“What game do you want to play next? Something different? Or another RPG?” my friend asks, excited to be teaching me the ways.
“…You’re saying things to me that I don’t understand,” I tell my friend. “What’s an RPG?”
“You could play Star Fox. It’s a fox who flies an airplane—“
“I’m in!” I say with glee.
A dog is talking to me about Lylats and Cornelias, telling me something that I’m not paying attention to, and there’s a rabbit, a frog, a fox and an impatient falcon running down a hallway as an alarm blares.
Something important is happening.
I guess it’s time for me to press start. The falcon’s impatient foot-tapping is a passive aggressive way to signal me.
But before I can press start, my friend says, “Easter egg!” as she takes the toggle and forces the foursome to follow the “64” around the screen with their strangely animated heads.
I guess that means this is for Nintendo64. Here we go, Star Fox 64.
“Do I go to main game yet?”
“Uh,” my friend says politely. “Maybe you should do some training first.”
As I start flying through this rather bland obstacle course, I realize that she has rather sage advice since I don’t actually know how to fly a plane. Up is not up. Up is down. Down is up. My world is just being filled with opposites. I now have two toggley things on my controller to use and my ability to hold onto a target and shoot a laser at it is pitiful. But as I slowly make it through different hoops that make me feel like a dog at a dog show, I start to get the hang of the whole down is up / up is down binary switch.
Until, that is, I mention how my alignment seems to be out and she chuckles and points out the fact that my right wing is gone. As she’s pointing it out, I fly into another building and my left wing goes up in flames. Somehow, though, I’m able to do barrel rolls and steer even as I slowly fall to the ground.
Well, let’s get this over with.
General Pepper! Isn’t that a Beatles song? Oh wait, that’s the dog. General dog. Words are being said to me as the story is explained, but I’m chatting with my friend about some recent Facebook stalking that amused me. She, however, actually cares about the story and I instead type out this paragraph while she listens.
“Starfox is a team,” my friend explains, giving me the SparksNotes version of the already short story description. “So Starfox is like Rogue Squadron.” A comparison I actually understand because of our recent viewing of the original Star Wars trilogy.
(Fun fact: The actor who played Wedge is Ewan McGregor's uncle.)
All right, can we just discuss these game characters for a second? First of all, this General Pepper the dog is a little too pushy for my liking. And Fox McCloud (a rather loose spelling of the Scottish name) is way too keen to be my character. Peppy Hare (I’m sure you can deduce what animal is) looks more like a donkey than any kind of rabbit. Slippy Toad (I’m starting to feel like I’m in a spacey video game version of Wind in the Willows) is staring into my soul. And Falco Lombardi (the impatient, sassy character) seems more in tune with my own personality.
I so wish I could be Falco.
“Something I forgot to tell you,” my friend adds, “is that you’re a team so you have to save your buddies otherwise they’re out for the round.” Would it be bad if I only looked out for my buddy Falco?
“You have to save Slippy,” my friend tells me as she’s being shot at after the game begins.
“Hey, what’s the big idea?” Slippy yells at me as I shoot her instead of the one shooting at her.
“Watch out for the mountain,” my friend says calmly, looking up from her book as I try instead to fly through the mountain but instead get bounced off. “That’s where you use a barrel roll.”
I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of this game. I’ve already nearly killed a frog and myself and am envious of a pissed off animated bird. Something is happening to me.
“You’ve got an enemy on your tail,” my friend laughs.
“What do I do?!” I scream in a blind panic.
“You use the brake … never mind,” she says, looking back at her book.
As Falco screams out a passionate “No!!!” I crash and burn.