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volume 1, issue 4

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

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Blue & Levelord Get Drunk: Truly the definitive interview with Levelord, Stephen "Blue" Heaslip and the Ritual level designer get drunk and talk about the gaming industry.

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Birth of a Gamer:
Hey, Anybody Out There? I Got A Little Problem!

 

 

 

By Elaine O'Neal

The chronicles of a gaming newbie. Elaine's comments are based entirely on her lack of experience, and should be viewed with this in mind.

y voice is on my best friend's answering machine, basically yelling "how the hell do I get off the #*(&%)#* roof?!?!?!??!?!"

Thus was my introduction to Duke Nukem. Why not, I thought, lose my gaming virginity to the guy with the worst reputation? I've always had a weak spot for bad boys anyway.

Why not, indeed.

So there I am, thinking I'll go easy on myself and I choose the "L.A. Meltdown" episode, figuring "piece of cake" might be a good level at which to begin. No problem with that part at all.

I'm on a roof. Okay, I can deal with this. I slip behind a crate, figuring if some alien beastie comes shooting for me, at least I'll have some cover. I take stock of all my weapons-okay, my pistol (the phallic imagery of all this is not escaping me)-and the layout of the roof. No alien beastie. Okay, so maybe I should start walking around, so the patter of my little Dukey feet will let them know I'm here. Still no beastie. And I'm still on the roof.

I pick up the little goodie left for me behind the crate. Then I start running around again, figuring that this has to bring out the beasties. Nope. I just stand there waiting.

"What are you waitin' for? Christmas?"

No, smart ass, just a door to magically open up. First Time Gamer does not need this kind of abuse. Personally, I don't find it conducive to continuing because I've never appreciated living in a shame culture.

Easily frustrated, Elaine huffed and slammed her finger onto the Escape button.

Then she reconsidered and remembered the deadline hanging over her head. Sigh. Maybe I'll have luck with another episode.

Next episode, "Lunar Apocalypse" and I bag my first bad guy--God, what a rush!. Then, I pick up my RPG and wonder if this is what having a penis feels like.

Then I commence running into walls. I just can't help it. It's a problem I have in real life and I guess it channels into my gaming persona too. At least I'm not penalized for bruises. But it's yet another level I can't figure my way out of and I give up again but not before I escape out and try again, seeing how once I know where the assault super trouper is, I can plan my way around him and pick up all my goodies before I have to face him. I guess I'm learning the basics of strategy.

I still haven't figured out how to not run into the walls though.

Next level, "Shrapnel City." Surprisingly enough, I do a little better here but I don't last long enough to remark on anything of note.

Next level, "The Birth." Okay, tortured naked woman aside, I think I can do this. I die instantly. But I'm still thinking about the tortured naked woman. Not sure how I feel about that. Why does a tortured naked woman in a game marketed to men have more of a resonance with male audiences than a tortured naked man? I mean, why isn't it a man being castrated? Isn't the point of this, in the game, to provide Duke with incentive to go out and slaughter extraterrestrial adversaries? When did he become such a protector of women? To protect something, it has to mean something important to you, right?

Mulling this over, I return to "L.A. Meltdown," figuring I have to be able to handle it now. And I do.

I'm on the roof.

After running around a little more and hopping up and down on the structure in the middle of the roof, I all of a sudden get the bright idea to shoot out the fan. What the hell? Nothing else is working. Eureka! Okay, not a Duke-esque exclamation of joy but whatever. I'm falling down the shaft and am happy to see the movie theatre. Then the mean creatures appear and finally I'm in the game. I nail them and proceed to run over the corpses quite a few times, hoping to see little Dukey footprints on the body and hear squishy noises but no such luck. But when I finally get into the theatre, I'm so into the game, it doesn't matter.

Although I didn't get very far, I had fun. Good graphics, good (okay, cheesy, but what the hell!) sound effects, good design...hey, give me a break, I have nothing to which to compare it! You want descriptive, go read a J. Peterman catalogue. Honest to god, I'm a little hooked. (Stef and Jason are channeling Gargamel right now, rubbing their hands together in diabolical glee, I just know it!).

And then there are the little things, like being able to piss at the urinal (I always wondered what it would feel like to relieve oneself standing up! I'll admit to a little penis envy here) and, of course, that number that Tommy Two Tone made so famous gave me quite a chuckle as did the little beastie behind the second stall, doing no. 2. I also appreciate being able to turn the light on in the bathroom but why can't I turn it off too? If Duke is so concerned with saving the world, maybe he should try a little energy conservation first.

So, I was having a great time and after wasting the beasties in the projection booth, decided to take a little break and watch the movie. Imagine my surprise at the girlie show. Definitely not my idea of a blockbuster but at least she was dressed. I'm not offended, but I'm wondering why it had to be a girlie show. Anyone? Anyone?

Then I killed myself by shooting the fire extinguisher. Okay, maybe not such a great move but I had run around enough to know that I was, again, left without a clue as to how to find an exit and that arcade elevator just doesn't seem to want to go anywhere. Yet.

Stef tells me there are sites out there with basically all you need to know about how to get from one level to the next but, honestly, isn't some of the joy of the game finding those on your own? That's my initial reaction right now anyway and I can understand why one would risk being incapacitated by carpal tunnel syndrome in order to find out. Must be all those Nancy Drew mysteries I read as a kid; I just can't seem to rest until I figure a way out.

I'm hooked. It's fun. What more can I say? I intend to continue maiming alien beasties, if only to get to the strippers. I've been forewarned and before I'm accused of looking for fire just because I see smoke, I can't possibly be the first person to play this game just to see the nekkid ladies.

Now all I have to do is remember to save so I don't have to keep going back.

- Elaine O'Neal is a regular contributor to loonygames.

 

Credits: Birth of a Gamer logo illustrated and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. Birth of a Gamer is © 1998 Elaine O'Neal. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited...we know where you live.