Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘video games’

We’ve been playing Left 4 Dead for a few days now. As usual when we get into a game, we pretty much immerse ourselves in it until we finish. And by immerse, I mean we’ve been talking about nothing but zombies for four days. And we’ve played so much that when I got to work today and encountered a crazy little lady in the parking lot, my first thought was “I startled the witch!”

The best thing about Left 4 Dead, as with most games Todd and I play together, is the cooperative play. It’s fun to work together, help each other out, save each other’s lives. But playing together has also pointed out our glaring gaming differences.

I’m ten years older than Todd. This never, ever comes into play in our relationship except for when we are playing video games. I’m a gamer of the 80’s, an adventurer. He’s a gamer of the 90’s, a killer. I grew up on Zork and Zelda and I need to investigate every room, look in every corner and turn over everything I can. You never know where a secret door may be or when you’ll find something important underneath a garbage pail. Todd grew up on Mortal Kombat and Total Carnage. He shoots first. And second. And third. My gaming instincts tell me when to open a door or go up the stairs. His instincts tell him when to get into shooting stance.

Which brings me to thinking about my history with video games and how one game led me to where I am today.

Atari’s Adventure. It was simplistic and crude, but it thrilled me nonetheless. The thrill of slaying the dragon/duck, searching for keys, opening doors, finding the chalice – I had never played anything like it before. It had all the makings of one of those fairy tale adventures I loved so much when I was young. Well, minus the prince and the knights, but I had a good imagination. The best thing about the game was finding the Easter egg.

Select game 2 or 3 and enter the maze in the Black Castle. Move screen to the left of the first maze screen. At the bottom center of this room is a closed cubicle. Use the bridge to enter that area and collect the “dot”. Carry this item to the screen just above the catacombs, located one screen down and to the right of the Gold Castle. Note: The “dot” is the same color as the ground outside, so care must be taken not to lose it in transit. Drop the “dot” here, and bring two other items onto the same screen. Move through the line on the right side of the screen to view the programmer credits.

There were also little quirks like different ways to get around the bat or make it so the dragon can’t eat you. And really, was there anything more terrifying than the noise the game made when that dragon tried to chomp down on you?

I dreamed about Adventure. I played it in my head. And I thought how cool it would be if they would expand the game because I wanted more. More dragons to slay, more treasure to find, more quirks to discover.

Enter Nintendo. I clearly recall sitting in my living room one night with my sister Lisa, watching the Olympics. We saw a commercial for the Nintendo and made up our minds right there that we had to have one. An hour later, we were at the Video Vault buying ourselves a Nintendo.

I don’t remember how long we played for. I know our eyes probably glazed over at some point and thumbs were aching and our asses had gone numb, but we were hooked.

I described Super Mario Bros. as Adventure times infinity. It had all the magic of Adventure – the quest, the hero, the villains, the scrolling from screen to screen as you tried to find your way around. But it was so much more. It was that expansion I was looking for. More worlds. More hidden features. More surprises. You never knew what would happen next. Would this brick bring a star or a mushroom? What will happen if I crouch down on this pipe? You can go up into the clouds!! Every time you played, there was something else to find, another clever trick or hidden surprise.

And the graphics! No more was I running from a pixelated dragon! Everything was so well defined. The colors were plentiful, the characters had real shapes..this is the stuff I had been dreaming of!

It was not all about gaming, either. It was about life lessons.

“Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!” That was awesome. That, my friends, is how you learn coping skills. That’s how you learn to handle disappointment. Put your kids in front of Super Mario Brothers and let them play their little hearts out until they think they won, and then those lowly mushroom retainers appear with the bad news and your kids will have learned one of life’s greatest lessons. Disappointment sucks, but you must go on! I taught my kids how to play SMB at an young age just so I could let them know early on in life what if feels like to have the rug pulled out from under you. It comes in handy later. “I know you completed the entire project on time and you did a great job, but I think I want you to write me a ten page essay, too.” THANK YOU MARIO! BUT OUR PRINCESS IS IN ANOTHER CASTLE!

You just can’t beat a video game that’s not only fun to play, but gives you a harsh dose of the realities of life to boot.

I still have so much love for the 2D side scroll games. In fact, I prefer them over today’s 3D games that tend to be more about art than gameplay. I’m more interested in finding secret rooms and hidden weapons than I am looking at my heroine’s perfectly formed tits.

Which brings us back to zombies and Left 4 Dead. Yes, gameplay and graphics have come a long, long way. I sometimes just stare in amazement on what’s on my screen and think back to my days of playing Pong or Odyssey or Atari and I’m sure my mind then could never imagine what video games today would look like. I love Left 4 Dead and games like Halo because they are, more or less, Adventure. But with zombies instead of a dragon that looks like a duck.

That I can slay my dragons with someone else is the best part of today’s gaming. I get to go on my adventures, peeking in dark rooms, trying to find new weapons, and Todd gets to shoot everything in sight. And there’s always, always that lesson of our princess being in another castle.

Also: Great blog post on retro gaming here.

Read Full Post »

I know I said we’d do favorite words today, but I’m saving that for later, because I have something else on my mind.

I had a bizarre dream last night in which I was stuck in the video game Berzerk (ASOIT) while McCain and Obama robots chased me. My goal was to stop Evil Otto from voting. It was a fun, if tiring kind of dream and it got me thinking this morning about my favorite arcade games – something I’ve definitely blogged about before but when you’ve been doing this seven years you’re allowed to repeat yourself. Because seven blogging years is like Grandpa Simpson in people years.

Some of my favorite arcade games (and keep in mind I’m old, I know a lot of my new readers are youngsters who laugh at my memories of Pong):

Berzerk

“Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!” I can still hear that loud and clear in my head as if I was still standing there, beer balanced on a barstool pulled up next to the machine, quarters laid out in a row as if to say to anyone else “This is my place. I’m not leaving. Don’t even think that you are going to get anywhere near this game tonight, because I am on fire and Evil Otto is going to die a brutal death this evening.”

Except Evil Otto could not be destroyed. I knew this, knew this was how the game worked and there was nothing I could do about it, but that did not stop me, especially when I was drunk, from thinking that one more quarter, one more game, would let me somehow find some deep, dark secret hidden deep within the code that would let me destroy Otto.

“Chicken! Fight like a robot!” How could you not love a game that mocked you

Pac Man
Yea, I spent a lot of time playing Pac-Man. Come on, who didn’t in the 80’s? It may seem lame to you now, but that game was awesome back in the day. Do you know how hard it is to chase an apple when you are drunk? The hell with Inky and Clyde and the rest of the damn ghosts. I wanted that fruit. That blessed, elusive fruit. How many times I put myself in the sites of Pac-Man just because I was greedy and had to have that orange or grape or whatever fruity round I was on. Some nights you would find me banging my fists on the screen, yelling, “Damn you, apple! Damn you to hell!” At which point someone would bring me another shot and ask if it was maybe time to just put the quarters down.

Rally X
This was the simplest looking game. Like Pac-Man, but with a car, right? How hard could it be? Well, you have to take the extenuating circumstance into consideration here. I played this game in a bar. So you take this simple little maze/car game and throw in a few stiff drinks and some crappy Doors cover band playing in the background to distract you and, well, it wasn’t all that simple of a game. Frustrating game, because they give you a cool weapon to use, but you lose fuel when you use it. You have to kill yourself to kill your enemies. No wonder I drank when I played it.

Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins

It’s got zombies. That’s all you really need to know. I think this might have been one of the first games I played that had zombies. You’re this knight in shining armor – literally – headed out to save a princess trapped in a castle (sound familiar?). But you have to battle demons and ogres to get there. Thing is, when you get hit, your armor disappears. You’re sitting in this graveyard in your skivvies. Kind of embarrassing. I mean, you’re supposed to be brave Sir Arthur rescuing your damsel in distress and now some zombies have reduced you to sitting in the grass, shivering and wondering if anyone can see if your nipples are hard or that you’ve got a skidmark in your underwear from the last time one of those undead guys literally scared the shit out of you. And if you think wandering a graveyard in your boxers means you’ve got problems, just wait. Get hit again and suddenly you’re a skeleton.

I’d really like to tell you all about winning this game and about all the other fantastic levels of Ghosts n Goblins, but the thing is, I never really made it too far in this one. Maybe I made it to the ice castle once, but that’s about it. Well, on the arcade game. Once we got the NES version and I wasn’t dumping a paycheck’s worth of quarters into a machine just so I could turn into a cemetery flasher, I played enough to get toward the end. There was something about a room that was devised by Satan.Like I said, I got toward the end, not to it.

Other games I loved:
Zaxxon
Spy Hunter
Smash TV
Mappy Land
Gauntlet (I love this game, but I swear it was one of the reasons for Todd’s seizure two years ago)
Defender
Galaga (not to be confused with Galaxian)
Robotron
Rampage
Tron
Asteroids
Arkenoid

Just a side note: I was never a fan of Joust (the Ostritches scared me), or Dragon’s Lair (interesting concept, nice graphics, horrid gameplay).

Ok, I’ve rambled enough. Your turn!

Read Full Post »

spore will turn you godless


The hottest thing on the market besides the new “oh look at the pretty colors dressing up the fact that there’s really nothing new” iPods is the video game Spore. Spore is an online multi player game that lets you control the evolution of a species from single cell organism on.

I did think briefly about buying it, but I remembered what happened the last time I got sucked into a Will Wright game and realized that I do not have the time to devote to the addiction that would ensue. It wasn’t even the addiction to The Sims that bothered me most, it was the way I would do things to my characters like lock them in a room until they had to pee on the floor or build a floor over the swimming pool during a family pool party. I did the same kind of thing with Roller Coaster Tycoon; I would build a coaster with a loop that didn’t connect to anything and then watch carnage ensue. Those sim games brought out parts of me I didn’t want to know.

Sorry for the digression.

Anyhow, I was looking for reviews of Spore just to see what it’s like in case I win the lottery and don’t have to go to work anymore and can spend my entire day creating a new species and fulfilling my God complex.

That’s how I came across the anti spore site.

At first reading, I was dumbfounded. Could someone really be this far out there that they find this game such an affront to God and creationism that they are compelled to start a site about it? Why not, you know…just not buy the game?

This entire game is propaganda aimed directly at our children to teach them evolution instead of creationism, or “intelligent design” if you go for stupid PC terms.

8,500 people all working together and not a single one with enough Jesus to stand up and say what they are doing is wrong.

You would think that as a member of the Episcopal Church, a smart man like Will Wright would not be capable of creating Spore. However, we must be reminded that the Episcopal Church is the only church in america that ordains homosexuals on a regular basis.

It makes sense that a perverted church would cause a man to make the creations he has in this game. It just may be that evolution is not the only thing to fear this game teaching your children.

I stared at this a few minutes, read some of the hundreds of comments and then I decided to believe that this is not the work of some zealot creationist. No, this is the work of some marketing genius. It’s a reverse psychology, viral marketing ad campaign. It has to be. That’s what I choose to believe. Because I’d rather believe in some soulless advertising people thinking up this anti-spore idea than to believe that someone out there really thinks that their attempt at blog-picketing had anything to do with EA’s stock going down a dollar.

I’m still thinking about buying Spore. But I also want to buy NHL ’09. Either way, EA gets my money. Who’s your god now?

Read Full Post »

Over one million dollars in taxpayer money has been sent trying to legislate what should be a parenting decision. New York is the latest to join the fray – passing a law that was previously struck down in other states.

here

Read Full Post »

you know my sega collection is massive

We spent most of this evening playing Halo 3 and NHL ’08 on the Xbox360.

I have come to the conclusion that I am hopelessly old school when it comes to video games. I just can’t play these games with the same enjoyment I used to get. The controllers are too complicated, the gameplay is too convoluted, fun is sacrificed for art.

I long for the days of Atari and Odyssey and Sega Genesis and NES. Even Colecovision and Intellevision. Even my beloved Dreamcast didn’t make me feel like such a failure.

Give me simple controls. Give me games that don’t make me sit through ten minute cut scenes and mini-movies. Screw your beautiful graphics. I’m happy with my little squared pixels if I can just get through the game without needing to have the coordination to hold or mash seven buttons at the same time.

Maybe I’m just not cut out for multiplayer games. I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel. I want to go on adventures where I find gold coins and collect pieces of some big triangle or save a princess. I don’t want to have to partner up with some robot dude to go killing aliens that look like leftovers from the movie Gremlins. I don’t want someone depending on me to have their back because I’m going to just run right into the fray and fire away, not even caring what type of weapon I’m carrying and then the person I’m supposed to be playing with will say something like “Can you not get me killed every damn time? WHAT IS YOUR DAMAGE? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST CONTROL THE DAMN THING?”

Why? Because back in my day, when everything was simple and I had to walk uphill in the snow both ways to go buy a new game for my Atari 2600, I could control the damn thing. I could play hockey. NHL ’94, bitches!

Up up down down left right left right B A start!

You can keep your guitars and laser guns. Give me back my 2d scrollers.

And get off my damn lawn.

Read Full Post »

you know my sega collection is massive

We spent most of this evening playing Halo 3 and NHL ’08 on the Xbox360.

I have come to the conclusion that I am hopelessly old school when it comes to video games. I just can’t play these games with the same enjoyment I used to get. The controllers are too complicated, the gameplay is too convoluted, fun is sacrificed for art.

I long for the days of Atari and Odyssey and Sega Genesis and NES. Even Colecovision and Intellevision. Even my beloved Dreamcast didn’t make me feel like such a failure.

Give me simple controls. Give me games that don’t make me sit through ten minute cut scenes and mini-movies. Screw your beautiful graphics. I’m happy with my little squared pixels if I can just get through the game without needing to have the coordination to hold or mash seven buttons at the same time.

Maybe I’m just not cut out for multiplayer games. I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel. I want to go on adventures where I find gold coins and collect pieces of some big triangle or save a princess. I don’t want to have to partner up with some robot dude to go killing aliens that look like leftovers from the movie Gremlins. I don’t want someone depending on me to have their back because I’m going to just run right into the fray and fire away, not even caring what type of weapon I’m carrying and then the person I’m supposed to be playing with will say something like “Can you not get me killed every damn time? WHAT IS YOUR DAMAGE? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST CONTROL THE DAMN THING?”

Why? Because back in my day, when everything was simple and I had to walk uphill in the snow both ways to go buy a new game for my Atari 2600, I could control the damn thing. I could play hockey. NHL ’94, bitches!

Up up down down left right left right B A start!

You can keep your guitars and laser guns. Give me back my 2d scrollers.

And get off my damn lawn.

Read Full Post »

balls to the wall, man

Day 15 of Art Every Day.

Title: “Balls to the wall, man”

Song: Accept, Balls to the Wall

Shot at Fun Zone, Farmingdale, New York at my nephew’s birthday party.

Halfway through the Art Every Day thing and I’m still enjoying it enough where I think I’ll probably continue on with it after the month is over. Which means yes, I will get to the suggestions made previously, or take more if you got them.

I love arcades. I’ll be 90 years old and I’ll still get my jollies by sticking some coins in a machine. Not to sound all “get off my lawn” but I really do miss the old arcades. Everything now is all virtual cars, bikes, skateboards and guns, guns, guns. Don’t get me wrong, I’m into killing some zombies and bad guys, but I miss the old games. This arcade had a setup where you could play Galaga, Ms. Pac-Man or Arkanoid on this one machine, but it was….weird. I knew as soon as I put that token in and started playing Galaga, some little kid would say “Hey, check out that lady playing that old fashioned game!” Then he’d let out a Nelson “HA! HA!” and point his finger at me and all the kiddies would stand around me in a circle, marveling at the old lady and the old technology. Yea, well, I was playing video games back when your mom was still a virgin, you snot-nosed brat! You can take your fancy Ghost Recon shit and shove it up your ass, you little bastard. VECTOR GRAPHICS RULE YOUR FACE.

Uhh. Yea. I’m also the lady who quoted a 30 year old metal song in this photo.

Hell, it’s 8:00. Might as well go to bed and read my AARP newsletter.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »