Hey. Name's Zayne. 20, Drama student, England. Alcoholic.
Favourite games? Action RPGS, specifically Zelda, but also platformers, both two and three dimensional. Anything with a good plot and at least average gameplay will also draw me in. Also not adverse to the odd FPS/Quick puzzle game, but I wouldn't rate them as something I play often. I'll play anything, to be honest. I almost always try out the games with all the hype, just to see if it's something I'd be into.
Uhh, what else..?
Oh yeah. Nintendo fanboy, if your definition of fanboy is someone who buys games predominantly by one developer. I just happen to like Nintendo games more. I don't vehemently defend Nintendo/attack everyone else. I'm not thirteen.
Currently possess a 360, Wii, PS2, relatively competent PC (No, I can't run Crysis), DS, PSP. No PS3 yet, or for the forseeable future, because there's nothing I want to play on it that I can't get on my 360. It's that simple.
Well, Wand of Gamelon and Faces of Evil, anyway. According to this guy, John Szczepaniak (Possibly the most difficult to spell/pronounce surname ever.), who writes about his fond experiences playing both games, the circumstances surrounding their creation and an interview with the games' creator, Dale DeSharone.
It's actually a very good read and raises some very interesting points, the most prevalent of which, I think, being "3) You have probably not played either game, and if you have, you've possibly not gotten very far."
Now, I have. I'm an absolute raving Zelda fanboy and I made it my business to track down a CD-i for the express purpose of playing these games. I also agree with him, except I'd go a step further. In his article, John mentions that the cinematics are dire. I disagree whole-heartedly. I love their cheesy, late 80's cheap Dragons Lair ripoff style. I love the camp voice acting. Do I think they're fantastic games? No. But I don't think they're bad.
So please, go and give that article a read, if you've got a spare few minutes to kill. It's well worth it and hopefully it might convince a few of you to hunt down a CD-i and... No? Oh, well, alright. Read it anyway.
First of all, this has turned into an insanely long blog post, so if you read it all, that's a credit to your virtue and I thank you. If not, well, I don't blame you. It's just a wordy Sunday morning.
So, after watching that ridiculous Moral Kombat video and reading EternalDeathSlayer's blog, I began thinking about my own gaming experiences and whether or not they influenced the man I've grown up to be. This is what I came up with.
My first console was a NES, when I was about 3. At this point, my mom was intensely into games and I have fond memories of watching her complete Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda (A game I'd later go on to make my personal favourite of all time). I'm sure we all know that back then, graphics were far too basic to ever really be considered a 'threat to society' as they are now. A small pixellated green guy 'hitting' a small pixellated red, multi-armed rock-spitting thing with a small pixellated brown stick isn't going to incite a young kid to go and smash someone's face in.
Then I progressed to a SNES, which was, for the first time, truly 'my' console (As I'd shared the NES with my mom). This opened up a whole new world of games to me and things started to get a little more violent. Things like Street Fighter, Super Smash TV, Killer Instinct etc. But for the most part, I didn't gravitate to them. Infact, the only reason I WANTED a SNES was to play Link to the Past (Incidentally, I'm British, so I didn't get the luxury of playing Final Fantasy VI or Chrono Trigger back then).
Almost simultaneously, I got hold of a Mega Drive. Again, even with prominent titles like Streets of Rage and Road Rash, I moved towards the more colourful, 'game-like' games, like Sonic and Landstalker. I never once, in this period of my life, made any kind of link between supposedly dark, violent games and real life violence.
Only part of this changed when I acquired a Playstation. Originally, things went the same way they had for my life up until that point, as my first game was Crash Bandicoot - Hardly the pastime of a future serial killer. But in that bundle of games I got on that fateful christmas, I also had Mortal Kombat 3, Tekken 2 and Street Fighter Alpha. Gradually, the 'violence' level creeped up.
As we all know, the Playstation was the true era of 3D, when the majority of developers took those first, ugly steps towards dedicated 3D console gaming. Because of this, the saturation of dire 'fantasy' 3D platformers (Jersey Devil, Johnny Bazookatone, Gex 3D and FUCKING CROC) led a lot of developers to move to darker themes for their games. Things like Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Nightmare Creatures and that game that was based on a Fighting Fantasy book that I can't remember the name of. And honestly? I loved them. But it wasn't for the violence. I just loved having new worlds to run around in, new skills to learn, new things to do. I've always been like that and I still am today.
I also picked up a Saturn, but over on that ill-fated console, things were different. Aside from picking up the original Tomb Raider (and hating it) on recommendation from friends who were just NOW getting into a hobby that until then had branded me a geek, my Saturn followed the trend of my past. NiGHTS led the charge, along with games like Guardian Heroes, Panzer Dragoon and Shining Force. Fantasy games, essentially.
Eventually I, like I imagine most of Dtoid, picked up the original Grand Theft Auto. I was about 12 and should quite obviously have not been allowed near it, but that's just how things went back then. Now the thing is, after seeing some seriously graphic stuff in Resident Evil (A game I didn't personally own, but had seen played) and the previously mentioned 3D adventure games, I actually saw GTA as MORE fantasy than, I dunno, Crash Bandicoot. I honestly can't see how the style of the game could genuinely translate to real-life violence, at all. I remember a fantastic quote from a magazine at the time, something like "How can anyone be in uproar over this when the people you're killing end up like badly rendered pizzas on the pavement?". My sentiments exactly.
My Nintendo64 was used almost exclusively for first-party games, which again took me into the fantasy worlds I've been used to (I bought it for Ocarina of Time, after all). Games like Mischief Makers, Kid Chameleon and even Body Harvest just seemed like more, admittedly very pretty, completely unbelievable worlds where I could just play.
I suppose the first time I really consciously began to CHOOSE violence was with the ushering in of the PS2. I actually wanted one purely for Devil May Cry at that point, a game which rewards you for being stylish in your execution of hordes of monsters. The PS2 built on the 3D Adventure genre that had really taken off on the original PS1 and with it, the dark themes began to flow, eventually leading to the now immortal GTAIII.
And, as I've progressed through Dreamcast (A console which remained true to my 'fantasy' history) into Xbox360 (Skipping the original Xbox for reasons of finance and... well, not wanting to play Halo) I have to admit that I buy a lot more violent games now than I ever would've as a kid. But isn't that the point? I'm 20 years old. I'm now the target audience for these games, so why shouldn't they be made? I think what people need to realise is that the majority of us playing these games are not 13 year old foul-mouthed sociopathic internet bigboy wannabes who shout the word 'PWNT' at any given opportunity. We're just people who like games.
Maybe I'm an exception. I do, after all, play my Wii far more than my 360 and I'd prefer Zelda over GTA/Call of Duty/Halo any day of the week. Thing is, I don't see games FOR the violence factor. If it helps to create an atmosphere and experience (Survival horror games in general, and what they TRIED to do with Manhunt 2), then I'll see it as such. But when you start making violent games for the sake of it, you end up with 50 Cent Bulletproof and NOBODY wants that.
So I suppose the conclusion I can reach is yes, I've been exposed to violence and yes, these days it's a conscious choice that I make. But it doesn't mean I'm maladjusted; it means I like videogames. All types, all genres, all styles. Violence comes under that, but so does Mario Galaxy.
And so, Destructoid, I ask you. Have any elements of your videogame past influenced how you've grown up, in any way? I'm not too sure mine have, really, but I'm open to the idea.
So, for those of you following the Bioshock Monologue story from a fewposts back, I can now report that today, the dramatic performance of said monologue sort of... fizzled out.
It was revealed that rather than performing my two monologues (The other being a classical piece; Shylock, of Merchant of Venice fame) in an assessment scenario, the whole class will now perform as part of a strange performance where people communicate in the form of monologues. I don't know why. But whatever.
Anyway, the 'small victory' part comes from a conversation I had with my lecturer. As I pitched to him the news that my contemporary piece came not from film, script or novel but from a game, his reaction was what I expected. Awkward. He then proceeded to tell me that he didn't really see the merit of a monologue from a game. Without actually reading it.
Fortunately, my brief yet insightful discussion with xper last night meant I was full of fresh points and arguments for my case and the victory came in the form of being allowed to perform it at all. So a VERY small victory really, but noteworthy in the overall 'saga'.
As this performance won't now take place until January, I intend to perform the monologue solo, some time tomorrow, and record it for your scrutiny and constructive criticism.
Or, an excuse to reference Bioshock in a Drama lesson. Your call.
Anyway, last post, I asked for some suggestions on possible contemporary monologues that I can perform tomorrow. Eventually, Andrew Ryan of Bioshock was brought up and I skimmed WikiQuote to find a suitable array of quotes that could be strung together into a feasible monologue of suitably academic length.
What I ended up with is this (Why the HELL does BBCode sporadically fail?):
A man has a choice. I chose the impossible. I built a city where the artist would not fear the censor, where the great would not be constrained by the small, where a scientist would not be bound by petty morality. I chose to build....Rapture. But my city was betrayed by the weak. So I ask you, my friend...if your life's price was to kill the innocent, would you sacrifice your humanity? We all make choices...but in the end, our choices make us. What is the difference between a man and a parasite? A man builds, a parasite asks, 'Where's my share?' A man creates, a parasite says, 'What will the neighbors think?' A man invents, a parasite says, 'Watch out, or you might tread on the toes of God...
I believe in no God, no invisible man in the sky. God did not plant the seeds of this Arcadia. I did. But there is something more powerful in each of us, a combination of our efforts, a great chain of industry that unites us. But it is only when we struggle in our own interests that the chain pulls society in the right direction. The chain is too powerful and too mysterious for any government to guide. Any man who tells you differently either has his hand in your pocket or a pistol to your neck.
I am Andrew Ryan, and I'm here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? 'No!' says the man in Washington, 'It belongs to the poor.' 'No!' says the man in the Vatican, 'It belongs to God.' 'No!' says the man in Moscow, 'It belongs to everyone.' I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose...Rapture, a city where the artist would not fear the censor, where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city, as well.
No Gods. No Kings. Only Men.
It might get drastically shortened when I move to actually LEARN the thing, but in theory, that's what I'll be aiming for. A video might be uploaded tomorrow night, depending on if I DO manage to learn it, if I remember to get a friend to record it for me, if my phone functions and if I can find my USB cable.
So, as I might've mentioned, I'm a Drama student. Tomorrow, I need to perform a contemporary monologue. Aside from a would-be star of stage and screen, I'm also obviously a gamer, which means procrastination has set in for a week and I've not yet even selected one.
So I come to you, Destructoid.
To keep this post loosely game-related, if anyone has any great monologues from games that instantly spring to mind, please help me out and link to them. That said, I'm also looking for any other epic monologues, be they cinematic, theatrical or literary.
The winning entry will get, I dunno, a video of me performing said monologue, I suppose.
The Sun newspaper, Britain's number one for cowboy builders, dole cheats and racists, has apparently reported today that videogames are responsible for the dramatic decline of the intelligence of kids from this once great nation.
Infact, the opening statement is SO loaded, I'm surprised there isn't already an angry mob with pitchforks and flaming torches waiting to lynch an unsuspecting game devloper.
"“Kids hooked on computer games have sent England plummeting down world league tables for reading,”
Well, that's some GREAT unbiased reporting, there. All this because England's children are now apparently fifteenth in the world for reading ability and an investigation has reportedly discovered that "more than a third of ten-year-olds spend at least three hours a day playing videogames".
So this, really, is more of the same. Yet more fuel to the fires of ignorance that the mainstream media WILL insist on bringing against the gaming industry. Yet again, it's quite obviously a case of the parents not raising their children to take more of an interest in the books they're apparently now snubbing in favour of games. Or at the very least, make them play Morrowind, or something.
I'd just like to stand as living proof against the above theory. I spent far more than three hours a day on videogames when I was younger, much like I do now. I'm also the proud owner of two A*'s at GCSE level for both English Language and Literature, and a B at A-Level (The grade there actually dropped because I was drunk, for most of it). How did I achieve this marvellous miracle when, by all reckoning, I should currently be drinking cider in a bus stop? Simple. I was read to as a young child.
No more than about half an hour a night usually, but through this introduction to language, I picked up literacy a lot earlier than my classmates. That's what these kids need; not to be told that they just can't play games.
Oh and finally, the Sun's really doing itself no favours. If there are no illiterate children growing into illiterate adults, no-one will read their newspaper.