© 2004 Jamie Zawinski <jwz@jwz.org>

Several people have been raving about this game Fatal Frame 2, using phrases like "really scary" and "a lot of fun." You play this little anime girl wandering around in the woods and an old house, and (I gather) the point is to use this magic camera to take pictures of ghosts and solve some mystery. It's very dark (in the "hard to see" sense) and there is adequately creepy music. But here's how I spent the first hour of the game: wandering around an empty (presumably haunted) house and getting lost every time I walked ten feet. The observer perspective changes all the time, so I kept losing track of where the door was I came in! I spent half my time trying to figure out how to leave the room I had just entered. When I finally figured out where the front door was again, the game told me that I wasn't done exploring the house yet. It took me 45 minutes just to find the damned camera!

What a colossal waste of time. It felt like playing a first person shooter with no weapons and no enemies, where all there was to do was wander around the map. It would have been scarier and more challenging just to wander around my apartment with a blindfold on.

What is it with video games trying to be even more boring than real life? My understanding was that Kids Today have short attention spans; how do they tolerate this bullshit?

This was pretty much my experience with whichever of the Grand Theft Auto games I played, too: I understand that the point of the game is killing people and beating up prostitutes or something, but it wanted me to go through some "training mission" deal before letting me actually play, and the point of that seemed to be, "drive a car from point A to point B, and drive slowly and carefully enough that you don't bump into too many fire hydrants, or you have to start over." Wow, that's great fun, let me tell you. Drive slow and don't hit things. I have an actual car in which I can play that game!

Someone brought over the PS2 version of The Sims once, and it was even more SimKafka than the others! Ok, what can I do here... "Let's have a party! Start making phone calls. Oh no, now I'm hungry. Oh wait, the cat shit on the floor. Oh, now I'm tired. Now I'm poor. The toilet is starting to smell. My friends say I'm neglecting them." What the FUCK? People do this for fun? I think actual SimKafka would be more entertaining than this: "you wake up. You are a giant insect." Turn over. "You cannot turn over." Call for help. "You have no mouth and you must scream."

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