Media Musings Stuff

I’m An Evil Gamer

I buy games used. I go back and play old games that people forgot about. I play single player. When I do play with others I prefer my multiplayer to be split screen because they are sitting right there with me. I sell games to other people. I didn’t even notice when my Xbox Live Gold ran out. I take my games to friends houses and we trade.

According to folks who make games, I’m the scum of the earth.

This completely ignores the fact that I purchase the games in the first place. No matter how many similar-than-siblings sequels they release, I still keep pushing them cash for the ones I like. I don’t even complain about the Day 1 DLC that most others hate if the game is enjoyable otherwise. I buy stupid outfits that do nothing but make my character have a bigger closet. I pay to upgrade weapons that I wasn’t using and I  buy the silly toys that come with some of the games.  Expansion packs are like drugs to me – Hell,  I get the ones that only add like an hour of gameplay.

But I’m still a thorn in the side of “good” because I want to play a less than $60 game with someone who doesn’t have an awesome internet connection that is sitting on the couch next to me.  Blasphemy, even though I have pretty much done that my whole life.

I don’t want to play uninventive multiplayer modes where I join and a bunch of people with scads more free time take me out before the map loads. I don’t want to be always connected for a single player game because a few jerks modded something. I also can’t afford to buy EVERYTHING new.

I guess I am the bad guy.

It sucks that most of the customer base is too.

Media Musings Stuff

Back in the Day – Shenmue

Do you know where sailors hang out?

I have to admit that I dramatically flutter from love to hate with this game. I ran out and bought it when it was released because it was the prettiest game on the Dreamcast at the time. Sometimes I think back to the hours I spent trying to beat it and wonder if I was just bored or hated myself.

Shenmue wasn’t like all the titles I usually played. Up until that point, I was big on games that had to be approached with at least one other person. Even when I had played single player games it was a play until you get stuck or died, then pass the controller deal. Shenmue was just me vs the world and I was determined to complete my mission of vengeance.

Shenmue existed, at least for me, in the time before those big fat strategy guides and folks on the internet with maps and video aids. When I wandered the streets in the town, I was really just wandering.

It took me eons to find those damned sailors.

To finish the game I think I had to talk to and follow every NPC on the disc. I continue my belief harboring feelings of self loathing when I think back to the “ninja training” provided in the game which consisted of what felt like one punch and one kick until the end. That wouldn’t have been so bad if the final battle in the title didn’t have the player fighting 70 dudes at once.

QTE’s are evil.

This was the first game that I could remember ripping me from otherwise normal gameplay to tell me exactly what button to push by taking over the screen or making me replay the entire sequence over. Sure, I’d died many a time on other games for essentially not jumping at the right time, but it’s much worse when it glaringly flashes a sequence of what feels like random button presses in the middle of the screen to do stuff that you already had a button for. If I need to duck and I have a duck button, having me press something else just to screw with me is dirty.

For all the real nerds, this game was filled with what were technical marvels like varying weather and the setting was rich with the history of the region. The world was so detailed that you could get lost for hours searching cabinets and drawers before even observing all the different NPCs going about their lives. You even had time to lose yourself in that horrible, but well done, job at the waterfront. There is even a ragingly awkward love interest thrown in the mix to top it all off.

This was continued in the second game to a lesser extent in order to make the playable area more expansive. If only more folks had checked the game out, there would have been more titles. The money they had to throw at the series to make it so nice was pretty much lost at launch and Ryo will likely never get his revenge.


Media Musings Stuff

Alter Ego

When I am playing a game, the character I am playing is going to be a total bastard.  The little pixels light up and pure evil comes out of that control interface.  If it is mean-spirited and just plain wrong, I have probably done it more than once in the game.  My avatar is my evil twin, and does a damn fine job.

I took fencing for a bit and once I became friends with everyone in the group, I had a hard time jabbing them with a rubber tipped sword.

The first thing I did in the Assassin’s Creed sequel was pick up an achievement for killing a bunch of people and hiding their bodies in a bale of hay.

I hold doors open for people,  try to avoid drama, and I drive like everyone else is trying to kill me.

Game me throws people through glass doors (any breakable object really) , enjoys making a scene (preferably with explosions), and believes that roads are just a suggestion.

I enjoy conversations, hearing different viewpoints, helping others out,  and keeping out of danger.

Talking, listening,  other people’s well-being, and safety are not any of my game character’s strong points. When they do get chatty or when an escort mission is required is not a fun time for anyone involved.

Some people would argue that this would make me a more violent person in real life, which makes me wonder why they have enough free time to build that argument and why they don’t have better hobbies.  The village slaughtering, roadkill making, orphan creating jerk that I play in the game hasn’t actually harmed anyone, it just looks cool.


I Can’t Jump Either

I have played video games religiously for years.  Any console that has come out since I was born (and one which was released right before), I have spent some quality time with one of its controllers in my hand. The funniest bit about all this gaming, is that up until the expansion of gameplay, I have been a pretty terrible player.  In the side scroller days I was doomed to not only just donating quarters to the cause, but I am also well aware of just how every one of those villains had that cackle when you fell off the cliff.

I can’t jump worth a damn.

When it was just two buttons which were either run and jump or jump and fire, I never mastered the art of jumping. Hand me a controller now with 20 buttons and say go slaughter those zombies/villains over there and I’m good as long as I don’t have to jump stones across a creek or something.  Complex puzzles are cake, but if I have to get on that ledge that is just a little too high for me to grab, you might as well get comfortable.

I did thoroughly enjoy playing the older games.  As much as I dig them don’t think I ever completely finished the things on my own, I would always hand my brother the controller and say “jump a few times, give it back”.  I also did the same for games where there was driving, but it was not the primary aspect of the game because the interface was always clunky.

Seeing the promos for the Prince of Persia movie brought this to mind since I have played every single one of those games, but the endeavors always end in a string of profanity and occasionally a smashed controller.  I am just glad games have opened up to where being able to jump without plummeting to your death is not mandatory and I can just enjoy taking out a bunch of pixel creatures or explore a vivid fantasy world with a shotgun/sword instead.

Media Musings Stuff

Back in the Day – Comix Zone


In 1995, there was a lovely little system called the Sega Genesis. As kids we huddled around it and our television screens to delve into the fantasy worlds of Sonic the Hedgehog and Mortal Kombat. One of the stand out games turned out to be a too often forgotten Comix Zone.

Sure the gameplay is ridiculously dated by our standards. Sure the game came out after most of the consoles user base was angry enough to move onto something else. But the game was built on the double whammy of geek, it was a video game about a comic artist stuck in a comic book which functioned kind of like Kung Fu.

The game was sort of short, but you only got one life to make it through the panels. The concept was more interesting than the gameplay itself, but if you are a fan of single button linear games it is not too bad. Personally, I just like to get to the one villain who says “Your kung fu is good.” The story centered around comic artist Sketch Turner who was sucked into his own creation during a lightning storm. Unfortunately for Sketch, the villain in his book was granted partial access to the real world by the incident.

Video of  gameplay:

In case you missed it, the game is available on the Wii via the Virtual Console.