Yeah, I guess they work.
Archive for April, 2008
Ever wondered what it takes to run a website as fabulous as this one? What I do on a regular basis? Or how articles on this site come to be? Well, look no further. I have compiled an account of an actual day behind the scenes here at crummysocks.com to give you, the reader, an insight to my inner workings… and the inner workings of website content creation.
It’s tough being a paragon of the video game community, it really is. You have to strike a balance between obsessive geekiness, profound dedication to your craft, and then hide all of that underneath a facade of a main-stream ‘totally not a game geek’ persona.
But today I’m going to tear down that persona, and show you the true face behind this video game nexus that stands before you. Well, not so much standing. More like, casually leaning on a telephone pole trying to not act concerned because my shirt is caught on a nail holding a sign that’s offering a free baby stroller if you come pick it up.
My day begins like you would probably imagine. I have a custom built alarm system that awakens me by randomly selecting and playing a song from my vast game music archive. From the time the alarm goes off I have 30 seconds to find the game that the song is from and start it up in its correct system. I then have to play through the game in its entirety before I can have breakfast. If I don’t identify the game in time then I have to spin the ‘wheel of restrictions’ to add a bit of challenge to the playthrough. Occasionally I’ll spin the wheel anyway, just to keep my skills razor sharp. Today’s game, for example, was Final Fantasy VIII, a game that I’ve pounded into submission so many times that I spun the wheel twice, hoping to spice things up a bit. The wheel landed on ‘play while an intern cuts onions in your face’ and ‘control the game by dropping marbles on the controller from a height of at least four feet’ (half a kilometer for my international readers). And challenge me it did! Both of these challenges together added nearly fifteen minutes to my normal play time, bringing the total game time to 43 minutes and 28 seconds. I think I’ve more than earned my breakfast.
For breakfast I typically have something that is equal things nutritious, delicious, and can be eaten from a tube, straw, or other portable food apparatus. And what’s more delicious than pizza? Nothing! So I tossed a few slices from the night before into a blender along with a little bit of chocolate milk (who doesn’t love chocolate milk?). I thoroughly mixed all of that together, poured it into my biggest insulated cup, and jammed a straw in it.
My breakfast needs to leave my hands as unencumbered as possible because any time they’re not playing video games their competitive edge is being dulled considerably. So on the way to the Crummysocks.Com Command Center Console Station (or the C5S, as it’s known around here) I stop by The Vault to choose the four games that will hopefully keep me occupied through lunch. The console side of the C5S has all of the consoles I own set up in a grid pattern on my wall. I have each console on the wall in multiples of four, and all four of those are wired in to one controller on a per system basis. That way I can play four games at once, keeping my reflexes at their world-class best, while keeping my productivity high. The games that I chose today were: Mach Rider, Snake Rattle ‘N’ Roll, Wall Street Kid, and G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor. A bit on the easy side, I know, but my eyes were still burning a bit from the onions.
So, as my left hand began to play the games in question, my right hand began to check out the emails I had received the night before. Since I get such an overwhelming volume of mail every day I’ve devised a system to deal with it all. I only answer every 243rd email that comes into my mailbox with my standard form reply:
Thank you for writing in to crummysocks.com. I think it’s adorable that since you can’t actually be as great as I am that you’re writing me to ask for tips on how you can at least try. So here is my four step plan for Improving Your Video Gameatude to Achieve Levels You Didn’t Even Know Existed (a.k.a. Life’s Secret Levels)
1.Gather up as many games as you possibly can. Duplicates are OK. We’re looking for sheer quantity.
2.Purchase (for the low, low price of $319.99), download, from this very site, my blueprints for building your very own home out of the games you purchased in step one.
3.Construct your new home. Make sure you keep it clear of useless things like chairs, beds, and toilets. Remember, you’re in training. If you have these things before you’re ready for them your training will be contaminated and you’ll be a soft, saggy, expressionless, spongy, shell of your former self. Lost without direction, motivation, or ambition. And, most importantly, you’d quit visiting my site, drying up my revenue stream, which would be perhaps most detrimental of all.
4.Live in your new house for a period of not less than fourteen years. Let the accumulated gaming that makes up your walls permeate your body, soul, and very being. Once this period is over, you’ll gain a new insight into the world of video games and their culture. You’ll then be ready to take on the world as a fresh-faced Apprentice to the Video Game Arts.
Once you finish the above plan, please contact me again so that we may discuss the next portion of your training. Good luck, we’re all counting on you.
Once all of the e-letters have been sent out I can begin my day of news gathering, interpreting, and disseminating. I start by firing up my web browser and hitting the usual places to see what kinds of things that the so-called ‘major blog sites’ think is news for the day and immediately disregard them. Then I hit up the so-called ‘major news sites’ to see what they thought was important and then immediately disregarded those, too. What’s the point of publishing anything if you’re just going to reiterate the same thing that someone else already said? Next I call up my contacts at the various game companies and see what they think I should write about. The first guy I called over at Crystal Dynamics said:
“Ugh, your website again. I don’t care about your website. All you ever want to do is to talk about your website. You’re the only guy I know that has a website and wants to make content available for the masses. I have too many much more important things to do than to talk to you about something that you have an interest in that I don’t. Good day!”
The cool thing is, that’s all in code. His boss was probably behind him, overseeing his work on their new game, so he had to slip me his insider information subtly. The solution is almost idiotic in its simplicity. What you have to do is to take his statement, reverse it, and then read every third word. This yields:
“Don’t in have something to than things much have the content wants a know only website talk do ever website care again, ugh!”
And that obviously means that he wants me to write an article on how game developers can better serve me, my website, and how they can more efficiently send me free goodies. Brilliant! But before I get started, I need to have a lunch break. And since I’ve just managed to finish all four of my NES games at the same time, I think it’s well deserved.
For lunch I have a standing order at the burger place down the street. I used my credit card to pay for it in advance. One year’s worth of lunches, in fact. They do deliver, but I can’t be bothered to sit around waiting for them, so as the delivery driver is driving to my house, I’m driving toward the burger place. Our paths cross at the same intersection every day, so I roll down my window, he rolls down his, and then he tosses my mondo-burger into my waiting hands. It’s a brilliant system, if I might be allowed to toot my own horn briefly.
Like most of the things I do, the reasoning behind this is twofold. One is so that I get some kind of food into my belly and I don’t collapse from malnutrition, but the other is that around lunch time I make the circuit of my local video game stores to find games on the cheap that I haven’t already beaten, broken, and made my indentured servants.
The pickings are actually getting pretty slim these days. I’m actually finishing games faster than all of the developers combined can push out, so I’m being forced to play the dregs of the dregs. Last week I played Microsoft Streets & Trips, and that wasn’t even fun for a few minutes. And the ending was terrible to boot! I eventually settled on a PC game compilation called Zap!, which is a compilation of knockoffs of good arcade games, all bundled in one seriously overpriced disc, and started back to the C5S.
I’ve actually had my vehicle converted into the Mobile Entertainment Van Center (MEVC, for short). What that means is that the whole back end is filled with various systems for the games that I might find, and that the passenger seat has a monitor and controllers so that I can play what games I do find on the way back to the C5S. I installed Zap!, and then started the trip back. It should probably be noted that the game box says that it has 700 levels spanning across 11 games. I live less than 10 miles from the video game store (10 hectares for my international visitors). I should have done the math. I actually ended up finishing all of the levels three times before pulling back in to my driveway (I would have gotten through it four times, but my computer crashed about halfway back, costing me precious minutes).
Back in the C5S I need to pick out a few more games to play while I craft video game article gold for public consumption, but since I need at least 43% of my total concentration to write an article actually worth reading, I decided to only pick out two games for the Super NES to keep my skills up: Aero the Acro-Bat and Ogre Battle.
Once I was 57% occupied with completing those games simultaneously I set to work. Hammering out paragraph after paragraph of lyrical prose. The sheer magnitude of greatness this article posed began to frighten even me, its creator. After an arduous twenty minutes, my opus was complete. But I had a problem. This article was the best I’d ever written, and possibly the best that anyone had ever written or will ever write. If I post it, what will my readers do? Articles don’t get better than this, so they will stop reading this site at the very least. It wouldn’t stop there, though, I’m afraid. Once you’ve read the best thing ever written, why read anything else at all, ever? Me posting that article would make me responsible for a new epidemic: the population at large would be done with reading.
That would wreak havoc on libraries, newspapers, gum wrappers, and, perhaps most important of all, my sweet sweet ad-generated revenue stream. I just couldn’t let that happen. So I decided to put it in the Archive of Articles Too Awesome to Appear Anywhere (AATAAA, for short).
Now, since my work on the site is complete for the day, I have to think about getting some dinner. A while back I bought and installed a pizza parlor in my back yard. It does enough delivery business to be self-sufficient, so I don’t have to worry about upkeep too much. I had them install one of the pizza ovens so that the ‘exit’ end comes out through the window that’s next to my C5S workstation. It’s a small matter for me, then, to press a button to alert the chef on duty that I need my pizza fix. Ten minutes later I have a fresh pizza sailing through my window and deposited on my waiting stack of serving trays.
I love progress.
Since I have ten minutes to burn and my Super NES games for the day are complete, I decided to pass the time by picking up an old favorite, Crazy Taxi. I’m usually pretty good at this game, but I wanted it to last the whole ten minutes until the pizza got here, so I devised a bit of a fun challenge for myself. I would unplug the video input from my television and play the game only with my right foot. Unfortunately, I overestimated the difficulty of the challenge. I picked up all the customers in the game and still had three minutes to spare. So, leaving the video lead unhooked, I played a few dozen rounds of Sega Swirl to pass the rest of the time.
Finally, my pizza arrived. Pizza eating is pretty much a two-handed event, no good way around that. But I needed to keep my game skills honed to an almost impossibly-sharp edge. Fortunately, I’ve devised a cunning solution to that, too.
I have two DS systems mounted on the back of my chair in the C5S. Each one turned toward the center. I jam a specially made stylus in each ear and am able to keep my skills up while enjoying a reasonably healthy meal.
After getting my fill of pizza, it’s time to think about heading off to get some much deserved rest. I toss the leftovers into my refrigerator for tomorrow’s breakfast and start contemplating what games to play while I’m resting. As I’ve established, I’ve attained a level of game playing so advanced that I can play games while I sleep. There are limits, though. Since I am technically sleeping and don’t have the full use of my faculties I have to make the game relatively easy. Tonight’s game is going to Ninja Gaiden Black, which might be a little too far toward the ‘easy’ side, but I’ve had a long day.
So I bed down, controller in hand, and begin resting. Already thinking about what tomorrow will bring.
I can’t wait!
Young men’s programming network G4 has announced today that they will be sallying forth with a new initiative to bring video game oriented programming back to the limelight with an Internet-only television network.
Tentatively called “G24-7″ this new network will feature on-demand shows featuring news, reviews, and video game-centric shows from the familiar sources, but will also feature work done by the community. Shows like ‘Machinima World’, for example, will highlight the very best that the machinima community has to offer and ‘Video Game Rev-YOU’ will feature the best user reviews from their community sites.
“We’re very excited to finally be able to announce this project. We’ve heard your pleas for more video game programming, but realize that most of you use your television for playing video games instead of watching our shows. That’s why we’ve decided to move the whole works onto the Internet, it just cries out for this type of programming.”
I don’t know about you, but this announcement of a network that’s being programmed by gamers for gamers makes me happy inside.