Monday, May 6, 2013

Confessions of a Lifelong Gamer

Dear readers, I have a confession to make. I may not be the all-knowing and masterfully skilled gamer that I have led you to believe I am. And while it pains me to say it, my confessions do not end there. Even though I've been playing video games for almost twenty years, there are a few areas in which I have fallen short. I hope you can all forgive me.

I have never defeated Ganon in Ocarina of Time

The series of unfortunate events leading to this absent achievement in my life is woeful indeed. To start with, for some unknowable reason, I lent my copy of Ocarina of Time to a friend before I had finished it. It's a fairly long game for a kid the first time through, so it took a lot of motivation to keep going, even if it was one of the best games ever. But lending the game out stalled my momentum so that by the time I resumed, I felt that I should start from the beginning. After quite a long time, and many delays, I did manage to get to the final boss. I defeated Ganondorf, escaped the castle, and... died to Ganon. To be honest, the ordeal stressed me out a bit, so I decided to take a break before my next attempt. That break turned out to last until after I had a Gamecube and my focus had shifted. For Gamecube, I acquired Ocarina of Time / Master Quest and I started my journey anew once again, this time on Master Quest. This continued until the Fire Temple, where I ran out of arrows and didn't feel like getting more. Since then, my memory card has been accidentally erased. It seems that if I want to finish this, my only hope now is to hook up my N64 and settle things the old fashioned way.

I have never finished a Final Fantasy game

Final Fantasy games tend to be pretty good, so I've always wanted to play them. They also tend to be pretty long, and while the stories are interesting, the battle systems and overall pacing have so far failed to hold my attention for an entire game. It's not that they're bad, it's just that I always end up getting a more entertaining game before I finish and drop whichever Final Fantasy game I had been playing. As of now, I own VII, IX, X, and XII; and have tried I, II, III, VIII, and XIII. I don't think I've made it much more than ten hours into any of them, but I've made it the furthest in VII and IX. Interestingly enough, I did make it almost all the way through Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, in spite of the comparatively lacking plot. I even managed to fight my way through the last couple levels and final boss, but only by using Action Replay to cheat. In any case, I still fully intend to finish a Final Fantasy... eventually.

Slippy was my favorite Star Fox character

I played Star Fox 64 a good deal as a kid. I remember that I rented it a few times before I finally decided that I should probably just buy it. I'm pretty sure that everyone who has played this game has all the quotes burned into their memory. For me, it was one of the first console games I played that had voice acting and I was always disappointed when other games didn't have voice acting after that. Anyway, I grew to like Slippy the best out of the Star Fox team, not because of his voice acting, but because Falco was a jerk, Peppy was boring, and Fox was the main character, so he didn't count. Slippy also more obviously helped out by displaying the boss's HP. That, and frogs are just awesome. I wasn't the only one who liked Slippy either; my sister also liked him so much that "Slippy" became her go-to name when naming pets or anything else. So it was to my dismay when I found on the internet that it was popular to hate Slippy. I didn't want to admit that he was actually my favorite when there was that kind of anti-frog climate online, so I kept it to myself. But no longer! I'm not afraid to say it: Slippy, you rock!

I spent hours playing Bejeweled Blitz and similarly mindless games

Regrettably, there was a time in the middle of my college years when I was so stuck in the doldrums that I lacked even the motivation to play video games or do much of anything else. Arguably, I still am in those doldrums, but since I somehow manage to play new games and regularly write for this blog, I'll count it as an improvement. Back in those dark days, I wanted nothing more than oblivion. I exerted the minimum amount of energy required to stay on top of my schoolwork, but spent the rest of the time trying to distract myself from my thoughts with the least intensive activities I could find: Bejeweled Blitz and other Facebook games. They were so easy to play, but occupied my mind just enough that I didn't have to think about anything else. As time passed, I hated myself for it and thought about how I could be playing good games from my backlog like Earthbound and Chrono Trigger, but I just didn't feel like it. Eventually, I guess I just got bored or sick enough of the idea of how much time I was wasting that I quit playing. I graduated to actually good Flash games and then back to the meatier games I had been playing all my life. It's good to be back to those.

I was a die hard Nintendo fanboy

Don't get the wrong idea; I still love Nintendo consoles and first party Nintendo games are still some of my favorite games, but back in the day, I was a hardcore Nintendo fanboy. I wasn't always that way though; I owned both a Super Nintendo and a Sega Genesis (actually, it was a Nomad with TV hookups) and I was totally unaware of the raging console war. Still, I played Super Nintendo significantly more. For the next generation, I owned both a Nintendo 64 and a Playstation, but once again I spent most of my time on N64 and my Playstation gaming was limited almost entirely to Spyro the Dragon. Perhaps the fanboyism started around that time, when it seemed like Playstation players felt that their console was better and less kiddie than Nintendo's. I resented that a bit, since most of my favorite games were on Nintendo consoles. By the next generation, I was stubbornly Nintendo-only and, spurred on by the Nintendo NSider Forums community, I dissed Microsoft and Sony at every opportunity and backed up even Nintendo's worst decisions. It was mindless, obnoxious, and unconditional support for Nintendo that lasted through the beginning of the Wii's life cycle. It was around that time that I finally got a Playstation 2 and started to catch up on all the great games I had missed. With that, the spell was broken and thenceforth I allowed myself to buy and enjoy games from all consoles. Except XBox, because screw paying to play online.

Do you have any gaming confessions? Let me know in the comments to get it off your chest!
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