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Harumph avatar 5:11 PM on 03.22.2011
Gaming Regrets - Steel Battalion

Even though Iíve been playing video games in some form or another since I was a wee babe, there were some games or fads that I missed or just didnít have the time to play. Though there were plenty of games I wish I had played at the time (most of the SNES catalogue, for instance) the one game that sticks in my mind the most was Steel Battalion. Though it wasnít a particularly outstanding game, (from everything Iíve heard, I havenít played it obviously) that doesnít stop me from wanting to experience Steel Battalion. Iím no genius, donít have 20/20 vision, and have no desire to join the armed forces so playing that game with its giant controller is about as close as Iíd get to flying a jet or driving a tank.

Being a boy and having been a child once, I went through a period of time where I thought there was nothing cooler in the world than giant robots blowing each other up while simultaneously stomping through a city. As such, I was pretty big into BattleTech and MechWarrior as a kid. I played the Sega Genesis BattleTech game, the MechAssault games on the Xbox, MechWarrior games on the PC (MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries being my favorite), read BattleTech books and can even recall watching the short-lived BattleTech cartoon. Hell, some of the earliest things I wrote were basically MechWarrior Mercenaries fan-fiction. Not only did the giant mech battle aspect keep my interest but being able to buy new mechs and outfit them with whatever weaponry and armor I could salvage sated my micromanaging desires nicely as well.

Needless to say that when I first heard about Steel Battalion I damn near wet myself. Not only was it another modern (well, you know, at the time) video game about giant robot warfare but what caught my attention (and Iím sure everyone elseís) was the controller Ė oh man that controller. While some people thought it was ridiculous and unnecessary, I thought it was about the coolest thing Iíve ever seen.


Who could possibly call this ridiculous?

I mean just look at that thing. Itís got two joysticks, dials, switches, buttons, toggles and foot pedals for everything from magazine changes to windshield wipers. From what Iíve read, Steel Battalion made full use of the controllerís large array of buttons, requiring you to perform a start-up sequence at the beginning of each mission. You had to keep careful watch of your VTís (Vertical Tank) heat and if you turned while moving too fast you could fall over (thank you Wikipedia Ė I did say Iíve never played it before).

Even back then I knew it would probably be more annoying to play/use that controller and I also knew I couldnít afford it. Iím pretty sure the game and controller cost almost as much as a new console when it was released. Regardless of all that, I was still dying to play it. None of my friends ever bought one and sadly I never even saw one of those controllers in person. Sadly, my dreams of piloting a mech seem about as likely to happen now asÖummÖwhat kind of gaming analogy for unlikely events am I supposed to use now that Duke Nukem Forever is actually coming out? Anyway, about the closest I ever got to playing a game like Steel Battalion was playing Virtual-On at Dave and Buster's.

If I really, really wanted to play Steel Battalion now, I still have options. Wait scratch that Ė people on eBay are still selling the game and controller for over $100 and as much as $300. Even though Iím an adult now and should have expendable income to waste on nonsensical purchases like this, no one told me just how poor Iíd be in pursuing a journalism career so it pretty much still is out of my price range. Sadly, it seems Steel Battalion will always remain one of those games that Iíll never play.

But what about you? What games, systems or peripherals did you always want but never got around to playing? Everyone canít always play everything they want Ė or can they? Let me know!

 
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