Tag Archives: saints row

FGC #562 Q*Bert

No colorLet’s look at the evolution of gaming/Q*Bert over the years.

In 1982, gaming was just taking its first, tentative steps towards Gaming as we know it. Pac-Man and Pong had blazed the trail with their joystick/wheely thing controls, but now we were seeing new and innovative ways to play. Kangaroo, for instance, was a game that was very similar to the likes of Donkey Kong, but added an all-important offensive action to its heroine’s repertoire. Kangaroo could punch out monkeys and apples alike, and one could argue this simple act was the start of “videogame violence” for years to come (sorry, dead monkeys, you gotta start somewhere). And speaking of offensive options, Dig Dug first started digging in ’82, and he had the ability to “pump up” his opponents until they popped. This had the dual purpose of inspiring a generation of bizarre fetishes and featuring a hero that always had the ability to turn the tables on his opponents. Unlike Pac-Man or Mario that had to rely on sporadically distributed powerups, Taizo the Digger was hunted and hunter all in one. This would become the norm for practically all of gaming to come.

But if one game presciently granted a glimpse of gaming of the future, it was Pitfall. Nearly four decades ago, Pitfall Harry explored a large world of tricks, traps, and treasure. Harry had much to do in his (certainly not Mayan) adventure, and, while his moveset was limited, it was contextually sensitive to all sorts of challenges. Harry didn’t simply jump over opponents, he leapt to swing across vines, or hopped over the heads of gators. Pitfall was a revelation for everything its protagonist (and by extension, the player) could do, even if this was still the era of extremely blocky dudes puttering around monochrome backgrounds.

Lookin' GoodAnd 1982 also saw the release of Q*Bert. Q*Bert only need move from block to block in a generally diagonal manner. He changes block colors simply by touching blocks, and his only “offensive option” is baiting a malevolent snake into a bottomless pit. Q*Bert does not have a bonus jump, “punch”, or other abilities. Q*Bert simply hops.

Ten years later, in 1992, the face of gaming had irrevocably changed. The arcade gave way to the domination of the console, and now Sega and Nintendo were battling it out. But there was the Personal Computer, too! Wolfenstein 3D had just been released, and the whole of the FPS genre was just starting to congeal into Doom (to be released the next year). For some, the “3-D” nature of first person shooters promised to be what “the future of gaming” was always expected to be: fully immersive fighting (through the legions of Hell/nazis, apparently).

But away from the monitor and back at the television, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was pushing the boundaries of the genre that had become known as platforming. Sonic could run, jump, and dash; but he did it at speeds that could not have even been imagined ten years prior. And this latest Sonic allowed for two player simultaneous play! Just like in those competitive fighting games that had been making the scene! And Mortal Kombat was the most prominent “new fighter” of ’92. Now there was a radical shift in gaming! Kangaroo might have punched out a monkey, but, for better or worse, she never tore the head off of an opponent. And look at all those buttons! “Punch” is a thing of the past: Sub-Zero had a variety of punches, kicks, and fireballs (well, snowballs) at his disposal. You didn’t just need an instruction manual for your average fighting game, you needed a strategy guide (thanks, Nintendo Power!).

Good bless QBertBut while we’re considering strategy, let us also consider Super Mario Kart. Mario had cameoed in a sports title here or there over the years (he got really good at Golf, apparently), but he mostly just starred in his own adventures that involved running and jumping. Super Mario Kart was a great success as a fun racing game, but it also showcased how a videogame mascot could shift all their normal “verbs”, but still be unmistakably that familiar mascot. Mushrooms can make you super tall, or they can give you a speed boost. Turtle shells can become projectiles divorced from their turtles. And anyone that has ever played any Mario Kart knows the difference between a Starman that allows you to mow down goombas and one that allows you to speed to the finish line. Mario Kart showed that even the most rigidly defined mascot could be anything, and paved the way for the Sonic Racing or unprecedented crossovers of today.

And then there was Q*Bert for Gameboy, and Q*Bert 3 for Super Nintendo, both released in 1992. Q*Bert only need move from block to block in a generally diagonal manner. He changes block colors simply by touching blocks, and his only “offensive option” is baiting a malevolent snake into a bottomless pit. Q*Bert does not have a bonus jump, six punch buttons, or other abilities. Q*Bert simply hops. Sometimes there are a variety of new colors and backgrounds, though. You know, at least on the system that has color.

Let’s hop forward seven years. By the time 1999 rolled around, the “mascot wars” of the previous console generation had concluded, and newcomer Sony was riding high with the Playstation and the serious, cinematic Final Fantasy franchise. This was the year we were finally going to see the sequel to Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy: Whatever, and it pushed the boundaries for what was expected of the JRPG genre. Have you ever heard of Triple Triad? Guardian Forces? Dog Missiles? If you haven’t, don’t worry about it, it was all only around for one game, but it did establish that you could have complicated battle systems that were only relevant for one title. Fight, magic, item wasn’t the only fish in the sea, anymore, let’s get ready to get some gambits up in here!

Go QBert!This was also a time when gaming was getting more serious… but “serious” as more of a teenager’s definition. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater allowed a “real human” avatar to perform intricate skateboarding tricks in a universe that apparently had unlimited and instant healthcare. Silent Hill allowed a player to explore the depths of the human psyche in a world that was going to be complete in a few years with the introduction of a certain pyramid headed fellow that really knew how to swing around half a pair of scissors. Or maybe you just wanted to be the Driver, and cruise around realistic (enough) cities? In a way, these games were just as big on the fantasy as Mario (no, you cannot drive a car into a building in reality and continue to have a good time), but they were a lot more “real” than anything Pitfall Harry ever did.

And if you wanted some fantasy, don’t worry, you still had the likes of Ape Escape or Donkey Kong 64 to hold you over. DK64 saw the collectathon at its most… collecty, and showcased all the different ways Kongs can run, jump, and shoot on their way to an ultimate goal of wringing out 12,000,000 (monotonous) hours of gameplay. And Ape Escape was no simple monkey game, it was a sneak and capture event closer to Metal Gear than Donkey Kong. Even visually “childish” games in 1999 weren’t so simple.

And then there was Q*Bert for Playstation. Q*Bert only need move from block to block in a generally diagonal manner. He changes block colors simply by touching blocks, and his only “offensive option” is baiting a malevolent snake into a bottomless pit. Q*Bert does not have a bonus jump, “punch”, or other abilities. Q*Bert simply hops. This time there was an adventure mode, but that was just an excuse to stick cinema scenes on either side of a world. Everything else was just Q*Bert hops.

BERT!The following five years allowed for a number of innovations in gaming. In 2004 we saw Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which was the first Grand Theft Auto to feature extensive customization to its grand, open world. It also had planes, bazookas, and the opportunity for your C.J. to cosplay as The Notorious B.I.G. for the entire adventure. It is arguable that this Grand Theft Auto went too far into the whacky territory after its sequels eventually tried to rein everything back in with sad Russians in GTA4 and sad dads in GTA5, but the Saints Row franchise carried that whacky football straight to the end zone. Gaming had started goofy, become serious, and then migrated back to goofy all over again.

And speaking of marginally goofy, this was the year we saw Fable, which touted a rich morality system and a story that was different every time you played it. Did that actually happen? Well, not really, but it did seemingly start the trend of games that bet their whole asses on save baby/eat baby morality. It was no longer enough to run, jump, and punch; now you had to determine whether or not you were doing all those things while simultaneously becoming Mecha Hitler. Or Mecha Mother Theresa? You’ve got choices!

But on the simpler side of things, there was Katamari Damacy. This straightforward little game featured a protagonist that could only roll around a ball, but that ball could grow from the size of a paperclip to roughly the girth of a galaxy. And, more importantly than the gameplay, it was released for a whole $20, kickstarting the (now standard) belief that not every videogame had to be a AAA, 40 hour feature. Before internet connections fully graduated from 56K, Katamari Damacy showed us a glimpse of the future of downloadable titles.

Eat it!And speaking of downloadable, this year also saw an official Flash (RIP) version of Q*Bert. In a game that would be ported to “real” Windows a year later, Q*Bert only need move from block to block in a generally diagonal manner. He changes block colors simply by touching blocks, and his only “offensive option” is baiting a malevolent snake into a bottomless pit. Q*Bert does not have a bonus jump, “punch”, or other abilities. Q*Bert simply hops. At least this Q*venture was free.

Now we fast-forward a decade to 2014. What innovations did this year hold for gaming? Well, we wound up skipping the exact year for a lot of big’uns from this epoch, so we’re left with staring straight at Dark Souls 2. Did you ever hear about Dark Souls? It’s the Dark Souls of Bloodborne games. Love it or hate it, Dark Souls impacted gaming in more ways than we will ever admit, arguably revitalizing the general gameplay of the rogue-like and encouraging increasing your own personal gaming skills while marginally leveling up your chosen hero. In a similar manner, this was the year we saw Bayonetta 2, a shining example of the likewise “hardcore” stylish action genre. Gaming could be slow and methodical or fast and elegant, but, in both cases, it was a little more complicated than guiding a puck through a maze.

And if you still wanted the mascots of yore, don’t worry, they were represented, too. If you wanted to see everybody fight everybody, Super Smash Bros 4 WiiU/3DS was released in 2014. Smash Bros was always a shining example of videogame protagonists leaving their usual genre and sailing into something completely different (Star Fox left his ship!), but Smash 4 would eventually grow and mutate to be a veritable yearbook of every character that had ever mattered in gaming (sorry, Geno, you don’t matter). And if you wanted something new from “cartoony” characters, this was also the year that Shovel Knight proved Kickstarting retro platformers was wholly viable, and could have amazing, enduring results. Come to think of it, Shovel Knight was partially inspired by Dark Souls, too…

CHOOSE YOUR FIGHTERBut there was one game released that year that was not inspired by Dark Souls. Q*Bert Rebooted, seemingly rebooted to promote an Adam Sandler vehicle, was a game where Q*Bert only need move from block to block in a generally diagonal manner. He changes block colors simply by touching blocks, and his only “offensive option” is baiting a malevolent snake into a bottomless pit. Q*Bert does not have a bonus jump, shovel, or other abilities. Q*Bert simply hops. He also hopped to nearly every platform available, so this one is still downloadable on modern consoles.

And Q*Bert returned for the most recent time in 2019 for iOS. Do we need to review the gaming breakthroughs of such a recent year? Fire Emblem: Three Houses and its perfect blend of chess and dating simulation? Super Mario Maker 2 and its ability to grant the player full creative control over familiar gameplay? Untitled Goose Game and its goose? Whatever the hell happens in Sekiro? (I gather it is a photography simulator.) 2019 was an amazing year for gaming where we not only had all this, but also Q*Bert. And what did Q*Bert do? He moved from block to block in a generally diagonal manner. He changed blocks colors. He baited a snake into a pit. Q*Bert only knows hops.

He was Q*Bert. He is Q*Bert. The face of gaming may irrevocably change, but Q*Bert is Q*Bert forever.


FGC #562 Q*Bert

  • Go lil buddySystem: I’m pretty sure the lil’ Bert appeared on nearly every console system, give or take a few outliers. Playstation 2? Sega Genesis? And I’m pretty sure he wasn’t on Atari Lynx, either. Other than that, there’s probably some Q*Bert in some form on your preferred console.
  • Number of players: One Q*Bert, but two people can take turns if they are so inclined.
  • Don’t make a sound: Q*Bert’s claim to fame has always been the bizarre recordings that approximate the sound an orange monster man might make when brained with a purple marble. Unfortunately, playing Q*Bert in the year 2021 just reminds me that I never want to hear from a belligerent orange creature ever again.
  • Hey, what about Q*Bert’s Qubes: The only Q*Bert to truly mix up traditional Q*Bert gameplay was… not all that different. It basically just added the idea of “rotating” cubes according to the direction Q*Bert hops (as opposed to one simple, all-purpose tap), and added a handful of new enemies (there may have been a crab). Other than that, the way it “separated” the blocks made the game a lot more difficult to visually parse, and there’s probably a reason this Q*title is generally forgotten and ignored.
  • Did you know? Q*Bert for Playstation started with a cinema scene based in Q*Bert’s blocky little world. Weird thing? His weirdass universe looks a lot like modern Minecraft. Did Steve colonize Q*World? Is that the secret origin of the franchise?
  • Would I play again: Q*Bert is great for a whole five minutes before you remember it’s just goddamned Q*Bert. I will probably waste those five minutes again in the future.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Wallachia Reign of Dracula! Or did ROB actually choose Bloodstained: Classic Mode? Actually, it’s both! We’re going to have a double header next! Please look forward to it!


FGC #421 Saints Row 4

Saints!Saints Row 4 is an over-the-top videogame about a world beset by aliens, destroyed, and then rebuilt in a Matrix-esque virtual reality wherein your player avatar, The President of the United States, is granted amazing super powers in an effort to eventually conquer the alien threat and conquer all of time so as to save the human race.

So let’s spend this article talking about urban planning.

Wait, sorry, I have been informed that it is moderately possible to stay on topic while addressing this blatantly boring matter, so we may as well give that a try. Take two…

Saints Row 2 was an amazing little chunk of a game. After Saints Row was reviewed as “like Grand Theft Auto, but we forgot to figure out the ‘but’”, Saints Row 2 shook the gaming world by being the most Grand Theft Auto-est Grand Theft Auto to ever Grand Theft Auto. That is to say, the Grand Theft Auto from before Rockstar decided to smother any fun in the franchise by sticking its head so far up its own butt that no excitement could ever escape this airtight asszone. And it wasn’t just about a completely bonkers plot that may or may not have contained covering sections of the city in raw sewage! No, Saints Row 2 took the customization features of San Andreas and dialed them up to eleven. So many options! So much clothing! Hell, they had to build an entire mall to house all those shopping choices!

And, in my humble opinion, that mall might be the best part of Saints Row 2.

WeeeeeYes, it’s just one silly area. Yes, it’s an area that probably ultimately only exists for one set piece mission that involves a shootout in a mall (that seems less funny in 2018). And, yes, I might just like it because I have a weird inclination toward hanging out at any mall, virtual ones included. But whatever the original reason for that lil’ shopping center, it is one of my favorite spots, and a significant reason for this is simple: it’s a place. It is somewhere in the Saints Row 2 city that you can actually go. It’s not just another empty, set-dressing building. It’s a real location, and, even if there is an obvious “now loading” parking garage or elevator, it still feels like an organic piece of the city. It’s not just a place to customize your trench coat, it’s a place, and it makes the world of Saints Row 2 feel that much more real.

And, like in our blighted present, you can never go to the mall again. Saints Row 3 dropped not only the mall, but seemingly the entire concept of going inside a big, open building.

And, let’s not kid ourselves, people noticed. I noticed. Saints Row 3 was an amazing game, but almost everyone seemed to recognize that its base city was somehow… less. There were more exciting cutscenes, set pieces, and the occasional reason to deploy a parachute after leaping from your hover-bike, but there weren’t any malls. There weren’t any places that made the SR3 city feel like a real place; simply stores that were singular rooms, and the occasional “level area” that felt very much like a Hyrulian dungeon. The Saints Row 3 city was a shell of the former glory of the series, particularly at a time when other franchises seemed to be moving forward with more immersive worlds.

And then Saints Row 4 effectively told the world that that was good enough, and outright reused the “old” city of Saints Row 3. New game, old city. Party foul, Volition, directors of Saints Row 4. You destroyed half the fun of an open world game before I even opened the box.

Tanks for the memoriesOf course, anyone familiar with the franchise or its producers knows the truth of the matter. In short, without reusing assets to an absurd degree, there literally would be no Saints Row 4. And that would be a major loss for the universe! Saints Row 4 is an irrational amount of fun, predominantly because it takes the typical, mundane world of Saints Row 3 (well, as mundane as any world with Mayor Burt Reynolds could be) and adds super powers. Run like The Flash, fly like Superman, and telekinetically whip some cars around like Matthew Malloy (like you can’t use Wikipedia). When you were previously tethered to finding a conveniently unlocked car every seventeen seconds, being able to Hulk jump straight out of a lake and onto a building is a bit of a game changer, and truly makes Saints Row 4 its own experience. The wisdom of Solomon is telling me you don’t need a new city when you’ve got the speed of Mercury.

But you know what? Let’s stop trying to justify the loss of a new city, and acknowledge that Steelport, the official city of Saints Row 3 & 4, is actually pretty great.

Consider the number one complaint about modern open world games: there’s nothing to do. From Breath of the Wild to Skyrim to Dragon’s… Dogma? Age? Something like that… For all of those worlds, it seems the number one complaint is that there’s a crazy, humungous world to explore, but nothing to do. And that makes perfect sense, as any neighborhood where every dungeon and dragon is squished together is going to feel a bit claustrophobic. If your horse doesn’t have anywhere to run around, everywhere is going to feel like Hyrule Field, and then you may as well just be playing an N64 game. A big world needs the option to feel boring, because wide open spaces are practically a requirement.

WeeeeeeeBut all of the open world games named a moment ago are fantasy-based worlds. An empty field feels natural in Final Fantasy or Elder Scrolls because “the wilds of the frontier” are practically built into the genre. That’s not going to fly in an urban environment, because, come on, when was the last time you saw seven inches of a city uninhabited by anything. In New York City, I saw a landlord-tenant dispute over a sleeping bag. This means that, assuming you want your sandbox city to be remotely realistic, it’s time to populate every millimeter of the place with something. There are no nice rocks or fields of tumbleweed in Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row; no, every bit of the city has to have a building or fountain or maybe just a spot where some dude carrying a dildo spawns. You need something, otherwise the world is going to look unfinished.

And then there’s the form and function factor. This is a proper videogame, not some manner of Endless Ocean nonsense, so there are missions. Missions require venues, so of course robbing the bank or destroying the alien antennae needs a spot to be marked on the map. So that means you have to build a bank or an antennae. And they can’t be next to each other! No! There must be some space between them. And there’s a car chase at the tail end of the mission? Wow, better design the streets around that for some interesting twists and turns. Don’t forget to add a fruit cart! Now multiply that kind of thinking by about, what, twenty? To account for all the story missions? And how many optional missions are there? How many street races, ragdoll showcases, and gang fights have to be included? And what do you do when missions start running into missions? It’s not like every section of the city is walled off entirely; you need to account for jobs that will use the same highways and byways. Everything has to fit together, and I don’t have to remind any artists out there how difficult it can be when you have to change just one thing, and are then forced to change every damn thing around it. Smoothing out one road might change the entire shape of the city!

Just thinking about it gets me exhausted.

Take a lookBut this is the strength of Steelport. With a limited number of changes, the same city was used for two different games brimming with content. And that’s amazing! Considering that Saints Row 3 and Saints Row 4 have dramatically different movement options available (a tank is not the same as Supergirl speed), the fact that the same city can be used at all is a minor miracle. And once you factor in all the missions across both games, well, it seems a little silly to be worried about the loss of a few open buildings. Yes, you might not have the same “lived-in” feeling of Saints Row 2, but SR3 and SR4 both use their shared city to do their jobs incredibly well. If you can use the same city to stage a noir-ish gang war story of betrayal and luchadores in the same place as a sci-fi epic featuring aliens and Agent Smith, then you’re clearly doing something right.

There’s nothing lazy about building something to last, and there’s nothing indolent about Steelport. This is how you reuse assets: by building something amazing and adaptable right from the beginning, and showcasing that remarkable flexibility. Here’s to the city planners of Steelport, because they know how to shape a city for the ages.

Though I do still miss the mall…

FGC #421 Saints Row 4

  • System: Available on PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. The Gat Out of Hell expansion (/entirely new game) came out at just the right time to boot this one up to the current gen consoles.
  • Number of players: Like SR3, this one has multiplayer that I have literally never tried. Let’s assume it’s good!
  • Favorite Weapon: There is a gun that inflates people’s heads. While I would like the ability to randomly inflate other body parts (I would very much like someone to explode thanks to unreasonably swollen calves), I can’t say no to N64-style body morphing.
  • OuchiePresident for a Day: It impacts practically nothing, but this title begins with your protagonist as President of the United States. I would personally like to play more adventures where you’re a Super Hero President… but then I start thinking about how my ideal game is Dynasty Warriors: Oops All Presidents, and how much it would kick ass to take out hordes of enemies with an extremely over-leveled William Howard Taft.
  • So, did you beat it? Yes. This is one of the few titles I actually completely Platinum’ed. I would be more proud of that if it didn’t involve rubberbanding a controller so I could fly around on a hover bike for an hour…
  • Did you know? This game canonizes the “Saints Row 1 model” character as a virtual reality created “boss” during one mission. This means that, without a doubt, if your protagonist is female in Saints Row 4, she’s trans, and not just implied to “look different” like in Saints Row 2. I think this means we have exactly one videogame franchise with a potentially trans hero. Progress!
  • Would I play again: Absolutely. I intended to play through Saints Row 4 on PS4 for this review, even… but it’s a long game! And I have a 100% save file right there on PS3! And I like running around like an invincible idiot! It happens!

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Captain Commando! Caaaaaaptain Commaaaaaando! Or… maybe I’m thinking of something else…. No matter! Please look forward to it!

Where did it all go?

FGC #094 Saints Row: The Third

SaintsSo you’ve decided to become immortal? Great!

Yes, more and more people today are choosing to become invincible, ageless perversions of nature. Whether it’s through an excess of wealth, fame, or just doing the same stupid task and over and over again, it’s easier today than ever to become completely invulnerable to the bullets, lasers, and flamethrowers of your enemies.

But new opportunities also present new challenges. Yes, being eternal helps with day to day activities like steering street cleaners off cliffs, but it can get old fast. You’ve achieved the collective goal of your dead ancestors, so what do you do now? Well, follow this handy guide, and you too can be an immortal with things to do.

Dress for Success

Redheads alwaysIt’s a cliché, yes, but it’s a cliché for a reason. Back in the day, man had to dress to accommodate the harsh and biting weather of Mother Nature, whether it be cold enough to require a host of furs, or warm enough to discourage anything but a grass skirt. In time, man moved its huddled masses inside, and invented all sorts of temperature controlled environments, so one could wear pretty much the same thing regardless of season, assuming a spare coat was somewhere in the area. The only limit, thus, was the norms of society.

You’re invincible now, so screw that.

Want to walk around naked? Go for it. If you think someone is going to stop your bare, invulnerable ass, they’ve got another thing coming. But as much fun as waddling around in the buff can be, you’re an immortal now, so why not set some of your own fashion trends? You’re going to be around for a while, and wouldn’t it be nice to be reminded of your younger days by retro fashions emulating your early days? The ageless don’t feel old remembering epochs gone by, just nostalgic.

Our model for this piece is wearing a cheerleader’s skirt, generic gray top, and a purple long coat. A pair of “geek chic” glasses adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the ensemble, and red heels, perfect for stomping on the throats of the pathetic, are the ideal footwear. Was this outfit hastily assembled from random stores about town? Yes. But what’s imperative is that the most important, influential woman in the city is wearing it, so who cares if it’s this or a panda costume? It’s going to catch on.

Home is Where the Heat Is

RighteousYou’ve got the look, now you need the crib. The average American spends 50% of their day in their home, and, while you’re anything but average, it’s still nice to have a hearth to come home to after a hard day of causing more property damage than Godzilla.

More common fellows have a tendency to focus on the kitchen or bathroom, but there’s no reason for you to think of such things. You defecate on the graves of your enemies and sip coffee from their detached skulls, so you need not worry about petty trifles. Obviously, the central piece of your lifestyle should be the living room. A 3,000” TV should do nicely, and don’t forget to litter a few stripper poles around the area for guests. An amazing bed would likely do well for nighttime activities, but remember, you’re an immortal now, so sleep isn’t strictly necessary. Yes, you could use your bed for other, more interesting activities, but why leave the warming glow of that titanic television. You have all the time in the world, you can multitask.

And it goes without saying, but be sure to purchase as much property around town as you desire. Why lounge in the same crib every day when you can fly across town and crash anywhere you’d like? “If you lived here, you’d be home by now” should be your mantra, no matter where your journey takes you.

Feel the Wind in your Hair

WeeeeeeGiven your enemies’ predisposition toward owning tanks, you probably want to live in a place that is as high in the sky as possible. This is ideal for our next tip, which boils down to “never use a door as an exit ever again”.

As we’ve already mentioned, you pretty much have to be as popular as possible to achieve the immortality you now possess, which means a lot of unwashed masses at the door. They want to see you, touch you, and, in some cases, lob a molotov cocktail at you. Don’t let that happen! Make it clear that you’ll be using your invulnerability for anything and everything, and dive off the top of your building and land wherever the wind takes you.

Sure, in your old, exposed days, this would have been a death sentence; but now you’re living large, and it’s the person you land on that will become a red smear, not your ageless body. Yes, you may reflexively scream, blackout, or even pull that parachute ripcord, but no matter what happens, you’ll be fine, and the various you-shaped holes around the city will stand as a monument to your magnitude.

Incidentally, if your adoring public is too large to clear with a simple jump off your balcony (or the wind today isn’t cooperating), feel free to take your helicopter, jet, or hoverbike out to a decent distance, and plummet from there. This will have the added effect of leaving a flaming vehicle crashing somewhere into the city, but don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of cash, you can always buy another one.

Think of the Little People

Upsie daisyJust because you don’t feel like dealing with the riffraff crushed up against your front door doesn’t mean you shouldn’t interact with the rascals at all. You’re immortal now, and it’s your responsibility to make sure everyone else in your immediate area knows what that feels like.

Let us consider our previous tip: no, the rabble of streets will never know the joys of achieving mach speed diving from the heavens like a human missile, but you can help them feel “the air up there” by hurling anyone and everyone into the air and allowing them to plummet delightfully down to Earth. A few bones may be broken in the process, but that’s a small price to pay to feel, if only for a few seconds, like you.

But that’s not all you can do to help those bottom feeders. Have you considered patronizing local businesses? You could visit any local Friendly Fire retailer, buy their entire inventory, and share it across the streets in generous helpings. Everyone is anxious to see how those futuristic uzis of yours work, and grenades make perfect stocking stuffers for Christmas or any time of year. Make your city a livelier place and share your hobbies at the same time. Everybody wins!

Petal to the Metal

WeeeeeWandering around on foot is for the pathetic and underprivileged, obviously you need a sweet ride to match your sweet lifestyle. A sports car says you have money, but it’s also available to every other rich jerk out there. You’re rich, yes, but you’re also immortal, so why settle for merely being identified as nouveau riche? You’re nouveau immortel.

In this case, the most obvious choice is a vehicle emblazoned with your dead friend’s bulbous head smoking an equally enormous cigar capable of detonating other drivers. If that is not immediately available, perhaps try souping up a more mundane vehicle with less than mundane improvements. A school bus with a custom paintjob is a great start, but add in a nitrous feed, and you’ll be tearing up the school zones even on snow days. A garbage truck will be chic when it’s loaded with gold bars and shredding around a mountain pass at 90 miles per hour.

And if you’re an immortal, that already means the public loves you, and believes your opinion is nothing less than the Word of God. As such, it is your power, nay, your duty to judge other cars on the road, and, if you find them wanting, launch them into the heavens. The method isn’t important (a nitrous bump if you’re on the road, utilizing your trusty rocket launcher if you’re walking around like a poor), but the message is clear, “This vehicle displeases me, and it should be banished from my sight.” You’re doing your city a favor.


Cha chaIn the end, what’s most important is that you relish your money, fame, power, and immortality. Take the time to enjoy yourself in any way you can, because, as the saying goes, who knows when a malevolent space alien may come and take it all away from you. In the meanwhile, though, just have fun with it, and damn anyone that disagrees.

Note: Please do not do anything outlined in this article. Not anything, not ever.

FGC #94 Saints Row: The Third

  • System: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and I’m betting there’s a PC version out there somewhere.
  • Number of Players: 2, with the odd caveat that I have played hours upon hours of this game, but never actually played any of the multiplayer modes. That is an extreme rarity, and as I have almost a compulsive need to share games I enjoy with my friends, but I guess I never thought too much of it for this one, as I was burned by GTA multiplayer in the past so badly, I never tried anything like it again.
  • Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: Didn’t I? Oh, fine, yes, I unabashedly love this game, and mainly because it’s everything I enjoyed about GTA: San Andreas turned up to eleven. No, I’m not disparaging this game for being “yet another GTA clone”, I am praising it for noticing exactly what was fun in that game, and building an entire universe around that. At a time when Rockstar seemed to believe what the public wanted was to go on bowling dates with its most annoying uncle, Volition pumped out a game where you can run around naked save for your rocket launcher. And, oh yeah, they built a pretty amusing plot around the whole experience, too.
  • Immortality? If you’ve never played the game, or never played it to completion, the EXP system in SR3 allows you to, eventually, unlock invulnerability against all possible damage, and unlimited ammo Weeeeefor all your weapons. You would think this would make the game boring, but it’s only really available after everything else is completed, and it basically allows you to find new and interesting ways to turn the world into your playpen… or at least see which structures your Saint can bounce off of commendably.
  • Favorite Radio Station: Is it weird that I listen to the Adult Swim network the most? No it’s not, because Tim & Eric’s “Sports” song should be playing over 90% of the events of the game.
  • Favorite Rival Gang: There are a group of vindictive luchadores named The Luchadores. How could there be another choice? While The Deckers, a group of neon, Tron-esque hackers, do their best to steal the limelight, they’re just angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night. Or something.
  • Did you know? There is a weapon in the game that is… a dildo. In America, the weapon is called “The Penetrator”, but in Japan, the weapon is simply referred to as “Suspicious Bat”. This is so delightfully puritan (in a game that is anything but) that I must now refer to all remotely sexually items as “suspicious”. Suspicious websites. Suspicious magazines. Suspicious Sears Catalogue.
  • Would I play again: This would be a lock if it wasn’t for Saints Row 4. Even just replaying the game for this article, I was reminded how boringly slow and pointless it can be to wind up in some rocky area with no road access for a quick ride out. Walking is slow and stupid! SR4 improves this with the advent of amazing super powers, so that’s inevitably going to be my go-to for clowning around Steelport. If I ever get an impulse to play entirely through the single player campaign again, though, SR3 is my choice.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Demon’s Crest for the SNES. Criminy, ROB, you’re on a roll here with games I actually want to play. Keep it up! In the meanwhile, let us fly into the Demon Realm once more. Please look forward to it!