AN ACCIDENTAL AUTO NUKE AND GOING BACK TO WORK AT DUNKIN DONUTS CAN'T STOP ME, BABY! That's right, much like Austin Walker himself, I got accidentally kicked by the system for using too many links (incidentally, also during a conversation about diversity in The Witcher). Big ups to @Rorie, the saint of support here at Giantbomb. It's currently, as I write this, 4:30 AM EST on Monday, just an hour and a half before I have to report for work at one of many local Dunkin Donuts. (They're letting me start "late" until I can drive myself. Road test on Friday - I just drive like I did in Sleeping Dogs, and I'll be fine, right?) Anyway, ON TO THE VIDEO GAMES.
I'm not someone who's great at "finishing" or - in some cases, even "being good at" - video games, so it doesn't feel right to post a review until I've had "the full experience," whatever that may be. Given how much I bounce around games and return to familiar ones, there's a lot of games I'll just never finish. Plus, whenever I write about media and pop culture and stuff, I find myself rambling in a personal essay, almost memoir-ish style. I'm not opposed to that in a review, but for someone who's not exactly a professional, I think this sort of thing is better suited to a blog that's not assigning any kind of score. I've played about 2 hours of 60 Seconds!
SPEAKING OF NUKES – 60 SECONDS!
A week or so ago, I was having trubs - car related, as is my new life. So, rather than try to sleep a restful sleep, I decided I should stay up playing a relaxing game of 60 SECONDS! where the purpose is to get your whole family through a seemingly insurvivable post-apocalypse, where madness, radiation, and an overwhelming lack of supplies threaten your will and ability to live at every turn. Relaxing, right? Throw in a pretty short loop of Cold War timey music in the background, a screen that rarely changes (and even more rarely for the better), and your stress basically grows like the radiation levels in the irradiated neighborhood I'll be sending my daughter out in too soon. Alright, it's actually not that bad - it was just an odd choice for stress relief, is all.
I added it to my wishlist when I watched the Quick Look, and then bought it the very same night. One of the keys to the game/survival/your stress is the titular 60 SECONDS, the time you have at the beginning of each session to gather as many supplies and family members as you can. The game allows you to play the two segments - scavenging in your house and then the larger survival portion - separately if you want to hone one skill, but I found myself practicing in the full version just in case I got a really good run at the beginning. What’s unfortunate is that the controls in the scavenge mode could be A LOT smoother and/or snappier. Not really sure which – I just know highlighting what you want to pick up and moving around the house can be a REAL PAIN. Not so much that it’s super frustrating in the moment, but when you realize that if you had just grabbed one or two more things (or family members) in that initial time and that you probably would have been able to if you hadn’t been clicking on nothing for a good three seconds, you begin to be filled with an existential dread. In a way, that’s part of the experience.
The stories I make along the way are perhaps what I love most about games. Even in this, something I was playing at midnight in bed, I found myself filling in the blanks. Sometimes you have to, because the journal system can’t keep track of how many people you have with you and will continue to reference “we” if it’s just one. A side effect of the cabin fever, I tell myself. The most poignant (and in this case, harrowing) moments of a game can come when the narrative is enhanced, purposefully or not, by the mechanics of the game. In this case, I wanted to experiment. There are four family members in 60 Seconds – two kids, two adults. If both adults die, it’s game over. I had just done a run with just the father and the daughter – normally I would try to save everyone and uphold my morals (more on those later), but the idea of having supplies last longer was too appealing too ignore. I’m pretty sure it was a good run, but I’ve had better with a full family since. Then, largely wanting to see if there was an achievement for it, I grabbed as many supplies as I could stuff in my pockets and throw down in the shaft, and when the clock was about to tick down to 60, Ted threw himself into the shelter alone. The first journal entry read –
When fire rains down from the sky, it's every man for himself.
Alright, I told myself. Nice flavor text, but no achievement. Thought there would be. Well, let’s see how long I can take this. On to Day 2.
I’ve read in patch notes that it’s now a much higher probability of going insane when you’re left alone. Was this a lucky accident of the programming, or did the game know what Ted had done and it reacted in kind? It didn’t really matter. I could feel the burning weight of what he had done in my chest, reflected in that sock puppet’s unforgiving eyes. Uh, or something like that. I quickly finished the run, probably dying or getting locked out as soon as I left on my own, and shut the game off and went to bed. Last time I compromise my morals, yes sir.
OR SO I THOUGHT – SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY, WHEN I TALK ABOUT
FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS
*continues to tweet into the void about culture forever*— Jimmy McKeon (@imaginefolklore) June 9, 2015
IF YOU ACTUALLY READ THIS, I TRULY APPRECIATE IT. FEEL FREE TO LEAVE A COMMENT SO I KNOW I'M NOT ALONE LIKE SOCK PUPPET TED UP THERE. I'M STILL FINDING MY VOICE IN THIS INTERNET GAME AND I FIND MYSELF BEING SELF-CONSCIOUS ABOUT HOW I'M WRITING WAY MORE THAN EXPECTED. TALK AT ME ON MY "PROFESSIONAL" TWITTER WHERE I'M SURE I WILL EVENTUALLY BREAK DOWN AND START HOLLERING ABOUT WRESTLING.