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The Discriminating Gamer 00: Introduction


Hello all. I've been haunting this blog for a while with basically no personal info posted. So
here's a blog. A series, actually.

I was browsing the mass of gaming data available through my tube o' internets, and realized that I can trace all of my console purchases to a single game for each, save one. I didn't have the budget for gaming that I do now when I was in high school and college, so I didn't play many games. I had just gotten a mac, after a hacked up PC on which I played UT and half-life finally nuked out. I was going into RTVF at Northwestern, and needed a FCP machine anyway, but the move to mac wiped out my gaming. Quake III Arena ran no problem, but that was about all that was available.

I remembered purchasing the PS2 because MGS2 was coming out eventually, and I had to have one when it did. In retrospect, the murkiness of MGS2's release date probably did help drive the early PS2 demand through the roof; people didn't want this game to come out, and not have the scarce system on which to play it. However, this was Q1 of 2001, the trailers hit the internets, and everyone wanted more of solid snake. PS2's were still selling for $600+ on ebay, and lines were still forming in front of BigBox retail in the wee hours. I got mine on the internet in march, maybe april, for about $400, shipped. A week later, they were readily available, in plenty of time for MGS2's November release. That was the one time I bought a console without a AAA game; I was stuck playing SSX and DOA2. Not that those are bad games, but I don't think you're going to see them on many top-five of all time lists. I had a limited budget, and was basically buying crap to justify plopping four bills on a console with nothing to show for it but a snowboard game, that while fun, is clearly no better than a 7.75, maybe an 8, but . . .

You know how it is when you're looking for a steak, and all you can get is burger?

You get tired of burger.

This series of blogs is a tribute to the the AAA titles, the cream of any collection, some of the best games of all time, dolled out in easy to quaff single servings; no waiting for months, chewing on a rehashed fighter for you! These blogs will be my comprehensive look at the games that made me purchase consoles, and some that merely made me glad I did.

While we're on the subject of the PS2, I'm not going to write jack about MGS2. You all
know what a great game it was, and hundreds, maybe thousands at least as talented as I
have already written about it. I will say one thing, though; I derived such satisfaction from
shooting the ice bucket in the lounge on the tanker. Watching the ice scatter across the bar and slowly melt away really did it for me. I think that was when I realized that games were beginning to become something much more than they were before; it's details like ice bucket that began to wrap players up in the world that games were taking place in, not just the necessary components of the level or stage. Details like this are implied in the current gen of consoles; if you're standing in a field of grass, and it's not swaying in the wind, that game just got a notch against it for not having realistic grass. How important is it to the gameplay that the grass sways? Not at all, but gaming history has built our expectations for future masterworks. Hopefully, we'll have more retrospectives on the current state of gaming as these things go on, and maybe we'll even be able to draw some big connections between the golden games of yesteryear and the current-gen juggernauts. Much of which is useful discussion; if games are to be art, then they should have some level of academic pedigree as well. If these examinations can help one guy remark "Bioshock did a really good job of building on concepts that originated in games like Deus Ex and system shock while remaining a standout, individual work in it's own right," instead of "I pwn teh haloz," we can all consider it a moral victory.

Tune in [s]next week[/s] sometime soon for The Discriminating Gamer 01: Viewtiful Joe
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About TheStripeone of us since 10:44 AM on 05.10.2007