Hey, I'm Eric. I inherited the nickname "Pumpy" from never wanting to stop pumping quarters into arcade cabinets of practically any game back in the day. I've started playing games ever since my grandfather bestowed me with an NES from his brother's video rental store back in the early days. Ever since then I was hooked on glowing pixelated screens and free rentals. I grew up mainly playing SNES and it gave me a base for what I enjoy today. Although I love 2D dearly, I feel as though the newest gen systems have finally mastered 3D and recently I've been enjoying my 360 and the possibilities it has to offer. I'm not really into Halo because a man in a metal suit fighting aliens seems a bit weak in comparison say to a Resident Evil game (it's just not a game that gets me amped). I'll read game mags in practically any situation and my DS is always on the bathroom sink because when I'm not gaming, I probably wish was.
When I'm not under the influence of video games I play in a post rock band called Hadoken. Check us out! I enjoy music as much as I like playing video games. I like a wide range of music but I really enjoy math rock, 90s indie stuff, post rock and always the occasional metal outburst. I'm hungry a lot so I enjoy cooking as well. Cookies solve any problem. I'm an English/film major at Umass Amherst and it's not a bad gig.
With the recent announcement of online co-op play in Resident Evil 5, we all rejoiced with glee. In my mind, it was one of the best announcements that was unveiled at E3, but then again, there wasn't too much to write home about anyway. We were introduced to Sheva Alomar at the Microsoft press conference. From first glance she kind of looks like a mix between Angelina Jolie and Marsha Thomason (from Lost fame playing as a rescuer named Naomi). Both really hot obviously and we know how Capcom tends to know exactly what we want.
What is special about her is the fact that she seems like the pefect partner for Chris Redfield. Just look at them side-by-side ready to exterminate any deformed being that Capcom will throw at them. Another appeal to her is the fact that she is a trained B.S.A.A. (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) agent from Africa, where as Chris is not from Africa but was only sent there by the same branch.
From the looks of the footage we have seen so far, it seems as though Sheva has been involved in some bio-terror accident in the past and because of it, has been inclined to fight against it. She sports interesting necklaces, colorful armbands, golden earings, and hot tattoos on her arm/shoulder (the hottest spot for a tattoo on a girl in my humble opinion).
Will there be a love interest between the two? Who knows. Though, knowing Capcom, I wouldn't be surprised. The fact that their paths cross in the beginning hopefully means that later on they will get seperated by a series of events which will lead one another to rescue eachother from the horrors of Africa. I'm really liking her vibe and style, it looks like a great move on Capcom's part. Luckily, we do not have to deal with a Leonardo DiCaprio wannabe like in Code Veronica and this time around our sidekick is one hot, badass, ass-kicking woman. Get pumped!
Note: All the chaos, controversy, and joy that comes with E3 has been taking its toll on our blogging brains. I took this opportunity to reflect upon a game who's innovations seemed to be quite revolutionary at the time...a theme we should try to step back and follow. This of course, is the theme of simple and non-refutable fun.
What defines manhood? Well, while some would say that playing football, not giving a fuck about girls, or hunting buck in the great outdoors is manhood, my definition is quite different. Pumping quarters into a machine to continue your virtual life sounds strange as well, but not while you are playing Namco's Lucky & Wild. The game makes a 10 second continue countdown seem like life or death as you race back to the change machine which won't take your crimped dollar. Never has one's ego been diminished after a round of Lucky & Wild, even after losing quickly. The game throws the two players in a frentic onslaught of mobster cars, biker gangs and massive bosses such as an 18 wheeler, which was unlike anything else at the time and even now. While your lame ass friends were winning tickets to purchase useless gimmicks like a blow up baseball bat, you were lucky and discover Lucky & Wild and summon a friend to play with you. This was the start of something beautiful, an adventure you wouldn't dream of experiencing, because you didn't know it was possible. You were about to take the role of either Lucky or Wild and while it is not by most standards as a role-playing game, getting kissed on the cheek by saucy babes at roadside bars (increasing your score) at the end of missions seemed to make me feel like I wasn't wearing overalls anymore.
You see, in the 1990s the arcade was the place to get the most amazing and innovative gaming experiences. While home consoles were just starting to see the light of day during this time, arcades still provided the most flare, with the exception of the highly expensive Neo-Geo AES console which possessed high graphical detail and arcade style. While many other games like Mortal Kombat and X-Men: The Arcade Game were impressive, the Starsky & Hutch lookalike involved two seats contained in a car shaped area and was extremely appealing. Lucky & Wild was a game which was hard to pass up, even for somebody like my Dad who doesn't really like games but admits it's the coolest game he's ever played. It probably did really well with the angered business man, who just got out of his nine to five job and wants to kick ass he'll never kick and chase national criminals. Lucky & Wild isn't just a game, it's an experience and if you haven't played it by now, there is a good chance you never will, as it's pretty hard to find now even at many arcades.
With arcades slowly fading away and video games meaning home consoles, innovation seems to be somewhat of a pipe dream because of structural limitations. The Nintendo Wii for example, has been interesting in its approach to gaming, yet I wonder if it could ever reach the level of entertainment I had playing Lucky & Wild. I've had some epic battles and matches with Wii sports but without style and imagination one cannot vision himself/herself as somebody else, rather just themselves as a Mii. Lucky & Wild is a perfect example of game which rips off typical Hollywood movie cop films and succeeds. It succeeded because it took a formula well-liked within American society and transformed it into a high octane gaming experience which could never be achieved if it were licensed from an actual movie or duo. What makes it special is the game's ability to make you and your partner in crime-busting a reckless duo and important. When you sit down with you friend, you transform into two cool cops and you undergo radically constrasting events from your normal everyday life and interactions. That is what makes Lucky & Wild irresistibly playable and an escape from your ever increasing mundane life.
Too Human is a different game from what we all expected. Maybe we did at this point, or some months before, but the previously highly-anticipated 360 game seems to be now officially crossed off that list. Where a facade of great style and graphics seem to mask gameplay.
Obvious reasons why this game isn't quite human: 3. Slow and strangely weird acting camera, sometimes does cool things but typically hinders the player and I think it is worse than Ninja Gaiden II's camera.
2. Battles seem to have no dynamics. The formula seems to be: fight off hordes of enemies, fight bosses who just stand in one place and do one attack, move through a door or two into a large/open area and repeat.
1. Terrible swordplay/combat (via analog stick). Maybe I'm spoiled recently by games such as Ninja Gaiden II and Devil May Cry 4, but I haven't been sold on analog stick combat yet in games. It is extremely sluggish, unresponsive and boring.
Too Human kills me inside as I am disappointed in Silicon Knights (especially after really enjoying Eternal Darkness). In one aspect, the game is a brilliant idea, executed perfectly in terms of design, art, presentation and style. Some moments were really cool, like the first moment an enemy appears and the camera shifts smoothly watching the player. But the gameplay lacks hard in real involvement and fun. I found everything so slow from the readjusting the camera to movement. While some basic movements seem to have been done right such as an effective roll and a heart pounding jump, the swordplay is downright hideous. I cant play through a game with so much depth and potential if the combat is ridden with inexcusable boredom. It doesn't seem like I will be picking this up after all.
Well I miss my old apartment or I guess living out of my parent's house, but what I truly miss is my old roommate's cat. His name is Killer and sometimes he'd piss me off a lot (ie: chewing/fucking up my 360 headset), but he still rules. While not having a cat around can be nice because I can once again put things places knowing that no one will fuck with them, Killer is a ninja. I know this for a fact. He began his training by being in one place then the next within a blink of the eye. His skills were well established, but I truly knew he was a ninja a couple weeks after. This day was when I decided to play through Ninja Gaiden again as NG II was only a month or so away from being released. As I began to play Killer came into my room looking to be a little punk. He began to think the controller wire was his toy but then he stopped and looked at the screen. I could see his ninja senses take over him. He began to edge closer to the screen sitting down watching the action unfold upon his very over ninja eyes. After a couple minutes he began to rub the television screen with his paws and yelp getting in the way of my intense battling. It was the cutest thing I ever saw a cat do and I knew that Killer's name was well suited as I was beheading low-life ninjas left and right. His training paid off as he became the bug exterminator in the house, using ninja tactics he learned in Ninja Gaiden. He still hasn't seen Ninja Gaiden II, but I think it would make him flip in his chair! Miss you buddy!
Probably the best thing in the entire world. Am I right or what? But not every game is well suited for the relaxing and slumber that a bed protests. Some heavy action and intense games are too frantic for a tired one. I will say that I love playing video games in bed no matter what the game is, but some games require too much concentration (Ninja Gaiden 2, I'm looking at you). The games where you actually have to sit up from your slouched position and part your hair millions of times during an intense boss battle needs to take a break while in bed. These are my top five games to play in bed and why.
5. Animal Crossing for Gamecube
Why: It is simply fun and relaxing. Stress is only a minor factor as you deal with "real life stress" of relationships and doing your job well and on time. Animal Crossing is perfect, even when you wanna doze off for a halfie or two, you can wake up and hey...maybe you got new mail!
4. Super Mario Brothers Series for Nintendo systems
Why: There is something mezmerizing about playing a Super Mario Brothers game. Whether it be teleporting through pipes or tossing fireballs like there was no tomorrow, the series has always provided a nice relaxing and invigorating experience. SMB games typically have a great flow and learning curve perfect for some relaxed gameplay. It is never a bad idea to pop in SMB 3.
3. Skate for XBOX 360
Why: Skate is one of the most perfect pick up and play games. Just like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater did years ago, it innovated a simple yet complex control scheme which was easy to pick up quickly but hard to master. It is always great loading up a session of Skate and just cruising around in and out of bowls and on rails. It is a great game to get your mind off things and eliminate all the pressures of your life and other games. When you fall, no one really sees nor cares.
2. Earthbound for SNES
Why: There has been so much said about this game that I hope almost all of you already know this game inside and out. One of the best SNES RPGs and best RPGs in general of our time, Earthbound is perfect for bed time relaxing. With witty dialogue and simple gameplay and menus, Earthbound is a treat. It is like living out your fantasy boy life while just staying in bed and I say "fuzzy pickles" to that.
1. Metal Gear Solid Series for PSX, PS2, PS3
Why: While the Metal Gear Solid series has certainly had its action packed moments, its true motive is a passage through dialogue and cinematic story telling. I only dream of having a PS3 so I could play MGS4 in bed all day. It is the perfect game to just sit back and relax to. Watching movies in bed is great, playing Metal Gear Solid in bed is better.
There are definitely many more, but these five standout, as games I remember and still love to play while in bed. So, what are some games you bring to bed? Oh yeah, the DS in bed pretty much kills all of these just because, but I didn't want to list tons of DS games.
What makes us different from just a gamer? Well writting in this community is certainly a start. This topic is heavily misinterpreted by parents and nongamers. Gamers have been getting a bad rep for quite some time ever since we were even recognized as a category of people (which has only been as of late). Back in the day when I'd be walking with my parents through the local mall, we'd pass by a "Electronics Boutique." Guys in about their teens were playing Street Fighter II competively on the demonstration Super Nintendo in the store. I think just about everyone who stepped in that store was amazed at the game for its supurb level of detail and color. At this point in my life, the term "gamer" did not exist. Gaming was sought out as simply a form of entertainment similar to television. No one ever calls a person a "watcher" do they? Maybe it is because very few people dislike television. Although, I know I will always watch TV, I've been slowly beginning to hate it and the influx of commercials is becoming borderline torturous.
Raccoons watching TV is just cute
Now being 21 years old and an "adult," I am fully emersed and dedicated to video game culture. Before when I was a kid, there was certainly fascination as I was obsessed with video games, but the complete understanding was somewhat missing. When I go into gamestores now, I get a little frustrated by little obnoxious kids who think they know it all. I know that I am bitter, but it seems different now. I would love to do a research or poll on how many kids actually spend time conversing and researching games rather than just jumping on their brother's copy of GTA4. I know I am using GTA4 as a scapegoat, but it seems that so many kids are playing it because they aren't supposed to. It is just strange to me, growing up playing and loving Megaman X titles and classic SNES RPGs. I was always that kid who would rather sit in at home and play Chrono Trigger than go outside on a nice sunny day. Whenever I was grounded, my punishment was the sticks being taken away for a period of time. How cruel!
I realize now that I practically spend more time involved in the gaming community than playing video games. Is this a good thing? Yes. Involvement in game communities is what breaks the barrier of what video games used to be. Of course, parents will never understand, but this is because they only saw us mindlessly sitting in front of the television. They saw no community and no interaction, which are facets of our lives that our essential to our development and intelligence. Hence why Barrack Obama recently stated that we need to get our children way from the video games and to take a step back. While he has a point, I believe he needs to dig deeper into understanding that video games have a community and level of importance that has yet to be fully recognized. Video games were independent in that they once stood alone and were the experience only learned once the game was purchased. Now, I rarely ever buy a game I never heard of. Secondly, I almost never buy a game that completely sucks. Spending 50 to 60 bucks on a video game when I was a kid was a huge deal and lengthy convincing process with my parents as to why it was going to be better than all the other games. Eventually getting a game and then having it suck was pretty hard to cope with. I had much more tolerance than I do now though, I was willing to stick with a game that sort of sucked hoping for promise later on.
Yes, I'm a little bit angry
The internet has propelled our understanding of video games to a greater level. We are almost spoiled to a point, but is a very good thing. Now we don't have to rely on a Gamestop pimple-nosed employee to tell us that a game made him get an erection last night, but rather we can absorb many different sources and decide intelligently for ourselves. This is what seperates us between the researcher (the gamer) & the lamer. We all here are the researchers, actively involved in understanding every aspect of the gaming world and how our games that we eventually buy and love come together. We respect the process of making a game and we embrace the creativity, influencing our own lives and ideas. When we play a game, we analyze everything and when something is done right, in our minds we truly thank the developer for a smart move or choice. We essentially play games because they are fun, but more importantly because we respect them more than some lame MTV television show. Video games envelop a certain level of creativity seen no where else, in any art form, and we play them because we can be actively involved in this creativity. The lamer is one who plays video games for all the wrong reasons. While many of these "lamers" are kids I only hope they will grow up to be gamers who embrace the culture rather than a weightlifting jock who only played them because he thought they were just "cool." I find myself stuck in many conversations with people who think they are gamers but really don't know shit. I try and not be an elitist but it is hard when somebody thinks as games as just some secondary whore. We all do, but most of us here are much more excited and involved. I have nothing against people who occasionally play video games or who don't really like or understand them, but if you are going to get involved, get involved the right way and understand video games, don't just play them.