Alright, well I'm suffering from a massive cold, and I don't have enough creative juices flowing through my head to warrant a work of amazing quality. So, I figured I'd just jump on the bandwagon and do one of those "X-Number of things you wanted to know" blogs...just because I can. Anyways, without further ado, let's get this over with so I can take some Ny-Quil and lie the hell down.
#1: I was banned from playing Double Dragon as a kid.
Double Dragon was one of my first true gaming obsessions; yes, even before Contra (which I'll get to in a bit). It was a far cry from what I'd played at the time; having been weaned off of Sesame Street games on my parents' old Atari 2600. I thought the NES was all about jumping on turtles and eating Mushrooms, but Double Dragon opened my eyes...and I would always ask my folks to rent the game for me every weekend so I could try and beat it. However; as I learned each new move, such as the Jump Kick or the Elbow Punch, I just HAD to try it out myself. I'd spend hours doing fake martial arts moves in my downstairs living room, until one fateful day when I'd accidentally roundhouse'd a marble vase which sat on the coffee table, shattering it into about a dozen pieces. That was the last time I saw a copy of Double Dragon for about five years. My folks enforced the ban as a reminder not to be stupid enough to mimic what I see on TV, video game or otherwise. Thankfully, they finally caved in and got me the Gameboy version when they saw that I'd smartened up.
#2. I can beat Contra in one life using the standard pea shooter...
...though I will admit I can't do it consistently. It's no easy task, especially since I get so antsy toward the end and second-guess myself into making a mistake. I don't remember what spurred me on to try and attempt it at first, but I think I was just bored with tearing through the game with the spreader. I just kept limiting myself; no 30-life code, no spreader, no powerups at all, no lives lost, the list goes on and on. I used to even videotape my own gameplay and play it back to see where I screwed up the most! I'm glad I spent my pre-teen years on something worthwhile rather than wasting it on trivial things, like joining a sports team or discovering girls. Still, it makes for a really neat party trick!
#3. Metroids terrify me.
Even in Dessert Form, they still make my flesh crawl.
These little jellyfish bastards have haunted my dreams ever since I was a wee Pintobean. I don't know what it is about them that makes them so damn disturbing, but I'm pretty sure it's because they're like an unholy fusion of a jellyfish and a fucking VAMPIRE. The first game wasn't that bad, mostly because they were only in Tourian and they didn't make their trademark "SCREEE!" sounds. It was really the second game that made them terrifying; they "SCREE!"d, they were EVERYWHERE, and they could mutate into bigger, nastier threats. That, and every time I ran into one they'd play that awful music:
Seriously, these things make my flesh crawl. Over the years, I had thought I'd gotten over my deep-seated fear of these creatures; that is, until Metroid Prime came out. Let me tell you, it's one thing to see a Metroid gliding toward Samus in 2D, it's another to see one COMING RIGHT FOR YOU. O_o
#4. I used to write to game companies with suggestions...
...and believe it or not, Konami actually responded. Most of what I wrote were usually requests for Arcade ports for the NES, and in Konami's case I believe I was writing them for a NES port of the Aliens arcade game (which I'd loved as a child, and is the sole reason I got into the film franchise to begin with). I even drew pictures to go along with it (yes, I was that dedicated), and they sent me a letter in the mail saying they couldn't do it because they were already on a very tight release schedule and they couldn't accommodate my request. I figured that would be the case, but I didn't care, I was just totally stoked that they actually wasted the time and paper to send me a form letter! Though I didn't see why they had to send back the pictures I drew....jerks.
#5. I once had a phone Conversation with Orson Scott Card.
It was for a job I had taking phone orders for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he called up to order a crapload of Xmas gifts for his relatives. I struck up some generic conversation while he pointed out what he wanted. I didn't really know who it was until he completed the order and I asked for the name on his credit card...
Me: "May I have the last name as it appears on your card, please?"
Me: "And the first name?"
Me: [Brief Pause] "...your middle name wouldn't happen to be Scott, would it?"
Me: "The guy who wrote Ender's Game?"
OSC: "Yeah, that's me."
After that point I didn't really say much, I just finalized the order in a very awestruck, monotone voice. Afterwards, he gave me a link to his website at the time, and wished me a happy holiday. Alright, so it wasn't much of a conversation, but dammit I talked to a real-life published author! That people know! Uhh...so THERE!
#6. I am obsessed with shmups.
I know I mentioned this in my R-Type blog, but I figured I'd just state it again for the record. I love shmups; they are my single-greatest weakness. If someone, ANYONE hands me a copy of Gradius (including it's sister games and spinoffs), I will sit down and play the ever loving CRAP out of it until my fingers are covered in huge, red blisters. The first shmup I ever played obsessively was Galaga; whom I learned from a single mother who would drag her two kids with her to the arcade at my local mall. She would literally stand there and play the Galaga machine for two solid hours, usually racking up a good 800-900k score. One day, I just had to ask her how she got so good at it, and she took me through the basics. I eneded up going from a 100k to a 400k score easily, although I'd never been able to reach anywhere as high as she could. I don't remember what her actual name was, but she'd always set her initials as "KIM". Since then, I've played hundreds upon hundreds of shmups....though I will admit I'm not really a big fan of the "Bullet Hell" subgenre that's been getting so popular recently...with the exception of DoDonPachi. I looooooves me some DoDonPachi.
7. I Love Chiptunes/Game Tunes.
I have countless game soundtracks on my iPod, as well as countless original chiptunes. My favorite chiptune artist at the moment is Haruhisa "Hally" Tanaka; who's made several catchy tracks such as "Charhang Strikes Back Again!" as well as the ever-amazing "Sprite Bells". You can find most of Hally's work in .nsf format at 2a03.org. My favorite chiptune/game tune of all time would have to be Zuntata's "Daddy Mulk" from the Ninja Warriors arcade game:
8. I got fired from my first job because I went home 3 hours early to finish Xenogears.
Not much to say here, I had to go to work JUST as I reached the second-to-final boss, "Deus". I completely forgot that I had a shift that night, so naturally I kept looking at the time clock, just wishing it would move at least 3 hours ahead. I was so sick of the job to begin with (I bagged groceries) that I just decided to punch out and just not come back. My boss must have called the house 3 times, but I didn't answer back until I'd beaten that fricking game. He was less than happy that I'd skipped work way earlier than I was supposed to, but I didn't care. Needless to say, they fired me the next day. Of course, I was about 17 at the time, so I'd just put down "Quit because of school-related demands" on my resume. read