Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shhh! 50 Cent is making a game.

Where do I start with this one. Hm.

Videogames, like movies, are often hailed for their fantastic stories. Sadly, that hailing doesn't happen quite as often with games, but what can ya do. At least the appreciation is there, albeit only sometimes, right? Now, I've talked about the importance of writing before. It's my assertion that writing for a game should be at least in some dimension of the term "acceptable." It's always at least appreciated when a game, though being somewhat sub-par with its gameplay, can still in some special way soar because of its story. Those things, I think, rest in those "warm and fuzzy" moments of our lifetimes...when you can walk with your character through their tremulous life and emerge, after a series of impossible circumstances, victorious. It's wondrous.

However, I would say it's pretty fucking rare that a game is produced with a fantastic story, but horrible gameplay. Usually, there has to be some kind of symbiosis in that chemical mix. That, and I doubt most people would push through really bad gameplay just for a story. I mean, why piss yourself over terrible controls or horrible voice-acting when you could be reading, I don't know, a book or something. Playing through one of those games would be like getting cozy with your favorite novel, then blasting Bjork as loud as possible while you enjoy it. It just doesn't make sense.

Well then. I just have to mention this up and coming doozy. It's called 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. Rather than give a quirky introduction, I'll just post the excerpt supplied by Kotaku from an IGN interview with the producer of this next fantastically amazing in every awesomistic kind of way game:

"...what's inspired the title is, 50 and G-Unit are putting on a sold-out performance somewhere in a fictional Middle Eastern setting. This is where the 'blood on the sand' comes in. They put on the performance; the people are pleased, but the concert promoter stiffs them and doesn't give 50 and G-Unit their payment.

So, of course, 50 isn't going to leave until he gets paid, so he hassles the concert promoter, [saying] if he doesn't come up with the money now, there will be consequences. And instead, the promoter offers him a very valuable gift - something that's valuable to this particular country - a diamond encrusted skull.

So 50 gets the skull, and as he's about to leave this war-torn country, when they're ambushed and the skull is taken. They escape the ambush, but they're without the skull. So 50's motivated to get what belongs to him. So basically, throughout the game, he's trying to track these people down and find out who they are and why he was ambushed."

You see that, right there. That. That is why I want to be a writer. That's gold. GOLD. I mean, just look at all of the possibilities. That story can go anywhere. Nazis? Oh I think that's doable. Nukes? Fuck it, let the Nazis have them. Hell, throw Angelina Jolie in there for no reason what so ever. What's that? She needs a reason? No she doesn't. O-- Okay, fine, she's fucking Bin Laden. No, no--she's making porn with Bin Laden. And 50 Cent gets caught up into producing it. See? GOLD. I am not talking to myself. Pass me the crack cocaine please.
Honestly. I mean...really? Is that really what's being made into a game? A multi-platform game!? Give me a moment.

See, games that are produced with a foundation like that are the prime reason why the gaming industry isn't taken seriously. That's also why writing for a videogame can appear as almost...unprofessional. If you were aspiring to write for videogames, and you read that, I'd imagine you would think one of two things: Either you would try harder to gain access to that most prestigious of job positions because you know you're better than that, or you would give up because that's what the industry wants. So, which is it?

I don't think it's the latter--yet. Though it's disturbing just to see something like that taken under serious consideration and get published, I don't think such a terrible staple will ever make it to the point of engrossing the industry. Us nerds just aren't that stupid. I hope not, anyway.

Let me just give you all my thoughts onto what that game will be like... I think it will incorporate every major videogame mechanic that's been proven to work in the past five years, but each one will be utilized in completely the wrong way and thus (hopefully) this game will burn like the pile of shit it isn't yet.

It will have cover fire mechanics (because it worked in Gears of War), but they will be horrible to maneuver. Your character will stick to the wrong walls, be shot when they shouldn't be, and the enemy AI will have NO IDEA how to use the mechanic.

It will have a billion multiplayer modes (because it worked for Halo 3), but the servers will be in such shitty condition and the controls will be so awkward that it just won't be playable. Either that or the servers will be vacant because no one will be playing.

It is set in a war-torn fictitious Middle-Eastern country (because it worked for Call of Duty 4), but, as proven, the story will blow.

It will have some kind of RPG element (because it worked for Bioshock), but the abilities will be unbalanced, and thus near-nonexistent. You will also be able to unlock the most useful abilities only after playing the game through at least once--something no one will do.

It will have button-timing cut-ins or fights (because it worked for God of War), but they will suck because every fucking game since God of War has tried to implement that mechanic--badly--and it's gotten to the point of being an annoyance rather than something "cool."

I could go on, but I think that's sufficient. Though a part of me wonders... what if this game turns out to be absolutely fucking incredible. What if the gameplay is stellar and every mechanic is so tight and perfect that it tops every chart imaginable. It outsells Halo 3. It kills CoD4 in multiplayer. Remember, there have been good games with bad stories before (Resident Evil for one...oh come on, the story really wasn't that good at all... okay, fine. Serious Sam. Happy?). It is possible. Man, that's a scary thought.

Now I need a beer.

But I don't have any.

Oh's happening...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You can has shut up.

First, there was h4x0r. And it was fine, because it wasn't really taken all that seriously. It was atrociously annoying to type and ultimately resulted in just giving up and resorting back to "old(e) English." It decidedly fell into the realm of "stuff that we do or say every once in a while to be funny but don't use with any level of realism because everyone would hate us if we did" things. Or something.

Then, we moved on to the next big thing...the internet abbreviations. These are fine, and still widely used today, imho. The problems with them arise when people start to speak--orally--these time-saving necessities of typing. I cringe whenever I hear someone say "lol." Why? Because 9999% of the time they aren't laughing. Sure, that's fine online because no one can see you. So when you aren't laughing but typing it there, it can fly. But saying "lol" and ending that..we'll call it "outburst"... with a mild smile (at best) borders on the psychotic. And you look like a total retard.

Even semi-understandable abbreviations like "brb" make no point when spoken. B-R-B = three syllables; BE RIGHT BACK = three syllables. Shut the fuck up and talk like a normal person. If you're going to go there and abbreviate something that needs no abbreviation, you might as well make fun of yourself and throw a "bbq" on the end for no good reason. Then you'd at least get a smile from me. I probably wouldn't lol, though.

Anyway, the above kind of stupid stuff is relatively rampant across all modes of verbal communication--in-game chat especially. I guess people figure that because they're talking through a virtual landscape, they might as well blend in with the scene? Maybe? My logic has failed me here.

But the worst comings-about are just tipping over the horizon. And this is much, much worse than anything that preceded it.

It all started with a kooky picture of an owl who looked, for a legendary yet unknown reason, rather surprised. Someone then in a burst of immense cleverness pasted the words ("words") "O RLY?" at the base of the picture. And thus, an internet phenomenon was born. People everywhere started looking for pictures of animals to place "funny" captions on. But there was a catch--those captions couldn't be normal. No, they had to be cute, and broken. "I has a bucket" a walrus cried. "I made you a cookie, but I eated it" an adorable cat spoke with its eyes. These captions infected pictures the world never even knew existed. And the internet stood back and said "it is good."

But it never stopped.

The captions moved beyond found-photography. People would put time and effort to construct the perfect pictures of their pets, their friends' pets, nature--anything--to slap a caption to. The humor became sparser. The walrus with a bucket died. And the world hung their heads in grief.

Hundreds of websites spawned across the globe, all dedicated to the now-known sensation that is "lolcats." Oh god make it stop. For some reason all of the other species were dropped for the feline. They, the internet somehow deemed, are the most funny. They are the cutest. And they are destined for endless captioning.

Sure, a lot of those pictures are pretty funny. How can they not be? Though an equal number are extremely dull. The problem doesn't reside with the pictures, though. The problem has to do with the language of the pictures.

People have started speaking in lolcat. That's right, it's now a type of speech. Let me allow that to sink in. I bet your head hurts. Mine does, too. I wasn't completely aware of this until one of the people I know at work decided to invest in a new girlfriend. Aside from being markedly ugly (sorry, she just is), she speaks consistently in lolcat. What does that mean? Well, let me give you an example. If she were to, say, print something, but there's a paper jam, she would exclaim, "I can has no paper to printed my paper." Does that make any sense? Nope! But it wouldn't stop there. Let's say you were in the room and, after giving her a short glare, said, "Is the printer jammed?" she would reply, "Ya. Itz no printing ma paperz. You can has fix'd it?"

And then somewhere, someone would light themselves on fire.

The thing is, the guy that started dating said girl has now adopted this language because of her--it's spreading. There are, if you check here (scroll down and look carefully), messageboards full of people who type entire paragraphs in lolcat. They think they are funny. I see no one laughing.

"sry yur wethr so bad. Springteim in cal fur nees. 2day –maybee nawt stay. maybee ranes 4 eestr. Eggses get colurs al runed."


I understand that internet trends are cool and everyone wants to be cool, but speaking a "language" that doesn't even warrant typing in the first place is just ignorant and insane. If you speak like this, please stop. Though a part of me wants someone to completely adopt this language just to see them hauled away after getting pulled over because the cop thought they were drunk. "Pleez ofizer. I can has no beerz. I iz good driverz. Om nom nom."

I mean the internet isn't that it? Is it? Guys? ....guys?

Monday, March 10, 2008

God Fucking Damnit.

So this weekend I sat down to play Rock Band for another 3-6 hour stint like I usually do (that's normal, right?), and after a good three hours had gone by, my bass drum pedal snaps. Now let me explain. See, I know all about the billions upon billions of drum pedal and pad issues that people have been having since (it would seem) this game's conception. But my case is totally absurd.

Why, you ask? Well, this is the third time my pedal broke. "Oh, so you've gone through three pedals?" No, Timmy, this is still the same pedal. The first time it broke it was the actual pedal itself, so one of my friends took the damn thing home and had the entire foot pedal surface grafted with diamond-plate steel, then topped with skateboard grip-tape (something I'm seeing more and more often online). It was bolted in at least seven different places, and re-enforced with plastic cement. There was no way that was going to break again.

Oh, but something else did. About a month later, the bottom, support-part snapped in half. That would mean that the back of the pedal's base no longer was attached to the front of the base. So! my dad, being the awesome dad he is, grafted the entire base of the pedal--in five secure places--to particle board. Thus, the bottom was impossible to break. I thought I was in the clear.

But this weekend proved that all forms of structural engineering need not apply to the Rock Band bass drum pedal. The plastic that held the back of the pedal down, thus elevating the front of the pedal, snapped apart. This leaves me now with a pedal that only knows how to half-assly hover horizontal to the base. How retarded.

This isn't unfixable, though. I know what I have to do to get this thing working again. But still. Three times this seemingly unbreakable pedal has managed to prove that theory wrong and wrong again. No amount of returns or warranty exchanges can save the planet from these horribly designed pieces of shit.

Oh, and I'm on my fourth pair or drum pads because they simply haven't worked right since day one. ...And I've had the guitar replaced once (strum bar issue).

I want to know exactly how much money EA or Harmonix or whoever was in charge of this design really saved by making plastic accessories instead of metal. At this point, I would have gladly paid another 10, maybe 15 bucks if the bass pedal were made of solid steel. "Oh, but that would have gotten in the way of the magnet!" No, Timmy. If they wanted to make it work, they could have made it work. Plastic was the just cheapest, easiest option. I'm sure of that.

The supports for the drum pads are not just make the pedal the same way?

Ugh. This has something to do with the retarded value system we have nowadays. I swear, if Rock Band were created in the 1940's (man that would have been awesome), we'd still be able to play on the same equipment now--nothing would have broken. But when a company has a new product today, I think that their design scheme is constructed around the possibility of fault, rather than constructed around the possibility of no fault. No normal, intelligent human being would possibly look at that bass drum pedal design and say "Yes, brilliant. In 150 days of constant use this will be exactly as it was before!" Unless, of course, they were paid to say such a thing. EA (I'll assume it's their fault because they handle the warranties) simply designed and released their product knowing it would probably break, and assumed that through a process of examining the broken exchanges, they could build up to a design that they should have released from the beginning.

How do I know they did that? Well, something about the bright, neon-pink warranty notification sitting right on top of the Rock Band box as soon as you open it gives that away. It's as if EA were declaring, "Hey! You! This is gonna break REALLY fast! But it's okay, cause we knew that already! Here's the long and frustrating path you'll have to take someday!" ..but in a more professional tone. Besides that, the drum pads I'm using now are a totally different design than the ones that shipped with the game originally--no screws on the bottom, and you can't tug off the red and green pads like the previous design (not that I did...).

But like I said, no re-working of the pedal is going to save it. That thing needs fucking metal. Plastic that you're constantly stomping on with your foot is always going to break (unless, of course, you're some kind of fairy drum player that can move the pedal with your awesome levitation powers...maybe that's who designed these at EA...sure would explain how they seem to own everything...hmm...). And really, with the amount of cash they're pulling in just on downloaded songs alone over there, you'd think they'd be more than happy to fix their shit.

Companies need to design products based on perfection first and then, if they need to, work from there. EA could have implemented the exact same warranty plan with a metal pedal instead of the plastic one, and they'd probably have a shit-load-less (is that possible?) of returns. So, their extra fronted money would have paid off in the extremes. But like I said, companies will go with whatever is easier. And cheaper is usually easier. Such a shame. Well, at least this pedal is going to be so indestructible by the time I'm through with it that I'll be able to go 20 hours straight without caring...not that I'd do that... ... . . .

At any rate. I got Super Smash Bros. Brawl yesterday, but only played through a little bit of it as Link. It's a pretty good game so far. I'll probably write up a review for it, within a week, hopefully. Till next time...

Note: That's not my pedal in the picture above. Obviously.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Video Games Taught me to Kill: A Narrative (Updated, Revised)

I was eighteen years old when I first played Counter-Strike. Back then, it wasn’t a stand-alone game—it wasn’t even finished yet. I started playing at beta 4.1. And though that might not mean anything to you, let me put it this way: it took the developers four years after that to get to the working version today—1.6. You see, games don’t always start out as games. Sometimes, you need one game in order to play another game. Yeah, I know, I didn’t get it at first, either.

I was over one of my friend’s houses—Shaun was his name. For 1999, he had the best computer possible, so he also had the best games, too. His computer was a constant discussion at the lunch table. The other guys would drool on themselves when Shaun would talk about his machine. And Shaun was so sly about it, too. He’d squeeze a detail into an otherwise plain, common sentence and sit back as the reactions poured over him.

“Yeah, so, last night,” he’d say, “I was fiddling with my resolutions and figured out my monitor can get up to 1280 by 1024.” He’d then shrug and, shaking his head, add, “I didn’t ever try that high before.” Then he’d chuckle.

None of us could even get more than 800 by 600.

Anyway, while the rest of us were trudging through the Starcraft campaigns for the third time, he had Counter-Strike. I wasn’t even that good of friends with him, but he asked me over one day to show me. Like I said, he liked to show off. In fact, he’d been going around the lunch table, inviting someone else over every other day—it was just my turn, I guess. As much as I hated endorsing his ego, I wanted to see the game more. Listening to the admiration of the other guys was starting to wear on me.

I had just gotten my first car (a beautiful 1994 Sentra, tan) a few weeks before, so I was able to drive myself to Shaun’s place. And as I pulled up to the curb outside his house, he stood on his front steps, hands at his sides and a big, stupid smile on his face. I tossed the directions I had jotted down in the passenger seat and climbed out, putting my own smile on.

“Why hello,” I said.

“You ready?” Shaun asked, getting right to the point.

“You betcha,” I said, meeting him on the steps. I was such a dork.

He opened his front door and led the way inside. “No one’s home,” he said over his shoulder. “Mom works till seven and Dad’s out of town on business.”

“Cool,” I said. His house was ordinary—stairs leading up as soon as you walked in, living room on the left with a grey couch and a normal-sized TV, slight smell of some kind of pet in the air (I correctly guessed a cat). The carpet was blindingly, almost neon-white. And not a stain on it anywhere. It looked like it had been bleached just before I got there.

We made our way up the stairs and down the hall to his room—the only room with an open door. I could hear the hum of his computer half way there, and it had sounded very powerful.

And powerful it was—it certainly put my machine to shame. He offered the same weak explanation on how he afforded it—something about saved birthday money. I think the whole thing was rehearsed. Anyway, I wasn’t there to talk or stare at his computer.

He started the game up. Then everything was a blur. He showed me a quick run-around of one of the maps. Then another, and another, and another. The graphics were the most realistic I’d ever seen. The animations were as sharp and smooth as tinted glass. The guns sounded like real guns. My mouth must have been open the entire time, because by the time I left my throat was so dry it hurt.

After that, I knew I had to have that game. I needed it. The other guys would talk about it at the lunch table, but I wouldn’t bother. I kept all of my thoughts to myself. See, Counter-Strike was unlike any game that had been crafted before it. It was a shooter, sure, but it required actual skill. The guns wouldn’t always hit the spot where you pointed them, like in all the other games—bullets weren’t perfect. It was incredible. And it wasn’t bogged down by some over-reaching story. This game was all online multiplayer—all you did was kill other players. That meant it was constantly satisfying.

Now, remember how I said it wasn’t a real game yet? Well, that’s being technical. In order to play CS, you needed to have a game called Half-Life, which CS is a modification of. This basically meant that I had two major concerns at that time in my life—getting a half-decent computer and getting Half-Life. CS would naturally follow suit…it was a free download. Free. I couldn’t believe that.

So I worked my ass off all fall raking leaves. I went to every old person in my neighborhood and raked their yards—front and back. In two months I had over 250 bucks. The other guys had moved onto newer game announcements and other “latest and greatest” tech stuff, but I was only concerned with CS.

Once I had my upgraded machine, I knew there was one last thing I had to do before the end of highschool—kill Shaun in the game. So I hunted for him every day. I knew his gaming handle—“FatalDeath”—and the kinds of servers he played in. And one day, I found him. He was leading his team with the highest score in the server, and bragging about it, too. I ran up to him faster than any other players there, jumped, and swung my knife right across his face. His character doubled backwards with a spill of pixilated blood, defeated. Then, seconds after that, he disconnected. I never saw him online again.

I never told him I was the one that killed him. In fact, after that day he never talked about CS anymore, anyway. Then we all graduated, and as far as I know he hasn’t touched the game since. I, on the other hand, never stopped playing.

While everyone was getting summer jobs, I only played CS. I didn’t even bother with Half-Life. That game was like a coffee table—a simple object that’s only purpose was to hold up other, better things. I got accepted into college, but honestly, I couldn’t tell you the name of the place if I wanted parents took care of everything—the payments, the shuttling, the transfers. I know, I could I not know the name of where I went to college? Well, I never said I graduated.

College was just a different place I spent time playing CS. I could get 100 kills without dying. I could jump and snipe at the same time. My abilities were inhuman. I was virtually unbeatable. Somehow, I had gone through one or two girlfriends while at college. I don’t remember their names, either. I don’t even know how I met them—I’d say through CS, but girls are far beyond a needle in a haystack there.

I worked to make sure my aim was perfect—as perfect as could be. I learned the art of pistol swapping, noting the angles and speeds that my primary weapons disappeared off-screen before my Desert Eagle flipped into action. At first the pump shotgun was particularly puzzling—it seemed to deploy from the crotch of my virtual pants. But I eventually learned where its proper, non-use resting place was—just below my crotch. I began to save up empty toilet paper rolls, taping them together and practicing gun swapping with them on my own time in my dorm room. I became very good at this.

Some people online would join clans—organized teams that would “compete” as if the game were a sport. But you see, the game was more than a sport for me. Joining a clan socialized the point of CS, which was beginning to get clearer and clearer to me—to kill. I mean, why would they have bothered to make the game so realistic in the first place? I would often concentrate solely on killing those that were in clans—those whose names had a bracketed acronym of their clan at the beginning. Those people made me sick. Those socializers.

I only played as a terrorist, of course. The game wasn’t designed to have a side of good, or truth, or salvation. The maps were designed for the enemy—for the terrorist. We had the bombs. We had the hostages. Occasionally, the counter-terrorists would helplessly scramble around like ants, futilely protecting some weakling “VIP” who had no more than a pistol to defend himself. The CTs were consistently pathetic. I was always the victor.

I paid more and more attention to everything about the game. When I reloaded the AUG, I watched how my virtual arm swung down, delivering that final, defiant, almost-sideways slap to the side of the weapon, clicking the first round into the chamber. I watched how the knife was held, both before and after version 1.3, and often became lost in the swiping, its lulling shink-shink entrancing me. Begging for replication.

When I wasn’t playing, I found myself comparing everyone to players in the game. I would go to the store for food, and know that every person I passed was a novice. I could easily rip them all to shreds, bullets flying through their lifeless bodies as I loomed over them, jumping and crouching at the same time.

I saved my money until my bank account read a clean $16,000—I’d have made more, but that’s the limit in CS. Don’t ask me what I did, I don’t remember. I don’t think I raked any leaves, though. I know I got fired a lot. Trust me, it took years to get that money. I knew that I had enough for anything at that point. So, I read about the laws. And then, I got a gun permit. Yes, it was that simple. After all, I was above any kind of social life and had no criminal history.

I went to my local gun store, as we all have, because I knew I needed to start with a pistol, armor, and maybe a grenade. Later, I hoped to get a P90. Or a scout, perhaps. Anyway, I knew exactly what I had to ask for.

The store was small, cramped, but fully stocked. The walls were covered with various firearms, and some larger weapons were suspended from the ceiling. A built, stocky man stood behind the glass-case/counter, cleaning the barrel of something very large. I casually walked up and stared at him until he noticed me.

"B-eight-two", I said to the store owner.
"’Scuse me?" he asked. He stood up and crossed his arms.
"B-eight-two," I repeated, then, "B-eight-four."
"The hell are you saying, boy?" he asked me.
"B-eight-two," I said, slowly.
The owner kept his arms crossed and remained silent.
I gave a frustrated sigh. "Alright," I said. "Alright, how about B-three-one. Have any of those?"
He looked at me with an irritated, blank glare.
I hadn't used a graphic buying interface for at least five years, and I knew it'd be tough to properly recall the weapon names. But I tried anyway.
"USP…45?" I asked. I scanned the wall of weapons that hung behind the counter. Nothing looked familiar.
"I don't know what that is," he said. "But unless you're gonna start making some kinda sense soon, I'm gonna have to ask you to leave."
I suddenly remembered something simple and asked, "How about a Glock?"

He stared at me for another beat, then dropped his eyes below the counter and reached down. A few seconds later and I was staring at the terrorist spawning weapon—the Glock 9mm. It was beautiful. So I filled out the paperwork then and there, and after the “allotted waiting period,” had my own spawn weapon, though it had cost considerably more than the normal $200 in-game price mark.

That college I went to, whatever it was, eventually forgot I was there. At least that’s how it felt. I never went to any classes—I don’t even remember enrolling—and no one ever asked me to leave. My parents thought I was just “taking my time,” so they kept paying the bills. After staying there well over six years, I guess I just blended in with the walls. Students came and went, no one paying any attention to me, which was fine—I needed the privacy to practice my out-of-game skills.

The first time I held the gun—really grasped it in my hands—was beyond exhilarating. I knew exactly how to hold it. CS had taught me everything. So, I took the gun, and held it at the absolute bottom-right of my vision, with only the very front of my arms visible. It felt a little awkward at first, but I knew I could get used to it. Sure, my hands were bent at wrong angles, but that was only noticeable outside of my point of view. And my point of view was where all the action and skill came from.

I couldn’t practice shooting it, though. That would have been too loud. I mean, if I was going to fire it, I’d want to shoot an enemy, anyway. I couldn’t be wasting my ammo on nothing—that’s what new players did. You had to play every game as if there was no respawning. So after I practiced my pistol swapping and my gun positions, I knew I needed to get more guns.

Here’s the problem, though: You can’t buy any more guns until after the first round. That’s how CS works. You start with the spawn weapon—the pistol—and then go from there. Sure, I had the money, but I couldn’t break the rules. That’d be like cheating. And I’d be damned if I was going to start cheating. Players got banned for cheating. So I had to start the first round. Thankfully, I was surrounded other players, and because they were all novices, the first round would be over in no time.

I suited up in the best character attire—pale greenish-tan cargo pants, a tan long-sleeved shirt, and reflective sunglasses. Just like CS. I drove to a nearby office complex—the place was exactly like one of my favorite CS maps. My Glock was loaded, I had two extra clips, and my sunglasses reflected the world around me. I was in the zone. I moved my gun up to its perfect viewable position, and the round started.

“Novice” didn’t remotely describe these players. No one had so much as their knife on them, and they didn't even know how to attack. But as soon as I tried to fire, my gun locked up. Nothing happened. Like I said, I didn't think I needed to practice anything like shooting the gun. My mouse clicks were always spot on, after all. In CS the gun just always...did what it was supposed to do. But this gun didn't do anything. Most of the people just stared at me, confused. Finally, I shook the gun enough that I was able to squeeze a round off.

The bullet zinged into the ceiling, sending flecks of plaster realistically floating to the ground. No one was staring anymore. I guess they figured out the gun was real. But when I fired again, my wrists snapped back at an angle I didn't think possible, and pain shot through my arm. No matter, I thought, this is how it was supposed to be held. But every time I fired, the same pain would return.

Workers were screaming and running through the maze of cubicles, supervisors harboring secretaries into meeting rooms and locking the doors. Someone set off the fire alarm. None of my shots were registering.

"Bullshit!" I yelled. I had fired half the clip and not so much as a single bullet had even grazed anyone. I screamed, "R!! Reload!! R!!" shaking the gun in my hands demanding it to reload, but nothing happened. I finally ran out of ammo. I shook the gun until I thought it would fall apart, but no empty clip fell from the damn thing. When I looked up, the place was empty. Everyone had run away. I could hear more counter-terrorists coming.

I eventually shook the Glock enough to get the exhausted clip out, and I jumped when it clanked to the floor—such a thing had never happened in CS. I fumbled for another clip, and slammed it into place, but when the chamber clicked shut, the tip of my finger got caught in it.

“Shit!” I yelled, dropping the gun. I pulled my finger to my mouth, shaking my head and looking down at the gun. After a few seconds I picked it up and re-asserted my gun-holding position. When I looked around again, I saw the first CT. He looked exactly like the ones in CS, right down to his pistol. I could not have been more prepared. I turned and fired, but again, my shot went clear into the ceiling. Then he shot back.

I guess I was hit. I don’t really remember being hit. All I know is that I was outnumbered at the end. The teams were so unfair. I hate servers like that—with no administrator. Things get so out of whack when there’s no admin. Anyway, I’m still waiting to respawn. I guess there were more people on my team when I died. See, you can’t respawn until everyone on a team is killed. I wish I knew who my teammates were—I could have used the backup. But at least when I get back in there, I’ll know where the CTs will come from. And hopefully I can get a better gun. After all that practice, you’d think I’d be better at this game.

I hope you all enjoyed that. Satires are fun.

I certainly hope you enjoyed it more than I enjoyed this, anyway. NIU was/is a tragedy, and should never be belittled and demoralized by the soulless scum of existence that is Jack Thompson. Even FOX News saw his horseshit (to agree with Kotaku)--something that nearly blew my mind. Holding a mouse and keyboard is not the same thing as holding a gun. Pushing buttons is not the same thing as buying one. Shooting polygonal characters that spray pixelated blood is not the same thing as shooting a person. And if you stop taking medication for a serious mental disorder and shoot up a school, maybe the lack of meds had something to do with it a little more than Counter-Strike Half-Life...some kind of awesome hybrid game I have yet to play. Hopefully it comes out soon.


I just..I'm sorry. I have to post this as well. Via Rock, Paper, Shotgun, a transcribing of Jack Thompson's final sentence in that YouTube clip:

"One of the things personally disturbing for me dist, including the fact that we have a community now of survivors and victims’ families all across the country like at Perduco who go through the trauma of these type events with the families who are, uh, most immediately hit in this way most recently because they themselves have endured these type situations is the, um… err, the… uh, fact that, you’ve got, um, uhhh, uh, I wrote a, I’m sorry I lost my train of thought, because, uh, but, uh, I wrote a book called Out Of Harm’s Way for a Chicago publisher in which, the, the only chapter they deleted was a fictionalised of, of one of these incidents in which I I said that a kid should walk onto a stage in an audatorium and open fire with a shotgun and they dist they deleted it because it was too disturbing.”

... ... .. ....::explodes::