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JDevL avatar 2:48 PM on 08.29.2007  (server time)
Looking Back at an Idiot

The recent influx of quality games from unsuspecting places has started me thinking about the games the didn't quite live up to the hype. Even still, the games that not only didn't live up to the hype but the hype was so strong it took even took me a while after playing the game to see through it. I so wanted the game to succeed, that I ignored the obvious and played up the rare hints of creativity that I could find.

The game that most vividly stands out to me is DOOM 3, which may go down in history as the best selling generic gaming experience ever, next to Halo.

It took me until two weeks after I first played the game that I first took a step back to take an unbiased opinion of the game and see it for what it was. Until that point, I was touting the game as the reason that everyone I knew should upgrade their PC.

Let me recount the vivid story of my first night with the game. I had picked it up at midnight, pretty much blocked out as much light as possible within my den, strapped on my headphones, and loaded the game up. I was ready to be absorbed. I was enthralled with the boring tutorial intro. Just happy to see the DOOM franchise have any characters and voice acting at all. I started blasting my way through corridor after corridor, trying to convince myself that every shadow was creepier than the next. Slightly before 2 am, it happened, the first Imp jumped out at me. I jumped in response. Unfortunately, I had been leaning way back in my chair with my keyboard in my lap at the time. When I jumped, I slammed my knees on the underside of my desk causing me to lose my balance in fall to the ground. I thought it was awesome.

I feverishly retold the experience to all of my friends trying to get some of them together online to try multiplayer with me. One of my friends came over to see for himself, and wasn't impressed at all. I told him, frankly, that he wasn't getting the full experience because it was still light out and he wasn't wearing headphones.

In retrospect, I just didn't realize that I had drank the DOOM flavored Kool-Aid (that didn't exist but I would have bought it if it had) ever since I saw the first tech demo. I was absorbed in the game by my own actions, not by anything presented to me. As a player, you shouldn't be forced to make yourself in the mood for the game. That's what DOOM was missing, and it took until Half-Life 2 finally showed up, for me to realize my follies.

Unfortunately, by that time I had talked about the game to the point that the memory of falling out of my chair is burned into my brain forever. It stands out as one of my most vivid gaming memories, right up there with Lakitu taking his camera around the castle in Mario 64 for the first time. I regret that I mention the two in the same breath.

It's in this vein that I am cautious about some upcoming games this season. I have zero interest in GTA IV. I look at Rockstar's track record and just see the game as a soulless next-gen experience. Where the minds that created GTA have had their glory with the perfectly timed release of GTA 3. Yet, they are incapable of building upon the initial experience and taking it to another level.

The game I am most wary of that I will purchase without hesitation, has to be Devil May Cry 4. I want it to recapture the experience of the original so much, that I will take anything I am given.

Are there any vivid game memories you regret having? What's the game you are looking forward to the most, that you are the most wary of?

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