Kung Fu Panda: A saga of a desperate gamer

We were somewhere near Yuma when the boredom kicked in.

On the way to San Diego for Man Zero‘s bachelor party, the conversation had started to go the way of the buffalo. All the jokes have been told. All the pleasantries were out the door. An odd silence had overtaken the van.

I forgot a book. No Game Boy. No DS. No PSP. I had my cellphone which only had solitaire on it and my iPod also with solitaire on it. My solitaire problem was solved.

I grabbed my bag and scoured it for any kind of entertainment. Those huge Timbuk2 bags can hold a ton of stuff. Searching through all the pockets and compartments, I came across a cellphone Electronic Arts sent me with three games on it: Command & Conquer, Monopoly, and Kung Fu Panda.

I put Command & Conquer into the “For PC Only” category. I’ve been playing it for so long that it doesn’t feel right without a keyboard and mouse. Monopoly. Seriously, it’s Monopoly.

That left me with Kung Fu Panda.

It looked like a nice little distraction, and I was up for any kind of distraction.

The first thing I noticed was that the game was a little loud. It broke the silence like a plate crashing to its death in a fancy pants restaurant. I quickly silenced the audio and started working my way through the game.

I’ve never had much faith in mobile phone gaming. I think it was because of all the solitaire. Kung Fu Panda was a definite surprise. It is beautifully detailed and had some solid graphics for being on a mobile phone. Definitely better than anything I’ve seen on the Game Boy.

The first level was spent as controller training. The buttons on the keypad were sufficient as a controller. I didn’t really have a choice. It’s not like I could’ve hooked up an old NES controller. The controls were really straightforward and easy so I didn’t really worry about an external hook-up. The only problem I had was that my fingers are a little big and kept hitting the mute button above the “2.”

All of a sudden, a strange feeling came over me. I was having fun with this extremely simple game. It’s just your basic platformer. Jump. Kick. Punch. I don’t think I lost a life during the whole experience.

Forty-five minutes had passed. We were deep into California. Mountains on the right. Mexico on the left. I had finished this game.

Apparently, extra points are awarded if you collect all of a certain kind of token. I couldn’t go back through it. I was checking out the scenery.

I had my fix.

Time to enjoy the ride.

Originally appeared on Friday, June 27, 2008 on azcentral.com

Posted: June 11th, 2012
Categories: Video games
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