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6:41 AM on 12.06.2013

Gaming First Times: Morty edition

Remember your first time? The first time you took the thing out and put it into the designated slot to have some fun? The first time you went on for an entire night without taking a 15 minute break after every hour? The first time you hid it from your parents because they weren’t supposed to see what you were doing? The first time you used special periphery? Remember the first time you had friends join in on the fun? Or the first time you did it on a plane or a train? The first time you cried during it, or the first time you laughed your ass off? Do you remember your first time roleplaying or the first time you met resistance and kept pushing on for uh, some consensual fun?

Remember when you first thought: Man, I fucking love videogames!

I do. Or at least I tried to. After recent years surprised me with incredibly fantastic games like The Walking Dead, Spec Ops: The Line, The Last of UsFTL – Faster Than Light and many others, I asked myself, “Hey, how did all this actually start again?” And from there on out I thought about the many first moments of awe and wonder I experienced with videogames, the moments that got me invested and let me love videogames, again and again.

Here are some of them:

When we’re talking first times I guess it’s only fair to start at the beginning, right? I was born in ’85, my parents were no nerds but my dad was still kind of familiar with videogames.  And so it happened -- much to the dismay of my mother -- that I/we got a GameBoy as my first "console" when I was about five or six years old. The games that came with it: Tetris and Super Mario Land, of which Super Mario Land is the first videogame I ever played. Little did my parents know what this would do to me in the long run. Massive grade deterioration in highschool for example. In the end I'd count more positive aspects though, like faster learning of the English language, connection with friends or better comprehension of narrative elements. And while my mother still hasn't warmed up to a lot of technological advances (except for some occasional SingStar, Guitar Hero or EVEN a phone answering machine) she was actually the one out of her, dad and me who figured out that you could enter the pipes in Super Mario Land to get to "secret" coin rooms. Mind blown.

Dat blocky Greytness

With my games being Mario and Tetris it is kinda obvious that the first game I ever finished was Super Mario Land. Also, a bit less obviously it is the game where I got my first Gameover screen. I still remember loving the variety in that game. In one level you were on foot while the next had you in a submarine blasting your way to the level. In the end you even flew a plane and finally faced the boss Tatanga -- as a kid the fight felt to me like bullethell shooters do nowadays . I also remember finding some sounds effects quite creepy and in later stages you would be pursued by hopping Chinese Jiang Shi zombies. At that time I had no idea what Jiang Shi or zombies were but because they came after me so relentlessly and got back up when I "killed" them they really kept me on edge every time I encountered them.
Funny how it starts with one little game when I'm about to write my bachelor thesis analyzing a videogame.

First game I 100-percented (only counting games with additional collectibles and challenges beyond the normal playthrough): Wario Land for the GameBoy.

Next came my PC phase. My dad bought one at some point and I could try some stuff out with it. The first PC game I played was The Lost Vikings, a game I still hold most dear today because it is excellent. You controlled three vikings named Erik the Swift, Baleog the Fierce and Olaf the Stout who had different skills they had to utilize to get to the end of a level. Erik could jump and dash through certain walls, Baleog could attack with a sword or use a bow to kill enemies or activate switches and Olaf had a shield the he could use either to block hazards, as a stepping stone for one of the other vikings or as a paraglide. The mechanics and leveldesign are extremely good for such an old game and it still holds up well today in my opinion. 
Actually I think that a new (lower budget) one with three player co-op would still sell well today. I remember not really getting the hang of the game at all though. I pretty much sucked at it and used a list of level passwords to check out and try -- and fail at -- the later levels. I went back when I was older and finished that gem of a game. 

And while I'm mentioning PC games, here also fits the first game I wasn't allowed to play. It was Battle Chess. A version of classic Chess where the pieces would do a crude little battle animation when one attacked the other. Different times, I guess.

My first gaming buddy was Ben who was in my class when we started highschool. He had a Super Nintendo and I often would come over to his place to game the days away. We got pretty far into Yoshi's Island and The Adventures of Batman and Robin. I think we finished Yoshi but Batman was hard. Trying to beat the stages, figuring out new ways together, talking about that shit, that was new to me and it was amazing. He also got the Star Wars SNES game which we finished as well if I remember correctly. I would then bring over my GameBoy games of Empire and Return so that we could play them on the Super GameBoy adapter. Also, we watched stupidly awesome late-night movies like Beast – Schrecken der Tiefe (US: The Beast) where some giant squid terrorizes a smalltown.
Good times were had but as fate wanted it they wouldn't stay. After a year or so contact faded who knows why, but maybe our paths would cross again...

For Christmas '97 I eventually got my first console, a PlayStation. My first console games being Cool Boarders 2 and Broken Sword 2. Doing tricks while boarding down a snowy mountain was great fun and my love for point 'n' click adventures still burns brightly today (gotta get that new Broken Sword game during Winter Sale). Also, my first demo disc demo1 with lots of PlayStation games to try out like Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee. I ended up loving the PSone A LOT. Games like Crash Bandicoot, Medievil, Tekken and many, many more are still dear to me. And if I'd be forced to swear allegiance to only one console it would most probably be a PlayStation.

First videogame movie I watched was Mortal Kombat. I didn't know the games back then and the movie is kinda trashy nowadays but since I was, like twelve or so the movie was actually pretty damn magnificent.

Much of my PSone love doubtlessly stems from the first rpg I played (and its PS one successors), namely Final Fantasy VII. I still play it every now and then because it is just an awesome game. The characters are likable, the soundtrack is amazing, the game world is huge and full of stuff to do and the battle and skill system are simple but brilliant. No need to say much about it, the game just rocks.

First time I was a dick concerning a videogame:
During highschool a friend of mine acquired the Spiderman game for PSone. Since Spiderman was (and is) our favourite superhero we would meet up and play the game together. One time he visited me to play it at my place. Due to some obligations he couldn’t keep playing the game the same day which is why he allowed me to borrow it until the next day (he was pretty strict about that). Being a dick and wanting to keep playing the awesome game with flipping Spiderman I left it at home and said that I had forgotten it there. The ruse was as lousy as it was transparent. Needless to say my mate was pretty pissed at me. I did feel bad and still remember the deed as one of my whackest moments. But hey, I could play a videogame for a few more hours … ugh.

First time I made the case for a game:
I had first heard about this game from a buddy and it sounded incredible! Fighting a helicopter on a rooftop, a mind-controlling gas mask dude, a vicious sniper girl, a giant shaman with a mini-gun, atom-bomb launching robot tanks, snakes, why am I still typing and not playing Metal Gear Solid right now??
This year I easily bought it again as a PSone classic on PSN but when I was 14 I first had to convince my dad that this game was appropriate for me. And convincing I did, with a fervor and reasoning that in comparison would've turned pale Matlock, Phoenix Wright and Ally McBeal. “Dad, the game is about ‘espionage’ (Dad being a big James Bond fan), you don’t need to kill anybody, actually it is far better if you don’t kill anybody and stay hidden, the story is quite important as well and I really really really want it. Please?” It worked. Game rocked my world. I rejoiced.

My first starter Pokèmon was in Gen I, Bisasam. Da fuq is a Bisasam you may ask. It’s the German name for Bulbasaur. Always loved the little guy.

The first horror game I ever played is Resident Evil 2. I played it over at a friend’s house when we were 13-ish. And it was awesome! The atmosphere, the setting, the difficulty, the story, the suspense, the perfect opener for a thrilling genre. This game is what started my love for zombies, corporate conspiracies and survival horror in the first place. A great service I’ll always cherish. Maybe for that I’ll finish it one day cause, well, I didn’t. While I played it at my friend’s place and loved it I mostly watched him play. The first RE I finished by myself was RE3 which is actually my favourite of the franchise (due to Nemesis) closely followed by RE2 and Remake. Upon inquiring why he bought RE2 before RE1, he said to me that I dissuaded his mother from buying RE1 before because it was a M-rated game with gore and stuff. Now I really can’t believe it myself but I have to take his word on this. 13 year old me could be quite a dick apparently.

First gaming marathon:
I must’ve been in ninth or tenth grade when I started playing Grandia, a nice little Jrpg with well-written taking characters, an epic story, a great battle system, a brilliant soundtrack and THE MOST ADDICTIVE SKILL SYSTEM EVER DESIGNED BY MAN. Seriously, that skill system was worse than crack-cocaine, meth-heroin and another hard-drug-amalgam combined. It worked in a way that each character was leveling four element skills (Fire, Wind, Earth, Water) and two to three weapon skills. Each skill-level-up would net the respective character a small stat boost (like +1HP for a Water-level-up) but the most important thing was unlocking new skills with reaching new element and weapon levels. Say, before switching your console off you check your skill screen and see that you need Wind on level 9 to unlock a new skill. Now, you already have it on 8, so this is over in a breeze. Nice, new skill! Oooooh, what is this? There is a combined skill -- that only needs Wind 9, Fire 12 and Sword 12 -- waiting for you to get these last two levels on Sword and Fire. Now, this will be over quick as lightni-HOLY SHIT, I’VE PLAYED SIX MORE HOURS!

This way I ended up playing Grandia for twelve hours straight. I mean, I pulled all-nighters with friends before but those were more movie-game-nights with lots of bullshit-talking. This was a twelve hour Grandia binge only paused for toilet walks and food gathering. This was new for me. And it was great.
Of course it wasn’t solely the skill system that hooked me but it helped with the occasional crucial push when you’re about to switch off the game. Everything else is great as well. The sense of adventure, the characters, everything. If -- for some reason -- you haven’t played Grandia, stop reading this and get it on PSN ASAP. But do come back, okay? Hello?

When released the PlayStation 2 was too expensive for me so I waited a year or two and was pretty damn happy when I got the money on Christmas to buy one. Having played over at a friend's place I already had seen the awesomeness that was Devil May Cry. So it was only logical that my first PS2 games I bought with the system were Devil May Cry, featuring cocky, battle-hardened, fiend-slaying half-demon, full-badass Dante, and Kuri Kuri Mix (known in the US as The Adventures of Cookie and Cream), a nice and cuddly, severely -- I think -- overlooked gem of a co-op game. Both games totally rocked in their way. DMC (capital m only) just was so well designed. The action and soundtrack -- which I still listen to today -- were out of this world. I loved the bosses like lava-spider Phantom and tragic Nelo Angelo and how you built up a kind of rivalry with them because you fought them more than once. Also small doses of backtracking -- not like that bullshit in DMC4 -- made the gameworld feel very coherent and alive. An overall well-done game! Kuri Kuri Mix on the other hand satisfied with some nice puzzle-y co-op platforming that got pretty hard nearing the end if I remember correctly. As in every co-op game it was especially fun to let your partner drown instead of helping him with raising a platform.
The PS2 ended up being my favourite console of all time with a gigantic game library spanning all genre and some creative and innovative ideas like Guitar Hero, EyeToy and such.

Recounting the first time I got utterly dominated in a videogame I’m just gonna have to cheat and mention two different instances of getting owned.

The first one is a series of one-on-one duels in Dead or Alive 2 on PS2 against a friend. Normally I could give him at least a bit of a challenge but on one day, he completely annihilated me. After winning the first matches his robotic beat ’em up brain adjusted to my playstyle quicker than usual and he kept winning and winning and winning and winning and winning… and we’re talking around thirty or forty matches with max number of rounds each. At some point I was getting desperate enough to resort to empty threats like “I will never play DoA against you if I lose another round”. I don’t even remember if he let me win one time out of pity. He beat me into a state of mind where I wanted to roll on the ground and flail my arms and legs. That’s some ownage right there.

The other instance happened on a LAN party some buddies and me were having and was less one-on-one-dominating and more…  oh, you’ll see. 
Ben, my aforementioned gaming buddy, hit the competitive PC gaming scene pretty hard after leaving Yoshi’s Island behind. He has played Counterstrike and every Call of Duty more or less competitively but in one game he achieved true mastership. He was fucking Neo seeing the code of the matrix. That game was Tactical Ops, a Counterstrike counterpart based on the Unreal engine and as I said, he was really into it. I vividly remember witnessing him leaving his actual guests to their own devices to have clan meetings via TeamSpeak. Maneuvers, battle plans, maps and tactics; all that jam and oh god, the slang. I'll probably never understand the derogatory communication style a lot of (semi)pro-gamers use.
Since I’m not much of a competitive gamer myself (save for the occasional fun match Tekken or Crash Team Racing and recently Dota2) I found those antics quite funny in a kind of terrifying way.

And funny they were, until we played TacOps at the LAN party. A timeline:

We started with balanced player counts on both teams (I’m guessing 4on4). Ben’s team won.

We started to re-balance the player counts against Ben’s favor. Ben’s team won.

We re-balanced again, this time drastically. Ben won.

We introduced house-rule #1 “No weapons above pistols for Ben”. Ben won.

We introduced house-rule #2 “Only knives for Ben”. Ben won.

Stahp, please. Don’t kill us anymore.
And don’t think that we were just a bunch of suicidal noobs. Everyone of us had played fps before, having at least an acceptable skillset but we still got totally and singlehandedly dominated by Ben, that fuckface (love you, mate).
And while getting dominated doesn't sound like fun these moments were fascinating enough to make for good gaming experiences. In hindsight. When I'm in a good mood.

Speaking of good mood. There are few games I really hate. DmC (booo, lower case m) would be an example or the FF XIII stuff and while I was bitterly disappointed with Grandia 2 and FFX the award for first game I hated with a passion goes toooooo Resident Evil 4. Maybe it just hit a wrong note with me, maybe it was because I started to get more refined opinions about media and games but I just absolutely can’t stand that game and what it stands for. Now I’m not gonna go on a rant here as it has been done many times before but I just can't accept this watered down, action-oriented, NIL horror game as a Resident Evil title. It's easy as fuck and the gamedesign is boring and bad; enter an area, gun down every enemy, move on, repeat ad nauseam. No careful resource management whatsoever is required to survive, no lack of ammo or anything else for that matter makes for some chilling fight-or-flight decisions and an overpowered, wrestlingmove-using protagonist is just the worst idea ever for a Resident Evil game. While playing the game I kept saying to myself "Keep it up, it is RE, it will get better", spoiler alert, it doesn't get better. It gets worse. The story -- yes, I care about the story in RE -- is complete bullshit and shallow. Leon kills a few bad excuses for antagonists and gets infected by some spooky bullshit parasite, big whoop, why should I care, it doesn't even affect the fucking gameplay because that would've been too good and coherent of an idea for this piece of shit excuse for a Resident Evil game. Escorting Ashley has to be one of the worst things I experienced in gaming ever and the entire third location is just so artificially bloated and made-up that it made me want strangle someone. Oh, and to top it off, in the final fight you get a special rocket launcher which is literally described as the perfect weapon to exterminate the boss. What is this self-referential, immersion-breaking bullshit in my RE? Hell, even Resident Evil 5 was more fun and engaging because at least there you could shoot stuff up with a buddy. The only, absolutely only good thing that I can say without blowing a gasket is that the Regeneradores are one of the best enemies ever designed in a videogame. RE4's gameplay however was bland and unfinished, the story was crap, the characters unlikable and annoying, the action approach superfluous, and it killed Resident Evil. Just killed it like that.
Oh well, could’ve seen that coming.... /rant

Entering the third generation of PlayStation consoles was only a matter of time for me. Ever since God of War 3 was announced it was clear that I'd get one (well, what a disappointment that game was for me, hah). So when the Slim edition entered the game my time had come. At the end of 2009 I got me a PS3 for my 24th birthday and the first PS3 games were Mirror's Edge and Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction closely followed by three games a buddy brought along from the US (cheaper for me): Tekken 6, R&C: A Crack in time and Uncharted 2.
I already had played Mirror's Edge over at a friend's place and loved it. Now it still is one of my favourite games of the generation and I really really hope they don't fuck-up the sequel, prequel, reboot, ARGH, why a reboot?
My love for the Ratchet games is written in stone as well, only stuff like All4One and Q-Force can make me doubt Insomniac. Well, that and FUSE. Will get Into the Nexus in a few days, pretty pumped about that one.
Uncharted 2 turned out to be an incredible WOW!-experience and for quite some time I considered it to be a perfect game. The setpieces, the action, the Indiana Jones feeling, loved it to bits! Played the first one later one, also great. Got the third one shortly after it was released, really amazing setpieces but no narrative coherency to a degree where I felt bullshitted, overall a lesser package than game two and one.
In the end getting a PS3 was the right decision. I played some really good games like inFamous, Journey, Last of Us, Borderlands, Lollipop Chainsaw, Demon's Souls (although I haven't made it that far yet), Little Big Planet, Heavy Rain and many more. Moreover, I still got a backlog with quite some games. Unfortunately my BluRay-drive is working up and I often need to try several times before a game starts booting up. Dampens fun and motivation a bit.

I was quite late to the Steam party. When it was first introduced my PC wasn’t good enough to play games like Halflife 2 and I only had regular access to the internet when I started with college at age 22. I made my account in 2011 because a friend was heavily recommending HL2 and Portal. To play them he lend me his Orange Box but -- as it turned out -- you can’t lend games you already activated on Steam. Shortly after this initial disappointment something bad happened though, really bad, really really bad, for my bank account. This something was the Summer Sale 2011 *dun dun dun*. Although I didn’t buy that many games during that sale it made me love Steam -- because who doesn’t love awesome stuff for cheap? -- which subsequently hurt my finances a lot. Also, dat backlog is grow-*ringring*Yes, hello? What, I’m digressing? Okay, I’ll distract them and get back on topic. Take care and thanks, Mr. President, now we’re even.

During the Summer Sale 2011 I got my first game on Steam which was VVVVVV. It’s an awesome indie title by Terry Kavanagh who also did the great Don't look back. I love the tight platforming controls, the challenge the game presented -- Veni, Vidi, Vici anyone? So damn satisfying --, the overall style and praise Thor, I absolutely adore the soundtrack, Predestined Fate being one of my favourite videogame tracks of all time. This reminds me that I should dig up Super Hexagon from my backlog and give it a spin.

This year I had my first really emotional game experience. While the “evil ending” of inFamous2 was pretty fucking sad and brought a few tears to my eyes, nothing I have played to this day ever came close to what I experienced during Telltale’s The Walking Dead. The game really wrecked me. Since I tried to play the game making decisions like I would do in real life it hit me hard in the face with its introspective nature and its abundance of moral relativism. No game before made me feel so guilty, yet justified. So sad, yet angry. So desperate, yet a bit hopeful. And no game made me cry before. The connections you feel towards the NPCs in general and Clementine in particular really take their toll during some of the heavier scenes. Beginning and middle of episode 3 for example were incredibly powerful for me, not to mention the entire final episode. During the end scene I was bawling my eyes out.
And for that it’s easily in my Top 5 games of all time.
I don’t even care that a lot of the decisions still lead to the same outcome because as I see it, it’s not the decision that counts but rather the way you feel about making, living with and justifying it for yourself.

The first time I visited Destructoid was today six years ago. Thanks for a lot of insights, entertainment and news, folks!
(actually it was six years and ten days ago but I was too lazy to finish writing this post)

And finally, first game during which I had sex: Megaman 10. I REGRET NOTHING! *highfive*

Also, you will probably remember stuff like cblog introductions, "10 things you didn't know about member xy" (sry, link didn't work) or lately "x things I'm excited about"?

I really enjoy stuff like this on this site, reading about other peoples' experiences and (gaming) passions. So if you liked this little trip into my gaming past, feel free to share your own. I'd sure as hell love to read them!   read

11:29 AM on 05.11.2012

10 random things you didn't know about Morty

Heya, folks. Since everyone and their moms have been doing these lately and I pretty much enjoyed reading them I figured I’d do one for me, as well.
Here are ten random facts about me:

#1 I love web comics
It all started out when I was randomly browsing myspace back in the day. On some profile I saw a short comic strip featuring stick-figureish people and really crude humour. Being a fan of comics and also comic strips like Garfield, Gary Larson’s The Far Side, Martin Perscheid (a German cartoonist), Calvin and Hobbes and so on, I got hooked on the dark, cynic and often plain misanthropic humour of Cyanide and Happiness, my gateway drug into the world of web comics.
I soon developed a craving for short, simplistic, yet funny and creative comics and was searching the web for more. And I found more, and better. Penny Arcade and many more followed.
But the prime I had yet to find. Until one fateful day…
On a social network someone in the CaH group was recommending another web comic, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal or short SMBC Comics.
SMBC by Zach Wiener (heh) became my all-time favourite quicker than you can say “Genious, hilarious, clever, brilliant, everything I hope to eat, be and experience”. The gags often contain clever twists
and the strips are full the creator’s science-geekiness. Sometimes it’s over the top, sometimes it’s really down to earth but every time it is funny as hell.
Up to this day I have read so many web comics I can’t recall them all.But I do remember Gone with a blastwave (a gritty, sarcastic war satire), The Gunshow by KC Green (funny shit; here an earlier web comic by KC), Sexy Losers (dark humour + sex = awesome), AmazingSuperPowers (priceless) and more elaborate stories like Looking for Group (kind of started as fantasy parody but became a fantasy story in its own right over time) and Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic.

The only comic that nearly pushed SMBC from its throne is Perry Bible Fellowship. Just as creative, just as witty, more differing art styles but very rare updates. Check it out, in fact, check every single comic out that I am naming, do it. And if you do so, don’t forget the little red button under the strips of SMBC and the graphic info and the question mark on the top right of AmazingSuperPowers; there be bonus laughs.
Today my daily routine consists of Cyanide and Happiness (although it lost much of its charm, my fave has always been Rob den Bleyker), Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic, Penny Arcade and of course Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereals.
Also, through web comics I found Destructoid, so that’s another great plus, isn’t it?

#2 I played in a band
With the money I got for my 18th birthday I bought three things: A bass, an amp and a tattoo. What could you possibly need in addition to that to become a rock star? A fine tea set. Wrong! Skills. Wrong again! You need a band.
So four months into playing I got together with two friends of mine who – during the course of the band – became even better friends. Turned out we weren’t too ambitious in a professional sense but we had fun the whole time. We started on Good Friday covering Pennywise’s “Bro Hymn” and Green Day’s “Hitchin’ a ride”, later played gigs in our school (unprepared, drunk and plain bad) and at the New Year’s party of our drummer (New Years Eve: sober; New Year: shitfaced). Not long after we started we got to the point where we found our own style (namely no specific style) and wrote our own songs, some of which I still like today (and that means something!). We organized several concerts with acquainted bands which often were received quite well although (or maybe because) we shamelessly mixed bands from several genres during a gig. In the end only one cover song (“Velvet Alley” by Strung Out, although I always preferred “Katatonia”) remained and we even managed to record an EP with five songs. I don’t want to link them because our vocals are (most possibly) atrocious but hey, if you’re interested search YouTube for “remainsane cologne”. You have been warned, though.
A few years ago we went into cryogenic hyper sleep because we started studying in different cities and even countries but I hope sometime we can play some shit again. Good times…

#3 I ruptured my spleen once
Talking of good times, one time I went on snowboard vacation with three good friends of mine. I never boarded before but I can ski. Couldn’t be that hard to ride down a mountain on just one board, could it? Turns out it actually wasn’t. Sure, in the beginning I fell quite a lot but I got the hang of it rather quick. Unfortunately we didn’t find the small piste until the end of the first day, so some bails were quite hard and also a bit discouraging (in an “I’d rather die than fall on my arse again” sense).
The second day started with me battling the most monstrous sore muscles ever experienced by man, I couldn’t even stand on the board. Well, after fifteen minutes it somehow worked. The second day everything flowed so nicely, I didn’t lose balance anymore, everything was falling into place, snowboarding was awesome. The day ended with me getting emergency-helicoptered (yes, that’s a verb now) to the nearest hospital due to a spleen I supposedly ruptured during the first day. Needless to say, that sucked! You know, what sucks even more? Not being allowed to drink something for three days straight due to necessary precautionary surgery-readiness. Hell, I say, HELL!
In the end I didn’t get surgery and I still have my spleen. I was in a really bad state but just this teeny weenie bit good enough to not get it removed.

#4 I am from Germany
Oh nein, he’s from Deutschland. That’s the land that hasst alles concerning Videospiele because jeder Gamer ist ein potential Amokläufer. Yeah, ich hasse das auch.
But what I hate even more about Germany concerning videogames are two things: the mindset and the voice-acting. The mindset bit contains pricing strategies, censorship and general dumbness regarding our favourite medium. This country is governed by and for old people, you can feel that. I really don’t want to go into detail, though, or I will blow a gasket. Maybe the Pirate Party will bring a little breeze of change.
The voice acting bit actually refers to everything (movies, games etc) that is getting localized in Germany which is basically everything. Unfortunately our “voice acting” (I don’t even want to call it that) is so bad and often unfitting that it destroys every good actor and good game. I can’t see why this less than mediocre shit has to exist and dumbs down the population while folks in my university often can’t even speak or read three English words straight. Let alone, the artistic merit that is nearly completely lost in the void.
But hey, beer’s good. And we got point and click adventures.

#5 I met Evil Jared from the Bloodhound Gang
I was out partying with some friends and when everybody but a friend of mine and I went home we went to familiar bar-club-hybrid Underground  for some last dance moves and a beer. While checking out the second dance-floor (the Ska room) we saw a person with an uncanny resemblance to Evil Jared of the Bloodhound Gang. We are both big fans of them (at least the earlier stuff). Hooray for Boobies and One Fierce Beercoaster are records I still hold dear. Although they seem to be puberty-ridden jerkfests, they have satirical merit and feature smart, creative and funny lyrics. Lift your head up high(and blow your brains out), Mope, Magna cum nada, Yummy down on this, Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?, Hell yeah, A lap dance is so much better when the stripper is crying, Kiss me where it smells funny, Foxtrott Uniform Charlie Kilo, The Bad touch, I love them all!
Well and since the resemblance was really, really striking we went up to him and asked. It was him and we talked a bit about Germany and the new album (Hefty Fine; Evil Jared: It sucks and that’s Jimmy Pop’s fault).
And yes, like the good celebrity whores we were we took a picture with him. Well, at least after we drank a Jägermeister with him.

#6 I am approaching the 300th entry in my dvd/blu ray collection
I am a lover of the moving pictures and have been for a long time. Somewhat, when I was in my teens I started buying movies myself. First on VHS, then followed by one of the best inventions of the last century, DVDs. Roughly at this point I started watching movies in the original language (the best feature of DVDs, unarguably) and try to do so ever since. My buying habits are really mixed. Sometimes I buy out of pure interest, sometimes out of opportunity without knowing anything about the movie (except if it’s cut or uncut) and sometimes because I want to own that fucking good movie I saw once.
And right now I am in the middle of the countdown to the 300th entry in my collection, a bit of a historic happening for me. And I want the ten movies leading to the jubilee to be somewhat special, for example favourite movies I forgot, movies I always heard about and which I wanted to see, and so on.

My countdown up until now looks like this:

291. Idiocracy: Satire about the devolution of the human race
292. Dänische Delikatessen (The Green Butchers for you): Dark comedy about two butcher’s who make sirloin out of human flesh with all sorts of problems
293. Bittersweet life: Korean revenge-thriller
294. Audition: Japanese Psycho-horror by Miike
295. Summer wars: Anime about the bonds and limits between the digital and the analogue world
300. Already reserved

So please, if you have any rare, absurd-trashy, memorable or just good recommendation to make for the last four movies (or shows) that would fit in there nicely, hit me. I am open to suggestions.

#7 Holy shit, this is getting way longer than I expected. So this one’s a short one: Green is my favourite colour

Pictured: Green, which is awesome.

#8 I love books
Books totally rock. I loved them ever since I was a kid. Everytime we drove somewhere by car or train I had several books with me that I just devoured. I cannot understand how someone can dislike reading and I can’t fucking stand to the degree where I want to beat the person to death with a book when people are proud  of not reading. Ugh!
Hm, what’s more to tell? Shit, I dunno. That’s kind of boring, isn’t it? Oh, I got it.

Here is my Top 5 Most Recommended Books:

1. Killing yourself to live by Chuck Klosterman
2. Die Stadt der Träumenden Bücher by Walter Moers (Wow, I just found out that this book was also published in English. If you love books and reading, you have to read this! It’s called The City of Dreaming Books in English)
3. 1984 by George Orwell
4. The Electric Church (and the four following books) by Jeff Somers (beautifully crafted dystopian science fiction; never read anything more fast-paced)
5. Everything by Terry Pratchett

Unfortunately recently I find the balancing act between reading, watching and videogaming pretty hard and honestly I feel I should make more room for reading. Maybe the reading will prevail when Capcom, Ubisoft and EA destroyed videogames altogether.
Currently, I am reading The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes Part I and the sequel to The City of Dreaming Books, Das Labyrinth der träumenden Bücher.

#9 I fear that I will never work in the videogame industry
Videogames are my thing. I love to play them, I love to read about them, I love listening to them, I love talking about them and I would love working with them. Unfortunately I don’t have any solid idea what I can do and want to do other than “Something with vidyagaems, derp”.
I don’t really think that written journalism is my thing because I would be too much on my own and I have problems motivating myself. I can imagine working with a group of people for online video editorial work. I can imagine working in localization teams for games, PR or event management but I don’t really know how, where and when. Germany is not the best country for that, as well. And I can’t find where to start.

#10 One time I had a outer body experience
When I was just a little child, I was on a playground with my father. On this playground was a wooden tower with a slide. You could climb the tower by ladder and hanging ladder and being the ambitious little monster I was I wanted to climb the hanging ladder. I got to about two or three meters height when I lost hold and plummeted to the ground. And because I was really little I didn’t have any cool grapping reflexes in my repertoire, so instead of -  I don’t know – not hurting myself, I fucking belly flopped from nearly three meters high on hard ground. That was over 23 years ago but I still remember clear as day the moment I hit the ground, especially the fact that I saw it while floating three meters above my body. I was wearing something bright, white or light-blueish. The moment didn’t last long, it was gone almost instantaneous.
My dad grabbed poor unconscious me and jumped in front of the first car on the street to get me to a hospital and everything turned out fine but I will never forget this one short, eerie moment when I saw my little self lying there under me in the dirt. Creepy as shit.

Thanks for reading, dicks and vags. G’day.   read

8:09 PM on 04.18.2012

God of War - a second trilogy?

Since God of War 4 is maybe about to be announced, I figured I should finish what I started to write when “Bloggers Wanted” was “Improvement”.
Last time I blogged about a terrifying location in Dead Space 2, this time around I'd like to tell you about my discontent with a certain game about deicide and how to improve it in further installations.

I was rather disappointed with the third entry in the God of War series. For me it didn't live up to its predecessors, especially GoW2. Someone on Destructoid put it perfectly in a comment I read: God of War 3 is soulless. And I fully agree. It was fun, I guess, but it had problems. Much more problems than were mentioned in reviews all over the planet. Here are some gripes I had with it while and after playing.
Rant: ON
Why the hell doesn't Kratos use the Icarus wings when he plummets down Mount Olympus, why are the weapons so boringly designed (save for the Nemean Cestus), why have they fucked with the controls (only a bit), the design of the CGI cutscenes is pretentious and uninteresting, why are the special attacks bound to certain weapons, why is there less enemy variety than in GoW2, why is Athena a ghost and not a single one of the others gods (Hello? Ares haunting Kratos would be totally funny), what are her intentions in helping Kratos, what's with the titan Kratos randomly stabs in the eye, the Hermes boss fight is unspectacular and boring, his boots are useless rubbish, Helios' head is stupidly integrated with only two lame areas or so (and chests, wow), the bow is just fucking bowring (*ba dum tsss*), where is the third of the Gorgon sisters, Stheno, where is Artemis who sports a gigantic blade and would make a fine and strong female opponent for Kratos, Pandora and hope are just wrong and made me puke (figuratively), why is the ending so unfulfilling and most importantly of all, what the actual fuck is Zeus doing while Kratos is killing all of his brethren?!
I know, the last sentence is a bit clusterfucky, but hey, just like the game. It is full of this shit and I hate it for that. Also, it still has fun and impressive moments. So, in the end it was an okay experience for me with a lot of bitter aftertaste.

So, let's talk sequel.

Since story and gameplay are intersecting in some ways I just try to write it down as we go. First things first, I think the best way to wrap up the GoW story is a second trilogy – featuring three new pantheons – with in my opinion only one possible resolution that comes full circle (that will be explained later on).
Since the fourth one is actually semi-announced I am super excited in which direction it'll go.

God of War 4

Kratos wakes up from some kind of coma or stasis 15 years after the events of God of War 3. His appearance shows that with some Clooney-ish gray streaks etc, also he sports a big-ass fucking scar on his chest where he stabbed himself with the Blade of Olympus. For the time he was out cold he had a guardian watching over him, let's go with the Egyptian god Anubis for now. Kratos obviously is pretty confused that he's still alive and a godlike creature is watching him, nah, just kidding, of course he immediately intends to unleash a can of whoop-ass on the jackal... who stops him right in his tracks. Of course, our favourite rage demi-god has lost all his powers again, but this time it does actually make sense again. The damage he sustained from the Blade was too high and, well, he was near death.
Anubis brings him up to date what happened with the world after the major players of the Greek gods were killed. I imagine something like this: The Norse gods together with some traitors and defectors of other pantheons – even the Greek pantheon, Artemis HAS to return – used the imbalance of power created by Kratos and established their rule in the Aegean Sea/ENTIRE world. Since Kratos released hope to mankind at the end of the third game this turned out an unexpectedly difficult endeavor, so the Gods build some sort of totalitarian regime, i.e. Nazi gods, torturing dissenters, slave labor, all that stuff. Kratos doesn't like that stuff.
Driven by his inherent hate for the arrogance of all gods and kickstarted by Anubis, who opposed the regime from the beginning, he departs for Egypt to... To do what actually? To start building a rebellion of course!
First thing he needs are weapons. Fortunately Anubis has taken the liberty to let *insert legendary blacksmith with loose mythological background here* dismantle and re-forge the Blade of Olympus in secret which results in *drumroll* the Blades of Olympus, the last iteration of “The Blades” Kratos will ever carry.

Now, that's one thing working in Kratos' favor, another thing being that every other god except Anubis thinks that he's dead. Kratos wouldn't stand a chance if someone of the gods discovered him in his current state. That's the reason why he can't barge into Egypt like the pompous brat he was at the beginning of GoW3. Kratos has to tread more like undercover until he has regained some of his powers. Also, this time he needs allies. This time his opponents are not just a handful of cocky gods, it's an army lead by the powerful warrior gods of Asgard. Now, don't say Kratos isn't a people person. He was actually a general in the Spartan army, you don't get that job just through sheer battle power alone. Also, don’t forget that he managed to score wife and kid. It's more like he isn't a people “pleaser”. Except for women. Which already leads me to the sex minigame for this game: Kratos and Cleopatra. That's one way to gain followers, go Kratos.
After gaining some powers and followers Kratos starts taking on the Egyptian gods and their supporters. Their characters and designs would lend themselves pretty well to a God of War game with their animal-human forms, their titan-esk powers and history (room for subplots). Also, enemy types would be very interesting, as well - short glance at you, Age of Mythology, Egyptian mythology and mysticism.
Another thing that would fit very well in the world of GoW are the possible locations. There we have super huge pyramids and their construction sites. The pyramids are full of traps and dangerous foes. Beleaguered and oppressed gigantic cities, the Sphinx (which could actually be a big ass enemy, as well), desert oases, temples and of course the Death realm (no brainer really).
Also, I would mix the gods up a bit in a way that Kratos does not get to kill all Egyptian gods. Some could've escaped or completely been somewhere else to reappear later and I like the idea of killing off Thor rather early. He could be on an ambassador trip and be one of the last enemies in the game and it should take all the effort of Kratos and his soldiers to defeat him and gain his powers.
Of course, there are casualties among Kratos’ folks but in the end he has a loyal fellowship which is the beginning of Kratos’ new army. Only they lack in power...

…and power they shall gain in God of War 5

I know, this borders on fan fiction, although it is just a rough overview of some ideas I had. Well, whatever.
So, what do you say? Is this something you would want to play? Does this fit the God of War series? Let me hear about it. If you like this I will wrap up the other two parts in the next days.

Oh, btw, calling it.   read

5:45 PM on 01.29.2012

Location: Return to the horror

Spoilers for Deadspace 2 ahead.

There have been several locations in recent years that are worthy of mentioning. There are for example batshit crazy Hell in Shadows of the Damned and Borderland's Pandora. Of course Rapture comes to mind, as well. And not to forget the Minecraft world. Further there are AC Brotherhood's Roma and most recent Skyrim but the one location in the last few years that had the most impact on me was the USG Ishimura in Deadspace 2.

It's been three years since shit hit the fan on the Ishimura and protagonist Isaac Clarke found himself in Deadspace 1 battling the Necromorphs. Now he finds himself on the gigantic space station The Sprawl (Revuhlooshun wrote something about it, go read it) in a fight for survival. When you get to Chapter 10 – the Ishimura – , he has already been betrayed, shot at, pursued by gigantic alien monstrosities, met the annoyingly well-crafted Stalkers and frickin' exploding babies. Also, he found companions and is on his way out with some kind of tram. Of course there happens stuff and the way gets blocked. Fortunately the needed gravity tether is near, unfortunately it is on board of docked Planet Cracker USG Ishimura.
As many of you will be very aware, the Ishimura is the location where most of Deadspace 1 took place and it is not a nice place. Whole crew got crazy, slaughtered, turned into Necromorphs, that stuff, and Isaac – the player – right in the middle.

My initial reaction upon hearing of going back to that place was this. Followed by "Fuck, they can't do that to me. I don't want to go there, I don't want to be there." Further followed by crying like a little girl (exaggerated for dramatic purposes). At this point the game gets extraordinarily quiet, almost contemplative. There is a longer wagon ride before you enter the ship and you are still only digesting the fact that you are on your way to the ship where everything began and I for one started to feel very uneasy.
This is also mirrored by Isaac whose nervousness and worry become apparent in a short dialogue he has with his companion, Ellie.
At this point, my expectations were running wild. Upon opening the door I expected to be greeted by a clusterfuck of dead bodies, alien masses, a general USG Horrorzone...

but none of that happened.
Instead, white plastic sheets covering walls and furniture, flickering lights and tools lying around like on a construction site. Mildly said, I was perplexed. This totally took me by surprise. You might find this harmless now but I was the exact opposite of becalmed.
Once I entered the ship I immediately fell into some sort of shell shock. This was very deviously and crafty reinforced by the fact that you re-enter the Ishimura the exact same way you used in Deadspace 1.

Of course, I had to head deeper into the ship, another dialogue mirroring my feelings:
Ellie: "Is it safe?"
Isaac: "I don't know how it could be."

What followed were the same corridors I traversed in Deadspace 1, difference being that not everything is covered in fleshy alien goo but in white plastic. The atmosphere is not really sterile, more like eerie. Too quiet to be good. I was in the belly of the best, expecting the worst around every corner but the game didn't do me that favor. I was being boiled in my own fear of the place.
I mentioned above that I went into a kind of shell shock and I want to explain what I mean by that. I actually sprinted in DS2. The game is a bit more fast-paced and actiony than the first one, so it struck me not as really fatal to use it (and I started the game on Hard). In DS1 I never sprinted, except when I had to run away from something. The game had a pretty looming and oppressive atmosphere which caused me to round corners slowly in aim mode, nearly all the time.
So, when I entered the Ishimura again in DS2 it all came back to me and I immediately ceased every possible sprinty action and again started to tread carefully through the corridors in fear of encountering something and...

I didn't. Well, at least not for some time. My mind was totally fucking me over. Wild expectations made me proceed cowardly slow through the ship, just because the setting alone had become so "good" food for fantasy.

Another thing that connected this place to the horror from DS1 were some hallucinations Isaac – and the player – had. A tentacle that seemed to grab him, or a Brute that punched a bypassed window happened before. These were effective additions for the atmosphere along with creepy whispering, disturbing audiologs and the occasional Nicole tidbit, making the place only more menacing and unpredictable.

On my way through the ship something went wrong and I had to go through the Medical Deck.

"At, least you don't have to go through the Medical deck." – "Welcome to the Medical Deck."

There another nice surprise was waiting for me. The whole place was only dimly lit by UV light which revealed – finally – blood everywhere. Messages written in blood and general bloodiness were glowing on walls and floors.
Though graphically and atmospherically impressive and "pleasing" at this point the chapter got more like a normal Deadspace 2 level. The first half or so was what made this chapter so great, though.

The Ishimura was just a place, a level in a videogame but the notion of it sufficed to put horrible thoughts and expectations in my head which were perfectly reinforced by the opposite nature that greeted me when venturing into the ship. Only because I experienced constant dread in this location before in another game. The mere mention of entering the Planet Cracker again was enough to make me feel unwell, in a good way ultimately.
For me it was the most clever designed location in the last few years, dickmove and masterstroke in one.   read

1:51 AM on 02.20.2011

Introductoid: The Legend of Me!

Hello, fellow Dtoiders. In the context of a creative writing class I thought I could finally get some introductory blog up in this bitch.

Well then, let's pop this fucker in. Power on.
Day X.XX.1985. The world lies in ruin. Just a small ray of hope penetrates the dark clouds.
Title screen. New Game. Parents, please enter the name of the protagonist. "D.A.W *whoops* ← *delete* V.I.D". DAVID, please confirm. So it begins. Spawning point Cologne, Germany.
Do you want to play the tutorial level? Yes, I wanna do that. Okay, let's go. You start with one twelfth of a heart, try not to die, you only have one life. Oookay...

After absolving the first part of the tutorial our hero – he has now two hearts – has learned to walk, has begun to talk and stopped shitting himself.
-TROPHY UNLOCKED: About damn time!-

So, the hero ventured forth through the rest of the tutorial like it's kindergarten. Once he accumulated six hearts he entered the first dungeon the elementary temple. There he faced many perils, yet he was not helpless. Right before his departure his father had taken him aside and told him "Oh, boy, oh, boy. It is dangerous to go alone. Take this." and handed him a GameBoy with Tetris and Super Mario Land.

Not quite

Obviously this new tool had to be mastered by the hero, so he spent several years honing his skills with this fascinating machine. His family, his most loyal ally on his quest, supplied him from time to time with new modules, for example Quarth, Alleyway, Pokemon Red, Super Mario Land 2, Warioland, Empire strikes back, Return of the Jedi and many more. Sure, he struggled with some of them but in the end he bested them all – except one but more on that later - and grew stronger and stronger. Amazed by the challenge the games presented there was no road trip, no train ride and no boring sunday afternoon at the grandparent's place without GameBoy.

This was the source of his interest in gaming. At this point gaming culture still meant nothing to him, he didn't even bother with magazines about games. Still there was something more in him, like a hunger for things he didn't even know yet.
He gained further knowledge about games and things called consoles from friends traversing the dungeon and overworld. When he was at their places or looking for potions in a department store with demo consoles he would sometimes play Super Nintendo but it wasn't until he sported eleven hearts and entered the next difficult dungeon that he heard of the magical artifact called PlayStation.
Ecstatic about new stories and ideas to experience he summoned his allies to help him get this artifact. Shortly after he gained his twelfth heart he could call a PlayStation his own. First games: Cool Boarders 2, Broken Sword 2 and a load of demo Cds.
Great games followed. Along came characters bringing with them rich stories, tense atmospheres, fun gameplay, folks like Solid Snake, Brian Fury and Lei Wulong, Dan Fortesque, Aya Brea, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Ryu (the one from BoF), Crash, Spyro, Cloud, Squall, Zidane, Abe, Justin and Feena to name a few.
That being said, our hero was not of the sequestered kind. He loved (and still loves) gaming with friends. Crash Team Racing, Bishi Bashi Special et alii were (and are) pretty big in his party of compadres.
To further explore new training methods the hero travelled through the world, through multiple worlds to be precise. On this journey he learned from the best. The sage Tellah taught him about Banjo-Kazooie and Ocarina of Time. Further he was schooled in Insult Swordfighting by Eric the Swift, Baleog the Fierce and Olaf the Stout. He even succeeded to rescue a shit ton of Lemmings on the way to Baldur's Gate. So he ended up harnessing an almost unholy fusion of PlayStation, PC and N64.
-TROPHY UNLOCKED: Three-Headed Lombax!-

Leaving behind the second biggest monkey head David had ever seen, he wandered the lands until he had gained four more hearts. While grinding in a side-dungeon he stumbled upon the biggest treasure he had found up until then. It was an elegant black box. After thorough inspection it became clear that it was a better version of the PlayStation.
What he found with the help of the black box was sheer impressive. The power to control the sands of time; with this power he could even make the devil cry. Not long after that he started a band with two friends to alleviate the burden every adventurer carries. Playing the bass for some time his instrument suddenly mutated into a smaller, red plastic version. Stunned with disbelief he tried to use the plastic thing with the new PlayStation. The ground started shaking around him and lightning filled his eyes. In the same instance he knew he had become a legend of rock. With the power of rock he could defeat his next enemy, the god of war Dark Adonis.
-TROPHY UNLOCKED: Time to split!-

He looted the body and moved on. On his way David found two more artifacts, a GameCube and finally, FINALLY a Super Nintendo. Both of which broadened his fisherman's horizon even further.
On his journey, one sidequest was particularly important for the hero, namely the discovery of the magical land of Destructoid.
How the hero found his way here is quite an adventure. It started with frequenting the social network Myspace. There our protagonist was mostly interested in independent music acts. On one fateful day he discovered some grindcore band which despite less than mediocre music awakened his short time interest with songs like "Pope mobile drive by" and "Bringing invisiblity to a gun fight" (two of the harmless titles). Well, then he saw that some hot chick with red dyed hair posted a comment on the band's page. Making his babysteps in cyberstalking he visited her profile to check her out and saw something hitting home concerning his humour: A webcomic from Cyanide and Happiness. After becoming totally hooked on the comic (and later on webcomics in general) he joined a "Cyanide and Happiness" group in another social network. In that group some guy organized a centralized buying of C&H t-shirts. David was checking out the Splitreason store for a shirt when something caught his eye. It was a name, Destructoid. And when he saw a t-shirt with a dandy looking robot dude exclaiming "STFUAJPG!" there was no return.
Curious of nature the hero asked the wise man Google to find out what this magical word meant. And Google led him to the best place in the interwebs. Period.

My sis and me, some time ago

Several levels later, present day. The health meter shows 25 hearts, several stats are maxed, Omnislash and Heartbreaker are learned. Our hero achieved Master form. Through meditation, asceticism and a moonstone the PlayStation2 evolved into a PlayStation3. This is the current training ground of the hero where he uses all of his experience to go even further, over the edge, to uncharted regions, through a crack in time, across the vast, dead space ocean to little big planets.
-TROPHY UNLOCKED: Kaiser form!-

Hi, guys, story’s over. Hope you didn’t get bored.
The main reason why I want to get into blogging in general is to preserve and develop my English language skills. Destructoid in particular, of course, because of my interest in gaming and gaming culture. When I started reading Destructoid on the 26th November of 2007 (yep, I know the exact date, beat that) I was quite impressed by the cultural and sometimes even philosophical approach to videogames. Two series I really loved were “The Fear” and “The Memory Card”, because I could relate to some of these experiences.
In the last year I began to pay more attention to the community aspect of Destructoid and read the C-Blogs frequently. I liked what I saw and now I’m here. Let’s see where this leads.

Well, what’s left to say? Maybe a list of some favs and current games.

Some of my favourites:
God of War 2, Devil May Cry 3, Timesplitters 3, Uncharted 2, Mirrors Edge, Chrono Trigger, FF VII – IX, Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, Shadow Hearts 2 and 3, Guitar Hero 2 and 3

Currently playing:
Deadspace 2, Minecraft, Little Big Planet 2, Demons Souls, Empire strikes back (yeah, the one I mentioned above. I never finished this piece in thirteen years or so! This game is so hard and unforgiving that, well, it’s hard as fuck!! BUT I got my GameBoy out again for long train rides and I still want to finish that little bitch.)

-TROPHY UNLOCKED: Also, cocks!-   read

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