Like any woman, when I have a rough day, I like to sit down on the couch and blow things up. I find it much more relaxing than going out and buying shoes and it's far less destructive to my cardiovascular system than eating an entire box of Entenman's donuts, which is my other first-choice stress reducer. So after a lousy day yesterday, imagine my joy when the nice people at EA delivered a review copy of "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" game to my door. I tore the cover off that thing like a teenage girl who's just gotten hold of the drawstring on Robert Pattinson's pants -- which is to say, quickly.
Now those of you who've been reading this blog for a while know that my gaming skills are just south of atrocious. I do most of my gaming by watching my husband and letting him work the controls while I sit there and look longingly at the scary monsters I wish I could demolish. Games like "Call of Duty" or "Bioshock" are just too complicated for me -- I get confused with the controls and usually end up getting gunned down before I can even figure out how to turn my character's head. It frustrates me to no end because I really, really like to button-mash and shoot things.
Which is kinda why I love the "G.I. Joe" game. I could actually play it! It's an old-school point-and-shoot without any big, flashy bells and whistles. I don't need to move three frickin' knobs and buttons just to get my guy to find his target. It totally reminds me of playing my old Nintendo "Empire Strikes Back" game -- it's easy, the goals are achieveable and I can actually do enough to get some sense of accomplishment. Obviously, it looks a lot better than an old-school Nintendo game because it's 2009 and all, but you get what I'm saying. I liked the fact, too, that the story was really straightforward -- go rescue people and oh, while you're at it, shoot this stuff -- and I didn't have to expend a lot of mental energy on doing what needed to be done to move things along.
It's fun to play cooperatively as well. The husband and I had a blast running around 'splodin' things with our enormous G.I. Joe guns. Ooh, and I got to drive a truck and shoot missiles. Also, the game brings the funny, perhaps not intentionally but still. I'm pretty sure it's the real Dennis Quaid doing a little voice acting there, but his tone was hilariously reminiscent of someone sitting at his kitchen table, flipping through the Financial Times while absentmindedly shouting, "That's an order!" into the microphone beside his Chardonney. Also, making the characters do summersaults is never not funny. I know it makes me about four years old to admit this, but we couldn't stop laughing while chasing each other around in the snow, doing flips and pretending we were small Russian gymnists shootin' bad guys. Seriously, someone should make a TV show about crime fighting, summersaulting gymnists because we would totally watch it...and apparently buy the video game.
Also, I like the fact that this game isn't gory. There are games my husband plays where I actually have to cover my eyes and wait until the entrails have stopped ricocheting off the fourth-wall. Whatever violence is in "G.I. Joe" is cartoon violence, which I guess means that this game is perfect for kids and squeemish 30-something women named Liz.
A lot of people may not like this game for the very reasons that I enjoyed it. They might say it's too easy, the story's too simple, it lacks challenge, but I don't think every game has to be flashy and fancy and groundbreaking to be worthwhile. Sometimes, old-school fun is the best kind of fun because, admit it, there's nothing better than being able to drink a glass of wine (or five) and still be able to push a bunch of buttons and watch things go ka-boom. After a very long, lousy day, "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" was a hell of a lot of fun.