Shoot 'Em Up

"I hate them guys," explains my stepdad as he sits and watches me shoot Nazis through my XBox on my 32-inch Panasonic television, which he can't stop raving about because of the colors.

"Okay, Indy," I say to Nick, who's 74 years old and able to remember every great movie line. The one he just used was from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

"No, really," says Nick, "I hate those guys. They look more real than the cartoons in the original Castle Wolfenstein, and they're harder to kill."

I tell him to tell me about it, so he does.

We are both sitting on the CHEAP couch, and my stepdad is getting a thrill out of seeing the sequel to one of his all-time favorite video games. In this new one, Return to Wolfenstein: Tides of War, out by ID, the originators of first-person shooters, and by Activision with Microsoft, the graphics are wonderful, and the Nazis scream really good when you kill them.

And somehow, that just warms the hearts of us transplanted New York Jews.

You see, I had been playing the new Oddworld game, which is also a first-person shooter, but in the game you had to kill small animals with small animals. For some reason, it really bothered me, and gave me nightmare after nightmare. But killing Nazis? It feels almost as good as good gets. And the weight and size of a German Luger feels right. So I'm happy I just purchased the game used over at EB Electronics. For $12.99. I think it's the best deal I've made since I sold my soul to the devil. Just wait 'til that forked-tongued and horned bastard finds out I already traded it in years ago at some local pawnshop. I'd love to see the fight. Those guys at those pawnshops have guns, and can be really mean. It'd be a match worthy of pay-per-view.

Anyway, even though Return to Castle Wolfenstein: The Tides of War may be well over a year old, you should run out and buy it because it's cheap and fun. Unless you're the type of person who likes to play Deer Hunter on your computer or something. Then I really have to wonder about you. Killing Bambi? Up yours.

While killing Nazis has been thrilling me and my stepdad no end, it's what I got in the mail yesterday that's put our brains over the top and into overdrive.

Yesterday I got the new Grand Turismo 4, along with a Logitech steering wheel that includes a stick shift, as well as gas and brake pedals. To say this toy, er, wonderful piece of machinery works like magic is the understatement of the new century.

While I've always sort of liked driving games, now, with a steering wheel in hand, and a gas pedal at my foot, I've changed my tune 180 degrees. Now I think they rule.

Sure, it's fun steering a car with a joystick on a pad, but with a real-feeling steering wheel and all, it makes the experience totally out of this world.

But let's start with the game.

Fourth in the series, GT4 looks better and feels better than the first three games, combined. There are more tracks, more pixels, and many more cars. How many?

The fuck if I know. There are so many I keep losing count. And they're not shitty cars, either. They're cars all of us would like to take for test drives or own. And now, with this rapid growth in the tech sector, things we once thought impossible are not only able to be done, but be done RIGHT.

Whether you're driving a modern-day Toyota, Honda or Acura, or a kick-ass American muscle car from decades ago, this game not only has their likenesses, but, well, their digital souls as well. When you play GT4, especially with the wheel, it feels exactly right. From the loose play you'd get from a Corolla, to the ultra tight feeling those new VW Jettas give you -- it's amazing. It's almost like you can now test-drive any car you want, in your living room.

Wake me up when it gets to the point of test-driving Hollywood starlets.

Which is not going to be that far into the future.

Of course, at that point, I'll never leave the house again. But who cares -- neither will anyone else!

Also out now from THQ for the PlayStation and the XBox is Constantine, a game based on that Matrix moron's new movie. While the game could have been fun, it's based on a movie, so it sucks. That's usually a rule of thumb. Games based on films suck. And even though Constantine is actually based on DC Comics and Vertigo's Hellblazer graphic novels, it still blows dog dick. Sorry. So save your money.

Like fighting games? Me too. Especially ones like Mortal Kombat, where you can rip off heads, tear out spinal cords, and vomit on people until they drown.

EA Sports' new Fight Night Round 2 has none of that. But what it does offer is some damn decent boxing, and a fun system to set up your own fighter. The game almost feels real, and to many, that's a good thing. But when I play games, I usually want fantasy. So this baby doesn't really do it for me. My stepfather sees no difference in fighting games. Then again, he watches football and thinks it's exciting. Give me Rollerball, any day.

As for the punk rock this week, I've been checking out bands like crazy on Just find me on there under the name "George Tabb," and check out some of the bands I'm linked to. Holy crap, besides popular great ones like Zeke and the Shemps, there are bands and free MP3s on there that blow me away. I can easily see as the next big recruitment ground for the recording industry. And with it, who needs demos or any of that shit anymore? You can hear bands from all over the world for free, and for the bands, it doesn't cost a thing. Hell, even Furious George is on there.

But my favorite MySpace band this week? Well, I'm just not going to tell you. Why? Because I'll change my mind in a few minutes. Meanwhile, I've never been more excited about finding punk rock from all around the world.

Sometimes, the Internet rules.


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