Perhaps I'm just a simple woman with simple tastes, but I liked Nintendo. Not Nintendo 64, not Nintendo Game Cube. Regular, old, 8-bit Nintendo. Home of Duck Hunt and the Super Mario Bros. You know what I like even better? Frogger on our Atari 2600. It's intuitive. The goal is clearly defined. Cross the street; don't get hit by any motor vehicles. Cross the river; don't get eaten by any alligators. If you get carried off one side of the screen or the other, don't fret! You'll appear on the other side, right as rain. Sure, it's mildly confusing that a frog, which we've all been taught should be amphibious, can drown if you land him in the water of the river, but that's pretty much the most conceptually challenging aspect of the game. I can handle that.
For Christmas, crashrose got a PlayStation 2 from her mother. Upon the advice of saintdani, we recently purchased a game called Kingdom Hearts. I don't know why that's the name, and I couldn't possibly explain the game to you because I don't understand it. Whatever the goal is, it has been obscured and hidden from the likes of me, a simple woman with simple tastes.
The game began with evil black things kicking the crap out of my character, a small, manga-looking fellow. The captions and subtitles repeatedly told me not to be afraid. This is not intuitive; a big, evil, black, amorphous villain is beating the crap out of me! That's something to fear!
Then, after leaping from free-floating, stained-glass, Disney princess to free-floating, stained-glass, Disney princess, I woke up from under water and was on an island with some other manga-looking young people, presumably my friends. We were building a raft, and I had to go fetch things like cloth, rope, logs, mushrooms, coconuts, and fish.
There were no helpful signs with inscriptions like, "Fish this way -->" or "Welcome to the Mushroom Forest." I could walk all over the screen, and the other characters I encountered had only cryptic messages and offers to do battle. Perhaps they are not my friends...
After hours of climbing trees, exploring caves, swimming in the ocean, fighting small, manga-looking characters for sport, and whacking everything in sight with some sort of wooden sword, I have all the things I've been instructed to fetch. Even MacGuyver would be hard pressed to configure these items into something of any use whatsoever, let alone something that can get me back to the world of free-floating, stained-glass, Disney princesses.
What has been the point? Where has the time gone? Why does this controller have so many buttons, and will I ever get used to its random vibrating?
If you haven't had the pleasure of playing a video game on the PlayStation 2, let me try to explain my encounter with the controller. It looks something like a Baterang, (here are some Baterang renderings) only much, much more complicated. There's the usual section on the left with arrows arranged in something of a compass rose. Below that, there is a miniature joystick. How cute. In the middle, there are two or three buttons that look more important than the others -- they're smaller and have actual words on or around them instead of just letters or symbols. On the right side, there is another miniature joystick. Precious. Then there are four buttons, each with a different color and a different symbol on them. Confused? It's not over yet! On the backside of the Baterang, near the cord connecting the Baterang to the PlayStation, there are four more buttons. To be honest, I haven't the faintest idea how they're labeled because I truly had enough to think about looking at the front of the Baterang and never bothered with the buttons on its backside.
Periodically, and often when I had done something wrong and was at my most flustered and befuddled, the entire contraption would vibrate violently. I nearly dropped it 3 or 4 times. It reminded me of the board game Operation. (If you don't remember Operation, it's a game in which you use metal tweezers to snatch plastic bits out of holes in a box that's made to look like a naked man on an operating table. If you are not careful and touch the metal sides of any of the holes you're sticking the tweezers in, the naked man's nose lights up and the whole thing buzzes at something like 150 decibels. Mind you, in order to avoid this vicious punishment for imperfection, you are concentrating deeply and have your face very, very close to the game. For these reasons, Operation is perhaps more evil than the PlayStation 2.)
My head hurts. My jaw hurts. Most of all, my pride hurts. Kingdom Hearts is a Disney product and rated E for everyone. I do not doubt that a large percentage of the population under the age of 10 could thoroughly wallop me at this game. Most of the under-10 crowd could weather a game of Operation without nearly as much beer as I would need, too.