bethw / Member

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4 10 16

bethw Blog

Under your skin

I know this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's been playing video games a while, but it's fun playing the role of a favorite character. I was pretty frustrated by the gameplay in both Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, but in both cases I thoroughly enjoyed playing Aragorn. Now, I'm working on the PS2 version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds, and playing some of the roles, particularly Buffy, is very satisfying (even if SMG didn't deign to add her voice to the game). Even playing as Faith is pretty good, though a lot of Eliza Dushku's vocalizations (read: grunty fighting noises) leave a lot to be desired. It's really too bad they don't let you play Giles in the game, though.

Anyone have tips on how to beat Kakistos and his army of healing orbs and evil skeletons at the end of level 7?

Following your bliss

I'm not sure I ever thought I'd be working for the same company as my younger brother, but then life is full of pleasant surprises.

Tyler and I logged a lot of hours in front of our earliest game consoles, which included an Atari 1200XL and the first NES. Usually, one of us played while the other did a little backseat driving; we liked to read aloud from the Zork hint books while the game was going on. Jumpman, Pitfall, Donkey Kong, Alley Cat, and Castlevania were on heavy rotation in our household.

Probably our favorite two-player games were the first Super Mario Brothers and Golden Axe, both of which provided opportunities for collaborative gameplay--not to mention changes to let sibling rivalry emerge. We spent plenty of time clobbering each other's pixelated characters. But I'm not that good at games; I can't steer and I can't aim (my favorite weapon in Doom was the rocket launcher, because it required zero precision and resulted in a satisfying amount of flames). Bystanders tell me I frequently complain about being shot at--even when my own character is holding a gun.

As I got older I got hooked on music, developing what has so far become a lifelong obsession with guitar noises and moody lyrics. My love for rock greased my entry into the world of music journalism, and after college I spent three years trying to make it as a rock writer for places like the San Francisco Chronicle and Addicted to Noise before turning into a full-time community-news writer for a small paper in Northern California.

Tyler stuck with video games, and now and then he will tell me he has discovered the "best game ever." Last fall, he started raving about a little game called Katamari Damacy. He brought it over one night, and after playing it once I was hooked. I think it's the first video game I've played to the end, on my own, since Zork II. I've since picked up playing Grand Theft Auto III. I have a feeling more games are in my future.

And not just because it's now my job to write stories about the gaming world. I'm also surrounded daily by people who live video games with a passion that reminds me of what Joseph Campbell meant when he talked about "following your bliss." That kind of thing can be pretty infectious.

Exploring the outback

My thumb and arm hurt from playing "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" last night (mental note: learn what stretches gamers use) and Livejournal is down. I suppose the natural thing is to get my profile and journal set up here. Done and done.

I've been trying to educate myself about anime recently, since my anime-loving friends are oddly not interested in showing me any when I'm around. A few months ago I saw the "Lain" series and adored it. A couple of weekends ago I saw "Perfect Blue" -- it still haunts me, especially (for some reason) Mima's tiny apartment. I started trying to watch the "Neon Genesis Evangelion" series this week, but I'm not sure I'll be able to get through it. Is everyone in it going to continue to be so shrill?

Coming up in the Netflix queue are "Metropolis," "Kiki's Delivery Service" and "My Neighbor Totoro." I've already seen "Spirited Away" and "Princess Mononoke." (Also "Akira," of course, and "Ghost in the Shell," "Ninja Scroll," and "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds." And "The Last Unicorn," but I'm not sure that counts.)

I would love recommendations.