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Daikatana - Towards A New Methodology For Clinical Evaluation 1999-03-14 Erik
A Daikatana two level demo has been released.  MPlayer is involved.
You know what? I can't even tell whether Daikatana is good or bad.  You can't either.  We're too close to it; too close to the scandals and the in-fighting and the Todd Porter alleged ass grabbing, you and I.
Where can we turn when we can't trust our own senses?  Blue?  Redwood?  I don't think so.  Blue posted as a news update a .plan entry from Romero where Romero talks about playing Daikatana with Blue; Redwood too. Romero could take a Thanksgiving after-dinner crap right into Blues mouth and he'd tell you it tasted like pumpkin pie.  Redwood'd quote it two days later and add a smiley face.  Evil Avatar had some unkind words for the demo.  I can't trust him though - his very name means the embodiment of evil.  So who?
I thought maybe I'd let some non-gamers try out Daikatana and report their results.   That wouldn't work, though, because they're stupid by definition - what the hell do they know about anything?  I'm left with a game that I suspect, but can't actually prove, is pure crap.  If  I could only find a group of people who don't play video games but who spend a lot of time inhabiting a video game like fantasy world -   people like the volunteers at those Renaissance fairs or schizophrenics. 


My girlfriend is in nursing school and is currently doing some kind of psych rotation for IHS.  She's got access to a literal army of high functioning schizophrenics - just the people I need to conduct my Daikatana experiments.  She was extremely reluctant at first - it's her instinctual reaction to any plan of mine that involves exploiting the weak and infirm, which is every plan of mine - but a little money and some love talk goes a long way with her and, to make a long story short, I'd like to introduce you to our four test subjects (I've used pseudonyms because I wasn't actually interested enough to find out their real names):

Rico: No friends, no leisure activities.  Has general feelings of anxiety and a stong, recurring sense of unreality.  In an ironic twist, he's Mexican and speaks little english.

Expresses the opinion that I am the Devil and, furthermore, that the Devil needs to be punished for the benefit of mankind.  I take this to mean that Pins will most likely be targeting me in particular as we commence the deathmatching proper.  I start the smack talk early and badger her whenever no one's looking with this whispered refrain: "that's right baby, I'm the Devil and I'm comin after you first."

:  My girlfriend's promise to provide me with high functioning schizophrenics may have been as trustworthy as my promise to let her mother live with us in the future.  I'm not sure if Dead-Eye is over-medicated or under-medicated (his chart says 800mg D-cycloserine twice a day), but he's completely non-responsive. Maybe he's just trying to psyche me out.  Anyway, I'm pegging this one for a camper.   "I got my eye on you buddy!" I tell him trying to get him more into the proceedings.  No response.  He's either desperately ill or a real competitor.

:  We're in an Indian Health Service clinic, but, surprisingly, Geronimo is the only native of the group.  On their best days, these Indians seem to have one foot planted in some other dimension - but Geronimo has added to this cultural spaciness a history of familial targeted aggression and a preoccupation with stuffing his shoes with hair.  He's a rail-thin, old looking thirty two, and, from what I can tell, the overburdened staff is treating him with a regimen of seclusion and resraints.   My girlfriend tells me he often hallucinates about time travel.  "That's great! Daikatana spans four different time periods." I say; then directly to him, "Daikatana spans four time periods!"  He bares his teeth at me.   "Save it for Storm Sector Seven, Tonto," I hiss.  This one unnerves me.

We're in the offices, by the way.  Patients don't have access to computers in their rooms.  The test systems are all Celeron 333s with TNT cards and, thanks to some large government grants, a T1 connection.  I start our little tournament by describing the game: "We are going to enter Future-Hell, and we're going to have to kill each other.  Use the mouse."  I start the install on five computers while my girlfriend passes around a picture of John Romero.  "Here is a photo of the creator," she tells our test subjects.  This seems to send a real shock of terror through them.  Within minutes, they're all agreed that the man in the picture is the Devil.  "El Diablo! El Diablo!" screams a hysterical Rico.   He's inconsolable.  Pins is convinced that both myself and Romero are the Devil.  It becomes apparent that she also thinks she is the Devil.   Geronimo, slowly tearing bloody chunks of hair from his head, cannot dispute the overwhelming evidence his broken mind is manufacturing: "This man - he is the devil," he says.  Dead-Eye alone remains unmoved.  He hasn't seen the photo.  I've put each of his limp hands on the return key of two different keyboards so he can help me get through the dialog boxes as MPlayer downloads about forty different patches.  The chair he's sitting on is stuck on some cables, so I've had to kind of lean it backwards so that he's almost prone with his arms outstretched.  I have a funny thought, and decide to share it with the test subjects.  "Look everyone," I say, "Dead-Eye looks just like Jesus on the cross!"  Chaos ensues. 

Some security guards came and helped us but my girlfriend's in some trouble apparently.   We never did get to play Daikatana.  Both the acute psychotic episodes I may have triggered in our test subjects and my acute inability to install MPlayer are to blame.

My conclusion:  Daikatana deathmatch tournaments are containdicated for the treatment of affective schizophrenia.  I will be submitting this article to both GamePro and The New England Journal Of Medicine.

That's Marvin there on the left

Emotion Synthesis Quantified

Here is the picture of Romero we used.

I haven't prepared a chart for my Daikatana clinical trials, so I'm reusing the Playstation 2 chart.

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