Forza Minorsports, Part One

Forza Minorsports, Part One


My friend Trevor is showing off the custom vinyl he's drawn onto the hood of his Wings West Civic. In Forza Motorsports 2, you can draw anything you want on your car. "Check out my West Wing Civic," he says, as if it was something Martin Sheen would drive.

"Nice. What is it? On the hood there?"

"What do you mean 'what is it'? It's a famous character."

"Earthworm Jim?"

"It's Godzilla."

"Oh right."

"Does it look like Earthworm Jim?"

"No, no, now that you said Godzilla, I can see it. The scale things on his back."

"I should probably draw radioactive breath." He goes into the custom vinyl screen and starts fumbling around with the different layers.

"I love how they always have Honda Civics in these games," Trevor says, considering various cone shapes in front of Godzilla's mouth. Trevor has a Civic in the real non-Forza world. He bought it used, and it was supposedly tricked out with some fancy muffler, but I'm pretty sure the noise it makes isn't the noise a muffler is supposed to make if it's not broken.

"The Civic is a good car," Trevor continues, applying a yellow/green color to the cone in front of Godzilla's mouth. "Good acceleration, decent top speed, excellent handling. 4.3 handling is good for Class D. Highly customizable for the rarity cash bonus. I'm always seeing tricked out Civics like mine. You know, I could auction this Godzilla West Wing Civic on the auction house. I'd probably get, like, fifty thousand for it."

We were just in Trevor's Civic before Shoot Club. While we were driving, his cell phone had blared some new ring tone I couldn't quite place.

"Is that 'We Are the World'?" I asked.

"Hold on, I gotta take this," he said. He flipped open his phone and studied a text message.

"Dude," I said as the brake lights on the car in front of us lit up.

He quickly slowed down. "I see it," he said, having not seen it. Then he studied the cell phone again.

"What? Who is it?"

"Amber Alert," he said.

"And they're calling you?"

"Yep. Hispanic male, early forties, light blue Honda Civic. Here's the license plate."

He handed me the phone. There was the license plate in the text message.

"Why are they calling you?"

"Every time there's an Amber Alert, I get a call."

"You do?"

"I signed up for it."

"You know most of those are, like, family disputes and stuff. It's not like there are random sickos running around kidnapping children."

"So you're pro-kidnapping if it's a family thing? Not me. I'm opposed to all kidnapping, which is why I signed up to get Amber Alerts."

"Hey, your car is a light blue Honda civic."

"Naw, it's more of a metallic blue. Plus, I'm not Hispanic."

"And you don't have an eight-year-old boy in the car. How old are you, Donny?" I twisted around in the seat to talk to Trevor's nephew, who was in the back playing Spectrobes on his DS.

"Fourteen. Which is too old for this stupid game. Spectrobes is gay."

"You're the one who said you were too old for Pokemon," Trevor said into the rear view mirror. "So I got you that instead."

"That's great. Maybe you can get me some Bratz next time, too." Donny rubbed furiously at the screen, which seemed to be how you play Spectrobes.

Trying to be polite, I asked Donny to show me how it works, but I could tell he wasn't interested. He explained it in that surly kid way. It was something about fossils and a space ship and incubators. While I was twisted around in the seat, I saw the cop car come up behind us and hit his lights.

To be continued...


Tom Chick has been writing about videogames for fifteen years. His work appears in Games for Windows Magazine, Yahoo, Gamespy, Sci-Fi, and Variety. He lives in Los Angeles. Shoot Club will be appearing in this space every Thursday.


I continue to love Shoot Club.

I do miss the hobbits, though.

Alright, maybe I'm slow, but I have to ask: Are these stories completely fictional or are they supposed to be what actually happens, or happened, with this guy Trevor?

If the author has been writing about games for 15 years he would have to be (at least) in his 30s. Also, the game references are brand-spankin new, so everything takes place now. I just have trouble picturing a 30 year old in a cape, is all (I'm also assuming Trevor is near in age to the author).

The stories are funny, so maybe I shouldn't know. I'm curious, though.

The first rule of Shoot Club is don't ask questions about Shoot Club.

Alright, maybe I'm slow, but I have to ask: Are these stories completely fictional or are they supposed to be what actually happens, or happened, with this guy Trevor?

I suspect these are loosely based on real events, and that the characters are composites of people Tom knows in real life. For instance, if you pay attention, and you've read some of the old Shoot Club posts on, you'll notice things like Donny's age keeps changing. He's 14 here, but in a Shoot Club from 2004 they were trying to convince him not to join the military, so he'd had have had to have been like 16 or 17 back then.


Wait, I thought the first rule of Shoot Club was "Everybody brings food or drink"?


You guys know that part in the beginning of Fargo where a title card pops up that says: "This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987"? Shoot Club is exactly that, minus the part about Minnesota and 1987.

Also, you scared me Alpern! I thought maybe I'd screwed up. But I went back and checked. The Shoot Club you're talking about it right here, and it has Donny's age as 14:

Donny has always been, and will be for the foreseeable future, 14-years-old.


Donny has always been, and will be for the foreseeable future, 14-years-old.


Just like all of us really.

Besides, what's the issue with guys in their 30s writing about games? Or was that wearing capes? Well, I don't know anybody who wears capes, thank Vishnu *ahem, coreydoctorow ahem*, but nothing in my version of the rules says anything about HAVING to grow up after 30. So I will continue to choose not to, thank you very much.

As for Tom, I always thought he was a robot. Which makes the love story bits of Shoot Club kind of interesting, but my theory holds in most other ways.

Why's he gotta be Hispanic?


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