I have many character flaws. After all, I'm not perfect. Nobody is. But as I was playing Gears of War 2 recently, a friend pointed one out to me that had me actually spooked.
I'm a lazy person; I can be infuriatingly laid-back. My laziness annoys me, and yet I can't seem to do anything about it. I'm incredibly scatter-brained and can never focus on anything unless I am really interested in it, and then I bypass "focus" and go into full-blown obsession over whatever it is, be it coding or playing video games or reading a book or whatever.
I hate people. I think of almost everybody else as idiots, amazed at how they just can't seem to see the answer to a problem or the general picture of things. I know in my head that the average person is axiomatically average in terms of mental capability. I know in my head that people aren't dumb, I'm just smart. Everyone from my parents to my psychiatrist to my therapist (yes, I have a psychiatrist and a therapist, for depression and ADHD issues) to every single teacher I've ever had has told me I'm borderline genius, to the point where I actually feel irrational disgust towards anyone who calls me "smart". And yet, I still somehow end up labeling people less intelligent than me as idiots in my head. I can't seem to stop, and I've tried.
But most disturbing of all, I find extreme gore funny, which scares me. I mentioned in the intro above that I was playing Gears of War 2 when my friend pointed this out to me; I was actually literally laughing out loud while chainsawing somebody to death. Most people find the gore awesome, I find it hilarious. Maybe it's because of how over-the-top it is, because I don't have the same reaction when playing less gorey games like Halo or Call of Duty. At least I hope that's what it is.
Anybody else think over-the-top gore is funny? Please say yes.
Pretty much speaks for itself. I don't really like the sting at the end, it feels like it's a bit too much, but otherwise very funny. Credit goes to Youtube user chaopolis. The actual Youtube page can be found here.
In the days before I really got into console gaming, a transition which I mark as when I truly began to be obsessed with video games, I played a lot of handheld games, as well as a few PC games. I just felt like I should do a post about five of my favorite games on the GBA and DS.
Golden Sun Golden Sun was one of the best titles in the entire GBA library, if not the best. Its sprites and art were so gorgeous that they made this game look better than almost any other game on the platform. I should clarify: I hate JRPGs, but I loved this game. The battle system was much better than any Final Fantasy game I've ever played (I & II and IV on the GBA, III on the DS), primarily because it involved actual strategy, which sort of validates the turn-based system. The story was really cool to me because it wasn't about revenge or love, which seem to be way too common themes in JRPGs. Also, the game was paced so that the gameplay never really got in the way or even distracted from the narrative. I was aware of where I had to, what I had to do, and why at all times when I played it. Another cool part of the game was that, in order to progress through a dungeon or level, one had to get through puzzles that often required the use of special powers. The music was great, too.
Golden Sun: The Lost Age Golden Sun's sequel, The Lost Age, was easily the best game on the GBA. It was, without a doubt, a better game than the first, which was already a great game, for the simple reason that it had more stuff in it. It didn't really change much with the gameplay, but that didn't really matter because the original had already gotten it right. The more attentive among you will notice that my avatar is the main character, Felix. Of course, now the less attentive among you will notice this too.
Metroid Prime: Hunters I was blown away by this game. I never expected handhelds to be able to handle first-person shooters at all, let alone as well as Metroid Prime: Hunters. The story mode is very fun, but I never spent half the time playing it as I did playing in the multiplayer mode, whether against bots or other people over Nintendo's WFC. The multiplayer was very robust, with several different modes, lots of customizable options, plenty of maps, up to four players, and seven different characters to choose from, each with a different "affinity weapon" which was essentially a better version of a weapon that every other hunter could use. Samus's was her rockets, which could track. Trace's was the laser rifle; when wielding it and standing still, he became invisible. The main gripe I've heard about this game is the control scheme can often lead to cramped hands, but I've experienced far worse from a mouse and keyboard. Using the stylus to aim is a great idea, and it's a wonder more developers aren't making FPS's using that control scheme, because it works really well. The graphics are also very nice, especially for a DS game.
Super Mario 64 DS This game was much more than just a port of the revolutionary N64 game. It was better in almost every way; more places to explore, more stars to collect, more characters to play as, lots of fun mini-games, which I usually hate but are a nice addition here, and much better graphics and art than the original. Many critics hated the D-pad compared to an analog stick, but I never had any problems with it; I just held the R button or whatever to crawl when I needed to go slowly, and everything was cool.
Age of Empires: Age of Kings Often overlooked and ignored in favor of the more popular Advance Wars franchise, this title nevertheless was a solid offering and my most-played game on the DS. First of all, it involved resource gathering through construction of mines, windmills, and farms, which adds to the strategy required to win. Second of all, it had a Library function, where anyone interested could read about the history of the real world equivalents of all the technologies, units, structures, heroes, and wars in the game. I once spent over an hour straight just reading those entries. I still play this game when I'm on the go or am grounded from my 360, although that is also due in part to the fact that I have lost all of my other DS and GBA games :(
I've noticed that there seems to be very few of my favorite animal in video games these days, whether as main characters or whatever. Everyone seems to like dogs better, as evidenced by the most recent Zelda game, Fable II, and Fallout 3. Well I say no more! I want a feline playable character in a video game by the end of next year! Here's why:
Kittens are the most adorable things on the entire fucking planet. Why limit it to earth, though? Why not take the extreme cuteness of kittens to explore the galaxy, visiting alien worlds like in Mass Effect? They could rule the universe!
Kittens, while cute, are also stone cold killers. Their cuteness only makes them more effective at killing, because nobody suspects a kitten of anything. Even when they get caught, nobody can stay mad at something with a fuzzy face like that.
Catgirl-like creatures are very awesome. Look at her fucking claws. If you have any doubt as to whether catgirls are awesome, you are an idiot.
Catwoman was an incredible movie. I hear it even won some awards, like the Golden Raspberries, which are way more prestigious than Oscars.
Hitler was not a cat. 'Nuff said.
You can't do shit against something that's both dead and alive at the same fucking time. Even trying to do so will just make you look like a complete tool.
Pumpkin, pictured above meditating before his next battle, is a bad-ass motherfucker. I nicknamed him MegaKitty so that he would have a name more befitting his godlike power. Just today, I got right up in his face and challenged him to a fight, screaming, "YOU WANNA GO, MEGAKITTY? HUH?" so that my voice sounded like the singer in the shitty Rock Band 2 song Visions. You know what he did? He meowed a one liner, did a 180 degree flip sideways into a prone position, then proceeded to knead the air while purring a purr so fucking vicious it made children on the fucking moon cry. That is how badass he is.
I'm thinking a stealth game where you play as a fucking ninja cat sniper. Yeah.
Massively multiplayer online games have, to me, always been repulsive in almost every way. My best friend is obsessed with one called FlyFF, and I just don't understand why. All he ever seems to do in that game is level grind relentlessly and then run around killing monsters for no reason. He is not alone in his love of these games, as millions of people continue to play World of Warcraft and the like. I have tried playing a couple MMOs but could never get into it, and I have never truly enjoyed any of them. Though my friend would say it's because I suck at them, it all really comes down to four general reasons, I think.
First of all, all the MMOs I've tried have focused heavily on level grinding. Level grinding is not something I enjoy, especially not when battles consist of simply clicking on an enemy and occasionally healing yourself. I have no problems with level grinding in games like Golden Sun, whose strategic turn-based combat and amazing graphics and beautiful sprites made it interesting, but when a game basically requires you to spend a ridiculous amount of time clicking enemies with little to no action, I start to get bored and annoyed. I don't need work in my video games.
I'm generally a shy person. If I say something, it's because that something has passed through various censors in my mind to be deemed important or interesting enough to be spoken aloud. I'm not saying I don't like talking to random strangers online, but I don't like that concept to be a central mechanism of a game.
Playing games with other people almost always breaks immersion, but in MMOs this effect is ridiculous. Everybody talks to each other in shorthand. People stand around spamming inane messages. I find it impossible to get drawn into a game when I notice how people are acting in-game. Nobody's actually role-playing, they're just questing to get a high-level character so they can show everybody else how much better they are because of how much more time they spend playing a boring game.
RPGs should always have strong plots, but the MMORPGs I've played tend to lack any seriously compelling narrative. Most of them, from what I've seen and been told, are simply random quests to go kill X number of A monsters, for seemingly no reason. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't see the point of these games. In shooters you defeat your enemies, in puzzle games you solve puzzles, in real RPGs you complete the story, but the only thing I can come up with for MMORPGs is get to a very high level and act superior to everyone else.
Every time I try to play a MMO like World of Warcraft, I just can't help but think how much work it is, and think of playing another game. And when that happens, I just give up and go play something more fun.
I have never, ever been a particularly good student, at least not as far as grades go. In my freshman year of high school, I failed my trigonometry/precalculus course and had to retake it the next year. Mind you, in my school trigonometry/precalculus is generally taken by sophomores or juniors, so I didn't really feel too bad about that. Later, in my senior year, I struggled with my English class. My teacher was obsessed with assigning us long-term projects, which I've never been good at. I actually flunked last year because of that class, and this Monday I'm starting my second senior year via cyber school. The day I found out that I would not be graduating with all the people I had come to know over the past four years was easily the worst day of my life so far. It was definitely worse than when I found out my parents were separating, or when I found out my mom was a lesbian, or when my beloved great-grandfather died.
Let me get one thing straight: I'm no idiot, by any means. I was taking a math course two years ahead of the rest of my classmates. I took extra science courses, practically acing my AP Physics class, despite the fact I was the youngest person in that class. I have always been in the gifted classes. When I was in seventh grade, I took the SAT (before they added the stupid writing portion) and got a combined score of 1160. I got ninth place in the Patriot News regional Spelling Bee in eighth grade. In the summer between seventh and eighth grade I took a college level course on ancient Greek language via Johns Hopkins University's CTY program. The last time I got an IQ test, my score was 146. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to grow up to become a nuclear physicist. I was always the guy everybody asked to help them with their homework and whose test scores nobody was interested in knowing. My most recent SAT score was 2180: 780 math, 700 reading, 700 writing.
But I have ADHD, and have always had problems with remembering to do homework and focusing on long-term projects. I also have problems writing essays because they tend to lose logical structure about halfway through. I quickly forget what I set out to prove or say. My thoughts flow rapidly between random ideas with no logical pattern. I have taken medication for it for years, but it never seems to help with my main problems. I still don't have my driver's license because for over a year I was afraid that I would not be able to focus well enough to drive.
There are precious few things that allow me to think coherently. The first of these that I discovered was reading books. I loved to read because it was really the only time the cacophony inside my head would stop and let me focus on something. I actually got so involved with books that I would completely forget the world around me. When I got older, I noticed video games had the same effect, and just last year I found that computer programming does the same thing. Television and movies never quite cut it with me. They never seemed to be able to challenge my brain the way reading or playing video games did.
My brother, Ross, is about a year and a half my junior and has also been diagnosed with ADHD. However, he seems to exhibit none of the same symptoms as me. He's loud, obnoxious, hyperactive, and an idiot. He's never had quite as much trouble in school as I have. My thoughts need to pass through some heavy filters before they leave my mouth; he blurts out whatever he is thinking, and often says stupid, inane things simply to hear the sound of his voice. He tends to giggle uncontrollably and annoyingly at things that are only slightly funny. In short, I was much more mature than him at his age. He sucks at video games, but still demands to play them all the time, and when I tell him that I want to play a single player game he hangs around and tries to intentionally aggravate me into letting him play. The worst part about when he is around is that I can never focus on the game I'm playing very well because he's trying to be silly by walking weird and making irritating clicking noises with his mouth.
I have always been a bit of a loner, an outcast. I never really minded that I didn't have many friends in school because, to be honest, I didn't like many people at my school. Everybody was always telling me how smart I was when I would solve a problem for them, and I'd think in my head that they were idiots for not being able to see the solution. I know that they aren't actually idiots, they're just average, but humans tend to gauge others by comparing them to themselves, and I still have trouble breaking that habit. I always felt that my life was empty, though, until I got my Xbox 360 and discovered the wonders of console gaming. Now I have some goals in life. They're not good ones, but at least they exist.
Finally, I come to both the best and worst effect that video games has had on me: causing me to hyperfocus on them. I love video games because I can forget the world around me when I play them, and can think rationally and in an organized manner. I have something to think about when I'm at school. Last year, my parents told me they were getting a divorce, and I kind of retreated into my games. The problem was that, between gaming and my parents' divorce, I really couldn't focus on school projects or homework, and so my grades kept going down and down until I got the phone call that said I wouldn't be graduating.
This year I really fucking hope I do better with cyber school.