Hello all. My name is Chris. I was born in 1984. I am a textbook hardcore gamer, and have been since the day my mother handed me an Atari 2600 joystick at about age four. I have an extensive collection of games and hardware that contains over 900 pieces that I keep fully inventoried in list and spreadsheet formats. I am also a huge film buff, and am probably that guy you hate to watch a movie with because he thinks too much about things.
I have done my fair share of time in video game retail. Four and a half years working at, and weekend-managing a Microplay, and about a year and a half wishing I was dead (aka. working) at a Gamestop. I am a compulsive reader of game journalism, both here on Destructoid and on various other sites. Friends and coworkers tell me that they have never met anyone who knows as much about the industry as me, or who can talk as well and passionately about it. It may be a big stretch to say that exactly, but I do believe my love and understanding of games, if anything, is clear when you talk to me. I hope you feel that way too when you read my writing! I have a degree in Interdisciplinary History/Government from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Although I am currently employed in the purchasing and Accts. Payable department of an electrical construction company, it is my sincerest dream to eventually make writing and possibly teaching about popular culture topics (film, video games, tv, etc.) a full-time occupation. I dabble in my own fantasy-fiction stuff, and am working hard to perfect methods for analytically writing about games in the manner that one would a book or film.
I am an absolute toy nut. I have loads of action figures all over my place, and many many more stored away in an attic that there just simply isn't enough room to display. I obviously love to scarf up any game related toys that I can. Specifically, I find Japanese Gashapon (capsule toys) by Yujin to be particularly worth wasting money on. My primary focus, however, is on robots. I have a wall of Transformers, a glass case full of hand-painted Gundam models, and a load of Lego Bionicles.
Reading is also a huge part of my life. I love to be informed, and get super into philosophy. I regularly alternate between classics like Dickens, Lewis, Carol and Twain, to violent pulp fantasy. I have a particular soft spot for novels based in Games Workshop's Warhammer 40K universe.
Finally, I am a cheesball hopeless romantic, and am a member on like 40 bajillion dating sites. Of course, the ultimate would be to snag a nice gamer girl, but as there are so very few around where I live, I simply don't see it happening.
That about sums me up. If you want to know more. Feel free to message me. I'm serious about being as big a part as I can of the gamer community!
Here are some other measly facts and favorites.
Favorite Game System: Neo-Geo
Five Absolute Favorite Games:
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
- Wild Arms
- Phantasy Star Online Ep.1&2 (Gamecube Version)
- Chrono Trigger
- Dragon Force
In my not-too-distant past, I put more than my fair share of time in video game retail. Four and a half of those years were spent working at, and eventually weekend-managing a small, independently owned store called Microplay in Whitehall, and then Allentown Pennsylvania (Microplay is technically a franchise, that was at one time pretty prominent in Canada; however, the United States stores were privately owned and relatively free of corporate puppeteers). During my time working there, unlike my time working at Gamestop, I was relatively free to set up any new games I wanted to demo on the store’s two TV sets. The owner was relatively clueless in regards to games, and relied heavily on his employees for actual knowledge of the product. Since I did not have to show off what head office told me to, and I did not really limit myself to showing off nonviolent E rated titles, I had a lot of freedom to attempt to drum up attention for some great, lesser-known games.
During this time, I quickly learned the power that a strong opening sequence has to sway a consumer over to a game that he or she may not have ever taken the time to look at before. Although opening sequences that showed gameplay were always a part of the equation during the cartridge generation, and provided many fantastic examples, it was when the industry made the transfer to disc based media, which allowed for the advent of the FMV sequence, that the demo video truly began to develop into an art of its own. Developers, and publishers (who sometimes changed things up for the a title’s Western release) took the opportunity to spice things up by combining gameplay footage, with clips from the games FMVs. Many games also feature a unique cinema exclusive to the opening. These videos often feature the best the game has to offer in terms of music, or even it’s own fresh theme song.
The film fan in me has a great respect for a well-executed opening cinema. Much like a game’s trailer, these sequences provide an opportunity for slick artistry and clever editing to really prove their worth, and showcase the best a title has to offer in a small window of time. In an age where game retail outlets are largely dependent on fake “shows” produced and distributed by head office that contain trailers, interviews, and pretty people with large plastic smiles for demos, it becomes ever more important to remember these fantastic mini-movies. This art form is by no means dead, but it has one foot in the grave. I hope that I can bring a smile to your face and stir some great nostalgic conversation, as I take a fond look at Exemplary Openings.