November 2006 Archives

So about two weeks ago I started work in the electronics department of Target. Sad, I know...but rent must be paid. Anyway, we sell a shit load of TV's, ranging in price form forty dollars to about seven thousand, and you can always tell when an over-paid and probably under-endowed "business man" is trying to make up for everything lacking in his life.

You know the type I'm talking about...a starched Armani dress shirt tucked into a pair of pants that they took home and re-ironed on their lunch break, just to make sure they stayed creased all afternoon. They undue the top button of their collar and loosen their tie just a little to make sure you know that they've been hard at work behind their desk in the third cubicle on the left all day long, and that this stop is just one more annoyance on the way home.

And yet rather than just buy the biggest, clearest, flattest, crispest, most expensive TV they can find and just get it over with, they spend the next forty minutes talking to me about which televisions are better for which reasons, all while not-so-subtly implying that money is no option.

People like this make my night, because I wouldn't have to know a plasma TV from a backstocked Alanis Morriset album to provide what Target likes to call "unparralled customer service." Invariably, I tell these customers the same thing: "Well sir, the higher you go in price, the better quality you're going to get. If you're looking for top notch, I'd say this 52" flat panel Magnavox High Definition TV for $6,999 dollars is probably your best bet."

"Hmm, you don't say. Well how would that television compare to this less expensive, smaller, cheaper brand?" [read: I'm going to buy the magnavox eventually, but I want to make sure everyone around me thinks that I'm an informed consumer who only spends his "hard earned" money wisely, after testing all my options.]

"Well sir, that that TV doesn't have a built in DVD player, or HD...if you're going to spend that much money, you might as well upgrade to the next step." [read: I hope you choke on your steak at dinner]

45 minutes later, after discussing every TV we sell and when a large group of other customers has gathered in the department waiting for assistance...

[patronizing and loud] "Well son, you've sure convinced me, I'll take it! (as if I had actually made a cunningly reasonable argument as to why anyone should spend seven grand on a TV) "I'll just pay now, then you can have someone bring it on out to my car!"

Thanks, asshole. Now, rather than helping customers that don't suck, I have to go to the back room, get your ego boost for the night so you feel better about your pointless life, and bring it out to your car.

You're the type of person who buys an Xbox 360 and then plays nothing but Ping-Pong and WarCraft on it.

"But Paul, the graphics are so good, and Ping-Pong and War-Craft are fun! LOL!!1"

Sadly, none of these people seem to realize that you can buy an entire ping-pong table, two paddles, a 6 pack of balls, a used Desktop computer, a copy of WarCraft the PC game, and even a cheap hooker to play pong against you all night for the same price as the 360, two controllers and two games. And regardless of what you say, real life still has better graphics.

And seriously, who cares about graphics anyway? What happened to the days when gameplay was all that mattered? Text adventure games and the original Mario on a 15" screen are the only video games I need, and I can get those for cheaper than the gas you bastards spent on the drive to target.

Also, if you have seven grand to blow on a television, WHY WOULD YOU BUY IT AT TARGET IN THE FIRST PLACE???

I hate all of you.

I'm sure most of you have at least heard of Orson Scott Card, and perhaps many of you have even read one or another of his works, but in my opinion he is undoubtely one of the top three authors of all time. Because of this, I have decided to attempt to creat an interactive fiction based largely on one of his more popular novels, Ender's Game. Truthfully, this could have already been done, and I would have no idea since I'm far too lazy to bother looking it up, or even do a Google search.

Also, I doubt that I can legally create this game without getting permission from either Card himself, or the publishers of the book, but regardless of all that I intend to make a go of it anyway. Besides, I'm relatively sure that this game will never become popular enough to attract the attention of a world renowned author...and if it does, well that's why God made the "delete" key.

Anyway, I plan on having my game skip the majority of introduction to the book (which encompasses much of the main characters home life and alot of backstory for those who haven't read it), and pretty much skipping right to the action: Ender's arrival at Battle School.

If you've never read the book, you may as well just stop reading right here, because although you will still be able to play the game, I really don't feel like summarizing the entire plot for you. Just go read it, it's amazing.

The interactive fiction will focus primarily on Ender's time at battle school, and the decisions he makes in order to reach the point in his education where he is ready to command the human fleet against the bugger homeworlds (without his ever knowing he's doing it, of course.)

Hopefully, by the time i've finished, there will be a variety of different endings, ranging in rank from around 1-10, with one being the worst and ten being the best. This way, while there is only one paramount ending, the others are not necessarily dead ends, but can rather be considered alternate endings to Card's book. Unfortunately, I'm thinking that only the top three endings don't involve earth eventually getting destroyed. Hey, you win some you lose some, right?

Check out the extended entry for a bit of transcript from the start of the game.

For my first official interactive fiction game play there was really very little question about which text adventure I would choose. Douglas Adams has been my favorite author since I was about 11, and when I realized that The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy was also an interactive fiction, well...I was hooked.

Unfortunately, the game immediately made me begin to doubt my role as a supreme Douglas Adams fan. I mean you know you have to rethink your life when you score a 10/400 on a game based on your favorite book which you've read at like 15 times, right? Yeah.

Regardless though, I persevered, and it began to take longer and longer before I was destroyed by a fleet of Vogon Construction Ships which "hung in the air in much the same way that bricks don't."

The only problem that I have with this game is that it could only be considered fun if you've not only read the book, but read it ALOT. For instance, how would someone who just stumbled across it figure out that you need to lie down in front of a bulldozer for an extended period of time in order to even advance past the first level of the game? Pretty much impossible. Or at least infinitely improbable. ;-)

I think Douglas Adams sums up this game perfectly with what is possibly his most famous quote:

"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."

I imagine this to be precisely the way many people feel about this game.

Anyway, I give this interactive fiction a 7.5 out of 10, but only because I really really really like the book.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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