First game: TI Invaders (Space Invaders knock-off) for the TI-99 "home computer". Either that or the Pac-Man built into the glass-top tables at Mr. Gatti's Pizza.
First console: NES
First world-altering game secret: JUSTIN BAILEY
First Arcade: Aladdin's Palace
First "mature" game: Leisure Suit Larry
First PC: 386SX 16 mHz w/40 MB HDD, Win 3.0, & 640x480 VGA baby!
First FPS: Wolfenstein 3D
First game mastered: Street Fighter II Turbo - Hyper Fighting (SNES)
First LAN deathmatch: Duke Nukem 3D
Great Game Reawakening: Living in an apartment with all sixth generation consoles and 3 gaming rigs.
New Systems: Wii, DS.
Somehow now owns: PS3
Randomly owns: SEGA Nomad, Game Gear, Genesis II, Sega CD
Cannot afford but is thinking about intercepting return RROD coffin: Xbox 360.
Currently playing: Rock Band, Zack & Wiki, Unreal Tournament III
Some quick first thoughts on PlayStation Home, almost completely in boring text:
- I was prepared to hate it, but it's not bad. Not great, but it has some potential.
- Load times aren't as bad as I was led to believe.
- The character creator suffers from Sims-itis, which causes any character you create to vaguely resemble Peter Weller.
- TTHI (Time To Homophobic Insult): 20 seconds. By some kid with a user name based on Red Bull. I'm so glad BrAwNdo0869 didn't weigh in on my sexuality.
- They're going to have to figure out how to allow voice communication with friends only. Right now you can "call" your friends, but I essentially want everyone muted who I don't know. Sounds like a community of people moaning through damp paper towel tubes.
- Why are games unplayable when occupied by someone else in the arcade and bowling alley? That's just stupid. Online should be better than real life when it comes to waiting in line.
- On that note, just as in real life, don't talk to me when I'm playing a rousing game of Breakout on a virtual arcade machine. You shouldn't see text bubbles pop up when you are doing something in fullscreen mode, like playing a game or watching a movie.
Verdict: B A promising start, with no clear reason to spend much time on it now beyond the novelty aspect, but with intriguing possibilities.
And remember: It wouldn't be the internet if we didn't start chiming in with ways to improve software that's 90 minutes old.
I've never been what you'd call a heavy gamer. Sure, there was that time I neglected to ask beforehand what exactly my official duties would be as The Outback Steakhouse Bloomin' Onion Boy of the Year (BOTY) 1994. But even as a fatass I didn't game a lot. Just an hour here or there, with an occasional marathon thrown in for obsessive measure.
And then I started reading game blogs. Joystiq, Kotaku, GoNintendo, stuff like that. Without making excuses for my behavior, I was young, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. But a funny thing happened on the way to the internets: the more time I spent reading about games, the less time I spent playing games. Then came Destructoid, and the problems really started.
At first I thought it was just a coincidence, but my condition persisted -- nay, worsened. Fearing for my health, I consulted a physician. He determined that I had bloggus interruptus -- literally, video game blogs were taking away time that I previously would have budgeted for games. Then I found out he wasn't a doctor at all, in direct contradiction of the handwritten cardboard sign he was holding when I encountered him by chance under a nearby overpass*.
But the diagnosis was uncannily accurate. Could it be that my addiction to gaming blogs (such as this one) was cutting into my precious game time? So I decided to conduct an experiment. I decided to wait until an expansive, free update for one of my favorite games of this generation, Burnout Paradise, landed. Adding motorcycles and night/day cycles to a happy mindless sandbox centered around seeing how high you could launch off a ramp the compacted metal cube that had recently been a car? Can't. Miss.
Launch it good.
The evening of the experiment approached, and I awaited the results with sweaty palms. Would I join in an online frenzy of adrenaline-fueled destruction that I had been advocating? Or would I spend yet another freakishly short hour reading about games, and the gamers who game them?
Dear gentlegamers, you have been agents of SCIENCE this evening. This blog confirms my sad condition. Robot Father, forgive me, for I have blogged and read blogs, and I have not gamed as I should.
He also does Bar Mitzvahs.
And yet, dear reader, ask: what of yourself? Have you been reading this game blog when you should have been gaming? I am too complicit in this crime to sit in judgment. But perhaps you should be tested for bloggus interruptus. Dusty console? More than one video game blog open in your tabs? A video game blog bookmarked where there was no bookmark before? A double-digit leaderboard rank? These are but a few warning signs.
Not the military conscription, just the accusatory pointing.
*I have lodged a complaint with the American Medical Association concerning "Dr." Fielgud, and I urge you to be aware that should you run into him, he is most assuredly not the one who makes you feel all right.
If you're like me -- and there's no real reason not to be* -- you have an uncontrollable addiction to Google News. And like flowers blooming after a fresh spring rain, or mushrooms popping up from a fresh bovine deposit of fertilizer, conferences like E3 have a way of infiltrating the typically non-game news media.
ZipZoomFly tells me the price difference between a 40GB 2.5" drive and a 80GB 2.5" drive is $11, so I'm not exactly in the throes of gratitude yet. Then again, the new system will include the DS3, which adds $5 of value, and WILL NOT include Spiderman 3 on Blu-ray, which adds at least $15 of value. Maybe $20.
Does the average casual journalist understand the loss of features like USB ports, backwards-compatibility, and card readers? Not any more than the average casual gamer understands the difference between the Japan version of Final Fight's Poison and the North American version (hint: penis).
So in the end, I declare the casual journalist to be the true winner of E3. After all, if politics has taught us anything, being right is all well and good, but being able to repeat something misleading over and over to an audience who really doesn't care to check it out is even better.
*except for the uncontrollable addiction to Google News, which can be treated with a prescription shampoo and a tiny comb.
BMI: 25.14 (Overweight)
Weight: 190.2 pounds
Wii Fit Age: 41
Hmmm... CB here. Just saw this picture online, and I can't say I'm exactly looking my best. But I saw that new Wii Fit game, so I'm going to give it a try. I'm writing this Wii Fit diary to keep myself honest. Here goes!
BMI: 23.96 (Normal weight)
Weight: 182.3 pounds
Wii Fit Age: 32
Wow! I have to say this really works. The shaving minigame was awesome, and my jaw is much more defined as a result. I've also noticed an increased tendency to go shirtless, which is an unexpected side effect. I can't help but think that I can still get a little more definition in my abs, though. Thanks for all your support, and the great feedback I've gotten on this project. - CB
BMI: 23.27 (Normal weight)
Weight: 176.5 pounds
Wii Fit Age: 23
Well, I'm pleased as punch. Not only can I see increased definition in my abs, but I'm comfortable going pantsless now too. Sometimes I have to cover my eyes so I don't get distracted by my own beauty. And to top it off, my Wii Fit age keeps getting lower and lower! I've only been spending half an hour a day, but I think I'm going to up my time and shoot for an hour a day next week. - CB
BMI: 16.21 (Oh shit)
Weight: 122.7 pounds
Wii Fit Age: -14
Maybe an hour a day was too much. While I still think I look really good, I may have to buy a whole new wardrobe. I guess that's the downside of losing weight! Also, I think one of my kidneys failed. I'll cut back to 45 minutes a day and let you know how that goes next week. I've got that whole Batman movie premiere coming up, and I'm a little nervous about looking fat. The camera adds 80 lbs, you know. - CB out.
[Note -- Bale's diary hasn't been updated in a while, but he must be really busy with all this movie stuff coming up. I'll let you know if I see an update.]
Imagine: Babyz for the Nintendo DS is a great game*, full of baby-type activities**, but even GOTY*** material can be improved on. For example, many of the DS hardware features could have been put to better use.
I said NO SLEEPING!!! Insolent whelp!!!
First, stylus controls. It's a little-known fact that the DS touch screen is pressure sensitive. So, just like in real life, you can discipline your infant with the appropriate amount of physical force. I'm not advocating child abuse, please don't get me wrong. But are you going to let that one-year-old talk back to you? Whatever you do, however, never shake a baby. The game doesn't have tilt functionality, so you just risk damaging your DS. Maybe in the sequel.
I hope you like bubbles, because it's the cheapest toy I could find
Second, microphone utilization. Right now, you use the microphone to blow virtual bubbles. Lame. You should be doing what everyone else with a baby and a voice is doing: yelling at your kid in the grocery store. You could also name your baby a la Nintendogs. And just real life, the more you say your child's name, the less responsive the child would be to it. "Morgan. Morgan. No. Morgan! Over here. Morgan. Morgan, honey. Listen to Mommy. Morgan! MORGAN! NO. PUT IT DOWN MORGAN."
"That baby is a little too chubby. I don't like fat people."
Third, wireless functionality. The great thing about having a baby is that everybody knows how to raise it better than you -- so why not give them the chance? You can invite up to 15 friends either locally or online, and they can use emoticons to express disapproval, superiority, disgust, reprobation, contempt, scorn, unease, and disdain in real time. They can also use voice chat to gossip to each other about the bad job you're doing, but don't worry -- you'll be able to hear it too!
These are but a handful of the ways that I think I can help make this franchise better. Ubisoft, I hope you're listening. As someone who has fathered many, many, children, yet has never stayed around long enough for them to be able to learn my name, I've probably got more experience with all sorts of babies (and their mamas) than anyone since Eazy-E.
* said Ubisoft PR Rep Laura Davis ** I'm just assuming. *** Game Other Than Yaris