When I think about it, I must have known from the beginning that this wasn’t going to work out. When she first offered the invitation I was hesitant and hopeful. When I think about it, I must have known from the beginning that this wasn’t going to work out.In my mind I was declining the dinner invitation even as I heard myself asking the time and the place. The past experiences of arguments and vicious attacks had somehow faded in my mind. And sitting across from her now, those days seemed far from reality. The years have been better to her than they have to me. Her features are softer, her eyes are brighter, and her voice is buttery smooth.
The Gran Turismo series has survived over 3 different generations of the Playstation. It started out as a competent, if flawed driving simulator that thrived on it’s good looks. But it wanted to be more than just a pretty face. Underneath lay the foundation for greatness. The wide assortment of cars were upgradable, the tracks had an impressive amount of detail, and the driving was solid. But the graphics were always the real draw. The original PS1 soared when it had a GT disc in the tray. The PS2 became legendary when paired with the game. And Gran Turismo 5 only adds to the impressive resume of the PS3’s visual power.
The woman ordering from the menu in front was also more than just an attractive face. Not far from the carefully sculptured surface lived a competitiveness and intelligence that knew few equals. But there was also a cruelty there. Her sharp tongue shows no hesitation in pointing out a fault. Her quick wit never failed to criticise a decision. But the hypnotic effect her swaying hips had when she moved always seemed to wash away any misgivings.
Once you became acclimated to the impressive images on the screen, the flaws of Gran Turismo 5 rise to the surface. The AI has always been blind to other cars on the track. The damage model was all but nonexistant. Car selection, while numerous, was ultimately shallow. The result of multiple iterations of little known or undesirable cars. Gran Turismo 5 promised to change all of that. Instead, it piled on the makeup.
As the night wears on, cracks begin to appear in her facade. A sly comment here, a snippy jab there, and each time it happens, her eyes light up as if remembering a forgotten pleasure. I try to shift subjects, still holding on to the wish that people can change and that the night isn’t about to tumble into a well of backhanded compliments and sideways remarks. She’s laughing now. Enthusiastically retelling the misfortune of someone she never considered her equal.This is when she’s at her peak, at her most beautiful.
Gran Turismo 5’s supermodel looks make a career out of seducing you. They tell you not to worry about the ancient AI. The caress of a spectacular interior view takes your mind off of the user interface that would’ve seemed dated a decade ago. The glimmer of light on the hood of the few ‘premium’ cars entices you not to linger on how the majority of the offerings don’t come close to that level of detail. For every graphical highlight there seem to be twice as many missed opportunities.
As we leave the restaurant, I catch a glimpse of those swaying hips once more. And for a second, I’m mesmerized. But it passes quickly as she points out another of my seemingly endless shortcomings. Part of me missed this. In that regard, I haven’t changed. But its a part of me that’s become smaller and pushed to the side. Much more prevalent now is the part that understands that being attractive on the outside can only hide what’s underneath for so long.