I've been a gamer my entire life ever since my dad ripped off some kid for his atari at a garage sale and gave it to me with the infamous Pong. I've got to be honest that I was so young that it never got old, but gaming didn't start to become a big deal to me until the NES (I regret selling my Atari when I was 4). First popping in Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt was all it took. My mom claims I ruined our TV by playing Hogan's Alley and Duck Hunt too much. Even if I did...totally worth it! I still bargain hunt for a few worthwhile games that I've missed out on over the years (ie, Contra, Dragon Warrior 4, Final Fantasy, etc.) and just stumbled upon the fabulous turquoise colored cartridge of Bible Adventures...SW33T! My folks skimped on the Master System, Genesis, and SNES, however I have made up for their absence with an ever growing collection today.
After much begging and sacrifice, I was finally able to score an N64 one Christmas in Junior High. The 64 is my fav historical console simply because it gave me my first opportunity to delve into an almost believable 3D world. The N64 is what made gaming more of a fantasy immersion experience than a pick-up and play hobby. My first games for the 64 were Goldeneye, and Mario 64. Favorite game for the system was Ocarina of Time with the 1st runner up being Conker's Bad Fur Day.
I never really got into any systems like the Saturn or Jaguar and though I'm sure they are fantastic systems in their own right, I don't really have any urge to find one. I just picked up a Dreamcast about 2 years ago, but don't have a killer selection yet other than Seaman and a couple other collectibles. I picked up my PS1 the same time as my Dreamcast. And inherited a great selection of games from the wifey. I should also note that she bought me a PS2 for a birthday present when we were dating. She pretty much rocks.
The PS2 was the start of my collecting days. Every game would stay like new from there on out and very very few games would ever leave the collection. Soon I bought my Halo edition XBOX and began in that arena. Then the Gamecube. And the collecting when to new heights. It took me a lot of experimenting to find my niche. I don't hate any genre, but I'll admit that my least favorite are sports games. To me they seem pointless because there is no relevant story or action accompanying that story to affect the outcome (no the "Superbowl" doesn't count, besides, how many times can you win a Superbowl...well...I guess how many times can you save a princess...BUT THAT'S BESIDE THE POINT!!!)
For a while I was the Assistant Director of a Game Crazy in MN. Talk about a dream job if only it would have paid well. I got most of my collection at my stay there.
~TOP TEN FAVORITE GAMES OF ALL TIME~
10. Guitar Hero 1 (PS2)
9. Armed and Dangerous (XBOX)
8. Beyond Good and Evil (GCN)
7. LoZ: Ocarina of Time (N64)
6. Mario Kart Double Dash (GCN)
5. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
4. Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (GCN)
3. Resident Evil 4 (GCN)
2. Kingdom Hearts (PS2)
1. Final Fantasy 7 (I actually am playing this game right now for my first time, about 40 hours in and it takes the cake so far...biggest complaint is that frickin Aeris didn't give back my materia when she died...bitch)
I am not a fanboy... that I know of. Tell me if I'm wrong based on the blogs and forum posts, maybe I am a fanboy and I just don't know it... I own a 360, PS3 (MGS4 limited edition biatch!), and a Wii. I play the 360 the most due to a Live account spanning back to my translucent green 40lber.
HARDCORElite - Means I was a total hardcore gamer that started working too much but still embraces his roots and sacrifices a lot of sleep, food, and everything else to do what I love and keep up with the industry.
*UPDATE* I've been very busy lately experimenting with my own game blog. Please check it out, give me any feedback you can think of. Also, offer your support in the form of chocolate or throwing a comment on there every now and again :). As always, cocks.
This may seem a tad bland now considering the competition, but please check back
daily, I neeeeeeed to win this contest and even you will never guess where this series is going
to go! More or less it delves into the love life of VG and her adorable hub, Dutch.
Sorry for the delayed post. Was running EVERYWHERE while in LA and couldn't find time to get this posted with links and pics.
Now that the second and third day of the convention has passed, Iíll give you more highlights from the nerdgasm fest. The best times were spent with Nintendo where I made whoopee with Umbrella Chronicles, after which I headed over to THQ and messed with innovative and potentially dirty Drawn to Life.
Umbrella Chronicles is one of the stronger games of the show, as was expected. Unfortunately, Nintendo made the critical error of throwing the controllers into the new Wii Zapper when it was clearly meant to be played old skool, at least with that button setup, in your left and right hand. With that being said I donít think I can give the best representation of how the game play felt since I didnít get a chance to work with it outside of the Zapper. The Zapper made it awkward and nearly impossible at times to pick up objects, reload, and perform basic functions. Had they had these laid out the original way every button would have felt natural rather than strained and none of the problems that I was dealing with while playing through would have actually been a problem.
One trouble I found with Umbrella Chronicles that was not controller caused was in multiplayer. In the heat of things, it was almost too easy to get your reticule confused with the person next to you resulting in sometimes thinking that you are the best emm-effing shot with this game when in fact you are shooting the wall. Itís an odd ego booster, for a moment, that is followed by pure ego stompage. Iím sure if I had a little more time with the game this would not have been a problem. And I think it is fair to say that if this is itís weakest point, we have a winner on our hands!
Overall, Umbrella Chronicles had solid gameplay (minus the wrong peripheral) the sound was instant, clear and vivid, and the graphics looked and felt like the Resident Evil games we know and love; dark, detailed, and sometimes a little too much going on at once between the freaky baddies and the wicked environments. Resident Evil fans will want to get their hands on this one. New to Resident Evil? You will still probably enjoy the storyline and solid gameplay.
Honorable Wii mention that made excellent usage of the Wii Zapper was Ghost Squad; a favorite arcade rails shooter being ported to the Wii. Hats off to Nintendo for saving me time and cash at the downtown arcade! If you are a time crisis or arcade rail shooter fan in general, this game kicks tooshÖyeah I said it.
Across from Nintendo was the standoffish THQ displays that at first glance seemed unappealing since all I could see was Smackdown vs. Raw 2008. No offense to you wresting game fans out there, but I really wasnít looking for a wrestling game to peak my interest at the event while surrounded by innovation and new ideas. I was able to push through the anticipation of same-old-same-old feel and get into the middle were a lone display stood of the low flying Drawn to Life. Instantly intrigued, having heard of this game before, I immediately made the mistake of starting a new game. Now before you go off thinking that this game is craptastic, let me explain in three words why starting from the beginning was a mistake. I got hooked. Though the actual gameplay itself reminded me of a mix between Sword of Mana, Mario Sunshine, and New Mario Bros, it was the ability to draw giant bewbs, long legs, and no arms (WTF!?) and a SW33T head only to watch each limb come to life as the playable main character in your quest for the game ďgodísĒ restoration of their planet.
I only played for about fifteen minutes or so which left me a little worried to the average platforming the game presented. Luckily, I canít remember a platformer that I havenít been amused with through the end. And the ability to draw your well blessed hero makes the game even more appealing. If you subscribe to GameFly, put this on your list, other wise buy at your own risk. Cereal, when was the last time a decent 2D platformer combined with some RPG/Action Adventure elements and stylus controls went sour? Iím a sucker for platformers so I know I will be adding this to my X-mas list.
All in all, day two at the convention was pretty spectacular (given what they had) with exciting new games, but what topped the day was our visit to Video Games Live.
VGL was an experience unlike any other. Though I have to admit that I would have preferred it to be straight music with smooth transitions from piece to piece and game to game, from a broader perspective, the concert was completely big titties (that means good). The orchestra was well rehearsed, the video was timed well with the sound, the music itself was amazing, and the dick-toe-chat (see: pictochat) that ensued before, mid, and after the concert was hilarious. I think it goes without saying that if you even consider yourself a gamer, find out when they will be near you and GO!!!! I'm going to cut this a little short and talk about it a little more in the next blog.
So here I am. A couple k miles away from home ditching rain and crappy temps for the smoggy, enormous, and warm city that is currently fostering to one of the wet dreams of many core gamers: E For All. (sorry for the crappy video and pics, all camera phone, youíll live I promise!)
As we all know, there has been a huge change since last year with E3 resulting in the birth of E4A and unfortunately, it cost the publicís game convention direct appearances by both Sony and Microsoft. Thankfully, we still had Nintendo and about 30 of their top choice girls with Wiimotes with short black skirts and lovely legs, dozens of developers, and some indie games that will rock your socks!
Iíll admit that after following E3 from afar for a few years, I was hoping for the same hype and non-stop action, but was somewhat let down. Though when you walk into that convention center you have your nerdgasm for a moment, you realize that only about half of the center is actually being used for the convention. WTF? The food court was nearly as big as the rest of the convention. And Iíve got to say, after being screwed out of a Double Dash tournament because the lame ass panda running the tournament forgets erases you when he was supposed to erase someone else, I have my fair share of gripes about the event thus far.
The disappointments are trivial at best, however, and the majority of the convention is actually pretty bad ass. The first highlight I wanted to mention was the gorgeous indie game Braid of which debuted in this yearís E3 and hasnít been referred to lately as anything other than Ēgorgeous indie game BraidĒ. Well, basicallyÖit was awesome!
I had a chance to go hands on with Braid (sorry, my embedding skillz are phail), as did anyone who attended the convention, and to be very generic, I fell in love what I saw. The best description I have if you havenít heard of this game, is that it is like an old school Mario platformer, crossed with the time reversing skillz of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, crossed with the arguably artistic beauty and puzzles of Okami. It is indeed gorgeous, and it is damn challenging and fun! The simple and intuitive controls, perfectly matched sound, and the humor and parody it brings to the table make this a must have. Cereal, if you can get access to ANY 360 with Live, you NEEEEEED it! Braid will be available in early 2008.
As you may have expected, Rockband was at E4A in force! They were hitting the crowd hard driving some of the longest lines at the show. Until today, I had only heard rumors, seen videos, and read articles about this game. If you are in the same boat as I was up until today, rest assured this game is un-effing-believable!
The perfection of this game is where other similar styled games have fallen short. The impeccable song lineup. Nearly every song is a recognizeable and widely accepted awesome song. From Bon Jovi to Weezer, and that was just the demo!!! I'm not sure if they are covers or not, but if they are, they did a phenomenal job. The music sounds awesome! The peripherals are definately something to write home about as well. The drums and mic are a must but if you were ever on the fence about picking up the guitar peripheral for this game or just using the good ol' GH controller, you may stop thinking. Though ultimately similar in design, the more realistic strumming required and the ability to take your mega fast fingers up to a second set of frets on the neck. The best part about it, is that you may suck terribly at this game. You may not know WTF you are doing, or are just so into it that you don't pick up onto your disapointing pitch problems, but you'll never know it. No matter who you are, you will start and stop playing Rock Band with the mentality that you are King Shmidt of the rock world. How can you resist this game especially after a healthy price cut? When this game hits in late november, I'll be on without a doubt. Will you?
Luckily, E4A was large enough that I didnít get a chance to demo everything and see everything in one day. For now, these are the events that thrilled me the most and tomorrow Iím hoping to get a grip on a Wii remote and throw down some Mario Galaxy. Afterward I plan to move to the next booth and try MGS4, and in the evening I'll have the opportunity to take in Video Games Live!! Iíll keep you posted!
Youíre guilty too, you know you are! Just try to deny that out of boredom or curiosity you havenít tapped away at the num pad of your phone as you tried to run that little snake into those ever-reappearing dots, or send a ball flying into a wall of bricks! But the question has to be asked in the world of gaming: will mobile gaming ever become a respectable gaming platform?
Letís take a look at the current state of affairs. A huge percentage of games on phones are A). puzzle games B). retro arcade ports or C). necked down EA games like Madden or Nascar. So whatís wrong with that picture? As found in an incredibly scientific survey, most gamers who would qualify themselves as hardcore donít play those games as a first choice. We see the vast majority favoring 1st and 3rd person shooters, RPGs, and action/adventure with all other genres trailing behind. Thatís not to say that the gaming found on mobile phones isnít somewhat amusing, but with the largest population of gamers (ie the people most likely to play mobile games) looking to get something more than amusing out of their gaming experience than connect the dots, youíd think the developers would cater a little more to their tastes.
So what does it take for mobile gaming to become respected as a viable gaming platform? Something for gamers to take the experience they love on the go. Square Enix seems to know what mobile gamers want. We can start with games like Before Crisis Ė Final Fantasy VII that is rumored to use your phoneís camera, GPS service, and sport a handy 1-4 player option. Though the hype for this game spans back more than three years and two US release dates have come and gone, this may be one step in the right direction for the struggling mobile gaming industry. In the meantime, those of you who have Verizon or Ampíd Mobile can whip out the not-so-fabulous-on-PS2-but-might-be-more-amusing-on-your-cell-phone Dirge of Cerberus!
Either way you look at it, it seems like the best ideas seem to come when you combine old(esque) skool gaming styles, with features you can only find on your cell phone to make it a completely new experience. Take Toyspringís Arcade Reality, which I would consider to be THE most innovative game created for mobile phones to date. Is it one of the main genres? No, but the way that it utilizes specific phone features creates an experience you simply cannot find on any other gaming platform! The only drawback: unless they create a different version, it is only available on a Palm Treo.
So is mobile gaming dead? Having started only in 1997, it is far from dead, itís still in its infancy, but the developers simply are not concentrating on this market yet. The wireless industry has almost 3 billion subscribers in the world and if one third of people who use a mobile phone want to download a game, ladies and gentlemen, we have the workings of an insanely profitable market. But the truth remains, without games, success will not come to that industry. And the secret to success will come when developers can combine popular games, genres, and ideas, with the features and functions of your phone that you canít find anywhere else. I canít wait until it is common for some of the most unique and original experiences to come from the palm of your hand in between calls!
As gaming enters a new capitalist era where money determines nearly everything, including loyalty, what does that mean for gaming as an industry and a medium? With the wars of game exclusivity well under way with the new gen consoles, many of our favorite exclusive and semi-exclusive titles are running to what used to be considered the enemy.
Would it change anything if Mario Galaxy was on the PS3 and 360? Would you think of Halo differently if it ran to the Wii? Personally, I was a little heart broken when I saw the news that Ace Combat was no longer going to be a PS exclusive, because of the vast history that series has had with me and those systems. Metal Gear had the same effect not because it wasnít going to be exclusive, but because it wasnít going to be released on the Playstation first as we have become used to since Metal Gear Solid. Maybe Iím just too old. Maybe with the newest generation of gamers throwing their mitts around a current gen controller that mom and pop just got them for their 7th birthday signals the right time to turn the old faces of gaming completely around and reimage them. Say it isnít so!!!!
As much as I would love to say STFUAJPG and leave it at that, I canít help but wonder if gaming will change because of this. Will systems rise and fall because of titles or will titles rise and fall because of systems? Perhaps both? Either way, for me, the loss of at least partial exclusivity makes me a bit tearful to see some of my favorite games cross over to the other systems. For gaming as a whole I have to remain optimistic that the platform games are played on isnít the important part, itís the games themselves. As long as the games retain the same quality and ultimately improve, gaming will still be moving in the right direction.