Hi, my name is Mike and I have been a gamer for years. Starting off with an NES and Super Mario Bros. I was able to learn how to press A and B, beginning my professional career. Before long I was playing nearly every system released (whether it be mine or someone else's property) from the SEGA 32X to the SNES and beyond. Over time I was able to afford my own systems which opened me up to the "next gen" of Playstation. Falling in love with Syphon Filter, Tomb Raider, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater would make me want MORE! Eventually, I GOT more!
Before long I had my hands on the Playstation 2 and jumped into Tony Hawk's Underground and joined the online community for the first time. Dial-up was a hell of a thing to have when you are constantly trying to connect to the internet. Nevertheless, I found THE most entertaining community online in THUG, creating my determination to become the best THUG player and fueling my new competitive edge. I had made friends which I have kept in contact with for years since, and I finally found out that this world of gaming was a portal to more competition than I can dream.
Move on to the grand opening of Xtreme Cyber Cafe. My first LAN experience, I instantly fell in love with Battlefield 1942 and Counter Strike 1.6 which I have been playing for a number of years now. A new form of gaming was brought to me as PC gaming became my platform of choice. I put together enough money to be able to leave the LAN center world and move into my home to compete. Counter Strike rewarded me with a number of tournament and league wins that would pay my way to an established career in my game of choice.
Fast forward to two years ago, the release of the XBox 360. Not being much of a fan for console gaming anymore, I decided to take a quick run through this new system. Again, I fell in love and purchased one immediately. Release after release I became a "fanboy" while enjoying everything the system has to offer. Gears of War would, however, change everything that I saw in console gaming. The day of release, I seriously had no care whatsoever in the game. Upon a couple of minutes of playing the multiplayer, I picked up on the game so fast that I became so engrossed in it. Day after day I would play and hope to top the lowest ranked players in Warzone. By June 2006, I was attending Major League Gaming events to follow this game that I had become fantastic in.
Days after the MLG Meadowlands 2007 event, I was asked to use my knowledge of the game and become a non-paid feature writer for GotFrag DPAD. Enter my first road trip across the country.
Attending MLG Dallas 2007 as a writer for perhaps THE top esports coverage website on the internet brought me a new love for the game. I gained respect and knowledge from the best players in the country and the world as I watched and critiqued everything I saw. Before you knew it, I was heading off to my next event in Chicago to lead a team of coverage for the MLG 2007 season. Being paid for traveling across the country and leading a team made me perhaps the happiest person in the world. I had reached the professional gamer status as I was able to collect on everything I had learned. My colleagues were the best crew I had ever been around as we enjoyed every weekend we had together at events (namely Orlando and Las Vegas ;-D).
December 2007 comes along and I find myself playing a new game in the MLG off-season... Counter Strike Source. The LAN environment has hit me in a hard way as I practiced to become a great asset to my teams. Before long, I was manager of the Turmoil organization's Counter Strike Source team and playing with some of the best people I have ever met. 2008 would surely look bright and bring me to a new level of competition.
February 2008 came in with a bang, GotFrag DPAD was no longer to be publishing content for all console gaming. This did not stop the main staff to look at me with eyes wide open. GotFrag Esports decides to pick me up and continue my coverage for the parent site of DPAD. Before you knew it, I am among the top esports writers in the country on the same level as them, showing all my knowledge of gaming.
March 2008 brought me another step closer to complete professional gaming, in the form of my good friends in [DS]. Nearly winning the first season of the CAL open finals, my Call of Duty 4 team [DS] goes from being the complete underdogs to becoming a top CoD4 team in the world of competitive gaming. Now, we are just waiting for CAL main season two as well as a number of LAN events we will be attending.
I am trying to take my writing the next level up to some of the largest publications over the internet to see if I have what it takes to be an amazing writer for a top gaming/competitive website.
That's just a little bit about my competitive and writing career, overall I'm just a pretty normal guy when you get around my busy ass schedule and hectic lifestyle.
The world of video games and entertainment was changed forever on November 7, 2005. Seeming like just another release to some, others saw the future of rhythm-based games in Guitar Hero for the Playstation 2. Within weeks, this new game was in a large number of households and was accepted by the public as perhaps one of the most innovative game's since 'PaRappa The Rappa' (see old-school PS1). This is something nobody has seen on a console before. It was so different that people went crazy for it. The developers had one goal -- to reach everyone who likes music. Obviously, this is a very large demographic, and new company RedOctane had figured out a winning recipe.
By the following year, everyone was waiting for the release of Guitar Hero II. Who didn't want to be a rocker? Pick up a fictional guitar, pick from a large number of popular, known songs, and rock out! Strictly being there for entertainment purposes, people picked up on this factor and behold... Guitar Hero parties were born.
Becoming one of the quickest selling games in the history of video games, everyone and their sibling wanted Guitar Hero this past holiday season. Some call it hype, others call it pure genius. Myself, I call it quality. Where else can you get a game with the challenge of Guitar Hero while keeping to the roots of American culture? Music, video games, and superstars.
Before long, Guitar Hero was taken into competition by tournaments such as WSVG and WCG. After watching one performance at the WSVG, it was purely entertaining to watch the player, who clearly knew the game very well, dance around much like a rock star and perform for the crowd. Hell, rock legend Vince Neil from Motley Crue was on hand in WSVG Dallas to help choose a winner. Overrated some may say, however competitors would show you how truly complicated the game would be as they perform the hardest songs with style.
From what I've heard, some may consider this game a rehash of Simon. Okay, understandable. Colors matching colors, "simon says," I get it. Problem is, Simon never lasted as long as 10 minutes for one game, and it has never held the complexity of the combinations like in a quick run on "Through the Fire and Flames" by Dragonforce on Expert. Surely, Simon was rather popular back in it's time with it's simple formula that would redefine memory. However, one cannot honestly sit down, watch someone playing a song like "Pride and Joy" on Expert, then straight out memorize it. This game relies on total hand-eye coordination and penalizes greatly on slow reaction times. Don't believe me? Try to play Raining Blood with your eyes closed on Expert.
Following the immense success of Guitar Hero III, we were presented with... ROCK BAND.
Following the classic formula of Guitar Hero, new elements were added in the form of drums and singing mechanics. With the amount of fun had in this game alone, people would bring Rock Band to fraternity parties, New Year's Eve parties, bachelor parties, and anywhere that had a number of people together. When combining the number of people performing, you can be sure that there will be plenty of fun to be had as people laughed and cried during performances of their favorite songs as well as some all time classics (insert Bon Jovi song).
Looking for guitar/drumming lessons for these games? No need to get em, luckily for all players these games are pick-up-and-play. Anyone can start on Easy and work their way up to Expert if they get to know the game enough. I'm sure not many boast themselves as true guitarists after beating Guitar Hero III on Expert, however playing the game has definitely given many the determination to perhaps learn an instrument. After tearing up the Rock Band career on drums, I myself have decided to get myself on a drum set and just enjoy the finer points of creating your own music. Much like my Guitar Hero start, I am an amateur for now but not for very long. If anything, these games have given the average gamer a reason to get up and go learn something new in their lives -- something that they can truly enjoy.
Overrated? Over-hyped? I'll let the millions of copies sold tell the story here, along with the millions of happy fans enjoying perhaps one of their favorite games of all-time. And if anyone has anything to say against that, you can count myself along with those fans.
(If you're looking for the cause of this piece, check out my colleague, Iran White's GHIII and Rock Band: No bite, all hype below).