Category Archives: Video Games

Mass Effect 3: Reinstated

Mass Effect 3: Reinstated

In which Jason and Everett Steele, co-creator of Bon-Rappetite, discuss the Mass Effect 3: Reinstated Trailer.

J: I haven’t seen a soldier this threatened by an enormous squid since Beetle Bailey’s girlfriend made him try an Ika Maki roll at Benihana. And by Beetle Bailey’s girlfriend, I mean Sarge. I have to say, the female Commander Shepard in this trailer looks a little like a grown-up Pippi Longstocking. Which explains why the two newest companions in her squad are a spotted horse and a monkey named Mr. Nilsson. Don’t worry, the horse is a biotic and the monkey keeps Medi-gel packs under his comical straw hat.

Three Deviled Eggs In A Big Red Basket: My Adventures In “Skyrim”

Three Deviled Eggs In A Big Red Basket: My Adventures In “Skyrim”

The first thing I did in Skyrim was join a group of warriors called The Companions. They turned out to be werewolves. Then I became a werewolf. Then I was cured of being a werewolf by cutting off a witch’s head. Later, I realized I’d misread the instructions and the cure for being a werewolf is cutting off a witch in traffic.

Does The Rabbit Look Nervous: “L.A. Noire” Reviewed

Does The Rabbit Look Nervous: “L.A. Noire” Reviewed

Guys in fedoras, old fashioned soda ads, bar matchbooks in elegant fonts— this game has got em’! And a mostly accurate map of 1947 Los Angeles. Rockstar also made some new face scanning technology for L.A. Noire. The faces are really lifelike! But they’re still just a little off, like if a trickster forest spirit made an enchanted mask out of river mud so he could steal human babies. As soon as he gets within ten feet you’re like, “You’re not the midwife! Get away from my baby!” Then you throw salted oak roots in his lying forest spirit face.

You’re supposed to use facial clues to figure out if people are lying in L.A. Noire. For example, if a suspect’s eyes are darting around nervously, they’re lying. If they tug at their tie like Rodney Dangerfield, they’re lying. However, if they wear their tie around their head like a headband, they’re drunk. Or civilization has collapsed and they’ve joined the resistance but didn’t have time to go home and change into shorts.

I botched a lot of interrogations because I gave people the benefit of the doubt too often. Also, every suspect had way too much damning evidence against them. It seemed like I found a bloody tire iron everywhere I went. I was starting to wonder if having a bloody tire iron in your house was fashionable in the 40’s. Hey mister where’d you get your blood-soaked tire iron? I got it on sale at Woolworth’s!

L.A. Noire is all about collecting clues at the crime scene and this is where the game really gets bogged down. The controller vibrates when you get close to a clue, and often it’s something mundane and unrelated to the crime. But I still felt compelled to pick up every clue when the controller vibrated. One time there was a bunch of carrots on a kitchen counter and the game indicated that they might be a clue. And I was thinking, really L.A. Noire? These carrots? You want this LAPD detective to walk over to a bunch of carrots and seriously consider them as part of a criminal investigation? Ok, fine— maybe one of the rabbits from Watership Down did it. Does the rabbit look nervous?

Cole Phelps certainly doesn’t mind putting his bare hands all over the corpses of murder victims. Especially the way he cups their chins and tilts their heads around and rifles through their bloody sport coats. And I know he didn’t wash his hands afterwards because I’m the one controlling him. He didn’t even bother to wipe his hands on his pants! Seems like a man who crouches over dead bodies every day and insists on direct contact with their cold, blood-spattered and lifeless skin would want to rinse up now and again.

Rockstar really seemed to want to emphasize the picking up produce and caressing dead bodies aspects of the game because you don’t have a life meter or any kind of weapons display like in Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto IV. Also, shooting suspects in the back will lose you the case. Or even shooting them in the foot. I lost a few cases where a suspect was fleeing, so I figured what the hell, I’d shoot out their ankle and then get the answers I needed. Nope— you have to run them down and tackle them. My thing is, if I ask someone a few questions about a murder and they start to run away, I’m pretty sure that’s the murderer so why can’t I put a bullet in their leg? Probably because Cole Phelps wouldn’t be able to help himself from crouching over them and running his ungloved hands all over their unconscious bleeding bodies.

So here’s a spoiler about the end of the game. I didn’t like the way you play as Cole Phelps for most of L.A. Noire and then in the game’s final cases you play as Jack Kelso the claims investigator. I understand that Rockstar was trying to purposely chip away at the connection you feel with Cole Phelps. When it’s revealed that he was cheating on his wife during the timeline of the game’s events, it’s just as surprising to the player as anyone else. And when you’re abruptly switched to playing as Kelso, the feeling of control over Phelps slips away and he becomes as unknowable as any other NPC in the game; more like a movie character with his own motivations than a video game avatar.

But because the change in characters is so sudden, it feels more like a bait and switch than an artistic statement. There’s a reason that Super Mario Bros. doesn’t have you play as Mario until World 8 and then make you play as Mario’s old plumbing partner Jeffrey Krasinski. Sure, they have history together but you just put a lot of hours into going on an adventure with Mario and now some new guy gets to knock Bowser in the lava?

Obviously, L.A. Noire is more complex than Super Mario Bros. In L.A. Noire, you throw corrupt Los Angeles government officials into lava. Ultimately, L.A. Noire is beautiful but makes strange choices, like a girl I once dated who yelled at me at a party for not having read T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’. Despite its flaws, I’m happy to pick up and closely examine the odd rutabaga if it means companies like Rockstar will keep putting out thoughtful games targeted at adults. Especially if that rutabaga is served with broiled pork chop. The end!

The Spring Can Be Tricky: A Review Of “Kinect Adventures”

The Spring Can Be Tricky: A Review Of “Kinect Adventures”

Okay. Okay. The Kinect. I finally bought one at Best Buy. The Best Buy guy was all, “You need to get the Geek Squad Black Tie Protection Plan because the spring in there can be tricky.” Really, Best Buy? The spring can be tricky? Why are you selling it to me? Let’s fix this tricky spring and then make it available for sale. Also, I got confused because I pictured a spring like in a mattress going BOING and flailing out of the Kinect, maybe with a clown puppet at the end. So I mustered up all the dignity of Patrick Henry delivering his “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” speech and responded, “I think a product should just work when you buy it. I don’t believe in buying special plans. NO PLANS.”

The Best Buy employee said he knew where I was coming from, paused and then asked, “So…..no on the Black Tie plan?” No, Best Buy. Unless the black tie plan is to rob a casino, absolutely not. But! Now I have a Kinect. I had to rearrange my apartment to make it work. Now I can’t see the morning light coming through my window when I wake up. But I can control my Xbox 360 with my hands. I mean, I could control it with my hands before, but now I can wave at it. Hello, Xbox! Goodbye, light of dawn! Try putting two scoops of raisins in my cereal now, anthropomorphic cartoon sun.

Kinect Adventures features a man whitewater rafting on the cover wearing one regular belt and one crazy belt crossing his lower ribcage and ending in a sassy loop. Joining him on the raft is a woman in purple women’s business attire. Maybe at some point their raft drifted through a JCPenney fashion show. Kinect Adventures is mostly minigames. First I was floating in a room on a space station popping soap bubbles. For all I knew, I was destroying the crew’s oxygen supply. Then I was in a glass cube underwater plugging leaks with my hands and feet while fish rammed their heads against the glass trying to fill the cube with water and drown me. In hindsight, spare breathing or scuba equipment would have been a wise addition to my undersea journey.

After the game was over, Kinect Adventures showed me a bunch of pictures of me in my underwear that the Kinect had taken while I played, like some kind of voyeur HAL 9000. Kinect, I’m flattered. But this is the wrong kind of attention. No man has ever won a girl by slipping her a manila envelope of hidden camera glossy 8×10’s of herself in the shower. Not that I’m the girl in this situation. I’m the guy and you’re the unblinking robot eye that secretly takes photos of me whenever you want and gets off on them maybe.

Anyway, welcome to my home, machine that records my every move. I look forward to petting virtual baby tigers, swinging lightsabers and finding that you’ve uploaded nudes of me to Facebook without me ever having entered my credentials. Good night!

Portal 2

Portal 2

I have no idea what to say about this game. If Portal 2 was a president, it would be Abraham Lincoln. Everybody already knows about Abraham Lincoln. If you want to buy a $5 book about Abraham Lincoln, you’ll probably pay for it with a picture of Abraham Lincoln. Well, a five dollar bill, not a framed portrait of Lincoln. I guess maybe if the antique bookstore owner is willing to barter and is into Lincoln you could pull it off. “Hey….hey you… behind the counter at the bookstore- you into Abraham Lincoln pictures? No nudes!”

Right. Portal 2. If you like video games you probably bought it. Unless you’re one of those dudes (or ladies?) who only plays shooting games or hates having to think too much to play a game or something. ‘I hate thinking!’ thinks the brain of the idiot. Beautiful, complex little idiot brain. Synapses and neurons firing off in a miraculous ballet in order to form thoughts about hating thoughts. Maybe all the stars are nodes in an infinite network of intelligence, and the universe is thinking right now, thinking about how much it hates nerds and their nerd games.

I dropped my car off to get the oil changed earlier today. What a diference the letter “S” makes. If I had asked to get my car’s “oils” changed I’d have sounded like a crazy person, or a sultan. Nope, regular old “oil” change for me, thanks. One of the cars there had an enormous pink penis drawn on it. The penis was changing some oils of its own. I wonder why the artist chose to make it an action shot instead of a still life. The drawing was unsigned.

In Portal 2, you shoot a blue portal at a wall and another orange portal somewhere else like the ceiling or the floor and try to outwit GLaDOS, the feminine artificially intelligent computer system who tried to kill you in the first game. Stephen Merchant plays Wheatley, one of her personality cores. Portal 2 is an excellent game that made me very happy when I finished it. You know what else made me happy? On the way to get my car’s oil changed (oils?), I saw a girl joyriding around in her wheelchair with a little terrier dog in her lap. On the way back, I saw her again with the same dog but she’d changed shirts.

Should you buy Portal 2? Probably, it’s really just a fantastic game. But some people hate Scrabble (me), and just because you don’t want to stare at a bunch of letters trying to think of words all night doesn’t mean you should have to wear a dunce cap. Maybe Portal 2 is your Scrabble. But I eventually learned to like Words With Friends on my iPhone. Who’s wearing the dunce cap now? Is it Abraham Lincoln? Because I can get you a picture of that.

Anyway, I was nearly home from my admittedly eventful oil change, and I saw a man in a business suit on a hot pink bike wearing a Batman backpack. The suit said “captain of industry”, but the bicycle and backpack said “pink phallus erupting crudely on the side of a car.” He threw something into the nearby bushes (gum? a rock?) and pedaled furiously away. So long, whatever that was! I’ve got all I need in this child-sized Batman backpack!

Meanwhile, the synapses and neurons of the universe continued working together to form thoughts, thoughts of the man on the bike, the girl in the wheelchair with the dog, Portal 2, a penis on a car, inexpensive books about Abraham Lincoln and me writing this, ending this review, so long for now.

Dead Rising 2

Dead Rising 2

Wow, I barely wrote anything at all last week. What was I doing? Eating ice cream. The whole time, just ice cream. Ice cream sounds good, but “iced cream” sounds amazing, right? I picture a big frosty bowl of cream, full of ice flakes and vanilla extract. If cats could read the internet, I bet they’d “like” that on Facebook.

Anyway, running a website is thirsty work, especially in this modern age, aka “the golden age of indifference”. You ever try to get a celebrity on twitter to respond to your kinda-jokey-but-acknowledge-me-please tweet on twitter? Refresh, refresh. They are never going to admit that you tweeted at them. Twitter court is in session. Did this fan of yours tweet you an @ message, Jennifer Lopez? NO? CASE DISMISSED. Where was I? Oh right, thirsty work. I broke my rule about drinking out of the ginger ale bottle from the fridge and it was amazing. No more glasses for this lucky son of a bitch!

I played Dead Rising 2 all day yesterday, from noon to one in the morning. I took a break to eat spaghetti and watch half an episode of Justified. I’m sure any lady would be happy to get in bed with Timothy Olyphant, I bet he has a tight little body. What, I can’t say that? Well, sorry heterosexual world! Guess I’ll have to pack my bags and turn in my straight guy card, I suppose all those years of eating Hot Pockets and listening to Too $hort have been in vain.

You know what I love about Dead Rising 2? All the time management. You gotta rescue people and be at different places at different times or you lose the game. Like being Timothy Olyphant’s publicist and having to juggle interviews and topless beefcake calender posing appointments. Justify These Abs 2011!

Also, I love being able to pick out clothes for my character. I like dressing up dudes made of pixels more than I like dressing myself. It takes all my effort not to wear a too-tight promotional Green Hornet T-shirt every day of the week. Dead Rising 2 has all kind of outfits you can mix and match. I went with a tennis headband, collegiate outfit and aviator glasses so I looked like Luke Wilson’s tennis pro from The Royal Tenenbaums. Go Mordecai!

I have to admit that despite being a rational adult who does not find cartoon characters attractive, I found lady reporter Rebecca Chang quite fetching. Almost enough to do a Google image search for her with SafeSearch turned “Off”. Don’t coddle me, Google image search, I know what I’m doing! Searching Google Images sans SafeSearch is like being Cate Blanchett in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. You think you want all that information, but it will melt your face off.

My only issue with Dead Rising 2, which was minor because I burned through most of the game in a single day, was that there seemed to be a lot of repeating zombies. I must have passed that fat zombie like three thousand times! You know when you say goodbye to someone and then it turns out that they are going the same direction as you, so now your first goodbye means nothing, so you keep making conversation until you think it’s safe to say goodbye again, then whoomp there it is they are like, haha I’m actually riding with you and they get in your car and your second goodbye is now also useless?

I felt like this whole game was like that with the fat zombie and the zombie in the hat and the lady zombie in the sensible Payless ShoeSource outfit. Goodbye, zombies in the casino, I’m going into the mall now! What? How did you get in here? Oh well, goodbye mall zombies, I’m going to the underground tunnels! Whaaaat? You again?! I killed you with a lightsaber I made out of gems and a flashlight!

Which, come to think of it, is how lightsabers would be built if only rich old ladies looking for a circuit-breaker box in their basement were Jedi. Good night, everybody!

How It’s Going So Far In Fallout: New Vegas

This game is half wasteland apocalypse and half Frank Sinatra’s Las Vegas, so there’s a lot of dust and neon signs. And ruined stuff. And rubble. The last time I saw this much rubble was on Fred Flintstone’s Facebook page. Boarded up houses, empty bottles everywhere. In fact, I’ve never seen so many empty bottles in my life. You’d think after the apocalypse there’d be less intact glass bottles lying around.

Everybody I meet is dirty, except for the people in stylish Vegas suits, which are also dirty. I’m assuming everyone in the game is snaggletoothed, but video games rarely let you look in people’s mouths. Which is a shame, really. I can’t wait for the next generation of consoles to come out so I can really get in there and see the fillings on the teeth of the Super Mario Brothers in HD.

Everybody has a life-threatening errand for me to do seconds after meeting me. “Hey there stranger, could you go pick up a golden bottle cap for me? It’s hidden underneath some giant radioactive scorpions. You’ll literally spend forty minutes checking your map, wandering around and then dying of scorpion stings trying to find it.”

“Salutations, pal- I know I just made your acquaintance, but would you mind taking care of my personal business for me with a bunch of minor tasks? I’d do it myself, but I have to stay inside this building for the rest of my life for some reason.”

Also, my guns don’t seem to work very well against anything. I switched to punching people’s heads off with a pair of spiked brass knuckles. If someone has a laser gun, I just walk toward them letting the lasers hit me, then I punch-decapitate them. Sometimes they get me first and I evaporate and check Twitter on my phone. You’d think a man who’d walk into lasers just to punch you hard enough to separate your head from your neck would be harder to kill, but I die all the time.

Actually, I’m a woman. I got a girlish side bob haircut so I look like a waitress from the 1940’s, but grimier. More eggs, President Roosevelt? I guess she’s a waitress in the White House. Also, I have a tendency to take the hats off of everyone I kill. And a tendency to kill everyone in a hat. So I got a lot of hats. I thought my lady character would look sexy in a fedora, but you have to be sexy before you wear a hat and then the hat makes you sexier, I’ve learned. You can’t transform an ugly duckling into a swan with a fedora. Wish I could tell that to myself in high school before I posed for the yearbook photo.

So I’m running around in different stylish hats, punching heads off of passerby and taking their hats like a game of fedora whack-a-mole. Then an Elvis impersonator gives me his cyborg dog. My driving instructor in high school was a professional Elvis impersonator. He had a silky, velveteen Elvis voice. If you closed your eyes, it was like being taught to drive by the King himself. But then you had to open your eyes real quick because you were driving a car.

Anyway, I’m finally starting to learn how to manipulate the game’s menus enough to not die a hot dusty death every time I walk out of a sexbot brothel or a casino. This whole game feels like a spiritual successor to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, with all the surreal landscapes and weird sketchy people and Vegas-ness. If I had to do it all over again, I would have made my character look like Hunter S. Thompson.

The Bill Murray Where The Buffalo Roam Hunter S. Thompson, though.  Sorry, Johnny Depp. If they ever make a Benny & Joon game, you’ll be my first pick, I promise. Press X to make a bread roll look like dancing feet! Now press Y to make “Charlie Chaplin eyes” at Mary Stuart Masterson! Now push left on the D-pad to accept a Golden Globe. DO A BARREL ROLL!

How I Accidentally Strom Thurmond’ed My Baby in Fable III

So my Fable III guy is running around the Fable III world being the brother of the king doing stupid quests and tickling townsfolk and making pies. You know, like most royal family did in olden days. In fact, what heir to the throne wouldn’t love to make all manner of pies for small amounts of gold or whistle merry tunes over and over until a villager asks him to deliver a package for them like some kind of medieval whistling FedEx village idiot?

But anyway, at some point I saved my childhood sweetheart Elise when my brother made me choose between murdering her and murdering some random people I couldn’t give a shit about. Childhood sweetheart, I choose you! Mostly because I assumed you’d be having sex with my character later. And I was right! Unprotected sex, I might add. Which instantly resulted in a baby apparating right by the bed. Man, I’m sure glad babies can’t just teleport into your life right after you have sex. You gotta give me time to be a deadbeat dad, magic teleporting baby! It takes at least a couple hours to buy a bus ticket or hop on an empty freight car.

So I married Elise and put her and the baby in the nicest house I owned. She’s the love of my live! And then I go running around with my dog doing busywork for anyone who can yell their grocery list within earshot of my character. Oh, pick up my dry cleaning! Shuck this corn! Kill these mercenaries! Shell these peas! Hmmm. Lot of produce work.

Then I run into this beautiful dark skinned noblewoman and I’m thinking, well my wife and kid aren’t in this town so guess what. A few well timed dances, tickles, chats and heroic poses later, she’s asking me to (you guessed it) deliver a package for her. The next thing you know, I’m delivering a different sort of package during a tasteful interlude of sex noises. Aaaand a magic baby shows up when the lights come back on. So now I have a secret extra wife and baby.

I move them into the second nicest house I own. Now look, I didn’t give my secret black wife and baby the second rate house because of their race. But I’m not made of nice houses! And the second best house was very nice. I even furnished it with gift furniture and whatnot. Then I got made king and moved into the castle. Of course I moved Elise and our baby into the castle with me, they were here first! I’ve loved her all my life, apparently. Then I moved my second-but-equal-in-my-heart-I-assure-you family into the hand-me-down fancy house. And then I felt guilty about all this sneaking around so I went to visit family 2.0, but my second wife was wandering around on the road at night, got attacked by balverines and died.

Even though I was king, the orphanage came and took my second baby away the moment my second wife died. Like the Minority Report of orphanages. The whole Fable III world is very efficient with the adding or removing of babies from your life. If you could Paypal a baby to someone, that’s how easy it is to get a newborn infant in Fable III.

I go down to get my secret daughter back from the orphanage and adopt her (which, is kind of like having to buy back your stolen car) and while I’m there I adopt a whole shitload of orphans to live with my daughter so now she thinks I’m just a kindly old king who showed up like Oprah’s Favorite Things and YOU GET ADOPTED and YOU GET ADOPTED. Problem solved, secret baby remains a secret and my first family is none the wiser and no one will probably ever know until my character is really really old.

Did I hide the existence of my dark-skinned baby from the public eye and financially support her in a clandestine fashion à la segregationist senator Strom Thurmond? Yes. I did do that. I’m sorry to have set video game race relations back two decades in the fictional world of Albion. In my defense I was playing first-come-first-served when it came to who got to live in the castle and if I had made the families in reverse order then you can be damn sure there’d be like twenty biracial kids waving toy swords around and whooping it up in the castle playroom.

What did I learn from all this? The road to Hell is sometimes paved with good intentions, illegitimate babies that appear out of thin air and whistling and pies. I meant well in my reign as king of Albion and I think my angelic blue glowing wings I earned after beating the game reflect that. Anyway, sorry about all the second class citizening of my mistress-wife and orphaned misbegotten multiracial love child. I will totally keep it in my pants next time.

Where Even the Water is Death (Red Dead Redemption)

Where Even the Water is Death (Red Dead Redemption)

The first person I met in Red Dead Redemption’s multiplayer mode shot me dead where I stood. I took two steps toward him like a newborn baby and he pumped me full of lead. I had entered Red Dead Redemption’s Free Roam area, where you can ride a donkey around and interact with strangers on Xbox Live. Unfortunately most strangers on Xbox Live are horrible trolls with high pitched troll voices and little troll nicknames like HALOxxx_KILLSPOT23 or MURD3RCL0WNHEADHSH0T_HANNAHMONTANABESTOFBOTHWORLDS. Even the nice ones are impossible to understand. This one dude asked me to join his posse. I was talking to him on my super cool Xbox controller headset. “This is my first time playing multiplayer,” I said. “How does a posse work?”

“Ha, ha” he said, “they’ll do that.”

“Who’ll do what?” I asked. “You got to…you got to….go there.” he replied. What? “Are you talking to me?” I asked. Silence. His horse stood in front of me. I rode in circles around him. Me: “What is our posse about to do?” Him: “It’s hard the first time.” No shit, Yoda. I should have put a knife in his ribs.

Later, I was playing a co-op mission with strangers. In the lobby, waiting on the mission to start, everyone was punching each other. A blond man chased me and punched me until I fell in the dust. Then a woman punched me. Everyone was punching me. The man jumped and down. The woman ran in circles. This was my team.

When the mission began, everyone whistled for their horse. I accidentally got on the blond man’s horse. The blond man shot it in the head so I couldn’t ride it and I fell on the ground. They rode off and left me behind and I had to run and run to catch up. When I got to where the fighting was, most of my team was dead and one guy refused to leave a cannon he found, shooting it in roughly the same spot over and over and over. Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! “I’m a cowboy!” I imagined him thinking to himself, “I like the cannon cause it boom and big kid pants.”

I saw on my radar one of the other players had become Most Wanted. I tracked him to the saloon in Armadillo. He was hiding out on the second floor. I walked into the first floor of the saloon. He shot me in the head and I died. I reappeared near the saloon. I came up the stairs on the other side. I peeked over the window to aim at him. He put another bullet in my head. I reappeared again and tried the outer balcony. I crouched next to the entrance and poked my head around. BAM! I was dead yet another time. I left him alone. Let some other fool go after him. But my pride, oh my pride stung.

I hunted another fugitive the next day, chasing him over the plains. He must have seen my dot on the radar racing toward him and known it was coming. “You don’t know what’s coming, son. Oh, you’re gonna get got!” I said to him in my mind and also out loud. I pulled out my Volcanic Pistol. I arrived at his dot on the radar. He was nowhere to be seen. I activated dead eye and shot a man off his carriage. An innocent man, it turned out. My quarry was hiding behind a rock. I got got! I didn’t know what was coming, son!

I was riding a raft with my friend Sam, holding off wave after wave of enemies. I stepped off the raft into the river. I drowned. OH I’M DEAD I yelled into my stylish Xbox headset. I couldn’t help but think of how this must be what hell is like, a hot dusty place where the mad and the evil and the foolish fight endlessly but never truly perish, reappearing moments after death. A place where even the water is death.

I appeared in a Mexican town having traveled there instantaneously via wagon wheel. I materialized next to an old Mexican woman who was not another player, just a character in the game. I brandished my rifle at her. She held up her hands. I holstered my gun and whistled for my horse. I rode away. Another player had become Most Wanted.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction

I bet when Tom Clancy pours gravy on his mashed potatoes, it’s out of a pistol. He keeps the butter in a pair of military issue binoculars. And instead of napkins he dabs his mouth with a manila folder full of CIA classified documents. Also, he eats dinner in the dark wearing thermal goggles.

When he’s done he pats his belly and yells, “Tooooooooom Claaaaaaancy!” Then he kisses a bullet. Then he kisses his own hand. I had a discussion with my friends at work about how it’s fun to kiss your own hand but nobody believes me. Go ahead. Kiss your own hand. It’s really fun. Also a good argument stopper. If you’re having a fight with someone, start kissing your own hand. Check mate.

So, in Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction your daughter is dead but she isn’t dead we lied to you and also this private military organization you worked for is bad now, so shoot everybody in the head. Put on this bulletproof vest. Bash this dude’s face in a toilet. Climb this pipe. Save a scientist! She’s wearing a lab coat so you know she’s all into some science and shit. And glasses!! Extra smart. Kill these soldiers! Don’t ask why! Leave a trail of bodies! What are you some kind of lady? You’re Sam Fisher damn it! Haul your distinguished middle-aged-graying-templed ass over to the White House and save the President! Put some Touch Of Gray® in your hair. Sit in a bathtub with your old naked wife in a Cialis ad. Play Roger Sterling in an episode of Mad Men. Put on these goggles. No, not your swimming goggles. The ones that can see heat signatures through walls. Okay, now put on your swimming goggles. Kiss your own hand.

Now you’re at the Lincoln Memorial. Giant Abraham Lincoln is sitting on his big ivory chair. Or is it marble? It doesn’t matter. You aren’t here to learn about stonemasonry, you’re here to sneak up on a businessman or a politician or something and slam his head into a speaker and also a table. That’ll teach him to wear a suit! Actually, no one has ever successfully learned to wear a suit by being physically assaulted in the face. Fun fact: Abraham Lincoln could teach a man to tie a tie by kicking him in the shin.

Spoiler Alert

When you’re done saving the President you have a choice whether or not to kill the mole who set everybody up and was feeding information to the bad guys. I shot him in the face because why not, he just showed up in the game and now the game is asking me whether or not to kill him. Am I wearing judge’s robes? I don’t give a shit. If you say he’s bad, video game, yeah go ahead and kill him.

Red Dead Redemption

I was playing Red Dead Redemption and I was sneaking up on a gang of bandits in a crouched position. I moved very quietly up a hill to get the drop on them from above. I drew my gun to fire on the bandits when my horse stuck his head in from the side of the screen. Hey, I’m your horse! Whatcha doin? Horse stuff? Sneaking up on some hay or grain?

I was looking to kill a corrupt lawman. It was raining. I had finally tracked him to a riverbed. My horse was in the lake. I whistled for him to come. The horse stayed in the lake. It is better in the lake, my horse seemed to say.

I reached the town of Blackwater. I had completed all the missions necessary to wear the U.S. Army outfit. I just needed to buy a scrap of fabric from the Blackwater tailor. My horse was blocking the door to the tailor’s shop. Whatcha buying? Horse clothes, maybe? I could use a hat. I’m your horse!

I was riding my horse over the plains and the rocks and the dust and the sunlight looked like the art on a tin plate my great-grandmother used to keep in her kitchen cupboard. Minus the revenge seeking cowboy, I guess. She used laminated photographs of desert scenes as placemats for dinner plates. I wonder if my great-grandmother would have rather lived in Arizona or Mexico.

I saw a donkey in Mexico and immediately jumped on it and rode it around. But it was too fat and slow so I left it by a Mexican brothel. If I was a donkey, I’d want to spend my days dozing in the shade of a Mexican whorehouse. If someone didn’t pay I’d bite their pocket until money fell on the ground and the prostitutes would bring me papayas and hang flowers around my head.

I was playing poker in Blackwater in my elegant suit and I tried to cheat but was caught by Bunk Trimble and challenged to a duel. I didn’t have the heart to kill him so I shot him in the arm. I slept in a room above the saloon and came back down the next morning for a more honest round of cards and Bunk was still there and it was like nothing had ever happened. I thought it would be cool if he was the great-great grandfather of William “Bunk” Moreland from The Wire, but then maybe characters from video games aren’t allowed to be grandfathers of characters from television shows.

Spoiler Alert

I had read on the internet that Marston died at the end of the game, but I was hoping it was some idiot on an idiot website who was trolling or didn’t know what he was talking about. But when John Marston left the barn I knew it was over.

Later when his son Jack Marston was riding his horse and wearing his guns, I had him put on the U.S. Army outfit but then realized he would never wear the uniform of the men who killed his father. So I had him ride to his family farm, lay down in his childhood bed and turned off the game.

He Don’t Dance Like Carlton (Mass Effect 2)

He Don’t Dance Like Carlton (Mass Effect 2)

An evaluation of my second playthrough of Mass Effect 2, which I first reviewed in February.

I played Mass Effect 2 as a woman this time. This lady Commander Shepard is very dear to my heart. She was the Mass Effect character I created after I got burglarized and my first Xbox 360 was stolen. Burns me up thinking of my very first Commander Shepard out there in some thief’s house, never to continue his adventures. He looked like Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and had a scar over his eye. He didn’t dance like Carlton, though. What if one day the police call me and say hey we know it’s been three years but we found your stolen Xbox and now you can play your Carlton look-alike Mass Effect guy in Mass Effect 2. I don’t know why the police would be so interested in me finishing a ME campaign, but I salute their enthusiasm. What a silly dreamer I am.

Speaking of silly dreams- I kid you not last night I had a dream about a giant muscular kangaroo, at least thirty feet tall, wearing red trunks and red boxing gloves punching car hoods in the middle of the interstate. Next thing you know, I’m trying to convince Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg to get on a ferris wheel. Dr. Dre was like, “You said we wouldn’t go higher than thirty feet!”

Commander Veronica Shepard (I was watching Veronica Mars at the time and had a wee bit of a crush on Kristen Bell) had a sassy short haircut, full kissable lips and a dark complexion. I had her involved in a romance with Thane the amphibian-spiritual-Buddhist-sort-of-human-assassin but then he got all gushy with the feelings talk so at the end of the game I kept putting him in charge of stuff where I was pretty sure he would get killed off for good. Is that how you girls do it? If I was a woman and some guy started all that flowery nonsense I might be tempted to put him in front a geth bullet, too. Thane took a shot right in the gut and died honorably without ever finding out how much I was rolling my eyes at his fussy little declarations of love.

Then not five seconds after getting back on the Normandy I had my ship’s yeoman Kelly Chambers doing a strip tease for me in my captain’s chambers. Now that’s how you grieve! I really like that this game gives you the option to have a lady strip for your lady captain before your boyfriend’s body was even cold. Or warm. I don’t know how it works with lizard/fish dudes.

This time I took the thief Kasumi with me on a lot of missions because I paid Microsoft a bunch of Microsoft bucks to have her as a downloadable character. For as much as I paid for her teleporting ass, she needs to be the one stripping in my captain’s chambers. Also, I tried to make sure that the crazy-bionic-bald-headed-tattooed girl Jack survived to the end of the game because my other Commander Shepard played with her heart and hurt her feelings then she took the bullet to the gut that was clearly meant for Thane. So by this logic, I’m trying to make it up to an imaginary video game character for past injustices. Oh hey Xbox 360 game character, I know you are made of pixels and aren’t real and all but I’m so obsessed with this story that I feel a strange obligation to see you safely to the end of the game this time around.  See, this is how cosplay gets started. Not sexy cosplay either, like fatty in a Stormtrooper outfit eating a Philly cheesesteak sandwich sitting on a box of comic books at a convention cosplay.

At the end of the game I blew up the Collector base ship and pissed off the The Illusive Man, aka Martin Sheen’s voice and face with some weird glowing eye circles, so we’ll see how that goes whenever Mass Effect 3 comes out. Guess I’ll just kill the next year or whatever doing dumb non-Mass Effect related activities like spending time with loved ones or sustaining my body with food and oxygen. I suppose I could start trying to breed that super kangaroo I dreamed about. Anybody got a pair of enormous kangaroo boxing shorts and a working knowledge of kangaroo genetics? Not so fast, Dr. Dre! That’s not what your doctorate is in! You’re just trying to get off that Ferris wheel.

Borderlands

I thought about Borderlands as I was drifting off to sleep the other night. In the game I was using my phasewalking ability to electrocute an armored military unit called the Crimson Lance, causing them to yell in their squawky voices, flail around, throw up their hands and die in a puff of electricity. So like Scrooge McDuck counting gold coins in his head before he slipped into dreams of large bosomed lady ducks, I counted the kills I made in Borderlands before I dozed off.

Then again, the next night I was thinking about fried ice cream cake, which is something I came up with at lunch with my friends. It’s a piece of ice cream cake you dip in batter and fry. I also invented a service where you hire a priest to stand outside of a strip club and forgive you as you are walking out. You’re forgiven! And you’re forgiven! Aaaaand you’re forgiven!

The only thing I didn’t like about this game is deciding which gun to keep and which gun to sell, because there are so many to choose from. I kept obsessing over having the best of all the guns. My favorite weapon was a Double Anarchy submachine gun. Other guns came and went, but this was a gun I felt like I could settle down and grow old with. Congratulations, Borderlands, I’m reminiscing about video game weapons.

Most games, I couldn’t give a damn what I’m shooting someone with. Oh does this shoot lasers? No, it shoots little needle things. And this one just says prerecorded businessman cliche phrases when I pull the trigger. (pulls trigger) “Maximize our SEO!” “It is what it is!” Maybe somebody could make a gun for priests that forgives people. Wonder what ammo you would load it with. Probably confetti.

Borderlands is looking pretty with those cel-shaded graphics. Very stylish. Like an ad for an uptown condo. All it needs now is a skinny lady holding a cosmopolitan. If I see a woman in an ad holding a fancy drink and a big glittery purse I assume if I hung out with her she’d be really mean and boring.

Here comes a spoiler:

This whole game, you’re running around killing bandits on a desert planet, picking up weapons and shields, looking for this mythical place called The Vault. To be honest with you, I thought the Vault was going to be full of amazing weapons and loot. Nope. It’s got a squid creature from another dimension in it. That ain’t right, video game. If you call something a vault, it better have treasure or a dead body in it. I’ve never heard of anyone keeping a big space jellyfish in a vault, not even the seafood bank where you can get a 3% on all shrimp you deposit.

But like the ocean voyage you must take to reach the seafood bank, what made Borderlands great was not the destination, but the journey. Skully Skeleton, the mossy skeleton from a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean I mentioned in my review of Wonder Boys and The Lovely Bones, once traveled all seven seas just to deposit a silver backed shark into his seafood bank account. Then he found out his account was overdrawn by one hundred lobsters. Funny story- that shark ended up being the best man at Skully’s wedding to a a Polynesian belly dancer.

THE END

Halo 3: ODST

Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, and Alan Tudyk did voice work for this game. That’s great! I love it when actors from my favorite canceled show get together in the same room to work on another project. Like there’s a possibility that Joss Whedon might crash into the studio Kool-Aid Man style and say “Oh YEAHHH Firefly’s back on let’s make some EPISODES!!!” Then he punches Master Chief in the heart through his space Marine armor. I guess Master Chief was mixing sound that day in the studio. Who’s cranking the treble now, bitch?

It’s the 26th century and the events of Halo 3 haven’t even happened yet. This game is a little side story to Halo 2, which I never played and don’t know anything about. It has a jazz soundtrack, which is good. Space marines and saxophones- like on a poster you win at a county fair dart game. I once won a poster of a bikini lady standing in front of an open refrigerator door when I was eleven. I had it hung on my wall for about an hour before I took it down from embarrassment.

You’re a rookie dropped in the African city of New Mombasa. What happened to your squad? You don’t know. Aliens from the Covenant are trying to kill you. What’s the Covenant? An alliance of hostile alien races. Any sexy aliens? No. It’s a gathering of ugly monsters with shiny guns, like a tea party at Dick Cheney’s house. Who is still making Dick Cheney jokes in the year 2010? Me!

I bet Halo 3 might as well be Disney Sing It on the Wii as far as Dick Cheney is concerned. He’s all like,”Yahh! More blood! Where’s the gore? Bigger guns! War! War! It’s my turn to sing Jonas Brothers!”

My favorite guns were the grunt shot and the beam rifle because you could snipe your enemies from far away with laser beams. My favorite thing to do in a Halo game is crawl up in some big piece of machinery and knock out all the enemies inside and then blow it up from the inside. Makes me feel like a man.

SPOILER ALERT

Come to find out the whole mission is to protect a big intelligent floating jellyfish loaded up with data. One time I went to Pensacola Beach and there were so many jellyfish in the water that little bits of jellyfish were floating around so you got stung no matter what. I ended up drinking in the sun under a wet towel all afternoon. One girl got stung by a jellyfish on her leg and her boyfriend took her into an alley behind a hotel and peed on her. Because that’s a home remedy for jellyfish stings, not because he was into it. I mean, maybe he was into it. I wasn’t there.

Just so you know, the best way to actually alleviate the pain of a jellyfish sting is with saltwater, fresh water and urine will only irritate it further. Also, if Dick Cheney pees on you in an alley behind a hotel, it is because he lurks in hotel alleys waiting for out-of-town Democrats taking shortcuts to the Whole Foods. If he jumps out at you just yell, “Halliburton!”

Red Faction: Guerrilla

Imagine my disappointment when I realized this wasn’t Red Fraction Gorilla, the game about a math loving primate. He drives the Geometry Bus, wears a fedora and has red fur. Just don’t mention mathematician Georg Cantor if you want to keep both of your arms attached to your torso.

In Red Faction: Guerrilla, engineer Alec Mason shows up on Mars ready to start a job with his brother. Unfortunately, Mars is occupied by the Earth Defense Force (EDF), a bunch of military jerks with fences and tanks. Before you can say 2 bananas minus 1 banana leaves 1 banana, the EDF kills Mason’s brother right in front of him, leaving him one sad banana.

He joins the Red Faction insurgency to take Mars back from the EDF. Yeah, give me back my unforgiving dust planet! I want to live here and taste minerals in my food all the time!

Mason has a sledgehammer, demolitions and a Nano Forge gun that vaporizes enemies into a cloud of golden dust. Also, like most freedom fighters, a jet pack. His jet pack flying style is unhurried, almost delicate, as though he were descending from the skylight of the Governor’s Mansion for a formal dinner. If Mary Poppins used proximity mines and rocket launchers to liberate a mining planet, that’s how she’d fly.

By the way- patent pending on that formal dinner jet pack.

This game was surprisingly hard in some places, just like a certain crimson gorilla who gets nervous erections when he encounters difficult algebra problems. A lot of times I’d find myself walking into laser tank fire when I should have hidden behind a rock. The game got a lot easier once I had the enemy-vaporizing Nano Forge gun.

The last time I saw that many people get vaporized was at a sketchy rave in the year 2000. For those of you who did not attend raves in the year 2000, it was common to inhale Vicks VapoRub to enhance the effects of Ecstasy.  I wouldn’t go running out to buy Ecstasy and a bottle of VapoRub if I were you, though. Please- save the soothing vaporizing effects of Vicks for when you have the flu, not for when you are sucking on a glowing pacifier like a big dumb baby in a drug induced state of chemical bliss.

Once at a rave a guy sitting on a metal chair in a hallway had a woman sitting on his lap and that woman had another woman sitting on HER lap. It was like a Jenga tower of off-putting flesh. “Hey! You want to join my party?” he asked. I guess he wanted me to sit on the third woman’s lap at the top of the sex tower like a Christmas angel. Maybe he meant for me to squeeze in the middle.

Either way, what an optimist! I’d love to press my body against your bodies in this hot sweaty warehouse environment with only a sad looking chair to support our collective weight! I am sure none of you are harbingers of any sex diseases, what with all the indiscriminate rave sex.

Anyway, grandkids, if you are reading this in the future, that’s how I met your grandmother.