“this town is mine”

Holy crap a dude just parked illegally for the express purpose of coming to the bus stop I was waiting at and telling my I have awesome hair.

Anyway! I actually had the blog client open to talk about video games.

Lately I played through Saint’s Row 3. It’s yet another sandbox crime game set in a parody of NYC. But this one embraces the silliness that the Grand Theft Auto series has lost; the whole game is gleefully absurd. Your first mission is played out wearing a mascot costume that turns you into a cartoon version of one of your gang mates (so they can put off character creation until after you’ve played a mission), you get to drive around with a tiger in your car, you have a brief diversion through cyberspace, you compete in a wrestling match with chainsaws – it’s just one damn crazy thing after another.

What with being about criminal groups fighting each other, there are a lot of proclamations from the various characters that “I own this town!” and “This town is mine!“. After a few of these, I started giggling whenever someone said this. Because the game had done such a good job of being a toybox that that’s what I saw it as. And as such, I knew that every single thing in the game was, at a fundamental level, mine. Oh, sure, maybe I wasn’t driving that hot car at the moment, maybe I didn’t own that sweet criminal stronghold. But all I have to do to claim a car is to get near it and push the “carjack” button. All I have to do for the stronghold is to go through a few more crazy missions.

I feel like this is not the attitude I bring to a video game. Which is kinda sad. Because it’s one I really, really like. The story doesn’t matter, the artificial constraints on what I can play with due to story don’t matter. The game is my toybox, and any time I want to go WHEE while driving my toy cars around my toy city, I can.

People bitch about modern games having a lack of challenge to them, and SR3 was anything but challenging on “normal” difficulty. But this is the flip side: you spent $40 or whatever, here’s your big box of toys and playsets, have fun! I would love to see more games take that attitude rather than trying to be “a challenge”. Sometimes you just wanna fuck around.

also there is a part of me that was endlessly amused by the sequence of walking up to a random opposing gang member or cop and doing my ‘praise/celebration’ motion, which consisted of doing a little sinuous pirouette and saying “I’ll show you a secret“… and then hitting the ‘punch in testicles’ button. Thoroughly juvenile but oh my god it makes me grin just thinking about it.

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