The following blog is set for One Fall! Introducing first, he is the Hylian Champion! Winner of the Seven-Year Slam, making the Hylian Ring safer, one Powerbomb of Courage at a time!
Started gaming on an Atari 2600, grew into the gamer I am now with Nintendo, playing on an NES and SNES. Became more aware of the wider scope of gaming through the Playstation and Xbox. Now I'm loving the PC gaming life.
My favorite games include A Link to the Past, Terranigma, Guilty Gear X2, Viewtiful Joe, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and DotA 2.
Huge comic book reader, and currently keeping up with Saga and Hawkeye.
My favorites are The Sandman Vol 4, Batman - Court of Owls, and V for Vendetta.
Lover of wrestling, although not so much of the infamous Attitude Era. Much of more a CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Dolph Ziggler kinda guy.
Life-long reader of books of the fictional and non-fictional variety. Love Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Wendig and Haruki Murakami.
My biggest dream is that one day Quintet returns and makes a current generation Terranigma.
I've been wanting to write about my experience with the past generation for a long time now. Mostly just so I can get some closure with it for myself. Because as much as I told myself I didn't really feel like there's any real shift happening, or my complete lack of awe towards the newer consoles, I do get sort of an "end of an era" vibe lately that I can attribute to it.
So I've tried writing about the past generation. Took a break from it. Restarted. Collected my thoughts. Tried again. Scrapped attempt after scrapped attempt, all to try and stay positive about the last generation. Because really, it wasn't a bad generation at all. Despite it almost making me quit gaming altogether on more than one occasion.
Dramatic interpretation of me hard at work writing about Generation 7.
So I decided to just write out my experience with this generation in its entirety. Not as a highlight reel, not as a failure clip show, but just as a chronological "so here's a thing that happened".
I'm not sure where I should say this generation started for me. I got both a DS and a PSP early on, the DS before the European launch, and the PSP on launch day. I sold the PSP within a month because it didn't look like it was going to go the direction I was hoping it'd go. In the meantime, my DS mostly was a system I played cheap GBA games on.
Good games were hard to find. It's weird how I keep seeing gamers from the US cry out in jealousy of all the cool deals and early releases us lucky Euro folk are getting from Nintendo online, when in reality stores tend to not reflect any of these advantages at all. At leat, not in the Netherlands. If we get a game early, chances are it will be sold out within 24 hours and won't be back in stock until long after it stops being relevant even in America. A lot of games technically did get released in Europe, but I've never seen them in stores here. Those games would include the Ace Attorney franchise, or even Hotel Dusk and the sequel. On paper, the DS sounded like a fantastic system, but being dependent on what stores where keeping in stock, it almost became a system I regretted buying more than the PSP.
World of Warcraft was a thing that happened, and I know most people aren't going to bring it up in a post that's mostly about console generations, but it is absolutely a PC gaming thing that happened at the time we started seeing what this new level of technology could bring us. Besides, I'd only started getting into WoW around the time of Burning Crusade, so Generation 7 had already begun by then.
It was a brief experience for me, since working full-time I couldn't play it enough to keep up with the peer pressure that got me into it in the first place. Everyone was a good 20-30 levels beyond me within a week, and I sort of dropped out of touch with them in-game after that. Most of my fun with WoW came from the PvP arenas, where I learned more about playing online PC games in ways that would only become apparent much, much later. Probably the best experience was the time I tried to sell a random Druid morphed into bear form to another player as a mount to a newbie, and the Druid went along with it when he realized what was happening. The second best thing was when I got the people on Communitoid to burst out laughing live on the show when I tweeted that at them.
A bigger regret did pop into my life not long after though. Having owned every major Nintendo console, I would have to buy the Wii. And yeah, the Wii does have some cool games on it that I would have loved to play, and it also had some cool games I could actually find in stores months after release, but most of the experience was underwhelming. I think it was maybe two or three months after actually releasing that I finally got my hands on Mario Galaxy, and almost half a year after release that I found Brawl in stores. I think we got the Mario Kart game before I found Brawl as well, but I honestly cannot remember it ever being in stores while I owned my Wii.
Galaxy made me fall in love with Mario as a franchise again. It mended everything that I felt Sunshine broke. Fantastic platforming, amazing music, and even looking at it now, the game is absolutely gorgeous. Especially if you consider that this is an old game on a system that was never graphically impressive.
One of my favorite games during the time I spent with my Wii was No More Heroes. Climbing my way to the top of the assassin scoreboard, and the aware absurdity of the game made me really excited about playing through it, and I feel absolutely blessed that I could find the game, because the one and only time I saw it in stores, it was an instant buy, even though I technically didn't have the money to make a 60 euro purchase like that at the time. No regrets.
Then came Brawl, and not long after that my Wii got unhooked from the TV. Brawl kind of overstayed its welcome within a week of playing. I didn't like the single player, the multiplayer felt like it had too much tacked onto it that didn't really work that well. Too many identical characters, which already started in Melee. Nobody really wanted to play it in multiplayer with me either after two or three rounds. It wasn't a game that lasted.
And that's when AboveUp decided to leave the gaming family.
Generation 7 was over. A failed start with the handhelds. A failed attempt getting into MMOs. A bad and bland experience with the newest Nintendo console. That's it. I'm out. I'm not playing video games anymore.
Okay, so maybe it didn't end there. After a couple of months had passed, I started importing Nintendo DS games from the US. I also started playing a bunch of games in an admittedly non-legal way just to be able to play them because they were impossible to get my hands on otherwise.
This is when I started playing my way through the Ace Attorney series, as well as the DS Castlevania titles. Things kind of spiraled out of control from there. I'd try to buy a game whenever I could, but if the only way was to buy a second-hand copy at more than full-price? No thanks, I'll just pirate that shit.
My renewed interest in gaming that way would end up driving me to buy an Xbox 360, and I feel that this is where the gaming generation for me really started. Because a lot of really annoying, stupid, terrible, and boring shit still happened constantly on there as well, but at least it felt like it was being balanced by some genuinely good experiences as well.
The first games I got with my Xbox was Halo 3 (came with the system), Orange Box (I just wanted TF2), and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (huge, huge fan of Morrowind). Out of those, I really loved Portal. I played Oblivion once and sold it. Then half a year later I rebought it at a much lower price and figured I'd play it with lowered expectations, and then sold it again within the week. Then a year later I figured I'd soldiered through so many unmemorable games that I should be able to hate-play it and write some funny blog posts about the broken experience the game offered, and never got past the tutorial.
I also got a bunch of Microsoft points and bought Geometry Wars and Symphony of the Night, which became my favorite games of the system for a long time.
For the first month I felt cheated somehow. I'd bought my second current generation console, and overall I didn't feel like I'd got a single experience that felt like it wasn't possible on the previous gen. Halo 3 wasn't impressive. Orange Box was all technically Half-Life 2, which was last gen. Oblivion felt much too simplified compared to Morrowind. I needed something to actually wow me. Something that felt like it offered something that was completely unlike everything I had played before.
So I wound up buying Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare the very next month. I'm not a fan of war shooters. I'm not a fan of online shooters. Every sign was pointing towards me hating this game. Instead I ended up absolutely loving the experience. Say what you want about what the franchise became almost immediately after the success of Modern Warfare, the first one was an incredibly good game, especially for its time. I even ended up really enjoying the online play, although I didn't linger for more than half a year. Which is good, because apparently some time after that the xXx_360_NoScOpE_xXx bullshit started.
Shortly after that I ended up playing through games like Mass Effect (not having playing KotOR or Jade Empire made it all the more impressive) and Bioshock (amazing game, wish it never turned into a franchise). I also bought Rock Band and from that day onward I suddenly had friends coming over every week for a Rock Band session.
There were also an incredible amount of absolutely unremarkable games that I ended up playing through where gaming almost turned into a meditative event because I could just play it unthinkingly. I wasn't enjoying the game, and I wasn't disliking the experience either. The only thing that kept me from quitting them was the whole achievement metagaming mentally where I figured that if I didn't get rid of them and instead kept playing them, at least my Gamerscore would go up.
This is how I played through Far Cry 2 (drive half a minute, run into car of bad guys, shoot them, Dexter's Lab wrench animation to fix car, get back in car, repeat), or Red Faction: Guerrilla (Break stuff. Hurray.)
After a while I realized how I wasn't really enjoying myself this way, and what a ridiculous timesink it was. I quit gaming for half a year to clear my head from that mindset. Started exercising more, eating healthier, read more books. Kind of went through a massive personal change.
Then I came back to gaming and played through some really fun games, like Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2, Halo ODST (The first Halo where I actually liked the single player) and Borderlands. After that my 360 red-ringed while playing Prototype.
I considered getting it fixed, but I was still in that frame of mind where I didn't really see the point in getting it fixed. There were too many times where I'd enjoyed playing the game, but really didn't feel like I liked them as much in retrospect, like Fallout 3, and too many instances where I spent way too much time playing games I absolutely did not enjoy just to beat them and get achievements, like Fable 2, Far Cry 2, Red Faction: Guerrilla, Halo 3, Ninja Gaiden 2, and too many downloadable games worth mentioning.
It was at the moment that AboveUp felt that he'd given the generation a fair chance, and that this time, he'd really leave the gaming family.
The only game that made me sad when I realized I wouldn't be able to play it anymore was Geometry Wars 2.
Still, I had my DS. I gamed my way throug SMT: Devil Survivor, 999, Professor Layton, Ghost Trick, Henry Hatsworth, Pokemon, The World Ends With You, Rune Factory, Bowser's Inside Story, Advance Wars... If anything, I was enjoying games a lot more than ever before that generation.
Then I moved to England and my roommates had both a PS3 and an Xbox 360, so the downloadable games came back. The only retail game I really ended up enjoying in this part of the generation was Halo: Reach. I hate-played my way through Dante's Inferno. That's about it.
Half a year later and somehow inexplicably living with friends in Ireland, I played my way through Assassin's Creed 1, 2 and Brotherhood. The first one felt like all too many incomplete faceless experiences this generation where the tech was there, but the actual gameplay wasn't. But man, AC2 and Brotherhood were so much fun. It was one of the few moments where I had that feeling of actually playing something of this generation again, which I hadn't noticed was missing since the Modern Warfare experience.
I also played through Dragon Age 2, an experience that can be best expressed through a long string of obscenities. Fuck that game. So hard.
Back in the Netherlands, crashing with a friend who had a monster PC, I pretty much got into a bunch of indie games. original freeware Spelunky got played a lot more than ever before. Bastion, Limbo, The Binding of Isaac, Super Meat Boy. Those experiences got mixed with two major free-to-play games in Tribes: Ascend and DotA 2, as well as my first time actually playing Team Fortress 2 on the PC and realizing how vastly different it had become compared to the long dead console version.
DotA 2 became the biggest game changer for me in this. I'd never been big on PC games, but it felt like everything that I had previously enjoyed about the PvP arenas in World of Warcraft years ago. Even though I initially expected it to be as horrible as my very brief League of Lesbians experience.
Right now the only gaming platform I have left is a shitty dualcore laptop that can barely run anything. Despite that, I'm really enjoying myself through games like FTL, Hotline Miami, Spelunky, and Papers, Please. Especially the reworked Spelunky. If I'd have to pick one game as my favorite of this entire generation, that would be my pick without even thinking about it.
My biggest problem with this generation is that as much as storytelling experiences where really pushed as a constant, nobody seemed to understand that for an experience to be especially powerful, it needs a definite end. To me it never feels like the generation ended because somewhere halfway through the console generation, my current generation console died. In that same way, most games would just sort of stop continuing halfway through the experience instead of actually ending.
The few games that actually did dare to end would later get DLC that would revert the ending, because the developers didn't know how to build up to an ending successfully and thought that was the real problem with the experience sort of collapsing in on itself near the end.
What do you mean with "using images to prove a point so you can't get quoted on it?"
So instead of a story actually having an ending point, we got endless cliffhangers. These cliffhangers were there in place to sell us more DLC and further sequels, which funnily enough got accepted much more easily than I feel it should have been. It's especially weird when you realize that a lot of games that tried this in the generation before it would get slammed because "they're trying to sell us one game for the price of several."
Which is actual criticism for the .hack series. A franchise I'd always hoped would get an HD collection this gen at some point just so I could buy it in one go.
There's still a lot of games I feel I need to go back and play. Lately I've been playing Valkyria Chronicles on a friend's PS3 and I'm really enjoying that. I also tried playing Bioshock Infinite, which, if I'd paid for it, would've been my absolute least favorite high profile game of the generation, with the original closer to the opposite end of the spectrum. I also played bits of Uncharted, which made me feel like I had as much control as playing a lets play.
If I'd have one regret this generation, and I'm sure to rectify this in the future, it's that I never played Demon's Souls or Dark Souls. Every time I hear people talk about it, it sounds like they're enjoying it for the exact same reasons I enjoyed Spelunky. And I know it sounds weird to compare games like that to one another, but there's that same level of deep appreciation that comes between fans of well-crafted, punishing games with a steep learning curve that is easy to recognize.
The weirdest thing I realized near the end was that I hadn't enjoyed a single Final Fantasy or Zelda game the entire time. Especially jarring when this was also the generation where I finally realized I'm the same age as the original Legend of Zelda game.
Despite all the complaints, all of the problems, all of the times I told myself I was done with gaming altogether this generation, it ended up becoming the one generation where I really decided for myself that I was really into games. I've been playing video games for my entire life. My earliest memories of traces of game influences in them, together with an awareness that I'd been gaming before even that. For most of my life, gaming was just a thing I did because I did it. I never really questioned why I was doing it, or if I was enjoying it. Several points in this generation I realized I was just playing it just because, and I wasn't enjoying myself. If this generation hadn't been so rocky for me, I never would've questioned gaming as a media form as much as I have done now, and I never would've grown as appreciate of it as I am today.
That alone makes me happy about this past decade. In that warm fuzzy feeling sorta way.