Ok, you can call me late to the game. I know it’s nothing new to write about the XBOX 360 and its mind-blowing graphics. And GTA 4: well if you know what that acronym means despite the fact that you’ve never played any of the series, then Grand Theft Auto has done its job and officially entered the public lexicon.
Say what you want about video games. The high cost of admission has been prohibitively expensive for me these past few years. That’s how I’ve justified not buying into the console wars and all that hype. I just didn’t have the money. Plus, I had no interest in roaming around through dark halls all alone, no matter at what resolution. The spark of video games had worn off in college, and I thought, incorrectly, it was because I’d outgrown them, because they’d gotten too dark and brutal, because I was too busy reading Camus (well, maybe that one was a bit true). But it wasn’t that the games had deteriorated, it was just that I didn’t have any good friends to play them with anymore.
That was what had made them so much fun. Sure, it was great to see what the games themselves would come up with, but anyone who’s a good old-fashioned Nintendo freak like myself will tell you there was nothing for a very long while more satisfying, or more state-of-the-art than Contra. Mostly, because of the two player action and fun game mechanic.
I really don’t know why it was so much fun, nor would I attempt to assert that it was very “productive” in the Marxian sense to whittle away hours blasting away aliens, but in some other way it was also very therapeutic.
These late night sessions of controller swapping and jokes and stupid ribbing about Nazi blood. It didn’t make us into killers, either, by the way. Far from it. We did get a bit geekier though, the ones of us who played. Interestingly enough, we have been the gamblers of our lot, the ones who’ve struck out for gold in California, or to surf the snow capped peaks of Colorado in the winter and climb them in the summer. Though I would hardly call a poll of my old crew scientific.
My good friend Nar Williams, who runs the quite excellent blog Achieve Nerdvana, put it best, and simplest, and had me laying down my money to Dell for a system that (still) hasn’t shipped six days in—-and I’m starting to wonder just what “Order Processing” really means over at Dell. Are they 3D printing these things or what? Where are you XBOX 360?
Nar says to me on the phone: “It’s like a virtual Otting’s basement (where we used to play). Just think about it. We can all call and try and keep in touch individually and all that shit. But we’re not really ever gonna get to talk together. This is different. It’s like we’re all hanging back together and fucking killing some aliens like we were twelve years old. And it works beautifully. Tyler,” he says to me. “You gotta do it.”
So I did it.
Then I saw GTA 4 for sale for $30. This game I’d seen some trailers for that looked better than most movies. This is The Dark Knight of video games. I love it already and I haven’t even played it. I love it just because of the packaging, the fact that it comes stuffed with a huge foldout map the size of our small dining room table, and a city guide, the “Liberty City Guidebook”, with all the favorite stripclubs, restaurants and bars of the five boroughs, along with choice advertisements like the one below:
Lastly, included within was a one month GOLD membership to XBOX Live. It doesn’t get much better than that. What a package! Down to the snarky digs on capitalism, GTA 4 nailed it.
Now, I’m just waiting on the damn system. I guess that’s what I deserve for chasing a deal; for ordering a Microsoft game console from Dell.