In particular, I’ve had an itch to post a blog and now I’m finally able to scratch.
Honestly I don’t have any kind of topic or thoughts about a particular game. Rather, I’d like to share with you my adventures at Happy’s Flea Market down in southern Virginia. I visited some friends down in Roanoke a few weeks back (no, not the lost colony…the city) and while I was there came across a huge sign that said HAPPY'S FLEA MARKET – 2 MILES. I couldn’t pass this up.
I don’t know if it’s the Walmart-esque smiley face or the missing “p” that scares me more
This place was filled with the most delightful people. I mean that in a both sarcastic and completely honest sense. On one hand there were creepy white boys giving me the southern glare, and on the other hand I had some great conversations with genuinely cheery people. It was a unique experience to say the least.
Anyway, the picture above does not do this place justice. It’s insanely HUGE on the inside. As in, I-got-lost-in-a-hallway-with-broken-lights-and-spiders-and-thought-I-was-in-the-Haunted-Mansion huge.
Eventually my sixth gaming sense lead me to an electronics store full of older games. I saw a case full of N64 games and my heart leapt at the thought that the owner may just be dumb enough to not double check the rarity on ebay. Sadly, I was wrong.
The good case: $25-$40 each :[
The crap case: ˝ off (forever)
So I moved onto the SNES games, thinking that maybe I’d be in luck and find myself a Chrono Trigger or an Earthbound. Again, no luck.
There were 5 more rows of games labeled at $19.14, which left me with so many questions. Why all the same price? Why not .15 cents? WHY HAPPY, WHY?!
However, I did find a pretty sweet Poison cassette tape!
I'm having a lot of trouble trying to figure out which one is Bret Michaels
I moved onto other stores, each one worse as I walked deeper into the market. I eventually got to a toy shop with old action figures from my childhood and reminisced for a few minutes. Until I saw this thing:
I. FUCKING. HATE. E.T.
I seriously considered buying it so I could send it to Occams because…well…it was creepy and reminded me of him, but I couldn’t bear to pick it up. So he sits there lonely and without batteries, for eternity I suppose.
Unless one of YOU wants to take a trip to Happy’s Flea Market.
Before I begin, I just want to thank everyone at Destructoid who wished me, Supermonk, and Jesse luck in the Kmart E3 contest. Sadly none of us won -- my thoughts are here if anyone is interested.
Recently I was talking with my co-op buddy about Portal 2. I wish I had saved the transcript because it was pretty interesting, but essentially we ended up having a conversation much like being in a relationship...but with video games.
He asked which platform I bought Portal 2 for, and when I told him that in addition to Steam I got it for PS3 he recoiled -- he was never a big fan of the PS3. When I explained that the PS3 copy was for co-op I could picture his face drop through the chat window. “Why with someone else?” he essentially said. “We’re co-op buddies…right?”
I elaborated and said that because Ed (my boyfriend) and I share almost everything, including a Steam account, that we needed to consider another co-op option for Portal 2 and the PS3 fit the bill. He immediately brightened up and e-breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, your boyfriend, I was worried it was someone else,” as if I were cheating on him with another co-op partner. He wanted to save his Portal 2 co-op virginity for me, and made me promise that I’d do the same for him – that after Ed I would "save" myself for him.
The concept of co-op virginity has never really popped into my head before. I’m familiar with “saving” myself for other means of entertainment, like promising a friend that I’ll go see a specific movie with them – but I’ve never really thought too hard about first time experiences with co-op games.
To be honest, I have had really bad first experiences with some co-op games. One of my friends took it too fast – he had been extremely experienced with the game before I met him, and I was all bright eyed and bushy-tailed wanting to soak everything in. He sped through as I was trying to read the background materials, get a feel for the characters, and understand the plot. It eventually got to the point where we had to stop playing – he was tired of waiting on me, and I was sick of him pushing me.
Then again, I’ve had some great first co-op experiences, especially when the other person is a “virgin” as well. And with some of my friends, it feels natural to play co-op with them even if it’s not their first time. Sometimes it’s worth waiting for the right partner before you play the game.
I think it’s funny that my happiness with a co-op game rides completely on the experiences and personalities of those I’m playing with. It is in fact a relationship of its own – there’s jealousy when the other person is playing with someone else instead of you, there’s longing with they’re busy with another game, and there’s happiness when you accomplish something together.
A good co-op game will provide entertainment; a fantastic co-op game will give you a relationship.
I’ve been a gamer my entire life. I started with my parents teaching me how to hold a joystick for the Atari. From there I grew -- I would sneak onto the computer and play my dad's PC games like Wolfenstein 3D and Duke Nukem (shake it, baby). After receiving a Nintendo one Christmas I wanted nothing more than to have the latest consoles, and when I wasn't gaming I'd spend all my time discussing games with my friends. Playing video games isn't just a hobby for me; it's always been a lifestyle and one that I hold dear.
Lil’ Cait! (all the cool kids got Game Gears for Christmas ;] )
In college I took my life’s passion for playing video games and finally started to write about them with a linguistics study on gaming terminology and moved on to a 40 page undergraduate thesis about the art and aesthetic within video games. I dedicated my senior year assisting a professor with video game research in my university’s media lab. But I didn’t want to stop there, after I secured a full time job I began to dedicate my free time to writing for Gamelemon. Eventually I moved on to create my own site, C8-bit, but wanting to interact more with the gamer community I started a blog here on Destructoid. I realized that for me, writing was more important as a tool used to interact with the community rather than to gain an audience.
I did this because I'm a big people-person. My profession is recruiting, and I love it wholeheartedly. I talk with programmers every day to get a feel for what their interests are and align them to the right place. I feel that this skill would be extremely helpful if I go to E3 -- speaking with developers and interacting in a way that I feel most comfortable.
It's more than a dream for me to go to E3. It would be a goal I've had for years to interact with the gamer community up close and personal; to be on the front lines instead of the back end. I’d particularly be interested in what’s coming for gamers like me – those who enjoy console as well as PC gaming. Is the market going to continue to shift towards multiplayer, or will there be a safe haven for those who enjoy solo play? Will there be any new “true” RPGS or are they dying out? Is motion gaming here to stay or a novelty? Is it time for a new generation of consoles?
There are a lot of specific things I want to find out, too. I'm hopeful to hear mentions of GTA5, Fable IV, or the latest buzz on Fiv5. I’m also interested in seeing more of The Last Guardian, Skyward Sword, and Silent Hill: Downpour. I’d like to see where Blizzard is at with Diablo 3 and if they’re going to surprise us with their next-gen MMO (World of Diablo, anyone? Anyone?!). What kind of content is Bioware developing for Dragon Age 2, and what updates are coming for SWTOR? How is their progression with Mass Effect 3 coming along?
Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
It would be a blast to go to E3 with Kmart. I’ve seen bits and pieces about what Kmart has been doing in the market, and I think it would be up my alley to represent them at E3. I like that they’re not just setting up deals – they’re implementing something that a lot of their competitors haven’t thought of yet. They’re creating a community for gamers to post their opinions, peer reviews, and have the chance to be a part of the scene as a whole. And I totally dig that.
I know I have the personality, aptitude, interest, and ambition for this opportunity. So, my fellow Destructoid peeps, wish me luck and (hopefully) I’ll be able to provide you some E3 coverage, Cait style!
When I start up a game for the first time I get all giddy inside, but sometimes the feeling lasts for only an hour or two. Shortly after, I begin to act like a total curmudgeon – for every likable aspect, I end up smothering it with twice the amount of negativity. My relationship with Braid fits this mold.
It started out beautiful. The music was delightful – in fact it was so charming that I’d let it run in the background while I was online. The art style was amazing and I often found myself staring at the detailed scenes before attempting to solve the puzzles. I thought it was neat how I could rewind time and erase my mistakes with ease. I adored the tiny suited man you play, Tim, and his story…at first.
After the first chapter my feelings began to change. I started noticing tiny flaws, which in turn grew into huge complaints. Instead of charming, the story turned convoluted and pretentious. I became sick of staring at Tim’s stupid smirk. Rewinding time became less of a novelty and more of a pain. I wanted to smack that dinosaur silly every time he stepped out of that castle and told me the princess was nowhere to be found.
The puzzles were getting harder, but not the kind of challenge I look forward to in puzzle games. Rather, they depended on my ability to understand how to manipulate the world around me and not my ability to use the specific skill at the time. I often had to seek advice from outside sources, and it eventually got to the point where I couldn’t complete a puzzle without receiving help first.
I felt like I had no choice but to abandon Braid.
Braid’s story focuses on Tim’s relationship with a princess as he struggles with what he did to her, and how he compromised his morals in the process. As I was going through the push and pull of Tim’s story, I found myself playing tug of war with my relationship with Braid -- and I eventually had to give up my end of the rope. Unfortunately I won’t ever know what happened to Tim or his princess, or even if he felt at peace with his decisions in the end. And part of me doesn’t care.
But I don’t want to adopt this attitude with the rest of my games – I want the giddiness to last, or at least the satisfaction to continue. Perhaps I need to be less critical and enjoy the good rather than let the frustration get to me. Maybe it’s time to reconcile and give Braid another chance.
The other day I remembered that I had Alan Wake hidden somewhere in the nethers of my incomplete game pile. It’s kind of silly that I took so long to pick it up again, because once I put the game in it only took another 5 minutes to beat (I had stopped playing right before that evil tornado bullshit). So now, I can breathe a sigh of relief and can finally put my thoughts on e-paper.
Let’s begin with the good.
I’m not sure if this makes any sense, but the story was interesting despite the plot being a bit convoluted. For example I enjoyed playing as Wake pre-Bright Falls in his apartment, listening to the radio show, reading the manuscript pages (although they were pretty horribly written), etc. It provided for a nice atmosphere.
I also liked how the game mirrored pop culture icons -- I think the shining achievement was the Night Springs TV show in the game (which of course pays tribute to the Twilight Zone).
There were also a few startling moments that got to me – the trailer that gets picked up while you’re inside and you have to escape, a Taken storming out of a bathroom stall, bulldozer of death, etc. But they were few far in between to make the game thrilling for me. That brings me to…
The bad and the ugly
Trees. I used to love trees. But I don’t think I like them so much anymore. In fact, I’m thinking about burning down some forests in Minecraft to wipe my head clean of forests. I think there was a grand total of one chapter where you didn’t have to walk through a forest. It was a farm surrounded by trees.
The flashlight idea. At first, I thought it was cool and added a neat aspect to a game that I haven’t seen before. But after killing the 300th Taken I wanted to throw the effing thing over a mountain. It got so repetitive, so boring that I started running past the Taken just so I didn’t have to deal with it anymore.
The plot. I’m not going to spoiler anything here, but to me it seemed like they tried too hard to make something out of nothing. I mean I got it, I understood what it was going for, but it set the audience up for something that wasn’t there. I thought that maybe the DLC would cover the missing piece (which, in my opinion, is not what DLC should be used for), but when I read about it, it seemed to be a continuation of the same bullshit. Anyone who has played through the DLC please tell me if you found otherwise.
So in summary, if someone offered me a copy of Alan Wake or a fresh plate of hot crispy bacon, I’d go for the latter.
Nothing beats drinking an entire bottle of wine and playing Lego Rock Band.
Last night was the first night this week that I didn't have to work late, and in which I had the chance to work from home the next morning -- so I took the drunken Rock Band route. And it was fantastic. (Although on a side note I did end up having nightmares last night about possessing cocaine...)
I haven't had the chance to pick up RB3 yet -- I'm still working through Lego and Beatles (although that seemed to drop off the edge of the planet) and even a bit of RB2 honestly. But I have to say -- Lego, despite some its really shitastic songs, is my favorite. The overall game features are easy to use, the avenues are neat, cut scenes are delightful, and MINIFIGS!
I love the octopus at 1:30 -- I was so hoping that he'd be our drummer but apparently there are no octopi allowed (this rule bites you in the ass later ;] )
Okay so I admit -- I've been drinking every time I play LRB. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a pretty adorable game that brings a feeling of nostalgia as well as some hilarity mixed in. I got it on the cheap during some goldbox deal on Amazon, and I think it's only like $15 bucks now. You can export the songs to any of the regular RB games, and vice versa into LRB -- although it will only import the family-friendly songs from RB which kinda blows. Regardless I think it's worth the $ if you're into Legos or just want to build up your tracks in RB. Rock on!