset…it’s only polite.

Pets and children.  Let’s establish something.  If your dog is barking continuously in the background, you should probably figure out why and make that stop.  If you are one of the jerks that has pets and ignores them, give your pet to someone who will love and pay attention to it.  If there’s something wrong that is causing your dog to bark, that probably requires your attention more than the game.  And if you have kids yammering on in the background so close to your headset that I can hear what they’re saying, slap yourself.  This is one of those games that kids aren’t supposed to be playing/watching.  That’s why there’s a rating system.  If you decided you were responsible enough to raise a kid, prove it.  Wait till they’re in bed or otherwise occupied to play a game with killing like this one or guess what?  You don’t get to play.  You are a parent first and a pwner of noobs second.

Just because it happened to me the other night, I’m throwing this one out there.  I don’t need to have the Bible quoted to me during a game where my sole purpose is to kill other people.  That’s just weird and creepy and, if you’re in there playing that same game…rather hypocritical.  Scriptures have no place in online first person shooters.

This last one is rather like the stereo comment, but since it just happened tonight, it gets it’s own paragraph.  If for some reason you have two televisions in the same room and you happen to be playing COD and someone else (or perhaps yourself, we all  have a little ADD) happens to be watching the other television with the volume on high, turn the freaking Bluetooth off.  Yes, I’m talking to you, guy from tonight.  I did not need to hear every word of what was being watched on your other television tonight while I was playing.  I didn’t need to hear stupid commercials floating through my television speakers instead of the actual sound effects of COD.  I didn’t need to hear the other person in the room with you talking while you sat with your Bluetooth on and said nothing about the game at all.  What is the point of having Bluetooth hooked up if you’re not using it to actually communicate with other people in the GAME?  You’re only irritating the rest of us and ruining the experience for the whole group.

Whether people realize it or not, those Bluetooth microphones pick up a heck of a lot of background noise if you’re not careful and while sometimes it’s an accident, ten straight minutes of someone else’s television audio is cause for an uprising.  I got rid of cable for a reason and I don’t want to have to listen to someone else watch television while I’m trying to survive a round of Free for All.  Do us all a favour and turn off the microphone if you’re not going to use it for it’s intended purpose.

Nausea Rules My Life No More!

I discovered something over the holidays, my friends, and I have to tell you, it’s something absolutely wonderful.  I can play first person shooters again.  I can run around in a virtual world and kill the enemy and not throw up all over the floor.  At least for a couple of hours anyway.  Let me explain.

A while ago, I posted about having Simulation Sickness, a condition where certain people cannot handle the visual graphics and movement of certain kinds of video games.  For me, it was most prominently first person shooters.  I LOVE first person shooters so you can imagine how this upset me.  I missed out on a tonne of triple A titles in the last eight years or so of my life when this little ailment started.

However, over these past Christmas holidays, I was invited by the awesome members and friends of The Games Day Podcast to a marathon gaming session that lasted from 11:00 am until about 2:00 am.  I was stoked because I hadn’t gamed like that since high school when I used to have all the guys over for hours and play the crap out of 007 Goldeneye for the 64.

I knew that first person shooters would definitely play a huge roll in the days events because they are awesome, but I knew there would be a plethora of games for me to play so I didn’t worry too much about it.  When we got there we checked out the demo for Just Cause 2 which was totally awesome.  I was happy because it was third person and the game play rocked.

We also checked out DJ Hero, which is a hell of a lot harder than it looks and despite my original thoughts on the concept, some of the mashups were actually pretty cool.

Eventually, I was drawn to the back room where some people were playing Call of Duty: Black Ops, specifically, the zombie mode.  I sat down and watched for a while before someone put the controller in my hand.  I stared at it for a few seconds before I started playing, expecting the well known hot flash followed by cold sweat and nausea.  However, a few rounds into playing, this hadn’t arrived.  I kept playing, learning the controls and getting used to the feel of it again as I wondered why I wasn’t getting sick.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that playing a first person shooter on an HD television did not cause the nausea I used to experience on an standard definition television.

As you can imagine, I was overjoyed.  This was pretty much the game I played for the entire rest of the day, switching out with the other players, learning how to best play the game and experiencing multiplayer online gaming for the first time.  Eventually, they filmed the last episode of the year, the topic being Game of the Year 2010.  I got to sit in the background and play COD: Black Ops while they filmed it, which was awesome.

Eventually, I played for too long and I did start to feel nauseous, but I didn’t let this discourage me.  Since then, I’ve purchased my own copy of the game and I have found that I can play for about two hours or so at a time before I need to turn the game off.  I’m freaking thrilled.  I have so many plans to play catch up with all the games I missed and to get in on massive online death match rounds.

So happy gaming to all of you out there in 2011…the year I didn’t throw up during a first person shooter!

A badly drawn representation of my joyful reaction to being able to play FPS again