My Feeble Attempt at Gaming Made Me

UK based gaming blog Rock Paper Shotgun has been doing an absolutely fantastic and fascinating series of articles called: Gaming Made Me.  The basic premise being the exploration of those games of which most influenced who we are today as gamers and as individuals.  The examination illuminates the emotional and educational experiences that gaming has provided and how that has shaped their growth as individuals.  In some cases this looks at how those games defined the concept of a “video game” and in others, most, the short little examinations (or not-so-short) look at how these influence our interaction with the real world.  It is a wonderful bit of games journalism that I’m surprised has gotten as little attention as it has and, it has certainly got me thinking about those games which have had a significant influence on me and shaped me as both a gamer and a person.

You can find the entire series by clicking here, and you can hit the jump to examine my pitiful attempts at emulation.

Continue reading “My Feeble Attempt at Gaming Made Me”

Guns, Tires, Fire and Funk (My Favorite Game)

Recent news of the Vigilante 8 release on XBLA got me nostalgic for its bigger brother Interstate ’76. For those that don’t know Interstate ’76 or I76 as it was typically called was (is), hands down, my favorite computer game of all time.  The game was set in, surprise, 1976 and envisioned an era when the fuel crisis of 1973 had never ended and roaming bands of auto-vigilantes brought their brand of villainy and justice to the deserts of the American West.  The game employed the old Mechwarrior 2 engine to recreate classic muscle cars tricked out with everything from machine guns and flame throwers to rocket launchers and oil slicks.

Continue reading “Guns, Tires, Fire and Funk (My Favorite Game)”

10 Games

Jeremiah’s earlier post got my thinkin’ on my favorite 10 video games. This list is entirely subject and while not every game on it will be the “best game ever” my experiences playing the games (and often the people I’m playing it with) make them stand out from the pack.

10) Chu Chu Rocket (Dreamcast)
The goal? Get the mice (chu chus) to the rockets by placing arrows on a grid while avoiding hungry cats. Silly? Yes. Japanese? Very yes. Insanely entertaining? Hell yeah. There are few games that can top the manic insanity of four player Chu Chu Rocket. Not much can top John Engel’s frantic “Stop catting me!” as cat after cat devoured his helpless Chu Chus. This game would a perfect addition to Virtual Console. Check out the crazy japanese commercial:

9) Mario Tennis (Nintendo 64): Late night Mario Tennis ring shot matches probably kept the ‘rents up a bit late. I remember frantic screaming during 50+ ring volleys that would make or break the match. The GC version got a little too much with “super shots” and lost some of the simple pong like fun that the original title catpured. Classic fun. No good videos.

8.) Perfect Dark (Nintendo 64): Sure it had its problems, slowdown even with the expansion memory, but for stat tracking and sheer customability few titles touched PD. From the homebrewed “Against all odds” to n-bomb matches PD kept us occupied for quite some time. Not to mentioned the continuation of “Tower.” Stat tracking rocked in this game and there wasn’t much it didn’t record. In pure variety this game never really got stale.

7.) Goldeneye (Nintendo 64): Well, how could I not mention Goldeneye? Even Perfect Dark didn’t completely replace it. The varied skill levels of my friends gave birth to “Tower.” Played in Complex the number of kills didn’t matter but the win went to whoever had the designated “tower” at the end of the match, kudos to anyone who could also get the “victory view” at the end of the match. Goldeneye and PD gave birth to ever iconic “ca-caw” which, also according to John Engel if I’m not mistaken, was the sound a vulture makes.

6.) Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo 64): From racing to battle mode we had a lot of fun with this game. Double Dash (on the GameCube) is close a close second to this version but, of course, lacks the nostalgia to put it over the top.

5.)WCW/WWF games by THQ/AKI (Nintendo 64): This includes WCW vs. NWO, WCW Revenge, WWF No Mercy, and WWF Wrestlemania 2000. On those occaisons when we would order pay-per-view wrestling the “boring” matches would be replaced by our own courtesy of these games. Controls were simple, fun, and easy to learn. Matches were long and could swing any way. Good times.

4.) Baldur’s Gate II + Throne of Bhaal (PC): I don’t think I’ve wasted as much time any other game as I did on Baldur’s Gate. I would sit in class and daydream about the game, there hasn’t been an RPG yet that has come close to being as involved. Sure I enjoyed the new Bioware titles, but this one sticks with me to this day. Minsc put it best: “Adventure, excitement, and steel on steel. The stuff of legends! Right, Boo!?

3.) Duke Nukem 3D (PC): I remember playing modem to modem deathmatch with this game. One on one duels in the streets of LA, and God help any strippers that got in the crossfire. I admonish 3dRealms almost daily for fumbling a next-gen sequel to this game. While I wouldn’t have wanted a rush job the horrible joke of WID (when it’s done, the release date for Duke Nukem Forever) was a bit too far in the opposite direction. Fast furious, no thought, FPS action with over the top violence and cheesy sexual innuendo was the hallmark of this game. Duke is a charicature of an action hero from the muscle shirt to the T2 stlye shades and there was absolutely no reason to take him seriously. Damn fun game.

2.) Mario Party (Nintendo 64): We wore holes…in our hands. Seriously. Ripped open our flesh playing this game. For some of us it was both hands. Sure they later offered a glove, but gloves were for sissies. Who knew fishing for treasure could be so damned painful.

1.) Interstate ’76 (PC): This is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, my favorite game of all time. The year is 1976. The place is Texas. And you? Your an auto-vigilante. You drive a muscle car tricked out with guns and armor, your goal is get gas, to survive, and to avenge your sister’s murder. This game oozed atmosphere, from the main character’s name (Groove Champion) to your poetry spouting mentor Taurus. It had a great soundtrack and had both an involved single player game and great multiplayer action. Activision blew it with the sequel, Interstate ’82, and seamingly gave up after that. But, given the sucess of Full Auto, I maintain some small hope that this franchise will be resurrected. Because I love this game you get 2 videos:

The buck stops here!

I’m bored, and I’m at work. I’ll post those damned 10 “random/wierd things” but I’m not passing on the curse to 5 people (n.b. I doubt there are 5 people that read this….bonus points for anyone who can tell me what n.b. stands for). Ok, in no particular order.

10.) I did, at one time, watch both Gilmore Girls and the O.C. on a fairly regular basis.

9.) I’ve read every book in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (save the newest one and Path of Daggers) at least twice. For those that don’t know that is probably about 600 pages a book (on the low side).

8.) I talk to myself….a lot.

7.) I got a little teary at the end of “In Good Company”. Shut up.

6.) I think that the burning bush’s response to Moses (“I am he who is I am.”) is one of the most semiotcally fascinating sentances ever written.

5.) After studying for about an hour for my American West class during college I got so depressed and sickened by it that I gave up, threw my textbook across the room, and played video games instead. Oh sweet escapism!

4.) I’ve read parts of the OED….for fun. Great time killer.

3.) I try to make it to the comic book store every Weds for new comics. While I know I could give them a pull list I refuse to as I find the ritual of browsing the shelves somehow therapeutic.

2.) I block the vent and open my window…in the winter.

1.) I think that breakfast anytime is one the greatest creations in the history of food.

Whew! Made it. That reminds me a much lamer, slighly less creepy version of Post Secret. And I swear by all that is holy that you will never see another survey by me….ever! Later bitches.

Kicking some ectoplasmic ass….or not

So one of my favorite cartoons as a kid was The Real Ghostbusters.  It was fun, and silly, and had a great toy line.  So I’m shelving new releases last night and what do I see but Ghostbusters Season 1.  Now, don’t get excited.  It wasn’t The Real Ghostbusters, but Filmation’s Ghostbusters.  It had a monkey (named Tracey) and an evil robot ghost as the main villain…and it sucked ass.  In fact it is one of the few (if not the only) instances where adding a monkey to a concept doesn’t make it better.  So my question is: where is the season box set(s) of the Real Ghostbusters?

Little bit of trivia: J. Michael Strazynski, creator of Babylon 5, writer for Amazing Spiderman, did some of his earliest writing for episodes of the Real Ghostbusters.

Upcoming:  A review/commentary on Marvel’s Civil War (still waiting on issue 7) and DC’s Ion: Guardian of the Universe up through the penultimate issue (I haven’t talked yet about that one here).

"But Prime–"

Watching one of the greatest achievments of cinematic perfection ever….Transformers: The Movie. So many awesome moments, such a great soundtrack. Optimus as he arrives back on earth “Megatron must be stopped…no matter the cost,” that line never fails to send chills down my spine.

“Coronation Starscream!? This is bad comedy.” -Galvatron

“When do we start bustin’ deceptachops!” -Ironhide

“Who you callin’ unchrasimatic!” -Rumble

“Such heroic nonsense!” -Megatron

The amount of violence in the film is surprising as well. The slaughter of the autobots on the shuttle is particularly vicious. The heaped bodies during the siege of Autobot City. i know they’re robots but a film with a as much human destruction would never have squeaked by with a PG rating. Anyhoo if you remember Transformers with any fondness, or are just lookin’ for a fun summer sci-fi flick pop over to your local video store, or check out netflix, for TFTM.