Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First person

Boing Boing posted this, and Heidi sent it to me without even watching it. She didn't know if it would be any good, and really, it's pretty good. Not orgasmically fantastic or anything, but still. It is Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" over the top of video from the first-person shooter zombie game Left 4 Dead.

I do not, nor have I really ever, gotten into first person shooter games. It's not that I'm opposed to the bloody gore and violence that is rampant in pretty much all of them - I'm not. My biggest beef with them is that I SUCK AT THEM. My brother Ryan is the undisputed first-person shooter champion in our family. There was not a single one of those kinds of games that he did not try out and eventually beat.

My dad says that the reason Ryan is so good at those games is that he is very spatial and has the map of each level in his head. I would agree with that statement, but I also just think his interest level in them is higher than mine. I am kind of interested in games like Doom and Halo in the abstract, but the execution of the game is infinitely less satisfying than I think it will be. I'm impatient with the controls and for they always seem so poorly lit that gameplay is just not what it should be. Mostly, I play for 5 minutes, fumbling around in the dark and then get shot to smithereens by some unseen enemy. Not so much fun if you ask me.Even Alien vs. Predator failed to get me into FPS games.

Well, when we were in California, the friends we were staying with had Left 4 Dead. I watched Stephen play the game one night, and believe me, if any game is going to get me to play a FPS game, it will be Left 4 Dead. The basic premise is to shoot the hell out of zombies and get to a designated "safe zone" in each level. What is really cool about the game is that it is NOT just mindless shooting. There's a back story and incredible attention to detail. It also has a level of AI that controls the difficulty and events, so that it's not just the same game over and over again. The zombies just keep coming and keep coming. They are relentless, which is what they should be. They're zombies after all (or, more accurately, infected. But they did die so they are techincally zombies.)

Alas, no matter how much I want to try this game, it is not to be. My computer doesn't even meet the minimum processor speed for it - something which I presumed while watching Stephen play it on his state-of-the-art gaming system.

So if I seem down on FPS games, I guess I am a little bit. But I did manage to play one FPS game all the way through - and that was Wolfenstein 3D. It is incredibly lame by today's standards, but I sure had a hell of a good time with it back in the summer of 1994 when I played it through to the end, with my sister sitting with me in my bedroom while we listened to Olivia Newton-John's Soul Kiss and Basia's The Sweetest Illusion. Whenever I listen to The Sweetest Illusion, I always think of Wolfenstein 3D.

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