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It's Grand Theft Auto Day!


and I don't care AT ALL. This is the game that has had the anti-video game-violence folk in a tizzy since the first one on the PC let you run your car into other cars. Honestly, I haven't liked one since that little top-down PC game let my little pixel-person carjack people and run around. My good friend Chris is super excited about it, and Audrey sorta liked the last one. I just don't think it's fun at all.

To put this in perspective, Hollywood was worried that the Iron Man movie will have poor box office numbers because so many people will be playing GTA4. Apparently people just won't be able to tear themselves away from the couch to go sit in a cinema and watch the extravaganza that will be Iron Man.

Here's what the Penny Arcade guys say about GTA4 and Gran Turismo (a hyper-realistic racing game). I agree with them on both counts.

"Grand Theft Auto - like Gran Turismo - is a game that we have a difficult time integrating into our consciousness. Gran Turismo got this way by being an uncompromising simulation of something we don't care about, a blisteringly high-resolution image of a ketchup packet or a strip of bark. Ketchup fans and bark enthusiasts are going nuts, they'll pay forty dollars for part of the image. I played the second one a million years ago, earned enough money to wash my virtual car, and then quit the series forever.

Grand Theft Auto has had another problem, or rather, we have had a problem that intersects with what the game offers: the raw, virtually limitless opportunity presented is paralyzing, a sheer face with no purchase. We're always impressed by each world's livingness, but historically the story structure - the obvious thread that we can grip and pull ourselves along - is hung about the neck with frustrating, repetitive gameplay. We end up burning out on free roaming in a couple days, taking random missions or sitting in a parking lot listening to the radio. I feel guilty, because there's probably no game more "important" globally than Grand Theft Auto. I certainly feel like I'm looking in on what I consider my own community. It never seemed to bother anyone else that the core of the game wasn't much fun, so mostly the whole thing just makes me feel like a crazy person."

So, to wrap up: Don't care about GTA. I am giddy in anticipation of Iron man. I don't want to write any more term papers. I certainly don't want to take this test in logics.

Thorny Devils:


So I have to admit that I love animal shows.

Crocodile Steve Irwin is a personal hero of mine. I also like Jeff Corwin, and Aud and I were watching some Corwin's Quest tonight where he started talking about this little guy.

He's called a Thorny Devil and he's really neat. He's a little lizard who lives in the Australian desert and he can use little grooves in his skin to suck any water he can find towards his face. Corwin put the little guy's foot in water and you could actually see the water move toward his mouth. So neat. Also they're covered in spikes and they change color in response to the sand they are standing on. What a neat critter. Respect the Thorny Devil.

Who couldn't love that face?