Joe & Mac

Joe & Mac may be a clone of Wonder Boy, Chuck Rock and just about anything else you can think of, but at least it’s an endearing one.  Kind of like Ewan McGregor in The Island (let’s not go overboard and compare it to Scarlett Johansson), but even less self-aware.  It utilises the prehistoric theme pretty well, throwing a decent mix of dinosaurs at our Cro-Magnon companions.

Say, is that Marv from Home Alone?
Say, isn't that Marv from Home Alone?

I was originally going to recommend this as a decent game for your kids, but I’ve since had a rethink.  Its deeper, overarching theme is quite brutal.  The in-game narrative, as I have discerned it, goes something like this:

Another tribe has stolen your women, so Joe and Mac have been dispatched to kill any and all who stand in their path, and steal them back.

It’s fittingly primal for a piece of prehistoria, but not exactly suitable for children.  Perhaps with the preface of “son, this is what being a man is all about”, I will one day sit my son in front of this videogame and allow him to play it.

This recalls the excellent writings of masculinist David Deida[1].  He asserts that strength and confidence are traits that women desire most in their men (on a base level) because it affirms their ability to protect their young (and produce healthy offspring).  He goes even further to suggest that your woman, believe it or not, subconsciously wants to believe that you could and would kill for her*.  Just watch what happens when an insect enters your woman’s vicinity – ever noticed that killing the poor thing seems to be the only way to make everything alright?  Ever noticed her disappointed facial expression and the subsequently castrating vibes she emits when you simply gather up the tiny creature in an envelope and calmly take it to the garden outside?  Being one with all of God’s creatures is for the chaste monk; the sexless abbott!  Man’s lot in life is to kill, kill, kill.  Kill that bug, stomp that pathetic insect into the ground for even daring to enter your goddess’ presence!

KILL KILL-KILL KILL KILL
KILL KILL-KILL KILL KILL

Kill for Love.  Be that Dark God.  Tear down all barriers** and impart your dark gift.

joe&mac_it

That, my son, is what it means to be a man.

1.  The Way Of The Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire (1997, 2004)
* Thankfully (mercifully?), Deida offers ways of demonstrating this without actually killing anyone, though insects may need to be sacrificed.
** These may be real or imagined barriers.  Often a woman will erect these obstacles herself to test your love.  Your job is to melt through these barriers with your fierce love and conquer your woman’s heart.  Be on the lookout for these tests at all times.  They will never stop.
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Jimmy Houston’s Bass Tournament USA

So much pain, so much suffering. So many fish.
So much pain, so much suffering. So many fish.

This is a good game. Not even sarcasm. Not even.

This is a fishing RPG. You have to try to catch a bunch of fish. That’s good news for me; I like fish.

Something I didn’t know about fishing tournaments: you don’t get to eat the fish. I always had a image of the end of a fishing tournament involving John Candy and a generous amount of tartar sauce.

No. You have to keep those little buggers alive.

Full bars!
Full bars!

After you catch a fish, he is assigned a little life meter. I have no idea how to replenish the life meter. The best way I can think of would be to hold the fish over the side of the boat while driving up a waterfall at top speed. That’d fill the little bugger with life.

You can tell this is an RPG by the amount of grinding required to achieve the goal. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a fish on every twentieth cast. If you’re luckier, that fish will weigh over a pound.

But it’s a fun sort of grinding.

The line physics are amazing. You can pull your rod all over the place like a spastic banana thief, and the line actually curls and turns sensibly.

If you cast your line into the weeds, it gets stuck there! I think that’s pretty cool, guys, I don’t know.

It’s a good game, but it’s not a fun game. It gives you a nice feeling of accomplishment, but it doesn’t give you much else.

But I could see how this game could be addictive.

You start on a small line in a small pond, and everyone keeps telling you this is the gateway to something bigger. Maybe even something better. You cast your line, you get a bite. Soon the pond opens into a lake. The fish get bigger. The lures get sexier. The shore gets further away.

Soon you don’t know how you lived over there in that small pond. There are way bigger thrills to be had over here. You cast your line, you get a bite. What now?

So this game isn’t bad. Relatively speaking.