Like a good Christian, the idea of change scares and offends me. I don't like the idea of someone I don't know messing with the innards of my car, nor do I like em screwing with games that I love. As most other gamers, there are games that I hold in my heart as perfect the way they are and I never want them to change, since that could potentially be devastating. This is about my fear of Sequels.
With Fallout 3 now released, I can't help but feel a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I am afraid to pick it up because as a child, I loved the storytelling of its spiritual predecessors. The post-apocalyptic world comes together with its gorgeous art style, vivid narrative, and eerie music to bring this desolate wasteland to life. From the second you step outside of the vault to meeting the Brotherhood of Steel, the game always keeps the tarnished feel. Playing this game was better than any movie or book to me, which is why I never wanted it to change. What would happen to my beloved Fallout if they tweaked it here and there? Would it upset the balance of the game that I cherish so dearly? I could only hope that Bethesda would honor the memory of the original experience, using it as a guideline to weave another tale as immersive as the last.
I've been a rabid fanboy of Sega since I was a wee youngster. When Pluto was still a considered a planet, Sonic was in, he was the Fonzy of that era. Unfortunately he also aged very poorly with his efforts to adapt to new consoles falling flat on his face. The end of the blue blurs career came to a sudden halt due in part to his inability to stay fresh. Wonky controls and camera, poor level design, and a million unnecessary extra characters helped Sonic jump the shark.
At the end of the day, I just have to hope that the developers honor the memory of the series, or at least I have noseplugs close.
My last article, I centered my topic around the young gamers bedtime. A fear most of us know, but not related to everyone and its not in-game. This week I'm going to cover something much more sinister. The fear of plants!
You are walking along, minding your own business and you see something from the corner of your eye, but its just a bush. Probably nothing you say to yourself, right before you are made into a human pincushion by a volley of arrows.
Not all enemies are strong (and stupid) enough to charge at you headstrong. Many wait silently hidden in the bushes and trees eager for you to turn your back and teach you a lesson. Some of them can't even be touched until you pass them. They're a real pain and the scourge of any forest levels due to their nature to blend in. A recent example is in Castle Crashers, the Thieves forest hides many sinister enemies waiting for the right time to pounce.
To make it worse, some enemies ARE vegetation! I don't know if they evolved that way or are in the middle of their college hazing, but a bush trying to give me a hug scares the crap out of me. The entire first area of any Zelda game (kokori forest or something rather woods) is hellbent on sending you to an early grave. Flowers try to take a bite out of you, Dekus spit nuts at you, and spiders loom above just waiting for you to casually walk towards the seemingly safe paths.
Countless times in Pokemon, I've been ill-prepared, struggling toward the next town. One poisoned, another sleeping and two other pokemon are knocked out. Trudging through the route, I try to avoid the grass at the expense of Charmeleons health. A fight and critical hit just knocked out my Kadabra, time to run away! On top of that, Charmeleon faints from the poison. Last two and one more long patch of grass. An odd matchup of a wild gloom against my diglett ends in failure and he wont let me run away! Down to the sleeping Seaking. I grind my teeth as he wittles away at the last if his HP. Blacked out and back to the last town, my gameboy sits embedded in the drywall plaster of the wall.
Best part is you can hardly use the power to your own advantage due to most NPCs having eagle eyes or bad game application. FPS? Only works on other players and even then, theres a handful of tells. RPG? Would you rather have a steel sword or a big leaf? Let me reword that, are you trying to kill something or fan them? Action or adventure? Why can't you get some badass vine-whips for arms? I'm sick of using pollen and flowers and crap to bore enemies to death.
In summary, industrialize the rainforests, throw that cigarette but out the car window and kick Smoky the bear right between his furry legs cause you might just save some poor schmuck not watching his back.
While reading the Monthly Musing, I started having thoughts of some very prominent (gaming) fears in my mind. Most of them have now been overcome and now games are more streamlined (or easy) with infinite lives, multitude of checkpoints littered around levels, and many other things that simplify gameplay. I decided that since this is my first Monthly Musing, I should look back at the Genesis of my gaming life...
1998, gas was less than two dollars, Y2K was breathing down our necks, and the president was getting his dick wet. I remember this year well for it was when I contracted eye cancer from sitting in my room all day playing Genesis on a TV that I found in the crawl space that had knobs on it. Game saves were just starting to develop, but few games offered them. If you were lucky, you had a series of letters and numbers, with which you could make a blueprint to some wicked awesome legos.
8:20pm - I sit in my room grinding my fingers against the controller, jump over the enemy, shoot this one, missed the platform... death. Vectorman just didn't seem to want to finish this level. Dad was making his rounds, but I'm not finished with this level yet. Panic sets in, will I be able to beat this game before the dreaded... bedtime?
8:32pm - Dead, another mistake, this time something simple due to my frenzied pace. I'm running out of extra men and the grip around Vectormans balls squeeze a bit harder. I have this part of the level memorized. I shouldn't have died there! Stupid-head cheated me out of a life. Hope my sister didn't hear that potty talk.
8:39pm - "But dad, I have twenty minutes before bedtime! I have plenty of time to brush my teeth in a minute." I can feel the noose around my neck and I'm losing balance on the stool that holds my life. Dodge, shoot, dodge. Grab the power-up and bulldoze through the line of enemies... NOOOO! A swift blow from the rear, my father holding the power cord to my Genesis in his hand and walking upstairs.
"Brush your teeth, its time for bed."
The buzzer has sounded and just like that I must continue my adventure again from the beginning. All the brushing in the world can't get the taste of defeat (and carrots) out of my mouth.