Resident Evil: The “Oh Shit” Factor

Hubby have I have great discussions, which just proves our chemistry is still there.  Yet another discussion about the direction of the Resident Evil game franchise… sexy, right? We’re both pretty much in agreement that although the newer, more action oriented gaming style of RE4, 5, and 6 is pretty cool, with the over-the-shoulder first person shooter point of view bringing you closer to the action, we both miss the atmosphere of the first few games in the series.  Especially if you played the remastered Game Cube version with the added content, you’d likely agree none of the subsequent games in the series can match the mystery and creepiness of feeling completely alone and small in that vast mansion.  As hubby and I discussed (again) the points in which the “new” games differ from the older ones in the series, that led to a discussion about the creatures of Resident Evil, and how the newer RE games seemed to rely more on the “gross-out factor,” rather than actual scariness.  

This segued into which creatures in the franchise had the “oh, shit” factor–that being, no matter what weapon you have in your hand, the presense of these particular creatures have the power to make you (or your character, rather) run the other way, keening

                             oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, ohshitohshitohshitohshit!

under your breath the whole way.  Hubby finds my reaction to these characters a ceaseless source of amusement.  He makes fun of me, and I laugh.  That’s the kind of relationship we have.

Here are a couple of my favorite/most hated Resident Evil baddies.

The Zombie Dobermans–

Admittedly, as the games keep getting revamped and the graphics keep getting better, the newer incarnations of the Resident Evil zombie dogs (“Ganado” dogs, or “Majini” dogs, or “J’avo” dogs) should be scarier than the originals… but they’re not.   The best I can figure is that it’s the selection of weapons and ammo you have access to…or rather, the lack thereof.  In the newer first person RE (4,5, & 6) games, you have access to weapons that are varied and up-gradable.  Rifles, Magnums, high-powered pistols, grenade launchers, laser rifles, mine dart throwers…  But in the original RE game, until you accidentally stumbled on the locations where the grenade launcher or magnum were stashed, all you had was a pistol and a shotgun. They had a limited range of motion, due in part to third person perspective, and, unless you were particularly judicious in your use of it, very little ammo.

When you heard the tell-tale clicking of little doggy feet, (or worse, they jumped through the window and surprised your ass, usually in a pack) you knew there was a good chance you were gonna die.  You could try to stand and fight, or you could haul ass in the other direction.  Personally, unless I had a grenade launcher or a shit-load of shotgun ammo, I hauled ass.  Cuz those little fuckers are hard to hit, and it seems to take a whole bunch of pistol shots to put one of those dogs down!

Does somebody want a Scooby Snack?

Does somebody want a Scooby Snack?

RE 5 "Adjule" dog

RE 5 “Adjule” dog

RE 4 "Colmillos" dog

RE 4 “Colmillos” dog

The Chainsaw “Guy”

There are several incarnations of  this particular adversary, and they appear in both RE 4 and RE5. There is the ganado man with the burlap sack over his face, and there are a few spots in the game where you encounter one or more of what I refer to colloquially as “chainsaw bitches.”  The latter are women with bandaged faces and homicidal tendencies.  Both are aggressive, quick, and both mean instant death if they get close enough to decapitate you.  When I hear the tell-tale sound of the chainsaw or the shriek of those harpy bitches, I run the other way… at least far enough so I safely can plug them with my Magnum and thus keep my head attached to my neck.

A chainsaw and a bad attitude...

A chainsaw and a bad attitude…

The first time I was decapitated, I was in shock for a few minutes afterwards.  It's not the kind of thing you forget.

The first time I was decapitated, I was in shock for a few minutes afterwards. It’s not the kind of thing you forget.

The Iron Maiden–

sub-species of the Regenerator from RE 4, the Iron Maiden is creepy as shit.  The tell-tale sound of its approach is a sort of mouth-breathing version of lamaze.  It sounds funny, but this dude is a creep.  He’s covered in spikes and if you give him half a chance, he’ll project his spikes out like some sort of deformed humanoid porcupine, and try to impale you on them.

Part of the problem with a Regenerator is that it’s a pain in the ass to kill.  As you may have intuited, if you shoot one, especially in the limbs, it generally recovers fairly quickly.   The trick to putting down a Regenerator is to kill the multiple parasites living within it’s body.  For this you need a special infrared rifle scope that allows you to see the Plagas hidden in the creature’s body.  It follows that you need the time and distance to use said rifle, and since there are usually four to five Plagas in a given Regenerator, when I hear them coming, I back the hell up!

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden

Come 'ere and gimme a hug!

“Come ‘ere and gimme a hug!”

I got your hug right here, bitch!

“I got your hug right here, bitch!”

Well, there are several more scary and anxiety provoking enemies in the RE franchise, but these are the main ones that come to mind when I think of the “oh shit” factor.  My policy with these guys is usually run first, then shoot!

What are your favorite RE characters to hate?

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Three Routinely Ignored Gaming “Rules” (rated M for Mature)

*this article was originally posted on and for To the Controller! Gaming  and is being re-posted here as a re-blog.  I am the original author of this content on To the Controller! Gaming

[Hi! I’m pleased to say I have become an “official” writer for To the Controller! Gaming.  Rather than write a lengthy (read: boring) introduction of myself, let this piece serve, and if you want to know more you can visit me on my own personal blog, alienredqueen.  Okay, now on with the show!]

Every online gamer worth their salt has read the gaming etiquette rulebook- (ACK! PANIC! What??! There’s a RULEBOOK???)  Sorry, just kidding.  But there are certain etiquette guidelines that seemed to have become established alongside the growing popularity in online gaming over the years.  RPGs are no longer the bailiwick of virgin computer nerds with bad acne and a sugar addiction.   MMO communities have spawned in abundance and XBOX, PlayStation, and now Wii have long since dragged online gaming to the forefront, kicking and screaming.

More and more people are getting into online cooperative play, and naturally, anytime you have more than 4 people in one spot (even one “cyber” spot), squabbling breaks out.  What’s more, there’s an old adage that goes something like, For every action, there is an equal, but more likely ruder and wildly obscene online reaction.   I think it’s, like, Newton’s 34th law or something.

Anyone who has spent more than 2 seconds on the internet in their whole life has probably run into the issue that results from the fact that people who are assholes in life become even bigger assholes online due to the assumed anonymity of hiding behind their keyboard.  In addition, weeny little pussies who would never stand up for themselves, let alone another person, suddenly grow balls bigger than Ron Jeremy‘s and think they can trash talk to their heart’s content.

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One would think that not being rude, aggressive, or unduly obscene (I must qualify that last, because I enjoy a healthy dose of obscenity as much as the next person) would be rules that were obvious and self-evident.  Because they should be.  They are obvious.  And as such, they are of course, routinely ignored.  Losers are taunted, noobs are harangued, female gamers are harrassed, and insults are hurled.

But I will admit to my essential noobishness and say that, although I have been a gamer for many years and have tried the occasional online MMO, I just got my PS3 a couple of months ago and am pretty new to console online co-op situations.  (I know, I know.  Let me know when you’re finished laughing…)

Anyway, I was a bit surprised to discover some of the unpleasant habits that other gamers exhibited.  My game of choice right now is Resident Evil 5 (okay, let’s face it, anything from the RE franchise is always my game of choice) so I haven’t run into a lot of group situations as seen in typical RPGs like Final Fantasy and the like.  Which means I haven’t been extensively trash-talked…yet.  But I have run into quite a few “breaches of etiquette,” from here on referred to as assholery, that surprised me.  They are the following:

1) Quitting before the end of the game-

Apparently, if you search “gaming etiquette” online, I am not the first person to be dismayed, and ultimately, incon-fuckin’-venienced by some moron who either gets you repeated killed and then bails without a word or who decides, after you bang a  50+ Combo out of their head, that you are suddenly no longer worth their time.

Okay, I get it.  Shit happens and sometimes you just have to go…and if you don’t have a mic, you can’t very well tell your partner before you leave.  But you could drop them a message later on, maybe… Sorry I left you high and dry.  My kid was trying to stuff the cat in the dryer…  or whatever.  I have a kid.  I get it.

Which brings me to my next point.

2)  Headset etiquette-

Maybe you missed the segue.  That’s okay.  I don’t expect everyone to follow the convoluted brilliance that is my mind.  Rules of headset etiquette include, but are not limited to a) refraining from loud yelling or obscene language, talking to another peron in the same room while gaming, and playing loud music while on headset b) not using racial slurs c) refraining from eating crunchy food, d) trying not to over-do it on the trash talk, and lastly (and this one must be important because I have seen it more than once) e) do not tell Michael Jackson jokes

Now I and many of the people I have played with have broken many of these rules.  If I know the person well, I excuse myself, and proceed to chew my food in their ear.  I am obscene.  I am profane.  I like me that way.  If you don’t, you may politely excuse yourself (see Rule #1) and get the fuck out of my gaming session.

I also saw on one forum regarding headset etiquette, someone had added something like”And shut that f@cking crying baby up!”  Okay, assbag.  I take issue with that one.  I have a 20 month old.  They cry sometimes.  I will never, EVER yell at my kid for crying if she has a legitimate reason, especially not to appease some nasty, common sense deficient and socially stunted prick that I don’t even know.

Now, moving on…  this last one is one that most online gamers are probably familiar with.

3) Camping (specifically, ganking)

My first experience with this was in one of RE5′s DLC modes.  There are two main delineations under Versus.  One is Slayers mode, wherein you try to kill more enemies than the other players.  The other is Survivors, wherein you are trying to actually kill the other players.  At least, that was my understanding of it as described in the game menu.  Apparently I was mistaken.  I purposely chose Slayers because it was not my desire to fight against players that I don’t know in a PvP death-match.  I may seem like a confrontational person, but that’s just too much fucking stress.  I know how cut-throat people can be, and it’s not my idea of fun.

But as I was merrily running along blasting Majini with my triple barrel shotgun, I realized I was taking damage…from bullets.  I died three different times in fairly rapid succession before I realized, “Hey, these douchbags are trying to kill me!”

I suppose I should have just quit right then and there, but I decided I would dish out a nice return helping of shut the fuck up with my Magnum.  All of a sudden, as I am gunning down one of my targets from the next roof over, I hear distantly in my earpiece *chshkkkk~static crackle* “oh, okay, bitch.”

It sounded almost as if she was talking to herself or thinking out loud.  I immediately fired back, “I CAN HEAR YOU, BITCH!”  Needless to say, when no further trash-talk was forthcoming, this confirmed my suspicion that the dopey bitch had simply forgotten I could hear her.

There are many more guidelines to online gaming etiquette, but before I go, I’d like to add one that, although it may exist, I have not yet seen.  And that is this;

If you are hosting a game session, and are waiting for another specific gamer to join, for fuck’s sake, please make it a private session, instead of just repeatedly booting off random people who try to join.  I can not even say how many times I have cruised the session boards looking for a game to join, only to be tossed out on my cyber-duff because some jerk was too ignorant or lazy to make their gaming session private.  The whole purpose of those boards is for people to find someone else to play with when they want to play co-op.  You’re just being rude.

Well, I think I’ve said all I need to say for now…  At any rate, I’m almost positive I’ve said all you’re willing to read.  I will bid you adieu for now and hope to see you again (if Sean doesn’t immediately rescind my invitation to write for him, due to my horrific, yet mesmerizing command of foul language. ) Until we meet again…

Hi, My Name is AlienRedQueen, and I Have Simulator Sickness

It’s time to discuss a very serious situation that also happens to hit close to home:

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Motion sickness… while gaming.

First Person Shooters are common culprits for simulator sickness

First Person Shooters are common culprits for simulator sickness

Never heard of it?  Not surprised.  It’s probably not exactly the height of cool to be one of those people that gets headaches, feels dizzy, or even pukes (not me, thankfully) from playing their favorite video games.

I just got Resident Evil 6 as a Christmas gift from a friend and I actually haven’t been playing it day in and day out like I normally would, given my abnormal love of the franchise.  I was playing through the campaigns the first few days I got the game, with the friend that gave it to me, but I actually had to let him do most of the playing, due to the nauseating headache I was getting from the camera motion.  I haven’t fought one boss yet.  He always seemed to have the controller when the bosses came along (coincidence, I assure you.)

This is not new for me.  It’s happened before…and yet I played RE 5, ad nauseum.  And now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I had the same problem with that game.  I think I started popping Dramamine before gaming sessions for a while, and then I must have gotten used to the motion again, because it stopped bothering me.

There must be a mental component to it too, at least for me, because even thinking about it now is making me slightly nauseous.

Anyway, here are a couple tips if you suffer in the closet from this horrid affliction.

1) You may try desensitizing yourself with short gaming sessions, stopping for a while when you feel too sick

2) Take a dose of an anti-nausea medication like Bonine or Dramamine before you start to play.  In my experience, it does help with my motion sickness (travel-related as well,) but you should take it at least an hour before hand, as it seems to take quite a while to kick in, and it may make you sleepy.

3) Try slowing the camera down or changing the camera view on the game.

Here is a bit more about simulator sickness and some more tips on what may help.  Sadly, there is no cure. We must just suffer…but we need not do it in silence, my friends.  Maybe we should start a support group for weenies people like us, who get physically ill, but can’t bear to give up our gaming.  You can be the president…I’ll just be over here sipping my ginger-ale.

article_post_width_Resident_Evil_6

*if you’re a RE fan like me, here’s a bit more on RE 6 and the changes made to the camera view this go-around. I’ll give you a hint– they kind of suck!

“This is Bat Country!”

Been back on a Fishdom kick lately.  You know, that game where you match little  shapes, the object of which is to clear each level. In some of the Fishdom games, if you connect a certain number of like shapes, you get a “power-up” in the form of a bomb that blasts away all shapes in a given radius.  I played the game for a while many months ago, until I basically got all played out on it, and just recently picked the game back up again, as a nice addicting little diversion.

And now every time I close my eyes I feel like I’m in a Hunter S. Thompson book or something.  Not, not really.  Actually, my first irrational thought was that I had somehow spent so much time camped out in front of my little Netbook screen that the game images were burned into my corneas.  Because when I close my eyes or blink, or walk into a dark room, I see crabs.  Little blue crabs.  And sometimes anchors or cornucopias.    I see them in a sort of bright black, negative image, like the floaters you might see from staring at a bright light or the sun.

Eek! I’ve got crabs!

So I did what any self-respecting quasi-hypochondriac would do…  I Googled it.   And it turns out what I’m experiencing is not an unheard of phenomenon.  It even has a name.  The Tetris Effect.

People who play Tetris for a prolonged amount of time may then find themselves thinking about ways different shapes in the real world can fit together, such as the boxes on a supermarket shelf or the buildings on a street.  In this sense, the Tetris effect is a form of habit. They might also dream about falling Tetris shapes when drifting off to sleep or see images of falling Tetris shapes at the edges of their visual fields or when they close their eyes.

The Tetris effect can occur with other video games, with any prolonged visual task (such as classifying cells on microscope slides, weeding, picking or sorting fruit, flipping burgers, driving long distances, or playing board games such as chess or go.)

source: Wikipedia

Mentioned in the Wikipedia entry for Tetris Effect was another related concept called Game Transfer Phenomenon, where residual thoughts, feelings, or impulses remain after playing a video game.  I have experienced this phenomenon first-hand, with no small measure of amusement, I assure you.  When I see movement in the tree branches in my periphery and my first impulse is to shoot at it with my non-existent sniper rifle, part of me wonders if I shouldn’t be glad I don’t actually have a rifle.

Anyhoo… while I was reading and assimilating all these interesting new tidbits of useless knowledge, I did not happen to see any information to indicate when I could expect to close my eyes and not see little crabs.  And I still can’t decide whether or not I should be annoyed by this.  Hmm…

When the Interwebz Attacks

Until now, the perception has been that you can say anything you like on the internet, without any consequences. Recent cases… show that is getting less and less true.

I’ve blogged…at length…about sex in video games and the experiences girl gamers face.  Some of these experiences are amusing.  Some of them are even funny.  Some are just plain irritating.  And anyone that has spent even a modest amount of time in online pursuits where there is some sort of interaction through either comments or live chat, has likely had at least one or two negative experiences with trolls or people that are just flat out ignorant asshats.  These are people who either intentionally look for others to harass, or  just feel free to say whatever half-formed thought crosses their half-formed brains due to assumed anonymity.  Maybe they think they’re “just having fun” or perhaps it makes these pitiable human beings feel better about their own ineffectual and pathetic lives to be able to take a virtual shit on people who might normally kick their asses in real life.   And some of them are just plain assholes.  Mean.

And these people will use whatever dirty epithet or blasphemous racial or sexual slur they can think of to insult you and tear you down.  It’s their only real weapon in place of something intelligent to say.

But even knowing all of this, even experiencing a lot of this, I was still shocked by the vicious cyber attack on Californian blogger, Anita Sarkeesian, after she launched a project to make a web video series about video game tropes and  women.  Not just the ignorant and inflammatory comments, but the fact that this woman was the victim of a concentrated effort to vandalize her Wikipedia page and organized efforts to have her YouTube videos flagged as “terrorism.” Additionally, she became the target of threats of violence, rape, and death.

Now, if you follow some of the comments made on the videos, you’ll notice that even people who supported this woman in a respectful way were subsequently flamed by some of the other commenters.

I am really floored.  Do all the idiots congregate in one place (comment boards on the internet?)  Or is it that most of the normal and good people (not all, mind you, but most) know there’s no point in even wasting time trying to argue with these narrow-minded, disrespectful morons?

It appears that Anita Sarkeesian has not only offended most of the remaining misogynists in the world, but even worse,  she has offended video game nerds by “insulting” their beloved games.  And by “video game nerds,” I don’t mean just “people who like or play video games.”  (After all, I play video games.  So does my husband and a lot of my friends.)  I mean those people who are so sad and pathetic that they live vicariously through their video games.  You know who you are.

Now, while the very existence of groups like the Westboro Baptist Church should clue me in on the fact that there are still evolutionary throwbacks in humanity’s pond, I have to admit, even I am still stunned that there are so many socially and intellectually stunted people in this world.  Watching the news everyday is depressing enough without this happy horse shit.

I wonder what it was about this woman that pissed so many people off.  As my step-father used to say “opinions are like assholes; everyone’s got one.”  I’m sure she is not the first person out there to spark a feminist debate about video games.  Is it just because she is semi-well known?  If I was more well-known, would I receive nasty remarks and threats of violence for this post?  Maybe I should ask WordPress to create a Widget exclusively for keeping track of death threats.  To hell with overall views and “followers.”  You’re not popular until you’ve received death threats from the dregs of society via the internet.  Bring it on (and I’ll happily ignore and delete them as per my comment regulations!)

On a more serious note, given the disappointing and disturbing trend in the past couple of  decades or so of the legal system’s increasing support of people’s unwillingness to take responsibility for their own actions, part of me hopes we will begin to see repercussions for online harassment.  Because that’s what it is.  Aside from rude remarks, some people seem to think they have the right to threaten and verbally assault others by dint of being online, and that having “freedom of speech” gives them the right to act like total assholes, when if they said some of this stuff to people’s faces, they’d get arrested or punched in the mouth.  If you ask me, some people could really still benefit from a punch in the mouth…

Cuz this is what would happen if you said that shit to mah face!

But maybe that’s just this humble female blogger being a “bitch.”

Resident Evil: The Good, the Bad, and the Undead

I’m not going to do an in depth point-by-point comparison or deep philosophical analysis on the difference between the ‘old’ Resident Evil (RE) games and the ‘NEW-er’ generation of RE.  Both have their merits and deserve recognition.  Also, I have JUST finished playing my way through RE 5 for the first  time (yes, yes, I know I’m a bit late,) and though I have played through the original RE (the Gamecube remake) SEVERAL times, it’s admittedly been a while since I broke bad on some O-Z (that’s Original Zombie, yeah yeah.)   The point is, I don’t feel equal to the task of comparing their merits in any detail, given it’s been a while and the details of the original are not as fresh in my head as I would like.  But I do want to discuss a couple of significant differences in the ‘old’ and ‘new’ and how they effect my gaming experience.

Alright…let me collect my thoughts…deep breath…and GO! Continue reading