Rage: The Monocular
Back when I quasi-reviewed Rage, I was going to write another pair of articles. These articles would be lists, formatted along the lines of “The 5 Things Rage Got Right” and “The 5 Things Rage Got Wrong.” Very cleverly, I was planning on writing that the number one thing that id got both right and wrong was the game engine, id Tech 5. I know, herp de derp.
It’s been a great week for game releases, what with both Skyrim and Saints Row: The Third coming out and flustering my time management. Both are so immense that I doubt I’ll be able to do them justice anytime soon. So I sat down to make a little filler article. To keep up the habit, you see. I figured I’d talk about a few of my criticisms of Rage that I left unvoiced back in October.
Then I got completely sidetracked, and found myself wearing strange clothes and feeling not quite myself.
If you aren’t terribly faithful in your alt-text observances (I’ve lapsed too, so don’t be embarrassed), you might be under the impression that the battered eyeball pictured above is mine. It isn’t, and yes, he’s fine. Just routine surgery. Adam really wanted me to use the picture as the header, and it sort of meshed well with the topic “Rage.” So put it out of mind.
I was going to talk about how id’s traditional tight weapon design is quite sloppy in their newest game, being filled with redundancies and downgrades. Instead, the Settler Pistol kept coming to mind. It’s your basic video game pistol. It’s weak unless you find better ammunition, has a low capacity, and isn’t particularly accurate. Some of the game’s merchants will sell you weapon upgrades, and I just can’t wrap my head around the main one for the Settler Pistol.
It’s a monocular.
Your character doesn’t mount it onto his gun. Rather, he holds it up to his eye with one hand while aiming his pistol with the other. This somehow not only lets him see and shoot more distant targets, but do so rather accurately. From the moment I bought the monocular, it gripped me with an unhealthy fascination. Every time I would put that lens to my eye, the game took on new depth.
Nobody else in Rage employs their monoculars in this fashion, even though, as it turns out, a monocular is great for turning a run-of-the-mill pistol into a deadly sniping tool. The only conclusion is that our protagonist was the first to swagger into the store in Wellspring, take one look at the monocular in the display case, look down at his pistol, and then crack a big stupid grin. The merchant offers to show him how to use it — how to adjust for clarity and distance and the like — but the Stranger does nothing but keep up that goofball smile and nod absently. The man soon earns a reputation among both the locals and the nearby bandits, who can’t figure how this doofus keeps wiping them out. Months pass, and the man has a plethora of nicknames ending in “-eye.”
After wondering about this for weeks, I resolved to figure out just how it would look.
My sister Emilie didn’t quite understand why I needed my binoculars at eleven at night, but she dutifully found them for me, and was even kind enough to drive them over.
The project grew beyond the initial experiment with shocking rapidity. I had only planned to take a picture of my head with a gun and binoculars, but my wife decided she wanted in on the festivities, followed by my two renters (and friends, but “renters” explains better why they live in my basement). Adam was bored and wandered upstairs to say hello, and was soon enamored with the prospect of finally wearing his new hat, which was far too nice to exist after the apocalypse. Jesse had worked a 14-hour shift and was ready for glorious sleep when he heard the commotion and decided that the hour of glory for his combat fatigues had finally come.
I don’t remember who suggested using our green felt-lined game table as a chroma key, but soon the project was the nerdiest thing to take place in the neighborhood since the underground D&D group was run out in 1989.
We soon had the idea of actually using the green screen to insert ourselves into images from Rage itself. Here are the best two:
So this was what I spent last night doing instead of writing up my dry thoughts on weapons balancing. We learned many useful things, such as how hard it is to equip a belt with loads of heavy items and still have Adam’s pants stay up, and that the entire concept of a monocular-as-scope doesn’t work for us as well as it does for Rage-man. Oh well. Next time we’ll test out Rage’s mind-control darts.