y halo thar, you can call me "Juuu". I do all sorts of wonderful geeky things, but my favorite is playing video games. :] I'm not picky, I'll play a little bit of anything as long as it's fun. But in case you need to know, here are my favorites: [in no particular order, of course.]
RPGs [though I don't know why I bother-I can never finish them...]
Visual Novels/Text Adventures/Whatever you'd like to call them.
Devil May Cry
The World Ends With You
Being a student, I don't have much time to play these days, but I try. So what exactly is it that I'm trying to play right now?
In case you'd like a little more background, here's the long story short:
Growing up as a tomboy, I spent more time as a child playing outside and trading pokemon cards than playing with dolls. A close childhood friend persuaded me to try playing PS1, and it was good. I recieved my very first console for Christmas, however, I mostly used it for licensed titles. The love affair didn't start until another friend persuaded me to try Super Mario 64.
And it was wonderful.
Since then, I've been taking great pride in nerding-out over game news of all sorts and wasting precious hours and dollars on games. Currently, I own an SNES, N64, PS2, Wii, and 360, as well as a DS and GBA SP, and I love them all like children. <333 I'd probably go after them first in a fire as opposed to clothes, pets, family heirlooms, ect. XD
I guess I'll add more as I think of it, but as for now, how bout you ask me things if you're curious? :]
Letís get this out of the way first and foremost: I don't finish games. I rarely do. Even if Iím crazy about it, Iíll chip away at the game little by little, but rarely exceed finishing it over halfway. I balk at the idea of finishing any video game with ď100%Ē completion. But, there is one exception to the rule. One game that I have beaten not one, not two, but four times, with a fifth in progress. There is one game that I have cared about enough to make sure I complete the side quests, get any imaginable extra, go through hell only to unlock a stupid costume, and play the extra modes. That game is Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly. Now, Iím not exactly sure what makes this game in particular so special, so near and dear to my heart. Itís actually not even my favorite game in the series [An honor that goes to the third installment] and yet, I still find myself popping in the Xbox directorís cut edition from time to time to relive it. I honestly must replay this thing at least once a year, a massive rarity for someone like myself. So, what makes this butterfly flutter a little higher than the others in my collection? I suppose Iíll have to chalk it up to loving each of the parts, but only liking the whole, thanks to one little hiccup.
I donít find it as overall scary as some of the others. Donít get me wrong, in its own right, the game has some terrifying moments, but weíll get into those later. However, save for when youíre wandering through the town, there arenít as many random ghost encounters as the first game. Those were the kinds of things that kept me on my toes, kept me nervous, and kept me tense. The third game also has its fair share, but somehow, the second feelsÖlacking. Also, most of the environments are rather, well, bright. Iíve heard it summed up in a review as ďHereís some candles to look at the gorgeous graphics :DĒ So while the fact that the third game spooks me a little more is enough to rocket it to overall series supremacy, I donít replay it like I do Fatal Frame II. I suppose thatís becauseÖ.
When itís scary, itís horrifying. Fatal Frame II boasts one of the creepiest antagonists of all time: Sae Kurosawa. Letís face it, the chapter in which she, the most powerful ghost in the game, who can motor up to you and kill you with one hit, is chasing you in a completely new house is really scary. And by the way, your cameraís gone, leaving you with the option to either A: run or B: Hide in closets, and then run. And Iím pretty sure anyone whoís gotten even a little squeamish over a doll before had loads of fun in the Kiryu house, home of not only a crazy, dead doll maker, but a crazy, possessed doll that takes no damage and wants to kill you! Yeah, the Kiryu twins were pretty fun. Some of the character designs were also a little on the disturbing side-take the Falling Woman who is nothing more but a bundle of mangled limbs that canít do much more than crawl on the floor towards you or repeat a seemingly endless loop of the swan dive that caused her death.
The story is amazing. DONíT LOOK DOWN THERE-LATE ARRIVAL SPOILERS! The second game also boasts what is, basically, one of my all-time favorite video game stories, with some of my favorite characters of the series. If one bothers to take the time to collect the files, watch cut scenes, and listen to the spirit stone radio, itís quite possible to find oneself feeling sorry for the ghosts they blasted into oblivion a few minutes prior. Even the antagonist has a rather heartbreaking story that makes you just want to set things right, get out of the village, and let everyone rest in peace already. You know youíve got something special on your hands when even the most minor of ghosts has a backstory to discover, and for me, a gamer who cherishes a good story above most things like graphics, achievements, and would even slog through mediocre gameplay for a good story, thatís something that deserves recognition. And then, thereís the ending. Oh dear. For a culture that is often raised on ďAnd they all lived happily ever afterĒ endings, playing a game that makes you earn it is a bit of a shock. Hell, even the "good" ending isn't so good. This is multiplied when you realize the normal ending you receive on your first play through is the canon one. Thinking the twins ride off into the sunset after escaping the village together? Spoiler alert: they donít. To actually see the character you play as complete the ritual sheís been trying so hard to escape, then the look on her face when she realizes what she has done, makes for one of the best twist endings Iíve seen in a video game.
This is not the ending.
It sure sounds pretty Sound design means a lot in a horror game. Fatal Frame games have never been ones to feature a big, orchestral soundtrack, but when there is music, it is, more often than not, done right. Subtle sound effects and background tracks enhance the mood, without the use of any orchestral swells or the like to let the player know ďHey!! Something SCARY is gonna happen! Are you surprised now?Ē To supplement ghost battles, we get creepy noise and whispers and pleas for help from the spirits, which is really great for setting the mood. Also, the English voice acting is surprisingly rather competent, leaps and bounds better than the hammy first installment. Oh, and then thereís this.
So, upon reflection, itís sort of easy to see why I keep coming back time after time to such a game. I have plenty of fond memories about wasting film because I couldnít differentiate between the two Kiryu twins, about getting lost in the rather huge village and the mansions it contains, and, of course, of going on politically in-correct rants about why I was so angry that, despite her bum leg, Mayu, the protagonistís older sister, whines about being left behind when she doesnít even start walking until Mio is a good 20 paces ahead. Then, laughing at her Gimp Warp Speed when she teleports through a door thatís in the process of closing. Itís a game that gave me countless interesting nights of screaming at the TV together with friends, or just by myself. And I donít think thatíll change anytime soon. With a Wii remake on the way, assuming either Nintendo or the fans find a way to play it on US Wiis, I can guarantee that Iíll be reliving Fatal Frame II again. With waggle! So despite it not being my favorite game of all time, Iím stuck in an endless, Groundhog Day loop of playing over and over and overÖ
I have a confession to make. I think Iíve got a little, mild, baby-case of OCD, at least when it comes to my gaming habits. Iím Juuu, and Iíve got Survival Horror Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and that is the source of my own personal bias. For some reason, I am crippled by this compulsion to play every survival horror game I come across, no matter how crappy they look. I just canít help it. This on its own wouldnít be such a big deal, however, TEH BIAS really comes pouring on in when I admit, both to myself and others, that out of blind love for the genre, I just canít call a lot of these games crappy.
The combat isn't broken, it's just...touchy.
Letís take the above game for example, Rule of Rose. Part of me wonders why I adore t his game so much, while another part of me just wants to like it more than I do and forgive any wrong it has ever committed. Though the battle mechanics, as one of only many things, are pretty much universally despised by all who dare to play it, for some reason I give it a pass. ďWell, itís not all bad,Ē I say. ďI mean, thereís not too many boss fights, are there? And the story more than makes up for it! Itís a good game! Maybe even great! It can stay!Ē This is just one of the many, many examples of the things Iím willing to forgive for my favorite genre. Iíve let everything from bad voice acting (ďYou, the master of unlocking..Ē) to ugly, ugly graphics (many early PS1 titles come too mind), to bad control (Who here remembers tank controls? I sure do!) slide simply because, well, to some extent, the problems plague the genre as a whole. For example, early titles such as the original Resident Evil set a sort of bar for future survival horror titles, and if this game contained hammy voice work and writing and those unwieldy tank controls, why wouldnít the others that followed? However, clearly, most of these grievances are things of the past. Weíve learned how to cast compelling voice actors who actually sound like theyíve heard the spoken English language or, I donít know, have actually read the script before recording. Weíve learned how to polish up our games and use all the advanced tech to make them nice Ďn purdy. Even Resident Evil, the game that gave birth to tank controls, has switched to a more user-friendly over the shoulder perspective. However, if a game occaisionally falls back into one of those traps, I will forgive. If it is survival horror.
Aw, c'mon guys, it had its moments! I liked it!
And thatís where the bias comes in full force. Now, Iím not exactly a picky gamer per say-quite the opposite really, Iíll try anything and everything once. However, I am rather selective on which games hold my attention long enough to finish, and what games I will continually put my limited free time into. Iíve also noticed Iím becoming more and more selective these days; I think I can count on one hand the number of games Iíve finished in the past few months. I could get in a serious accident with a saw and still be able to count the number of NON-survival horror games Iíve finished in that time period on one hand. See, this saintly forgiveness of mine doesnít extend to any other genre. What Iím willing to let other games, such as Rule of Rose or Deadly Premonition or even Ju-On, for christís sake slide for, I will pick apart at for any other genre. Give me a shooter with a strange story, one convoluted to the point of being nearly unable to understand, and Iíll rip it apart and mourn our current gaming climate for hailing the almighty FPS as ďTHE BEST GENRE EVARRRĒ. However, show me a survival horror game with the same issue, and Iíll spin that poorly-written story into something else. ďItís adding to the confusion!Ē Iíll cry, ďItís adding to that human fear of having no control! Maybe itís evenÖSYMBOLIC!Ē Okay, so maybe Iím not that crazy, but Iím close. Iíll admit it, Iíve knocked on many, many a game for repetitive gameplay (ďAll you do is just shoot people in the face, lather, rinse, repeatÖĒ) when, and I will admit it, many survival horror games are guilty of the same repetition. I mean, many can boil down simply to ďFind key/solve puzzle, open new door, repeat.Ē However, to me, this is simply justÖA staple of the genre. Itís how itís always been, so why fix it?
However, as Iíve grown older, I can admit that my favorite genre has a lot of issues it has to deal with if it wants to survive on. ďNew schoolĒ horror games such as Resident Evil 4 have made bold steps in the right direction, fixing things such as control issues, for instance, but while the ďaction-horrorĒ titles seem to take hold, new issues come in to play. For example, how much ďhorrorĒ is really left in some of these newer titles? I know the scary in Dead Space , for example, started to wear off a few chapters in, while games such as those in the Fatal Frame series keep me tense right up until the final credits roll. Personally, I didnít really get frightened at all during Resident Evil 5, and I know a lot of others who feel the same. Dtoider Stevil just posted a fantastic blog on the decline of solitary antagonists in the genre. Iím not sure if I like all the new directions survival horror is taking; Iím a creature of habit, you see, and change spooks me. Thus, my bias for more ďclassicĒ survival horror games runs a little stronger. However, my relentless OCD forces me to buy every title I can get my hands on, old or new school, if it looks like it has even a hint of survival horror flair to it. I mean, come on, people were just comparing the atmosphere of Fragile Dreams to that of a survival horror game, even if it didnít necessarily fit the genre, and I had it preordered on that and a Japanese trailer alone!
Let's see, it's got a flash light, there's ghosts in it, you're all alone, GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME!
Iím still not all that sure why survival horror grabbed me so much in particular. My best guess is that I just love the thrill. I mean, come on, surrounded by 5 zombies with only 3 5 bullets left in your handgun and no first aid spray or herbs? It gives you a rush, certainly. Maybe Iím just an average girl, raised in the suburbs, looking for that thrill that she doesnít get in her safe and comfy day-to-day life. Maybe itís the stories; I always love a good ghost story, or a dark, creepy tale of a ritual gone horribly, terribly wrong. Nevertheless, survival horror is the one genre that I will always go out on a limb for, will always forgive whenever it wrongs me, and will always stand up for no matter how many people think a game is simply the crappiest of crap.
Now, if youíll excuse me, I need to see if I can find a cheap copy of Calling. What, it canít really be that bad, can it?
Having been a gamer for most of my natural life [one of my earliest memories consists of playing Gran Turismo at my friend's house, listening to my parents laugh at us for leaning into our turns], you would imagine that there are many ways that gaming has been an escape for me. You would also imagine that all of that time would make this a fairly easy blog to write. However, in all that time, there's so many ways I can take this subject, that writing this has actually been rather difficult. However, by the last day of the month, I think I've decided what makes gaming an escape for me.
When one plays games, they can often do anything. Or at least feel like it.
No worries, I got this.
Over the course of my life, I've found many, many things that I will never be able to do. I've never been particularly athletic, or particularly physically strong, for example. Many games, however, from Wii Sports to Tekken to whatever else, however, have given me the feeling of at least pretending to do these formerly impossible things. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. Look at the sales of music games, such as Guitar Hero. I'm much too uncoordinated to ever DREAM of playing a real guitar, and I'm sure many other owners of at least one game in the series feel the same. However, we all can wail on our plastic instruments, and imagine that we're playing to a sold-out stadium crowd, and have the satisfaction for at least a little while. Future games, such as Dance Central, seem to be trying to build on this crowd and play on uncoordinated geeks like myself who wanna feel like they have some sort of rhythm.
Tying in with other community member's blogs dealing with bullying, a scrawny little girl such as myself was also no stranger to harsh words from my classmates. Being relatively tiny and shy, clearly, I was a good target. Leave it to a bunch of kids to make you feel completely insignificant and unimportant. However, the RPGs and action games I tended to stray to in my times of lonliness provided me with an opportunity I never really got otherwise-the chance to be a hero. I could always rest assured that the minute I got home and finished my homework, I could escape to a place where I was indeed capable of something; I could, in fact, save a princess, save the world from destruction, or any number of other huge events. Or, at the very least, when I wanted to have a meltdown, I could take in the simple joy of beating my virtual enemies to a pulp.
It was moments like these that helped me keep my sanity, and still do to this day. Now, I was never the kid who thought they could fly while wearing their superman pajamas; I knew that what happened in the virtual lands my Playstation, Gameboy, and N64 brought me to would stay there. However, being able to achieve something in a game often helped me feel as though I had at least one talent that nobody could take away from me, no matter what. Quite frankly, it still does to this day. It may not be up there with discovering a cure for AIDS, or for cancer, but try to tell someone that finishing top-tier Guitar Hero songs on expert isn't an achievement, that mastering all of a character's combos in Street Fighter or Tekken isn't worth something, or that clearing one of those MAX songs on heavy in DDR without passing out isn't something one should be proud of. So, while I may never be able to do this...
I can at least pretend with this:
So thank you, video games, for helping me escape to a place where even a scrawny girl built like a 14 year old boy can be the hero. Thanks for reading!! Comments are always appreciated. :]
Hi there, everyone. So, if I recall correctly, I mentioned in my first intro c-blog that I have a really hard time actually finding time to finish a game. However, this problem is only made worse by the fact that I simply love collecting games. I constantly go out and buy new things without finishing the old games [gah!] and then I'm even more behind. Plus, since I seem to be consistantly keeping up on new releases, there's a lot of older games that I want to play, should've played, but just haven't had time for. I know, I should revoke my gamer card, but I honestly have not played Left 4 Dead, Super Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, or countless other really popular, quality titles that I've wanted since release. They just got buried in the flood, it seems. And as for the games I do have, geezus, I play for a while, get busy, get something new or rediscover something old, so I stop playing. Then, of course, when I come back, I have little to no idea of where I left off. It's honestly been so bad at times, I've restarted a game once or twice just so I could stop wandering around and wracking my brain as to where the hell I should be going. It's not that cool, to be honest...And now, with a super-busy school life, I quite frankly don't have time for more than a few hours of gaming on the weekends and maybe 30 minutes to an hour on a really slow weekday. I just don't have the time or the money to let my old [and REALLY BAD] gaming habits carry on like this.
Slow down! I haven't even played the first one!
So, in response, I do believe it's time for a change. As a little challenge to myself, starting today I'm going to restrict myself from buying any games that came out this year, so I can finally get to all those great games I missed, and -not- buy something new, until I mange to finish one of the old ones. Because, seriously, half of the time, I tend to get frustrated or distracted all of two levels away from the final boss. I finished Silent Hill 1 and 3 in like, a 3 day span and only a few hours elapsed since I was on the second or third to last level on each. So, hopefully, this will help me to sort of redeem my geek-ego. And quite frankly, it's silly to spend all that money and play only a few levels of each before moving on. For someone who loves a good story as much as I do, it's ridiculous to not see those stories through until the end! I'm figuring I'll give myself, eh, six months or so before maybe going back and picking up some of this year's titles I'd looked forwards to [Deathsmiles, Sakura Wars, and Ace Attorney Investigations come to mind. ;3].
Yeah, I reserved it for my GameCube. I can't remember anything but beating that giant dude. Maybe I'll get the Wii Edition and finish it, someday...
That's about all I've got to say on that. I just sort of drabbled out a shortblog, one, to see this in writing so I can't back out [which I would do, trust me], and two, to get some suggestions on good games I may have missed. So, if by any chance you're bored and happen to read this drivel, I'd like to hear some suggestions on semi-older to oldold games that may have just flown under the radar and been forgotten. [Wii, Gamecube, PS2, 360, DS or PSP only, please. X3 If you're feeling mega-oldschool, I've hung on to my N64 and SNES. :3] Thanks so much in advance. Words of encouragement are also, um, encouraged. Thanks for reading!
It's sort of corny, but we filmed it reeeeally fast and were just screwing around. Ironically, we planned to make this video and had the idea like, a week before the contest was announced, so we decided to submit it as an entry for the lulz. :] I hope you smile a little. Or at least thank your lucky stars that you're not this dumb.
[wow, my hair is a hot mess. That's what you get for sleeping in late AND not bringing a brush to fix your hair after drama class's dance unit!]
Now, this may be coming a little late, because I can vaguely recall seeing a few c-blogs recently that dealt with the same core topic. However, it's my Spring Break, and rather than getting shot down in Mexican drug wars on my vacation, I've chosen to stay safe in my house to play games I'm behind on, and write about nerdy things. So here's my brief musing on whether to love or hate console exclusives.
I'd like to say I've been playing games for, eh, a fairly long time. I started from humble beginings with a PS1 and a Gameboy before convincing my parents that my life would be OVER if a Nintendo 64 wasn't introduced to our home. From there, I gradually expanded into the next generation of consoles and handhelds as they came along, and generally, not much changed. Maybe I got into different genres or played different series, and sure, the graphics were prettier, but the root of the matter was the same: I kept pressing buttons and playing with my shiny toys because it was fun. However, the other day as I was sitting and reflecting on my nerdy habits, I noticed something. The amount of console exclusives I own had drastically gone down. In fact, I could think of times were I had to puzzle over which console to buy a game for. On the flip side, I couldn't remember the last time I saw one of those "Only on [insert console name here]!!" messages I used to take such pride in.
Look! Only on GBA!
I used to feel such joy when I bought a console exclusive. It made me feel as if my system of choice had something special, something that stood out, something that nobody but my fellow nintendo or sony brethren and sistren could take part in. Perhaps I was just a fangirl [a multi-system fangirl?], for now, even when there's an exclusive for a system I've got, I sort of just roll my eyes and pity those who can't play whatever it is.
Still only on DS, to the best of my knowledge, but without the note.
Moving right along, I seem to notice less and less exclusives on my shelf when it comes to this generation specifically. Obviously, there's more on the Wii shelf, given the control setup, but I clearly remember debating whether to buy games like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, or more recently, Sakura Wars, on PS2 or Wii. Even though the amount of exclusives for Xbox 360 influenced my choice of buying it over a PS3, I can count the number of actual exclusives I OWN for it on one hand. I could probably still do it even if I got in a fight with a chainsaw and lost. As for amount of exclusives I want? I can rattle them off using only two hands. As for PS3? I want a grand total of three exclusives. And one is downloadable. Three games.
One of my few 360 exclusives, actually.
I would've thought the small fangirl living inside of me somewhere would be a little upset at the ending of this trend [I'm not a fan of change, you see.] but instead, I've grown happier. Maybe it's the economy, but I'm a little sick of having to spend money on multiple consoles just to be able to enjoy all the games I'd like to play, especially when several consoles have very similar control setups. [For instance, PS2 and Gamecube and Xbox had close to the same number of buttons, if I recall correctly. 360s and PS3s are also rather similar, in my opinion.] I'm no business wizard, but I'd imagine putting your game on multiple consoles would increase opportunity for sales and profit [but correct me if I'm wrong; I'm afraid I don't know a great deal about the business side of the industry. ^^;]. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that systems need things like exclusives to make them stand out, and some games would ONLY work on certain consoles. For example, I can't picture playing Trauma Center on Xbox or PSP. Yet, despite all that, there's plenty of cases where a game doesn't have that need to stick on one system, and in this case, I find them a hassle.
Now that you've stuck around through this generally pointless blog, I'd like to hear some of your views on exclusives. Love them? Hate them? Want more, want less? I'm just in a curious mood, and I'd like to hear what this lovely community thinks. :] I've seen a great many smart cookies around the c-blogs, so I'd love a second opinion!