Monday, April 23, 2007

Of Inside Jokes and Good Friends

As always, click on these screen shots to see a bigger version that makes things a bit clearer.

I'm not sure what it is about inside jokes that makes them such a delight but I encountered one yesterday which I really enjoyed. If you look at the above picture, you can see me getting hit with an "overbearing smash" (that's the big light totally obscuring my character) while I attack a character named "Grabthar". The name "Grabthar" should be familiar to most of the geekier types out there from the movie Galaxy Quest.

This screenshot of the ever-charismatic Grabthar was pinched from the Guild Wiki.

The thing about Grabthar (pictured above) which completes the joke is that he is a hammer-wielding warrior. In Galaxy Quest, one of the lines which Alan Rickman's Shakespearean-actor-trapped-in-a typecast-role-as-an-alien-in-a-cult-Sci-Fi-show issues with loathing is "by Grabthar's Hammer..."

The full screen shot of the epic battle. My sister plays Mesmerizing Carl.

In Guild Wars, one of the many things your characters can do is go around capturing the skills of certain special enemies. I was playing my warrior (Tankarific Carl) and capturing Grabthar's hammer skill in this battle. Sometimes I wish we could go around capturing skills in real life. For instance, I wouldn't mind gaining the "sleeping anywhere in Tokyo" skill or the "lightning fast elbowing everyone out of the way so I can get the one free seat on the train" skill I see frequently displayed on the public transportation systems here.

Of course, the bad thing about an inside joke is that it's not funny to anyone who doesn't get it, especially when you have to explain it so elaborately. Guild Wars isn't the first game to make inside jokes of this sort. When I was paying Diablo II, there were quite a few of them sprinkled throughout the game including an in-game item, a Dirk, called, the Diggler which gave us all a chuckle. Yes, we're all just big geeks but knowing that doesn't rain on our parade.

Besides capturing Grabthar's hammer skill, I wanted to record a gift that my friend Shawn gave me in my blog for posterity (and to let everyone out there in blog-land know what a good guy he is). The little fellow above is an Asora. It's a miniature pet which follows around whatever hero I choose to carry him with. Mainly, he wanders around looking cute and occasionally stops and raises his hands in an attack position and bares his teeth.

He's incredibly faithful. Here he is standing next to my monk (Smiting Carl's) dead body. Smiting Carl was smote by some very big spiders but my Asora was not afraid!

Getting my Asora cost Shawn $10 for the magazine that issued the code which allowed me to have one. My sister also ordered me one as well. I realize this is just a cute virtual pet but it was very thoughtful of both of them to go to the trouble and expense of getting such a thing for me. If I had got one for myself (which I couldn't since the magazine is not available in Japan), it would have just been a virtual pet. Now, it's a reminder of my friends and how good they are to me in addition to being a cute little rabbit-eared, alien-eyed viscous creature that follows me around.

Thanks, and we missed you over the weekend, Shawn!


Luis said...

Seen the latest Simpsons yet? Kinda like the South Park episode along similar lines, but still cute.

Shari said...

Shawn has been telling me that the Simpsons is over and not funny at all anymore so I haven't been watching it as of um...the last year or so. Since Shawn and I have similar tastes in pop culture, he's generally on the same wavelength as me about such things even when he's in the ultraviolet wavelength in terms of being rational. ;-)

I still watch the old episodes on DVD and when I catch it on Fox Japan but I haven't seen anything new since season 15.

It'd be impossible for anything to live up to the South Park "World of Warcraft" (WoW) episode though. That was so spot-on and classic in terms of how it reflected griefers in MMORPGs.

Incidentally, I tried out WoW and didn't see the appeal. It didn't look as good as Guild Wars (GW) and seemed too slow. Add to that the fact that you have to pay $15 a month for WoW and GW has no monthly charge and no griefers and GW is definitely the better MMORPG experience.