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Great Moments in Game Writing 2002-01-31 Erik
Thanks to JH Tompson.  Happy anarchy day.

From a review of The Sims: Hot Date by a member of the ripe staff of Strategy Informer:

This game has some pretty bad faults in home-life. A character usually requires a 30 minute shower (or bath) per day which is not a realistic standard since many people shower every two days, and not for as long.

Bi-Annual Q&A 2001-12-12 Staff
Thanks to everyone who wrote in.

Once every two years, we like to take time out from our packed schedules to answer mail sent to us by you, the OMM readers.  As you already know if you've read our FAQ, we try to make these Q&As more of an informal rap session than a quiz or some other test of knowledge on my part.  By letting the mail gestate for a couple of dozen months, we're able to really give long, hard thought to our responses and formulate ex post facto justifications for our opinions, all sanctioned by hindsight.  This system's primary drawback is that two years is a long time to keep track of where anything is, much less some old emails calling one or both of us a cunt.  With that in mind, this bi-annual installment of Q&A consists of two questions we received yesterday:

From JamesH:

Which is better, GamingGroove or Voodooextreme?

Chet Responds: Hi James.  The best thing about VoodooExtreme is that it doesn't involve Billy 'Stupid' Wilson, while, clearly, the biggest selling point for GamingGroove is its complete lack of  Robert 'Apache' Howarth-Stupid.  So it's a tie.

From JamesH:

Are you guys excited about the Lord of the Rings movie?

Erik Responds: As a longtime fan of the dee-licious art of the pun, I'm excited about anything that inspires the press to use the words 'Hobbit Forming!' over and over and over again.  I'm also pleased that my struggling trademark catchphrase, "I'd rather stick my dick in the volcanic crack of Mount Doom!", will finally be understood and embraced by a large mainstream audience.

That doesn't mean that I don't have reservations, though. A few days ago, I was in Barnes and Noble wating for some surly looking teenage girls to vacate the young women's magazine section, which is right next to the muscle and fitness magazine section, where I like to read about muscles when I'm not actively planning to work out or sipping creatine monohydrate muscle drinks in preparation for planning to work out.  While I waited, I flipped through an issue of the Advocate that I hadn't read yet.  In it, I found an interview with Ian McKellen, who plays Gandalf in the movie. Here's a disturbing quote:

Says Armistead Maupin, the author of the Tales of the City novels and McKellen’s confidant for 20 years: “I think the fact that an openly gay actor is going to have his face all over Burger King cups in a matter of months is really quite significant.”

Believe me when I say that I absolutely do not want to live in a society in which gay people such as Ian McKellen are forced to conceal their sexuality.  However, I absolutely do want to live in a society in which old people such as Ian McKellen are forced to conceal their sexuality.  And I especially don't want to have to think about any gender combination of senior citizens having anal sex while I'm trying to eat a Croissan'wich. Not to mention that Burger King is going to have to issue of series of collectible cups

Preemptive Retort to the Rebuttals:

For those of you who plan to write in to complain about this update's mischaracterization of homosexuals as sex-obsessed, here is the introduction to the Advocate's "Gay Guide to Middle Earth", a companion piece to the McKellen interview:

"As Ian McKellen points out, no one in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth seems interested in sex, much less sexual orientation... But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing in the story for gay and lesbian audiences"

In other words: We know you're likely to dismiss anything that isn't directly about cock, so here're a few things in Lord of the Rings that might remind you of sex enough to get you through three hours spent not fucking.

explicitly commemorating the time Armistead Maupin treated Mr. McKellan to a really incredible blowjob to have any chance of being more openly gay than this 1983 glass featuring both Ewoks and C3PO:

12 Days of Christmas, Complaints About Return To Wolfenstein 2001-12-03 Erik
Day 3 - Day 1

Day 3 was originally going to be "Complaints About the Multiplayer".  But since Wolfenstein's multiplayer is perfect, we don't have anything to complain about.   Lucky for us, a vigilant reader noticed several factual errors in our Day 1 coverage and was kind enough and Luftwaffe enough to report them to us:

From: "Banzai-Bug" banzai-bug@web.de
To: erik@oldmanmurray.com
Subject: Have u ever thought of the things you are writing?
Date sent: Fri, 30 Nov 2001 08:19:01 +0100


I’ve just read your the article, "12 Days of Christmas, Complaints About Return To Wolfenstein".

First of al I’m a german. I can not understand why you are writing such stupid things about the German people.

"But, luckily, nobody cares. Without Nazis, Germany has absolutely no export that might possibly be of interest to anyone."

The most popular cars come from Germany like Mercedes Benz, BMW, VW, Porsche. These firms have BOUGHT American firms like Chrysler or General Motors. BMW has developed the basic motors for any airplane that’s in the air nowadays so your stupid US Army couldn’t bomb Afghanistan today if they hadn’t done it. (PS: You know the word in english language: Luftwaffe).

The USA has 230 Mio people (2 people per square kilometre) and has the most powerful economy! Germany has 80 Mio people (120 people per km²) and is the second one. So think if we get an really European Union HOW’s the first one? Uhhhhhhhhhhh.

Do you know what are the most sold weapons in the USA are? Heckler & Koch! An American firm? NOOOOOOOOOOOO lol a German one. Without such famous German people like Werner von Braun, Albert Einstein, Werner Siemens ….. the USA hadn’t build any atom bomb to throw over Japan to finish the war.

Did you know the in the early American history the decision of which language to talk was between GERMAN and ENGLISH?

The USA has killed millions of Indians and NOWBODY harms you for that.

SO WHY ARE YOU WRITING SUCH THINGS if you do not know anything about the germans?

CU Banzai-Bug

First of al - obviously - my bad!  Cry uncle and let slip the dogs of surrender, because I stand corrected.  Banzai is clearly a big longtime fan of OMM, but he's not afraid to take me to the mat - and then roll me up in the mat and toss the whole thing into an incinerator - when I screw up.  I need more people around me willing to be this honest.  And thanks for not rubbing it in by mentioning even more of Germany's most famous products, such as your country's market-cornering  ventures in soap made out of homosexuals.  My only excuse is that I actually did forget about the common English word 'Luftwaffe'.  

This whole thing reminds me of a funny German joke that maybe will bury the hatchet between us:

Banzai's Mother: Son, our scientists have discovered that the Jews can survive under water!

Banzai: Huh?!?

Banzai's Mother: But not for very long!!!

Banzai: Oh, my, hahahahaha.  Stop, my Luftwaffe!

12 Days of Christmas, Complaints About Return To Wolfenstein 2001-12-02 Erik
Day 2 - The Nazis Don't Speak German.

Science has no rules.  But like the similarly rule-free Ultimate Fighting Championship, science does have a few laws.  One of these is the Second Law of Themodynamics.  For those of you who don't follow science, the Second Law basically states that as terrible as things are, they're bound to get worse. 

Like the UFC's law against eye gouging, the Thermodynamics Law was enacted in order to protect the sport's participants. When scientists spend decades trying to prove something - such as the existence of Bigfoot - and then ultimately don't prove anything, the Second Law of Thermodynamics acts as a figurative version of the inflatable cushion stuntmen land on when they jump out of a helicopter.  As a scientist, you never have to feel too bad about your total lack of success, because, after all, science has already predicted that all your hard work and your nice things are bound to get ruined sooner or later. 

Another law of science is called Manifest Destiny.  Trying to explain this one without the underlying math and without referring to the periodic table of elements is almost impossible.  But, roughly, it predicts that the United States of America will eventually grow to encompass the entire planet. 

Return to Castle Wolfenstein is all fucked up because the Nazis speak English.  While neither Chet nor I are happy about this, we acknowledge that two immutable physical properties of the universe - the Second Law of Thermodynamics and Manifest Destiny - made the situation more or less inevitable.

avp2orwalterkeanelow.jpg (4783 bytes)
Further Research: Aliens vs. Predator 2 or Walter Keane painting?

12 Days of Christmas, Complaints About Return To Wolfenstein 2001-11-26 Erik
Day 1 - The Boss Monster.

According to Dr. George Gallup's 1956 Pocket Almanac of Facts, "Germany, Federal Republic of" has a population of 47,695,672, and its main exports are pig iron and yarn. 

That's the latest solid piece of information I can find about Germany.   Though there was a brief "Germany craze" during the 30s and 40s - thanks to Adolf Hitler's rise to power and the massive jet-fueled knuckle sandwich we subsequently dealt him - once the Nazis were gone, people lost interest pretty quickly.   What's Germany like today?  Do its tiny, chattering brown natives still make a lot of yarn?  Nobody knows.  But, luckily, nobody cares.  Without Nazis, Germany has absolutely no export that might possibly be of interest to anyone.

The one piece of news that did emerge from Germany back in the late nineties is that, evidently, the German government has forbidden the use of Nazis in games. It's tough to decide what's worse: being the country that invented and then decided to actually try out Naziism, or being the country that prohibited the best video game villains ever.  It's a tie, I guess. 

I wish we lived in a world where all games were required to include Nazis.  Though, now that I think about it, I'm describing a world where Germany won World War 2, such as the one portrayed in every novel, play, tv show, and movie about time travel.  So let me qualify that:  I want to live in a country that prohibits games that feature any type of enemy other than Nazis.  Soldiers, robots, dogs  - anything goes as long as they're Nazis or, in the case of dogs, German Shepherds.  And this is exactly the type of harebrained law a few hundred thousand dollars can buy you in Charles Taylor's Liberia.  So it's not just a crazy dream.  If we take up a collection, we could probably get this legislation passed and still have enough left over to save Something Awful during its next Fred Sanford-esque "big one".

The law will also state that any game featuring Nazis - which is every game in my proposed Israel for gamers, Liberia - should have Hitler as the final boss.   Because, seriously, making a game about Nazis and not having you somehow fight Hitler - whether he lives in a robot suit or flies around in a jet or maybe he's an armored dracula now or whatever - is retarded.  If a game doesn't let you fight some form of Hitler - for instance, a giant Hitler - then that game will receive a warning sticker, in much the same way that the U.S. Goverment currently requires awful games to display on their box the universally understood symbol for unnacceptable quality, "Anne McCaffrey's".

With that out of the way, here's a picture of Return To Castle Wolfenstein's final boss and a nice painting of Hitler and a promotional photo of the best reason for a strictly religious mother to let her kids get Halloween out of their systems early, Rob Zombie:

Adolf Hitler

Now, I'm not a big man.  In fact, I'm a small man attached to a big man's penis.  But small as I am, even I'm not afraid of Rob Zombie.  I guess someone over at Gray Matter confused being dirty with being scary.  Believe me, dreadlocks and a sleestack helmet don't make you the Predator.

Great Moments in Game Writing Part 2 2001-11-22 Erik
Thanks to J. Preston and site of substance Avault.
From a review of Project Gotham Racing on Avault:

Recent developments in the PS2's racing scene, including the oft-lauded Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, ensure that any racing game released for the X-Box will have to face competition from not only its own system but the competition as well.


Great Moments in Game Writing 2001-11-14 Erik
Thanks to R. Dulin, and big thanks to IGN for protecting the public from most of its content by locking it inside a virtual safe.
The first sentence of a recent Deus Ex 2 preview on pc.ign.com:

"There's a tendency among the press to attribute the creation of a game to a single person," says Warren Spector, creator of Thief and Deus Ex.


Pool of Radiance - A Voice of Reason 2001-10-03 Erik
Thanks to site of substance Avault for reporting that the Pool of Radiance install program will wipe out your hard drive if you don't install with the default options, more or less.
The disconnect between last Friday's monstrous dose of fantasy game reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and Usenet commentators is startling, depressing.  Where is the acknowledgement that this was not an "incompetent" attack on "your" hard drive, but a clear act of protest undertaken as a consequence of specific user actions?  Like everyone, the Pool of Radiance Install Program's desires are ultimately quite simple; it would like to deploy its parent software into a default directory - in peace and without interference from you.   That you chose to ignore the Pool of Radiance Install Program's clear wishes in an attempt to further assert your hegemony across the entire C drive and quite possibly drive D gives the admittedly unfortunate episode the distinct odor of  chicken shit, chicken sex pheromone, and fish.  For those of you too biased by your own "benevolent" directory maintenance imperialism to recognize smell metaphors, that's the odor of chickens coming home to roost and snatch.  The snatch image is a reward for those of you who didn't actively oppose the Pool of Radiance Install Program. Everyone else should mainly focus on the chickens coming home to roost area of the metaphor.  But if you mend your ways, I say go ahead and think about snatch.  As an added incentive to get your head screwed on straight, I know some other sexy words that evoke pussy, and I'll post them if I sense a positive shift in attitudes.

Logrolling In Our Times 2001-08-18 Erik
Thanks to Spy.
August 14,2001: Avault's Editor-in-Chief David Laprad writes an embarrassing editorial lamenting the demise of G.O.D.:

It’s clear, now more than ever, that the Gathering of Developers was one of the great alternative publishers in this age of industry consolidation... Here was a group of people who loved creating PC games, and watching the Gathering disappear into the embrace of corporate arms is to feel the electric tingle of hope fade.  

August 17, 2001: Former Godgames CEO Mike Wilson's upcoming failed project, SubstanceTV, names Avault its first "site of substance".  News of the big announcement is also exclusively granted to Avault.  And exclusively reported by Avault.  Except for here.

So what's a site of substance?  If Avault is any indication, it's the type of site that  can drum up a highly substantive number of words - say seven thousand - to review DeathKarz.  The average person has a greater chance of feeling the electric tingle of hope's sinister doppelgänger, the electric tingle of getting hit by lightning, than ever making it through an entire dry-ass Avault article.

"Substance" might also refer to the substantial benefits offered to advertisers in the form of Avault's fully sponsored info-tainment content.  Here's an old intercepted email to remind everyone of Avault's dubious "substance" credentials (I've highlighted the important parts in green to get you processed through this update and on your way):

From: kimberly@avault.com (Kimberly V. Vizurraga)
Organization: The Adrenaline Vault
Subject: Feature

Do you have a new product or title to be released before Christmas?
Typically this is the busiest time of year for the gaming industry
and we at the Adrenaline Vault are ready to help you get the word out!
Between now and the end of the year for every company the that advertises with us we will run a feature article on their game or hardware. That is like having a seperate site devoted to your product exclusivly ...a site complete with interviews, screenshots, and a preview. See our our most recent features at:



As you can see the " Feature Article" along with an advertising banner is a very effective and informative tool. If you are interested in scheduling it is important that you contact me asap, as
these articles are time consuming and require coordinating the times of both our writers and the artist with the necessary personnel from your company.

These Features run for approximately one week and we have had several request from advertisers already...so as you can see time and space is limited. Also keep in mind that our rates will go up the last quarter of the year, so to lock in today's rates it is important that your insertion order is completed before these changes go into effect.

BTW, it is another record month for the Adrenaline Vault, we are on track to receive approximately 1.7 million unique visitors this month and climbing. We will reach the 2 million mark before years end. It is a great time to be in the Vault!

Kimberly V. Vizurraga
Vice President of Sales
The Adrenaline Vault - http://avault.com

And unlike your local corporate-embraced TV station, Avault's too busy keepin' it real to ever mention that what you're about to see is an advertisement expressing the views of its sponsors.  The SubstanceTV staff might be interested in this potential site of substance, the only alt-media outlet brave enough to expose how awesome Nad's Hair Removal system is.

G.O.D. Employees To Start DVD Magazine, Burn In Hell 2001-08-16 Erik
Thanks to Hebrews 10:29: "How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, ...and has insulted the Spirit of grace?"
Last week, as news of the closure of G.O.D. reached the public, pundits scrambled to live up to their name and squeeze one last pun out of the hard, dusty G.O.D. Games pun sponge. Quickly giving up, they settled on "G.O.D. is dead."  We're not sure why they weren't more prepared for this inevitable outcome to the G.O.D. saga, though we suspect it may be because they were all too busy thinking up cutting-edge jokes about God's Word to ever actually read any of it.  Hell, 2 Kings 2 verses 23 and 24 give you all the information you need to know:

Then [Elijah] went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, ""Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!''

When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.

To summarize: A mob of little kids teased Elijah - kind of a Cooter-level major recurring character in the Old Testament - and God immediately had forty-two of them murdered.  And he didn't just regular kill them, he had them bear-mauled to death.  The primary component of G.O.D.'s failed business plan was mocking God herself [I'm just kidding: himself -ed.], so anyone with any knowledge of history is only surprised that the consequences weren't both swifter and bloodier.  

Between their employer's name, its offices in an old church, its highly subversive Last Supper promotional photos, its Bible satirizing press kits, and all the bravely confrontational E3 Jesus costumes that I'm sure scandalized the powerful "your Grandma" lobby, G.O.D. employees should thank whatever pan-denominational bullshit Unitarian false idol they won't admit to praying to when the airplane hits bad turbulence that most of them got off with just losing their shitty day jobs.  If your preferred method of acting tough is to beat up the myths people create to give them comfort when everyone they love eventually drops dead, at least pick one whose motto isn't "turn the other cheek."  Pussy.  I've said it before, I'm saying it now, and Marvin tells me I'll say it again: If the G.O.D. people want to really tempt fate and show some truly ballsy impertinence for once, a good name for their new DVD magazine would be "Fuck You Islam". 

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Old Bluesnews

Speaking of losing your day job, Jason 'Looniboi' Bergman has left Blues News and joined the staff of re-reporters paid by Steve Gibson's girlfriend to update Shack News.  As expected, Blues News now sucks.

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New Bluesnews

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