I don’t know what’s in the waters round here, but it must be Pokémon because it seems to be the topic of late, at least among the blogs I follow. The folks over at DISK READ ERROR recently did a whole month of Pokémon posts. The guys running At The Buzzer also put up series of awesome posts on the subject in the not too distant past. What’s Your Tag?‘s recent Nerd Wars! polls are all about Pokémon. Sure, I could just ignore it all and go play outside seeing as I’m the farthest thing from a Pokémon fan, but their levels of devotion to the subject have been too incredible to overlook. So I read, I laughed, I pondered, I searched, and then I started writing this. I may not be a fan, but I know about Pokemon and how it has influenced a whole generation of gamers (and collectors, and Japanimation fans, and others.)
So as ye ol’ memory gears started a’rolling, I realized something:
As removed as I may be from the Pokemon universe, it actually played an oddly important role in my life as a gamer. It delivered me to, but more importantly from evil.
Hi, my name is cary, and I’m a hater. Or I was. I once hated Pokemon and all that it stood for. This is my story.
In real life, if you were to go on a special vacation to an exotic island and all you ended up doing was cleaning everything because it was all covered in goop, you’d probably demand a refund. But in Mario’s case, he apparently doesn’t mind doing hard labor along with getting the perfect tan.
A couple days ago, I had to go through my old address book to find, well, an address. And by “address book” I mean an actual, bound book, not the thing on my phone or the list attached to my email. I don’t look at my little address book very often, but when I do, I take a little trip down memory lane. I’ve had the book since my high school days, but the entries of contact information of old college friends are probably the most notable, because around 1995/1996, I started recording people’s email addresses. Email, it was this new thing back then. During my sophomore year, everyone at my school was introduced to “the internet” and everyone got a shiny new email address – four letters, four numbers, followed by the @ouruniversity.edu. To say this new email thing was a hit was an understatement. We had to have special meetings on how to use email and what to use it for; but once all that was said and done, everyone, including myself, was all about email. We used it and abused it.
So one of the ancient email addresses I had recorded in my lil ol’ book was for a boy I’m going to refer to as “Jake.”
Hello Skyrim, it’s me. You might remember me as my character, the brazen Imperial warrior Kallan. Yeah, it’s been quite awhile since we’ve seen each other. I’ve been…busy, and…I’ve been meaning to—what?
Oh yes, I know where you are. You’re on “the shelf,” and I see you’ve been pushed over to the far right side to make room for other games, played and unplayed. There’s a lot of—huh?
Well, thanks…I…I miss you too. The questing, the hoarding of (useless) stuff, the alchemy, the inns, the bears, and those silly dragons. We did have some good times didn’t we?
(And really, spoilers ahead! As well as strong feelings about a relatively new game ahead! Seriously, if you really want to play Uncharted 3 and haven’t, don’t read any further. Go play the game. Or go play elsewhere on the interwebs — I hear they are very entertaining. Heck, go play outside. But do come back, some time, maybe…please?)
You know it, you loved it, you played it. Or maybe none of those. But I bet that some gamers recall Uncharted 2: Among Thieves as one of the best-selling games of 2009, which received heaps upon heaps of praise. Well I’m here, three years later, to heap a little more late praise on it because I’m pretty sure it’s the best damn game I’ve ever played.
I’m a fairly mainstream gamer — scouring the internets for old or obscure titles isn’t really my thing. I’m impressed by the folks that do, and if I had the time for such searching, I might be so inclined, but I don’t and am not; and I have been generally pleased with the regular fare from today’s game companies. (Still, *cough* OUYA *cough*) That being said, I think I get a few power points for having played Questprobe: Spider-man (1985) (aka “Questprobe featuring Spider-man”). I don’t know that this game is incredibly rare or anything, but I do know that we were the only house that had it in our neighborhood, so that’s gotta count for something, right? (Of course, there weren’t that many houses in our neighborhood, so…maybe…not.)
This is the Atari version of the game — still pretty close to our PC version, except for the colors.
So I started writing a post on the continuation of my adventures with Professor Layton and his curious sidekick Luke, but it got really boring. My writing, I mean — I couldn’t come up with much more to say about the gameplay and my words got very repetitious. The games were fine. I stayed with Layton on the Nintendo DS through to more adventures: the Diabolical Box (DB) (2009) and the Unwound Future (UF) (2010) – but the gameplay was pretty much exactly like the first game: find clues, solve puzzles, seek out special items, meet and unusual array of characters. It’s hardly odd for game sequels to not include more of the same, but good developers usually throw in a little something different to help keep players interested. With DB and UF, eh, that didn’t really happen, but they did succeed in trying to make the puzzles relate a little more to the on-screen action, so that was something, I guess. For me, the best part of these latter games was their stories..