Episode 1: Coming Out Swinging
Episode 2: Making Waves
Episode 3: On Thin Ice
Episode 4: Blind Sided
Episode 5: In the Crosshairs
Episode 6: Climbing the Walls
Episode 7: The Gauntlet
Episode 8: The Grand Finale
Episode 8: The Grand Finale
I would like to begin by apologizing to my readers. I know how you feel about substance. Shockingly, this reality video game television show did not deliver on substance.
But we made it. The final episode. It is here. Forty more minutes. In the next week or two, I will begin making it up to you. Real content. With real thoughts. Real ideas. And it will be awesome.
But as awesome as the World Cyber Games™, the Olympics of Gaming™? I fucking doubt that! Reality TV! Wooooooo!
Note: I’m three-and-a-half minutes into the show and I have nothing interesting to say. This doesn’t bode well. Oh, Kat qualified for the “final three”. Guess that’s important. She was wearing red shorts. The short kind. That’s important, too.
3:36 – Hannah: “Caesar and Jake: One of you will earn the last spot in our final three. The other will be going home.” Fuck yes. This is the moment we have been waiting for: Two console first-person shooter buffs will settle their differences by hovering their scope in the general direction of enemy targets and we will find out who has auto-aim activated.
4:42 – Well that was uneventful. Good work, Caesar. This may be the first time anyone or anything from the state of New Jersey has ever finished in the top three.
5:22 – Poor Jake. Wait, you sheddin’ tears? Dammit, I told you! There’s no crying in e-sports!
6:23 – Really? All the amenities in this apartment and Yaz has to grind out his gaming experience by sitting on a footstool?
6:28 – Yaz: “Guys, there’s a laptop down here.” This is either the most contrived moment in television history, or Solid Snake dodged cameramen and contestants to deposit that laptop on the table. It could also be the worst Samsung product placement to-date! It could even be all of them! Anything can happen in reality television!
6:38 – Pre-recorded video file Hannah: “Hey guys, Joel and I are waiting for you on the rooftop. See you soon.” Fuck her. This is like calling somebody to let them know you sent them e-mail.
7:10 – Joel: “The WCG Grand Final™ is the largest, most prestigious gaming competition in the world.” Great to know. Know what’s even better? This episode’s original airing was four days after the 2010 World Cyber Games. Hell of a job using this television program to sell interest in your once-a-year grand finale.
7:29 – Hannah: “…only two of you can make it to the finale. There will be one last challenge to determine who that will be at some point in the future.”
8:33 – Everyone has officially left the loft. Except the cameraman. Cameramen are creepy like that. If I’ve learned anything from the internet, people don’t use cameras to record non-perverted footage.
8:37 – Dammit. Character development. I hate that. Ever watch an NBA game? During the broadcast, the network airs promos called “NBA Cares”, where players give back to their communities by honoring their court-ordered community service. The commercials will show players reading children’s books and building houses for the homeless. This is the same deal. We need to humanize the contestants. Show people they’re like me and you. And it is sappy. And it has nothing to do with their gaming exploits.
9:35 – Kat, on her family: “It’s always gaming, all day.” Remember how I said that the best in any competition is dominated by a combination of skill and obsessive-compulsive behavior? I was not fucking kidding.
9:50-10:01 – Caesar’s employment is “I help the elderly.” So our Top Three? Small business owner, hot gamer chick, man who helps the elderly. I would be so fucked on this show. “Yeah, I don’t have a job right now. Most of my day involves telling people on the internet that they are wrong. I also have a gaming web site. Most of my writing details how people on the internet that are wrong.”
10:06 – Caesar: “So when Joel gets here, there’s gonna be a rule for Joel: Don’t stare at my girlfriend in the eyes. I don’t want you captivating her. You’re strikingly handsome.” What’s to say? The man is right. Joel shouldn’t be allowed around anyone’s girlfriend.
10:27 – Bonus points to Kat’s father. Kat opens the door to welcome Joel into the house. Joel is the host of a show that’s getting her daughter a shot at 100,000 dollars. The dad nods to see who is at the door and goes straight back to the video game. This would normally be disrespectful on several levels, but…it’s Joel, man.
11:00-11:15 – What the hell? Did I just walk into an episode of Housewives of New Jersey?
12:12 – First game? Green Day: Rock Band. Do I need to remind everyone why you should not build a rhythm video game around the band of a dozen power chords?
12:16 – Joel: “American Idiot. On the drums.”
12:21 – Caesar: “On expert!?” Oh, come on.
12:48 – Joel: “The [next] game…is BlazBlue: Continum Shift.” Eh. The only thing I know about the BlazBlue franchise is that Bridget is a girl and repeatedly claiming she is a guy does not change that. (Author’s Amendment: Yeah, forgot. Bridget is from Guilty Gear. Same company does both games. In the words of Chris Tucker: “All y’all look alike!”)
13:23 – And the last game? Halo: Reach. A tactical shooter without tactical gameplay options? A game that plays at half the speed of Quake III Counter-Strike? How could this get any more exciting?
13:33 – Kat: “[Halo: Reach is] not even out yet!” The airdate of this program? October 7, 2010. Halo: Reach? Released on September 14th, 2010. That’s some fine editing, gentlemen.
13:39 – Yaz: “Oh, shit. Kat is a Halo player.”
13:43 – Joel: “Well, I think the argument goes…we all need to be Halo players if we’re going to be the Ultimate Gamer™, right?” FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
13:59 – Joel: “Little bit nuts that this is [Kat’s] living room and there are six Xboxes.” I hope this lends perspective as to why you will never be a professional gamer. Or maybe the air conditioner broke and they bought a replacement heating system on the cheap.
14:42 – Kat’s dad: “Studying, reading books, never gonna get you anywhere. Go play your video games.” Know who Royce Gracie is? The man who popularized Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? That man is training his children to kill from the moment they leave the womb. It is truly fucked up that Royce’s psychotic behavior was the first thing to come to mind when I wanted to describe the institution of video games in the Katherine Gunn household.
15:32 – This is the beauty of modern video games: We can simply pretend “Tron as a video game” never happened. The 2008 Xbox Live Arcade adaptation and its 42 review average on GameRankings?* Never fucking happened. 2003’s Tron 2.0?* Never happened. Yup! We’re finally getting a Tron video game. And we’re combining it with the number one rule of competitive gaming: Video games don’t become sports until its audience determines they’re good enough to be sports. Our contestants are now beta-testers. Wonderful.
Calling it now: This game does not get higher than a 60 on MetaCritic. I’ll bet a used StarCraft II Guest Pass on it.
19:32 – Sorry, Caesar. New Jersey needed a hero and you could not give them one. All because you finished last place in a video game that will be eviscerated by fans and critics alike. In fairness, Kat and Yaz were clearly the two best gamers on the show. I can’t say that the best talent got screwed. But at least you chewed out Jake. In my book, you are the Ultimate Gamer™.
20:11 – News flash: When you retrospect a player with a montage, you are supposed to showcase the integrity of the contestant. “Let’s cut to that scene where Caesar was wearing eyeliner!” is not one of those moments.
21:30 – Yaz, while entering the Los Angeles Convention Center: “Wow.”
21:31 – Holy shit, Yaz. You weren’t kidding about the window dressing. This place has escolators.
21:40 – Should have seen this coming. This is going to be one hell of an infomercial.
22:04 – THE SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT DETECTION ROBOT HAS DETECTED SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT.
22:18 – THE SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT DETECTION ROBOT HAS DETECTED ALIENWARE AD PLACEMENT.
22:29 – Kat: “Running into Season One cast members was great. Jamal and Swoozie.”
22:32 – Jamal: “See this dude [Sebastian] over here? He’s The Chosen Bum.” Words can’t describe how hilarious this was. Poor Sebastian nods to the camera right as Jamal lays down the insult.
The picture does not lie. And pow! Jamal remains the most awesome person ever.
22:57 – Yaz: “Can’t lose to a girl.” So if Kat wins, what value does she have as a figurehead? That the small universe of girl gamers will look up to Kat and unite against the perverted male gamer universe? I can’t see this happening.
23:34 –THE SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT DETECTION ROBOT HAS DETECTED SAMSUNG AD PLACEMENT.
23:39 – Is that Kat’s final practice run? Her two-star performance on American Idiot? Do you know how hard it is to get two stars on a song? You have to tank to get two stars. As in “deliberately stink up the joint”. In the two years I regularly played Rock Band, I only did it once. And I had band members to help with that.
23:59 – It’s official: Hannah is out of clothes. She has now resorted to wearing drapery.
24:40 – Hannah: “We’re showcasing some amazing games tonight from three different genres. They are: A rhythm game from everyone’s favorite punk band.” Hannah, Green Day did not code the video game. You cannot program a video game with power chords.
25:45 – Hannah: “So what does it mean to be the first female gamer to stand here on this stage?”
Kat: “I think it means a lot to show that girls can kick guys’ butts.” Just remember, Kat: Video games are an escape from reality.
26:05 – No! Stop bringing up that Yaz threw an Isolation Challenge™! What is this? A Hitler peace rally where the Nazis keep invoking the invasion of Poland?
26:51 – The black man would wear shades on a dimmed studio set. Oh, right. Sebastian is covering up that black eye Jamal handed out.
27:11-27:25 – Same scoring system as last year: First game is one point, second is two, third is three. In other words, Yaz is fucked. I no longer have the energy to claim this is rigged. Last year’s finale was pretty solid. Robert Paz and Mark Smith played Shaun White Snowboarding (neutral), Gears of War 2 (neutral), and Soul Calibur IV (neutral). This year? Yaz is not winning at Reach and he is not winning at BlazBlue. And Reach is going to be the last game, the three-point game. Congratulations, Kat. You won.
28:19 – And we begin our road down Green Day’s uninspiring music!
28:25 – I’m just going to copy-paste what I said during the Rock Band Elimination Chamber™ showdown from Season One:
“And after the intro guitar section on Offspring’s Come Out And Play, Robert is up by the score of 5,850 to 3,400. And this is why Rock Band is a boring game at the competitive level. Know how during presidential elections, news outlets can call a state when three-thousand votes are in? With one percent of the song over, I can already call this for Robert.”
Drums are even more unwatchable than guitar because the drums are about consistency. There are very few “Here’s your chance to mount a comeback” moments in rhythm game drums…
28:55 – Joel: “It is anyone’s game at this point.” Hulu needs an ignore function.
32:35 – Don’t worry. If you have no idea what is going on, that’s fine. That’s the norm for fighting games. See the meters? The bars? I can locate the health bar. That’s it. Maybe that’s your guard meter. Or maybe it activates your Meter Meter, where you can activate various meters. Fuck, this game is confusing.
33:21 – Joel: “What a mighty character. That sword is too much for Yaz to handle.” Stop talking, Joel!
35:40 – Poor Yaz. Whitewashed in the fighting game. All a prelude to Kat’s inevitable victory. Computer gamers do not deserve this shabby treatment!
37:47 – Bears repeating: Halo one-on-one deathmatches are shit.
38:09 – As a man who thought the Pistols in Halo: Combat Evolved were the design work of a madman, watching both players immediately swap from Assault Rifles to Pistols got a hefty laugh out of me.
39:48 – 5-0, Kat. This isn’t going to be close, is it?
40:42 – This is over. Lousy women. Beating us at our own game and rubbing it in our faces. We need to ban women from professional gaming so this will never happen again.
42:43 – Hannah: “So how does it feel to have won the entire thing?”
42:53 – Kat: “I have a hundred grand now. I mean, can kind of do a lot with that. So, I definitely have a lot of big things planned, and a lot of gaming.” You just won six-figures and the only thing you can think of is video games. And that’s why you are better than me at them.
43:02: – Hannah: “Yaz, you have been an amazing competitor, but unfortunately for you, it’s game over.” Yeah, throw the victory celebration and then mock the runner-up. Hannah has no sense of the moment. It’s like she’s only on the show to read cue cards and look pretty!
43:43 – But the biggest winner? A.J. A girl finally made contact with him. Props.
Can’t say Kat didn’t deserve to win the whole thing. The visit to the household really shed some perspective. It’s one thing to be good at a single genre. It’s another to spend that time and energy on an entire range of competitive video games. She was built for the competition. Nice to see her gamer score finally paid off.
But now? It’s over. It’s finally over. Our long, national nightmare is over. We have conquered Season Two of World Cyber Games: Ultimate Gamer™. So who’s ready for Season Three?