often, we here at I-Mockery get stuff sent to us through the mail.
Most of the time, it's just my fan mail coupled with the occasional
phone number and hotel key, but here and there, we get DVDs too. I've
asked RoG not to use my address as his own personal P.O. box, but
until that happens, it is my pleasure to share with you a sample of
the kind of stuff we get from adoring fans and business contacts
A fantastic Playstation
controller rip-off with a built-in eyeball!
case, we got the DVD of a movie called Game Box 1.0. It's an
interesting little story about a video game tester and a brand new
video game system that could be the death of him, only the twist is
that it would kill him immediately, and not drag out his death for
months and months like a subscription to World of Warcraft. RoG
felt it would be a good idea for me to take a look at it because, as a
game tester myself, perhaps I would have some additional insight into
the nerd-turned-hero character. I did, but more on that later.
protagonist is a guy named Charlie Nash. Charlie is feeling kind of
down, and it has nothing to do with him looking like the lost brother
of Philip Seymour Hoffman or perhaps Rainn Wilson. His surprisingly
attractive girlfriend was shot and killed by a police office after
they snuck into some kind of off-limits area. He must have thought her
playful giggle was some sort of automatic weapon, and apparently the
courts must have agreed with him, because a few carefully placed
newspaper clippings show that he was found not guilty. Anyway, he's
just lucky enough to have a new video game system mailed to him by
someone for, let's saying testing purposes:
certainly looks official. Why not strap it onto your head? He's way
ahead of me (no pun intended), and within moments, he's hearing voices
and seeing fascinating new worlds, including one where he ditches his
glasses, puts some product in his hair, and jumps into some white
course, what's a game without some supporting ensemble of Non-Player
Characters? Game Box lets you create your own, which is a brilliant
innovation of immersive gameplay or just a case of the developers
being unable to hire artists. To this end, the game system comes with
a camera, which looks an awful lot like the head of a hammer:
about as easy to use as a hammer, too, and soon he's snapping pictures
of his friends to serve as allies/villains. The only real downside is
the camera's green flashbulb:
related note, the film touts its award for Best Visual Effects,
won at that most prestigious of movie award shows, the "Internacional
de Cine Fantastico y de Terror de Estepona". It's the Oscars of
Latin American horror film award shows.
Anyway, Charlie also throws in a shot of the cop who killed his
girlfriend to serve as his principle adversary in the game. Now I know
what you're thinking: He probably worked in his dead girlfriend to
serve as the heroine/love interest. Well you're wrong. He doesn't
include her in the game at all. She gets pulled into the game world by
the game itself after it pulls her image out of Charlie's memory. So
there. Charlie meets up with the heroine (named "Princess") and the
two of them set out to end the game by taking the mysterious briefcase
to the Blue Mountain Observatory, all the while dodging the comical
computer-generated villain, Ao Shun.
are complicated by the fact that Charlie doesn't have any enhanced
abilities in the game world (apart from a better haircut and the
ability to see without wearing his glasses). Plus, when he gets hurt
in the game, it hurts him for real (*cough*NightmareonElmStreet*cough*).
To offset this handicap, the game gives him three extra lives and
access to weapons and health power-ups:
neat, right? Right. The getting hurt thing is kind of a bummer, but it
doesn't really compare to the fact that the game starts pulling
Charlie into the game world while he's going through the motions of
modern life. Looks like he'll have to take care of things in the 3D
game world if he ever wants to play games in two dimensions again.
All in all, kind of a cheesy movie. The whole "video game gone wrong"
plot has been done before, and there are quite a few moments of
Hollywood-grade cheese, including the ending. One question I'm sure
you must be asking yourself by now is whether or not the portrayal of
the glamorous life of a game tester is true to life. Well, it was nice
to see the profession portrayed in a movie, apart from Grandma's Boy,
but it still didn't quite nail it down that well. For starters,
Charlie had a surprisingly attractive girlfriend for a game tester, or
for anyone who plays video games on a regular basis. Perhaps years of
ambidextrous button-pushing have made him a fabulous lover. Love
interests aside, the real inconsistencies show up at his job.
When he first arrives at work, he comes in through the front door
instead of coming through the employee entrance 'round back. That's
how I've always done it, but I suppose I am a bit too unsightly for
the main entrance. Second of all, at the end of the day, his bug
report reads "three bugs found on level 4". While an amazingly
detailed explanation in its own right, it probably wouldn't fly with
real developers. Also, while he's getting lectured by his friends for
being all mopey, they tell him that he tests video games 40 hours a
week. It must be a slow week for him, because normal hours for a
tester barely leave me with enough time during the week to bring you
folks the semi-bearable comedy that you've come to expect from me.
Finally, once the Game Box starts to take hold of Charlie, he starts
nodding off and freaking out at work. Ok, this is a pretty accurate
depiction of what it's like to be a tester, but the rest of that stuff
is bunk. Bunk like a squeaky metal claw that latches onto your head
and makes you play poorly-rendered video games even when you don't
wanna. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get some sleep, as
tomorrow is going to be another long day of counting bugs and dodging
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