Feb 3 2009

Simple joys

Adel Gabot

(Gamer post; those who aren’t into these things can click away now.)

61gprbsy7fl_sl500_aa280_Got home late last night, as usual. This teaching gig in Makati is starting to wear me down, and I still have a week to go. (I work full time during the day, and instead of going home after work, I go to Ayala and teach.)

Got keyed up though, because everything in class went nearly flawless for the first time. The slides were tuned and trimmed and tweaked so tight they could scream, and the beats all fell into place perfectly. The class was the biggest it’s been since we started, twice as big in fact, and they were all receptive, appreciative and on the same page. They even laughed at my jokes. A teacher’s dream.

So the adrenaline was high even after I got home, despite the fact that I was tired. I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I decided to play a few rounds of a new off-road racing game I’m reviewing called MotorStorm: Pacific Rift on the PS3. Frankly, even after finishing the first version, I’m still astounded as to the quality and innovativeness of the game, and of the technical expertise and programming skill that made it even possible. It’s the closest you can get to actually getting a chance to kill yourself racing your ass off. Definitely my favorite racing game of all time.

Anyway, I was racing on the Badlands track, a dangerous route with lava pits and heavy forest, and it was neck-and-neck with this AI racer named Leethal all the way through the three long, nerve wracking laps. He/She just kept coming and coming, no matter what I did. On the final stretch, it seemed that I would lose to him/her; Leethal was a good half-second ahead and I had no room to catch up. After all that work, I was going to lose. In desperation, I hit the Boost button—and didn’t let go.

Those of you who play the game know that Boost is best served in little sips. If you go whole hog it the needle hits the red, and your vehicle explodes into smithereens. It’s like dumping a gallon of gasoline into the barbecue pit. But at that point I just didn’t care and redlined the Boost meter. Amazingly, I pulled up even beside Leethal in those precious five seconds just before the car blew up, right at the finish line, and thought, screw it, I lost. Again.

But apparently the explosion had thrown the car forward just enough to give it the fraction of lead time I needed to cross first and win—by the tiniest of margins: 1/32 of a second!

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