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Odd February 9, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Ramblings, Video Games.
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Because I apparently live in an alternate dimension far removed from mortal men:

Channel Surfing

When I woke up this morning, I turned on the TV and tuned in to CNN. There, the running ticker informed the world that Fabio Capello led England to victory in their football friendly against Switzerland. “That’s nice,” I thought, then proceeded to channel surf. A few clicks of the remote later, I found a repeat telecast of the same game already in progress on Star Sports.

For a minute or two I toyed with the idea of watching the game through to its conclusion, but decided to continue channel surfing instead since I already knew the outcome. However, nothing in particular really caught my fancy for the better part of the hour, and I ended up passing through Star Sports several times, eyeing snippets of the game in the process.

Later, it hit me: those “snippets” from the game I managed to see happened to be each of the three goals that would make up the final score.

What are the chances of that happening?

Ambient Music

While on an errand at the mall, I was in need of a midday pick-me-up and got myself a cup of joe. The barista who took my order was friendly and chatted me up, though we were both rendered speechless when the music over the store’s sound system started playing a song that was…untimely:

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”

As the song played out, it was clear that the three-man crew present were just as dumbfounded as I was about this. They made a few jokes to make light of the situation, making it all too clear that they thought this was just a fluke.

Then the next song started to play:

“Have yourself…a Merry Little Christmas…”

By this time there was stifled laughter all around, and as the barista went on a mad scramble to fiddle with their CD changer the look on everyone’s faces was priceless.

At the Video Game Store

I was browsing the shelves at a video game store in the area when some guy made a beeline for the Wii games. He picked up a copy of Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles then headed straight towards the register. Talking to a clerk, he pointed at something on the cover and inquired whether the store had any in stock.

He was asking about the Wii Zapper.

Excited to make a sale, the clerk enthusiastically said they had just the thing and proceeded to get one for the customer. Knowing that the Zapper isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be (it’s an unnecessary peripheral, in my opinion) and curious as to why this guy would want one for the game, I couldn’t help but politely remark in his direction, “You know, you don’t really need it.”

In my experience, comments like this usually open the floodgates for fairly interesting conversation. For novices who don’t know any better, it usually invites the right sort of questions to make an informed decision about the purchase. In those instances where the person is in fact a tried and true gamer, it sets the stage for impassioned discussion about why they’re so interested in what they intend to buy.

But this guy was different: He gave me the evil eye, looked in my direction with an affronted look, and angrily replied “My son is three years old. It’s hard for him to play. This will make it easier.”

As I listened to this, two things were going through my head.

First: His son is three years old, and he’s buying Resident Evil?!

Second: Why was he so…confrontational?

Not wanting to come across as some know-it-all, I just nodded my understanding (or really, my lack thereof) and left it at that. When the clerk showed up with the Zapper in question, he proceeded to return the copy of Resident Evil, which fortunately he wasn’t buying for his child, and hied off to the register to make his purchase.

Before handing over his credit card, he began reading through the details on the box and saw there was a bundled game. Concerned, he asked the clerk whether the Zapper only worked with that game. Ever helpful, the clerk replied that the Zapper could actually be used with a host of games, “like Resident Evil, Medal of Honor, and Super Mario Galaxy.”

Super Mario Galaxy? Played with a tommy gun? Hearing this made my poor gamer’s heart bleed just a little bit. Obviously, the clerk didn’t have a clue, nor did this well-meaning father. I just hope he understood that all he really bought was an overpriced piece of plastic that comes with half a game.

Still at the Video Game Store

Something I noticed while browsing through the shelves for Nintendo DS games: at this store, Diner Dash, the Flash version of which is actually free to play online, was more expensive than Pheonix Wright: Ace Attorney — Trials and Tribulations, one of the best games on the platform.

That’s just not right.

In My Room

Today I realized that too many things in my room have a remote control.

I’d walked in and absentmindedly picked up a white remote to put on the airconditioner. After clicking on it several times to no effect, I was beginning to get annoyed that it wasn’t working.

Until I realized I was trying to put on the airconditioner with a Wiimote.

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