Hey everyone, I'm Grimstar, and I'm a huge nerd. I was introduced to the site by my good friend Funktastic, and he has said alot of good things about it, so I wanted to come and see it for myself.
I'm a huge anime, gaming, and DnD fan. The types of games I play are varied, and I like to mix it up, but hands down I'm a huge RPG fan. I love playing games that feel like reading a story, I love to get involved personally in the game, and most RPG's for me are a great experience.
I also like to game on anything I have (not a collector or anything, but I do have quite a few consoles), including my SNES, N64, PS3, PC, etc. The feeling of nostalgia I get from playing something like Super Soccer is just too awesome of a feeling to pass up.
As far as my favorite games/series', there's a lot that comes to mind but I'll just put down a few of my all time favorites: Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem, Legend of Zelda, Golden Sun, Shin Megami Tensei, Persona, Ogrebattle 64, Metal Gear Solid, the Tales series, and Star Ocean. Some of my favorite animes include Code Geass, Familiar of Zero, Full Metal Alchemist, Escaflowne, and Gurann Lagann. Anyway, enough rambling. I look forward to chatting with everyone, and thanks for reading!
When I first started playing video games, it was just a way for me to pass the time, and enjoy myself. As I grew older it became more than that, I started falling in love with characters, being a part of amazing, well written stories, and it just became a passion with a neverending thirst for more, and more of that feeling of emotion. Now, I'm not talking about the anger that you feel towards your friends when they triple team you at Mario Party because you're destroying them, nor the feeling of happiness when you've finally conquered that challenge that took you ages. No, for me, this is something much more than that.
I guess I should start from the beginning. One of the first games I recall having this effect on me would be Final Fantasy X. At first, Tidus was this annoying, whiny little wimp that I absolutely despised. As the game wore on, I found myself liking him more and more, and with the addition of Yuna, Rikku and the entire cast, I just fell in love with the characters. So by the time I had beaten the game and the ending rolled around, tears rolled down my cheeks like rain down a storm drain. At the time, I was surprised (and also a little confused) at myself.. How could a simple video game invoke this much emotion from me? And why did it feel so bad, but feel so -good-?
I had to have more. I craved it. That feeling of raw uninhibited emotion. So while I was at work one day I noticed that we had a game called Lost Odyssey that had just come in. From what other friends of mine had said and some reviews I had read online, this seemed like a great game to pick up and play. And so I did. And this time I didn't even finish the game before I was hit by emotion. And this time it wasn't just sadness, it was anger. I -HATED- the villain. Not because he was poorly written or made no sense, no, it was because I felt so much anger and hatred and animosity towards him that he just needed to die. And so the last half of the game was spent powering my way through in the hopes that I would finally get to brutally murder this villainous, heinous character. And when I finally did, it felt... surprisingly good.
And this didn't just apply to video games either. I just recently finished two anime series: Angel Beats, and Sword Art Online. And my god. By the end of the former, I had used up two and a half boxes of Kleenex. And by the end of the latter, I was just a jumbled mess of eight thousand different emotions. But the bottom line was regardless of how I felt... it felt good.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is sometimes (at least for me) I like to have that emotion invoked out of me. I find that if something, whether it be a book, a video game, or an anime can pull that kind of emotion out of you, then I can truly consider it one of the best of it's craft. And for that, games like Final Fantasy X, Lost Odyssey.. Anime like Angel Beats and Sword Art Online, they all have a special place in my heart, along with all others of their craft.
What about you guys? What games/shows/books have done this to you? Do you enjoy having the feels pulled out of you?
It's been quite a while since my last blog. Life took control for the most part, being busy with work and other side projects made it hard to get a chance to blog. This is something I've been wanting to write for a while now, and I've finally had the time to get to it, and a better time couldn't have been chosen!
WIth that said, I wanted to talk a bit about my experiences with collecting, and post a bit of my collection. It's not very large, but I'm very proud of what I have, and I'm very proud to say that I've played most of the games that I'll be posting here.
Gaming has been a hobby of mine since I was a young child. And though until I was 16 I only considered it a form of entertainment, now it is much more to me. And it wasn't until a chance encounter with an old friend that I started learning more about the games I loved, and about games I'd never even heard of.
It all started back a few years ago, when I was working in the Gaming department at my local Best Buy. I'd been there a year and a half, and it was a way to pay the bills and eat, so I didn't complain to much (plus the staff discount was ok). I'd just come in for a shift, and looking in the manager's office, I see none other than our very own Funktastic sitting in on a training session. It had been a while since I'd last seen him, Funky and I go quite a ways back.. to Junior High. Those were the days, when I'd offer him Oreos for his Magic: The Gathering cards, and we had good times. Sadly, we didn't end up going to the same High School so we lost contact for a long time. Anyway, over the next few months, we started catching up, and I eventually found out that Funky was an avid collector of games, and he'd shown me his "setup". I was immediately envious, but I was also very intrigued. I eventually got to go see the collection in person a while later, and let me tell you it is one of the single greatest things I had ever seen. I started asking a lot of questions, there were so many things I'd never seen before, and things I'd never even have hoped to see in my lifetime. It was then that a seed had been planted in my mind, that one day I would hope to own some of those games.
During my time at Best Buy with Funky, I learned a lot about the Super Nintendo, N64, PSX, PS2, and all the games that go with them. I even learned a bit about a lot of the Sega consoles, which I had no previous experience with (minus a bit with the Dreamcast). I actually started checking out Kijiji and Craigslist for things that I thought might help increase his collection, and through that we started talking about pricing and values and he helped me get an idea of what to pay, and what things were actually worth. I credit him for a lot of my knowledge, and I also credit him for giving me the fire and desire to keep on gaming and collecting.
Funky actually ended up selling me my "first" game to help me get started. He had a spare cartridge copy of Secret of Mana, and we talked a lot about the game, and I had a huge desire to play it. $20 later, I had a new game, and I spent countless hours playing it. It was, and still is one of the best games I've ever played, and it was the game that put a burning desire to find more games which I could enjoy and love like I did Secret of Mana. OgreBattle is my favorite series of all time, so I started asking him about some of the games besides OgreBattle 64, and I found out about all the other OgreBattle games, which I immediately started searching for.
Every day I would check out Kijiji, Craigslist and other websites for some good deals, and rare games. I've found quite a bit through there, and I've also found some nice stuff for Funk once in a while, helping him out with his collection is something that I'm very proud of being able to contribute to. He has also done the same for me, and I appreciate that very much. He's taught me that patience is extremely important, a lot of video game vendors that mark their stuff up like to take advantage of 'desperate' people. If not for that advice, I probably would have spent way too much for games I shouldn't have.
Here's a little bit of my collection, I may post a Photobucket link at some point in the future for the whole thing. This is just some of the stuff that I enjoy the most :)
The Tales series is fantastic. One of the best I've ever played. Here, we have a complete in box copy of Tales of Phantasia, three copies (2 sealed) of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Tales of Rebirth (imported from Japan), Tales of Destiny, Tales of Destiny II, Tales of the Abyss, and Tales of Symphonia. Not shown here, I just recently picked up copies of Tales of Vesperia, as well as Tales of Legendia. The only two Tales games I'm missing (to my knowledge) are Tales of the New World: Radiant Mythology, and Tales of Eternia.
Moving on, we have the Persona series. Revelations: Persona, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, Persona 3 Portable, Persona 3: FES (sealed), Persona 4, and Persona PSP. I'm hoping to round out the collection when Persona 2: Innocent Sin comes out on PSP in the future.
Lunar: Silver Star Story on the original Playstation. Another fantastic game, which leads me to..
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, complete with everything! I was pretty excited when I found this, I actually got both Lunar games together at a very fair price.
Some of my favorite Playstation games. Vandal Hearts, Vagrant Story, Xenogears, Suikoden, Chrono Cross, Parasite Eve, Brigandine: The Legend of Forsea, Legend of Mana, and Megaman Legends.
Lastly, my Ogre Battle collection. Ogre Battle is hands down my favorite series of all time. I absolutely love it, and have been endeavoring to find each game, complete in box/case, including the one not released in North America. Here we have Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen on the Super Nintendo, both a Complete and cartridge only Tactics Ogre: Knight of Lodis, Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Calibur, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen on PSX, Tactics Ogre, and both the regular and European special edition (which is sealed) of Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together. This brings me to my next picture:
This is the Ogre Battle not released in North America. I believe it's called Tactics Ogre: Legend of the Zenobian Prince, and it's for the Neo Geo Pocket. It's complete in box, and I would have paid about 25 dollars for it, if Funktastic didn't buy it first and surprise me with it later, after I was feeling down about not being able to buy it. Thanks, buddy!
Lastly, I'd like to finish with (in my opinion) my greatest find. I've been searching for this for so long, ever since I've heard of it's existence. I found it yesterday while at a convention out of town, and I couldn't believe my eyes..
A complete copy of Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen on Super Nintendo, with the manual, as well as the two "posters" which are weapon/armor/item lists, and a class/monster list respectively. I think I needed to change my pants about three times in the first hour I held this in my hands. After finally finding this, I can complete my collection with a complete copy of Ogre Battle 64. This is definitely my new favorite piece in my collection, I'm extremely happy to have it!
Six years ago, I probably couldn't have told you anything about any of the games I own today, nor would I have played them. Thankfully, that isn't the case, but because of this newfound passion for collecting, I have had the chance to play some of the best games ever made, as well as the chance to share these games with my friends, and the chance to play gems that I've never even heard of is an honor, and a priveledge. So, before I post my collection, I'd like to thank first and foremost Funktastic, for his help and support in finding some of these games, and his patience with my stupid questions and impatience. I would also like to thank my friends Chris and Dan, who have also helped me track down a lot of games, their knowledge and awesomeness has been very helpful, and also my friend Heather for being super awesome and letting me borrow some of her rare gems to give me a taste of how awesome they were, much appreciated! I'd also like to thank the rest my friends for giving me someone to play with, because it's always better to share the love with others, and the memories of kicking ass/getting my ass kicked at games are the best in my mind. Without all of these people, I would probably never have started doing this in the first place.
This month's monthly musing has really given me a lot of food for thought. There are lot of games I've played over the years that I could say have truly and definitively taken my breath away. OgreBattle 64, for instance, with it's unique gameplay style, branching storyline, and great character development. Or Super Mario Kart, with it's stunning yet simple gameplay amounted to hours upon hours of racing goodness, and where the asskickery handed out by my mother to every single person who tried to end her reign of terror as Koopa Troopa was so enormous that to this day she remains undefeated.
But sadly, there can only be one, and indeed there is only one game that stands out above the rest in my mind...
It all goes back to my High School days. My friends and I would argue for hours upon end about which Final Fantasy was the best. Generally the unanimous decision was FF7, and at the time I was inclined to agree with them. I had enjoyed the game thoroughly, and I had preferred more of the characters in that game as opposed to Final Fantasy 8 (which I still enjoyed). Any arguments I had towards FFIX however, was met with laughter, as if it were a joke.
Anyhow, at this point, the only "older" Final Fantasy games I had played were Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II, which I enjoyed, but not as much as their PSX counterparts. How could we argue about this, if we haven't even played half of the titles yet, I wondered. None of us had played Final Fantasy III, IV, V, or VI, and my friends did not like X or X-2, we were effectively missing out on a whole other generation of games!
I eventually started checking around the farmer's markets, online, wherever I could get my hands on some of these games, and the first one I ended up finding was Final Fantasy III. This was a week or two after our final exams ended, so I had an entire summer to soak in and enjoy what I thought was going to be an enjoyable experience. Turns out, I got a lot more than what I bargained for.
From the get-go, the game got me hooked. I pretty much was instantly emotionally hooked on Terra. Her circumstances and what had happened to her made me pretty sad. And then as more and more characters joined, the more and more I loved the game. There was not a single party member in that game that I did not like. Not only that, but everything that I did in the game, just felt right. Emperor Gestahl just sounded like one evil bugger, I instantly hated him. I wanted to mess up his plans pretty much any way I could, and everything I did just was one more thing to interfere with his evil plot.
And then when you add in the hilarity of his Lieutenant Kefka, and the awesome comedy of reoccuring Octopus Villain Ultros, the game was turning out to be AWESOME!
And then finally, when you confront that evil bastard on top of the floating continent, that, my friends, is the biggest 'WOW' moment in any game for me.
After finally making it to the top, your party sees Emperor Gestahl and his Lieutenant Kefka standing near three statues, or the 'Warring Triad'. Gestahl plans to use the power of the Triad in order to rule the world. When your party approaches the Emperor and his right hand man, Gestahl uses the power of the Triad to paralyze your entire party, save for Celes, a former Imperial General. Gestahl hands Celes a sword and tells her that if she slayed the party right this moment, she could prove her loyalty to the Imperials and take her place at their side. Instead, Celes chooses to stab Kefka, who in turn gets extremely angry and begins to activate the 'true power' of the Warring Triad. At this point, Emperor Gestahl, knowing what would happen if the true power of the Triad were to be unleashed, attacks Kefka in the hopes of stopping him, only to be met with a Lightning Bolt, followed by his corpse being tossed off the continent. Immediately after this, he then moves one of the statues, which essentially causes the world to be destroyed.
At this moment, it took me probably 15 minutes to realize what the hell just happened. Going through the game, thinking that Gestahl was the bad guy, he was the one that we were supposed to stop. Everything we did, was supposed to be to stop him from ruling the world, or what is now left of it. Playing the PSX games, I was so used to having a definitive bad guy, a definitive evil to stop, there weren't many twists or turns or surprises. You knew who you had to stop, and you stopped him. Not the other way around!
That moment was the biggest twist in a video game I have ever experienced. And to this day remains my favorite video game moment of all time.
The fact that Kefka actually destroyed the world, and was now a God of Magic and the ruler of what was left of the world was just... a brilliant story arc.
Of course, you eventually recover your lost party members, scattered around the ruined continent, and finally prepare yourself for a final assault on Kefka, fighting your way through his last, and most powerful servants, and eventually come face to face with:
Even the final battle with Kefka himself was very well done. Everything from his mad cackling, to Dancing Mad (which is one of the best themes out of any Final Fantasy game) playing in the background, to his quotes, all perfectly complimenting his insane character.
This video is GBA version of the final boss battle with Kefka (in addition to Dancing Mad!):
All in all, Final Fantasy III was the most memorable gaming experience I've ever had, and even though my friends still deny its greatness in favor of FF7, I know the gem of a game that is Final Fantasy III.
And the memories it has brought me that I'll treasure forever.
I don't know why, but this question has been sitting in my head for the last week. All I could do was think and think and think about it. What does being a gamer mean to me? Why?
Even as I sit here typing this blog, I ponder it over and over in my head, because there are literally hundreds of things that I could say, thousands of examples over the course of my short life, millions of people on Earth that resonate with the aura of a Gamer that possibly share these exact same thoughts.
And yet, as jumbled as the thoughts are in my head, they type out so fluidly that even I don't know what the hell is going on as I see these words appear in front of me.
There is nothing in this world that I am more passionate about than gaming. It has become a bigger part of my life than I could have ever imagined when I started some odd 16 years ago. When I see gamers, I see passion. It's everywhere! Hell, even last week on Destructoid's front page! None other than Isaiah 'Triforce' Johnson. To him, passion is lining up outside of a Best Buy a week in advance so you can get your 3DS before everybody else. Myself? Passion is screaming bloody murder at the TV because that perfect pass you sent to Funktastic in Super Soccer was all for naught because HE MISSED THE NET! Actually, speaking of Funktastic, I don't know any other person in existance that is more passionate about Super Mario RPG than him. Every time I hear him talk about it, the pride and joy in his voice speak volumes. I feel the exact same way about the Ogre Battle series. I've been looking low and high, in every nook and cranny, every corner of the world trying to grab the Japanese games that don't exist here. That series is my goddamn favorite of all time, and I WILL own them all one day. And I'm sure that every one of you has that one game, that one series that you talk about in the same way.
Even when gamers are arguing with each other, "Consoles are better than PC's", or vice versa, for example, you can see the passion in their arguments. These people give a damn, and they may not agree with your stance, but goddamnit they have passion. No matter if it's a matter of distance or opinion that separates us, the one thing we all have in common is that we are goddamn passionate about what we do, and nothing will ever change that.
And lets not forget the excitement that comes from gaming. Looking back at the time I opened my first ever Nintendo 64, I couldn't believe it. My parents had rented one from the local video store for my sisters and I every so often, and it was my favorite thing in the whole goddamn universe. I wasn't as excited as the infamous Nintendo 64 kid, but boy, was I ever jubilant. And we're not even mentioning the fact that when a new title is announced (Diablo III, anyone?), SHIT HITS THE FAN! There are so many upcoming titles coming out that I'm going to buy, I have no idea how I'll have the time to play them all (God forbid anything stop me from playing them all).
I know I already kind of went through this on my First Blog Post, but the feeling of nostalgia is just amazing. Going back and playing a game from my younger years brings great joy and memories to my mind. Anything from popular titles like Earthbound or Chrono Trigger, to something not a lot of other people (that I know of, anyway) enjoyed like Re-Volt (awesome N64 RC racer) or Wave Race 64 (Wave Race is the shit man!). Heck, I ordered Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey and Eye of the Beholder a few weeks ago and have been playing the crap out of them.
Heck, as I type now I have an urge to play the original Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, because I want to run around in a loincloth and shoot the shit out of a T-Rex with a goddamn exploding bow and arrow.
This aspect is the most important to me. I've met so many different people through gaming, and I've made more friends than I could have ever imagined. Not only have I made many friends IRL through gaming, but online as well. My Real ID friendlist grows, my Steam ID and PSN accounts grow, and it gives me more people from around the world to forge friendships with. Why enjoy a good thing alone when you can do it with friends! Sometimes, some of your most epic gaming moments can come with friends, or in my case, some of the most epic fails:
Playing Left 4 Dead 2, there's a mutation called Last Gnome, in which you cannot complete a level or finale without carrying a lawn gnome into the safe room. We were playing the Parish on Advanced, and had made it to the bridge finale. I think in the end the final time was about 2 hours and 79 deaths, but on our last try, I had the gnome, and I was running and avoiding zombies like I was playing Madden 2011 or something, and me and another friend had made it to the end (we left our other two team-mates to die to preserve ourselves), and I was carrying the gnome into the Helicopter when BAM! Shotgun to my back and I was dead! My friend picked up the gnome, hopped into the helicopter as the sole survivor and that was that. We all had a good laugh for about half an hour, and though I got owned pretty bad, it'll be one of my fondest memories.
Passion, Nostalgia, and Friendship:
I don't really want to what my life would have been like if I didn't get into gaming. There is not a single thing in the world that I would trade for that choice. All the great games that I've played, all the amazing memories and friendships that will stick with me for the rest of my life.. all of it is priceless.
That is what being a gamer means to me. What does it mean to you?
The date for Sakuracon looms ever closer, and prepping for next month will be a fun adventure. Putting aside thousands of dollars to spend on vidja games, and eating things at the cheesecake cafe across the street from the convention center, and then the lovely Gameworks arcade just as closeby. The 12 hour drive seems like nothing compared to the amount of fun waiting for me there. This will be my second Sakuracon, my first one was last year and now I'm making an attempt to go yearly.
Also, itching to get me some games that I've been wanting for my collection. I'm hoping to find me some March of the Black Queen for SNES as well as PSX, and the original Persona on PSX to complete those series (In English, anyway).
Conventions are always an exciting thing for me, to be able to see people's costumes and the amount of effort (or sadly, the lackthereof) put into them. And meeting new people is always a huge bonus. The majority of the con-goers in Seattle were very friendly, and I talked to a large amount of people, and ended up leaving with many new friends and adventures had (also 2nd place in the Pokemon Tourney, aww yeah), so I'm excited to get away from home for another nice vacation.
And let's face it: Cheesecake Factory + Gameworks/Bar across from the Convention Center + Raves on Friday and Saturday night? I don't think sleep will be had?
With the release of Pokemon Black and White in a mere 4 days, I've been catching Pokemon fever yet again. As I've stated in a previous blog, my total time from RBY till HG/SS has clocked in over 14,000 hours, and I've collected many many Pokemon over that period of time. Anyway, I popped in all my DS pokemon games to start organizing my boxes and start breeding a few things that I had put off when I realized that goddamnit, I have a LOT of shit. Like.. seriously, boxes and boxes of Pokemon. You name it, I probably have it in a box somewhere. My next thought was Oh god, now I have to start deleting everything when a much better idea popped into my head: Why not give some of these away to the community?
So, here goes nothing:
I have about 60 boxes (meaning roughly 1800+ Pokemon) full of Pokemon that I do not have any need for, and I'd like as many as possible to go to a good home. Whether you need them for breeding, battling, or just for your Pokedex log, please please please take some of these off my hands.
Here's how Part 1 of the giveaway will work:
In the comments section below, please state any non legendary, non event Pokemon you'd like (please don't be greedy, in fact, I'll limit it to 2 Pokemon per person for now) and I'll try and get back to you on whether I have it or not.
If you want a specific nature, you can ask for it and if I have it then it's yours. If you want an item or TM attached to it, you can ask, but please don't ask for Master Balls, Choice Bands, etc. I don't really have any of those to giveaway ><
I don't care what I get in return, you can give me a level 2 Pidgey, it doesn't matter, just give these poor failed rej- i mean great lovely Pokemon a new home!
Once Part 1 is over, I'll PM the appropriate people the proper Friend Codes, and then we can figure out a time to make the trade.