Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tokyo-to is My Babylon.

I SWEAR I remember being completely SMITTEN by the commercial for Jet Grind Radio prior to November 2000.1 It vexes me,2 for my nascent memories of, & attraction to, the Dreamcast fall squarely prior to the acquisition of my PlayStation. If anything, this confusion is a testimonial to the PS's mass market appeal, due mainly to cold rational AFFORDABILITY.3

Chronology aside, I thought this advert for JGR was the fecking bee's knees.

1. The name of the store is BIG GO! This is a brilliant use of Japanese-English transliteration. I want to shop at BIG GO! If there's ever a Reviewiera store, it will be called BIG GO! Also, from the get go, this commercial is skewing heavy into wierdo country: middle American gamer might be thralled by the bright colors but laid-on thick Japanese TV stylings probably too "exotic."

2. Can anyone tell me what the lady says?

3. "Jet Grind Radio! Headquarters!" Ah, our 1st instance of stilted English...

4. Spray-painting a Japanese women's denim-skirt-clad derriere. Over the shoulder bashful look in response. I'm in love.

5. "Groovy is the music."

6. "[unintelligible] the skates!" Old man crashes into a store display. I still remember watching this part the 1st time. WHAT IS THIS!?!?

7. Hey, actual game footage! "You skate, you groove, and run from the man." Wait wait wait, you mean this is A GAME?!
Toss on top of this the experience of being of an impressionable age when cyberpunk was synonymous w/ anything Japanese, leading one to not only watch but ENJOY rather drab bullshit like Bubblegum Crisis, & this JGR ad resonated deeply w/in me.4

So, when I acquired my (1st) Dreamcast (of 3), & after acquiring Space Channel 5 via the infobahn to make sure the DC, y'know, worked, I set around to the task of procuring myself a copy of Jet Grind Radio.5 I actually had to order it TWICE off the 'bahn because the 1st copy was just too scuffed to play.

But then came the functional copy, &, in the words of Fat after playing Jet Set the 1st time, w/ which I fully agree, "BELIEVE THE HYPE."


1 Nov. 2000 being the release date of Jet Grind Radio in North America.
2 It vexes me greatly...
3 Ergo, I had sampled the waters of the river FinalFantasyVII, & thirsted for more. In 2000, brand spanking new PlayStations could be had for US$150, & FF7, being part of PlayStation's Greatest Hits collection, a mere US$19.99. And, in fact, it was @ the 82nd FredMeyer I went 1 day & purchased these exact 2 items, & nothing else. Then I went & got a burrito at UruapanTacquiera, as was the fashion of the time. Then I went home, played FF7, & then went back to the FredMeyer & got a memory card.
4 Tho, I fondly recall finding that some Japanimation nerd had spraypainted 'Bubblegum Crisis' on a wall down by the Blitz Brewery, back in the mid-90s.
5 Tho' I almost always call it Jet SET Radio, which is weird because I'm not sure where I first heard it called that...

4 Comments + Unabashed Criticism:

Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

Ah, yr vexation over buying a PS2 when the delightful Dreamcast was right there. (fn2, and the text to fn2). It amuses me. I share it, the vextration. But!

I claim neither of us ought own such vexrage! --Let me explain.

You bought a PS2 'round the end of 2000. 18ish months later, I made my own console purchase. Me? I ended up with a refurbished Gamecube from the PlayMad on 82nd. Like you did I pass over a 'Cast. I'd gone out to buy a used PS1. Just figured it prolly had the best library... The one they had, had a dodgy lid.

By that point in my mission, I was pretty thoroughly overstimulated (flashing lights, retail environment, a car ride to seedy 82nd). As often happens, I countered the ADD w/ an idee fixee:
'I came out to buy a console, and buy a console I shall.

Thus, my refurb'd platinum GCN. A Dreamcast, so narrowly avoided!

Now. Each of us has purchased a console, in these parallel tales. But let us now restore the stories to their proper historical sequence, you (forging) ahead of me...

Recall yr disdain (2002-5) for my taste in games. From yr lofty perch, chin resting in unsweaty palm, savvy to the JRPG, possessed of knowledge of Atlus games, from said throne did you contemn my early purchases:
Time Splitters 2
X-Men Next Dimension

Let's examine that last. I bought it w/ Canada, picking up also a memory card and a third-party controller--on which I got FUCKED. Go ahead, kids, splurge on actual Nintendo accessories. Anyways, I bought the game b/c, hey. It's a fighting game, I like those, and even if it's mediocre, my knowledge of the characters should supplement my enjoyment.

The decision recounted in that last sentence is the entire point of this comment, the entire point of my defense of us not buying Dreamcasts back in the day. The decision recounted in the sentence above--I shoulda bought Soul Calibur 2, for hell's sake--is the product of an ignorant mind, fed by immature tastes.

Think on it, ponder: had I plumped for the 'Cast, at that time, I'd've been frustrated by the lack of updated hockey & NBA titles. I would've been annoyed at not being able to score software at Freddy's. I would--let's be honest--have thought Space Channel 5 was dumb.

The 'Cube was, then, an excellent starter console. It allowed me to wallow in fighters and wrestling games, and its NBA and NHL games flat dominated my time. These games hinted at the importance of story in my gaming, even while they sharpened my thumbwork.

ONLY after these games was I prepared for:
refined, reflexive hardcore titles (Viewtiful Joe, PN03);
insane experiments (Killer 7);
polished, engaging stories with brilliant playing too (Metroid Prime, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem);
great worlds with characters I wanted to accompany for endless hours (Metroid Prime again, Skies of Arcadia).

And only after all of THAT was I ready for the 'Cast. Ready to approve:
refined hardcore titles accessible as pick-up-and-play button-mashers (Soul Calibur, some of Jet Grind Radio);
entire worlds, with characters, stories and endless activities (Shenmue);
brutal challenges (1CCing Karous, or Chaos Field, some of Jet Grind Radio, Ecco the fucking Dolphin);
everything else I love about the Dreamcast's library.


Fret not, Herr Tinzeroes. You didn't make a mistake, scoring a PS2 instead of a Dreamcast, back before the dawn of time. You were paving the way for a richer understanding of yr hobby, bolting together an appreciation for quality only possible amongst those of us who've swallowed too much dreck.

-Fat, sure.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

And how much was a Dreamcast in 2000? 200 wing-wangs?

7:17 AM  
Blogger d.d. tinzeroes said...

First off, my 1st (modern, not counting the Genesis) console was the original Playstation, sometimes called the PSX (the big clunky grey box), later called the PS1 (the cute, little white, Dreamcast-looking one). I purchased it w/ the dawn of the PS2 on the horizon, which gave me access to a GIANT library of used games, a binary laser-encoded EDEN!!!

Second, I actually gave it a shot to try & figure out the cost of a PS1/PSX (which I recall being 150yua) vs a Dreamcast, a price I can't find. For all I know it wasn't much more. For reasons you've spelled out, I owe my appreciation of JRPGs to the Playstation, & I'm not sure I'd have sussed those out w/ a Dreamcast.

12:17 PM  
Blogger chanapong said...

Tokyo Babylon video animation

12:38 AM  

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