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Thursday, February 12, 2009

My brilliant ideas

To be completely frank with you here for a moment, I must admit that I have some pretty kick-ass ideas. If that's tooting my own horn, then allow me to let out a long and resounding blast of awesomeness, because I'll be damned if it isn't true. Looking back on my blog thus far, I might as well have called it The Hypermagic Awesome-Shit-That-I-Came-Up-With-Phase, because that's basically what the whole thing (between reviewing books and bitching about people I barely know) has been about. My most recent entry, for City Jogger 2009! is what most recently brought to mind this this fantastic skill of mine, and it reminded me of a whole laundry list of other totally sweet ideas I have had.

In fact, it made me realize that my dream job would be just that: Guy Who Comes Up With Totally Sweet Ideas. I've actually applied for one such job, for the Disney Company, doing marketing work in some kind of top-secret think tank-type organization inside Walt Disney World itself. Obviously I did not even have close to the qualifications required (I wasn't a Mason), but at least the dear people at Disney had the good manners to send me back an email telling me how worthless I am. That's more than I can say about the thirty-odd other jobs I've applied for in the past few months.

But seriously, I would love to be a "Creative Consultant," as Disney called it, for some major company. It's ridiculous that someone of my IQ and creativity, with a degree from a well-respected public university, is sitting on his ass at his parents' house in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with enough time to write a blog about how totally awesome he is. I wouldn't even need to work for a major company--in fact, I'd much rather be a freelancer, because my ideas are way too big for just Disney to handle. I mean, if they full control of me, how would the "Worlds of Nintendo" theme park ever come to fruition? Probably a major conflict of interests.

That's what got me on this kick in the first place. Writing about the Wii a few days ago got me thinking back to when I was a freshman in college and mapped out an entire theme park revolving around the games and characters popularized by Nintendo over the years. I even painstakingly drew the whole thing in Microsoft Paint. Of course, that picture disappeared when I deleted my Xanga account (boy, have I come a long way), but imagine it now with me...

A huge, wheel-shaped property, dominated at the center by the Mushroom Castle, spoking out from its Blooper infested moat, a menagerie of colorful lands you've only ever been able to visit through your television before this moment: Donkey Kong Country, Hyrule (The Legend of Zelda), Kanto (the Pokemon series), The Vast Cosmos (Metroid, Starfox, and any other space-themed games you can think of), and of course, the Mushroom Kingdom itself. Of course, any of these "worlds" can be pared down further--the Mushroom Kingdom wouldn't be complete without a little Dinosaur Island or Isle Delfino. But you didn't think I'd just leave it at that, did you? Someone so dedicated to quality, with so much free time to just let his mind wander? You're damn right I came up with rides and entertainment for every single world, like the madcap dark-ride (à la the now sadly defunct Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disney World) through Hyrule Castle as it transforms into Ganondorf's twisted palace, an animatronic Link valiantly battling the evil overlord to bring peace back to the land. Of course there has to be either a Mario Kart Raceway or a Diddy Kong Raceway, if they want to go all old-school on our asses. But I think my absolute favorite ideas are for Kanto: first, an amazing special-effects spectacular in a giant Pokemon Colosseum, holographic and 3-D, with mind-melting, teeth-chattering explosions as Pikachu sends shockwaves though a five-story tall Onyx; and second, though far quieter and simpler than the raging battle to be barely contained inside that enormous stadium, a Pokemon petting zoo where you can go and meet and feed all of your favorite (animatronic) Pokemon. Holy shit, I'm getting a boner just thinking about it. And I haven't even started in on my After Hours Samus Aran Strip Club ("The Chozo Nest") idea yet.

And that's just one idea I've got cookin' away in my brain! Ask me about my business proposals to take Isaac's to Pittsburgh (and, alternately, Mad Mex to Lancaster), my idea for buying short stories through iTunes, or one of the dozen scripts I have not the time nor talent to write (including adaptations of Charles Bukowski's Pulp and Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves). I'll tell you all about them--for a price. I've got to start this freelancing gig soon or I won't get anywhere.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

City Jogger 2009!

I never would have guessed it when it was released last year, but the Wii Fit really can provide quite a work out. I've taken to doing the assorted exercises and activities featured on the game disc, along with running every other day or so (for exactly the length of two episodes of Arrested Development at a time), and I've lost about seven pounds in the last few weeks. All without changing one, single, other unhealthy thing that I do (like drinking bacon grease). So it must be the exercise--the hula-hooping, ski-jumping and penguin-sliding, specifically--that is helping me turn my flabby ass back into the chiseled Adonis I once was.

And like I said, I'm quite impressed. I would have thought that the game was mostly for entertainment, and the giant white foot board they include as useful as the "wheels" you can get for the latest iteration of Mario Kart. But the exercises really do make you break a sweat. If you do them like you're supposed to, of course. They won't really do much for you if you attempt them like Jess caught her dad doing one morning this week: sitting on the couch with the Fit Board under his feet, shifting his feet slightly to keep his digital hula hoop from hitting the ground. He just probably wasn't incinerating calories to his full potential with 75% of his body completely inanimate. At least that's what I'd think, but I'm certainly no personal trainer. However, I've always been told that a good general rule for sports and exercise is that if you could theoretically both drink a beer and smoke a cigarette while participating, then the activity in question is probably neither a sport nor an exercise. Excepting, of course, softball.

Perhaps the most entertaining activity (besides sliding across an iceberg to catch fish in a penguin suit) is what took me most by surprise. It is simply a running exercise, where you jog down a predetermined path beside an unnamed trainer, as the rest of the Miis (the avatars that players can design to resemble themselves--or in my case, celebrities like Adolph Hitler, Woody Allen and Dog the Bounty Hunter--if you aren't already familiar) cheer you on. As you run more, and explore the rest of the exercises that the game offers, lengthened and more advanced activities are unlocked. It was while I was jogging a circuit around the fictional Wii Fit island (complete with a quaint little downtown area that reminds me of a quiet Bavarian village with its beautiful timbered houses) that I realized a game I desperately want to be released for the Wii. A game that will never be released. One that probably hasn't even crossed developers' minds because of how ridiculous it seems on paper.

The next game I want from Nintendo is: City Jogger 2009!

Now stay with me here! I so loved jogging around this wonderful little island, but what if I could take that one step further? What if I could have a game in which I'd run through Manhattan! Up the Vegas Strip! Past the Space Needle! It could be developed in a partnership with Google Earth--hundreds of different cities from all around the world, all collected on one disc for me to jog through, seeing the sites, chasing the pigeons, and developing rock-solid quads! It would be even better if the game would up the ante with human interaction: let me choose my route as I run it, changing my mind at each light--to the Met or to Radio City Music Hall?? The possibilities could be endless! Or if you really want to blow some minds, run the entire game through the Wii's online capabilities and let me run with friends and strangers from all over the world!

The technology is already in place. I can turn on Mario Kart Wii at any time of the day or night and have my ass handed to me by homeschooled 10-year-olds from Wisconsin. And if Nintendo agreed to slap Google's name on the cover, they wouldn't even have to invest time or money in developing maps! If they want to develop original maps, give me places to jog in Hyrule, Donkey Kong Country and, of course, the Mushroom Kingdom--not some tiny island some designer threw together in ten minutes before lunch break (seriously, as enjoyable as it was to take a lap around the thing, I can't see myself wanting to run that exact same course every other day for the rest of my life).

That's what will ultimately kill the Wii Fit; there are only so many activities to open up, and then you're just doing the same thing over and over again, until you stop putting the disc in at all, and go play Metroid Prime: Corruption instead. You're supposed to keep us active, Nintendo Wii! You're single-handedly keeping Oreo-stuffed youngsters all over the world from dying of heart failure before they reach puberty--the least you could do is give us some variety. I know it sounds crazy at first, but you have to admit it's got a damn fine ring to it: City Jogger 2009!. Even if I have to wait until 2010, that's fine (so long as you keep the exclamation mark--it's essential to the marketing campaign). You deliver it to me, Nintendo, and I'll deliver to you the corresponding fifty bucks out of my wallet. I know that's all you really want from me anyway.