My name is Gary and I like video games. You probably could have figured that out.
I am an aspiring video game developer, which I have wanted to do since I was in the fifth grade. I can still remember the exact moment in my life when I realized that I could actually make video games later in life myself. I have had an absolute infatuation with video games since before I could remember. I have a couple designs that I am currently working out that I hope to start production on soon, and will post here as soon as I can. I've also recently started hosting a video game podcast with some friends after realizing how much we loved talking about video games with each other, and how great our conversations seemed. We all felt it would be great to share that with other people, so why not check that out! You can find it at SCATcast.
-Star Fox 64
-Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
-Sonic the Hedgehog 2
-Half Life 2
[Sidenote: I've only been coming to the C-Blogs for a short time now, and its absolutely incredible. With this being my second "real" blog, I wanted to backtrack a bit and apologize for my very first post. I've seen other people since then get flak for a crappy first post, and I hope that my first blog doesn't deter anyone from anything else I post here. I'm not the greatest writer either, so I hope I don't do too poorly of a job from here on out. Thanks for reading!]
When I was younger, I wasn't able to have all of the new games that I wanted when they came out. My parents never wanted to buy video games for me. "What do you want for Christmas/your birthday?" "Well this game just came out and I'd really like to play it!" "We're not buying you video games!" This was the typical conversation that was had anytime the occasion came about. I couldn't even spend the money I was given on usually more than one game at a time, so it was rare for me to get new games to play. In the time between getting new games, I had more than enough time to finish a game or two, and go back and play several that I had sitting around. My dad had started to give me an allowance of five dollars a week when I was about twelve years old for doing chores around the house. Every week I'd get five dollars and head to a local resale shop and buy some used N64 games that I had never played. Practically each week I had a new game but I was still able to finish it.
Moving forward to when I was seventeen, I got a job at a nearby Gamestop, which I was prepared to have the greatest job in the world. I'm sure anyone reading this knows that is a blatantly untrue and it was horrible. Working there however, I was able to get a discount on games, and therefore was able to purchase more. So I did. I would go through the same cycle still. Take them home, play them, and finish them. Despite being able to purchase more games, it still wasn't anything more than a game or two a week, but they were newer games, better games than cheap $2-3 N64 games like Lode Runner 64 and Clayfighter 63 1/3.
This game was ACTUALLY pretty good.
As my life went on, I've gotten better, higher paying jobs than what I was making at that dreadful Gamestop. I was able to buy different consoles than the original Xbox me and my brother got for Christmas. Since then I've gone through several different consoles, each with a small selection of games. Free time was never an issue for me, but for some reason I just haven't been playing games to completion. Sometimes I would buy a game and not even open the case to play it. I still have a copy of Red Dead Redemption that I haven't touched. I keep picking up new games here and there, whether it be off Steam, used in a store, or brand new. The problem isn't the amount of games that I have, or even the free time I have. I have the same amount of free time I've had most of my life. I just have such a lack of motivation when it comes to picking up the controller and making an attempt to play through something. Several games I own I've completed about 50% but nothing more. When I was younger, there was nothing that could separate me and my game. I've had several Saturday nights when I would be up until 4AM playing nonstop, then sleeping 6 hours only to wake up and play all day again.
I wish I had that motivation again. I still love video games as much as I ever have, but I don't take as much time as I used to to sit down and finish any. The last game I completed in a short amount of time was the two weeks it took for me to finish Batman: Arkham City. There are a few gems like Batman that I have finished, but it used to be almost every game, regardless of quality. Am I the only one that's lost their motivation like this? Should I feel like less of a gamer?
Do any of you have a similar issue? Maybe we can all motivate each other to get gaming some more! With that, I think I'm going to motivate myself right now.
I was playing Banjo Kazooie for the first time in a while, and reached the level "Rusty Bucket Bay." Rusty Bucket Bay is a shipyard which features a large ship in the dock with various platforms that include two cranes holding either a TNT box or a box lined with steel bars resembling a jail cell, two large smokestacks, several boxes, and several portholes and tunnels which serve as different ways into the ship. The water in which the ship sits in has a slick oily sheen on the top, and will drain your air meter when swimming, regardless if you are over water. Some of the jigsaw pieces you need to obtain in the game take place under this oily mess, one of them directly under the ship behind the propeller blades. I had fallen into this water in a somewhat confined part of the level, and you can only get out by swimming through a large door and to a ladder. Getting to that ladder never fails to give me the worst anxiety imaginable.
For some inexplicable reason, any moment of a video game that takes place in or under water is the absolute most terrifying thing for me to experience. I don't know exactly what started it, but the first time I had noticed this being an issue for me was when I was playing the prototype of Super Mario 64 that was on display at my local Blockbuster when the Nintendo 64 had first launched, and every store had display units featuring the prototype as a demo. I was running around the castle's courtyard, and had managed to get into the water underneath the waterfall to left of the castle. I swam down to the little bit that you get spit out of when leaving the hidden world where you obtain the invisibility cap. Normally, nothing happens in this area, but with this prototype, I had gotten sucked under the actual boundary for the small pit and the only thing I could see was the surrounding skybox outside of the castle grounds. I couldn't get back and all I could do was make Mario attempt to keep swimming. It may have had something to do with the glitch I had encountered, but it was just unsettling for me. That fear of the unexpected, what exactly was going to happen? To this day I still approach the water levels in the game with some sort of resistance. I have to lean back and almost look away, or hurry through the level to find the exact star I'm trying to get.
When I do look back on it, the only time I remember being scared of an underwater level in a video game was the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for the NES. When I was very young, between three or four years old, the dam level in the game would scare the absolute crap out of me. The dam level had you swimming through a maze like area defusing several bombs. It had several obstacles like electric seaweed and leaves, and spike balls that would rotate in a circular motion. The need to be so accurate when moving through that level, I would always hit the deadly seaweed and get stuck. The indication noise that I have been hit would repeat and eventually I would die. It got to a point that if I wanted to play that game, I would have someone play through the dam level for me. I've gotten over it since, but later games still give me that same fear.
This is the true manifestation of fear.
On my first play-through of Half-Life 2, I had gotten to the part in the beginning of the game where Gordon Freeman steps into the teleporter to make his way to Eli Vance's lab. Throughout the technical difficulty that surrounds that moment, you are thrown into a body of water which for me ended up being menacing enough. As soon as you are fully submerged, a giant, HORRIFYING fish swims at you and snaps at you, and you are right back to the teleporter. That didn't help my in game water phobia one bit.
The Half-Life 2 scare is the only thing that has ever ACTUALLY scared me though. There has been nothing in any game with a water level that has been scary or unnerving. Just being in that water and being surrounded by it puts me into a near cold sweat. I'm not afraid at all of real water even! I love swimming, over and under water, and being right out in the open water. There is only one thing that I can think of that would have started this uneasiness toward water levels, which would be a nightmare I had when I was about ten or eleven years old about me playing through Aquas in Starfox 64. I don't remember exactly what happened in the dream, but it frightened me and woke me up. Come to think of it, that is really when I started to notice the anxiety towards water levels.
Am I the only one that has a stupid fear like this when it comes to video games? Any time I talk about it with friends, they find it funny or strange. If you're reading this and have something similar to share, please do! Let me know I'm not the only one that is this crazy.
If you happen to be reading this, my first community blog here on Destructoid, you should check out SCATcast! SCATcast (Social Connoisseurs of Alternative Technology Podcast) is a weekly podcast that I've started with a few friends. We have two episodes uploaded now, and update every Sunday night. We are still a bit new at this, so I do apologize if the quality isn't the greatest, but we all feel it is worth listening to.
Give it a listen! Tell me what you think! I will post updates here as we update the SCATcast page, and check back for other gaming posts!