Guest article by The Omega Geek.
Alright, so if you read my last article you know I’m a diehard fan of my little ol’ PS2. Seriously, we’ve been through some great times together; about 12 or so years now of gaming and it serving as my primary DVD player. I’ve wanted a PS3 for years now and while it wasn’t in the financial cards for a while, now I’m waiting until I possibly switch continents ‘cause damned if I’ll run something like that off a US/UK converter. There’s my Netflix machine, er, I mean my Wii, and yeah, the LEGO games are good and the Just Dance series *is* a good workout, but somehow for gaming, I always come back to the PS2.
Part of that platform problem though, is that no one’s sold used or new PS2 games in about a metric century, so I usually buy them way cheap off Amazon. However, the other day I was in a Five Below and found Jak 3 for PS2 for $5. By Grabthar’s Hammer, what a savings. Ok, so I never ended up finishing the original Jak and Daxter (borrowed it off my friend’s boyfriend and that was a week before their breakup, so yeah) but I remember it being lots of fun and a good play, so I went for it. Also, $5.
So after a million years of cutscenes and a moves/control tutorial mission, I’m ready to double-jump, spin, and eco my way through colorful, engaging levels of maguffin-collecting bliss. Well, here’s the thing about that…seems the whole game lies tantalizingly beyond reach behind a big wall called Forced Vehicle Section. Ugh. At least it was only $5.
Gamer confession time: I’m no good at racing games and I never cared to ever try getting better. Maybe it’s a coordination thing. Maybe I can’t handle a vehicle more complicated than my actual car but I’ve always been shit at racing games and am pretty sure I always will be. Remember the bike race in Chrono Trigger? Yeah. That took me about half a day. The optional race sidequests in RPGs? Sorry, got to save the world and get the girl, no time for pod-racing today, Anakin.
Right after GTA3 came out, my buddy invited me over for pizza and gaming. He fooled around with it for a while and then handed the controller off to me for a bit while he went to get a soda. For a while I amused myself with running down the street and punching passersby, but when my dear friend came back into the room, he just stood there, staring.
Buddy: “Um, what are you doing?”
Me: “Waiting for the light to change.”
Buddy: “…just blow the red light.”
Me: “Yeah, but then I’ll get in an accident and my car will get banged up.”
Buddy: “You’re the most infamous car-jacker in the city! Just steal another one!”
So yeah. If you’ve got no natural aptitude for driving pretendmobiles, the Forced Vehicle Section is an exercise in frustration and walkthrough consultation, even if you’re only playing solo. I used to live with an engaged couple who gamed together and to this day I believe that the vehicle sections of LEGO Indiana Jones and LEGO Star Wars were two of the contributing factors to their eventual breakup. “Stop it! No…come…no come this way!” “Fuck you, I’m trying!” “Shit, now we just failed AGAIN!” “Well whose fault is that!?” “Where are you going?” “To check my email, I’m done with this shit!” “You can’t, we need to finish the level!” “Fuck it! Ask Omega to play with you!”
That’s the part where I’d be tip-toeing off to my bedroom at top speed, trailing laptop wires, shouting, “Sorry, would love to, suck at vehicle sections…two left thumbs, yanno?”
Usually I can get through these time trials on the 17th or so try but I’ve realized in my old age that as games become ever more realistic and complex, the races get harder and I lose my will to sit through the cutscene that 19th time and try again. Whatever happened to go fast, go faster (in short bursts), and jump? Jak 3 has go fast, go faster (if you hit the power-up), jump, jump in place, swerve and skid, brake, reverse, triple-ollie, and barrel roll. If the race required merge, left-handed exit, the Schuylkill Expressway at rush hour, or one-way streets on a Saturday, I’d have beat the game by now.
If at first you don’t succeed, look up the walkthrough on gamefaqs. So I read further down and found out that after I place first in the race, then I have to do another race to collect artifacts and then I have to race again on the chocobo-esque leaper lizards and that’s about the point I gave up. Part of being an adult is being in control of your own decisions and I chose to go do something else. Quitter? Sure, but at least my old 1st generation Game Boy didn’t look like my sister’s; teeth marks on the upper corner where she bit the damn thing in a fit of frustrated rage over Tetris. She hasn’t gamed since elementary school.
Ah well, could have been worse, I guess. I could have spent that $5 on treats and snacks. Wait, I could have spent that $5 on treats and snacks? Shit.