Are You There, God? It’s me, Mario

Nov 30th, 2010 | By | Category: Columns

The holidays are coming up and I’m looking for a gift that my boyfriend and I can enjoy together.  Any suggestions?

It just so happens that this cross-genre revolution is making more and more opportunities to bridge those gaps of interest between friends and lovers. She likes social-norms challenging literature with a feminist perspective and he has put in over 60 playing hours of assassinating evil masterminds in the latest Splinter Cell video game. So, it makes perfect sense that the latest game to not get picked up by Xbox or PlayStation would be:

She's motherfuckin' Oates!

Joyce Carol Oates: The First Person Shooter

Now, for those of you not familiar with the most prolific writer in the world, author of them, We Were the Mulvaneys, The Wheel of Love and Other Stories, Zombie, Beasts, Blonde and about a trillion other works, then go to a fucking bookstore, idiot. Otherwise, you’re ready to play…

As you can probably tell, as a first-person shooter the game is as straight forward as Dean Koontz (otherwise known as the Mad Libs of the literary world). The game relies on the familiar trope of the player character acting as a one non-gender-specific army, fighting his/her way through the typical legions of zombies, Nazi soldiers, aliens or mutants. In this case, the source of all evil just happens to be the cryogenically-frozen (and misogynistic) head of Hemingway gaining sentience and using his evil powers to convert every beer guzzling dude into a member of the Tea Party.

Hemingway must be stopped!

The game opens at Princeton University, where Joyce Carol Oates, who unleashes her own evil powers, makes a student’s head explode after turning in a story with too many point of view. As she leaves class, she quickly learns that decades of pumping out a new brilliant novel or short story collection every six months has left her unaware of growing evil that threatens person-kind.

Combat has that simple “point, aim and fire” mechanism that seems to work pretty well. Along the way, Joyce will find plenty of weapons, from pistols and rifles and submachine guns (oh my!). And adding to the lovely tradition of nonsensical shooter games, even some of the most disfigured non-pants wearing monstrosities always drop extra bullets and health kits.

However, Joyce’s fighting skills aren’t limited just to the random guns and gadgets lying about. Not sure where to stash that AK-47 you’re not using? The size of Joyce’s bloomers will determine how many extra items you can store. While coffee is particularly damaging to this heroine, Earl Gray tea will not only give a quick boost to speed, but will also makes a soothing sipping sound upon ingestion.

Also, throughout Joyce’s travels, she can uncover important books of other lady scholars, allowing her to summon them briefly for a massive area attack. Ever want to see cute plump little anarchism writer Emma Goldman whack a double-headed Marquis de Sade with a sledge hammer? I thought so.

Overall, JCO: the First Person Shooter will be one hell of an experience that you and your boyfriend will probably not get to play. And where’s all the literary feminism you ask? Ummm … it’s fucking Joyce Carol Oates.

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