I've played video games ever since I can remember. My fondest memories are playing Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time on the SNES with my brother, but that's all negligible stuff next to my love for music. If it's music, chances are I find some way to love it, and I take in anything I can. I play multiple instruments, and I guarantee you I have better music taste than anyone you know. Oh, and I'm also pretty opinionated.
Like all average-joe love stories the more attractive partner has someone on the side, the less attractive one probably drinks because even though they don't readily acknowledge the lack of morality in their promiscuous other half their liver is 5 steps ahead of them and slowly increasing gravity for the rest of their body so they fall face first into a pile of dog shit. I promise I'm going somewhere with this.
2012 started with me face first in a pile of dog shit. Figuratively. It was the beginning of the part of my life I'd like to call "Post Traumatic Why Did I Invest So Much Into That Stupid Game Disorder". The root cause of this disorder was about 3 years of World of Warcraft that came to an abrupt halt after the dissolution of my guild. Once I had nobody to hold me...let's call it 'accountable' for not playing WoW and keeping up with the game I realized how much that game, and it's community, just kind of suckered me into playing even with the growing distaste I developed for it (this is the drunk part of the metaphor) and it took smashing my face in shit to realize it.
Not all was lost though; I quit WoW, I got rid of the neck-beard, and I said 'Hello' to the sun. Quitting WoW was like that feeling you get when you finally pee after holding it in all day but multiplied by 10. I broke off all the anti-social behaviors and met society again for the first time in a while. I started seeing new people (games), getting reacquainted with long-lost friends (games), and rubbing one out on the couch instead of the computer chair (that's actually what it sounds like). It was a re-introduction to games that I'd passed up because of WoW and a chance at developing a hunger for the ideas of games in development.
I was no longer limited by the presence of my slutty ex and could now experience all sorts of things and give chances where I wouldn't have before; Fat chicks (strategy games), fit chicks (shooters), nerds (RPGs), weeaboos (JRPGs), those overly obsessive gym-sluts (fighters). My boner was entering all sorts of new people and discovering a world that I never would have known about.
This is the part where I tell you the sex stories.
I knew Lost Odyssey for a while. We talked a bit when we initially met but it never went anywhere. She expected a level of commitment off the bat that I just wasn't willing to give. We rekindled our relationship on a lonely night and ended up in the throes of lust until the wee hours of the morning. These booty calls would continue every other night until we agreed to see other people at the climax of our carnal relationship.
I was always a bit frightened of the gym rats. I was always pretty athletic but never very good in a gym but I decided at the behest of a friend to try it out because I looked like I had the body type for some good muscle. I met Mortal Kombat 9 as a consequence of this. We aren't perfect for each other but every now and then, when the mood is right, we rock each other in ways no others can. I have a new appreciation and enjoyment in these types of girls.
This one is an involved story. The mother hates me by now, but I was always good with the Halo sisters. I enjoyed the first ones company and I probably would have married the second one had I not come out of my whirlwind of lust in time. I caught the third sister at a bad time and we didn't really hit it off as much. While not quite in the same vein as the first 3 sisters, Reach was good to me. We understood each other's boundaries and had a good time but it was never meant to last, but then I met Halo 4. I was apprehensive at first. I banged all the other Halo sisters and wasn't sure what she thought of me and she wasn't quite legal yet, but I was anticipating her nonetheless. Her 18th birthday was met with fountains of sweat and positions straight from the pages of the Kama Sutra and she made her sisters look lesser in comparison. I can see this relationship going places.
Borderlands 2 is a story similar to the Halos. I knew her sister and we had a ton of fun, especially with groups. She just had all the toys and was down for anything with anyone. Rumor had it that Borderlands 2 was the same as her sister but better in almost every way and rumor couldn't have been any more right. Usually I'm pretty bad about sharing my love interests but Borderlands 2 is all the better for it. Going in with buddies has never been more fun in my opinion. Be sure to use protection though because as fun as she is, this kind of group love comes with some potential bugs.
Lastly, I'd like to mention XCOM. It was obvious when I met her that she used to be a big girl that lost a lot of weight, but I'm a nice guy and I'm okay with that. I mean it's all about the personality right? Oh, who am I kidding? It's about how good they are in bed. I was cautious about XCOM and kind of gazed from afar. I was interested but I didn't want to get in too deep with a girl I might not enjoy the company of. I decided to ask her out on a date one afternoon when I noticed there was a deal online and it'd be a cheap one. We surprisingly had a great time. I'd always had a mind for the more subtle things in life but XCOM brought it out of me more than I'd ever known was possible. She still had the sensibilities and reservations she acquired over the years of fatness, but her weight loss has made her a lot more exciting.
2012 was a year for discovery, new and old, and while only a few are mentioned here I'm happy to say that I haven't banged any under an 8 so far. How's that for pushing your luck? Maybe the only part of that metaphor that's a little off was being the less attractive partner.
So, backlogging games is kind of inevitable anymore with all these awesome games coming out at a pretty speedy pace. This has lead to quite a handsome build-up of games I still haven't gotten to play through even once, because every opportunity I would have had is filled by something new and shiny. This blog is my list of backlogged games and what exactly about them is "backlogged" since I'm a multiple play-through kind of guy. I'll also have the regular rotation of games I have that tend to rob me of backlog time. If anyone has suggestions about what to approach next as I likely haven't even been through the halfway point of the majority of these games, feel free to "win me over" if you like.
Boxed Games Alan Wake - DLC add-ons
Bayonetta - about 60% through the game
Condemned - 3 or 4 levels into the game
RIddick: Dark Athena - Beat Butcher Bay (again) and never really got into the Dark Athena part.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - DLC
Divinity II - Just got dragon-form
Dragon Age II - The last portion of the game/a couple of the DLCs
Dragon's Dogma - 2nd playthrough
Duke Nukem Forever - Got to the monster-truck part
El Shaddai - Barely even started
Fable 2 - DLC
Fist of the North Star - Halfway through Ken's story
Lost Odyssey - Got this one years ago and only got to the first "worm boss".
Majin and The Forsaken Kingdom - 2nd dungeon area
Metro 2033 - Ranger Mode
Nier - Just started
Overlord - about halfway through
Portal 2 - Co-Op (still need a co-op partner for the 360 if anyone is down for it)
Rayman: Origins - 2nd or 3rd area
Red Faction: Armageddon - 10-15% into the game
Resident Evil 5 - DLC
Sacred 2 - about 30% in before my buddy stopped playing with me
Shadows of the Damned - First boss
Witcher 2 - 2nd playthrough
Kingdoms of Amalur - 60%? Just the story, side-quests out the ass
Assassins Creed 2 - maybe 40% in?
Midnight Club: LA - 30% in or so
XBLA/XBLIG/Games of Demand A Kingdom for Keflings
Banjo-Tooie - 25%
Blocks that Matter
Braid - 2 puzzles completed
Clash of Heroes - 5 - 10%
Crysis 1 - Just beat the first invisible guys
Dead Block - got through most with couch co-op, not as fun solo
Dungeon Fighter LIVE - not very far, though it seems to be a game you don't really 'beat'
Earthworm Jim HD - Submarine level...this game is cruel
Fez - 30% in? This game keeps me side-tracked
From Dust - towards the end I believe
Gatling Gears - 50%?
Guardian Heroes - Got 2 endings, but co-op is more fun
Hell Yeah! - about 20 monsters killed
I Am Alive - 5% in maybe. Just found his old apartment
Islands of Wakfu - drunk purchase, kinda weird, only played a little bit.
Joe Danger SE - stopped at about 30% when I got aggravated at the last couple of lab challenges
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - maybe 40%. Same deal with co-op
Mark of the NInja - last level or 2nd to last, then the 2nd playthrough
Orcs Must Die - Just started basically
Outland - 3 bosses down
Penny Arcade Episode 1 - at the pier fairground area with the clowns
Plants vs. Zombies - haven't played much at all.
Rayman 3 HD - Beat the original, didn't have the same drive in this one. About 30% in
Shadow Complex - just got the achievement for running across the lake
Sonic Adventure - completed sonic's mode
Spelunky - got to the ice caverns
Splosion man - about halfway
Stacking - same
Super Meat Boy - at the very last level in light mode and just can't beat it
Tales of Vesperia - Just recently got the ability to fly around the map
The Dishwasher - the beginning
Trenched - same deal with co-op
Toy Soldiers: Cold War - about halfway into the campaign
Trine 2 - 4th level or so
Unbound Saga - for it when it was like...80 points on sale but never played it
The Rotation Halo 4
Operation Raccoon City
Mortal Kombat 9
Writing that out makes me realize I have a really bad problem not finishing games. Also, my 'blog series' is still in the works. Usually pretty beat at the end of the day and I'd rather take a load off with some gaming as opposed to wrangling some rampant thoughts.
I've been around D-toid for a little bit now, at least "socially" around, and while I love the community, actually communicating with a variety of people about games and the industry has made me come to the realization that there are some things I genuinely hate about it. This kind of gave me the idea to vent about it with a series instead of trying to cram it all into one post. I will try to spread it out and give myself some time to organize my thoughts without trying to be too over-bearing about them. The more I think about these issues there's a lot of these more "real world" parallels I could draw (though I probably won't) that just comment on things in general regardless of the industry, but make them more palatable for me to communicate in the trappings of gaming and gaming culture.
This is just a rough outline of the topics I plan to discuss so feel free to check back if you feel like reading my rants in the future. These also aren't in any specific order.
1. "Entitlements" and why I put it in quotations
2. The Divide - 'Casual' vs 'Hardcore' and my hatred of MP communities
3. Hipsters and game snobs
4. "We had it first!" and why it is different than number 3 (I realize this is ambiguous)
Feel free to throw possible ideas in the comments on things I could 'socialize' about if I feel the inspiration.
So, ever since I can remember I've definitely been more 'right brained' for lack of a better term. Present me with a calculator and some paint and I'll paint the calculator. I'm one of those assholes who can find some kind of hidden meaning in anything. It's just how my brain works.
Actually, hold on. I feel like this blog deserves some kind of backstory so I'll try to elaborate as smoothly as possible. The razor is a little dull though right now so expect some bumps. To put it lightly, I have some really fucking weird dreams. Not weird. Fucking weird. A good and fairly recent example had me painted blue, wearing a sombrero the size of a convertible, parachuting out of an airplane with Burt Reynolds (the sombrero was my parachute). It was like something that would have come out of Saints Row The Third if it didn't suck. This is also on the low end of the weird spectrum. They've been know to be much stranger.
So, to cut to the reason for the detour. I started writing down all the details of the dreams I could remember since my freshman year of highschool. Slowly I've built a catalogue of my demented sub-conscious. Ever since I started this these ideas that defy reality have entered my conscious thought processes so now this unhindered creativity is at a constant drip. The problem is, however, that I'm not sure how positive a thing that is.
The title of this blog is meant very literally. Specter; something that haunts or perturbs the mind. A phantasm. I'm very literally haunted by my creativity. To mention I have severe Attention Deficit Disorder might actually explain some of the anxiety towards this creative apparition. I go from being a relatively attentive student to imagining what would happen if the instructor was wearing a pirate outfit and speaking Mandarin. I find myself putting everyone I meet into weird out of this world scenarios all the time without even meaning to. By now it's just a natural process. Meet new person, talk to them, have strange "waking dreams" involving them. Most people tend to get a kick out of me telling them all the stories I cook up , and as far as my music and art goes its wonderful but the more I go down this path the more it feels like this little shit-head feeding me the ideas is pulling off some elaborate long-con to turn me into a spectacle.
Since I'm on a fighting game kick recently, I think I'll throw my attention at Netherrealm's next game Injustice. Coming off the success of MK9 I can't blame them for wanting to make a game specific to the DC universe. MK vs DC lacked the impact of MK and from what I seen, didn't have the roster a lot of people might have liked to see from DC. Having played a good amount of MK9's story mode I can definitely see them throwing in a comic-book style series of events if they keep the same idea going with it, however, that is not the focus of this article. With a fighting game comes the concern of a deep roster of characters that are enjoyable to the people playing, especially when connected to DC with their mound and mounds of potential characters.
I'm honestly more partial to Marvel myself. I've always been fond of The Hulk, and more recently Thor (less due to the movie and his newfound 'fame' and more to the nickname I got from a professor) but the idea of a fighting game exclusive to comic books has me giddy, especially when coming from Ed Boon. So I'd like to take this blog-time to lay out characters I'd like to see in the game and then hopefully have some people add in their 2 cents.
This is less for me and more for everyone I see wanting him in the game. Every time I see Injustice mentioned Lobo isn't far behind. A, for lack of a better term, badass alien bounty hunter who has duked it out pretty evenly with Supes a few times and has an attitude to match seems like a good fit for the game, especially when you consider how they are handling gadget/power characters.
2. Black Adam
I don't know much about the character other than the origin of his powers via "SHAZAM", but he seems to be a good fit as a power character for the game on the level of Superman and I really dig his design.
An awesome answer for a gadget character from what I've seen of him. Could have a good emphasis on projectiles but at the same time have the option for hand to hand. Something akin to Nightwing, but more emphasis on manipulation (I'm thinking cyrax-esque)
4. The Green Lantern/Sinestro
Doesn't really need any explaining, it'd be like this games Sub-Zero/Scorpion. Green Lantern is almost a shoe-in for the game and having Sinestro to be his antithesis seems like a no-brainer.
5. Power Girl
Practically DC's answer to the Hulk I definitely have to pull for him since I won't be seeing Mr. Green in this game. Solomon Grundy shows how well they can pull off the "big and lumbering" character so I'd love to see Doomsday around to take it to the extreme.
I won't profess to be a talented practitioner of button combos and timing frames because I'm not, but I do enjoy a select amount of fighting games. The thing about fighting games, and in turn button combos, is the precision required to pull off these combos with split-second timing and complete accuracy. If I need to string together a combo sequence and my controller fails to read the input I am giving it, the hardware has failed me and is in-turn making the gameplay worse where it wouldn't be normally. This has become more painfully obvious to me lately as I've been playing Mortal Kombat 9, especially on some of the more gimmicky fights. In this case Shao Kahn.
He's not altogether difficult as his moves are pretty easy to read and the characters I'm given I am able to counter his moves pretty well, but that hinges on whether or not my controller actually decides to read the input. Something as simple as the controller reading an up as a left or right, can very literally throw the fight in the favor of the cheap, asshole ruler of Outworld. 8 times I will execute Raiden's teleport to take advantage of Shao Kahn's long animations, and 10 times after that Raiden will just jump or backstep and turn into an easy target. Same input every time, with vastly different results. The fight itself is cheap, but it's also a boss in a fighting game; it's to be expected. The downfall comes from the terrible D-Pad Microsoft decided to produce in its controllers.
Overall, I really enjoy the Xbox controller for every game I play; the issue comes down only to fighting games but it's so glaring it all-together makes me want to smash it into the face of whoever thought it was a good design. Pressing up, and it registering right is not only not okay, it's crippling. It's less obvious on more "mash friendly" characters like Kitana where I can combo all day and not worry about what I'm pressing too much, but on a character like Raiden where precision is a little more necessary (especially in this fight) it's unacceptable.
I realize fight sticks among other things will alleviate the rage pains the controller causes, but honestly why can't Microsoft just put out a competent D-Pad? it honestly doesn't even need to be amazing, it just needs to be accurate. I've found videos online of people modding their controllers and improving the D-Pad with something as cheap as a Pringles lid. Some guy took 5-10 minutes taking his controller apart and putting a circular piece of cheap plastic on the D-Pad and instantly makes it much more accurate and playable. It makes me wonder how it ever got passed testing/QA if this simple fix makes the D-Pad way better.
So, Microsoft, I doubt you'll see this but I'm sure you've received plenty of feedback regarding the D-Pad on your controllers so can you please, for the love of my hairline and fractured knuckles, take this one to the drawing board and make a D-Pad that isn't a complete steaming pile of shit for the next Xbox? It's really the only thing wrong with an otherwise amazing controller.