“Wait,” my brain says as I type, “Didn’t you already talk about Mass Effect in this same vein? Are you going to rehash things already? Jeez, lame-o.”
Well now, hang on a second; it’s true that I didn’t expect to play Mass Effect or let it become the obsession that it did. But I’m talking about a game that, given my gaming past, I really didn’t think was right for me: Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA 4).
Man, my fingers…well, they itch a little thinking about GTA 4. Should probably get that checked.
…his chances of living were slim
Till one day he found
A space suit on the ground
And the outlook for cows turned quite grim.
And who says I don’t know the elements of fine-ass writing? Golden.
Do you remember Earthworm Jim? (click for a fun review of the game) Because I surely do. It arrived at my house Christmas 1994. I was home during my winter break, a mere college sophomore looking for a way to spend the holiday “with family” without actually having to interact with them. (But not so much, I like my family, and my sohomore year in college wasn’t all that awesome, so I was glad to be anywhere but there during that time. That’s a really terrible sentence right there. Ass-fine writing if ever there was.) Did I ask for the game? I can’t remember, but I’m glad someone got it. Because what’s better game fodder than an earthworm in a powered spacesuit? Jousting knights on ostriches? Hardly.
The first movie I ever remember seeing in a movie theatre was Return of the Jedi in 1983 or 1984. And that was that: open mouth, insert hook. For many, many years after that, my birthday and Christmas lists were filled with all things Star Wars. Okay, not ALL things – we had many more He-Man and Barbie figures than we did Star Wars figures. But I watched any of the three original movies whenever, and I mean whenever they came on TV or cable. I was at the re-releases, the re-re-releases, and Episodes 1, 2, and 3. And I read so many of those related books that came out in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Without waxing poetic, let’s talk about DOOM and DOOM II, two games that for better or worse, shaped me into the gamer I am today. These games are kind of a big deal to me; and, in my head, they are, like, larger than life. At the risk of sounding crude and douchey, I played the fuck outta these games and I was awesome. A-W-E-S-O-M-E-!-!.
In order to set this up properly, let’s go back to 1993, when DOOM first came out. That year I was a high school senior/college freshman. I was not a social butterfly or a cheerleader or a jock (I’m sure you’re surprised), but instead I steered towards music, theatre, and the like (another surprise, for realz). I tried to be nice to people, more so that they would leave me alone rather than become friends, and I rarely got in trouble, though sometimes my internal censor didn’t work quite right and I often ended up on classmates’ bad sides. My outward persona liked Top 40 radio, big sweaters, asymmetry, and black cherry soda.
Sorry, this post is neither about poles nor positions, or inserting for that matter. Yet, I still have several paragraphs to go, so we’ll see where this thing ends up.
I like racing games. I really do. Though I’ve played very few with any intent to become a champion virtual race car driver, a number of racing games have flitted in and out of my gaming life: several Gran Turismo titles, Burnout (2, I think. Less racing, more destruction), a couple Ridge Racer titles, maybe a couple demos here and there. My fiancé will usually pick up a new racing title every now and then with the intent to play against each other; but then games like Call of Duty and Batman come out, and the racing games go back onto their lonely shelves with all the other games we “intend” to play again someday. The last one we got, Gran Turismo 5 for the PS3 is insanely fun; and I really thought that I might actually try to play through the game and develop my own car. But no, it’s on the lonely shelves, just waiting. Don’t worry little GT5, your day will come.
So what started this long, strange interest in racing games? Why that classic Pole Position!
It’s funny how the mind works. How some memories from years past are bright as day while others are completely dark and fuzzy. It’s a hard fact that we owned a Nintendo Entertainment System. This I remember very well, from the rectangular controllers with those damn sharp edges to the cartridges and the mystical blowing technique that was occasionally required to get them to load.
Thing is, the only game I actually remember playing on the NES was Super Mario Brothers (and Duck Hunt, rather Duck Watch, because we didn’t have the gun controller).
In my little household, we started off the year with some cleaning of the digital variety. Yes, it was time to clear out the ol’ PS3 hard drive. And what a mess it was. But it gave us a little time to reflect on the games we played in 2011. Especially notable was the amount of save data for games we no longer had – they were either from Gamefly or we traded them in to enter the late 2011 compound of great gamage.
Of all the data, y’know what I was a little sad to see go? L. A. Noire.
Our Wii console is definitely the low man on the totem pole in our gaming hierarchy. This is partially due to the fact that, in recent years, we really haven’t had enough space to play any of the frantic, limb-swinging (but not really) Wii games. So for the past couple years, our Wii has been secondarily a gaming console and mostly an internet device.
Despite my overarching love for Nintendo, I’ve only purchased and played a miniscule fraction of its games. I should be ashamed of myself, but I’m not. I have immensely enjoyed the handful of Wii games that I have played.
But I really don’t know if I should count Endless Ocean among them.