I'm a lifelong gamer who has enjoyed video games through the thick and thin of my life. I'm also a person who speaks my mind often, which is why I chose to start this blog here where others can discuss what I have to say.
Originally a Nintendo fan, I've turned my back on it when they turned their collective backs on their old following. Currently, my Wii is still connected to my TV and I play with it from time to time.
Had an Xbox 360, which got the red ring five times before I put it out of its misery, and got an Elite, which got the E74 error and couldn't be replaced or fixed. Currently, it's on a shelf in some game repair shop, collecting dust, and that doesn't look like it's about to change anytime soon.
Have a PS3, which is going strong. It's currently my primary console.
I also have a DS and am planning to pick up a PSP as soon as Valkyria Chronicles 2 comes out. And a PC that runs Crysis, Supreme Commander and World of Warcraft, often at the same time.
You see, my posts may get responses suggesting I'm a fanboy or a hater, which is why I clarify this here: I tried all consoles, and didn't cling onto them when they started to fail, either in company support or in hardware/software.
My favorite genres are real time strategy and first person shooters, and I often turn to role-playing games and fighting games, with a bit of platforming on the side.
I hate, HATE music games. I love the songs you can play in them, but I hate the concept.
When we play a videogame, how much time do we actually spend thinking about the character we're controlling?
This post will hopefully shed some light on the characters that act as our vessels in the gaming world of our choice.
One of the most profound choices are the ones that come at the very start of your game, in several popular RPGs. The Character Creation. You start by picking the character's gender, followed by a variety of options to make them look and sound the way you want them to. You follow by selecting a set of skills or traits the character will begin with, which will have a significant effect on the entirety of the game. You begin your game, probably as an idealized version of yourself, a twisted parody of a friend or, sometimes, some eye candy.
Your connection to your character is a vital one, because for the rest of the game you'll be inseparable. Who are you creating as a vessel or companion to your journey?
If you're like me, you enjoy experimenting with different skill sets. Most of them fall out of favor within a few hours of playing, until I figure the game out enough to follow the skill set path I'm comfortable with.
Through your journey in the gaming world, you need to establish a connection with your character. I know that a game really clicked with me when, by the final scene, I feel a sense of closure and loss. I'd be happy that my character, who I followed throughout the game, has accomplished something, and feel a little bittersweet that the time has come for our parting. In a sense, it feels like parting with a friend.
During the game, I try to understand my character's personality, and respect it. For example, in Mirror's Edge, I believed that Faith was a runner, not someone who would use a gun. So, I avoided picking up guns for the majority of the game, and opted to have Faith dodge bullets instead. It's what she did, and I wasn't willing to force her to change.
Faith also enjoyed smashing helmets, "Put that gun away!" she said.
I could list dozens of examples, but I'm sure you can think of many of your own, based on your own experiences. The question is, in the end, who do you want to travel with throughout the game? Who do you want to be?
In RPGs like Fallout 3, I'm usually experimenting between being good or evil (or maybe sadistic), but in games where characters have distinct personalities, I tend to honor that whenever I can, and take good care of my characters. They represent you in the world you're exploring, so you need to be in good terms with them.
I know that we all disagree when it comes to different games. Some of us like it more than others, and some hate it.
To make matters simpler I propose a new personalized rating system, which is pretty simple to calculate. Call it the Sama Rating System:
Game Score = (Fun - Pain) x (Story + Multiplayer)
Fun = Number of fun portions throughout your experience
Pain = Number of tedious (painful) portions you suffered in your experience.
Story = Rating you give the game's single player, using a one-to-ten scale where ten is total enjoyment.
Multiplayer = Rating you give the game's multiplayer aspect, using a one-to-ten scale where ten is total enjoyment.
NOTE: In case of games that include only a single player or multiplayer mode, you can rate it using a twenty-point scale. This ensures a more balanced rating system.
I stood on the balcony of Tenpenny Tower, overlooking the Capital Wasteland. Megaton was barely visible on the horizon, and the detonator was in front of me.
Mr. Burke gave a quick speech about how glorious my decision was, or something. I wasn't suing much attention to it.
The detonator was already attached to the nuke at the center of Megaton, and there was no way it's denizens would expect the fate they were about to suffer.
It was 8:30 when the detonator was activated and the button triggered. A secod later the pillar of fire rose into the sky with a blinding flash, followed by a shockwave that could be felt throughout the Wasteland.
Megaton was gone, as was everybody who was in it.
I heard Alastair Tenpenny and Mr. Burke exclaim in utter wonder at the spectacle they had just wintessed, and I sat on silence, PS3 controller in my hand, reading the notification on screen that the quest had been completed and that I had lost karma.
I had just recently realized that I play for the chance to explore the deepest, darkest corners of my psyche. I tend to explore my options in games such as Fallout 3 and follow a consistent path, be it good or evil.
The first time I played, a year ago, I decided to spare Megaton, rat Mr. Burke out to the Sherrif, watch as te Sherrif got killed, and avenged him by killing Mr. Burke on the spot. After that, I raided Tenpenny Tower and killed Alastair Tenpenny.
I enjoy improving my speech skills more than guns. In the current Playthrough, in which my character is a female, I picked the perks Black Widow, Child at Heart and even Animal Friend, which made things far easier for me in the game. For those who don't know, Black Widow is basically a female only perk, matched by Ladykiller for males, which allows you to "seduce" members of the opposite sex into giving you more favorable options and rewards. Child at Heart let's you interact with children so they share information with you that they don't share with other adults, and Animal Friend makes most wild animals ten friendly to you, and even attack your enemies (as was the case when a radscorpion tried attacking me and was intercepted by two Yao Guay)
Maybe I am just a self centered guy when it comes to gaming, or maybe I just like to see others squirm. That hasn't been more obvious in strategy games, where I push the enemies to a corner and surround them without actually moving in for the kill until I see what last ditch effort they can strike back with.
In another example, I will mention one event in Valkyria Chronicles. Without going into too many spoilers, I'll describe the events of the final boss battle.
The shields were down, and the enemy commander was all alone with nobody left to defend. Alicia and Rosie moved in to the boss, who had his back turned to them. They fired with everything they got, and dodged his counterattacks. Jane Turner, the sadistic shocktrooper from Hell, approached his exposed flank, and he noticed her. He turned around and started firing his devastating attacks. "You think bullets will stop me!" she shouted, activating a perk that made her virtually impervious to all attacks, and opened fire. His health was below 15% now, so Jane decided to finish him. She ran her hands down her face, relishing the moment. "Mmm... Scre for me!" she said in a dreamy voice, and opened fire. He got double damage and went down instantly.
So in conclusion, I enjoy the alternate realities of gaming for all the times it gives me an option to actually make other characters, whether neutral or enemy, bend to my will.
I may be evil, or a sadist, but I rarely display any such qualities outside of my gaming. You have to admit: games are at their most fun when they allow you to make others squirm.
Disclaimer: The opinions stated in this post are strongly believed in by the individual who made them. Any attempts to dissuade said individual may turn ugly. It is advised to keep your frustration to yourself should your favorite game not make it in any category. If it does, add me as a friend.
I wrote this article as a response to all the "E3 2010 Videogame Awards" posted in dozens of websites, which I disagree with.
If you don't like anything written below, you might want to find someone who posted something more agreeable to your tastes. As it stands, some of my opinions can be considered unpopular. Read on at your own risk.
SAMA's Ultimate E3 2010 Video Game Awards Brought to you from Couch Potato Gym Central
Let's get the most basic categories out of the way:
Best Graphics: Killzone 3
Runner Ups: Crysis 2, Gears of War 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic
Explanation: Go back and watch the trailers in action, then tell me that isn't some amazing water and snow design. Also, the destruction effects are jaw dropping.
Most Disappointing Absence: Resistance 3
Runner Ups: The Last Guardian, Dragon Age 2
Explanation: Although the second game in the resistance franchise got some bad reviews, the fact remains that I enjoyed it. I am especially excited at what new online modes Resistance 3 will have. This spot would have had Twisted Metal if not for the surprise announcement.
Best Trailer: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Runner Ups: Star Wars: The Old Republic, Portal 2, Metal Gear Solid: Rising
Explanation: Seeing the Apprentice actually turn off his lightsaber to confuse his enemies as he sneaks up to them sold me. Also, it's good to see him back in action.
Best (and Only) Motion Sensor Game: Sorcery Explanation: I'm against motion controlled games in general, as you will see further down this article. This is the one game in which the stage demo ended with me wanting to know more of the game.
Best Action Game: inFamous 2 Runner Up: Dead Space 2
Explanation: As a fan of the first game, I'm interested in seeing where this one goes. To be honest, this one was a close tie, with my actually beating the story of inFamous being the factor that tipped the scale at last.
Best Puzzle Game: Portal 2 Runner Up: Donkey Kong Country Returns
Explanation: Do I really need to justify having Portal win? The runner up is there for playing on nostalgia.
Best Racing Game: Twisted Metal Runner Up: MotorStorm: Apocalypse
Explanation: Racing games are not my type of game, and I know some may debate having Twisted Metal in this genre. To me, any game containing wheels and that takes place in streets is considered racing. I just enjoy my "racing" with a side dish of mayhem.
Best Role Playing Game: Fallout: New Vegas Runner Up: Valkyria Chronicles 2
Explanation: Again, a very close competition. I am excited about both in regards to having thoroughly enjoyed playing through their predecessors more than once, which is a rare thing for me. What tipped the scale is the fact that Fallout: New Vegas has an open world, whereas Valkyria Chronicles 2, with all that its story and gameplay has to offer, is linear.
Best Shooter Game: Quantum Theory Runner Ups: Killzone 3, Gears of War 3, Halo: Reach, Twisted Metal
Explanation: What at first seems another insignificant attempt at a shooter of Gears of War proportions takes on a life of its own and truly excites me above the rest of the games in the genre.
Best Strategy Game: Valkyria Chronicles 2 Runner Up: Civilization V
Explanation: I loved the first Valkyria Chronicles game. So much, in fact, that I'd buy a PSP just to get the second one. No other game in recent memory actually excited me to purchase a new gaming device just to get it.
Console Awards Best PC Game: Fallout: New Vegas Runner Ups: Civilization V, Portal 2, Crysis 2
Explanation: To be perfectly honest, Fallout: New Vegas excited me way more than any of the runner ups. It was a very easy win.
Best Playstation 3 Game: Twisted Metal Runner Ups: Fallout: New Vegas, Killzone 3, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, inFamous, Quantum Theory, Metal Gear Solid: Rising
Explanation: An action packed game that is a breath of fresh air to remind us what gaming is really about. As the trailer suggested: "The ultimate ass-kicking."
Best PSP Game: Valkyria Chronicles 2 Explanation: I don't actually give a damn about hand held games, but I'm still getting this device for VC2.
Best Xbox 360 Game: Halo: Reach Runner Ups: Gears of War 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fable 3, Metal Gear Solid: Rising
Explanation: The ultimate offline multiplayer game for me and my friends returns promising a bigger, better and more intense multiplayer experience.
Best Wii Game: Metroid: Other M Runner Ups: Goldeneye 007, Epic Mickey, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Explanation: One of the less appreciated Nintendo franchises return with the magic touch of Team Ninja. I look forward to a more story-focused Metroid experience.
Best DS Game: StarFox 64 Runner Up: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Explanation: It's about time Nintendo realizes it has great titles that are NOT Mario or Zelda. Too bad it brings nothing new to the story.
Game of the Show: Fallout: New Vegas Runner Ups: Twisted Metal, Killzone 3, Valkyria Chronicles 2, Halo: Reach, Quantum Theory
Explanation: An open world game of the year published by Bethesda, the studio that developed Fallout 3 and Oblivion, developed by Obsidian, the studio that developed Neverwinter Nights 2, Knights of the Old Republic 2 and Alpha Protocol. What's there not to like?
Crap Awards Here is where I expect everybody to get pissed off and start calling me names, so I won't bother trying to sugar coat it and will tell it as I see it.
Worst Game of E3 2010: Kinectimals Runner Ups: Kirby's Epic Yarn, Dance Central, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Explanation: You know what? All those games sicken me. I lost my trust in Microsoft and Nintendo because of them. Call me a Sony fanboy. It's a badge I will proudly wear now. I'm a gamer, and Sony is where my gaming future rests.