Thursday, March 03, 2005

Awesome New Video Game

I just got done playing the coolest video game EVER! It's been around for a while and some of you may have played it before, but if you haven't it is definitely worth a look.

The game is called "Traffic School" and as far as I know it is only available online (sorry, Nintendo and Playstation afficionados). The gameplay is really simple: you go on a series of quests, referred to in the game as "lessons," and after each lesson-quest you have to fight a boss called the "Quiz." At the end of the game there is a mega-boss called the "Final Exam." Okay, here's the cool part. You can defeat the bosses using the information you gather during your lesson-quests! After a while you will notice that the some of the bosses have the same weaknesses. For example, I used the 0.08% blood alchohol rune of power to take one hit point of off Quizzes 7 and 10. I even used that one successfully against the Final Exam (be warned, though, the Final Exam has a lot more hit points than the lesser bosses).

The most controversial thing about the game is that after going a few of the lesson-quests you will have committed some of the runes of power to memory without even knowing it. The "Never Turn Against A Red Arrow" incantation got stuck in my head right away. Some players will enjoy this, because they will feel that they have been inducted into a secret society with its own statutes and codes. It should especially appeal to D&D addicts, Trekkies, doctoral candidates, and other collectors of worthless arcana. However, other players may resent being forced to learn a bunch of made up stuff that, ultimately, has no application in daily life. I guess your appreciation for the game will depend on your tolerance for useless trivia.

If you've played previous versions of the game you will notice that the graphics still suck. In fact, the game isn't even animated in the strict sense of the word, although you can sometimes fool your eyes if you move the scroll bar up and down fast enough. Don't let the graphics discourage you, though. I promise you that once you start, you will feel compelled to play through the entire game, probably in one sitting.

Those new to the game are often surprised by the price. Although it only costs $20-25 to play online, there are various "hidden" costs, such as the $20 and up "court fee" (is this the same as in racquetball?), and, of course, the application fee, which can be quite expensive (mine was $161.00). Although that sounds like a lot of money, at least the application process is fun. It is an interactive portion of the game--almost a game in itself--that you play using your car (this should appeal to fans of Grand Theft Auto). Once you have demonstrated your willingness to participate, a gaming representative in a specially marked vehicle will pull you over and give you further instructions.

I really can't say enough good things about this game. I played it for the first time a couple of years ago, and I just got done playing through it again. You may find it similarly addictive. If you're really hard-core, I hear that there is an all-day live action version. Evidently some group gets together every Saturday and plays up at the courthouse. Check it out if you're interested.

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