Weekly Little Big Planet: public and brutal

, | Features

That’s my buddy E2. He’s showing me some surveillance tapes. There was a security breach and all the other scientists are being forced to work for some cthulu-ish creatures from another planet. I’m assuming they’re from another planet because I’m playing a level called Space Garden. Also, I’m saying they’re cthulu-ish even though I don’t really know what that means because I like to say ‘cthulu’ in my head as I type it.

Aside from it taking me about fifteen tries to get past the very first little section of the level, I liked Space Garden plenty. As you play through it you can automatically continue to the second and third sequels. At one point you actually read “10 Years Later” in a title card. Ten years later? What? Fine. I’m in. I gotta respect a good time jump like that.

Especially after playing Jump or Die Colorful Obstacle Course! wherein I mostly did the latter and the life limit was one (1). One? Really? Oh, and every time I tried to let other sackfolk join me there they would get trapped on the other side of a wall. One of them just started tagging everything in protest. I have yet to get one of these collaborations on a community level to work.

But wait…what’s this?

After the jump, that door looks like it’s meant for cars

I hear my wife laughing. She’s in the house watching something on television and I am out in my garage office–translation: man-cave–trying to get some work done–translation: deciding which Netflix movie to watch. I freeze upon hearing the laugh.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when my wife laughs. Except at this particular time of night. This particular time of night comes after our son is finally asleep and I’ve spent some time watching a couple of her terrible television shows and rubbing her feet. Again, don’t get me wrong, I love this time with my wife, I’d just never have imagined there could be so many shows about criminal profilers. She records every single one, I think.

So anyway, by this time of night I’ve been a good dad and a good husband and now I get some me time. Her laugh means I’m going to have to put this off for a few more minutes, because my wife, bless her heart, has a tree-falling-in-the-forest kind of thing when it comes to checking off items on her to-do list and finding things funny. That is to say, if she does not share these things with me, they didn’t happen. I know I’m going to be called in to share in the funny. Again, no big deal, except that I know what she’s watching.

American Idol. Ugh. American Fucking Idol.

“Honey!” Oy. “You’ve got to see this!”

I head in, grumbling.

“Oh stop it. You’re gonna like this.”

The Tivo is paused on a dude I recognize from earlier in the season when I accidently caught a glimpse of the TV set. I swear, it was accidental. I recall thinking he was a pretty groovy looking dude. I heard him sing a couple of times and he seemed cool and quirky, not a bland white guy. In terms of the show, then, he was pretty much a goner from the get-go. Now he was back to sing on the final show. So? Why did I have to be subjected to him singing?

“Just wait,” my wife said, pointing the remote.

The dude, Casey something, was singing a song while sitting on a couch. The song sounded familiar. Something from Spinal Tap? Is that why she called me in? He got up, moved to the end of the couch and as the intro of the song resolved kicked the couch out of the way to reveal Jack Black lying behind it and singing the song with him. Oh, that’s right. Kung-Fu Panda 2 is out. Jack and Casey proceeded to do a duet of “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen. My wife squealed with glee (yes, I’ve been called in to view clips from that show too, although since I pointed out that Gwyneth Paltrow was clearly being auto-tuned I haven’t been invited back).

My tolerance for Jack Black is pretty low these days, but I watched the whole song because the wheels were suddenly turning in my mind. It was not going to be a Netflix night, after all.

I haven’t played Brutal Legend since last year. I can’t even remember why I stopped playing it now. A family trip? A string of nights when my son was sick? It certainly wasn’t because I didn’t like the game. I loved it. In fact, I recall talking to a friend of mine excitedly about the game because I was just figuring out the world, just starting to get how much there was to explore and how to explore it. I was about 25% into it and it was just starting to click for me and for some reason I dropped it.

Time to call it forth.

Returning to a game you’ve left dormant for a year, or even a few months, is a weird thing. It feels like you should know everything, but there is so much to relearn. What are my moves again? How do I control my dudes in battle? Why can’t I get in this enormous door? Oh right, it’s meant for cars. How do I summon my car again? Wait…I know this. I have to play a solo.

Bit by bit it starts to come back. I summon my awesome car, The Deuce, and head into the garage only to realize that I’m not really ready to do anything in the garage at this point. I’ve just started playing again. I head back out and sit in my car wondering what I’m supposed to do. A shaft of light coming down from the sky triggers my memory and I head over there, vaguely recalling that one of the last things to happen in this world was that I was offered the option of starting the tour. Oh yes. The tour. Now it’s coming back. I shied away from that because I thought that starting the tour was when the game was really going to get serious about being an RTS, and I’m a tad insecure about those things.

This time I jumped in, real-time strategy fears be damned. Man this is a good game. It looks great and sounds great, and Jack Black is perfect as Eddie. Just perfect. What a dork I’ve been to let it sit ignored for so long. I had some trouble with the first task of the tour, escorting the tour bus. I kept failing at it because I was so rusty with the controls and couldn’t remember what The Deuce had for weapons. I kept getting confused and hitting Y, which made me jump out of the car in the heat of battle. Important tip: if you’re supposed to be the driver of the escort vehicle in a high-speed mission, don’t keep jumping out of your car. This does not help.

Eventually I got the bus to safety, but I could have sworn The Deuce had more weapons than she has. Things like grenade launchers and missiles. Not just machine guns and side flames. But she doesn’t. I must be confused with something else, that awful Green Hornet movie or something. Maybe more weapons come later. Now that I’m back into the game and instantly excited about it again, I’m about to find out. For now, I need to raise a couple relics and do some side-mission ambushes to get myself back up to speed.

Thanks for this, American Idol. And thanks for reminding me that fat-bottomed girls they make the rockin’ world go round.

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