Sunday, January 08, 2006


When it comes to video games, I've never been one for role-playing. The name of the genre sounds less like a game, and more like what couples do when they're bored with their sex lives ('Honey, tonight I'll be the police officer.'). And other than the Knights of the Old Republic series, when I play one, I feel like I'm one step away from rolling a 20-sided die in some fat kid's mom's damp basement, arguing over who's turn it is to be Dungeon Master. If that's your thing, good for you. Just keep it the fuck away from me. I like games that involve firing a weapon at other people's faces. 'First-Person Shooter.' Just saying those words makes me smile.

So when I got this month's Official Xbox Magazine, and saw that it came with a free beta test for the Xbox 360 version of THIS game:

... and that I'll be simultaneously playing with people who are on both the PC and the PS2 versions, I thought, why not give it a try? I've never actually played an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), and it was free. I'm a a big fan of free.

The process didn't begin very well. Getting it installed on my 360 was a major pain in the ass. It took about 15 minutes to set up my name and account information, which didn't bother me. Then when it started downloading the game from the beta disc, a screen came up that said '59 minutes remaining.' I thought, "It can't really take that long." Oh yes, it can. So, after getting caught up on two shows I'd DVR'ed earlier in the week (Dallas S.W.A.T. = Total S.H.I.T.), it was done. Or so I thought. When I went to play it, it said 'Update required.' Figuring this would be like most Xbox Live updates, which usually never take more than a couple of minutes, I wasn't sweating it. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES LATER, I was finally ready to create my character.

Then the game gave me a warning. It was something like this: 'MMORPGs can be very fun and addictive, but please don't neglect work, or your family and friends, to play this game.' Gee, great way to win me over. I'm not even at the character-creation page, and the programmers are already bragging about how awesome their game is, and how I'm gonna get hooked into their little D&D world. And the bragging is disguised as a 'We care about you' message. So, I'm finding myself less enthused at this point, but I trudged on.

When setting up my character, it asked me what job I wanted him to have. Ugh. I already have a job in real life; I don't need a second one. Then we're on to appearance, and since I didn't want my character to look like one of the J.C.Penneys models in the game screenshots, I gave him a bald head and a tattoo on the front of his cranium. Didn't matter. As soon as I got into a battle (with a rabbit, of all creatures), I made him cast a magic spell, and he started prancing around like he was trying out for a Wyoming dinner theater production of 'Dragon Ball Z.' That wouldn't have bothered me so much, except I kept visualising the other people online who play games like this, and that the otaku programmers were trying to make me into one of them. If you like Cosplay, fine. Perhaps you've already noticed, but I don't. To each their own, I guess.

So don't be looking for 'Mister Bling' on FFXI anytime soon. I will be unistalling the beta today.

Too bad no one who plays these games will ever read this, because they're too busy neglecting the rest of the world as they level up and farm for gold, or even worse, they're paying real money for in-game money...

/I live under a bridge


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