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Tycho / on Mon, Oct 20 2003 at 5:46 am

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The Pied Piper

Over the years we’ve been doing the site, my own policy towards Apple products has morphed somewhat.  I worked service at a school district for about five years, which gave me some appreciation for the way they do things - these days, I accept without malice the idea that people own and use their products for a variety of purposes.  Their grip on Gabe has been a very different phenomenon.  As a person who creates visual art, their aesthetics, elegance, and seductive lifestyle that simmers just out of sight has finally worn him smooth.  Before iTunes, I think he had decided that while he would still use a PC, he couldn’t survive without Apple’s graven idol of a monitor.  Now he’s listening to their subversive radio stations and buying AAC encoded music files albums at a time.

When I try to conceive of this Midway Thing I went to, the NBA Ballers event, it’s hard to separate it out.  Most of the time I don’t get past phase one, trying to understand how events transpired over the course of almost five years to deposit me in a scenario that ridiculous.  I do hate to disappoint you, I have no photographs of me blinging.  Apparently the sports jersey budget got cut at the last minute, the sports jersey budget (you will recall) being my entire reason for going.  I decided to make the best of it by making a withdrawal of sorts from the liquor budget. 

The best part of the event was meeting human beings.  For some reason I keep seeing this Operation Sports guy Shawn I met a while back, he’s a cool guy and his perspective is invaluable to me.  We’re both avid gamers, but we play completely different games - when I need to know how a sports game stacks up I know I can rely on his experience.  It was also nice to see Shoe again, who is Shoe, Shoe is only the man Technology Marketing magazine in 2001 called one of the most influential and respected consumer/computer journalists.  I complimented him on how thugged out he appeared, representing the AZN and so forth, and he said that’s how he dresses every day so that was kind of embarrassing.  It was also nice to meet Ryan McCaffrey, an editor at Official Xbox magazine, the one with all the demos I talk about.  I told him that sometimes his Goddamn discs don’t work right, and he told me to boil them - I swear to God.  I thought maybe he was just being an asshole but they talk about it right there on the Team Xbox forums.  I also asked him if he wanted to work on an article sometime, and he said no.  At least he was direct.   

The event itself took place at some kind of mansion, and the entire time I felt like I was in a rap video.  The Ferrari and the Hummer certainly cemented this impression, as did the rapper, MC Supernatural, the Supernat.  I was already familiar with him from a tender documentary I’d seen recently called Beef, and as much as I wanted to I could not approach him.  He was sitting five feet from me but I couldn’t do it.  I don’t know what I thought would happen, it’s not like he was going to emerge from a hideous egg and deposit an alien embryo in my throat.  At least, I don’t think

He has a level of charisma on the microphone that is devastating, and coupled with DJ Rocky Rock they produced some extremely compelling music.  Supernatural does things you might see an Improv Group do, like the guys on Whose Line Is It Anyway - he’ll get words from the audience and work them in, or take objects from them and work them in.  His specialty is freestyle - “off the dome” rhymes - and I’m sure you could find a few of his appearances on the peer-to-peer thingy of your choice.  I basically stood with my mouth agape at what I was hearing, the rest of the crowd was fairly interactive but in the presence of that kind of talent I felt dislodged from my body. 

I don’t know shit about basketball, so I don’t know how I ended up there.  I don’t know about rocks or keys or how long you can be in the key or any of that shit.  I trusted the Operation Sports guy when he told me the control isn’t as tight as its contemporaries or that you see virtually every gameplay element in the first five minutes.  It’s simply an indicator of my lack of sophistication, then, that I found it enjoyable.  Making it one on one delivers on a sort of basketball fighting game, the elaborate courts become arenas, all of it underpinned by a reality show backdrop with story progression and a mansion you customize over the course of it.  The game itself was pre-alpha, load times were sort of gross - for some reason, they had a couple different versions there on the floor which was confusing.  I think that’s, um…  everything.   

Shortly after I made my post on Friday regarding Max Payne, I completed the game.  I’m a staunch proponent of Quality over Quantity, and I have routinely defended games that err on the side of content density.  Start to finish, you can beat Max Payne in seven minutes.  Well, a little more than that.  The length of the game is not satisfactory, and it’s not just because I liked it and I wanted more - there’s simply not enough there.  The fact that you revisit areas as many as three times in fits of Halo-esque area regurgitation doesn’t help it. 

(CW)TB out.

this isn’t intended for me, i don’t think

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