They're about to rip my face up and start again.
For nearly two years now I've been a square-jawed coconut shy with a smattering of creases and wrinkles conspiring to haul a semblance of face from the 4,680 pixels of shadowy bulk arranged to the left. But, after 13 months of dieting, six hours a week at the gym, and an hour a month with a camp-but-determined Scottish stylist in Soho, I'm not.
And apparently our resident designer Mark finally has time to rebuild me this afternoon. Presumably the powers-that-be-called-The-Boss-And-His-Minions have run out of ways to rib me about it. Or I'm small enough now that they're no longer worried about paying by the pixel. Or, in deference to Friends, "nagging works".
Whatever - it got me thinking. Now would be a good time to make myself into a hero. In a city of them. My friend John, who has been saying as much for a while, will be pleased to hear that I'm going out this weekend to find a copy of the City of Heroes Deluxe Edition. It'll be the first MMORPG I've played since Star Wars Galaxies, which I didn't like, and hopefully this time I'll stick with it.
It just seems like the right time. I've got my everyday identity sorted out now. I've even done the training montage bit where I start off not being able to lift a grape and then five minutes later to the strains of Gonna Fly Now I'm seen lifting a bus off a pensioner.
But who should I be? Let's cast our eyes down this week's release list for inspiration.
I don't want to be a robot. (Actually, despite enjoying Kieron's recent reflections on City of Heroes, I'm still not even sure if this is possible.) Ah, but, that's a foolish thing to say leading in to MechAssault 2 anyway, isn't it, because this time you're a man who can car-jack robots before shooting things with them. And vehicle-thievery ought not to be the inspiration for my hero persona. Perhaps as a means of getting to know the enemy, I could be a man who goes on to Xbox Live and uses better-balanced mechs to kill other people who are comfortable in their sin - or at least comfortable behind the squeaky voice of a 10 year-old boy. But I don't want to be a robot.
Nor, I think, a small girl. Project Zero II demonstrates that you can have plenty of (legal) fun and frights with younger ladies, but, despite having been reeled in and then rejected at the weekend for being "too young", I'd rather not engage in transgender role-playing on the rebound. That's what villains do. And I want to wear a cape someday, not a bonnet.
That also rules out Phantom Brave as source material. It's impractical whichever way you look at it. Either I'm ethereal (which would be a nice way to avoid self-consciousness, admittedly, but is hardly suitable in the circumstances) or I'm another young girl. Whom Rob described as "about as bright as a box of rocks." Lovely game, though.
Agrippa, hero of Shadow of Rome, is probably closer to what I'm searching for. His pal Octavanius is too Raiden-like to be entertained, but Agrippa spends most of his days using enormous clubs and mace-like weapons to fold Romans into awkward shapes. And the Romans - the ones in question, in particular - were pretty evil. His game may have been a bit of a mish-mash, but Agrippa's definitely a prospect.
Except: what am I meant to do with that name? It's clearly suitable, since, by torturing you with my ramblings on the subject, my emergence as a hero certainly fits the bill of "one who causes great pain at his birth". But I dunno.
Incidentally, I have deemed "Ro Man" too silly to be heroic.
I'll just pass over Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat completely, by the way. A bongo-controlled side-scrolling platformer is clearly a game after my heart, but I'm hardly going to strike fear into to the heartless cavities of my foes by puffing out my chest and loudly announcing my presence as "Donkey Man!"
It's Mr Pants! No. Lord no. Puzzle games - good. Heroes called Pants - too derivative, although the symmetry between VG Cats' Pants and Krug and a Mugwum channelling Pants Man with a flatmate called Krud is startling enough for me to waste a whole paragraph detailing it.
Creature Conflict - nope. It's rubbish apes-pretending-to-be-Worms game on big round globe-shaped play areas. Get On Da Mic - just... just don't make me go upside your head. Outlaw Golf 2 - I am no outlaw. Besides, Amazon says it was out last week without telling me, and therefore it is not allowed in on the joke.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie...
But seriously: Sonic Mega Collection Plus. This is more like it. A heroic (check) Day-Glo (check) animal (problem) who fights (well), no, crusades (check!) against an evil man (yes!) who locks animals up in robot suits (oh yes!) and makes them patrol the same three-inch strip of land day after day (fiend!) until someone jumps on their head and they die horribly (bastard!). And he's got a K on the end of his name!
But what of it? Sonic? Sonic Agrippa? Sonic Grip? That's the sort of thing I'd expect to call my grappling hook.
Frankly this week's new releases are RUBBISH. All of them. Well, some of them are obviously good games, but they're not very inspiring when it comes to hero names, and I'm tired of using the following: Mugwum (boring), Mugs (my Mum calls me this - that's not heroic), Sir Mugs (my RPGs call me this, but it's tired), DaggerPanda (my Metal Gear Solid name generator calls me this, but it's more likely to confuse than instil fear in the hearts of evil-doers).
And Dr. Liability, which I made up a few seconds ago, and which I vaguely considered pretending was a pet name Kristan used for me, is clearly out. Deception is not the path to heroism. Maybe I'll remember it for City of Villains.
"Mugs The Old" is also out, despite its amusement value, because the person on Messenger who came up with it is a man so evil, in fact, that he took up smoking because he fiercely opposed the grammar in the otherwise dissuasive packet-label, "Smoking is highly addictive, don't start."
All of which leaves UEFA Champions League 2004-2005.
Which reminds me: all of you leave UEFA Champions League 2004-2005. On the shelf. It's probably on the EA stand's bottom shelf at GAME, you know, so you have to bend over in the process to take it from them. But there are better ways to spend your money. You could help me save the weak, for a start.
Er, which gives me an idea, actually. I could be Saving Face.
I like that. Crap but self-indulgent. Me in a nutshell. To the Facemobile!
- PAL Releases
- City of Heroes (PC)
- Creature Conflict: The Clan Wars (Cenega)
- Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (Cube)
- Get On Da Mic (Xbox)
- Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile (PC)
- It's Mr. Pants (GBA)
- MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf (Xbox)
- Outlaw Golf 2 (PS2, Xbox)
- Phantom Brave (PS2)
- Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly (Xbox)
- Second Sight (PC)
- Shadow of Rome (PS2)
- Sonic Mega Collection Plus (PS2, Xbox)
- The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (PS2, Xbox, Cube, GBA)
- UEFA Champions League 2004-2005 (PS2, Xbox, Cube, PC)
- Key US Releases
- Nothing much. Dredd vs. Death? ... Hello?