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Shorts!

Game Box 1.0!
by: Dr. Boogie
 

All too 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 alike.

That must be the controller for the PS4! Eye-toy technology, right?
A fantastic Playstation controller rip-off with a built-in eyeball!

In this 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.

Starring in Capote or The Office!

The main 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:

Bad grammar no laughing matter.

It 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 coveralls:

Put some shoes on!

But of 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:

Does Bob Villa work at Nikon?

It's 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:

Special effects by Industrial Light and Magic.

On a 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.

Neck tattoo? Check. Black poncho? Check.

Matters 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:

And he didn't even have to beat up a hooker.

Pretty 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 my friends.

Curse you, Airsoft!

Questions or Comments about this piece?
email Dr. Boogie


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