|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.
Pins: 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
Dead-Eye: 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.
Geronimo: 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
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
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.
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.