My name is Aaron a.k.a. Ballistic as you will come to know me. I've been a browser of Destructoid for quite a long time, and a user for some time as well, but I haven't made my presence known to many people until now, but there's a chance you might have seen my comments by now. I think this is a great site for interesting conversations about awesome games with cool people. But I decided it wasn't right to simply take from this place, no, I believe it's important to give back. So, I hope that I can bring an interesting point of view to the blogs that hasn't quite been filled by all the other colorful characters here. I thought I'd start out this introduction post by telling you about me and my full personal gaming history, but realized that would be boring, lame, and predictable. Instead, I'll just tell you about the games that have had the biggest impact on my life and even my personality, hopefully that's a bit more worth reading to you guys. These would definitely be some of my favorite games, but I also have many more that I really enjoy and think are great. I will apologize up front, this is a long blog. But, I felt that I wouldn't be doing myself justice without putting on here what you see. For those of the short attention span, I have put some nice shiny pictures to guide you, so be at ease. If you really don't have the time or are lazy like me, just pick one game and read that paragraph. I'll meet you down at the end of the post.
Games that have most influenced me the most (with spoilers for those who haven't played them)
Super Mario World
- Although the original Super Mario Bros was one of the first games I ever played, and 3 is the most iconic and had arguably better level design, Super Mario World is the most influential to me. There was always a certain mystique about this game when I first owned it as a kid. I remember calling up my next door neighbor because of my incredible excitement when a warp pipe's exit brought me out in view of bowsers' castle. I was always exploring every inch of each level, constantly on the watch for anything that might lead to a secret area. When I discovered the star road, I would not give up on the brutal challenge of those levels until I found out where every exit lead to. This was the first game I ever beat, and it no doubt makes my top ten video game boss fights and endings because of how awesome it was when I first completed it. When I played this game, I think it was similar to the way others have claimed they felt when they first played one of the Zelda games. I don't think that the new 3d Mario games have quite captured that same sense of exploration and challenge that the 2d ones have always possessed, but Galaxy sure is pretty to look at.
- I didn't realize just how much I loved this game until I happened to watch the opening cinematic on youtube the other day. I was instantly reminded of why I played this game; because it KICKED ASS. The opening cinematic's music, introduction of characters, and just plain and simple martial arts action feel that the movie had are all just a sample of the full game. My introduction to Tekken was from my experience with a PlayStation demo that I had when I first got my system. I played that demo to death, making me a fan of many of the games on it. But Tekken 3 stuck out because it was multiplayer, and allowed me to endlessly play matches with my cheap little brother who always chose Eddy Gordo, leaving me stuck with Ling Xiaoyu. I ended up buying the game later on and played it even more, coming to know it like the back of my hand. I got all the secret characters and watched my favorite endings through the cinema in between matches of tekken volleyball and tekken force. This game had it ALL. To this day, my favorite character is Bryan Fury, that dude is one crazy bastard who laughs maniacally in the face of a tank blast and his combos will brutally break your face! I think Tekken's third installment is the high point of the series, even though others have included more characters or even more features.
Armored Core 2
- If I haven't made it clear by my sidebar and my icon, let me just say this again: I love giant robots. Armored Core allows me to experience very vividly, not what it would be like to be a giant robot, but to pilot one, making it closer to a simulator than an action game. Unfortunately, I believe the series has pushed itself out of sight of being fun and moved too far into the technical side of things, at least, that's how it was during the ps2 era. I also think the series had the best balance of fun and strategy in the second installment, when I happened to get into it the most. My best friend in middle school had a ps2 along with this game and whenever I came over on the weekends, we would take turns playing it. We would switch up between the missions and the arena, trying to garner enough credits to buy the next shiniest weapon in the shop so we could get more credits, so we could buy the next shiniest weapon in the shop . . .we never got tired of it. Often when we weren't playing the game, We were thinking about playing the game, or talking about playing the game, or drawing pictures of how our core should look when it was perfected. By the time I got my own ps2, my friend had moved away, but the first game I bought was of course Armored Core 2. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite the same experience anymore without someone to talk about it with. However, the taste for the series has never left me, and I'll always be in search for the next shiniest weapon to get more credits...
Final Fantasy 9
- This is possibly my favorite game of all time. This is also the first final fantasy game I had ever played, making me pretty late to the party. Until I played 9, I never knew how strongly a game could make you feel. That changed as I found myself right alongside the party in their quest to save the world. I was completely floored when I got to the end of the first disc and realized that I very much cared about what happened to these adventurers as if they were my friends. The other final fantasies are great (although I've never quite agreed with the 7 fanboys' claims of greatness), but what made me connect with this one was the cast of characters. I thought Zidane was really cool and fun just to see him interact with the others, completely unlike the emotionally troubled protagonists of other games. I empathized with Steiner's loyalty and fierce determination to do what was right for his kingdom. But, the character I most related to was the little black mage Vivi. When I first played this game, I was very much like how he was in the beginning; quiet and unsure of himself. But as he was put through the trails of the group's journey, and endured the shock of his origins, he became an incredibly strong character. I now find myself having gone through life and become more like Vivi after his trials. His own part in the story's ending makes me choke up even to this day. I honestly hope I never stop liking this game, because it speaks of a part of myself that I never want to lose, my wholesome love of life . Alright, I'll quit with the sappiness, but if I have my way, I'll be making as many worthwhile blogs as I can think of related to this game.
Metal Gear Solid 2
- Like many other great video game series (what's the plural of series, serieses, serii?), I wasn't even aware of how good Metal Gear Solid was until years after it gained fame. I ended up buying it on a whim because it was 5 bucks used at a gamestop. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. The first thing I did was try and read the 300 page report on Shadow Moses, then woke up and realized I had fallen asleep to the sound of my own confusion. I played the tanker story, not knowing just how disappointing it would be to countless others when they found out that they wouldn't be controlling Snake for the rest of the game. I was still marveling at just how weird and cinematic the game was at that point. Now, to clarify, before I played this game, I had only had negative experiences with stealth portions of otherwise action/platformers/rpgs and didn't think I could ever like a game based entirely around stealth. Metal Gear Solid, though not the most realistic stealth game, made me love stealth action, which I thought was impossible. Yeah, Raiden was kinda whiny, and when you also think of his conversations with Rose, it seemed more like a soap opera than a 'rescue the president' mission. But I happily accepted all those pointless conversations for just a glimpse of Glory deflecting gunshots effortlessly, or Vamp running on water. I could not believe
just how cool some of the boss characters were, and their fights were even cooler! The fight with the Harrier? incredible, even better than most movies! When Raiden takes on a near endless supply of RAY's? How the hell is that not more talked about?! But the crowning moment for me, my favorite moment in all of metal gear, is when Kojima starts messing with your mind. I'm talking about when Raiden escapes from his torture, naked and disoriented, and starts to get calls from Colonel that don't make any damn sense. And then when he actually says 'put down the game and take a break', Hideo made me really freak out at just how awesome that moment was. When I let one of my other friends play through the game, they actually called me when they got to that point and demanded that I tell them what the hell was going on. Each time I play through that game again I feel a bit more like it could end up being my favorite game. Whether it is or isn't, I think 2 should get a bit more respect out of people who like the series.
Super Smash Bros Melee/Brawl
-Anybody whose played this game with a bunch of friends regularly knows why I would find these games awesome. There is just something so gratifying and fun about whipping a baseball bat across hyrule temple to nail pikachu and dash your friend's hopes of staying in the match to the floor, along with his freshly broken controller. I never owned a gamecube, but I played melee whenever I came over to my melee playing friend's house. We played that game so much, and fought against each other so frequently and brutally that we became damn near experts. Particularly in my friend Seth, I found a great sparring partner. I always felt like we were Goku and Krillin from Dragon Ball, truly enjoying a great fight simply for the love of a great challenge and the exhilaration that comes from pushing our skills to the limit. What the game had to offer us in the way of challenge simply didn't hold a candle to what a good 4 human player scrap could. As we found out that Brawl was in development we grew more and more hyped for the game, playing melee whenever possible. We even competed in one of those gamestop held competitions for brawl during the midnight release. That actually was an epic disaster because almost all of us lost, which I will always blame on the wii controller setup being the only thing available at our store. Yeah, yeah, I'm a sore loser. I would not consider melee superior to brawl or brawl superior to melee, because I find that they provide different functions. Melee is more of an environment for those with quick reflexes and on the spot decision making skills, where you can be as creative and play expertly at the expense of fair competition from others. Brawl is a much more level playing field that is strategic and thought producing, often giving the victory to those who know how to use the items and level to their advantage.
LET THE PUNS BEGIN!!
- This is the level to which I have been influenced by Kingdom Hearts: I am writing and drawing a comic for me and five of my closest friends about us being in the series. Yes, I know, that's FANFICTION, something only the psychos and obsessives do, but I'm more than willing to go down that horrible path for both Kingdom Hearts and my friends. When I first saw the commercials for the game, I wasn't sure what to think of it. It looked cool and different, but also really strange, almost awkward. But, eventually I ended up getting to play it, and all my doubts were gone after I found myself on destiny islands taking on tidus, wakka, and selphie in a 3 on one match. I really loved Sora and his friends, and at the time I could relate to them because I still felt like a kid. When I got to hollow bastion, unaware of what was going happen, I was really there in the moment with Sora, feeling shocked and vulnerable as he lost his power and had to rely on Beast to help him get inside the castle. It was a very powerful experience to me, and made me like Beast a bit better for being my protector for a while. The original Kingdom Hearts used the Disney characters to great effect, bringing up emotions that you felt as you first watched those famous movies as a kid.
Games that I also think are really awesome:
Knights of the Old Republic
Front Mission 4
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
Shadow of the Collosus
Call of Duty 4
Xenosaga Series (Haven't played Xenogears, I really want to though)
and many more. . .
If you've read everything up to this far, congratulations, pat yourself on the back. There's juice and cookies waiting at the finish line. I hope you guys enjoyed reading about some of my favorite games, I think that should give you a pretty good idea of where I'm coming from when I say that I really
P.S. Guys, don't take Mr. Sadistic's catch phrase from him. Let him say it, otherwise it won't mean nothin. read