Monday, December 07, 2009

Bratus Minor's Birthday

So we all trooped off up to see Bratus Minor and celebrate his 8th birthday

Although I'm not a card person I did pick one up for him due to his age. Ah the short exclamation of joy as he opened a pop-up Spongebob card that took pride of place on the mantle. Rather excellent of me as it turned out he had a Spongebob cake too.

This was later of course, I'd barely had time to take my shoes off before I was grabbed and dragged upstairs in a sort of effort to get Major to stop playing Halo 3 and greet the guests.

"The socket is quite handily placed next to the door" said his father.

First stop however was Minor's room where he showed off his latest PS2 games since I'd last visited (it's his birthday so I give him the attention where possible)

"I'm surprised you know where they are in this mess" I said.
"It's not messy! They're there in that box, except two which are here"
"Okay, but it's still messy"

Then I entered Major's room; or at least attempted too as something had slumped behind the door.

"Did you say the socket was just next to the door?" I fake called down the stairs. "Oh yeah here it is" I said as I bent down and flicked the switch on the empty socket. Ah the look on Major's face as watched me bend down and heard the click before a quick glance at his screen reassured him that I hadn't pulled the plug.

"Knew you wouldn't" he lied. He was right though I know the value of save and the dangers of corruption. I also know that Halo 3 has a reasonably checkpoint system which means you can stop at almost any time so a quiet word for him to finish to the next checkpoint and come and say hello.

"I take it back" I addressed to Minor. "Your bedroom isn't at all messy." I turned to Major "You know those wooden rectangular things are supposed to fit in that larger wooden rectangular thing?"
"Yeah yeah"
I leaned over to see the screen and something squished "I don't know what I've just stepped on; oh good it's a rucksack"

Back to Minor's room where he had the Goodies on pause. "You like the Goodies?" I asked
"Yeah they're funny"
"Good call. My father has a record of their songs"

Back to Major where he'd finished the next section thus flouting the decree by continuing through the cutscene. I started mimicking the bad voice acting and filling in the gaps to distract him. "save and quit" I ordered. He saved and quit.

Opening of the presents. Minor received three Beast Quest books which from the description at the front 'Can you save whoever' looked like "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. An observation I was quick to voice.
"I like those!" exclaimed Major.
"I've got some of the very first ones" I informed him
Turns out they aren't CYOA style, but do come with some shiny cards at the back card game style which you have to cut out yourself no perforations.

Then he got the cufflinks and tie clip. He knew what the tie-clip was but hadn't a clue about the cufflinks. Then a couple of illustrated Roald Dahl books, then an exclamation of joy as he was given his first proper watch. Then finally a Space Chimps PS2 game which he knew he was getting a fact he'd confided in me earlier.

Major stayed for all this, then vanished back to his XBox; Minor took his cue from that and vanished to try out his new game.

I managed to stay and have an adult conversation for oo at least ten minutes before Minor came down having got stuck. I helped him clean up his memory card so he could save his progress, showed him you can start the game from the browser screen without having to reset, and helped him past the section he had trouble with. It's a very basic platformer, pretty much ideal for his age. I left him to it and checked on Major.

Well to be precise scare the crap out of him, by flinging open the door with a booming laugh. Hey I gets my jollies where I can and I knew he was playing a game due to the instructional tone of the voices I could hear.

He was now playing a Call of Duty game; one of the older ones and was working his way through the mandatory training sequence. A fun time shooting at the sergeant and ending the game; disappointment that you couldn't 'cook' grenades so you can hold them forever without them going off. Past the tutorial and he had fun shooting the Germans who "speak German" rather than German English he was happy to note. He also had fun shooting his own allies which would then restart him back at the checkpoint.

Back to Minor and gave him some hints; all platfomers having commonalities. Back to Major who'd given up on CoD and was back to Halo3 and having his arse handed to him by a load of small creepy crawlies.

"Don't you have an area of effect weapon?" I asked.
"A what?".
"Something that has a wide burst".
"Um" he cycles through his weapons.
"There! A short barrelled shotgun, try that".

He aims and kills several bugs at the same time.

"See one shot, many deaths. ... How far are you into the game?" I inquired.
"Mission 8 I think"
"and you didn't know that? I mused.

And so the next ten minutes were spent imparting the Lore of the FPS. Back to Minor and help with another tricky section. Back to Major who was now competing in an online Halo3 match first to 50. He's got no microphone so he's at a disadvantage in co-coordinating with the other players. He hopped into a buggy with pintle-mounted weapon.

"Woah", I said. " Pull up next to him [ally] and see if he'll take the mount"

Of course he did, and [ally] didn't, but Major hopped out took it himself and sprayed some of the other team into fine mist and that got his ally's attention. So they ended up driving around and making a fine mess. Minor joined us and enjoyed the carnage.

I pointed out some other tips and tricks and his team won. One of the few times he has apparently and he didn't come bottom in the placings. So he was pleased. I asked him if he played against one of his friends (the reason he got an Xbox rather than a PS3) and he told me that he wasn't able to.

Turns out said friend had a chipped box and when he went to play CoD:MW2 online it whacked with the auto-ban hammer. Laughed my arse off.

Anyway all-in-all we had fun I diverted the kids to give their parents some 'quiet time' and gave them some basic training in videogames there were sadly lacking.

I would say it was fine, but at a later date I was informed of some possible goings-on that are disquieting and that I'm afraid I have to keep to myself regardless of anonymity.