February 28th, 2009
Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment --
The morning was spent accomplishing four mighty goals:
1) Our first home-prepared Polish meal of cereal, lemon cake, and strawberry juice
2) Navigating a Polish grocery store for groceries
3) Purchasing a French press for meerkat -- now she can have coffee in the morning!
4) Kicking the arse of the Polish telephone system.
Yes -- you read that correctly. Suck it, Telekomunikacja Polska!
We got a call through to meerkat's future cow-orker and made arrangements to work out the details for her permanent digs! In other news, phone systems are a LOT easier to make sense of when you can understand the instructions being given to you.
The beer drinking didn't quite go as planned. meerkat noticed that everyone in Europe smokes and began to freak out about going out to a bar and getting her only warm jacket smoky and "unprofessional". I doubt that smokiness has the connotation of someone who goes out barhopping, drinking, and chain smoking to Europeans. I especially doubt that it has an unprofessional connotation given the freedom with which people are allowed to smoke here. Still, "We're not in California, meerkat" was insufficient argument for her.
So we went to the nearby mall ('Arkadia') which was a truly enormous place. It dwarfs any mall I've ever been in -- and I grew up hanging out in the Galleria of valley girl fame.
After a great deal of searching, I failed in three objectives:
1) Getting a stylus for the Nintendo DS I brought along
2) Getting a European power cable for the DS I brought along
3) Finding a coat for meerkat
Lots of game stores, but those two items for the DS are certain to be much better found online. One annoyance I have with many game stores is that they focus inexorably on the absolute most current things. Everything MUST be the latest and greatest. This leads one into an interesting realm with all sorts of neat gadgetry that can be impressive, but what about all the OLD gadgetry that was awesome?
That's one major way that gaming and gamers are absolutely screwed up today: no one appreciates the past. I know I'm preaching to the choir with respect to ebugle, but there's more to gaming than spending vast sums of money, people! A game is good because it's fun. Fun games can be neat technologically, but neat has never, ever, ever translated into fun in the history of gaming. Look at the long line of failed VR rigs for evidence. Look at the PS3.
As a result, the only stuff you'll find in a game store these days are the most expensive, latest-and-greatest. GameStop, at least, doesn't completely fail in that they usually have a good used game section, but even that's pretty limited.
This, incidentally, is why I believe "gaming culture" is a misnomer. There *is* no culture. There is only the present and half-remembered bitmaps or controls of the past which you occasionally raise as an icon in some sort of quest to prove how long you've been a gamer.
The ultimate proof of this: Watch G4 some time. I know it's painful, but sit through one of the station breaks where they flash a bunch of gaming paraphenalia on the screen. There's an Atari joystick. There's an NES controller. But does anyone ever show off their Dreamcast? Of course not. It's simply not old enough.
You can't have culture without history.
Anyway, on to another rant. Find a 15" monitor. Now overdrive the resolution to 3200x2560. Assuming it hasn't blown up yet, I'm going to show you exactly how big European girls are according to the mall stores we were in:
THAT big. They're TINY things. 4XL jackets would not close around meerkat and she's far from the size that 4XL suggests.
We ate lunch at a really interesting place which I'll need pictures to do justice to -- I'll catch that later.
After that, we came home. This turned out to be quite a trek, since Polish buses don't run both ways on Slominskiego, so we ended up having to walk the way down Bonifraterska to our apartment.
When we got there, meerkat said she needed a nap. I was tired, but I knew that if we took a nap, then we'd end up sleeping in. I told her we shouldn't.
Well, she eventually won. Set the alarm for a half hour (5:30p, I think). And we woke up at about the time I started this entry. Whoops...
Today, we're going to find where she works. Hopefully my quest for a fuzzy hat, her quest for an inexpensive jacket, and other such quests will not be thwarted on this day.
Oh yeah -- one other surprising bit about Poles that I've been holding onto since the first day here: When you hold up three fingers to signify the quantity "3", I tend to hold my ring, middle, and index fingers up. Poles hold up their thumb, index, and middle fingers with the other two down. The first time I saw this was our taxi driver -- an old, grizzled dude -- and it startled me because it seemed like he was clawing in my direction. Very strange.
Do any of my peeps from the 51 states use the Polish way of showing 3?
|Date:||March 1st, 2009 06:18 am (UTC)|| |
ASL shows 3 that way, too - starting with the thumb.
Somehow, despite the fact that my eldest sister is an ASL interpreter, I did not know that.
I suspect therefore that the A in ASL does not actually stand for American because Americans never would have come up with such a system. It was obviously influenced by the Polish! It's insidious how they're slowly taking over our society!
THEY TOOK MAH NUMBER SIGNS! WHY DID THEY HAVE TO TAKE MY NUMBER SIGNS?!?!?!?
|Date:||March 1st, 2009 06:34 am (UTC)|| |
Body Harvest (N64) is the ultimate example of a brilliant game that went completely under the radar.
I've never heard of it, but I consider your recommendation good enough for me to drop that into an ebay search when I get home. My N64 collection is anemic at best.
Really though, I think it goes beyond things that went "under the radar" -- there's always going to be great games like that. It's games that fell off the cliff of gaming's sliding scale of "cool" because they're now >2 years old and <20 years old.
I can already tell that I'm set to be one of those curmudgeons who sits in the back of E3, looks at the newest game, and says "SYSTEM SHOCK DID THAT 15 YEARS AGO.", but I really do see it as a problem that gamers are going to have to grow out of.
Now you might say "What do you mean by 'problem'?". Simple -- just try and imagine what the increasingly online driven games of the present are going to be like when the companies that made them aren't running the servers anymore? What about the fact that there isn't one true release of a given game anymore because of the flurry of online patches?
You might say that folks like me will sniff out how the code works and reverse engineer how the servers work, but ultimately, that's a cop out. There's tons of games out there that I've never played. It's a substantial probability that someone with the technical expertise to reverse engineer a game and the interest to do it might never come across that game.
I like to call this probability the "Hopping Mappy" trend after a talk that one of the MAME guys gave at California Extreme. Essentially, he mentioned that he's an enormous fan of Hopping Mappy -- a game that almost no one's heard of. It's not special enough to really have a presence. It's just a rare and crummy game. This one MAME dude got into MAME because he really liked Hopping Mappy and did the necessary bits to get MAME to run it (acquiring schematics, dumping ROMs, etc).
The number of Hopping Mappys is growing exponentially without much of an end in sight and it really is fueled by this craze. Who wants to play on a DS anymore? They're coming out with the DSi! DSes are two gens back! And who the heck wants that silly GBA port anyway?
*nods* That's pretty much why I don't go clothes shopping in Japan, I know I'd freak over the 'size' when I have no reason whatsoever to do so, I'm just not a size 0.
Oooh... lemon cake....
If you ever find your way out to my side of the coast, I imagine you'd enjoy my collection. There's one downside to having all the games I do. You start to play one, you hit a hard point, so you put it on pause, switch the TV over to a different console and start playing that one.
When I left, I had Zelda II and FFXII powered up and competing with the 360 for time away from Dead Rising.
As for sidescrollers, I always thought the best part of Contra was the 3-D portion. Punch-Out was one of the very first games I wanted to remake as a kid. I directly blame Punch-Out for my interest in Sierra Boxing and 4-D Boxing while tremendously disliking the sport. In some ways, the coolest games were the ones that broke out of that style. Kinda like Pitfall broke out of the graphics styles that were common on the 2600.
Unfortunately in some countries the clothing retailers don't seem to believe that women bigger than a size 4 exist. I think in Argentina they even tried to pass some legislation mandating that retailers carry larger sizes! It's a global problem...
Also: gaming stores don't care about culture. For them there really is nothing more to gaming than spending vast sums of money.