I started gaming in kindergarten, when the most advanced piece of hardware I could get my hands on was a black plastic handle and an orange button attached to a brick. I used it to blow up little squares on a black and white television screen. A couple years later, I was molested by the girl next door after beating her copy of The Legend of Zelda. I have mixed feelings about the experience.
Unfortunately, over the years, my ability to maintain a passion for games has waned (as in being able to play through them start-to-finish). This is due to various reasons and issues that would be too emo to get into at this juncture. But suffice to say, though my passion has waned, my interest in them has not, as evidenced by my being here.
Nihil (or Nils) is the pseudonym I currently use for writing and gaming on the internet. I came across the Destructoid website by searching for information on Way of the Samurai 3. Tubatic pretty much has the most comprehensive coverage on it I've seen anywhere. And for that, and the other thing, I thank him.
Guys. Gals. In-Betweens. It's time for another blog.
I feel like apologizing again for my radio silence over the weeks. I have been reading posts and lurking the forums, but I've not had much in the way of input that wasn't already said. Even so, back when I had time (or the desire) to troll the internet all day, I still had something to contribute, whether it was an amusing gif or a quip of some sort. I dunno. I guess I'm just fulfilling my role as the silent-guy type that I am when everyone's talking about stuff I don't really have a strong opinion on or experience with. And even if I do, it takes forever for me to get my exact sentiments down, which I don't have much patience for lately. I've been taking my medicine, which helps me feel balanced out most days, though I wouldn't know how it's been affecting me socially from external perspectives. Mainly because I don't ask. Because cannabis.
Such is the plight of the hermit, I suppose...
Otherwise, I've been keeping busy... doing... stuff...? I just lost my train of thought hold on.
Okay, yeah, I've been slowly and steadily getting back into my writing, playing through my PS2 library (which I will report on later, maybe, kinda), watching cutscenes from a bunch of games on youtube, reading books and comics, and being in the middle of hit-and-run collisions.
Yep, I had my first fender-bender the other day, along with two other Asian men (I don't judge), and the perpetrator of the incident driving off before any of us could get a good look at his truck due to the time of day and rain. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and no one has to pay extra damages because none of us started the accident.
So I'm not taking the streets home from work while it's raining anymore. Lesson learned.
I did a quick run-through of what's left of my PS2 library - seen above. Not so much trying to relive the glory days as much as tasting-testing the pleasures of yore, because I knew my time with them would be limited. It was really good. Nostalgia, for some reason, is a thing I try to avoid. The prospect of associating with objects and events stenciled with "PAST" on them usually lowers me into a negative state, lamenting about the path on which Fate (or whatever) set for me, regardless of all the triumphs I've experienced, which feel sparse and minor in comparison.
Fortunately, when I actually start playing video games, good ones anyway, those feelings begin to melt away. When I am successfully engaged by a game, and have no choice but to become immersed in its world or gameplay design... I remember what FUN feels like. I don't get that feeling often anymore. Going through my library for a couple days, for what it was worth, it was at least fun.
As far as the RPGs I never got to finish, Valkyrie Profile 2 and Rogue Galaxy, it didn't feel prudent to either start over or continue them. 60+ hours in each and yet I feel so far removed from them, it's a little sad. Couldn't remember where I'd gone or where I was going, and didn't really care to find out myself, so I just youtubed the cutscenes. Then again, how many hours are in a year? And how many years has it been since I'd play them? At least I'd still recommend them, because the stories are decent and the battle mechanics are still solid. And they're both still really fucking pretty. For last gen games, they hold up incredibly well. All the good ones do.
I think I can safely say, out of the bunch up there, The Suffering series gives me the most joy. It has just the right amount of crazy action mixed with crazy horror, and what I like most, is that they are brilliantly scripted. That is; nuanced and not over-the-top, like the rest of the game. Whether it's something that doesn't get enough credit, or is just so utterly unessential for most players; the fact that I recognize this speaks for itself. Maybe because I'm a shitty writer that wishes he could pull off something that is remotely similar in quality, but when you have cutscenes and scripted dialogue through in-game action, I appreciate it when those tools are used to great effect, and not tacked on like background noise. Creating synergy with the already established atmosphere (conveyed mostly through the graphic design) and gameplay mechanics. Two plus two equals ten.
So yeah, The Suffering is good shit.
I also realized, and have solidified, that I have an affinity toward tactical RPGs. I played through a couple battles in Front Mission 4 (which made me toss in FFT and play that a good six hours straight) and felt so satisfied by the mechanics of it.
Granted, it does feel a bit archaic now. Turn-based systems may be kind of a thing you grow out of. Especially if you, you know, have a fucking job, and a social life, it could get irritating trying to pick up where you left off and not wanting to put the controller back down. Double edged sword, I suppose.
Shinobi is another highlight. Goddamn that game is tight - in all figurative senses. It's well-paced, controls smooth, and still looks cool. Its supposed successor, Nightshade, unfortunately isn't so much. It's mostly the camera. Trying to control the camera and simultaneously stay alive in Nightshade is like trying to juggle bags of dog shit, while they are on fire. It's a fruitless endeavor unless you're a fucking masochist.
I'd like to go on, but you get the gist and there's plenty else to read down there. So let's get to it.
Speaking of things long-passed, I'd like to talk about something that was close to my heart when I was but a wee-Nihil, like a decade ago: Resident Evil. Specifically, Resident Evil fanfiction. As if you hadn't guessed that from the blog title. The Operation Racoon City trailer and just the concept itself, reminded me of my days on my first video game forum. Just the obvious and unabashed disregard for canon put a smirk on my face as I watched action scenes play out, that were so clearly reminiscent of ones that played out in my own head when my fellow fanatics and I threw our collective "wouldn't this shit be awesome" gauntlets down.
Let's take a walk down Memory Avenue...
The year is 2002 and I've just come back from the theater after watching the first Resident Evil movie. As a fan of the games, it was promising see a semblance of the actual plot of the series referred to at the end of the movie, but we all know how that ended up... Back then, however, it was just good enough to get me pumped and scouring the internet for information.
I came across a fan site (probably the first one on the search results) via Yahoo or Google (most likely Yahoo) that looked promising. Beyond random AOL chatrooms and PC games, this was pretty much my first serious involvement on an online forum. I forget the original name of the website, but it was eventually renamed to "Resident Evil Militia" after a couple server crashes. I introduced myself as "Rabidsk8r" (derp) and slowly came to know everyone's personalities. The core members were as varied and genuine they come. And having a shared love of the franchise, our tastes in other things were (expectedly) similar - differing by personality, of course. For my first consistent message board experience, it was quite pleasant.
Having already established a pseudo-portfolio of ficiton, I dipped my hand into the fan-fiction pool with a short script I pulled out of my ass, about a team of UBCS that land on an island of infected and get promptly FUBAR. It was received well; the only criticism being that it was too short; which was actually intended, because I had planned on continuing the story... that was, before the first server crash erased everything.
After that, I was introduced to the idea of what was, essentially, role-playing. Someone comes up with a premise for a story, and recruits forum members to participate in writing the rest of it; creating their own character and scenarios to interplay with the overarching plot laid out by the original poster.
I was very intrigued by the collaborative aspect of it, and it turned out to be surprisingly fun, given the skill and creativity of some of the other members. Sometimes they even went so far as to create very detailed maps in MSpaint to give people a better geographical perspective - which helped immensely.
I think I participated in five or six at the most, over the span of a year and a half. Most lasted a couple weeks or so, when everyone had enough free time and the ball rolled smoothly. A few took several months. Those were extremely valuable experiences, which I believe somewhat honed my writing ability. And just the nature of working with other people online, in a bid to create for creativity's sake, is something I do look back on fondly. Didn't hurt that the subject matter was mostly guns and zombies and vivisections, neither, so I needn't fear being called out for indulging gay anime halfling sex fantasies or something.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
But yeah, I thought it was just kinda funny how Operation Raccoon City brought me straight back to that time, much like how a homeless veteran is brought back to 'Nam while watching insert war movie set in Vietnam. The whole vacillation between familiarity, discontinuity, and gratuitous violence; as if to take a 13yr old that played a couple installments and ask "What would you like to see in a Resident Evil game?" and they'd go "EXPLOSIONS AND HOT CHICKS AND SHIT AND ONLINE MULTIPLAYER SO I CAN CALL PEOPLE FAGS AND SHIT"
Which is not, in my mind, what Resident Evil is about. That's definitely part of it. But not the whole shibang. Not that that matters at this point, because even Capcom doesn't seem to fucking know anymore. I guess the gist is that they're trying to make the series more appealing to mainstream audiences, but it's not the same thing at that point anymore. Which isn't a bad thing, per se - but if I feel turned off by it, then obviously other fans of the previous generation games will feel alienated as well. Keep doin' what you're doing and keep the fanfiction with the fans, is all I'm saying.
Then again, I'm vaguely interested in playing it- so there's that. lulz.
COMMENT RESPONSE THINGIE:
@ScottyG - I wouldn't be able to go out there by myself. Also, I wouldn't want to sell my swords to the wrong people. Hah
@Law - Thanks and likewise, man.
@manasteel - Pretty much.
@Jaded - The thing about being true to yourself during an identity crisis... is not knowing who your true self is.
@Elsa - Hopefully you'll get to see the real me next time 'round, hah.
@Qalamari - I am elated that eloquence is exalted in this establishmeDURP.
@Steezy - I'm only badass on paper, dude. Hope to see you then!
@Bey - Likewise, sir. It was a real pleasure.
@Kaggen - You should approve.
@Fame - Watching the Q&A with you guys was definitely a highlight that day. I would have to concur, especially from experience even before PAX, that meeting any regular on this site will feel like meeting a friend you just never knew before then. Like you said, it just feels natural. One of the best feelings a person could have, really. And this place pumps it out in spades.
@Andy - It's so fuckin' quotable.
@bbain - I chose XIII because it was more aesthetic than 13. Or something. That, and I was just looking for another reason to cut on myself. I was pretty closet-emo back then.
@knutaf - I believe the word you're looking for is REALTALK.
Hah, I dunno man. I just try to be honest and entertaining.
I also curse a lot. That might have something to do with it as well.
@Chris - Exactly! I wouldn't want to make an acquaintance feel like I'm talking down to them by using sophisticated terms, like some kind of asshole. It just slips out sometimes, though, and I'll immediately try to rectify it by rephrasing. It's just good practice, I think.
@gareth - I went to "adult" school my senior year, too. *truant brofist*
@Occams - Looking forward to it, Hugh. I'll bring my beard if you bring yours.
Also, I did try out Chesterfields. They taste of regret and loneliness, and prostate complications.
@smurfee - Stolen?! Those damn honkies...
@Cait - wut
@caraleo - Fuck 'em up the ass.
@Handy - I know right? Good times.
@CT - Thanks, dude. I try to stay smart by remembering how dumb I am. It works out most of the time.
@ZP - I want to Forums, I really do. I just need more fuckin time!