I ran into this little survey on Facebook and it struck a chord with me, so I am using it as an opportunity to create another blog post. Video games have long been a source of entertainment to me, and I don’t think that will stop any time soon. Here we go.
1. FAVORITE GAME: This one is actually a really hard decision for me. There have only been a handful of games to actually move me enough to utter something as bold as “This is my FAVORITE GAME EVER”. Chrono Trigger is definitely one of them. I mean, I just wrote a 3,000 word blog post on why I believe it proves beyond a reasonable doubt that video games can be art. The story and gameplay were both innovative at the time, and I still play it to this day. I think that Chrono Trigger probably still gets my vote. If it does, then it only narrowly beats out The Last Of Us. That game is a masterpiece as well. The acting is superb, the gameplay is addictive. I play it constantly. But even though I’ve played it for basically two years straight, I think I’ve still put many more man-hours into playing Chrono Trigger so I guess ultimately that would be my vote.
2. FAVORITE CHARACTER: Ooh, this is a tough one. While I enjoy main characters like Crono from Chrono Trigger or Gordon Freeman from Half-Life – those characters are meant to be devoid of any agency until you, as the player, give it to them so, that way, you inhabit those characters fully. It’s your actions, your responses (mainly) that drive them. When I think of characters who would be my “favorite” – I tend to think of interesting or inspiring characters. Characters who are believable, and who I root for. I like Trevor from Grand Theft Auto V because he’s just so sick and crazy. I like John Marston from Red Dead Redemption because he’s just a guy who used to be a douche, who is now trying to make amends but can’t shake his past. I like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider because she’s smart and is basically like Indiana Jones if he were an attractive lady. I think that overall, my favorite character would have to be Ellie from The Last Of Us.
The reason I love Ellie so much is that she’s barely a teenager and yet she is one of the hardest, most caring characters out there. Sure, Joel (the main character from The Last Of Us) has been through hell too, but we sort of miss much of that as players aside from his sad moment that forever defined him (won’t give away spoilers here). With Ellie, however, we are playing through her formative years. We’re seeing her (especially with the DLC content you can purchase) transform from a snarky, loyal friend to a snarky, loyal friend who will put a bullet (or arrow) between your eyes if you so much as sneeze funny. She’s not selfish, like many of the survivors (even Joel), and she also happens to be a lesbian (Or at least it’s been set up that way. I don’t think she’s bi-sexual, though I could be wrong) which if you think about the context of the story she’s been set up in….that’s pretty dangerous. People are going to be scared that the human race is going to die off and there she is kissing a lady on the lips and liking it. She rarely needs saving, always helps out, and even has her own comic book. What’s not to love about Ellie?
3. FAVORITE GENRE: Ooh, this is a tough one too! These are all tough, I guess. Anyway, I play a lot of fighting games but I’m actually not particularly good at them. I like them so much because due to the limited gameplay options – the developers are free to make the games as pretty as possible, resulting in some of the best graphics out there. One of my favorites is Dead Or Alive (any game from the series, really, but right now it’s Dead or Alive 5). I also love Marvel VS Capcom 3, Soul Caliber, Tekken, Injustice. RPGs have always held my attention, with my aforementioned love affair with Chrono Trigger as well as Earthbound, the Elder Scrolls games like Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. RPGs take many hours to complete and often have easter eggs hidden within them you need to search for. Also, they tend to be actual stories I’m interested in. I do like action games, but many of them fail to hold my attention long enough to complete. I would have to say that my overall favorite game genre has consistently been FPS games (First Person Shooters). I’m not the best at them, but they have given me many hours of joy and excitement in my life. Doom, Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein, Star Wars: Dark Forces, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark – those are the shooters I started out with. Now, I play games like Borderlands 2 and Battlefield 3 and Left 4 Dead 2. Sure, there are some FPS games that completely miss the mark but many of them provide solid entertainment and especially group play.
4. FAVORITE PLATFORM: To be honest, if money were no factor, I would go PC. Anyone in their right mind would, really. But the reality is that unless you have lots of money to devote to constantly upgrading your PC – you’re not going to be able to constantly run the best games. That’s why I ultimately ended up being a console gamer. Consoles are cheap (relatively) and replaceable. They can take abuse, you can transport them easily, and even if you’re not online and don’t have a LAN group – you can still game on your couch with friends. I’d love to get in with the new systems (PS4, XBox One) but they are way too expensive when they first come out, and the graphics aren’t too far removed from the PS3 or XBox 360. XBox still charges for their online service, and even though I think it’s a superior online experience (I have both a PS3 and XBox 360) I really only play the PS3 right now and it’s been that way for over a year. I can jump online and get updates for free, I can game online for free. It’s perfect for my gaming needs right now (and it has a BluRay Player).
5. CURRENTLY PLAYING: I am literally playing The Last Of Us even as I type this and eat my lunch (I love to multi-task). However, just like when I read books – I tend to have several games in progress at the same time. I am playing through Chrono Trigger again on the PS3 (it’s a PS1 Game Port) and also on the Nintendo DS. Also on the DS – I am in the middle of Pokemon: Black and Final Fantasy: Tactics (a Game Boy Advance cartridge). I also have a game of Red Dead Redemption going on the PS3 (beat it for 360 already). Also, for PS3 – I am currently playing Ico (Ps1 port), Grand Theft Auto V, Assassin’s Creed III, Dead Or Alive 5, Borderlands 2, Starhawk, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, and Dragon Age: Origins. For the XBox 360, I’m currently playing Mass Effect 2, Dynasty Warriors 7, and Amazing Spider-Man. It’s mostly The Last Of Us, though. That game is addictive.
6. WISH I WAS PLAYING: This one is actually an easy one for me. I really, really, really, really, really want to play The Order: 1886. It looks freaking amazing. I love the 1800’s time period (I’m into steampunk stuff at the moment) and I also like horror. This looks perfect for me.
7. YOU CAN’T BEAT ME AT: To be fair, you can really beat me at a lot of things so I’m not going to say you can’t beat me at any certain game. I used to be pretty great at Killer Instinct for SNES but only recently, within the past six years, have I been decent at another game – and that was Left 4 Dead 2. I used to be #7 on my server when I was playing. I miss playing it for PC, for sure. It’s not quite the same for the 360.
8. FIRST GAME I PLAYED: I am sure I must’ve played other games before it, but honestly the only game I can ever remember playing first was Super Mario Bros. for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. I remember being at a friend’s house, looking at Mario and all the colors on the screen and being absolutely stunned. It really set the bar for me in terms of gaming.
9. FIRST CONSOLE I PLAYED: I may have played other systems before the NES, like the Atari, but as I said above – the NES is the first system I remember having played. It was a dream come true for my childhood and I will always love that system.
10. WHY I LOVE GAMING: Gaming, to me, is an escape. It’s the same entertainment quality to me as reading a novel or watching a movie. There’s a story, usually, and on top of that – you often get to participate in the action. It improves hand-eye coordination, it’s a good activity to share with friends, family, or your significant other. It sparks conversation and debate. People have written academic papers on video games (the hobby) and also on individual games. It also inspires creativity, with people all over the world creating fan art, game mods, music, dance, films, etc – all to serve a particular fandom. It’s really amazing when you think about it. I have gamed since I was able to, and I will game until I am no longer able to. For now, I’ll leave this video here: