Hello, my name is Jim, and I’m an addict.  Or so my wife says.  I just love to play MotoStorm.  Tonight I played for hours, and now my eyes are still twitching, making the computer display look out of focus a bit.  There’s something about playing a hi-def game that messes with your head a little.  Normal screens just don’t look right immediately afterward.  It takes awhile for your brain to readjust to regular refresh rates and lower resolution I think.

MotorStorm rocks though.  And in case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a new game for PS3 that really showcases a lot of what the PS3 can do.  It’s highly addicting, both pretty to look at and extremely “dirty” at the same time, amazingly detailed, and did I mention highly addictive?  And by “dirty” I mean dirt-dirty–there’s mud and dirt everywhere in the game, and it covers not only the vehicles and drivers, but also sprays and splashes all over the game camera, covering my 47″ flat-planel display with muck! This is an offroad racing game that takes place at a festival in Monument Valley, Arizona.  And from what I gather, Monument Valley is a real place, and I’ve viewed a lot of photos of it on the web since I purchased the game, comparing them to areas in the game.  From what I can tell, it looks to be a very accurate representation of many parts of the area, but I’m sure the maps, for the most part, were generated digitally to give the player the best gaming experience possible.  Here’s how one website describes the REAL Monument Valley:

Monument Valley is an area of free standing sandstone rock forms that rise majestically from the desert floor. Up to 1,000 feet tall, they create a truly magical desert landscape. The beauty of the area is a fact well documented by the numerous Western movies and television commercials for which Monument Valley has served as a backdrop. (So whether or not you were aware of it, you have very likely already seen Monument Valley.)

Monument Valley is located along the Utah/Arizona border towards the southeast corner of Utah. It is just east of Hwy. 163, about 22 miles southwest of Mexican Hat, Utah and 24 miles north of Kayenta, Arizona.

And playing in the “digital version” of this landscape just looks so real, I’d like to some day see this area in person just to experience it.  You can lag behind all the other racers and just take in the scenery, and it’s still a fun time.  But for the best experience, get into a real race and try to win.  Any way possible.  There’s no rules, no specific routes to follow.  Shortcuts are everywhere, and most scenery is even destructable, depending on the ruggedness of your vehicle.  For example a large billboard is no obstacle for a big rig to slam through, but slam into it head-on on a little motorcycle and you’ll find yourself and your bike are soon parted…in several pieces.

When you first start playing the regular game (offline) there’s not many options for tracks or levels.  You have to start with the first two or three tracks and come in 1st, 2nd or 3rd to qualify and earn points.  The better you place, the more points you get.  Gather enough points and you unlock new levels and vehicles.  I’ve unlocked a few new levels so far.  It takes a lot of practice and trial and error to learn what paths are best to take for whichever vehicle you choose, and you’ll find yourself liking certain types of vehicles more than others.  But some levels force you to use a specific vehicle, so you have to learn to use each vehicle type and learn how it handles and how to win with it.

The last feature I’ll mention (since this is starting to sound like a game review) is the online play.  Sony’s free online service is great.  There’s always hundreds of people playing MotorStorm in one of 4 or 5 servers listed.  You can choose a server and then either create a “room” of your own (allowing you to choose everything from game level to the types of vehicles you allow in your game) and others will usually join in fairly quickly, and you can start the game when you choose.  Interestingly, once a room is created and people are in it, you can leave after a race or play again, and other players can come and go as they choose, or you can leave the room altogether and the room remains, under someone else’s control.  I’ve seen rooms I created last for days, which is pretty neat.  Your other option is to join a game someone else created.  Then you have to choose from the list of vehicle types THEY allow, and play on the level THEY have chosen.
It sure makes for one totally addicting experience, and I can’t get enough of it.  Now enough of this blogging, I’m going back to my game…

Hey Jay, you live in Arizona…. Have you been to this place?