The Video Game Gang Creator

After playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Saint’s Row, as well as a discussion about gangs earlier today, I realized fictional video game gangs follow a certain formula.  With the following information, you too can have your own posse.  These rules only apply to “protagonist” gangs, antagonist gangs follow a different set of rules that can vary wildly.  Gangs allied with the protagonist gang or character need not adhere to these rules, but generally do as a rule of thumb.  To create a fictional gang, one needs three things; location, nickname and a common identity.

The most important part of your fictional gang…is the name.  There are two parts to the name; the location and the nickname.  The location is the gang’s home turf.  The location also reflects the gang’s sphere of influence.  Obviously, street names are quite popular for gangs (ex. Grove Street Families, 3rd Street Saints).  Alternatively, prospective gang leaders could use the name of a small subdivision or that of a college dorm.  Large, well-organized gangs can sometimes take on the name of a large city (ex. San Fierro Triad).

Next, the nickname.  The nickname usually describes or gives insight into the gang.  The 3rd Street Saints get their name from the ruined, abandoned Church that serves as the gang’s headquarters.  The Grove Street Families are a family-run gang.  Nicknames only have one requirement:  they must not suck.  If anything repels people from joining a gang, it’s a horrible nickname.

Lastly, a common identity.  This is something that identifies people as part of a gang.  This typically involves colors of clothing (Saints wear purple, Grove Street wears green), but anything can be used.  Stereotypes of any sort are quite common.  While anything can be used to identify gang members, here’s a general rule of thumb: the more obvious, the better.  Tattoos could work, but unless the tattoo is easily seen, identifying gang members can become a real chore.  This is why clothing and stereotypes are popular choices for identity.  This has the side-effect of making your fictional gang members easier targets, but eh, they’re NPCs anyway.

As for all the gangs in Grand Theft Auto/Saint’s Row, I personally think Trailer Park Mafia has a nice ring to it.  I haven’t played any GTA other than III, Vice City, and San Andreas.  Nope, none other than those three games and Saint’s Row.  But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  Oh, and Wikipedia helped too.

Shame really, I was going to make it into a lamp.

College Thank$ You For Your Contribution$

I wonder if “money-pit” is a synonym for “college”.  If it isn’t, it is now.  Seriously, I’m so furious I don’t know where to begin.

How about pre-calculus?  Pay $150 for a textbook that should be $85, only for your instructor to tell you it’s worthless.  No, it’s the unjustified $65 MyMathLab that came with the book.  MyMathLab is a CourseCompass application that’s necessary for class, but has a truly outrageous price.  $65…for an activation code and a set of basic instructions.  If my wallet was a living person, it would be filing rape charges right now.

On a side note, I remember reading that phrase (wallet filing rape charges) somewhere, but I can’t remember where.

Anyway, that’s my major annoyance.  And on the bright side, Brent’s in the class.  In a class full of strangers, it’s nice to see a familiar face.  While we’re on the subject, that’s another annoying thing about college.  A freshmen could be someone fresh out of high school, someone who’s waited a few years, or even, an elderly woman.

Computer class isn’t so bad, mainly because it’s incredibly simple right now.  Oh well, simplicity is good.  Biology isn’t noteworthy…yet.  Only two lectures and we haven’t had a lab yet.  Hopefully, the class won’t be too horrible.  Religions of the world also isn’t too bad…yet.  The teacher is a bit peculiar, since he’s not very religious at all.  He’s like an atheist cleric, who doesn’t believe in any god(s) whatsoever, because he doesn’t want to play favorites.  I didn’t expect him to be a Bible-belt Christian, but it is damn bizarre.  English is my favorite class right now, if only because there are two familiar faces in the class (Brent and Kayleigh).  Hope that class isn’t too bad either.

Once this year passes, I’ll be a lot happier with college.  I’ll have all my required, but worthless, classes out of the way (math and science) so it’ll be smooth-sailing from there.  Now, I wonder what I’m going to major in?

Go to your room. Go to your room! I mean it. I’m very, very angry with you. I’m very, very cross! Go to your room! I’m really glad that worked. Those would have been terrible last words.”

Final Fantasy XII

I finally got Final Fantasy XII.  I had been meaning to check it out since it came out last year, but I kept delaying for some reason.  I’m still figuring out why.

So, first impressions.

For the record, this game has the longest opening scene I’ve ever witnessed.  I didn’t time it, but sweet Christmas, it felt like half an hour.  Sure, it was impressive, but I play games to, surprise, play games.  It doesn’t help that this sequence was plot-heavy too.  If you blink, you may find yourself in the dark for the rest of the game.  Actually, the plot is very simple: one country invades another and establishes imperial rule.  Simple enough to follow, but it’s made harder by all the names thrown at you.

Finally, the tutorial comes.  It does a nice job of introducing the player to gameplay mechanics.  It even furthers the story, which is a plus.  Most tutorials serve the purpose of accustoming the player to the game, but not adding anything to the plot.  Final Fantasy XII does both, earning it some much-needed props.

That said, I dislike the real-time battle system.  I also dislike the gambit system.  These are more subjective complaints than the others.  I absolutely despise the license board, though.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I could see where everything is and thus, plan my characters.  This game is also derived of character classes.  It allows freedom but it derives everyone of a role.  Some people are geared towards a role more than others (they start with licenses in different weapons, for instance).  However, since you can farm experience in this game, you could have everyone do everything.

Speaking of characters, I’m having trouble buying the main character as a protagonist.  Seriously, does this guy
look like he’s going to overthrow an empire?  His voice isn’t horrible, but he does sound like Kid Trunks from DragonBall Z.  The character is 17, but he talks like he hasn’t hit puberty yet.

Actually, I change my mind.  I love this line of thinking.  I can tell who the good guys are, just by their taste in clothes!  OK, I’m done being sarcastic, but yes, you can actually tell who’s a good guy because of their attire.  These two are good guys.  Is that guy wearing an armored bra?  That would explain a few things, since he’s the protagonist’s brother.  Perhaps fashion taste (or lack of it) is genetic?  And that girl?  Which one, eh?  The first one, the one in the outrageously impossible skirt.  She’s the former princess/leader of the resistance/insurgency.  She’s also 17 and a widow.  A bit much, eh?

On the other hand, these three are evil.  Damn evil and its taste in fashion!  Real good guys and girls show as much skin as possible!

And that’s enough ridiculousness for now.

The gods do not smile upon us.
I like it better that way.”