It's your lucky day those of you who were once unaware of my existence, I just so happen to be pretty awesome. In fact, I may quite possibly be the most incredible, handsome, fantastic, flexible, handsome, intelligent, and all around sweetest person to ever grace our dear planet Earth. According to incredibly accurate speculation, that is.
Okay, so not really. In reality I'm just your average optimistic 20-year-old (community) college student, with high ambitions, and a love for playing video games. I live in Utah, which half the time (if not all the time) is cold and oppressive, and the other half, hot and I guess less oppressive (probably since it's warmer). I've been playing games since I was around four, my first one being The Lion King on the Super NES. Since then it's been one of those things that sort of becomes a life long obsession. However, it's not the only thing I like! Other things I enjoy/obsess about include: films, books, anime, cartoons, drawing, painting, music, my hair, my skin, pretty much my entire appearance, animals, summertime, springtime, the outdoors, tanning, old stuff, cute girls, grapes, almonds, Tostino's Pizza Rolls, internet, glasses, socks? I dunno, I'm running out of things I like.
So yeah, games I like! As a former (sort of) Nintendo fanboy, most of my favorite games happen to be from one of their franchises, or at least something that's on one of their consoles. The rest of the time I just like games that do something different. I also generally like underrated things, I adored the Gamecube, for example.
Anyways, here's a big list of my favorites of different things:
Video Games: The Zelda Series, Mother Series, the Paper Mario games, Pokemon (specifically, Sapphire and White), Metroid Series, Ace Attorney, Persona 3 & 4, Metal Gear Solid Series, Uncharted Series, Chrono Trigger, Red Dead Redemption, Ico, Shadow of The Colossus, Final Fantasy's IV & IX, Professor Layton, Silent Hill 2 & 3, River City Ransom, Ghost Trick, Yoshi's Island, Cave Story, Beyond Good and Evil, Portal 1 & 2, MVC2, Valkyria Chronicles, Okami, Mario & Luigi, Katamari, Dark Cloud, Kirby Superstar, Left4Dead, Mass Effect.
Movies: Lost In Translation, Apocalypse Now, Lawrence of Arabia, 12 Angry Men, Goodfellas, Groundhog Day, Good Will Hunting, Almost Famous, The Truman Show, Let The Right One In, Adaptation, The Apartment, Up in the Air, Coen Brothers, Disney Movies, Pixar Movies, Moon, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Terminator 1 + 2, Pan's Labyrinth, Kill Bill, Wallace & Gromit.
Anime: FLCL, Gurren Lagann, BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, Mushishi, Kino's Journey, Wolf's Rain, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Haruhi Suzumiya, Black Lagoon, Gunbuster, Eureka Seven, Gankustuo: The Count Of Monte Cristo, Welcome To The NHK, Panty & Stocking w/Garterbelt, Now And Then Here And There, Miyazaki films (Princess Mononoke specifically), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Digimon.
Music: I'll be brief here, cause it would take too long to list 'em all. SO TOP 5 THEN: The Replacements, Husker Du, David Bowie, The Wipers, Bruce Springsteen.
Favorite Album: Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys
Books: Lolita, Flowers For Algernon, Brave New World, Lord Of The Flies, Perks Of Being A Wallflower, A Clockwork Orange. Pretty much everything I read (WHAT A NERD).
OKAY THIS HAS GONE ON LONG ENOUGH, I'M POSTING THIS BEFORE I CAN WRITE ANYMORE.
Howdy hey team, Starmac here for the second time, geared and ready to bring you my holiest and most righteous of thoughts and musings. Only I'm not. Instead of that boring shit I'm going to lazy my way through this second post, by telling you all about a stroke of brilliance I had while trying to fall asleep one evening! YAAAAY.
This fabled stroke of genius I mentioned one sentence ago was an idea for a game. Only it didn't start off as a game idea, at least not as a video game idea. It began life as an idea for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Now before you hit the back button, or close the window or do something else you might regret, I just wanna say: it's totally the best idea ever. Don't let its humble beginning fool you, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not waiting things out to see what it is!
So anyways, I'm not an avid DND player at all really. My cousin on the other hand, who is a much higher form of nerd than I, plays it all the time. And since he's one of the few people I know who I can really talk games with, I see him pretty often. During these frequent visits, I've dabbled in playing DND a few times, and eventually I was deemed good enough for some of the other players to want me to be the DUNGEON MASTER. But first I had to come up with a decent campaign idea. I also had to learn most of the rules, but as you will soon see, I don't.
So fast foreward two weeks into the future, which is now 6 months in the past. It's another sleepless night, during which I often let my mind wander about. Eventually it landed on an idea, an idea that blossomed into a flower of creative might. I spent the next couple hours brainstorming and cultivating this idea - hastily scribbling all the essentials onto a nearby paper scrap. Knowing I had birthed a masterpiece, I was able to sleep soundly.
The following morning I fleshed out all the finer points and prepared it for play. That next Friday was my masterwork's debut, finally they would all see! Only they didn't. Instead the players failed to recognize my genius, or according to them "tried to stick to the rules and have actual player input." So with my life's work destroyed and verbally eviscerated, it could to nothing but fade into the obscurity of my document folder.
HOWEVER, IT WILL NOW BE BORN ANEW.
What you all are about to see is my baby. It's marvelousity may go over some of your heads, but I will forgive you for your ignorance - you wont be the first to fail to see its magnificence. And though this isn't copyrighted, I believe in the honor system - I KNOW NONE OF YOU WOULD TAKE CREDIT FOR MY BRILIANCE, THAT WOULD BE SO UNCOOL
((Okay, brief disclaimer here: This is by no means a serious post, nor do I think what you are about to read is in any way good. I wrote most of it as a joke to amuse myself, and as a sly criticism/parody of some of campaigns I had played with the DND group. All their stories took themselves so seriously, so I wrote one that didn't in the slightest. Also, since I had little knowledge of anything DND related, I based most of the gameplay stuff off of the tropes one would find in a video game (ultimate items, random encounters, 8 maguffins etc.) - hence why I'm posting it here. Well, that, and I figure someone may get a cheap laugh or two out of it. Its silliness and goofiness are off the charts and as you'll probably immediately notice, I was inordinately fond of ALLCAPS that day. I pray that you take it for what it is: DUMB.
Oh and one more thing, there are numerous references to real games sprinkled about [mostly to Earthbound], SEE IF YOU CAN SPOT THEM ALL. ))
Some asshole (Moccasin) from an OUTSIDE DIMENSION has come to MODERN DAY EARTH and started his own company (Eggplant Inc.) with all his pals/minions/asskissers. After using his OTHERWORLDY MAGIC AND GOLD AND SHIT to build an absurdly large skyscraper to be their place of business, they start making MIND CONTROL AND REALITY WARPING TECHNOLOGY, which cause anyone who uses it to become slaves to the company and buy whatever weird shit they make. Eventually almost the entire city (Shigesato City) and soon THE ENTIRE WORLD (well, almost), have bought their products and are now slaves to their EVERY WHIM. Things look very bleak, with dark, darkity dark, very suckish times descending across the land.
BUT ONE DAY, an angel like figure (Go-Go), also from this OUTSIDE DIMENSION, comes to MODERN DAY EARTH in pursuit of this nefarious asshole. It would seem that this asshole was not only an asshole on EARTH, but also a well known asshole in his home dimension. So THE CELESTIAL POLICE sent this angel to track down his slippery ass and throw him into ANGEL-LIKE PRISON. So the angel cop woman tracked him down and cornered this asshole but he escaped by slipping into a wormhole or some shit. Long story short, it took her awhile to find out where he ended up, and by the time she did he had already taken over MODERN DAY EARTH.
The angel girl tries to confront this asshole sheís been hunting, but heís cooped himself up in his magic evil skyscraper on the top floor. She tries to in through the front doors, and, after making to the lobby realizes that he has torn out the buttons in the elevator and hidden them somewhere, making the elevators COMPLETELY USELESS!!!!!! Not willing to give up hope, she tries the stairs, BUT THEY ARE OUT OF ORDER. Plus he locked all the windows WITH SPACE MAGIC so she cant get in through them either.
Shit has gotten serious.
The angel, intrepid and sexy, decides to hunt down these hidden elevator buttons with her special HEAVENLY TRACKING MAGIC, but is unfortunately blocked at every opportunity by the brainwashed masses.
Realizing that this asshole and his pals have gotten way too powerful to take down on her own (plus sheĎs lazy as shit), she decides to recruit (insert number of players here) humans who have managed to resist becoming brainwashed (teenagers with attitude were all brainwashed). She bestows upon each of them a MAGIC HEAVEN SPACE POWER, and equips them all with compasses that can track down the elusive elevator buttons.
Can this band of heroes work together to save their home world from this evil asshole? Or will they betray each other and get into stupid petty arguments? YOU DECIDE!!!!!!
LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN!!!!!!!
Body manipulation: Ability to twist and bend oneís body into any shape!
Flip powers: You can flip anything equal to or less than your own size!
Growth powers: You can make things grow!
Object animation: Bestow inanimate objects the ability to move and control them!
Slippification: Ability to make anything really slippery!
Combination: Combine things together, whatever they may be!
Color Transmogrification: Change the color of anything you desire!
Fire starter: Light things on fire! (note, fire only lasts for as long as one can hold their breath, then the fire disappears along with any of its effects)
Forgetification: Make people forget things, even works on yourself! (only lasts for 10 minutes)
CLASSES Activist = Druid
Street Performer = Bard
Minister = Paladin
Construction Worker = Barbarian
Bouncer = Monk
Doctor = Cleric (very creative)
Police Officer = Ranger
Psychic = Sorcerer
Librarian = Wizard
Athlete = Fighter
Con Artist = Rogue
LEVELS: ??????????? SO SECRET, DONíT EVEN ASK.
EXTRA GOODIES (Like extra levels available, random street enemies, upgrade possibilities etc.)
Places to find useful things (like health regeneration stuff, temporary buffs, neat jewels, stat buffs)
Hospital: Contains the Surgeons, a special class of Doctors who have the ability to buff your stats, for an unreasonable price. Must be unlocked by destroying the robots who have enslaved the doctors, specifically their main CPU, (creative name to come later).
Mimiga Bay: Home to a Kingdom of MERMAIDS. Can only be reached after saving the mermaid princess, who is locked in some place, I dunno. Reward for returning the princess is a summon spell. It summons flying dolphins, which is terrifying.
Sewers: Labyrinthine sewers which stretch all across the underside of the city. Come to giant alligators, giant goldfish, giant sewage, giant bugs, and other giant things. Thereís also a civilization of cat people down there, becauseÖÖ.itís cool.
Bus Drivers: May look like old frail fatties, but are in reality very formidable foes. Have extensive knowledge of the Jewish martial arts. Kick butt guys. Must be destroyed to gain control of bus.
Cab Drivers: Another enemy that is not to be trifled with, they are skilled samurai with the strength and insanity of 3 Travis Bickles. Often are seen trying to run people off the roads, crazy buggers. Must destroy to gain control of taxi.
Magical Indians: A wandering gang of hoodlums, known for dressing up like Native Americans and totally not being Native American at all. Use comical Indian-based weaponry to cause pain to citizens.
Protestors: Chaotic entities that will wreck anyoneís shit that comes into their path. Razor sharp picket signs, smelly vegan cooking, and pyrokinetic abilities make them frightening adversaries.
Shigesato Police Department: Some of the most powerful enemies ever, man, they have tons of firepower, high stats, overwhelming numbers, super fast rides, and totally awesome shades. Plus they totally busted me for public urination. Fuckiní pigs.
Uri H. Blaine: Wandering street psychic. Uses his extra-normal godlike abilities to make quick cash to buy other quick things. Supremely powerful. Random encounters while traveling on the street. Must role natural 20 spot check or something to encounter him. Drops Psychicís ultimate item.[/color]
Ultimate item quests ~
Baseball Diamond: Fight through waves of possessed baseball team, the Shigesato Rabbits, to attain the ultimate Athlete item: THE MR. BASEBALL BAT- AND ITíS ONLY FIFTEEN DOLLARS???
Club Sawyer: Defeat the bouncers and overcome alcohol poisoning to attain the ultimate Street Performer item: THE WICKERWOOD 12,000- AN ALLMIGHTY GUITAR OF AWESOME MUSICAL MIGHT.
Frogal Zoo: THOSE ANIMALS ARE UP TO SOME BAD SHIT, ARE YOU A BAD ENOUGH DUDE TO TAKE ON A LEGION OF LIONS, TIGERS, AND ONE LARGE BEAR? If so, you are granted the ultimate Activist item: THE FUR COAT OF 1,000 DEAD ANIMALS - YOU DID WHAT YOU HAD TO DO TO SET THOSE ANIMALS FREE. THIS IS A NICE COAT.
Shigesato Police Force: Defeat the powerful city police force in combat to attain the Officerís most powerful ability: BACKUP - CALL YOUR COPPER BUDDIES TO PERFORM A SEXY MAMBO TANGO FOXTROT TACTICAL STRIKE AGAINST YOUR ENEMIES.
Museum of Old Stuff: Mummies, wax dummies, and dinosaur bones stand in your way to ultimate weapondom , destroy them to attain the librarianís ultimate item: THE SCROLLS OF TUTANRAMSES- SCROLLS SAID TO CONTAIN SILLY EGYPTIAN MAGIC. ITíS PROBABLY PRETTY COOL.
Uri H. Blaine: See above for description of greatness. Drops the ultimate item of the Psychic upon defeat: THE GIANT MOON SCOOPING LADEL- ONCE AN ORDINARY SPOON, THIS LADEL SOON GAINED IMMEANSE PSYCHIC POWER FROM BEING PSYCHICALLY BENT TOO MANY TIMES.
Cults: Defeat drops Minsterís ultimate item: THE GOD FISTER
Pharmacy: Unlocks Doctorís ultimate item.
Sugar Baby Casino: Win a series of grueling, and thrilling gambles against the owner of the casino to win the Con Artistís ultimate item: DR. THORPíS PHANTOM DECK- A HAUNTED DECK OF GIANT GHOST CARDS, WIN ANY BET WITH THEM IN YOUR POCKET. THEY ALSO MAKE FOR A NICE SHIELD.
LEVELS: WHICH WERE SUPPOSED TO BE SECRET Level 1: Laundromat
Gatekeeper: The clerk who runs the steam cleaning, must defeat him and his Indian magic!
Elevator button is hidden inside a dryer, which leads into a mythical world of forgotten laundry, dirt and lint. Very cave like, wandering tribes of sentient laundry and rogue washing materials have taken over he land. Jungle-esque.
Obstacles: Ocean of bleach, jungle of bed ware, lint storms, underwear graveyard, doom temples made of laundry baskets, other jungle things
Enemies: Sock monsters, dust bunnies, lint balls, tribe of detergent gone bad, giant moths, OTHER GIANT BUGS, zombie underwear.
BOSS: Grandmaís Knit Sweater Monster: a giant mutated home knit sweater with a chip on its shoulder due to never being worn. Controls a legion of other bad/distasteful sweaters. Can stretch its limbs and unravel itself to make more limbs. Also can release a foul odor. Upon defeat it explodes into a cloud of old people smell.
A hive of consumerism, where sweaty fatties come to eat greasy mall food, and anorexic fashionistas come to buy the newest styles. Other people are around too I guess. Fight your way through the materialistic masses to the missing elevator button
Obstacles: Really, just the sheer amount of people and products are going to slow you down
The seedy underground of this huuuuge metropolis. These decadent downtown streets are filled to the brim with the worst the city has to offer. Wandering bands of children thieves, shady drug dealers
Level 4: Bullseye Park
Level 5: Pizzeria
Level 6: Subway Underground
Level 7: Farmington - Hostile Alien Takeover
Level 8: Coolsland
LEVEL 9, FINAL LEVEL: Eggplant Inc. Headquarters
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. Best thing ever, amirite? Unfortuneately, I never did finish all those descriptions. My environment proved itself to be creatively stiffling and most tragically, completely devoid of vision.
OH THE WOES OF AN AUTEUR GAME DESIGNER.
Somehow, we still manage to find the time to smile. And grow silly mustaches.
Whatís up all you punks and nerds? I just so happen to be new here, and Iíve seen from my browsing of the site that quite a few of you are big on blogging. So, in an effort to become one with the community, Iíve decided to try my hand at my own blog, and see where it takes me, Maybe Iíll have something interesting to say, maybe Iíll blather on about nothing for a few paragraphs. TIME WILL TELL.
So when I sat down to try and think of a good topic for my introductory blog post, I tried to think of something simple, something that would introduce who I am as a gamer and as a person. Immediately a few standard topics sprung to mind. I could blog about my one of my favorites: one of my favorite games, series, companies, whatever.
Nah, too standard, too predictable, nobody wants to read about somebody gushing over some game, and besides thereís plenty of time for that later anyways.
Then I thought, ďHey, Iíll blog about what I think about the state of this generation, I have a lot to say about that!Ē.
True, I do have a lot to say about our present gen., but none of it is really positive. And I want to keep the tone here a bit more upbeat - positivity is vastly underrated these days. Besides, the internet already has its fair share of negative critics, it definitely does not need another.
Then it came to me: ďWhy do I game?Ē It was perfect; a seemingly standard question, one that all gamers are asked and have answered. It would both introduce me to the community as well as offer some insight into why I joined the site to begin with! So as I sat down to write down my thoughts on why I game, I came upon an almost unpleasant discovery: I didnít have a ready answer.
ďWhy do I play games?Ē I thought.
My immediate answer was, ďWell because theyíre fun, duh.Ē
ďWhat makes them so fun?Ē
My mind dodged the question, looking for an easy way out.
ďOkay well, I guess because I enjoy a good story.Ē, I said to myself.
ďWell that doesnít make a lot of sense.Ē sneered the less charming and more volatile part of my mind, ďFor the most part, game stories arenít anything special, why play a game over say read a book?Ē .
I couldnít answer, not immediately.
What makes games better than any other media? Why do I prefer to play a game, than say, read a book ? Or watch a movie? I love to do all three, but games oftentimes, had their own special place separate and above the other two in the hierarchy of my heart. I knew why I started gaming, but I couldnít really think of why I still play games to this day. Imagine that.
So after an hour of so of mental debate and deliberation, I managed to narrow it down to three key traits:
1. To recapture the essence of my youth.
2. To experience something unique.
3. To escape the mundanity of the real world.
Letís further explore these points in depth shall we?
Turn back now folks. This is going to be unfocused and rambleriffic.
Trait # 1
We all remember our early years as gamers. Mostly everyone looks back on those times with an air of fondness. Remember how easily we were pleased? How even the simplest of games would instill a sense of wonder and merriment? How after playing a session of your favorite game after school, youíd walk away feeling inspired, feeling like anything was possible? That with just a bit of imagination your own backyard could be Hyrule, or the Mushroom Kingdom, or an army base in need of infiltration? It was a medium, a means to attain a level of contentedness that was otherwise unattainable. That was what gaming was to me as a child.
However, times change once you get older. If youíve crossed that threshold of adolescence and remained a gamer, things wonít be the same, despite your hopes. You become harder to please. Your taste begins to change, and suddenly, your old favorites donít appeal to you as they once did. New installments of the series do nothing to relieve this, despite being objectively better than what you played as a child.
Meanwhile, other games are coming out, games that appeal to you newfound set of taste buds. But alas, many of these games, while satisfying to your now refined tastes, often fail to truly capture that child inside and all the emotions that he took when he left.
Soon a day comes, another day another games purchase. You take the game home, and go about your usual rituals: you unwrap it, maybe flip through the manual, an finally boot up the game while settling yourself in front of your TV ready for a few hours of entertainment. And then something happens: a change. Maybe it creeps up on you, slow and unnoticed - or maybe itís an abrupt and instantaneous. The point is: heís back, that child inside has come back. For the duration of your playtime, youíre ten years old again.
But all things must end and your teenage/adult self eventually takes the wheel once again. The effects of your younger half remain though. Youíll become aware of a swelling feeling in your chest, a feeling of wonder and merriment. Suddenly everything will seem brighter. And youíll walk out your room feeling like anything is possible, feeling inspired to take on the world.
Itís the quest for that feeling that has kept me playing games into adulthood.
At this point, thereís probably one word running through all of your heads: nostalgia. And yes, that feeling I so lovingly described could best be summed up as nostalgia. But not quite. Letís take a look at how Merriam-Webster defines nostalgia:
1 : the state of being homesick
2 : a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition; also : something that evokes nostalgia
Often what people think of when the word 'nostalgia' is brought up.
Focusing on the second definition, thereís a key word there: yearning. Yearning for a period lost to the past. Thatís not what Iím after. What Iím talking about is the pursuit and attainment of those nostalgic feelings at the present time. To awaken my inner child.
And that last sentence eloquently and simply describes what Iíve been trying to get at; making these last few paragraphs a bit unnecessary. Good.
A few games that exemplified this trait: The Mother Series, Metroid Prime, Persona 4
Earthbound. First played at age 18 - felt like a nine year old while doing it.
This one is pretty self explanatory. But itís important to note that video games themselves are unique by their very nature. Being an interactive media, you just canĎt find the same type of experience anywhere else. So when youíve got a game thatís not only unique for simply [I]being[/] a video game but also unique among game themselves, youíll get an experience youĎd be unable to find anywhere else.
An example of this that Iíve only just recently discovered would be the Ace Attorney games. This is a game where you play as a lawyer, A LAWYER. On paper, this sounds like a terrible idea for a game. But by god they made it work. Youíre an actual lawyer too. Itís not just a title that they give your character while the game play is actually stomping on turtles and saving princesses: in this game, you collect the evidence, you go to court, and you lawyer it right the fuck up. Of course, some standard video game liberties are taken to make it playable; youíd alienate everyone if you made it too accurate. But the games donít just rest on their unique idea of, HOLY BALLS YOU PLAY AS A LAWYER, WHAT IS THIS? Even if there were dozens of courtroom simulators on the market, the Ace Attorney games would standout because of their delightfully absurd scenarios, and colorfully lovable cast.
A wonderful series, one I wish I had played much earlier.
Itís a testament to the power of games that they could turn something as mundane as going to court, and make it FUN
One more title Iíd like to mention that is wholly unique (or used to be, before a few games decided to ape on its visual aesthetic) is ICO. Iím sure many are familiar with this game, so Iíll spare the details, but Iíll say this: this games would not work at all, if it were anything but a videogame. This is a game that does everything, its entire story, including all character development through gameplay. You grow to love the characters, becoming emotionally invested in their plight, just by playing through a slew of environmental puzzles. You couldnít do this with a movie or a book.
And the visuals do nothing but support and improve upon this. One visual cue that I absolutely love in this game happens when you boot up your save file. For those who donít know, you save your game by sitting on stone benches and taking a nap with your female companion, Yorda. When you boot up the game, the two of you are sound asleep. The player character, a boy with horns, wakes up first, and while standing up he takes special care not to hit Yorda with his horns. Special moments like this give the game that extra something, elevating the game to another level entirely.
Other standouts Iíve played: Shadow of The Colossus, Portals 1 & 2.
There is really nothing else quite like playing one of those games.
Life can suck. It can be boring, depressing, disappointing, and difficult. True moments of joy are few and far between, and oftentimes youíll wonder if any of those rare and small instances of happinessís are really even worth the effort. This brings me to the final reason. Escapism: the most important, and prevalent reason I play games. When I play a game, Iím no longer a antisocial and unenthused 20 year old, Iím whatever the game wants me to be. It just so happens that video games want me to be some pretty awesome shit.
This trait is a byproduct of the above. Not only that, but itís a byproduct of fun. Every game worth its salt has this quality in large amounts. Any game can do it, regardless of the genre. It can do the two things above, but in the end, all it really needs is to provide an escape.
Luckily, I think this is what video games do best.
Games exemplifying this trait: EVERY GAME I LOVE.
Iím going to wrap this up, because frankly, Iím really tired of writing. In fact, I started to lose quite a bit of steam around Trait #3. This probably had a negative effect on the latter half of the post, which really deserves a greater explanation than Iím capable of giving. Perhaps Iíll revisit it in a later post when my eyes are no longer bugginí out of my head.
For those of you who slogged all the way through to the end, I hope it was an interesting read - I am extremely grateful and impressed that you took the time. For those of you who bailed around the point I provided the nostalgia definition, you stuck around for as long as I wouldíve, so weíre still cool.
And gimme' your feedback! I want to know, why do YOU play games?
SO THEN, to cap off this mass of self indulgence hereís a totally awesome fan art of Pokemon Black and White.