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Stories from the Past: The One-Balled Man-Bear


[We tend to forget that every person will experience a game in a different way. We’re all unique people with unique pasts, after all. It was this consideration that bred the idea for this series. Like the name suggests, I’m going to use this series as a platform to simply talk about my experiences playing certain games in the hopes that you can share in the experience through my eyes.]

My first true MMO experience was with Final Fantasy XI: a game in which I lasted for perhaps two months before returning to college and losing interest entirely. I suspect that my experience with the game was similar to other first times in MMOs: I screwed around trying to learn the ropes until some nice user decided to take me under his wing and show me the ropes.

In my case, this nice user just happened to be a one-balled man-bear thing named Onenut.

Let’s back up to the beginning. I promise to speak more about the unfortunately named Galka shortly.

I began by making a human (or Hume, if you’re nasty) character with the incredibly original name of Kauza. The Hume, for those who haven’t played the game, is good at absolutely nothing yet has no notable weaknesses. In other words, I committed myself to multiple hours playing as a Michael Bay movie. I embraced the mediocrity, grabbed a crappy sword, and went out to kill things for people.

Looking back, it really wasn’t fun. I stood around. I hit stuff with a sword. I waited for my health to come back. I found loot and whatnot, sold it, and ventured forth once again to hit stuff with a sword. Sure, I completed quests, bid on new equipment in the auction house, and traveled to new areas, but it was all so very dull for someone whose every action basically screamed “meh.” It quickly became apparent that I needed some help.

However, help was in short supply, lost amongst the sea of amateur player-controlled merchants who literally spent hours at a time sitting and screaming about their goods. Yes, sir, I’m well aware that you want to sell your Silver Sword, but you don’t need to yell, and why are your hands in my pants? Needless to say, my initial hours in the game were a strange, awkward experience.

The major shift in my experience came one day while I was standing around whacking stuff with a sword. A strange man-bear appeared behind me and began to more deftly whack stuff with his weapon of choice before inviting me to his group. Sure, I thought. At no point did I stop to consider the name that appeared on the group invite. Onenut. I suppose I was just so happy to have someone to keep me alive that I didn’t even consider the name. So, we traveled throughout the world together.

After a few days, I start to seriously consider this guy and his incredible name. The first thought is, of course “Who names himself “Onenut?” But my curiosity doesn’t stop there. I seriously want to know the motivation for this choice of name. Is this a little bit of the player in here, or did the guy just really like the concept of a man-bear walking around with one ball? Was there an epic back-story in which a thief stole his nut in the night, and he vowed on that day to track the ball thief to the ends of the world in a quest for retribution? Or did he just have absolutely no creativity when it came to character naming? I so, so wish that I had asked these questions, but sadly, the mystery remains to this day.

Anyway, we eventually grew stronger, and my testically deficient tutor led me into new realms of mediocrity. Soon, we were (or, more likely, he was) strong enough to join other groups of people in order to stand around and whack stuff with swords. I vividly remember spending hours upon hours at a seaside area alongside many, many other groups, competing to be the first to draw agro from a crab.

Seriously. These crabs were beefy as fuck and required full groups to kill, and even then you needed to be careful at our levels. So, being the guy who wasn’t really good at anything else, I’d usually be the one racing across the beach, trying to be the first to get to a crab immediately after it spawned so that I could bring it back to my group.

Awesome, right? It gets even better. I’d bring it back to my group as they huddled in some isolated corner, and the battle would begin. I’d do a lot of standing and sword swinging, maybe some people would die, and we’d eventually take the thing down. Time to move on? Shit no! I’d get healed up and set out to race other jackasses to those crabs. This would last for hours. Hours. I seriously did this, all in the pursuit of that next level, and always with the quasi-eunuch bear by my side.

This nonsense really didn’t last long for me. Soon, Señor Pelota Sola rarely appeared online, and I felt that I had met my life quota of crab killing. It was time to hang up my Worn Boots and fade into the dark night. It was cancellation time. This MMO stuff just wasn’t for me.

So I stood around like all of the other merchant cocks, but I had a different intent: a firesale of the most amazing kind. Everything must go, and for the low price of free. People literally could not believe it as I gave away some fairly decent stuff to their low-level characters. Really, the reaction was incredible to me, as if acts of kindness were entirely out of place in this world.

Anyway, it was with a small sense of hesitation that I logged onto the Sony Online website and confirmed my cancellation. Before I did, my mind again wandered to Onenut, wishing that I had the opportunity to see him one last time and ask what, exactly, was up with his missing testicle. But, alas, the lights went down, and I was left alone to wallow in the mystery of it all. Thus, the storybook closed on my first and last MMO.

…or so I thought. A challenger would soon appear, and it was a very, very different experience. But that, kids, is a story for another day.

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About Andrew Kauzone of us since 5:10 PM on 04.30.2009

In loving memory: PAX 2009 (thanks ZombiePlatypus! And WalkYourPath, of course)

I'm Kauza, which is pronounced like cause-uh. My real name's Andrew Kauz, if you'd rather go for that.

I like talking to Dtoid people, so please add me on your favorite social networking site:
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kauza
Gchat: santakauz[at]gmail.com.

Basics: I'm 25, and I write things.

Eternal thanks go out to Y0j1mb0 for the amazing header image you see above. So, thanks, sir!

Look at some of the things I've written.

Things on the Front Page:

Mass Effect, Metal Gear, Moon Unit, and more: An interview with Jennifer Hale
The Future: Demanding more from the voices of videogames
Love/Hate: A plea to play as a female Shepard
A warning: Regrets from a former life and experiences yet unlived
Top ten games for people who hate Thanksgiving
The wrong thing: Being evil should be more like sex
Staying dry in a sea of spoilers is a matter of building a boat
Lessons on taking games just seriously enough
Come, take your pilgrimage to gaming's one true mecca
Here's to you, random-JRPG-dialogue-writer-man
The forgotten: Crushing disappointment at the hands of Crash 'n the Boys
The people who have the power to change the world
Improving game communities: Enough with the negativity
The draw of exploration: Antarctica to Oblivion, Shackleton to Shadow Complex
I suck at games: BlazBlue and a slapdash attempt at fisticuffs
I, the Author: My Everest
Untapped Potential: The Gamer's Education
Other Worlds than These: Our World, Only Different

A series sort of thing about status effects
Toxic Megacolon and other fresh status effects
Curse you, status effects, stop confusing my heart
Status effects are poisons that turn my silent heart to stone
Also check out the related forum thread.

The Fall of the Titans (wherein I talk about dead or dying gaming companies)

The fall of the titans part 3: What once was shall be again
The fall of the titans: Sega died so that we might dream of the future
The fall of the titans: Why do the giants of gaming die?

Stories from the Past (a series about my experiences playing certain games):

Stories from the Past: Tobal 2, Tomba! 2, and console double-vision
Stories from the Past: Diablo and the Dark Ride
Stories from the Past: What the f*ck, mom?
Stories from the Past: Xexyz and the battle aboard Turtlestar Lobsterica
Stories from the Past: The One-Balled Man-Bear
Stories from the Past: The Battle of Olympus
Stories from the Past: Suikoden 2

Storytelling (a series about, well, storytelling):

Storytelling: The Problem of Genres
Storytelling: Mass Effect, Vonnegut, and the Fourth Rule
Storytelling: Doing Nothing in "The Darkness"
Storytelling: The Power of a Single Line (Yeah, it was my first post.)

Other stuff that is good:

Lessons on taking games just seriously enough
A consuming power: The demon and the borderlands
Can games transcend good and evil?
Nothing is sacred: We won't let you go alone, but we have made a tragic decision
How Destructoid single-handedly changed my mother’s opinion of gaming
Why Tecmo Super Bowl is the greatest sports game of all time
Seven reasons that I will end you in creative ways if you don't play Folklore
Mother Nature and the Impending Death of the Gaming Spirit
Times Games Forgot: The Dark Ages
The Sins and Successes of In-game Collectibles
The Lock is Broken
When Music Surpasses the Game
Truckasaurus Rex and the Humor of Games
I Want to Cry (storytelling related, but not part of the series)

I have others as well that you can check out on my blog. You'll enjoy them or your money back.

Since it seems like the cool thing to do, here a list of my favorite games that is coming straight out of my ass and onto your computer screen, and in no particular order.

Fallout 3
Uncharted 2
Suikoden 2
Mass Effect / ME2
Metal Gear Solid followed by any number you can think of
Tales of Somethingendinginia (OK, and the Abyss)
Battlefield: Bad Company
Xbox LIVE:kauza
PSN ID:santakauz
Mii code:kauza


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