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My Top 11 Most Influential Games - Why I Am a Gamer (Pt. 1)

I just finished reading an interesting editorial at another site (which you can read here if you are interested) and it got me thinking about my own personal influences with gaming. Now a slight disclaimer before you continue. These are my personal influences. So if you happen to notice some more notable games omitted it's simply because I never played them, thus, I can't have been influenced despite their rampant popularity in the gaming world at large. There is no Mario 64 or Ocarina of Time on this list. If that offends you then may I be the first to say tough !@#$ And yes, I know what you're thinking: "Why eleven?" Well upon reminiscing on my gaming past I couldn't narrow it down to just ten, nor could I think of fifteen. So eleven it is. (And with honorable mentions it's actually 22 so nyah!) This is part one of a three-part blog. Off we go!

11. Eternal Champions, Sega, 1993, Genesis

Mortal Kombat was undoubtedly the king of fighting games back in the day. However, I found skill and proficiency with a generic title that was no doubt trying to cash in on the success and popularity that Mortal Kombat had attained. This is the one and only fighting game that I can confidently claim I was ever good at. Really good. Let's just say that fighting games are not my fort√©, but that wasn't the case with Eternal Champions. When I played it felt so natural that pulling off moves flawlessly became second nature. The funny thing is I learned the combos through trial and error (read: button mashing) since these were the days before the Internet was ubiquitous and a part of our every day life. There were no guides to consult, per se, and if there were I sure as heck didn't know how to get them (I was only 12-years-old at the time). On the off chance anyone here is familiar with this game my preferred fighter was Xavier (pictured above on left). He was my main man and the only character I ever used. Why did I choose him? Well I always liked the name Xavier, and the character's outfit looked pretty cool…and that's about it.

*Honorable mention* Mortal Kombat, Midway, 1993, Genesis

Mortal Kombat on the Sega Genesis was the most badass fighting game I had ever seen. The level of gore was unprecedented. The blatant, in-your-face violence was exhilarating. I sat enthralled as the life-like characters on screen punched, kicked and eviscerated their opponents. It's the one fighting game that made me love fighting games for their brutal nature. Sadly, it's also the same game that made me realize I suck at fighting games and something at which I do not excel. The intricate button combos that allowed other players to pull off such amazing moves so fluidly and almost choreographed proved too much for my mind to absorb and, as such, I found myself relegated to meer spectator whenever the game was played. I still had fun even though I wasn't directly controlling the wanton carnage on screen choosing instead to get my thrills vicariously through whoever I was watching at the time (usually that other person being my best-friend).

10. Resident Evil, Capcom, 1996, PlayStation

"And Jill, here's a lockpick. It might be handy if you, the master of unlocking, take it with you." A line that will live in infamy in video game culture as one of the cheesiest, most absurd, downright ridiculous lines of dialogue to ever appear in a game. Aside from the laughable dialogue the game itself was a true gem, and it single handedly launched a new genre that heretofore had never existed: Survival horror. I remember the surprise and creep factor when I came across that first zombie feasting on a person's remains; or the panic I felt when I tried to get a bead on those wily zombie dogs with my pistol and the grim realization that each shot missed was one less round I would have for later and not knowing when I would find more. In Resident Evil, careful conservation of your inventory was vital because death could literally be around the next corner. No other game presented such a claustrophobic, tense and foreboding atmosphere that Resident Evil did. And though I may have never beaten the full game it nevertheless left an indelible mark on my psyche--not only on me but on the industry as a whole--as one of the most influential games to ever come out.

*Honorable mention* Silent Hill, Konami, 1999, PlayStation

While Resident Evil ushered in a new genre, Silent Hill quickly capitalized on it. Gone was the claustrophobic mansion and flesh eating zombies replaced instead by a deserted town that makes living in Seattle look like living on the surface of the sun; that is to say the town of Silent Hill was bleak and dreary. I also felt the enemies were more disturbing than anything you ran into in Resident Evil which gave the town an even more damning personality. Now honestly I played even less of this game than I did Resident Evil, but I was primarily interested in the narrative which I thought worked on a deeper, more cerebral level than the zombie-infested Resident Evil. Combat was less of a focus here and the game play was geared more towards a spooky detective story as you had to really think about some of the clues you found and the puzzles you had to solve to progress. Inventory management played an even bigger role than in Resident Evil more often than not leaving you with the better option to flee from enemies entirely rather than take a stand.

09. Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital, 1998, PlayStation

It's hard to believe that at one time this game's graphics was considered cutting edge. More than that, Gran Turismo offered for the first time a true driving simulator that attempted to replicate real-world physics into an accessible driving game. If you owned a PlayStation then you should have owned this game. This was the first game I cut my teeth on in the racing genre. I didn't know jack squat about cars at the time but I didn't need to, and that was the beauty and appeal of Gran Turismo. Hardcore gearheads could enjoy this game and tweak their cars to their heart's content, and goofy high school kids like me could enjoy it as it allowed me to virtually drive expensive cars I would never have a snowball's chance in hell to drive in real life and not worry about insurance. Gran Turismo is still an authoritative game that stands for quality. The grand daddy of racing sims that set the bar enormously high for every racing game to come after it.

*Honorable mention* Twisted Metal 2, Singletrac, 1996, PlayStation

On the other side of the racing spectrum we have Twisted Metal. I remember many an hour was lost to this treasured game back in the day with me and my best-friend playing match after match against each other as we drove maddeningly across each map trying to blow the !@$# out of each other. No such thing as broadband or online gaming, boys and girls. Nope, if you wanted to play multiplayer it involved actually having friends and going over to each other's house and playing split-screen. But I digress. This was one of the few games I was actually decent at competitively speaking. I remember my chosen vehicle was Warthog because I just loved his barrage of missiles you could shoot that were pretty effective if you scored a solid hit. What he lacked in speed he made up for in firepower. I also remember the distinct accompanying jingle each time I fired off a salvo at my friend that was music to my ears and a clear auditory warning to my friend that he was about to get blown up.

08. God of War, SCE Santa Monica, 2005, PlayStation 2

Ah, what can I say about one of my most beloved action-adventure series? A game that was the motivating factor behind me finally purchasing a PS2. I really love God of War and the subsequent sequels. The epic story telling, the grandiose scope of the environments and compelling game play all added up to a bona fide hit with not only me but a lot of other gamers as well despite all its pundits and naysayers crying foul because it was a "Devil May Cry rip-off." Really? What game in the history of games hasn't copied the games that came before it in some form or fashion? For some reason, though, success has a nasty habit of breeding contempt in some people and that's exactly what happened after the success of God of War. But I didn't care one bit because I was happily slicing and dicing enemies with abandon and having damn fun while doing it. So many holy !@$% moments in this game it would take a whole other blog just to talk about. Needless to say I was thoroughly impressed with Kratos and his tale of vengeance as this was the game that really got me back in to console gaming full time after years of a self-prescribed hiatus.

*Honorable mention* Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Naughty Dog, 2007, PlayStation 3

Of course I would be remiss to list an action-adventure game and not mention Uncharted in there somewhere as well. What's not to love about this game? (OK, the tacked on SIXAXIS controls could have probably been left out and thankfully they were for the sequel.) Sporting gorgeous visuals, an edge-of-your-seat story and heart-pumping game play, Uncharted was poised as the killer app that the burgeoning PS3 so desperately craved. It contained just the right amount of combat, platforming and puzzle solving so that I never felt bored or lacking a challenge in some way at any time. And did I mention it's a gorgeous game? This was the game that made PS3 owners (and a fair amount of non-PS3 owners, I'm sure) swoon over it. Now we could proudly show off what next gen tech was capable of achieving. A new star had been born into the pantheon of triple A games as Naughty Dog introduced to us gamers and the industry how "easy" it was to create a brand new IP and have it flourish as both a fun game and a technical achievement; less of a miracle as it is a testament to Naughty Dog's talent as a developer.

That does it for part one. Stay tuned for part two!

PSN Down - Gamers Need to Unite Not Segregate Further

Like many of you and the gaming world, I have been watching this whole fiasco of PSN vs hackers from the sidelines. I haven't really commented on it because up until now I thought I didn't have anything to say that every gaming site and gaming blog on the 'Net hasn't already. But as I was replying to a fellow member and friend's blog at another gaming site I visit I appear to have found my voice on the issue.

All I've read so far are people complaining about how Sony is to blame, or people complaining about the hackers. And then my personal favorite: Xbox 360 zealots coming out of the woodwork heralding this criminal act as somehow a "mighty blow" to Sony and those dirty PS3 lovers.

I just have this to say if you fall into that latter category: Grow up.

Zip up your fly, put the measuring tape away and be mature for once in your life.

This is one of those rare moments when gamers, regardless of their allegiance, need to COME TOGETHER and SUPPORT each other rather than using this as a cheap way to brag about how their system is superior. Stop acting like a spoiled little brat and show some solidarity for your fellow gamer instead of ostracizing and condemning them as lepers.

It just absolutely sickens me that people are exploiting this event and twisting it in a demented way to add fuel to that universal waste of time pissing contest also know as "console wars."

The fact is I don't care what company this happened to it's NOT cool. If nothing else I hope we can at least agree on that much. The fact is this was a heinous and criminal act that has affected GAMERS. This should serve to bring all of us gamers TOGETHER collectively; not to help further segregate and expand the petty rift between us.

This is not politics. There are no political parties in games. There are no devisive topics that keep us from seeing eye to eye. For God's sake, 99.9% of the time we play the same games but perhaps on a different console. We all love to play games. The system you own or prefer is inconsequential beyond that basic, rudimentary fact because playing games is WHAT MATTERS not the name of the console you play it on.

"Now is not the time to play the blame game."

So please, if nothing else just stop a moment and think about the over-arching consequences this will have on the industry as a whole. Now is not the time to point fingers and play the blame game. There will be plenty of time for that later, and the individual(s) responsible will be brought to justice. Until then now is the time to stand together in solidarity as gamers and show support for one another and the company that is affected.

Game Quality Diminishing

Is it just me or does it feel like the games of today are complete crap? Not all of them, but the majority that get churned out are just mediocre at best. And if they aren't complete crap then they simply feel like retreads of games we've already played a million times before only now with prettier graphics? When you plop down $65 bones do you ever feel like the joke's on you and that you've just become the punchline of some big wig executive's joke? I do. Which is why I don't do it anymore.

I've been noticing a drastic change in my attitude recently towards video games and the direction the industry as a whole is going: Namely today's games don't get me excited like they used to. I'm not talking about graphics since I think those are phenomenal, but graphics don't make a game. And the more and more I play the less and less impressed I seem to get.

I actually remember only last gen getting really excited about a new game coming out. That feeling has all but disappeared this gen. So I ask myself is it just me, or do other people also feel this sense of (for lack of a better word) monotony in games today as well. Combine that lack of enthusiasm with console systems that are becoming more complicated and trying to do everything in addition to playing games when they really only have to perform one function: Playing games. Not surfing the 'Net, not updating your Twitter feed and not posting on Facebook. Believe it or not there is still beauty in simplicity.

I think developers are just plain lazy today what with the ability (read: luxury) to patch broken or buggy games. Sure, I can see the benefits of that but that's also my point: Back in the day they didn't have a chance to "fix" a game, and the work they put into a game was the definitive version. If they screwed up they suffered for it so it behooved them to get it right the first time. Not so in today's world where now if they screw up they figure it's no big deal because they can just "patch it" and everyone is happy.

DLC and microtransactions are the BANE of this industry. Please, don't try to justify greed. Just don't. I don't believe these developers when they say they didn't have time to include additional material, or there wasn't enough space, etc. There is plenty of space and they have plenty of time; they simply don't want to. They'd rather nickel and dime us further by slowly releasing content that, again, back in the day would have been included on the disc from the start. If you think that DLC and microtranasctions are somehow the best thing that's happened to this industry you're just foolish. Actually I have a harsher term to describe you but censorship prevents me. You wouldn't get excited if they pulled that crap in other industries so why should it be anymore justified with video games? Would you buy a book that charged you per chapter? How about a CD that charged you per song AFTER you bought the entire thing? No, I didn't think so. Yet video games somehow get a free pass in this area and everyone seems to think it's the bee's knees.

Add to that fact firmware updates, security threats to online servers, obnoxious, cheating, loud mouthed bigots that play online and think it's cool to harass you because they sit comfortably with the security of anonymity and it's becoming increasingly clear to me that this generation is going to be my last. It's just becoming too much of an ordeal and literally I can't afford it anymore. If I'm going to plunk down $600+ on something I'm going to apply that to buying gold, silver or some other asset that appreciates in value over time and doesn't depreciate like video games/systems. How much do you think next gen systems are going to cost if this current gen is any example to go by: $600 for a PS3? $400-$500 for a 360? Jesus Almighty. It's too much. It almost feels as if they base the price not on what the system does, but what it can do in the future except you pay that cost up front now.

Selling My PSP

Hey, thought I might as well give anyone that may be interested a heads up that I am selling my PSP system. I figured I'd give someone here that might be interested first dibs before I list it on eBay. Plus, you get the added comfort of knowing that it came from another gamer's home so I've taken care of it and you don't have to worry about getting scammed. So if you're interested you can either comment or shoot me a PM. Here's what I'm including:


  • 1 PSP 1001 system, black, version 6.35
  • 1 home charger
  • 1 car charger (Datel)
  • 1 USB transfer cable
  • 2 hard carrying cases
  • 1 hard game carrying case, fits 8 games
  • 1 gamepad peripheral
  • 4 SD memory cards - 1 512MB, 1 1.0GB, 2 4.0GB
  • 3 SD memory card cases
  • 4 UMD game cover cases
  • 1 mini-UMD tower holds up to 12 UMDs and lights up with blue light (1 AAA battery required and is included)
  • 1 Truecore travel case that holds PSP and room for various accessories & games


  • Metal Gear Acid
  • Metal Gear Acid 2
  • GranTurismo PSP
  • Silent Hill: Origins
  • Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core
  • Grand Theft Auto: ChinaTown Wars
  • Final Fantasy VII downloaded full game included on the blue 4.0GB SD memory card


  • Kill Bill vol. 1
  • Kill Bill vol. 2

I'm asking $150.00. And I have pics of all this as well if you're interested. Thanks.

Game Pickups 4/7/11

GameStop is having a buy two get one free deal so I decided to stop in and see if there was anything that interested me.

The Saboteur - This is one that interested me when it first came out but I just held off getting. So today I finally bought it pre-owned for $16.19

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West - Another one that I was interested in when it came out. I played the demo and it seemed all right. Got this one for $11.69

And my free game was Guitar Hero Rocks the '80s for PS2. Normally it would be $5.99. So this brings my GH collection up to four games now: GH 1, 2, 3 and the '80s. I was hoping I could have got another PS3 game instead but, alas, there was a pretty crap selection of games or either they were still too high for what I wanted to pay for them so my next choice was PS2 which I still play occasionally (mostly for GH). I'm still rockin' with the original guitar as well; the one that was the first released with GH1. I see no point in "upgrading" since you don't play these games for the graphics anyway.

In other gaming news I'm playing Yakuza 4 sporadically. It's pretty good if a bit sluggish at times with the dialog. It's really annoying to go from spoken dialog to written text and then back to spoken in the same "scene" sometimes. The voice acting is superb and I'm really glad they kept the Japanese vocals in tact. Gameplay-wise it's a bit easy. I just entered the second chapter with Saejima; finished the first chapter with Akiyama who is my favorite so far. At times it can get a bit overwhelming just because there is SO much to do outside of the main storyline that it makes your head spin. I still haven't scratched the surface as far as extracurricular activities in the game since I'm kind of more interested in the story right now. Maybe after I beat the game I'll play through again and do all the non-essential activities.

Writing a Review is Hard

Seriously. I'm not talking about spelling or grammar; that's nothing. But before I get in to it perhaps I shouldn't paint in such broad strokes since not all games are hard to review, but some are. How do "professional" reviewers pick out the strengths and weaknesses in such a short amount of time and know that once their opinion has been printed/published/uploaded that that's the final word they can say on the subject? No "do-overs" or second chances to go back and say, "You know, maybe this part of the game wasn't all it was cracked up to be?" That's where true talent comes in.

And that's precisely the issue I have trouble with when I sit down to write my own humble reviews which explains why I have written so few. When you break it down reviewers are under a lot of pressure not only among their peers but also among the Internet armchair aficianado that haunts game sites and zealously awaits the next big game review as he/she constantly hits "F5" and waits, only to finally read that review and declare it as "crap" because it didn't get a high enough score. Or you have the converse to that when a game apparently scores too highand people find fault and the need to complain over too good of a score.

I've gone back and read some of my own reviews years later and I find myself finding fault with certain parts. Not the entire thing, mind you, but certain parts that, after playing the game for an extended period of time I came to discover my perspective changed. If it was really skewed I would go in and edit whatever I didn't like. I try to refrain from doing this because, as I often think, if I was a "professional" I wouldn't be afforded that luxury at all, and what I wrote would have to stand till the end of time. That sounds a bit dramatic but it's pretty much the truth. Of course I also have the affliction of never totally being satisfied with my own work; kind of like when a movie director watches his own movie and sees little nuances that he would have liked to have changed or omitted completely. But what's done is done.

So where is the happy medium? How do the reviewers do it? Obviously they don't offer degrees in video game reviews so that just leaves experience, and hopefully some sliver of talent that can be molded and shaped towards the craft. A lot of people give reviewers crap for one thing or another; rarely do you ever see these same people putting their money where their mouth is and actually showing they are better talented at composing a review themselves. No, they are content to verbally lambaste some complete stranger hundreds or thousands of miles away while a feeling of smug superiority overcomes them and they go back to arguing over which console will rule them all.

I guess the whole point of this impromptu blog is to say cut these guys some slack. And let's not forget that in the end reviews are merely opinions and not cold, hard, etched in stone, forevermore FACTS. A general consensus can be reached for certain games either good or bad, but those are still opinions as even some of the highest scoring games get snubbed by some gamers as being too hyped up, while other games are lucky to eke out a meager existence on store shelves and gamers are confounded as to why they were not rated higher.

"Paranormal Activity 2" Review

I finally had a chance to see this movie last night and all I can say is "Ugh." I thought it was horrible. I admit I liked the first if for nothing else than the effects; the spontaneous burning Ouija board, the footprints in the baby powder, and the many shadow figures that truly made it feel creepy and as if a demonic presence was really there.

But this movie was hardly inspirational except in name only. Compared to the first I just didn't like it at all. For one the premise was exactly the same, as well as the character "development" right down to a "T," except this time instead of BF/GF the two characters were married. Wife tries to convince her dick husbad that there is something going on in the house. Dick husband calls woman crazy and denies anything is going on; same exact premise as the first. At least in the first movie the actors came across more sincere. Here it just felt like the actors were going through the motions and were just playing the part and they knew it. The effects were so-so and relied more on big bang moments to scare you rather than the more subtle moments from the first.

The only slightly redeeming quality of this movie was how they linked it to the first by having the main characters be sisters, and how it took place roughly two months before the events in the first film happened. Other than that if you don't see this movie you're not missing much.

I rate this movie 1 out of 5.

News News News!

Where to start first...uh...oh, so tonight I decided to take the plunge and subscribe to PlayStation+. I got the one year sub + three months free so we'll see if it's worth it.

Also picked up Mass Effect 2 today thanks to my in-store trade-in credit at GameStop. Next up: DS2 and Yakuza 4 next month. God only knows when I'll get around to playing ME2 since I'm currently embroiled deeply in Red Dead Redemption not just because I'm making this a trophy run but because I'm enjoying the overall ambience in the game. I only need four more before I plat the sumb*tch. I'm also going to take an updated pic of my current game collection and my humble little set up I have for it. So be looking forward to that.

And I'm really doing good on resisting buying new games. I'm really trying to focus on the games I already own by beating them (hopefully platinuming them as well) before looking to get anything new. In the case that I do buy new it will only be games that I truly want to keep (a la ME2) and not trade back in. I traded in a bunch of games last year which is why I had so much credit to use for ME2. And I realized a lot of those games may have been great, even triple AAA (BioShock was one of them) but I realized I was done with them, and the prospects of me every playing them again were slim to none. Also, if I ever do have the urge to play any of them again by the time that happens the next gen of consoles will probably be here and I can pick them up for like, $5. Why hang on to them when I can get money to apply to a game I'll actually keep in the long run? Massive game libraries don't really impress me nor am I looking to impress anyone else with mine. Quality over quantity.

In PC related news I need to replace the DVD/CD-ROM drive in my Mom's computer because it stopped working. When you push the button to open the drive it doesn't open, yet you can hear it trying to open and making sounds like it wants to open but it doesn't. I should've done this a long time ago but just never got around to it. My hard drive in my laptop also died last year so I need to replace that because I've been sans laptop now for roughly five or six months. I'd really like to build my own gaming PC, but alas, the funds just aren't there right now. Nothing fancy, just something decent so I can play older games like Mass Effect and all my older games from the XP era. I am not getting Windows 7, but all the pre-built PCs come loaded with it which is why I want to build my own.

Trying to get on jump on Spring cleaning. We're in the process of reorganizing the office space in our house and made some headway yesterday and today, but still have a little more before it's acceptable. We're also going through crap and deciding what to keep, sell and give away to Goodwill because we're tired of having all this clutter.

Still looking for a job and still no luck.

Happy UN-Valentine's Day

Enough of all this mushy crap. I heartfully wish all you single people out there a happy UN-Valentine's Day because I'm betting there are a lot more of us than there are of them! Today is our day in celebrating being single and loving it. Not to say there's anything wrong with being in a relationship, but "holidays" like this are less about sincerity as they are about marketing. Why does there need to be only ONE day out of the year to be romantic when if you're a good BF/GF then every day should contain some form of romanticism, right? Even if it's just telling the person you're with how much you appreciate them or complimenting them in some fashion.

I'm sure Hallmark and Vermont Teddy Bears and all those other lecherous companies that prey on poor saps to buy cards and gifts are making out like gangbusters; Capitalism in motion. So if you're like me then raise your glass (or juice cup) and proudly proclaim your solitude! Don't spend today wallowing in self-pity as you walk around and see all these supposedly "happy couples" out and about. If by chance you do happen to find that special someone at some point in time, congratulations, and just don't forget that you don't need corporate America telling you when it's time to be romantic.