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Tycho / on Fri, Jun 3 2005 at 4:30 am

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The Siren Call Of The Andes Mint

This is actually a true story.  The mints themselves came from Olive Garden, which I’m slowly realizing we have some kind of fascination with, and since I’m not partial to mints regardless of the mountain range he usually takes all of them.  And he makes it clear during the check phase of the meal that a single mint will not be sufficient.  Oh no.  When they come back to grab the card and run it so that their lives may continue, he places a hand on it and in a low voice, so low they must bring their ear close to hear it, he establishes that it could be “worth their while” if they bury him in mints.  I am certainly pro tip, I have a a bank of odd neuroses regarding it I will bore you with at some point, but if the idea is to secure as many mints as possible there are grocery outlets in operation which could no doubt improve the rate of exchange.  He’s not into it, there’s something about that ritual that makes the mints more flavorful.  At any rate, this is all meant to say that he probably had somewhere in the neighborhood of ten mints in there with his wallet and his Edge card.  His pocket had become a kind of rich stew.

It may be at this point that you have grown weary of the E3 and the tales surrounding it.  I imagine that at this point, after you’ve had multiple weeks to digest the information - and multiple sources from which to glean - I am like a madman relentless with the slides of his vacation.  I don’t want to be him, but there was something I missed, and I was actually thereGuitar Hero.   

Harmonix has put out a few musically themed games now, Frequency and its sequel Amplitude being personal favorites, but Kara and I are also capable of a mean duet on “My Immortal” in Karaoke Revolution.  They’ve apparently hooked up with Red Octane - you know, the game rental/hyperspecific novelty hardware company - to drop what is essentially a Guitar Freaks for the American market. 

Guitar Freaks is easily my favorite arcade game of all time.  I love feeding those Goddamn machines, but even in my misspent youth where almost everything seemed better, there is no experience to match it.  If you are “rocking” with a friend (Kara again, actually) trading leads on the hottest Bon Jovi hitz, I mean, that’s it.  It also hooks up to a drum version of the game (“Drummania”) and a keyboard version (“Keyboard Mania,” startling, I know) - relating the particulars of that experience could be the work of my entire life.  At the most basic level, using a large mock guitar with three buttons and a “strum” control, you try to approximate various American and Japanese songs.

It never made it here unless you imported it, so a version we can actually buy without beaching ourselves financially is welcome.  Guitar Hero seems to focus largely on “Rock” songs as opposed to Freaks’ more varied catalog, and there is even a “rock” meter that lets one determine the exact level of rocking happening at any time.  Harmonix games with arcade elements tend to get pretty brutal difficulty wise, and Guitar Hero adds two more buttons that I’m sure they’ll use to beat the shit out of players.  Anyway, I’ve watched these videos over at Gamespot five or six times a day since I downloaded them.  Gabriel contends that “Fast Car” is the finest song in existence, and I’ve always countered that the golden throne rightfully belongs to Boston’s “More Than A Feeling,” which might account for some of my enthusiasm.  There’s no evidence for it, but I am desperate in the hope that it will feature co-operative rocking.  Harmonix, do not fail me

There’s a contest, too, if you have a band who’d like to get their song in the game.

(CW)TB out.

looked like a picture of a sunny day

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