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Great question. If I only had one video I could play it would be this.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Issue : Games : Discovery Zone



A long time ago I was that kid in the City that would wander around the Embarcadero like he was homeless. I did this because my mom was in school at the time working on her doctorate, and every month or so she would have to go downtown to attend a class, take a test, or meet with her study group. I always looked forward to those days because she was a resident at a busy hospital that took up all of her time, and I was a latchkey kid who spent a lot of time doing whatever it is I did, she called it our “Date day.”

At first she would let me sit in the back of the class or with her study group, but I had this problem where I couldn't sit still and would never shut up, so she’d give me twenty bucks (A heavy stack for me at the time) and drop me off at the Embarcadero to wander around for a few hours. Looking back that was some incredibly dangerous shit. This was way before cell phones or even beepers, so when I was gone, I was gone.

I would approach money allocation like an rpg/strat game. I had this much for the arcade, this much to get into laser tag or the wax museum, this much for lunch, usually a bowl of clam chowder at the pier, the kind that comes in a sourdough bowl. This much would go to candy, toys, or fireworks from Chinatown, that sort of thing.

My hard and fast rules were never to talk to anyone I didn't know unless I absolutely had to, never pull my money out in the open, and never, ever, miss the rendezvous time with my mom at EMB center, because she would kill me, as in she said if I was not dead, she would physically end my short life. I set my game-and-watch for twenty minutes before the meet up, and made it scripture to be there.

I broke these hard and fast rules the second I left my mom’s sight (Sorry mom, please don’t kill me) so every trip was a randomly generated instance. Sometimes tourists would mistake me for homeless and I would play along by tagging along with their family, showing them the sights, then disappearing around a corner when it was time to return to the starting zone. Other times I would meet up with the homies in the arcade and blow all my money on Street Fighter money pot tournaments. The skill quality of kids there was insane, most of them went on to become names you would probably recognize. Needless to say, I wound up broke thirty minutes into this quest frequently.

Other times I would challenge time itself by hopping the bus and heading to golden gate park or the Exploratorium. These were the most sketch adventures, and frequently ended with a mad dash back to EMB with a couple seconds to spare. My mom would find me on the big blocks sweating bricks. She knew what was up, but as long as I was alive she gave me a pass. When she showed up we would usually go see a play, head out to the Monterey bay mammal center, or walk around the pier some more. 

One time a tourist’s family I gave the Charles Dickens act to ran into us and started bugging out. “We have been looking all over for you! You just disappeared! Who is this? Is this your social worker!?” I pretended I had never seen them before in my life, and my mom got loose. “Do we all look the same to you!!?” I still feel bad about that, but hey, better them than me.

Anyway, I guess I’m bringing all this up because I just heard they are opening up an Exploratorium over on Pier 15 soon. Thanks to neverending crunchtime I practically live at work now, and add all the Default Tester and assorted side project shit to the mix I don’t get much “Life” done. At the time I always imagined my mom was somewhere on campus having an adult’s version of fun. As a kid I figured “Why would anyone be working all the time if they didn't enjoy it?” I thought I had It all figured out. Kids don’t know shit about shit. When we ship I think I owe her a bowl of chowder and an adventure. I'll go deep sea fishing with pops, but that's a whole different story.

Anyway… on to the news:

-          The guys at Lab Zero told the truth on Kickstarter (Wait, wha? It's on Indie Go Go? Wow, nice!)  when they asked for 150,000 boners in order to make one new character, not a skin, not a palette swap, but an actual new character. And the biggest surprise is that instead of calling bullshit, people actually came out of their pockets, and quickly. Well, that is surprising. I guess telling the truth isn't going out of style as fast as the projections would have you believe.

-          A Valve ex-pat is working on a mobile game abouta riot, or a documentary about a riot, or something about a riot. You can play as the police or the terror… oops, the protesters  and either option leads you through a bunch of questionable decisions and rationalizations to broken glass and someone that had nothing to do with it getting hurt. Way to bring down the room, dude from Valve. I can’t wait to play this game. Also, why mobile? You got that GABEN money, patna. Or did.


-          EA’s future games will feature microtransactions. Surprise, quit fuckin’ crying you babies. If you have a better business model idea the gaming industry would love to hear it. This is why we can’t have nice things. It’s fun and games for a while, and don’t get me wrong, I still fly the skull and cross bones high. But the East India Trading company is falling apart, and without them there is no more other thing. No more anything, not as we know it, anyway. It’s a business folks, and people are losing their heads. Put some money in the hat, or go to business school, join a house, and help out. Smart guys.

-         Bioshock Infinite, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, Tomb Raider, MLB 13 The Show, GOW: Ascension, StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, Gears of War: Judgment… etc… See you in June, folks.

I hope information... chokes on you... thank you yes it does sound disgusting. Oh yeah, and Jerbz.

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