Wednesday, July 2, 2008

An Inconvenient Game

As the "LeBron ditching Ohio" debate rages on, I thought I'd take some time to discuss another LBJ story that's getting far less attention of late. If you haven't yet heard, earlier this week LeBron James released a brand new video game. Don't get too excited though (like I did) -- there are no basketballs, guns, bad guys, race cars, or laser beams involved. Instead, you get a grinning LeBron, a "yard sale" bike, several bottles of water, and a bunch of information on how to save the environment.

The game, an online production from Nickelodeon, is called LeBron James: Worldwide Big Green Bike-a-thon! (it can be played here: In it, users control a bicycle-riding LeBron as he maneuvers through the streets hand delivering eco-friendly "tips" to frozen onlookers. Be careful though, if you ride too long without snatching up a bottle of water, LeBron will dehydrate and your big green adventure is over.

I will admit that I personally spent about 8 minutes fully engrossed with LeBron's bicycle shenanigans. What I found was a 100% creepfusing (creeping and confusing) video game experience. First off, I was puzzled as to why the game decided to take on a "dawn of the Internet" style of graphics and game play. A four button video game, really? I understand its for kids and Nickelodeon wants to keep it simple -- but come on. I've seen chimps playing more complicated games in National Geographic documentaries.

Second, I thought it was interesting that the entire basis of the game was LeBron delivering environmentally sound "tips" (in the form of leaflets) to pedestrians. It's difficult for me to get pumped over the idea of chuckin' "information" to people on the sidewalk. I also found it strange that you're allowed to toss around as many pamphlets as you please. More than anything else, doesn't this just promote littering?

The third, and most disturbing thing I noticed about LeBron James: Worldwide Big Green Bike-a-thon! was King James himself. As you play, he just slowly rides along, staring at you the entire time with a psychotic demon smile. And when you aren't transfixed on his face, you get to gaze at the flamboyant skin tight black uniform he squeezed his body into. Coupled with the red bike helmet that looks more like James' exposed bloody brain and you have quite the horrifying character.

So would I recommend giving LeBron's video game a shot? Yeah, whatever. It's pretty much just Paperboy with "practical" tips on how to save the planet (my favorite: shower with empty buckets and use the collected water to feed to your plants). I just really hope half-hearted online ventures like this one aren't the reason LeBron wants leave Cleveland for the big city.

In closing, I wanted to share some other video game ideas I think Cleveland athletes could pursue:

Brady Quinn's Gay Bashing Extravaganza: Players control Quinn, who rides on a float through a gay pride parade, and rack up points for hurling homophobic slurs at onlookers.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas' Airport Security Adventure: Try to get Z and his steel infused feet through Cleveland Hopkins Airport's metal detectors. Hurry though, or Ilgauskas will miss his flight home to Lithuania.

The Jensen Lewis Flight Simulator: Sit behind the controls of an authentic airplane and pilot yourself back and forth from Cleveland to Buffalo.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

don't forget the Eric Wedge staring contest simulator