Crispy Gamer

The Fryer, Vol. 18

in

Have you heard about this new Beatles: Rock Star game?
by Your Mom

Hi, there. It's me. What do you mean, "It's me, who?" Your mother! You know, the mother whose voice you don't even recognize anymore? The mother who carried you in her belly for nine months? The mother who has to pick up the phone and call up her own son just to make sure he's alive and healthy and not dying under a bus somewhere? Yes, that mother. How are you doing?

So I thought of you today when I was at the salon getting my hair done. Uh-huh. Mary -- you remember Mary, you used to babysit her son -- Mary said she was watching Meredith Vieira, and she was talking about this videogame, and I know you love all those electronic things, so I thought maybe you'd be interested. Uh-huh. So, have you heard of this new Beatles: Rock Star game?

Fryer Vol. 18
Mom, is that you? Rock on!

Oh, yeah, Beatles: Rock Band. That sounds right. So have you heard of it? Uh-huh. So what is it? Uh-huh. Uh-huh. So you have to know how to play the guitar? Oh, so the Beatles teach you how to play? No? What's Guitar Hero? Oh, so it's like an electric guitar? Oh, a plastic guitar ... I'm sorry, this connection is awful.

So does this Rock Star thing work with the Wii Fit? Yes, the Wii, that's what I meant. Oh, that's good. I actually put the Wii Fit in the closet a few months ago, y'know. Well, first "Lost" was getting really good, and then "America's Next Top Model" -- Do you watch that? You should, I think you'd like it -- anyway, it came back again. And it was just depressing watching these shows, and looking over and having the Wii Fit there remind me how fat I am. No, I am, don't lie. I could never hold those stupid yoga poses anyway. I tell ya, if I looked like those trainers I wouldn't need Wii Fit! Hehehe.

What? Oh, this Rock Star thing lets you sing, too? That's good ... my arthritis has been acting up and I don't think I can learn how to play the guitar at my age. But I always sing along when the Beatles come on KOLD 100.7. Does it have "Yesterday"? Really? How about "Hey Jude"? How about "Let It Be"? Well what does it have, then? I don't remember that one. That one either. Oh, does it have "Help"? Whaddaya mean, download? You mean I can plug in the Wii Fit to the Internet? Oh, you'll have to show me how to do that, dearie. All these Facebooks and Twatters and stuff these days ... I don't know how you kids keep up.

Yeah, I was thinking about maybe getting it. How much is it? $250?! That's like nine months at Curves! Oh, you have it already? Well, why don't you bring it down when you come home for Thanksgiving and show me what it's like? What do you mean you told Sally you'd go to her family this year? You've only known that hussy for three months! Yes I said hussy, what of it? You're too good for her, you know! She'll break your heart! Don't say I didn't warn you! Hello? Hello?!

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Valve founder offers free trips, games to all Left 4 Dead 2 boycotters

Weeks after flying two of the leaders of the controversial Left 4 Dead 2 boycott group out to Valve headquarters for a demo of the game, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell announced today that he'd be offering similar trips to the thousands of other members of the boycott.

The offer, which was announced at a press conference today and detailed by private message to the nearly 42,000 members of Steam's L4D2 boycott group, includes round-trip tickets to Valve headquarters in Kirkland, Wash.; a two-night hotel stay; a tour of Valve headquarters culminating in a playable demo of the game; and a bag of "Left 4 Dead 2 goodies" that includes a voucher for a full download of the game when it comes out.

"Once we got [boycott leaders Walking_Target and Agent of Chaos] out here to actually play the game, we found they were significantly less hostile to the idea of buying Valve products in the future," Valve co-founder Gabe Newell said in a press conference announcing the move. "We figured, if it worked so well for those two, why not open it up and let all these boycotters see that we're not quite as bad as they think we are."

Fryer Vol. 18
Gabe Newell announces free trips for Left 4 Dead 2 boycotters.

While Newell admitted that coordinating and hosting thousands of gamers over the coming weeks will be a logistical nightmare, he said it was a small hurdle to overcome to guarantee his company's good name. "We know there are a lot of unhappy people out there, and this is our way of saying, 'We hear you,'" Newell said. "We won't be happy until every Left 4 Dead fan is confident that Left 4 Dead 2 is a worthy, legitimate sequel and not just a cheap, quick cash-in."

While users who join the Steam boycott group after today will not be eligible for the trip, Newell said future boycotters will be entered in a drawing to win one of a hundred "prize packs" that include top-of-the-line PCs pre-loaded with some of Valve's greatest hits.

Analysts are already praising the move as a visionary business decision. "These boycotters are the hardest of the hardcore -- some of the most respected decision makers in the game industry," said Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter. "If each of these boycotters tells just 250 people to go buy the game, then the trips will have paid for themselves, easily."

But not all the boycotters were satisfied with the move. "I live in Seattle, so a flight out to Kirkland doesn't even make sense," said boycott member XXLeft4DUMB69XX. "The least Valve could do is offer those of us who live close to them a flight of equal value to somewhere else in the country."

Others thought the offer seemed too good to be true. "DO NOT TRUST THE GREAT DECEIVERS!" typed boycott member VaLvE_Is_ThE_DeViL. "They're just trying to round up all the boycotters in their headquarters to silence all those who see Valve for what it really is. They lied about the Left 4 Dead DLC, THEY'RE LYING ABOUT THIS TOO!"

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Report: Scribblenauts players overusing guns

A study released today by the Anderson Center for Gameplay Research found that a small majority of Scribblenauts players automatically try to solve each puzzle using a gun.

The study, which examined gameplay sessions involving hundreds of randomly selected Scribblenauts players, shows that a full 59 percent of players immediately choose to give protagonist Maxwell some firearm at the beginning of each level. This rate persists even in levels where guns would not be appropriate, and in levels where weapons are explicitly banned. Plain old handguns were the most popular choice among players, followed by shotguns, rocket launchers, machine guns, sniper rifles and nail guns.

Fryer Vol. 18
Scribblenauts gives new meaning to "shooting stars."

When the sample is reduced to subjects who say they are "serious gamers," the rate of gun-first play shoots up to 83 percent.

If guns prove ineffective, 40 percent of the gun-first group try various manners of explosives to solve the puzzle. Thirty-four percent try melee weapons, while the remainder simply furrow their brows in frustration before heading back to the main menu.

Other important findings in the report include:

  • In puzzles that require a generic food for the solution, pizza is chosen 16 percent of the time, followed by ice cream at 14 percent. Kumquats are the least popular food used, chosen only once by a player who mistyped "cookies."
  • Thirty-two percent of players that describe themselves as "very religious" simply summon God at the beginning of each stage and wait for him to fix whatever problem is in the level.
  • When players typing in "flute" were asked whether they meant the instrument or the 16th-century Dutch sailing vessel, 100 percent chose the instrument.