Friday, December 16, 2011

Jared Versus the Machine (Or Foecus Ex Machina)

Like a man stranded on a desert island, reduced to eating boilet coconut skins, I feel the need to send a message to say where I am stranded to somebody... anybody....

The house I'm renting is driving me insane somewhat. I'm letting a room in a house with a Chinese family. I don't understand a lot of what they're doing and their English is virtually non-existent so I can't really work it out. I feel uncomfortable around people I don't know so I spend a lot of time in my room because I don't want to run into them in any of the shared areas.

My room is also like that of a serial killer. There is no decoration, there aren't any adornments. Everything in the room is simply a surface for stuff to go on. This is my fault, but I think it ties in with being turfed out of my first sharehouse - I didn't decorate my second room either. I think I don't see the point. I don't think I'm capable of thinking of Sydney as any kind of home.

I spend most of my time on my computer, even though I have nothing to do on it. I'm killing time like the Hitler of the temporal realm. I don't know why this is. I'm living a weird half life, I feel like I've just given up on real life as a whole. I attempted to turn my RSVP page into a massive rant at the cold hearted superficial and above all boring bitches who populate that site but, typically, I got a notification that it exceeded a character limit (how appropriate) and so it languished on my FaceBook as a note too long for anybody to read.

It almost seems like when I go out I get divinely punished for wanting to do something. Last party I went to ended with me locked in a carpark and some friends getting hospitalised. Next one I attempted to go to I was thwarted at every turn until I collapsed virtually unconscious at home.

I feel like I have lost all control over my day to day life, and now I can understand why people believe in God. When it comes down to it our choices only get us so far. For much of our existence we are nothing but corks bobbing on a tide. Of course, you want to believe that tide is meaningful and benevolent. The alternative is to go completely fucking insane, as I am.

In the midst of this rant, I haven't even mentioned the game I was working on. I was grateful to have a project, that invovled working with other people that would keep me occupied in the wake of losing my job. How wonderful then that they kick me off within a couple of weeks of presenting them with all the code I'd written. Just like that. "Oh, wow, great work! This is excellent, we thought this project was dead. Now fuck off!" That was, believe it or not, a big chunk of my life that got torn out. I had something to occupy me, to keep me sane after everything with any meaning got taken away from me, so of course that had to go too.

So, I become addicted to video games. There, at least I have control over what happens. I can kill whatever motherfuckers I want, drive where I want, do what I want. I can play as Commander Shepherd and watch the whole world fucking burn just because I can. I can play as The Dovakhiin and do the same thing in another world. Or I can play Engie and giggle with glee as an army of scouts run straight into my whirling chainguns and missiles...

To this end I must give a big thank you to Childish Things, developers of International Cricket Captain 2005 for possibly saving me from these doldrums by making the most frustratingly bullshit game I have ever played, you cocksuckers.
It's the kind of non-engagement required game perfect for when I come back from work and need background noise to quieten the soft voices imploring me to kill small animals. Because it has no sound I frequently play while listening to a podcast or a full-cast audio drama penned by my vastly talented friend.

The idea is wonderfully simple - you play a County side in the English domestic competition, possibly turning them around from zeroes on the tables into a winning outfit that can slaughter all comers, and if you do so well enough you'll be picked to captain the national side.

I did well enough. I took Yorkshire, who weren't even in the First Division of the competiton, played them to be runner ups in both one day competitions and nearly take the Second Division title, then in my second season took the County Championship without losing a single match!

Oh, how fun (of a sort) it was to meticulously pick and train my electronic bits to scurry out onto the field and kick arse of whatever feeble offerings Surrey and Glamorgan threw my way. We few, we merry few, we band of brothers that did battle, their names, familiar in my mouth as household names - Phillip Jaques, Joseph Sayers, David Wainwright, Adrian MacGrath, Guy and Hoggard, Lumb and Silverwood shall in my orange juice be freshly rembered, unto the ENDING OF THE WORLD.

This portion of the game was nice and pleasant, because it all made sense. I pick the 11 that looked the best, or possibly gambled a bit more, I get results that make sense. I coach and select others and train them to get better results. They follow my batting and bowling plans.

The problem is... I got the England captaincy.

This is where the game proves itself to be, as I alluded, COMPLETE BULLSHIT.

I could pick the All-Time XI of Wisden Almanac, on a fucking concrete pitch in the sunniest day of an Australian Summer and they'll be all out for 65. Logic doesn't factor into it, other than the computer saying "I have a brain the size of a planet, fuck you meatbag".

I honestly feel more than any other time, the computer is a malicious cheating bastard, glad that it holds the die and the rulebook for this game. I just tried to play the same Test match three times, and every fucking time I get rolled. The reason I replayed the first time is I assumed that I misunderstood the conditions, as it looked like a good batting day but apparently the weather suited the bowlers a lot more. Okay fair enough, I won the toss and bowled.

Ha-hey, Windies all out for just a hair over 300. That's good. My first two batsmen make 115 before anybody's out. Awesome! I'm going to roll these... then every other batsmen gets out for minimal scores, I'm all out for 275. The match goes on to the last day, I need 245 to win. Damn, that's a lot but I give it a go. Strauss gets out for 150 eventually, I need a hundred to win with ninth man Hoggard but bowling all-rounder Swann who's looking damn good on 28 and might just win me the game. I specifically tell Hoggard not to score singles so that Swann is kept on strike.
Hoggard hits his first ball for a single. His next ball he is bowled out.

THEY DIDN'T EVEN GIVE ME A CHANCE! Yeah, I would've lost anyway but the game just IGNORED MY INPUT ENTIRELY!!!

Out of protest, I play it again and this time pick a better team because my two spinners approach went badly. Good, good GOOD first innings. I bowl Windies out for 270, however there's just one over left in play. Obviously I need my batsmen to survive, I tell Strauss not to play at anything.

He plays. He's out. 1/0. Of course.


Ah, well, I send in a nightwatchman, he survives the day, how bad can things get.
Next morning, second over, nightwatchman gets out. Fair enough, that's what he's there for. Then.... Pietersen gets out first ball. Fuck. Then FLINTOFF gets out first ball. I told all of them NOT to play.

What the FUCK computer??? You can just give yourself a hat-trick whenever I'm in the game? Where's my 'bowl a hat-trick' button? I don't fucking see it! I mean I'd like to get your three best batsmen out for fuck all but I actually need to use strategy and patience to fucking do it!

It's like.. the fucking script was written for me to lose the game and the computer was just bending the game's reality to make it happen. Jesus Christ! It's meant to work off statistics in-game. So how come the game says my bowlers and batsmen are better but they can never ever EVER play better than YOURS?

This isn't just griping about one match. The game went even further into 'fuck you' territory before this. England's one-day team was ranked 5th. India's 2nd. I was playing them in a triangular series with the Windies, I'd lost all my games against India but then won the last one before the final. Haha, I think, now I get to go into the final with good form and might just steal away their trophy...

No... the games telling me that I'm not playing the final. Hmmm. I got a test match. Okay, maybe the final's scheduled later...

I look up the calendar. The final has already been played. But not by me. And what do you know, India won by 22 runs.

...WHAT THE FUCK COMPUTER? When I start to win, you don't even let me play the game???

Then before THAT, when I was in The Cricket World Cup. I was third in the Super Eights, so I was going through to the finals. Awesome. I see my next match is against New Zealand, and because they're a team I've beaten three times by then I think "That's cool, I can play a second string team so I have players match-ready in case of injury".

I lose the match. Ah, well, that was always a chance and... yo, what the fuck. I pretty much get a pop-up message saying "Way to lose the World Cup, dumbass."

See, that game was the first in the knock-out matches. It was the quarter-final. Only absolutely nothing in the game told me that.

... please, computer, in the name of all fornication help me understand your motivation.

If I have a child, I should lock him in a room with nothing but this game and a hammer for days. When he gives in and smashes the game with a hammer, I set him free and tell him "You have passed the test. For sometimes, the obvious test IS the right one."

Then get arrested for child abuse.

Anyway, guess what's getting uninstalled right after I press the 'post' button?

EDIT: Sadly, the uninstallation wizard doesn't have a "KILL IT WITH FIRE!" option

1 comment:

YOA said...

Um. Sorry for the late reaction. Been a busy Christmas (but - number of severed arteries this year? Two. Radical downturn on 2010!) and I had no idea that life was giving you such negative bum vibes and stuff. Etc.


I'll just quote Dylan Moran.

"I don't see the point in skiing. Seriously. Why bother? Especially when you can just stay home, sit in the comfort of your own kitchen and break your legs with a hammer of your own choice..."