The pool remains unskimmed. Banana leafs float around aimlessly in the usually meticulous reserve. The brush and lawn overgrown. Visitors have even reported a man late at night somewhere on the edges of the island, arms outstretched in front of him, knees bent as if he were sitting on a bike making guttural puttering noises, only interrupted when he begins bending his right wrists and wailing, “VROOM VROOM” at onlookers while slowly plodding along knees bent and arms still out.
It all began weeks ago when doing my usual rounds on the beach. A walk on a warm, windy night when suddenly my eyes were averted towards the dark shore amid a thunderous boom. A storm rolling in off the coast I mused, as the wind swept through my hair, nearly blinding me with loose sand. I held my arm over my eyes trying to get a better glimpse at the orbs of light racing towards me from the shore. This was no ship. It was moving too fast. It was too loud. I looked to my left and then to my right to see if anyone else was around to witness this vulgar display of force. But I realized I was alone. But I wouldn’t be for long.
As the lights and roaring thunder neared I realized it was no storm. No angry maiden of the high seas, no sea monster nor ghost ship. It was a motorcycle. An American Chopper. Treading on the surface of the ocean like Jesus on steel wheels.
Upon my horrific realization I spun around and began running back towards the resort but the Chopper ran ashore too fast, leaving pure glass tire trails on the beach sand in its wake. Knowing it was no use I turned around to confront my faceless enemy as the phantom cycle drove right through me and disappeared. Leaving only a copy of American Chopper still warm in my hands. Singed on the edges. Both Paul Teutal and his son Paulie’s faces beckoning me to begin my career as a motorcycle designer.
For the first time in my life I hadn’t chose a game.
It chose me.
American Chopper for the PlayStation 2 was released on June 15th 2006. Developed by Creat Studios based out of St. Petersburg and Published by Activision.
The game itself is based on the popular reality tv series, American Chopper created by The Discovery Channel. American Chopper followed a custom motor cycle shop that was run by a father-son team (Paul and Paul Jr. Teutul) in the early 2000’s. They had gained national recognition for their skillfully crafted custom motorcycles and were also reality tv darlings for their constant father/son power struggles and explosive arguments over creative direction.
While the show was a critical and commercial success for a majority of its television run little can be said about the brands misadventures in the video game industry.
American Chopper is the bastard child of some board room hack that honestly should be put in prison.
The games plot begins with you being the new hire at OCC. Being low man on the totem pole you are required to do everything both Paulie and his father ask of you. The voice acting even though done by the real Teutals is painfully sad to hear. I have never heard more unenthused men play themselves in a video game. It’s almost as if they had played the game before they did the voice acting for it and were ashamed to be associated with this crime against humanity.
As the plot moves forward you go from mundane tasks like picking up spare parts for their bikes to basically motorcycle warfare with rival biker gangs. Even after all of this – pushing and kicking other bikers head on into the paths of Semi Trucks and murdering everything in your site upon completion of the mission you are generally only greeted by a small cut scene of Paul Sr still being disappointed with you.
I could be facing back to back life sentences for the things you people have ordered me to do. The least you could do is be nice to me.
More frustrating than the lack of recognition or approval from your employers is the general control scheme as a whole. I have never rode a chopper. Or any large motorcycle for that matter. But I can safely assume that the turn radius of any sort of motorcycle is better than say I don’t know THE TITANIC? The bike handling is so ridiculous that it feels as if you’re trying to navigate a freighter through narrow city streets at stupid speeds. Almost every mission is timed and the learning curve is brutal.
One mission is particularly devastating as it requires near perfection at high speeds for a really long stretch of time. Slipping and sliding in between traffic, hard curves, and friendly bikers that constantly crash into you (which is held against you) – the mission itself has you white knuckling your controller for nearly 15 minutes straight. And it was then, friends that your boy, Periwinkle had reached a revelation.
All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy. All Vroom and no boom makes Peri a dull boy.
Has it been days? Weeks? A feverish trance. At some point while playing the unbelievably redundant game it hit me. The pattern. Go to the motorcycle shop. Get yelled at. Get told what to do. Do it. Go to the motorcycle shop. Get yelled at. Get told what to do and do it again. Over and over. I began looking up to the Tuetals. Was I a Tuetal? Is Paul Sr. My dad? Handlebar mustaches are pretty cool.
I am not a Tuetal. I am something more. I am a motorcycle.
Like a dream upon wakening. Before I open my eyes I lay silently with my eyes closed. I can sense someone around me watching. I hear the waves crashing on the shore. I feel the warm sun beating on me and someone ask aloud, “Is he going to be okay?”
I open my eyes. Resort visitors surround me looking stunned and relieved. A doctor is kneeling next to me his back turned rummaging through his physician bag. I ask him weakly what happened to me? He turns to face me. It’s a motor cycle in a doctors coat.
I watch the screen as the credits roll and enjoy the only good part of the game. A Thornley song. (Shoooout ouuut to the Canadian readers. Big Wreck fan for life). I haven’t showered or ate in a week. I’ve lost weight. A weak five o’ clock shadow barely and the smell of piss. I must have soiled myself. I eject the disc and shut the PlayStation off. It is a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon on Paradise. The monster slayed – the hex broken- the trance lifted. I place the cursed disc back in its case (still hot to the touch) and I make my way back to the beach where it all began.
I stand at the edge of the water looking into a seemingly endless blue. I toss the case back into the ocean as the water sizzles. A strong gust of air blows off the ocean through my hair. I smile. – Periwinkle
PEE IN THE POOL
It was hard to find anyone that had actually *Played* the game itself but it almost universally was assumed it was terrible. Here are some interactions from my boy, Kyle, Pinkie trying to defend the motorcycle game genre, and me trying to save Heather’s fiancé from a similar fate that found me.
Periwinkle’s Lowing Hanging Fruit Punch Ingredients (In order of how enjoyable.)
4.) A handlebar mustache (American Chopper)
Dear Periwinkle! The manager would like to remind you to please not encourage guests to play in the pool? Perhaps create a Hot-Takes-Tub instead?! Sunny will be asked to clean the mess while you recover from the Vroooms! Much love from Manager San!