18 November 2005

Grand Theft Auto Kitten

As I write this, The Crow is playing The Warriors on PS2. By the way, if you haven't seen the movie this video game is based on, I recommend it.

I asked The Crow what he thought of the game so far and he said something along the lines of, "Eh, it's pretty much the same game I've played over and over. You wander around, you pick shit up, guys attack you and you shoot them or stab them with a knife or whatever."

I read somewhere that the video game industry is in need of new ideas. Though the industry overall is doing very well, (I think I read somewhere that video games made more money than movies last year)* the exec's at EA Games and so forth are looking for new material to broaden the market. Sure you can put a new skin on the old shoot 'em up game or improve the graphics on the virtual football field, but that's just milking more money out of the same audience. What the industry needs is a game that could appeal to groups as disparate as:

  • girlfriends who stayed with their boyfriend despite his purchase of a PS2
  • Asian people
  • crazy cat ladies
So here's a free one, on me.

Someone needs to make a video game where the player is a house cat. Stick with me on this one. The various challenges would include:

  • opening the cupboard and breaking into your food
  • dragging the trash out of the can and into as much of the house as possible
  • crossing the street without getting distracted by any shiny objects
  • watching your owners have sex for as long as possible without getting thrown out
  • trying to trip your owner when he or she is working in the kitchen
  • knocking shit off of counters
  • killing and eating bugs
  • hiding as many valuable objects as possible under the couch
  • spilling as many wine glasses as possible with your tail
  • . . . the possibilities are endless.

The cat could even have a health meter that occasionally has to be replenished by napping.

EA Games or other development company - if you're reading this and are going to steal my idea, you at least have to send me a free copy. That's all I ask.

divemaster: one who likes to carry heavy things

Well, here it is, another exciting Friday night in Orange County.

After seeing the new Harry Potter movie, The Crow and I made a dinner of tortilla chips and beer at the nearby Mexican restaurant (don't worry Mom, we'll eat more later) and lamented that three of the four previews were for re-makes. By 9 PM we were back home.


The good news is, we'll be in Portland in about a month. We arrive the evening of December 23rd and I'll be ready to take in as much pierced, tofu, critical mass, movie snob, zine-reading, biodegradable, blue state, woodsy goodness as I can squeeze in during my two week stay. Barry even got me some heated socks so I'll be somewhat pleasant to be around despite the truly deplorable weather you guys have (seriously, can't you pass a law or something?)

So what the hell have I been doing to pass the time? Well, since June of this year, The Crow and I have been trying to finish up our divemaster certification.

What is a divemaster? Isn't one of you already a divemaster?
Barry is actually a Master Scuba Diver - a consumer rating which we call "the black belt of scuba diving." A divemaster, on the other hand, is the first step in becoming a certified scuba instructor. A rough comparison would be going from a student to a student-teacher: the grasshopper to the sensei.

To become a PADI Divemaster, we spent dozens of hours working with students, and many more hours learning and demonstrating a variety of skills. One of the skills was something called "gear exchange while buddy breathing."

What on earth is "gear exchange while buddy breathing?" Well, it's a very special torture devised by the certification agency to test the divemaster candidates' problem-solving ability. It has no practical application other than to give the people watching a good laugh.

Basically, you and a partner drop down to deep end of the pool and swap masks, fins, snorkels, tanks, buoyancy vests, weights, and all the rest of your gear. The extra-tricky part? You can only use one scuba unit the entire time - that means passing one air source back and forth between two people. This is more-or-less the equivalent of driving down Powell Blvd in a stick shift and having the passenger and the driver switch places.

We completed the gear exchange on the first try, and about a week and a half ago passed our six final exams (physics, physiology, dive tables, equipment, etc) and voila, now we are divemasters.

Can we actually teach anyone to dive?
Well, no. But, after the next course (which we start in 2006) we'll be certified scuba instructors - qualified to work for piddly wages and free tshirts in any country of the world! I'm not planning to quit my day job, but, it's a nice skill to have.

See you in about a month!