I'm in my 20s, I'm married, and I've been playing games since I was 4. I still remember buying my own NES system at Sears and going home and playing Mario/Duck Hunt. Fast forward to the present, my wife and I now own a PS3, 360, Wii, and Wii U.
As far as contemporary systems go, I also own an iPhone 4 (which I game on very heavily - check out HookChamp), a 3DS XL, the Kinect, the PS Move, a PSP-2000, and a Playstation Vita. If I had to choose a system I had the "best times" with, it would be a two way tie between the Sega Dreamcast and Sony Playstation 2. My favorite game series is Mega Man Classic, but I own every Metal Gear, Devil May Cry, Zelda, Kingdom Hearts, Wario, Tony Hawk, main series Final Fantasy, and Resident Evil game ever released in the US (and a lot more), so it's a close call!
There are too many good games out to count now, but I'm always itching to play my backlog of old PS2 action titles. I'll play anything and everything action-adventure, so if you have a game in mind, drop me a line! I have strong opinions regarding the financial decisions of many publishers, but at the end of the day, I'm willing to give anything a chance; especially if it comes recommended by a community member.
Oh; and in 2012 I started contributing to Destructoid.
Resident Evil 5
Fallout: New Vegas
Dragon Age: Origins
Skies of Arcadia
Lunar 1 and 2
World of Warcraft: All Expansions
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Devil May Cry 3
Phantasy Star Online
Ape Escape 1
Rockman and Forte (Megaman and Bass)
Jet Set Radio Future
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Donkey Kong Country
Final Fantasy Tactics
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Persona 4 Golden
Tomb Raider (2013)
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Brave Fencer Musashi
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Far Cry 3
Assassin's Creed III
Retro City Rampage
Guild Wars 2
Binding of Isaac
Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning
Zone of the Enders 2
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Batman: Arkham City
Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Dust: An Elysian Tail
Tomb Raider II
Metal Gear Solid 4
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Zombies At My Neighbors
Super Bomberman 2
Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 3
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
Tony Hawk's Underground 2
Assassin's Creed II
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Ninja Gaiden Black (Xbox)
Power Stone 2
No More Heroes 2
Secret of Mana
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy X
Super Mario RPG
Super Mario 64
Super Mario World
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario 3D Land
Mega Man 8
The Lost Vikings
Bujingai: The Forsaken City
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
Call of Duty: World at War
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Half Minute Hero
Kirby Super Star
Super Meat Boy
Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony
Shantae: Risky's Revenge
Mighty Flip Champs
Child of Eden
Kirby's Dream Course
Shadows of the Damned
Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR)
[Read on for a description of every Metroid game ever released in the US, and my completion of them all in 2013.]
As 2012 comes to a close, I really enjoyed my opportunity to tackle every Resident Evil, Tony Hawk, Kingdom Hearts, and Wario game ever.
But 2013 is a new year, and that means more opportunities to rediscover and relearn entire franchises. Right now I'm looking at starting off 2013 with Metroid and Kirby, with a potential Castlevania Quest to follow.
I'm outright stating "potential" Quest here because that would be pretty damn daunting. There are over 30 games in the franchise, so even with my usual "USA only" restrictions, it would still be in the neighborhood of 20 games -- a bulk of them following the lengthy RPG model.
Either way, stay tuned, and feel free to recommend anything else you have in mind below in the comments!
The original Metroid, Metroid II, and Super Metroid were among my first ever gaming experiences. Although they were years part, and on completely different systems, I felt like they all added to my growth as a gaming enthusiast.
They all taught me how to observe my surroundings at all times, which would come in handy for Demon's and Dark Souls years later. They instructed me on the art of cartography, and helped me understand world maps and minimaps for years to come in various RPGs and MMOs.
They also helped my twitch skills, which would come in handy for my competitive FPS days. But most of all, they allowed me to escape to another world whenever I needed them to, because it wasn't hard to get sucked into a Metroid game.
A really cool factoid about the Metroid series is the realization that there were never more than two Metroid games for any given console or handheld. A true testament to how the series never truly feels over-saturated.
If you haven't joined me on my Quests before, the way they work is pretty simple. It's kind of like a retrospective, but rather than just give you an overview of a franchise, I'll generally let you know what I thought of the game when it was released, and what I think of it now.
If I didn't provide a complete vision of what the game is like before I replay it, I'll provide an "extended thoughts" section below each applicable entry. I'll update my progress in real time through my blog, and after I finish the entire Quest, I'll share it with you guys on the front page.
Metroid - NES [Owned], Game Boy Advance, Virtual Console, 3DS eShop [Owned]
The concept of granting players permanent upgrades is not a standard mechanic back then. Most games relegated themselves to temporary, fleeting power-ups -- but not Metroid.
Getting the Morph Ball and the Screw Attack were a life changing experience. You actually felt like you were achieving something permanent as you went on your journey with Samus. Another cool aspect of the game is the fact that you essentially "level up" by beating bosses to extend your ammo count, and finding Energy Tanks to increase your HP.
In addition to the sprawling open world map, Metroid also introduced a concept that was fairly unknown to the gaming world, intended or not: sequence breaking.
In a nutshell, sequence breaking is the idea of going to areas "you're not supposed to go to yet" in order to progress through the game, and/or locate new items. This concept would be perfectly realized in Super Metroid, and would slowly cease to exist as game design progressed into more complicated overworlds.
I'll fully admit: even though I play this game regularly, it has not aged well. Those who want to experience Samus' initial outing will most likely want to spring for Zero Mission, which is a re-imagining of the canon, and a remake of the first game.
Metroid II: Return of Samus - Game Boy, 3DS eShop [Owned]
Return of Samus was an odd game indeed. In fact, it's potentially the strangest (and most confusing) game in the entire franchise. Part of the reason is due to the small screen of the original brick Game Boy, among many other facets like a confusing world map, samey looking areas, and more vexing design choices.
Even still, hunting down Metroids was both scary, and fun. You basically spend the entire game hunting various incarnations of Metroids, which gives it a distinct survival horror feeling to it, that isn't as easily replicated throughout the franchise.
There are two new weapons (the "spread-like" Spazer Beam and the Plasma Beam), and new moves like the Space Jump, which allowed you to jump to an infinite degree, or the Spider Ball, which allows Samus to attach to walls. You also start with the Morph Ball, which is a nice touch to provide some continuity from the first game.
As a funny bit of trivia, there were technical difficulties that led to the redesign of Samus' Power and Varia suits. In the original game, these two suits were differentiated by color; seeing as that wasn't an option on the monochrome Game Boy, the Varia suit was updated with rounded shoulders.
Years later, developer Nintendo R&D1 would help create the Game Boy Color -- a device that would have basically solved this issue -- had Metroid II Color not been cancelled.
Super Metroid - SNES, Virtual Console [Owned]
I could basically just say "Super Metroid was one of the greatest games ever created," drop the mic, and I know it would satisfy everyone (especially former Destructoid Editor Chad Concelmo). But instead, I should probably talk about why this game is so great.
I still remember the day I got Super Metroid. I remember coming in fairly reserved, as the intro was a bit slow. But once I landed on Planet Zebes, I was utterly hooked. I played it all day long, and even snuck out of bed to play it past my bedtime. It was one of the longest, and earliest gaming marathons I've ever had in my life, and the telling part of this personal story is the fact that I was playing it two weeks later, at about the same frequency.
I would map out my progress, share tips with my friends, and race for that perfect 100% rating. Speed runs; 100% runs; you name it, I ran them. Although there are a myraid of reasons why Super Metroid is one of the best platformers of all time, I'd probably give credit to the vibrant, living and breathing world of Zebes first and foremost.
I mean, my God guys, Zebes is one of the most wondrous video game realms ever designed, and exploring every nook and cranny was a privilege that is rarely replicated even today in my gaming career.
Metroid Fusion - Game Boy Advance, 3DS eShop Ambassador Program [Owned]
Fusion is yet another solid entry in the series. We're already four games in, and we're still going strong here.
At launch, Fusion was yet again well received by critics and buyers alike, namely due to the drastically new art direction and solid gameplay. If I had to describe it, I would probably call it a portable Super Metroid -- and that's quite the compliment. Because Samus was injected with the Metroid vaccine, it has a real "Alien Resurrection" feel to it, in which she comes full circle with the creatures she once hunted.
There was also a neat little Nintendo extra that involved Metroid Prime GBA<->GameCube functionality, which unlocked the Fusion suit in Prime, and the original Metroid game.
Sadly, the only way to get this outside of tracking down the cart is to obtain it through the now defunct 3DS Ambassador program. Right now, Nintendo has no plans to release the gifted GBA games -- which includes Metroid Fusion.
You also want to know something odd? Every time I think about this game, I think about House M.D. (because Hugh Laurie played it in an episode of House).
Metroid Prime - GameCube, Wii (Metroid Prime: Trilogy) [Owned]
Nintendo could have had a disaster on their hands when they brought Metroid into the 3D realm for the very first time. Coupled with more mature themes and distinct survival horror tones, there was even more of a chance for a disastrous release.
In fact, fans decried the game when it was announced, saying that Nintendo was pandering to the FPS crowd and that the game would be garbage (I totally remember this).
Fortunately, Retro Studios (and producer Shigeru Miyamoto) did right by the franchise -- Metroid Prime took the world by storm. Billed as a "first person adventure" game by Nintendo themselves, Prime wasn't simply an FPS in the raw sense of the term -- it offered a full 3D adventure in the same vein as the King's Field series -- but with that distinct Nintendo charm and polish. Also, the game is canon, and takes place after Metroid, and before Metroid II.
I've only beaten Metroid Prime a few times -- the bulk of which were near launch. Yes, I know, the game is incredible and I should play it more -- but that's what Quests are for, right?
Metroid: Zero Mission - Game Boy Advance [Owned]
Zero Mission is criminally underrepresented and underplayed. It's also one of the hardest games in the entire franchise to find, since the only possible way to play it is through tracking down the original cart. This game is prime for a re-release, although the GBA is stuck within this nebulous state right now where Nintendo isn't headlining it on the 3DS VC, so good luck with that.
Anyways, Zero mission is an ace remake of the first game, plain and simple. In fact, I'd say that it's probably the best game in the entire series (besides maybe Super Metroid) to select as a "starting point" for new fans, as it acclimates them to the very start of the storyline, and contains updated gameplay in stark contrast to the admittedly dated original.
Although it is a remake, it does have new items and all new areas to explore, which makes it worth beating in tandem with the original (hence why I'm including it here!). Also, it's the first game ever that features Samus without her suit, and the first time any system ever housed two Metroid games (the GBA had this and Fusion before the GameCube hosted Prime 1 and 2).
Prime 2 is probably my least familiar game in the series, and one of the only ones I haven't completed. I don't remember what happened around Prime 2's release, but I was extremely busy, and never really got around to playing it.
While Prime 1 came at the perfect time, when I was hurting for GameCube games, and Prime 3 when I was hurting for Wii games, 2 was always kind of a non-issue for me. So, in 2013, the time of reckoning will come for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, and I'd appreciate it if anyone had anything to share on it while I prepare to take it on.
Metroid Prime Pinball - Nintendo DS [Owned]
What can I say about this game that couldn't be communicated in the title. It's pinball. It's based on Metroid Prime. It uses the DS' two screens to replicate a full board.
The idea allegedly came along when Kensuke Tanabe, Producer for Nintendo, thought that Mario Pinball Land would be a no-brainer combination with Samus' Morph Ball form. So basically, he was allowed to make a game because of that, and it came with a Rumble Pak (for the first time on the Nintendo DS).
All in all, Prime Pinball is not a bad pinball game. It just isn't much more than that, so don't expect the world of me when I recant my experiences in the section below!
Yep, it's pinball. Although there are a number of cool minigames inside each pinball machine theme, you've basically seen this before.
Of course, that doesn't mean it's a *bad* pinball game -- it's actually quite good. Everything is very smooth, from the controls to the animations, it's very cheap if you find a used copy, and it works on your 3DS -- what's not to love?
Metroid Prime Hunters - Nintendo DS [Owned]
Hunters is essentially an attempt to replicate the Metroid Prime console experience on a handheld, taking place in between Prime 1 and 2. In many ways, it succeeds -- in other, more obvious ways, it falls short.
One of the key criticisms (myself included in that group) was the control scheme. If it wasn't busy giving you carpal tunnel, it was being finicky. But if you can overcome that hurdle, you'll find a fairly well put together Metroid flavored handheld FPS, with a decent multiplayer mode (with bots!).
Although I never finished Hunters (I had way too much going on in 2006), I'm ready to finally tackle it in 2013 as part of my Quest.
Hunters, like Kid Icarus: Uprising feels very weird if you have giant hands, because they can cramp very easily by using the ideal control scheme. But you know what, the controls actually work, and they work well.
But that's not the issue here: the problem is the game feels too bland all around. At times, it doesn't even feel like a Metroid game, which is a huge problem. Sometimes, outside of turning into the morph ball and frolicking around, I completely forgot I was playing as Samus.
I understand what they were trying to do, when they set off to create a portable version of Metroid Prime, but in the end, it's unremarkable.
The Nintendo Wii has officially been out for about six years now. In that entire time, only two Metroid games were released for it, only one of them wasn't polarizing.
Metroid Prime 3 was the golden child of the two. Like the first two Prime games, the press and gamers alike ate it up. Pretty much everyone (myself included) fell in love with the new IR heavy control scheme due to the change in pace, and the mesmerizing visuals.
The voice acting also wasn't terrible like Other M, which made the poor voice work presented in that title all the more strange.
Hell, it's not just the voice acting, or even this game in particular: the entire Metroid Prime series is a collective gem. If you haven't played it, get on it.
The stock game is not that hard to find, but if you're gunning for the limited run Metroid Prime Trilogy, plan on spending at least $70 for just the disc. Luckily, I got it at launch!
Metroid: Other M - Wii [Owned]
Other M gets a bum rap. There, I said it.
After nearly six months of listening to people who dumped on the game and taking their word at face value, I finally decided to pick the game up due to a deal I couldn't resist ($20). During the course of that day, I fell in love with the game, despite all of the negative press it had thus far.
You see, Other M has a lot of problems -- but for me, most of them are not gameplay related. Yes, it relegates Samus into an undesirable collection of feminine tropes, and nearly ruins the character.
But personally, I was able to ignore this part of the game by muting every cutscene during the experience, essentially treating it like every other game in the series that has a fairly light narrative.
If you come at it at that angle, it's a much more enjoyable experience. Gameplay wise, the game feels pretty solid, boss fights are extremely fun, and I personally enjoyed the art style quite a bit.
I seriously doubt Team Ninja will have the chance to make an Other M 2. In fact, I wouldn't really want that, as a brand new HD first party/in-house Metroid would make for a much more interesting prospect.
But I still appreciate Other M for what it is. While the Prime trilogy reinvented Samus for a new era, Other M will forever remain, for me, as one of the more interesting games in the franchise -- for better or for worse.