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OFF THE WALL: At the Monster Jam...

Company: Activision
Product: Monster Jam

I'd never been to a Monster Truck event before. I had kind of assumed that it was merely a congregation of rednecks and, although I live in Louisiana, that didn't seem like something I'd really want to go see. I'm not big on sports. At all. So, when I had the opportunity to go to the Monster Jam for free courtesy of Activision, I thought, "Well, this will be a new experience." I wasn't against it, but I have to say that I certainly had... low expectations.

While I was evidently fairly spot-on with regards to the audience (at least the people we sat around) and couldn't recommend that anyone intentionally drive in New Orleans, the monster trucks had a certain "raw power" appeal to them. And, as I was to find out, the Monster Jam is not just monster trucks; sure, that's the main event, but there's other interesting things to see. There's four-wheeler races, a races that's half race, half demolition derby whereby people jump into junked-out, specially race-prepped cars and then race around a figure-8 race track, banging opponents out of the way in their scramble to win... before their cars give out completely on them. There's some fancy driving of remote-controlled scale models of off-road vehicles, performed by local enthusiasts. There are hot, scantily clad girls posing with the winners of the events, at the winners' throne. Additionally, at about "halftime," there was a competition to see who could do the best at the new Monster Jam videogame. I was surprised by the fact that there was pretty much something for everyone... as long as they have a pulse.

It seemed like everything that really seemed awesome at the Monster Jam was somehow related to "Grave Digger." The most amazing freestyle performance was given by the monster truck by the name of "Grave Digger." The beater car that I put a GameVortex logo on and that went on to win its heat in the demolition-style racing also went by that name; I'm not sure if the car actually had anything to do with the real Grave Digger, but the markings were very similar. And one of the new drivers - who drove Taz (Adam Anderson) and gave an amazing performance - is the son of the man-behind-the-truck, Dennis Anderson.

If you're going to go to a Monster Jam and you've never been, allow me to make a few suggestions. First, bring earplugs. Ear protection is absolutely necessary - these trucks are huge and their engines are powerful enough to literally launch these trucks thirty feet in the air or halfway across the arena... and they're racing the engines, and each other. It's. going. to. be. LOUD.

Secondly, get there on time... or, better yet, early. We attended the pit-party a couple of hours before the event started and got a chance to see the trucks, cars, and drivers, close-up. I even scrawled a GameVortex logo on one of the racecars. It was awesome.

Finally, be prepared to be amazed. Seeing such a large vehicle throw itself across an arena can be shocking. Seeing one launch itself way into the air can be, too. Feeling a monster truck that got a bit out of control slam into a large restraint and push it backwards into the arena stadium just below you can be quite startling, indeed.

All-in-all, we enjoyed the Monster Jam, and would be likely to go again... except for the other people that attended. And, before you think of me as stuck-up, imagine what it's like for an entire stadium full of rednecks and sports enthusiasts who just spent the last couple of hours yelling and screaming to root for large vehicles running into and over other vehicles... to all stream out to their cars in the adjoining parking structure, at the same time, immediately afterwards. Tempers flared, horns honked and you know that some of them had visions of simply driving over the cars in front of them to get out of the garage quicker. Other, more laid back extreme-sports-type kids ran to their cars, pulled out their skateboards and tried to use a handicap ramp as a makeshift quarter-pipe. Pandemonium ensued. We tried to counter all of this by turning up some soothing grooves on the radio of our VW New Beetle, but, eventually, we decided to insert ourselves into the exiting traffic and return home.

I think the ideal trip would involve arriving before the traffic got bad, parking somewhere else, checking out the pit party, then sitting in a box seat (catered) to enjoy the show and, finally, having somewhere to hang out after the Monster Jam where you could wait until traffic died down again before returning home. Tuxedos and evening gowns are, of course, optional.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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