Saturday!

After being disappointed by Dishonored (Hoosegow Flask put it best when he said “One thing I didn’t like about Dishonored was that it gave you all sorts of toys and abilities, then ‘punished’ you for actually using them”), I picked up the Mad Max video game because, hey, it’s sandboxy and I like those and it’s Mad Max and I like that universe.

Well, this video game is a prequel to the movie. So if you’re wondering “what was Mad Max doing right before Fury Road?”, he was doing the same thing he does in Fury Road.

The game begins with Max minding his own business, trying to get to and cross the Plains of Silence so he can finally quiet his demons from his life before the apocalypse. In our first five minutes with him, he gets jumped by “Scabarous Scrotus” (the son of Immortan Joe), has his car wrecked, his stuff stolen, and unceremoniously dumped into the wasteland.

Now, before we get into the game proper, I want to spend a little time explaining Scabarous Scrotus. Remember Nathan Jones in Fury Road? The 6’10” guy who was built like a Greek statue? Well, Double-S looks like that, only he has a number of decapitated heads as part of his costume. The two you won’t be able to stop noticing are attached to his hips: one to each. They swing pendulously as he walks. He also wears a codpiece.

I remember watching a Frasier episode a few years back where he was in a conversation where they were discussing how the son of an ice cream empire was marrying the daughter of an ice cream cone magnate. Frasier said “Well, we don’t need Freud for that, do we?”

We are not in “We don’t need Freud for that, do we?” territory, here. We’re in “Let’s have Freud write us a bad guy for a video game” territory.

Anyway, in the first five minutes, you meet Scabby, you fight him, and you kill him with his own weapons. (Um, if your kids are sometimes in the room when you play video games? You might want them to not be in the room for this opening sequence. “His own weapons” include such things as chainsaws.)

After you watch the cutscene in which you defeat the guy I had assumed would be the main boss for the end of the game (seriously: my jaw dropped), you find yourself walking through what used to be a coral reef (absolutely gorgeous) at the beginning of your quest to get your stuff back. But first you will need a car. You’ll need weapons. You’ll need fuel.

madmax

You’ll need to collect hood ornaments. You’ll need to win some races. You’ll need to jump some ramps and catch some sweet air.

All that to say, if you like Mad Max and you like sandboxy games, you’ll find yourself enjoying this one like an old friend. There are some really good supporting characters (the automobile-religion-preaching black-fingered hunchbacked mechanic is pretty awesome), some seriously quality monologues (the turtle shaman has some really great ones) and some truly gorgeous setpieces. The gameplay itself is somewhat utilitarian to the point where it won’t make any converts, but if you’re already there, you’ll be well-served by this silly little game.

If you can get past everyone yelling “Sabarous Scrotus” every two minutes.

So… what are you playing?

(Picture is “Untitled” by our very own Will Truman. Used with permission.)


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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18 thoughts on “Saturday!

  1. Heh…I commented before that Fury Road had a lot of Freudian imagery. The three biggest:

    The War Boys: white, bald, innumerable, and individually-disposable, sent out in waves to target, literally, prized ova. Might as well have been more vicious versions of the mission-deployed sperm in Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex.

    Max, tacitly admitting Furiosa is the superior shot, and allowing his body to be used as a passive, submissive “receptacle” for her to steady and fire her Big Gun…yowza.

    And Max and Furiosa finally consummating their relationship as he penetrates her – first with a blade to save her from suffocating, then with the blood bag needle that allows him to give her life via his “essence” (and finally, name)…I may need to go lie down.

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  2. Having not seen any of the Mad Max movies, I have to ask: why does BDSM wear seem to be what folks opt to wear post-apocalypse? I mean, what is the thought process? “Hmmm… society has collapsed. It is kill or be killed out there. I know we’d all rather stay in the bunker, but we need supplies. So… meet at noon. Codpieces all around.”

    Taking the boys to see “Home” being shown at some old historic building in the neighborhood. Should be cool? I think? Then we’re going to make some play dough and rage out in our pajamas. Big win.

    As for games… I just had a friend ridicule me when I said, “Oh, I have that game,” while watching the episode of ‘Big Bang Theory’ where the characters play Settlers of Catan. When I pointed out that we were watching a nerd show at her behest, it was of little consequence. I had to wear the doofus hat, it seems.

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    • Even after society has crumbled and we are all reduced to feral animals fighting for scraps amongst the rubble, black remains a very slimming color.

      More seriously:

      1.) Given the timeframe of the first couple movies’ dates of production, the universe’s aesthetic is lifted fairly directly from the punk scene, which heavily-featured S&M gear/dog collars/bondage trousers/etc. Its themes of nuclear apocalypse and nihilistic no-futurism made it a natural match for the MM universe.

      2.) Leather, in general, has been historically used in some fashion in both Westerns (and the MM universe is in some ways a “Western” one), as well as biker culture (with obvious links to MM), and for some of the same reasons. Think riding chaps. Leather’s breathable, and fairly durable.

      3.) To your point about codpieces, codpieces were in fact featured on some suits of medieval armor, and Miller (and/or Miller’s costume designer) wanted to suggest a sort of “armor” for these characters, cobbled together from scraps of biker/bondage wear and football gear.

      4.) In Road Warrior and Fury Road in particular, themes of sexuality & submission are woven into this world in unexpected ways; in RW, the bad guys are a sort of homoerotic warrior tribe; in FR, the bad guys are a sort of patriarchal fertility cult, and in fact quite homophobic.

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    • People in the post-apocalypse where BDSM wear to titillate the viewers. They aren’t trying to create an even remotely realistic post-apocalypse but a fantasy one where basically the only people left are those that would have been in biker gangs and such in the pre-appcalypse. As such, thats where they get their wardrobe choices from. A serious post apocalypse film would have everybody dressed in tough working clothing fit for intense physical labor.

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