Friday, January 13, 2012

Yo Dawg...

The fervor has died down now that the show has ended, but Pimp My Ride was a rather popular show for a while there. I remember hearing other people talk about it and I dismissed it as a stupid concept, but after actually watching the show I had to admit it is pretty entertaining. The host, Xzibit, comes off as a likable guy that just likes to help people out and do retarded things to cars. Near the end of the show's lifespan, in 2006, a video game developed by by Eutechnyx was released for the Xbox 360, PS2, PSP, and Wii. Eutechnyx is most known for their various racing games such as Big Mutha Truckers, so it is surprising that they resisted the urge to put racing into a game about cars.

Now, it has been a few years since I've seen the show, but based on my recollections and my experience with this game, I can guarantee that every episode of Pimp My Ride went something like this:

  1. Xzibit shows up at some fan's house and he or she completely loses his or her shit.
  2. The owner explains how busted the car is while showing it off, and at one point during this Xzibit slowly turns to the camera with a facial expression that says “Is this dude serious?!”
  3. Xzibit takes the car, stranding the owner for an undetermined amount of time.
  4. The shop guys fix up the car, pausing exactly twice for hijinks.
  5. The owner is brought in to see the car that he or she can no longer afford insurance on and promptly covers his or her mouth with a fist with one hand and pointing at the car with the other, all the while making a “doooooooooooo” sound.
  6. Xzibit says that he heard that the owner likes some variable, so they put that variable in the car.
  7. The owner takes the car home, and after Xzibit and the cameras leave the owner turns to the gathered friends and family and asks “Who the fuck told Xzibit that I 'like bugs'? Because I really didn't need my sun roof turned into a fucking ant farm!”

Pimp My Ride: The Show: The Game isn't quite that complicated. In the game, the player is some sort of assistant to Xzibit, that most of the work on the show. Unlike reality, the show doesn't work with a specific shop on the West Coast, but contracts every bit of the car out to separate shops in Pimp City. Pimp City, “home to some of the sweetest rides and tightest whips in the world,” exists as a simple sandbox to make the player drive around. The basic premise is the still the same, Xzibit takes some messed up car and gets it pimped out. To make it more like a game, the element of a rival shop that will go out and take the exact same car that Xzibit is pimping and pimps it in their own way, so the player needs to outpimp the competition in order to win. This whole setup seems like a poor business decision on both sides.

The actual mechanics of the game are dirt simple, split between boring open-world driving and bland QTE/rhythm minigames. First, the player selects a target whose car shall be pimped, then it is necessary to gather up a minimum amount of cash to upgrade the car. The ways this is done is to drive around town and show off the player's current vehicle. I don't know how yelling at people in the street, running into cars, or dancing next to a moving vehicle gets cash, but that is just how things work in Pimp City. In order to holla at passerby's the player needs to drive slowly past a group of people, put the car in cruise control, and then press the prompted random series of buttons (see: QTE).

The “best” part of the game is the Ghost Ride The Whip minigame, which is basically just a dancing minigame, but the character is dancing alongside a moving car instead of on some stupid dance floor. What confuses me about this is that it might be controlled in one of two ways. In one, the buttons that need to be pressed scroll along the bottom of the screen and the player needs to press it during the short period of time that it passes through a couple of bars that get progressively closer together. Since the highest rating that can be achieved on a single step is “pimpin',” I refer to this period of time as the “pimp window.” The other variation on this minigame has the player being repeatedly prompted with a series of buttons, which needs to be pressed before a certain amount of time runs out. Neither of these are very fun, but it is probably the best part of the game simply because it is funny to watch.

After gathering up the proper amount of cash, the player drives to the target's house, Xzibit makes fun of the fictional person's fictional car, then the player is given a limited amount of time to drive around to various shops in Pimp City and get the car upgraded. Each target has a specified career or interest, so getting the most expensive parts that are related to that person will get the best results. This part is annoying because there is a strict time limit (starting at two minutes, though it can be extended), so it is important to plot routes between all the shops. Each time the player purchases a part, a very short minigame, that generally consists of wagging a stick or mashing buttons, is played in order to reduce the final price of the part. When this part of the game is over, Xzibit shows off the car to the target, and then the target chooses between the player's car or the rivals.

The target is declared to have been officially pimped and it is on to the next one. There is just hardly a game here, and I can't imagine how anyone could enjoy it enough to do more than target. The only thing that I can imagine would get anyone to this point is the fact that the final target is Xzibit. I didn't get that far, so I will forever imagine the final portion of the game as a CG Xzibit presenting a car to another CG Xzibit, and that car contains a third CG Xzibit, but just don't trust the game to end in such a strong manner. Since that doesn't actually exist, my favorite part of Pimp My Ride is that the back of the box advertises I guess that's better than giving out an AOL Keyword.

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