Archive for November, 2010

The Jester’s Thanksgiving Day Round-Up…

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2010 by Divide By Zero

I know, I know, this post is way late, and it’s not thanksgiving anymore.  Everyone is already done with their turkey, their stuffing, their pies and sauces, and they have moved into Christmas mode.

For those of you from around the Tri-Cities, did you notice it was pretty calm on Black Friday?  It’s weird, maybe I just wasn’t in the right place or something, but I was at a grocery store all day long, and yes, we were all busy, but we were so docile.  Is it because of the recession?  No one has money to freak out with over a $35 gift?

A few years ago, at wal-mart, with my brother, I watched a 50 year old man punch another 50 year old man over a video game.  It didn’t seem like that this year.  I blame the recession.

Anyways, my new work schedule and the holidays have limited my time online, so I apologize for not posting this on Friday, as I should have.  Instead I have a few videos for you that you should enjoy for the time being.

Nerdy Monday is planned for tomorrow night, and top 10 Tuesday will probably go up shortly after that!  I guarantee you’re going to love them!

Happy [belated] Thanksgiving to everyone, and I hope your holidays are wonderful & bright!

The Jester.

*Videos are property of respective owners and may be subject to copyright laws.  Videos obtained through youtube.com*

 

Top 10 Tuesdays: Thanksgiving Week Special!

Posted in 1980's, 1990's, Alcohol Involved, Cinemassacre/James Rolfe, Forgotten, Halo, Modern, N64, NES, PS2, Retro, Video Game, XBox, Zombies Ate My Neighbors on November 23, 2010 by Divide By Zero

Thanksgiving is here again.  A lot of the “Early Birds” are doing Christmas shopping now, or are anxious to stay up for 36 hours straight and hit all the sales on Black Friday.  This week, families are relocating to other parts of the country for days on end.  Most of us are going to be engrossed in football, and gorging themselves on food until they are legally comatose.  It’s all good times.

In between my gravy-induced black outs, I like to hit up some video games.  Especially if we have little kids, cousins and such, at the house, I like to get them involved.  As many kids as possible.  The more the merrier.  So here are my…

Top 10 Video Games to Play… During Thanksgiving Week.

#10.  Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers.  (NES)


This is an easy to play, fun, nostalgic game.  The game play is smooth, and it’s pretty easy to do well throughout the entire game.  It’s last on the list only because it’s a 2 player game.  Two players only?  We live in a world where we can play with anyone from anywhere in the world!  Yes, and that’s all well and good, but Thanksgiving is a time for family.  No matter how weird they are, it’s always better to spend time with the family than with strangers who have an internet connection.  Suck it up.

#9.  Starfox 64. (N64)

This is an oldie but a goodie.  It helped define the Nintendo 64, as much as the original Starfox helped shape the SNES.  It was an instant classic.

Pictured: The good old days.

This is so low on the list, because this one is only a one player game.  I’m only taking into account the campaign mode of the games for this list.  Yes you can compete against each other in Starfox 64, but when you’re with the family you want to move towards a common goal, rather than destroy each other (which is also fun too).  The good thing about this game is that even if you haven’t played it in 10 years, you can beat it in under an hour.  Also, even the younger kids will remember this game.  Most of them have probably played it.  It’s easily substituted so you can hand off your controller smoothly and get to the kitchen before the last turkey leg is gone.

#8.  Duck Hunt. (NES)

LOOK AT THE PIXELS!

If you have the means, this is totally worth it.  This is also only a 2 player game.  THAT’S RIGHT!  Two players, baby!  Did you know that?  If you plug a regular NES controller into the 2nd port, the second player can control the Ducks!  How’s that for a family get together for Thanksgiving?  “You be a duck, and I will shoot you”.  It doesn’t get any better.  This game is also easily substitutable, and it gives an opportunity for the older kids to teach the younger kids what they played when they were growing up.

#8.  Zombies Ate My Neighbors.  (SNES/Genesis)

I did a whole write up on this game.  So I’m kind of biased towards it.  It’s a classic, and it’s perfect for right around Thanksgiving.  All the kids are getting off of their Halloween buzz, and they like seeing all the monsters in one of the games they’re playing.  You can easily learn to play this game in a matter of seconds which makes controller hand-offs really easy.  It’s still two player, but you can let kids play, or if you are surrpunded by adults, you can make a drinking game out of it.

#7.  Marvel Vs. Capcom.  (Dreamcast)

This game made the list because there is something memorable for each age group.  There are easily recognizable characters.  The fights are quick, and the game is addicting.  All the ingredients you need for a room full of people.  I think this is only a 2 player game, but it’s a button-masher and Marvel Vs. Capcom 1 & 2 are pretty much the same game.  This is good if you have about 10 people in a room and they all want to play something.

#6.  Powerstone. (Dreamcast)


This game has all the same qualities you find in Marvel Vs. Capcom, but it’s a 4 player game, and it’s even easier to learn.  There is so much beginner’s luck involved with playing this game, it’s un-comprehend-able.  This is truly one you have to just check out.  And come on, get a nice Dreamcast for about $20, and all the games for free?  This is a game that is both retro and modern.  You can’t beat that.

#5.  Halo. (XBox)

Pictured: The most epic, of the epic.

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty biased about this game.  If I were being honest to myself, this game would make number 1 every week on any top 10 list I’ve ever done, or any I will ever do.  The build up of this game when it was new and “all the rage”, the excitement that came with it, was amazing.  For you younger kids, you had to be there.  It was the only reason I bought an XBox, originally.  But it’s great, like I said, if you have the means you can have up to 16 players (if you have 4 tv’s lying around, and a hub… you’re in good shape.  Now, if only I had 15 friends that wanted to hang around me long enough to get through a round.  It’s also weird, the thing about halo, and any alien game all the way back to space invaders are categorized as favorites among people with Xenophobia; the fear of foreigners.  What a perfect game to play while celebrating the British taking a country away from the natives, and calling it their own — creating a new nation/nationality with it?  This is one that everyone will enjoy.  It takes a while to pick up the controls, but it’s well worth it.  And there’s never really a bad time to play it.  Thanksgiving or not, pick up a copy of this, and it’s game on, baby!

#4.  007 Goldeneye.  (N64)

Remember when Pierce Brosnan was on top of the world?

Who can say ‘no’ to this?  Everyone loves 007!  Or at least everyone knows about 007.  It’s great for the kids to play, as the N64 is within their grasp, it’ll bring the 20/30-somethings back to the past, and it will give the older people in the room something to watch.  This game I think helped make the N64 what it was.  It was a yard stick for all 007 games that followed it.  It’s up to 4 players, so it’s great for getting out frustration with your little nephews, or cousins.  Shoot’em in the face!  That’ll show them to take the last of the stuffing.

#3.  Rockband.  (XBox 360)

Making tweens think they can start a band, since its release date.

You knew this game was going to make the list.  I haven’t been to a party that didn’t have this all set up since it came out.  Personally, I hate it, but I have it at my house.  Just in case a party breaks out, it’s there, in a box, in the closet.  This game, everyone knows how to play, but no one is good at.  People pick up the mic, and they can’t sing.  The quiet guy in the corner can play the guitar on expert and get 99% or better on every song, but show him a real guitar and he scratches his head.  The drums are okay, because it’s kind of similar to the real thing.  It’ll make for some good stories later.  Either way, play it if you’re into it, if you’re not, skip ahead to….

#2.  Mario Kart 64.  (You guessed it: N64)

Need I say more?  4 players of competitive Thanksgiving-y goodness.  Everyone loves it, everyone can play it, and everyone will have a good time.  The only thing you have to worry about is gravy on your controllers.  Gross.

#1, and the winner this week.  Guitar Hero 1 or 3: Legends of Rock.  (PS2)

Awesome classic, I like this game.  It takes a while to get used to, but it’s a great way to bond and everyone will try it at least once.  Later on you can say to your uncle Silas: “Whoa dude, you totally melted face on that solo.”  Because I mean, who gets to say that to their uncle?  And more importantly, who has an uncle named “Silas”?  Your family is weird.  It’s also got a little retro mixed in, because of the songs, but it’s more modern than anything.  And I’ve been told if you stare at the screen for long enough, you get some really trippy visual effects that are always good in a party-like setting.

There you have it.  My top 10 best games to play for Thanksgiving.  Pick one and try it out.  Or don’t.  I already got your page view, so if you don’t like my advice, come back next week.  Another list, another 10, another category.

I’ll see you by the fridge, I’ll be the one with a guitar hero guitar strapped to my back.

The Jester. 


*All pictures are property of their respective owners, and may be subject to copyright laws.  Images obtained through Google Image Search.*

A Fallen Hero: The Playstation 1.

Posted in 1990's, Crash Bandicoot, Nerdy Monday, Playstation, Retro, Sony, Sophistication, Video Game on November 22, 2010 by Divide By Zero

How many of you out there had a Playstation 1?  Well, back then it was just called “The Playstation”.  I had one for a little while.  I had gotten one as a back-up Christmas present.  My father had gotten me a Dreamcast, brand new, when they were all the rage.  The only problem was, the box had a small tear in it, and some jackass had stolen the AV cable out of it, so I had no way of playing it.  I had to wait until the stores got more in, a few days after Christmas to go exchange the Dreamcast.  A few days, of not being able to play a new game system?  For a 13 year old, that was Hell.

My mom, seeing the box had a rip in it, came up with a back up plan.  She bought a Playstation from a neighbor kid for $50 or something like that.  It had 3 or 4 controllers, about 30 games, and all kinds of extras.  She figured if there was nothing wrong with the Dreamcast, she’d give the Playstation to me AND my brother to share.  Instead, I got it to keep me satisfied until the stores had more of what I wanted.

It was no Dreamcast, but I consider that a good thing… now.  A lot of people, myself included, like going back and playing on systems they liked growing up.  The most popular right now are the SNES, N64, and the Genesis.  Sometimes people get a Dreamcast because you can download and burn games for free, and it’s legal.  It’s legal because no one, not even Sega is making money off of the Dreamcast anymore.  I do it all the time.

But what about the playstation?  What was special about it?

I remember the very first time I picked up a Playstation controller.  I was used to having A, B, start, select, and maybe a C button.  Where did these shapes come from?  I mean, I know the SNES had A, B, X, Y, and R/L buttons.  THAT was too many in my mind.  TO confuse me even more this controller’s right hand button selections were *circle*, *square*, *triangle*, and an ‘X’.  Then it had, not one, but TWO ‘R’ buttons, AND TWO ‘L’ buttons!  I was in a store in Potomac Mills Mall.  I was probably 12?  I’m not sure, but I remember being in an electronics store (this was before game stop and other video game specialty stores had boomed) trying to figure that controller out.  I vividly remember thinking “This will never catch on, or last”.

That was about half my lifetime ago, and now I believe the Playstation 1 is the most underrated retro system out there right now.  No one wants it, you can buy them for like five dollars.  No lie.  I bought 30 of them for $40.  That’s a dollar and 33 cents each.  Games usually run between $1 and $5.  At prices like that, why wouldn’t you have a few of them lying around?

The design…

Arguably the PS3, especially the “Slim” version is the sexiest console out right now.  The original XBox, not that good looking.  It was built more to showcase what Microsoft could do. It was built for utility, and for function.  Going back a little further, the PS2 was pretty cool, I liked the vertical stand that was blue against the black ninja-esque look it had, it was sleek.  The Playstation 1 was simple.  Two controller ports on the front, the other hook ups in the back, an ‘Open’ button, a ‘Reset’ button, and a ‘Power’ button.  Why do you think the Ps1 is different looking than the PS2 & PS3?  If the same company made all 3 systems they’d have to be similar, right?

That’s absolutely right, if the PS 1, 2, and 3 were all made by Sony, they would all be kind of similar looking.  Too bad Nintendo and Phillips were commissioned by Sony to come up with a video game console exclusively for Sony.  That’s right, Nintendo, a rival video game company, and Phillips, a pioneer in CD/DVD player technology teamed up to come up with a CD based console for Sony.  Gosh, I miss the 90’s.  The 90’s was when crap like this would fly:

None of that stuff would make sense today!  But in the 90’s, nothing else made any sense.

Was it the first top loading system?  No.  The Atari 2600 I guess could be classified as a top-loader, and it was released in 1977.

The Crazy Old Uncle of the video game family. You know of him, but don't spend too much time with him.

Shortly after that, in “Modern Times” I guess you could say, Nintendo had the first top-loading system when they released the Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2.  You probably haven’t seen this one around too much either…

Officially: "NES-101 Model", Unofficially: "The Top Loader"

No one really had this one, and some consider it a flop, because it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing.  I think it’s cool.  I couldn’t find a specific release date, but I’m pretty sure this one had at least 3 to 4 years on the Playstation 1.

Was it the first CD based system?  Of course not, the Sega CD was!  Remember that pile of puke?

Pictured: The Genesis' deformed, conjoined brother.

To be fair though, the Sega CD, along with the 32x were designed to prolong the lifespan of the Genesis, so the Sega CD was not a stand-alone system.

So the Playstation 1 was the first stand-alone CD based, top loading system, right?

GTFO, the Sega Saturn claims that title.  I can’t even believe I’m bringing this up, this was a horrible system, and the 2nd mistake (out of the 3 big ones) that turned Sega into a main competitor in the video game industry, into Nintendo’s little errand boy/lap dog.

The cartridge slot isn't for games, it's for expansion cartridges that allow you to play Japanese games.

Where is this system now?  Collectors don’t even really want it.  The only reason I have one is because I stumbled across it on eBay for 99 cents with a minute left, AND it had free shipping.  That’s right, I got a Sega Saturn, a game, a controller, and hook ups, for less than a dollar, and it was shipped to my front door.  This system defines the word “flop”.

The only thing we can say with absolute certainty is that the Playstation 1 is the first successful, top-loading, CD based, stand-alone system.  It’s a mouthful, but it is what it is.  Whether you love it, hate it, or have just fooled around with it a few times and never called it again, I’m sure you have fond memories.  I will always know it as The Playstation, there will only be one in my mind.

Simple, and badass in its own right.

Another thing to mention about the development of the Playstation 1 is that Phillips actually ended up creating its own CD based gaming console to try and get in the game with the big dogs.  It was called the Phillips CD-i, and it was a god-awful abomination to video gaming.  I know you’ve never even heard about it.  You can find out more about that in The AVGN’s 3 part episode:

James Rolfe is the man, and is able to explain it way better than I can.

All of this brings me to the question: Just how underrated is the Playstation 1?

Pretty underrated.  There are so many good games on this system.  007 Racing has got to be in my top 10 favorite games of all time.  The Need for Speed franchise was born on the Playstation 1 for crying out loud.  Hot Pursuit, High Stakes, Carbon, Underground/Underground 2?  They wouldn’t be around and rocking your face off today without the Playstation 1.  And I don’t think you can talk about the Playstation 1 without talking about Crash Bandicoot.  I did a whole write up about him, that’s how much those games rocked.  As I said in that articel, Crash Bandicoot was designed by Sony to become the face of the Playstation.  Much like Mario was and is for Nintendo, and Sonic was for Sega.  And I can’t think of the original Playstation without thinking about Crash Bandicoot.

Sony did much of its own work after it got the console and rights from Nintendo and Phillips.  It was innovative, it was on the edge, and it helped shape the video game market.  Remember the multi-tap?  It made 4 players on one console possible.  Only a few games supported it sure, but it was a step in the right direction.. soon after the Playstation, the Dreamcast was released with 4 player capability right on the console.  Microsoft followed in those footsteps with the first XBox.  Four controller ports?!  Now, if I only had 3 friends who were willing to come over and play something with me 😦 .  Microsoft then took it a step further when people started becoming addicted to the internet, and cornered the market with XBox live.  Playing your favorite game with millions of people across the globe?  In my mind, the Playstation made it possible.

Also, the Playstation 1 was the first console to come out with Dual Analog controllers.  Remember back in the day when they didn’t have them?

Old School.

Yeah!  Most people, and definitely most of the kids younger than 20 wouldn’t recognize this controller.  When the Playstation was in its hay day, they introduced something new in controller design.

Gives "Back to the Sticks" a whole different meaning.

So simple.  So comfortable.  So easy, why did no one else think of this?  Nintendo didn’t come out with something close to this until 2 years after the Playstation came out, with the N64.  And even then, it was just a joystick, not an analog stick.  And the 64 only had one, not TWO!!!  Question!  When the Game Cube came out, guess which design they adopted for their controller?

Answer: Dual Analog Style.

This was so badass, when it was brand new.  A whole different way to control your video game characters with sleek precision.  It took a little getting used to, but the payoff was well worth the effort.  Who else had that at the time?  Nobody.  Who else made them popular?  Let’s check out my little evolution of the Dual Analog Controllers…

I have a controller timeline. Your point is invalid.

XBox 360, original XBox, Game Cube, PS2 (obviously) and the PS1… the originator… all with Dual Analog.  Everyone who likes playing call of duty, or the halo fans out there like myself who got used to the 2-stick controls, better give a big Thank You to Sony for making it so easy and comfortable to play.  If the XBox controllers were anymore blatantly copied from the Playstation controllers, we’d have ourselves…

Only it would say "Microsoft".

The only thing I didn’t get about the Playstation is that the games had black data sides.  What was that all about?  Looking back on it now, the 1990’s birthed the popularity of the internet, when all information became easier to obtain.  Piracy was a big problem, remember Napster?  I’m sure people were trying to burn Platstation 1 games, so Sony said “Screw it, make the CD’s next to impossible to find!”

FYI ... We still found them.

Everything else being equal, greater than, or less than/equal to, the Playstation still has a place in my heart for being one of the best consoles of the 1990’s.  I don’t get around to playing it too often, because I don’t have a library of games that makes me want to play it.  Not that any of the games are hard to find.  I bought 3 Playstation 1 games from a church yard sale for a quarter.  All 3.  For a quarter.

So if you’re a retro gamer like me, you need to have a Playstation in your collection.  It was the father of many other concepts that we have come to expect when we buy games brand new.  It was on the frontier of gaming.  I think the reason people take it for granted, or it takes a back seat to other consoles, or whatever you want to say, is that it came a little too early for all that it had to offer.  Pick one up, test it out, and enjoy.

Happy Gaming,

The Jester.

*All images are the property of their respective owners and may be under copy write protection.  Most images obtained through Google Image Search*

The Outback Chronicles: Part 1 of ???

Posted in Alcohol Involved, Local, Restaurants on November 20, 2010 by Divide By Zero

For a while, I worked at the Outback Steakhouse.  Keep in mind this was back in my “demon days” when I was making choices that weren’t very.. shall we say, good.  I have thought about how to write this article over and over again, and have even come close to writing it before, but I would delete it in hopes of getting a job there again.  It has recently been pointed out to me though, by another former Outback Steakhouse (OS-Lounge) employee, and now one of my best friends, that neither of us are probably ever going to work there again.  So let’s just jump right in, shall we?

There were so many things that happened in the back of house (BOH), or in other words, the kitchen area of the OS-Lounge.  I honestly don’t know where to begin.  Let’s start with the organization:

Background information

There was a prep crew,who always came in early and prepped the food.  There was some overlap in the shifts they worked and the shifts I worked.  The shifts I worked were usually 12 noon till about 3am.  No lunch, no official breaks, though there were 2 employee bathrooms in the back that everyone used to smoke cigarettes (or partake in other activities) in.  There were the dish guys.. which were 2 guys stuck in an area of the kitchen smaller than a cubicle.  It was always wet, it was always hot, and it was impossible to stay clean.  That’s where I was most of the time.  I tried to do a good job, it just depended on how busy we were.  But the dishes were rarely ever spotless, so the guys washing them were nowhere near clean.  Then you had the cooks.. there was “hot side” and “cold side” over there.  Cold side consisted of one guy running all the fryers, and another making all the salads, they were a team.  Hot side consisted of one guy running the saute station and the grillmaster, they too were a team.. or dance partners, if you will.

I’m just going to call it like it is, I don’t want to reveal anybody’s name, so we’ll call the grillmaster the GrillMaster, and the saute guy, SauteGuy.  My friend and the only guy I still talk to from there, we’ll call him Larry, the kitchen manager at the time we’ll call Ted, and I’ll make up the rest of the names as we go along, Okay! So…

Mischief & Mayhem…

If I took the time to write out everything that happened while I was working at the OS-Lounge, I’d have a book’s worth.  And like the title says, this is only part 1 of…. however many I feel like coming up with.  Here’s the basic outline of different things that happened there, and i will end on that.  All I really wanted to do in this article was whet your whistle for what’s to come.  Next week, I’ll jump into some of the serious stuff, but first I wanted to let you know what really goes on in the kitchen, and get you familiar with the characters.

  • One of my dish washing partners would sneak off to the bathroom, crush up a loritab, snort it off of one of the cleaning supply shelves, then come back to work fired up.
  • SauteGuy, Grillmaster, and a girl, we’ll call her TheWaitress, would constantly smoke the ganja in the employee bathrooms.  We’d use a metal shrimp skewer to lock them in, so they would get blamed for the smell.  They never got in trouble for it though.
  • Larry (this was back in his demon days as well, he’s not like this anymore) would show up most days hungover.  To be fair though, most of the kitchen crew did as well, Larry was the only one that would show up with a pistol strapped to his back though.
  • Another guy, we’ll call him Parolee, would come in with 64oz. plastic gas station cups full of beer, or some type of alcohol and drink it during his shift.
  • Ted was a good manager.  He did his job, and was #1 in the region.  He had to be balanced though.  What I mean is, if he were too broke, he couldn’t afford his drugs, and he’d just be pissed off all the time.  If he was making too much money, he’d be too strung out to really care about anything.
  • Food preparation… that’s all I’m going to say, I’ve got a ton of horror stories about that.
  • A waiter, we’re going to call him “Papa” once urinated in a can of Monster, and gave it to SauteGuy.  When SauteGuy took a swig of it, he said: “Whyzit taste like piss?”, and Papa’s answer to it?  “Because I pissed in it.”  These are the guys cooking and serving you your food.
  • It was so bad in the kitchen that if an employee had something to eat, then stepped out of sight for more than 10 seconds, came back, and the other employees even had a smirk on their face, they would throw their food away.
  • Drunk & rowdy customers.
  • Have you seen the movie “Waiting”?  Remember the after parties?  Those exist, and happen frequently.

Are you satisfied for now?  Keep checking back, and as the weeks go by, I’ll fill you in on all the goings-on behind the scenes.  You’ll probably want to read what I have to say before you decide to go eat there again.

Happy dining!

The Jester.


NEW SEGMENT! Top 10 Tuesdays

Posted in Girlfriends, Retro, Video Game on November 17, 2010 by Divide By Zero

I’ve been thinking about this idea for a while, and I’ve finally gotten a lot of stuff organized.  I wanted to wait until I was sure I’d be able to handle the workload, and have enough material to keep it going for a while.  But here it is, in my Top 10 Tuesdays segments, I’m going to pick different scenarios and tell you what I think the Top 10 video games to play in that situation are.  I’m doing it on Tuesdays because it’ll be a nice supplement to Nerdy Mondays, which focuses mostly on old video games anyways.  Sometimes the list will not go all the way up to 10, and sometimes it will go way past it, but I’m just going to stick with Top 10 for the title.  Anyways, this week’s category is!!!

The Top 10 Video Games to Play While Your Girlfriend is Mad at You:

That’s right.  We’ve all been there, right guys?  Your girlfriend is upset with you because you’re spending too much time on your XBox, or not listening, or something.  Whatever it is she’s whining about can be solved through playing video games and making random vague comments that allude to both the video game you’re playing, AND the situation you’re in with your lady friend. Let’s start it off with…

#10. Super Mario Brothers 3


Reason: Simplicity.

This game is a personal favorite of mine, a milestone in the video game world, and an always true favorite of retro gamers.  Right after the fight has commenced, and your girlfriend is cleaning (or whatever her vice is when she’s mad) or talking on the phone, you start off by playing this game.  It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s easy, but it’s still challenging even 25 years later.  Your best bet is to play and whip through the levels/worlds as fast as possible.  Forget about the stars, the coins, and the points.  Unless it’s the whistle, you don’t need it.  All the while have a blank stare on your face and every once in a while (usually after you beat a level) randomly utter some phrases like: “Man, I wish everything in life were this simple.” or “This reminds me of a simpler time.” or [so I’ve heard] a really popular one “I was just a kid when this came out, before I met you, when I was happy.”

Okay that last one might be a little mean, but it depends on what you’re fighting about.

Girlfriends Anger Level This is Best For (GALTIBF): Between a 5 and a 7.

#9. Frogger


Reason: Simplicity/Enjoyment

This game can be pulled out in any situation Mario 3 can.  It’s in the same category, same skill level, same nostalgic value, and most importantly the same phrases apply.  This one also comes with bonus phrases like: “You never notice how things that are so simple can be so difficult at times, like crossing a road.”  That will make your girlfriend analyze what you’re fighting about and help her realize that (if applicable) she’s turning mole hills into mountains.. but play around with it.  You will know the situation best, so be creative.

GALTIBF: Same as Mario 3, but with a few minor tweaks.

#8.  Fable 2


Reason: Fantasy/Make Believe

This is a good one to play for when you’ve been fighting for what seems like days.  You take a break, walk away and just drift off into the world of Fable 2.  You can run around and take out a few characters to get your stress level down to a rate your blood pressure can handle.  After that, should your girlfriend come walking into the room and sit down to watch you play… Okay, she’s not sitting down to watch you play, she’s coming in the same room with you to bring tension with her and see how you react.  She wants you to know she’s mad, and you’re the reason why.  Should that happen though, you don’t need to utter any phrases really.  That’s when you turn on the charm, and start earning those angelic points hardcore.  It will make her see that you’ve done wrong in the past, but are willing to try to be more understanding and overall a better person so that maybe this fight won’t happen again.  It will speak a lot about your character, but do not verbalize anything!  It will underline the fact that you’re the “strong silent type”.

GALTIBF: You forgetting to take out the trash, leaving a towel on the floor, not wiping up the counter, or leaving the toilet seat up.

#7.  Project Gotham Racing


Reason:  There is a clear goal in mind.  There is a physical finish line.

When that fight from above happens again, you pull out this game.  Because God knows that you leave the toilet seat up all the time, and you’re not about to change that!  This time though, You play Project Gotham.  This isn’t for show, or to brag about how good of a person you are to her, but more so just for your own personal gains.  You need a little realism to counter-balance her psycho-womanish-ness.  Racing games are always good for this because you know where the finish line is, you are able to see the goal.  There is a clear objective.  You just have to be the first one across it.  It’s an allegory for the fight you are in with the g-friend.  Even if there are only 2 racers, you don’t win unless you cross the line first.  Trust me, this will put you at peace.

GALTIBF: (Leaving the toilet seat up

#6.  Forza


Reason: Clear goal/objective

This is by far one of my most favorite, and arguably one of the best racing games out there.  This is to be used only when Project Gotham won’t work… nobody needs those “kudos” points anyways.  Stupid guardrails. Some of the phrases that are good for either of these games are “There it is!  I can see it!  I know what I need to do!”  Get it?

GALTIBF: Procrastination, letting the dog poop on the carpet, waiting for her to clean it up.

#5.  Grand Theft Auto III/San Andreas


Reason: Free Range Mode

This is the game you pull out when you’re fighting with your girl and it’s over how much time you have spent together.  Sometimes you guys get way too clingy and just need a few minutes apart.  This is where GTA comes in.  If you’re like me, you have a few PS2 memory cards lying around with a pretty decent games saved on there.  One of which should definitely be for GTA.  These games give you the freedom to run around and accomplish missions or play levels when you feel like it.  Or you could just roam around shooting people and stealing cars.  Phrases to use: “Can I go up here?  Of course I can I can go wherever I want!”, “What should I do now, there are so many options!”  You get the idea.

GALTIBF: When she gets mad at anything on facebook, when you come home drunk, or when you pee yourself (all 3 of those can happen at the same time these days).

#4.  Need For Speed Underground 2


Reason: Free Range Mode

I know the GTA franchise kind of combines the racing genre with the FPS/shoot’em ups, but this racing game has to be one that everyone finds pretty badass.  It has the free range mode where you can just drive around aimlessly and use the same phrases as you would use for GTA.  Or you can race so you can have that clear goal in mind… sometimes it’ll help you straighten out your thoughts and make you wonder if what you’re fighting about is really worth it or not.

GALTIBF: Also coming home drunk, or smelling like a bar, or saying something stupid to her mom, or making one of her friends, so something like an 7 or an 8 on the 1-10 scale.

#3.  Halo 2


Reason: Strategy/Energy/To get Riled up

If you’re having one of those fights most guys refer to as a “Barn-Burner” or are having it “All-Out”, and she has to step out for a few minutes, this is the game to play.  You throw on some Drowning Pool, Children of Bodom, or Gwar on a nearby CD player, and you are good to go.  You can play it on Legendary and kill a bunch of aliens, just to get you pumped for all the low punches you’re going to be pulling when she gets back, or you can play on easy to help you get your head together.  Either way, it’s a massive game with tons of possibilities to let your mind wander, or help you psyche yourself out.

GALTIBF: When you spent too much money, lost at poker, have been playing video games too often, or the famous “you never take me out anymore”.

#2 Any Call of Duty


Reason: Same as for Halo 2

Just repeat everything I said for Halo 2, but this one is set in real life, so you have to take your own preference.  Personally I like Halo 2, I’ve spent more time on it though, and Call of Duty has the same effect for most of the advanced levels.  You need to just pick which one is closest to you because the g-friend may only be gone for a few minutes!

GALTIBF: Thinks you’re cheating on her.

And the winner: #1.  Halo


 

Really you can do this with any Halo, but seriously this is for when it gets really bad between you 2.  This is for when you get to the point where you say “SCREW IT AND SCREW YOU, I’M INVITING THE GUYS OVER!”  Original XBoxes now go for about $30, you’ll need 4.  The Controllers go for anywhere between $5 & $10, you’re going to need 16.  Copies of Halo also go for $10, get 4 of them.  Oh and you’ll need 4 t.v.’s, and a hub.  Hook all that stuff up, invite 15 of your friends over and you play multiplayer Halo.  Who cares why you’re fighting anymore?  The guys are over, and they’re here to have some fun!  Who’s going to show them how to party?  You are, my man.  Phrases to use: “Screw her, dude.”, “Brah, pass me another brewski.”, and “STOP LOOKIN’ AT MY SCREEN!”

GALTIBF: For when it gets pants-crappingly horrible.
*All images are property of their respective owners and may be subject to copyright laws.  Obtained from google image search.*

Nerdy Monday 9: Zombies Ate My Neighbors!

Posted in Forgotten, Retro, Video Game, Zombies Ate My Neighbors on November 15, 2010 by Divide By Zero

This game is truly a classic.  Well, for me it is.. I don’t know how many people had it back in the early ’90s, but it should be more well known than it is, it’s very underrated.  You get to save all of your neighbors in 50+ levels of different martians, werewolves, Frankenstein monsters, snakeoids, clones, giant babies, and of course zombies.  The original retail price for this game I think was $39.99, at the very most.  Now the very good specimens go for $69.99.  It’s one of the games that, like the Mario, Zelda, and Sonic franchises, have actually appreciated with age.  It’s also made it on the Dorkly.com Top 10 Zombie Game list, and rang in at Number 8.  Not bad for a Non-Star-Wars game created by Lucasarts, created by George Lucas.  Weird how those things work out, right?

This is a Snakeoid... and a HUGE pain in the butt to kill.

Remember the commercial for it?  Sure you do…

How cool was that?  I remember the stigma that went with the game back then.  Through Nintendo Power, or something I heard about how Zombies Ate My Neighbors was going to be a really gory game with lots of blood and guts, and all kinds of other things.  Somebody up in the chain of command had them change it last minute to please younger kids, expanding the number of people that would possibly buy the game.  All they did was render the “blood” from a red liquid to a purple gassy cloud kind of thing, and took all the guts out.  For instance, when you kill one of the Fish Men, they turn into a bunch of fish and flop around for a second until you go off screen.

It’s things like that, that turn this supposedly “horror-genre” game into a goofball style, lighthearted, comedy that gives off a sit-com like, Halloween episode  feeling.  Which makes it all the more fantastic to play.  It was pretty much exactly the same on both systems of the day (SNES & Genesis).  I preferred the SNES version back when the game was new.  That was only because I didn’t have an SNES or Genesis until Christmas of that year, so I had to go to my cousin’s house to play Zombies Ate My Neighbors with him, on HIS SNES.  It was awesome, I went over there every other day, we always had to start on level one and work our way through, and no matter how many times we played it, it never got boring, tired, or old!  Even to this day I play through all of the levels (I have it on Sega Genesis now), and sometimes I even use the Game Genie on it, just so that I can start on the level I left off at.  It’s so great to be able to go through a game about 20 years later and still find it just as — if not more entertaining now.  When my brother comes home on leave, we get a couple of levels in, when the students I tutor at my home are done with learning, we unwind with some ZAMN.  It’s a great overall game that is hard to match.

4 friggin Zombies? Call of Duty's got NOTHIN!!

The soundtrack is a tough act to follow, and would be great to have a CD of and play in the background of a Halloween party.  The levels are all very simple when you first try and go through, but there are all kinds of secrets, hidden weapons, ways to get points (the points don’t really matter anyways), or you hang around after every level and just kill zombies.

I love the weapon choices you get in this game.  Along with rendering the blood a different color, they had to change the weapons.  So instead of real guns and knives, you get squirt guns (that shoot one drop of water at a time), soda cans, popsicles (for killing the blobs!), fire extinguishers, silverware (for throwing at werewolves!) and many, many other weapons that make the game entertaining multiplied by entertaining.  It’s entertaining squared!

Along with the weapons, you also find items that you can use to get rid of mummies, the little axe-wielding Chuckie-dolls, or whatever those things are.  There are Pandora’s boxes, decoy blow-up clowns, health packs, sacred relics, running shoes for going faster, invincibility potions, and my favorite.. Monster Potions.  I don’t remember if it was Official (out of the instruction manual) or anything, but my cousin and I would call the Monster “Big George”.  And from there, we called the potion “The Big George Potion.  It was great.

The purple thing is an artists rendition of Big George.

This is a great game that should be cherished.  I’m still on the fence about whether or not it should be remade.  I have mixed feelings about it.  When some of the classics that are near and dear to most of us get rebooted, the charm they originally had doesn’t get translated into the new version.  What I like most about ZAMN is how simple it is.  You’re a dude named Zeke (Or a chick named Julie) running around with a squirt gun, keeping your neighbors in line.  I love the fact that the creators decided to make it more kid friendly… even back then when I considered myself an “older kid” I loved it.  Now I’m an-even-older-than-that kid, and I still love it.  If you’re running around at the flea markets, or yard sales, trying to buy back all the games you grew up with, whether you’ve played this game or not, you need to check it out.  eBay has them for around $20.. but trust me, it’s well worth the money.

Can't go wrong.

**All images are property of their respective owners and may be subject to copyright laws.  Obtained through simple Google Image Search.**

I’m a Man Without a Driver

Posted in Uncategorized on November 15, 2010 by Divide By Zero

That’s right, a man without a driver.  I may as well say “a fish out of water”, “a dog without a nose”, “an Irish man without a favorite beer”, or just a dude who doesn’t follow NASCAR.  I’m not good with metaphors.

It’s true, I, The Jester, don’t have a favorite NASCAR driver.  I live 8 miles away from the Speedway.  I’ve gone to the races before, but usually when I get tickets, I sell them to the tourists who are willing to pay so much more for them.  There’s just something about NASCAR that is boring to me.  I’ve tried to see the fascination that people have with it, I try to enjoy it, but I can’t.  My cerebral cortex will not allow me to do so, or something.

I’ve only lived in Bristol for about 7 years, most of the locals still think of me as a “foreigner”.  But I’ve lived here once before.  I actually went to 2nd grade here (don’t e-mail me and ask why, I just did)!  Do you know what I remember about the NASCAR races?

I remember it being hot and sweaty.  I remember spending $6.00 of my allowance on a bag of popcorn.  I remember all of that, and my daddy taking me and my brother (now A1C Jeremy Dotson) to the drag strip.  I remember how the cars were so loud my brother had to sit on my dad’s lap so my dad could cover his ears.  I remember the cars being so powerful that the concrete bleachers we were sitting on vibrated.  That seemed amazing to me!  How can a CAR— what we drive to the grocery store in —vibrate something that they use to build houses on?!  It boggled my mind.  I was 7.

I’ve never really been what you would call a “car nut”, but I know my way around under the hood.  I’ve always been more interested in the more technical/designs of the workings of an engine, I’d be a terrible grease-monkey.  I could explain what the difference between AWD & 4WD is, what every microchip does in your car, and why certain lights are lighting up, and others aren’t.  But ask me to replace one and I’m lost.  I’m sure I could figure it out if I were given the time, but this is one of the things that shaped me into who I am today.

For instance this past year, or racing season, or whatever, my Mother, my Aunt and I walked our dogs and stopped to watch and take pictures of the race convoy that came through town.  Yes, our neighborhood, and State Street are conveniently adjacent to the route all of the NASCAR cargo trucks get off the interstate and head the last 10 miles to Bristol Motor Speedway.  While there, we get a chance to talk to a lot of the tourists that visit our quaint little town, fill up the hotels, cause waits at all the restaurants, and most people look like they’re from Jersey.

Like this.

While talking to the tourists, most of them are nice enough, and notice we are walking dogs.

This dog (The Jamaicans call her "The Torpedo").

And this one... she's a complete diva.

They are great for starting up conversations with strangers, which sometimes can be a bad thing.  After all, talking to strangers is something I’ve been taught NOT to do since before I could talk.  But I digress, the tourists end up saying that they would never be able to handle taking their dogs on a weekend trip for a race.  We then retaliate by saying that we’re local, and then BAM!  we get suckered into answering, “ZOMG!!1 WHOO IS YOUR FAVE-O-RIT DRIVER!!!???????” A question they are way to over enthusiastic about.  When I tell them that I enjoy racing, but am not an “official fan” I guess you could say, so I have no driver, they look at me like this:

They give me the "Lohan-Confused" look.

“You’re FROM Bristol, and you don’t have a Driver!?”  No dude, I’m from Northern Virginia, I’m a Redskins fan, and I live in Bristol.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Bristol, Tennessee and Virginia.  But I don’t need a NASCAR driver to live here!

Like I said before, I don’t remember much about NASCAR growing up when we used to live here.  My father watched NASCAR every once in a while, but not every week.  I remember the bonding you do watching the sport.  And with a sport like NASCAR, you have a lot of down time to get to know the people you’re with.

**All pictures are property of their respective owners, and may be subject to copyright laws.  Obtained through Google Image Search.**