I've been gaming since the Atari 2600. The first console I owned was an NES my parents got for the family on Christmas of '88. I bought a PS1 with the first paycheck of my first job (ok, it was two paychecks; I was only making $5.50). Final Fantasy taught me to love RPG's, but I'll play almost anything that doesn't have a year in the title. I'm rockin' all three of the current generation and have all my older systems loving packed in my spare bedroom closet.
Games I'm Playing: Bioshock
Scott Pilgram Vs The World
Red Dead Redemption
Things I Like: Magfest
Rum, Brandy and Gin
Classic Cars (Leather and Chrome FTW)
I've been dealt a harsh blow ; both my local Game Crazy and my local Play and Trade have gone out of business. Some of you may not think that it's such a great loss, but here in Richmond, they were the last two dedicated competotors to the Evil Empire that is Gamestop. When I started gaming back in the 80's, your options for games in Richmond were Toy's R Us, KB Toys, Toy Works and Sears. Small stores that only sold games were nonexistant. In the early 90's we finally got Electronics Boutique, Funcoland and Babbages. Those were good times as a gamer since you could shop around and get the best deal. It also put the pinch on the toy and department stores that sold games. In the early 00's we got Gamestop, an innocuous little Trojan Horse of a store that looked mostly like the others. By 2006 it had swallowed every other dedicated retail chain we had, save for Game Crazy which was attached to Hollywood Video. Play and Trade, each location independently owned and operated, came on to the scene here in 2008. It was nice having a choice in game stores again and a staff that stayed around long enough for you to make a connection to.
I'd known since last October that my Game Crazy was on the chopping block, but it wasn't until they decided to close the Hollywood video it was attached to that it really hurt.
I rented far more games than I bought when I was young. A trip to the video store on Friday nights was almost a religious ritual in my house. The Hollywood video at Staples Mill and Glenside was our first choice due to price and selection.This was where I first got my hands on Earthbound, Chrono Trigger, Shadowrun and Mega Man X. The fact that the space that used to house the rental games became a game store later on felt like a natural evolution.
And now it's gone.
I went on vacation for 3 weeks last Dec.-Jan. and when I came back, my Play and Trade looked like this:
There was a closed sign on the door and a notice from the landlord saying that the locks had been changed, and if you were the former tenet to please contact them about removing any further property. I loved this place. The owner and I would spend time shooting the bull about gross video's we'd seen on the internet. If there weren't any kids in the store, he'd load it up and we'd watch from the side of the counter. There was a 4 foot tall pixel perfect Mario made out of laminated post-its hung above the NES games. If you wanted to play a game they had, any game, any system, they'd hook it up and let you play to your hearts content.The fact that there's still the Play and Trade in Carytown or Midlothian gives me no comfort. I've lost something special.
Its near the end of the year and it seems like everyone has a Top Ten list of some sort. Top Ten of the year, Top Multiple of Ten of the decade. Well bugger that. Looking at the past gives you less time to do things about the future. Here's a list of six things I'd like to see addressed or changed in the coming year. Why six? Well, because it's divisible by 1, 2, 3 and 6, of course.
#1: PSN Needs Cross Game Voice Chat Now I know XBL isn't all chocolate and roses, but PSN needs a little help. My biggest complaint with it is the lack of cross/out of game voice chat on the network. My friends from work and I used to play quite a bit of R6:V2 on PSN and it was a royal pain to get a game set up. Connections would be lost. Invites wouldn't go through. It would sometimes take three or four phone calls to get everything lined up. The message system just wasn't cutting it. I'm no expert in this field, but it doesn't look like Sony should have a problem making this happen. In fact if this survey is legit, they're planning on it, if only for paid subscribers. NO Sony, that's a BAD Sony. That's like being told you can only have chop sticks at a sushi joint if you are buying a drink from the bar.
#2: Rapelay and Six Days in Fallujah I don't condone rape...blah, blah, blah....respect women and human beings in general...blah, blah, blah....OK, that's out of the way. Did I miss something? I thought we were past this. The continued existence of 4chan has led me to believe so. So somebody in a foreign country made a game that had obviously animated graphics that allowed you to do something that's rather tame when compared to some of the erotic literature this country has produced. Well whoopty freakin' do. I'm getting tired of the double standards in media and art. I'd like to see this this game sell like hotcakes just to spite everyone, but since that's not possible, I'd like to see a sequel. And if no ones making one, I'll do it my own damn self. I'll call it Rapelay2 :The Rape-ening:Triple EX+a:Electric Bugaloo. It may be nothing but stick figures in a badly made point and click adventure, but by God, that'd show 'em.
Grow some fucking balls Konami. Start as you mean to finish and see it through to the end. You waited till Atomic Games was up to their eyeballs in this game and then you backed out leaving them hanging in the wind? Stay classy guys. This should never have happened and will hopefully never occur again. If by some miracle Atomic manages to release a game, any game, I'll but it just to show support. I encourage you to do the same.
#3: DLC Game studios and publishers are squandering and misusing what could otherwise be a great thing. I like the concept of DLC, but no one seems to be executing it right. Day/Week One DLC is an abomination that needs to be stopped post haste. If the purpose of DLC is to expand and enhance an existing game to provide more options and gameplay, at least have the decency to wait three weeks or longer before shoving out anything you purposefully held back or were working on when the discs were in production. Your naked greed shames yourself and your fans. Even when it's done with some taste, the DLC we're getting isn't usually the DLC we want. I love Castle Crashers. I haven't gotten any of their DLC, because, frankly, it sucks. I've beaten the game multiple times and I still don't have all the weapons and characters that come in the game unlocked. Why would I want more? What I want is more stages, a second campaign, something to give me more game. Even if the DLC is good, and it usually isn't, the pricing scheme looks like someone is running it under the assumption we're in an airport or movie theater. Buddy, if I don't like the prices, I can walk away. If I payed full retail for a 50+ hour experience, why do you think I'll give you $5 for something that doesn't give me at least 5 more hours of game enjoyment? This needs to change.
#4 Digital Distrubution Mother 3 was never released outside of Japan. This is one of the greatest tragedies to ever befall the world. The chances of it being officially released on the GBA, DS or DSi for our market are nonexistent. Disregarding the fact that we've got a perfectly wonderful fan translation and most of us here have played it, why isn't Nintendo considering this, and other titles thought risky, for release on the virtual console? I doubt it would take a paid team of professionals more than few months to get it translated and ported. Even having access to it now, I'd still be jostling in the digital line with the rest of you, my $30 metaphorically clenched tightly in my digital fist. Nintendo likely makes a tidy profit without the risk of unsold copies and a weaker than expected demand, and gamers get what they want. Why isn't this happening? PC game companies seem to get this, so what makes the consoles different? There's a market out there for games that aren't in print anymore or never made it across the sea and it's not being met. Digital Distribution seems to be the perfect match. Then there's the ugly fact that when a company releases a game both in store and online, they usually ask the same price. If I'm paying the same price for a physical copy I can loan or sell as I am for a digital copy I can't, why buy digital? It's like the whole industry is failing to understand how good this could be for both us and them. On another note, why didn't we get the Saturn version of SOTN when it got ported? Would that have really been so hard?
#5 In Game Cheat Codes We need more of these. Tons of old games have these. Few modern games have them and they're needed more then ever. You can't get a cheat device for a modern console without engaging . This console generation is all about the online experience and the big three don't want haxors ruining the multiplayer for everyone. I agree with them on that; I think cheating in a multiplayer game is like admitting to the world that yes, your penis/breasts is/are at the microscopic end of the spectrum (Did you see what I did there? Gender inclusiveness FTW!). But if I want to cheat my heart out in a one player environment, I feel I ought to be able to. Just turn off the achievements/trophy's. Its not about difficulty. Its about dropping a Rhino Tank in the middle of nowhere and going ape shit.
#6 Shovelware This shit needs to stop. When did the Wii become the Atari 2600? I know it's taking place on all of the consoles, but the Wii seems to be the most hard pressed. You may think this doesn't really affect you, but just imagine if all the money investors were pouring into this crap was being funneled into studios that actually made a good product. We could be missing out on a masterpiece just so some poor kid gets Carnival Games, Ninjabread Man, Action Girlz Racing and Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree from some well meaning relatives for his birthday.
In closing, I'm looking forward to the next year in gaming. Will anything I've talked about change for the better? I hope so. But if being a Mother fan has taught me anything, it's don't hold your breath.
The pity is that I can't really use these in my current campaign.
Newb The lowest rank of Gamer, Newbs are considered more of a nuisance than a threat.
Newb Tactics Newbs tend to gather in groups on the battlefield and use Spout Nonsense at anyone they see, even other Newbs. They will not retreat even when obviously overwhelmed and will continue to Spout Nonsense while being hacked to pieces.
Newb Lore Nature DC 12: A figure to be pittied, most Newbs evolve into either Gamers, Fanboys or Trolls within a short period of time. Those that do not tend to die quickly since Gamer culture favors the skilled and the strong. Being called a Newb, even when accurate, is considered an insult.
The Fanboy Fanatically devoted to a specific gaming system, The Fanboy is an unholy abomination that walks the land spreading discord and attempting to force his beliefs on others.
Fanboy Tactics The Fanboy will attampt to scream "Bias!" and throw Console Exclusives whenever possible. If confronted with a folllower of a different console or a Reviewer, they will foam at the mouth an fight to the death.
Fanboy Lore DC 12: An unfortunate evolution of the Newb, The Fanboy denies reality in favor of beliveing his chosen console is best.
DC 18; Though a part of gamer culture, The Fanboy is disdained by all other Gamers but the Newbs who don't know any better and may themselves choose tread the mad path of The Fanboy.
My apologies for lack of monster art, but I lack skills in that direction and didn't want to crib someone else's work.
I had a plan. I hadn't seen my extended family in over 2 years, so I decided to horde most of my vacation all year and carpool with my parents up to Toledo. This was a good plan. I meant I had almost 3 full weeks off thanks to the Holidays. Christmas, my birthday, New Years and then Magfest. Nothing but fun from Dec 17th to January 5th. I should have F^*#ing known.
In Nov. we found out my mother in law would need some life saving surgery. The only time she could schedule it; Dec. 21st. Well, there went my trip up north. But thats OK, sometimes you need to be there for family, and I had no qualms about staying here for Christmas. Time for Plan B. We could still head out to the mountains to visit my folks for a few days before they left for Toledo. On Friday the 18th, the day we were planning on leaving, we got 16 inches of snow and I came down with the worst cold I've had in years. There was no way we could make it.
Plan C. My mother in law is out of the hospital and we're going to have Christmas at her house. Her sister came down from PA to help out and we'll be eating a big meal and generally having a good time. I'm feeling much better and am finally ready to celebrate. So of course my wife caught my cold. She's miserable, stuck in bed and high contagious. Her mother is still vulnerable after coming out of a major surgery. We'll be staying home today.
Plan D. I picked up a few bags of chocolates while I was out at the pharmacy getting medicine. I've placed them in a decorative glass bowl:
I've also dug out an old favorite and will be starting a new game:
Lets see if we can't salvage something of Christmas.