Fiction Issue #3

In response to “One Button, One Scotch, One Beer” from The Escapist Forum: In all seriousness, I have noticed an interesting phenomena: Some people have done so much practicing on the piano that they can actually play while they’re drunk. Somehow the long-term muscle memory sections of their brains can even keep functioning while under the influence of alcohol. And Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter while on enough acid to melt Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. I wonder if the same might apply to games, even ones that aren’t criminally easy for the sober.

I don’t drink (or do acid), but I can’t help but wonder if I could still beat someone at Sonic Adventure 2: Battle even if I did.


…there’s always the Beer Pong game on the Wii, right? I mean, if you’re not actually in a place big enough to house an actual beer pong table.

While Guitar Hero drunk is awful, Rock Band is, however, amazing. You don’t realize what a difference having a vocalist makes in that game until you’ve got a buddy drawling Don’t Fear the Reaper three bars behind the actual song. Usually, when we get to that point, we don’t care all that much about accuracy, and just want a good reason to make ourselves and others look like idiots for an hour.



In response to “When I Was a Sex Goddess” from The Escapist Forum: Very romantic way to meet your husband. If you ignore the fact that it occurred in a text-based game of roleplaying, it has a bit of a Greek flavor to it. I’d put some florid description here, but I think I’ve lost enough man-cards today.


To this day, I have yet to find any modern MMO that felt as magical as the MUD I got sucked into in the late 90’s early naughties. For good or for ill, roleplaying seemed to just *occur* there, rather than having to creating a preserve wherein the endangered species could survive.



In response to “The Greatest Shame of All” from The Escapist Forum: One thing I could never understand is why the DOOM novelizations, adapting a game a subliterate could play with two buttons and a hoarse grunt, were so much better than the adaptations of Infocom games, properties renowned for their writing and literary quality. Low quality in spin-offs is rarely a surprise, but what was startling in this case is how much better the DOOM books were than they really needed to be.


Pardon me sir, would you like a little dijon with your Gears of War novelization? It clears up the long segments of “take cover and fire” nicely.



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In response to “The Cellar of Shame” from The Escapist Forum: The best thing about terrible games? For me, it’s the reviews. I laugh uproariously every time I read a review of the latest complete dud. Reviewers take to these games on purpose, I think, to be able to fully stretch their literary muscles. A good review lambasting a bad game isn’t very long as entertainment goes, but is often worth quite a few chuckles. Best part is, if you’re reading it online, it costs next to nothing.

I think it’s funny you mentioned Big Rigs being your favorite cringe game — GameSpots review of it continues to be my favorite ‘great review of a bad game’.


And it’s not just the cost in dollars; time is a much more valuable commodity. A bad movie can be burned through in 90 minutes; a bad game will take at least 4 times that, and probably a lot more if you’re determined to finish it.

One factor that needs to be taken into account: bad movies are enjoyed when you have others to share the pain with. Same goes for bad games. One of the best experiences I had was playing the piece-of-crap “Kings Quest 5” with my roommates back in college. Sure, it had high production values for the time – fancy graphics and well-produced music. But the horrible, idiotic, nonsensical puzzles and deeply flawed gameplay (having to sllllllooowwwwly navigate your dude across screen after screen as you backtracked your way around to try stuff out) made it infuriating. Having your friends around to hurl insults at the screen with you made it a legitimate pleasure.

We never did finish it, though.



In response to “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Superman 64” from The Escapist Forum: I think the article is right on the money in drawing lines between bad games and ‘camp’ movies. If somebody walks by and sees that you’re playing a garbage game (graphics-wise or whatever), their first reaction is usually “My gods, what are you playing!?” Somehow the game’s lack of quality is attributed to you, the poor bastard choosing to struggle through a pixelated mess. It’s a hands-on kind of awful.

A campy movie on the other hand, usually inspires people to sit down and help you make fun of it. It’s the movie that sucks, not you for choosing to watch it. The lack of quality is comfortably at arm’s length, for criticism or jackassing or whatever. I know people who make an active habit of finding the worst-looking movies for just that purpose.

Camp is something to be scanned and scorned, not endured over the course of a 20 hour ‘game’. That would be called “masochism”.


I bought Ripper at GameTraders for $5. I had to get DosBox and VDMSound to run it, then I had to burn copies of the 6 CDs as they were so scratched that attempting to play them made the video unwatchable, but they were still readable to create an image. After a few hours of play I had to search for a walkthrough for some of the puzzles as they were highly illogical.

But it was worth it to see Christopher Walken and John Rhys Davies in a cyberpunk Jack the Ripper story with terrible scripting and a ridiculous plot.


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