My guest this week is Alex Zalben, one fifth of sketch comedy superpower Elephant Larry.

TALKING POINT: Besides Barbie's Horse Parade, what's the best game for girls who don't play video games?

Alex: This is an easy one: The Wii. The Wii is a video game, right?

Jeff: Most girls aren't going to get into Call of Duty 3 even if you control it with knitting needles- but, yes, almost every other Wii game is a great choice.

Alex
: I think it's because Nintendo did everything they said they wanted to do… Create a game system that everybody can play. I'll probably get flamed for this, but I love all games, and I can't get into XBox because of the button scheme. I tried playing Gears of War the other day, and gave up because there were just too many buttons to learn. With the Wii, I've had the same experience every time I've introduced it. I'll set them up with tennis and they'll say, "Okay, what button do I press?" I tell them "none." So they hold the remote awkwardly, or point it in a weird direction. I tell them to just hold it like a tennis racket, and although it still takes them a few tries, they're able to get into it almost immediately. Its almost an unlearning curve.

Jeff: Why is it that girls are so afraid to spend time learning control schemes? B is for melee attacks. You hold it down when you have the lancer equipped to rev your chainsaw bayonet. What's so hard about that!?

Alex: It's like not being able to brush your hair.

Jeff: I guess the sad fact is most girls aren't interested in chainsaw bayonets, regardless of how simple they are to operate.

Alex: Girls also like that new game, Romantic Flower Cupcake Time.

Jeff: Wasn't the other side of the Power Pad for girls?

Alex: It was a tea party blanket, right?

Jeff: Yes, but it only worked with Mr. Grumbles' Tea Party and Bionic Commando.

TALKING POINT: Grand Theft Auto 4 is due by the end of the year for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, but that's all we know. What the hell is it going to look like?

Jeff: Grand Theft Auto 3 is, by nearly any measure, the best game of the last console generation. Nameless Grand Theft Auto guy is the new Mario, and innocent bystanders are the new Koopa Troopas. Let's speculate on how they are going to top themselves.

Alex: Obviously, there's room for improvement in the character animations.

Jeff
: I'd like to see fully destructible buildings. I want to blow a hole in the wall of a hospital, then run inside and torch the emergency room. I'd also like to see them add children, so I can hit them with a tire iron or run into them with a helicopter. Is that weird?

Alex: No, it's necessary. I'm not a programmer, so I don't know how insane this is but I would like to see permanent damage. What if you crash into a building, and for the next two weeks they're repairing it?

Jeff: That almost seems too realistic. Wouldn't you eventually lay siege to the entire city and have nothing left to destroy? Maybe this is a reach, but I'd like to play as Batman.

Alex: Or at least kill Batman.

Jeff: Maybe multiplayer? It sounds like a great idea, but I can't imagine how it would actually work. The game's sandbox is so large, they would need some sort of gimmick to make sure you and your friend are slaughtering firemen in the same area. How would that even work?

Alex: Cell phones. Each player as an in-game number. You can call your friends and say, "Hey, I'm beating hookers up in the park in two hours. Come and meet me."

Jeff: Capture the Flag across Vice City is tempting, but to me GTA always seemed like a you-against-the-world game. Two tanks tearing up main street? That's just unrealistic.

What's the most disappointing game of all time?

Alex: Donkey Kong 64. What a well made, utterly boring game. Honorable mention to Goonies 2, which I used to love as a kid and, as of now, makes me want to claw my eyeballs out.

Jeff: What do you mean by "well made, utterly boring"?

Alex
: All the game play choices make sense. It had great graphics, especially for the time. But the puzzles are super slow to solve. If you don't have the wrench from level 2, you might not realize it until level 5, which means going all the way back, finding the wrench (which is hidden under five piles of bananas), and then fight back through Level 5.

Jeff: I have to go with Enter the Matrix here. During the spring of 2003 I was totally caught up in the Matrix sequels hype, and I thought the game was a can't-miss. The Wachowskis even shot two extra hours of Matrix for it with the original cast. In retrospect, it was naive to get excited about a licensed game.

Alex: Has there ever been a good game to movie translation though?

Jeff: There's Goldeneye. Ummm… Goonies 2?