Pete StrackmeierVideo

Pete Strackmeier’s Living-Room Video-Game University: How To Play Your Station 3

You plug the thing into the other thing(s).

By John Teti • April 16, 2012

During the arcade and home-console booms of the 1980s, a cottage industry of self-help VHS videos sprang up, promising to give gamers the edge they needed to rack up high scores. These tapes supposedly offered quarter-saving tips and secret techniques known only to the highest echelons of arcade rats. But with the rise of a dedicated gaming press, the learn-to-play videocassette market soon fizzled.

That’s what we thought, at least. Turns out that one man never stopped making those gems of VHS wisdom, even if people did stop watching. And when The Gameological Society put out a casting call for non-union television personalities willing to provide their own crew, equipment, editing, and craft service, he got in touch with us.

His name is Pete Strackmeier, and he is a licensed Joystick Master. Named “The Tri-State Area’s Ambassador To The Nation Of Video Games” by SkyMall magazine, Pete’s illustrious home-video career has seen him nominated for certain awards. And he’s no stranger to the World Wide Web phenomenon, either. Pete has shared his wisdom online in projects like The 95828.6103@compuserve.com Arcade Mailbag and a disastrous stint at the website Crunchy Gamer. Now, Pete brings his experience and acumen to us with Pete Strackmeier’s Living-Room Video-Game University.

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77 Responses to “Pete Strackmeier’s Living-Room Video-Game University: How To Play Your Station 3”

  1. Merve says:

    *obligatory PC-gaming-is-better-than-console-gaming comment*

    • dreadguacamole says:

       Hardware failures… frequent software updates… game installations*…
       At this point, the biggest point in favor for consoles besides price/ease of use is the used game market. And it looks like that may go on the next generation, too.

       *: yeah, these vary per console. And the wii seems to avoid these for the most part, but it also kind of sucks if you’re not a fan of nintendo’s games.

      **: Hyperbole!

      • Raging Bear says:

        You get at least two of those with PC gaming, though. Plus you get games that barely work even when you meet the system requirements, games that simply don’t work from the get-go, and the only way to try to figure out how to fix them is to comb forum posts, and you can only read a few before the red mist descends, and then you come to in a mall covered in blood and you don’t even remember taking the hostages, let alone dismembering and eating that one, so you explain to the police negotiator that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. always crashed on startup because of one of its 200 barely-distinguishable audio files was being activated by some fucking default output setting nested 8 menus deep in Windows, and they let you off because they’ve all been there.

        Console games mostly don’t do this, is what I’m saying.

        • Merve says:

          Oh God, getting stuff working on a PC can be a nightmare. I recently had trouble getting Mass Effect 2’s DLC to install on my computer because the install files were inexplicably corrupted. I tried downloading and re-downloading them through various browsers and download managers, all to no avail. (Luckily, being a grad student, I’m on a campus Internet connection, so I wasn’t eating up a download allowance.) Finally, after a couple of days of tinkering, I discovered that my antivirus software was corrupting the files as it scanned them after download. I don’t even know how that’s possible.

        • Raging Bear says:

          @Merve2:disqus Right? I started PC gaming fairly recently after a lifetime on consoles, and this has definitely been the defining difference for me, much more than keyboard vs. gamepad or whatever else.

        • dreadguacamole says:

           Hey, I wasn’t being serious either! Well, not very; but I am annoyed that the first three points used to be exclusive to PC gaming.
           I got a 360 after a catastrophic hard drive failure on my PC lost most of my savegames (which I never bothered backing up). Six months later I got a Red Ring of Death. And another one two years later. Got a new one, and now the DVD tray gets stuck every few days. Microsoft sure knows how to build’em, don’t they?

           Bah. I just wanted to whine, it looks like… sorry about that.

        • AuroraBoreanaz says:

          Funny, you’re totally right…I used to be of the “PC rules, console drools” mindset myself, but that was mostly before consoles caught up to the tech of PC.  Since the Xbox and PS2 it’s been a lot better.

          I spent about $500 upgrading two PCs to play Skyrim and The Old Republic, and yet somehow still balk at paying $300 to $400 for a new console every five years.

          The only real advantage PC has over console for me now is I can still aim a hell of a lot better with a mouse than with a thumbstick.

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          It’s funny, I too also just made the conversion from console to PC (after finally having enough money to ensure that my computer would be able to run most games . . . and realizing that most of the games I wanted to play were classics being sold on GoG or other such sites), but despite all I’ve been told about how easy it is to aim with a mouse . . . I still plug in my XBOX controller and use that for just about everything that I can.

        • Raging Bear says:

           @dreadguacamole:disqus Oh, I figured you weren’t really serious. I also just saw an opportunity to vent.

        • Girard says:

           I only recently began doing any PC gaming, too, and am kind of flabbergasted by the hoops you have to jump through, even before you get a game.

          It’s pretty much expected that putting a graphics card in your box is going to require no small amount of fiddly bullshit – uninstalling and the “really” removing any and all previous drivers, adjusting multitudinous arcane OS and graphics settings, restarting countless times alternating between “safe mode” and real mode to see if the tweaks made in the former have fixed the horrible problems occurring in the latter… It’s ridiculous that that’s de rigeur for popping in a new piece of hardware.

        • gaugebozo says:

           I feel exactly the same way. I’m a graduate student, and I constantly have to find some program that has little to no support and get it to run on my computer in order to do work. This sometimes takes weeks. I don’t want to spend all day doing that and then come home and do the same thing just trying to get a game to work on a system it should work on anyway.

          As long as consoles can keep the simplicity of use (thanks casual gamers!) but keep in the neighborhood of what PCs can do graphically, I don’t feel the need to switch anytime soon. The major drawback for me is missing out on post release support that companies like Valve offer.

        • Penis Van Lesbian says:

          Ah, youngsters. You haven’t lived until you’ve got a dozen bootable floppy disks with different IRQ and soundblaster settings to cope with differing game requirements.

          That aside, apart from Civ, I can’t imagine going back to the PC for gaming…

        • The Guilty Party says:

           @dreadguacamole:disqus I dunno, consoles were kind of unreliable back in the day too. I had multiple PS1s fail because of the laser mechanism going south. I used to have to blow into the cartridges of my genesis, and my master system required all sorts of weird wriggling in the slot to get it to work.

          It is nice to get a new game, stick it in and go, but the availability of most everything by download these days is kind of tilting the convenience factor back to PC a bit. I really hate physical media. 

        • eggbuerto says:

          Despite its pitfalls, PC gaming also has many advantages! This has been my spirited defense of PC gaming.

      • Merve says:

        For the record, I wasn’t being serious. I was just making fun of people who extol the superiority of PC gaming at every opportunity they get. Heck, if I had a lot more disposable income (and suddenly developed a preference for gamepads), I’d buy a console.

      • trilobiter says:

         Good thing I love Nintendo’s games.  Perhaps more than I should; and yet, perhaps not enough?

        • dreadguacamole says:

           Nintendo games are generally one of those things I can recognize as great, but I just can’t seem to get into. One of my gaming blind spots.

    • Shain Eighmey says:

      Praise be to the glorious PC Gaming master race! We’re the real members of the Gameological Country Club, the consolers are just “pool members”. 

      Now let’s go play water polo!

      • MesotheleonaHelmsley says:

        If I wanted something that touched your thumb I would order the insider of your ear

    • Brian Marino says:

      my biggest problem with PC gaming is that I can never get them to look as good or work as smoothly as they are supposed to because of my computer specs.  At least my PS3 and Xbox usually just do what they are supposed to without having to worry about hardware.

      • Merve says:

        I just got a new computer, so everything looks as good or better than it’s supposed to. But three years from now, I’m sure I’ll be making the same complaint as you.

        That’s the consumer electronics cycle for you, I guess. We let ourselves get behind the curve, so we spend a bunch of money to get ahead of the Average Joe, only to fall behind again a year or two later. It’s possible to stay ahead of the curve by continually spending a lot of money, but I like having some cash left over to purchase things like food, toiletries, cleaning supplies…

      • George_Liquor says:

        I’ve been using the same gaming PC for over four years now, and it plays everything I throw at it like a champ. 

        …of course everything I throw at it is a console port because hardly anyone is developing original titles for the PC these days. 

    • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM says:

      but ya know, it is, this is just a flat fact

  2. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    This is actually pretty alright. I’m likin’ this place more and more. 

  3. Aaron Riccio says:

    Joy does seem to be an ever-fleeting thing in modern games; I just read an article over in The Atlantic that was profiling Jonathan Blow (Braid, The Witness), and he was genuinely upset (in an assholier-than-thou way) at the sort of time-sucking “games” that trick you into continue to play. I do sometimes look up and wonder exactly why I’ve been bothering with certain titles at all — I’m certainly not always *enjoying* myself. (And load times and now install times are only one small piece of that.)

    • HobbesMkii says:

      Jonathan Blow rubs me the wrong way. I didn’t care for Braid and everything I’ve heard about The Witness makes me shrug: we had that game 20 years ago; it was called Myst and it fucking rocked.

      • dreadguacamole says:

          Must… resist… double-entendres…

        • HobbesMkii says:

           And I’ll tell you another thing: Jonathan Blow really sucks me off. It makes me sore just sitting here thinking about his haughty attitude towards gaming. Like he’s a fucking Jesus.

    • Shain Eighmey says:

      Yeah. I think he has a penalty to Charisma, but he makes some very strong points regardless. Games are supposed to be enjoyable, not just time sinks. 

      • Girard says:

         Maybe it’s because I know a lot of artists and have developed a kind of mental callus regarding that sort of thing, but I don’t hold it against someone when they care enough about a part of culture to make grandiose self-important statements about it*. Especially when those statements are largely true, if arrogantly-worded.

        I wasn’t crazy about the hagiographic tone that recent article about him had, but that was more the fault of the writer being sycophantic than Blow’s ego.

        * I’m likewise not bothered by Phil Fish or Keiji Inafune’s controversial blanket statements re: Japanese games.

        • Merve says:

          The problem with Phil Fish’s statement wasn’t its sentiment, but its context and wording. “I think the Japanese games industry is in a period of creative stagnation” is a lot more tactful than “Your games just suck.”

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          My problem is that his self-important statements were sweeping generalizations (not every game has mercenaries with big guns saving hot chicks with back-breaking . . . bazookas; sometimes the girls are mercenaries with *actual* bazookas) that made him seem wrong. Even if you assume that he was talking *only* about big studios and *only* about games in the last five years or so, there were still artistic ones that broke out of the mold in innovative and *fun* ways. (And yes, they weren’t successful, but he didn’t say that, now did he? I’m thinking of “Mirror’s Edge,” “Catherine,” stuff like that.)

      • caspiancomic says:

         Would you come after me for royalties if I started referring to assholes as having a “penalty to charisma?”

      • one2ohmygod says:

        You mean, not like Braid?

    • caspiancomic says:

       Is it true that Braid was made by like, two guys? I think I got that impression from the Zero Punctuation review. Wasn’t one of the two (or more?) of them one of the doods from A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible, aka best webcomic of all time forever?

    • The Guilty Party says:

      But is it all the games’ fault, or are we partially to blame too?

      If you walk into a movie expecting it to suck, you can point out bad acting, plot holes, and ridiculous contrivances in most anything. Which isn’t a license to do all those things, but when I discuss games with internet strangers, everything is just relentlessly negative. It’s hard to find joy when you’re competing to find something funny/bitter to say on a message board so you can look cool.

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        I’d say it’s the games. I don’t play games so that I can talk about them on the message boards, and in fact I’d bet that most people who comment on the boards *haven’t* played the games in dispute. When I sink more than ten hours into a game, there’d better be a damn good reason — for instance, the upcoming MacGuffin’s curse involves a lot of annoying block pushing. But it redeems itself by giving me funny things to do *while* I push the blocks. And yet, is there enough new there to justify the time I’ve spent with it? Or would I have been better served with something else?

  4. Haughty_Todd says:

    what is this i dont even

  5. Girard says:

    I read the little text intro before watching the video, and at first though that they’d genuinely pulled a Tim & Eric-type “Hire some bizarro, possibly mentally-ill, self-styled media personality to do some crazy embarrassing thing.”

    Then I watched it, and was at once relieved and a little disappointed that Pete Strackmeier was just John Teti.

  6. ToddG says:

    This was very amusing to me, as well as germane to my interests.

  7. Chip_Dipson says:

    Hah! John, hate to be picky, but everyone knows that satirical video game videos aren’t supposed to be funny. They’re just supposed to reference things that I know exist.

  8. The “Don’t do too many drugs” message at the end really took me back.

  9. AuroraBoreanaz says:

    “You know, sometimes…I don’t even remember what joy feels like.”

    Hahahaha!

    Great one.

  10. LimeadeYouth says:

    Nice Unstrung Heroes  poster in the background. Now that’s what the video game industry REALLY needs: more Jewish coming of age stories.

  11. MesotheleonaHelmsley says:

    Am I the only one who enjoyed ‘Piss three’ more than I should of?

  12. Russell Sullivan says:

    John Teti, I like you. This could have easily been horribly unfunny, but it wasn’t. Great Job!

  13. ElDan_says_Fuck_Disqus says:

    Your last name sounds like a silly way to say “titty”.

    That is all.

  14. Great to see that Pete is finally out of rehab.

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  16. STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM says:

    and I’m not even talking about the usual reasons, like keyboard and mouse controls are better for shooters or whatever (even though they are, I still use a gamepad a lot), games just flat out look ten times better on PC than consoles and this is pretty much the way it’s always been (and will always be)

    just trust me on this, I used to resent “PC snobs” myself till I actually got a gaming PC and was blown away by how much better the graphics are (you really have to see it first hand to believe it) and now I’m a drinker of the koolaid 

  17. PappyBojiggity says:

    More Pete Strackmeier!! I would subscribe to his channel and pay dearly for weekly installments. Start Soupy off with something from the Sawbuck options and less buttons. He’ll be a master in no time.