I had a thought for a brilliant driving game. Top Gear UK

I have been a fan of the British (original) Top Gear since a gear head friend of mine showed me downloaded episodes many many years ago. In preparation for the newest season, I have been watching old episodes. One thing has occured to me through this series of viewings, and over the past few years: Why isn't there a Top Gear video game for this generation?


I am well aware of   Top Gear as an old Super Nintendo game. That was an okay racing game. But I would think a new generation, based on the BBCprogram would be amazing. There are several situations that could work for this proposed game.


- Each level could be preparation for an episode of Top Gear.

- There could be auctions to buy a car in budget and prep that car for an undisclosed set of challenges. This car could be totally adjusted, and you could pause to adjust the quality of performance (similar to setting up a car in Dirt to Daytona).

- You could have to do performance tests on cars on a test course and road tests. This series could include check points where speed and perfect driving is needed (to record the testing and promo videos).

- On each level, you could play as the Stig, and be required to perfectly drive the test track in a preposed vehicle.

- There could be the usual zany challenge (such as drive a Robin from point A to B without flipping it, or build a car boat that can meet certain challenges).

- A complete online challenge system.

- Free drive for road and circuit courses.

- Commentary from the actual Top Gear crew.

- Different driving types such as rally, luxury, 4 weel drive, muscle, and super cars.


As I see it Top Gear UK: The Game would provide entertainment for the people who don't find driving games fun, those who like the complexities of motor sports, and the people who just like a good game in general. There is opportunity to make the game fun and humerous, but maintain a very serious driving side. The only fear is that such a game would be turned into a Tony Hawk type game... or end up as a simulator. It should be more about test driving but meeting goals and having some freedom with the set-up of your vehicles. Maybe this is a game too huge or expensive, but I would really love to see this game be made. Oh, and did I mention that the sponsorships should not be a problem for such a game, since the show pulls in cars for reviews like crazy?


You Can't Blame a Guy for Trying

Everyone has suffered the humiliation of failure, eventhough their intentions were decent enough. It's nearly soul-crushing. History is filled with similar examples. Here are four of the greatest failures, even though the guys really weren't too bad at heart.

4. Mark Anthony

Mark Anthony (not to be mistaken for the hispanic singer) was a cousin of Julius Ceasar.

"I rape all your country with music"
Born to a high class family in Rome, it was a given fact that he would do great things. Marcus lived a typical rich life, slumming for fun and gambling away fortunes. However, he grew into greatness, as he found a position as a military man. Mark Anthony also carried his party-boy style into the military. While he became famous for his generosity to his troops (there is a question of what he did with them), he developed a stigma. Due to his wild behavior, true greatness (the leader of Rome) seemed just out of his reach. But his cousin became Ceasar and things changed, as he became second in command of Rome's armies. After Julius' assassination, civil war broke out. Anthony led the charge to destroy all who had opposed Julius. He joined in a triumvirate with the general Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Octavius (who went on to become Augustus). There was peace in Rome for a while, as Mark took over comand in the southern region of the empire, also known as North Africa.    
Mark Anthhony was kind of like this... but male.

It was there that Mark met Cleopatra, and his wild side returned. Mark Anthony took on the Egyptian culture and gave up his Roman ways, or that was the propoganda put out by his enemies. But really, what guy hasn't tried to change the way he normally acted to try and pick up women? This was all Octavius needed to hunt down Anthony and bring him home for trial, since Octavius wanted the leadership of Rome for himself. The rest is pretty well known. Anthony hid out in Egypt, made little Anthonies with Cleopatra, killed himself when the Roman armies showed up, and went down as an inspiration for emo kids everywhere. He never intended harm, but simply tried to do that which was expected of him, and throw in some wild times for good measure. As a result, he failed at being the true ruler of Rome, or reaching true greatness in general.

3. Nikola Tesla
Here's a story every nerd knows.

Basically this guy and his friends know this story.

Born in Austrian Croatia, Nikola traveled to the US on his own (meaning alone... not with his family). Telsa, throughout his journey from Austria to the US, studied many topics. His memorization has led many to believe he had photographic memory. However, he never graduated from any higher instition during his early life, due to a supposed nervous breakdown.
Tesla was smart enough to be able to work with Thomas Edison. He became the "problem solver" of any works Edison had in production. However, Tesla was continualy underpaid by his employer, and eventually left.
Rather than be underpaid for his brilliant mind, Tesla dug ditches and designed his own company. Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing ended up firing Tesla because they doubted his AC current theory. This theory stated that AC current delivers electricity more efficiently than Edison's DC. It's kind of technical, but lets shorten it to the fact Tesla was correct... to the point that we use his electrical delivery system today.

These guys owe their career to Tesla.. and that d-bag Edison.
Beyond the whole issue of AC vs DC, Tesla created fluorescent light bulbs and showed that electricity could create radio waves, as well as activate objects wirelessly. Sadly, Edison was an idiot who had his mind on money and nothing else. Thomas Edison stopped at nothing to make Nikola Tesla look like a fool, just so edison could wire the US under his DC electricity. As a result, Tesla died in debt and never recognized his own briliance. Even at his death, the government demanded the opening of all his personal documents. It was like he wasan alien from another planet, and the military was stealing all of his tecnology. It should be noted that Tesla was a naturalized citizen of the US, never complained about his situation as he was constantly screwed over, and he held several patents that made his family wealthy. But he never realized that wealth.

2. Napoleon Bonapart

Most people recognize Napoleon as a short dictator who was evil to the core and hated Bugs Bunny, and was hated by the world. However, every part you thought was true from that last sentence is untrue.

Except how he did an awesome dance groove at the student presedent assembly.
First, Napoleon was not hated by the world, but mostly by the monarchs he deposed. He did not hate Bugs Bunny... only his characature did. He was not short, as he was measured by French standards. At 5 foot 2 inches French, he was truely 5 foot 6 and half by today's standards. That may not be a giant, but it is not short. Napoleon was also not a dictator nor did he rule as the evil villain he was depicted.
Napoleon Bonaparte was born into the lower nobility in Corsica, Italy. As Corsica was taken over by France, Napoleon surely found himself torn in loyalty as a young man. However he joined the French army and quickly rose through the ranks. As the French Revolution tore the country apart, Napoleon was detained and treated as a criminal, but eventually found freedom. The nation's internal conflict continued but Napopleon found his way into the comand of France's military. After endless battles in which he lead on the front line, and met miraculous victories, he was entered as a candidate for the leadership of France. This nation needed stability and someone to lead it out of the pit of despair it was currently suffering. Napoleon took it even farther, as he guided the french together under one goal. Their nationalism led to the illimination of many European monarchies, as the collective armies of Napoleon marched across the continent.
However, Napoleon shook up the monarch powers way too much, and led them to release their propaganda machine. As a result, his loss at Waterloo and to Admiral Nelson became kindling for a fire against Napoleon. Today he hardly remembered as anything but evil and the antichrist outside of France, but many in France remember him as the man who every ruler of their nation should be. Many westerners mock France as a bunch of cowards, but all you need to say is that Napoleon was a great and underrated ruler, and the French Underground helped save the allies during the first days following D-Day in WWII. Then you can get some respect from the French.

Napoleone. Qu'est-ce que c'est? Fafafafa...

1. Christopher Columbus

Yeah, he has a day specifically worshiped by Italians in the United States. Howard Zinn (in his usual loser, political, and non-historical style) likes to make him look like the Devil encarnate.

"I'm a pretty crappy historian,... right to the bank. Ha!"

He wasn't the super explorer most people know. However, nothing much can be said for or about Christopher Columbus. No one can really decide on his nation of origin, or his real name. He's like Shakespeare, except everyone knows all there is to know about Bill.
Now, if this were a history by Howard Zinn, I would say, "Columbus set sail for the New World looking to wipe out all the indeginous people so that he could rape the land and have sex with their children." However, only a retard believes that.
Basically, everyone agrees that Columbus was Italian. As well, no one but idiots thought the world was flat when he was alive. Columbus' argument was that he could find a quick western route to the Indies. He wandered Europe trying to get funding, but was turned down at every step. Then he went to Spain, where the royalty was rich and liked stupid ideas, as long as they got rich.
As a result, Columbus got huge financial backing. He sailed west and found the Carribian. He never claimed to find a "new world", because that was not on his mind. He had found India, China, and Eden in the reality he saw. Also he broght back gold which made him famous. But, as the realization that this new region was more harsh than he realized became clear, his backing vanished and Columbus lost his money.
In the end, Columbus died believing he had found the western path to India. He had mapped a great deal of the West Indies and done a great service to Spain. However, he died a poor man, as he invested his entire life into what was seen as a failure. Later, many Europeans would become wealthy from the discovery that Columbus made. That is why we should celebrate him. Not as a guy who made it big on his luck, but a person who tried his luck and failed, yet paved the future for us as Americans.

Look'a at me. I'a discover America!


Goodbye to Granddad. Why fishing in video games is relevant

I just lost my final Grandparent. It's kind of shocking, considering he was 91 years old. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer a week ago... and now he's gone. This is the man who taught me how to train dogs, how baseball works, why football is great, and the peace and zen one can get from fishing. He was my living example of life. 
While you may make fun of fishing in video games, there is a point. My experience, which has yielded moderate returns, is that fishing is more about being one with the fish. This may sound like some bit of haberdash kind of stuff. However, it has proven true in my family. There has been an extended length of life just because of fishing. There is a very meditative art to fishing. If you go out only to catch fish then you will become frustrated and stressed. The key is to focus on your personal control of the rod. to be one with nature. This does not mean you will catch anything. But, to remove yourself from your surroundings will make you more relaxed. Granted, my family suffers from lower blood pressure, even though I am of Scot, Welsh, German, and Irish heritage (historically emotional/high-stress genetics). But like I said... there is a calming part of fishing. 
I believe this Zen effect of fishing is why many Japanese (or Asian people in general) love fishing. There are Buddhist pricipals behind catching and releasing that are both rewarding and   soothing to the soul. As well, Japan is a fishing nation. it is an island, which means it's culture is dependant on the resouces of the ocean. But , I have witnessed many Japanese people fish, yet release their catches. It has seemed my grandfather's way is based in priciple. Usually those catch and releases occured around temples or shrines along rivers. I am no anthropologist, nor can I assume I understand the way of Japanese society (although I lived with a family near Edo for a week). I can say that the fishing in games plays a huge part and has a bigger influence than the normal housebound American can understand. 
Needless to say, I feel a deep connection to video games that feature fishing (one of the first quests, on the last Zelda games I played,  I first tried and looked forward to fishing). This does not go unfounded, as it adds to a game's feel or atmosphere. It provides a change of pace, and as represented in most Japanese games, provides rewards (although not always spiritual). The basis of this ramble is that my granddad's long life was spent fishing, and I feel that this has some calming effect on us that is reflected in the games that come from Japan. So, instead of everyone groaning when a fishing application to a game shows up, maybe we should look at the fact it is meant to chill the gamer down (and give cheap prizes). 
In addition, I would like to know who else finds fishing more of a relaxation instead of a chore. I could do it for a living.... if a living could be made by the end of a fishing pole and not ripping every living thing from the ocean or lake  in one sweep of a boat.


Presidents' Day? Now That's An Excuse to Party

In honor of our nation's presidents, I felt the need to throw out a few fun facts about those who have held the most prestigious occupation in America. Enjoy.
1. George Washington

He was not the actual first President of the United States. That title falls to this guy.

"I am feeling my nipple just thinking about the Presidency."

Yes! John Hanson. The first full term President under the Articles of Confederation. Washington was the first President under the American Constitution. However, Washington set the standard for many Presidential traditions. His inaugural speech set a standard for Presidents as did his two term limit. Even Teddy Roosevelt refused a third term because Washington had set the tradition. Only after FDR's ridiculously uncalled for four terms (while terminally ill) did Congress decide to make the limit official.
Everyone knows the story about George Washinton cutting down the cherry tree. However, it is commonly believed that that is a fictional tale told by Mason Locke Weems to sell his biography on President Washington. Either way, it makes for a good tale to keep our own youth from lying to us constantly... until they are teenagers.

"I totally did it. I chopped that tree down. It had a gun and said awful things about Mom. It was self defense! Also, can I get twenty dollars to go see Avatar with my girl?"
2. James Madison

The shortest President in history, he stood at 5 feet 4 inches and barely weighed 100 pounds. However this guy could take care of himself. As president during the War of 1812, he led troops against the Canadian invasion of Washington DC. The White House was burned down, but the invasion was repelled. This was the 19 th Century version of Independance Day.

"Those freaking Canadians! I knew that alien invasion was an inside job."
Of course there was not Will Smith to throw out pithy one-liners back then. That duty probably fell to our next President.
3. Andrew Jackson

The epitome of what a Clint Eastwood character would be like if they were president. Besides being a general, this guy basically stomped heads for fun. He got a bad rap for his mistreatment of Native Americans and the whole nationalizing of the banks, but he was a good egg. President Jackson was known as a prankster... and a fighter. Oh... and his best friend was Davey Crockett. To go along with the comparison to a Clint Eastwood character, Jackson was once slashed in the face with a British officer's sword for refusing to shine the guy's boots.

  "Boy! I'll teach you to be all rebellious and American. This ain't no belt neither."
Also, Jackson had a bullet lodged in his lung for a good part of his life. This awesome wound came from a duel over a bet on a horse race. Jackson took a shot to the chest, killed the opponent in a slow and deliberate way, and coughed up blood for the rest of his life. Tell me that isn't hard core.
That's it for the list now, but stay tuned for part 2. There's plenty more awesome Presidential factoids out there for me to cover.