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Scaredy Cat
Posted on Saturday, January 26 2008 @ 23:43:21 Eastern

    Back in the halcyon days of my youth, my parents were occasionally concerned with the amounts and styles of media I was taking in. That's not to say I was sheltered; just that they knew me well enough to tell how much was “too much.”

    My favorite pastimes generally involved Transformers and Godzilla. As any scientist can tell you, robots and dinosaurs are totally awesome. It's only natural that I had an affinity for such things. While that establishes how awesome I was as a child, it's a bit beside the point. When I say I liked Godzilla, I mean I liked Godzilla. Not in a, “Hey big green, what else can that tail do?” sort of way, but in the way that results in spending all day every day watching and rewatching Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Godzilla vs. Mothra.

    Is Godzilla realistic? Is it frightening? Is it even remotely fathomable? Not really. Unfortunately, such logic doesn't apply to dreams. After god knows how many days of enjoying classic kaiju slugfests, the good times instantly dissolved like so many Japanese under Godzilla's radioactive fire breath. When watching the destruction from the perspective of the monsters, it was awesome. In my dreams, however, everything was from my six-year-old point of view. I don't doubt the dino-monsters stomping fair Costa Mesa to pieces in my mind were having a blast, but their fancy footwork practically scared the piss out of me. See, I live about a half an hour from Disneyland. During the summer, just about ever night, Disneyland has a fantastical fireworks display. To the ears of a sleeping six year old jacked up on monster movies, they sounded plenty close to dinosaur footsteps.

    As I have aged, manliness and hate have filled in all those gaps once shrouded by fear and support for dino-kind. Once again, I can enjoy the majesty of a mutant sea-beast destroying whatever Asian metropolis they happen to stumble through. Growing up takes a lot of the worry and mysticism out of things like movies. My real problem lies with video games.

    No matter how many I play or how long I try, I just can't stand frightening games. Gore isn't an issue, as only babies and women are disturbed by it. The real problem is “spring loaded cats,” or parts of the environment and enemies that do something erratic simply to get you jumping in your seat. While this usually just keeps me away from tank-control-ridden-obtuse-puzzle-solving schlock like the older Resident Evil games, lately it's kept me away from a little gem by the name of BioShock.

    I've put maybe six hours in to BioShock and made maybe two hours progress in the actual game. My initial attempts at playing it were halted by an overheating video card and other myriad bugs, but things didn't get much better after all the technical issues were resolved.

    Now that I'm not quitting because of giant black squares flooding my view due to hardware troubles, I'm throwing in the towel because I simply can't stand constantly looking over my shoulder as I wonder if that flash of movement in the corner of my eye was just my imagination, or some mutated hook wielding psychopath laying in wait. Games are what I do for fun and I've just never found being on edge a fitting form of entertainment. Personal tastes are bound to differ from person to person, but I just can't shake the feeling that this time, with this game, I'm missing out on something.

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