I've never blogged about games before, mostly because the vast majority of the people that might read my MySpace blog wouldn't give a crap. So I guess I'll make this first post about my history with gaming.
I was reared on the Super Nintendo and spent an inordinate amount of my childhood absorbed by Mario, Mega Man, and Donkey Kong. I had little exposure to explicit fantasy titles because of my strict religious household, and thus Earthbound served as my amusing and unconventional introduction to the role-playing world. In the late 90s I was involved in several heated debates with my middle school peers as to the superiority of Goldeneye vis-a-vis Final Fantasy VII, at a time when pitching camp in the console wars seemed so damn important. I look back on these days with both amusement and regret - laughing at our passion for trivialities and mourning our blind acquiescence to the market and what I see now as pure economic competition: Japanese and American businessmen huddling over conference phones for expensive international brainstorming sessions about how to mine the limited resources of the middle-class, adolescent male American.
In high school my best friend and I obsessed over the bad-ass hero and action-laden intrigue of Metal Gear Solid, often playing it over and over again, quoting the B-movie dialogue and in the process creating countless in-jokes regarding everything from Otacon's latent homosexuality to the phallic implications of Vulcan Raven's vulcan (we were disgusting sixteen year olds; end of story). It was around that time that I was officially exposed to the Final Fantasy series; VIII was the first that I played all the way through. After avoiding video games my first couple of years of college, I picked them up back again when I was handed a free used copy of Final Fantasy X and popped it into my roommate's PS2. I was enthralled by the game and spent well over 50 hrs playing it (I'm aware that's nothing to the hardcore gamer; but I am anything but hardcore). I bought a used copy of MGS: Sons of Liberty and loved most of the gameplay but none of the plot twists--they were hard pills to swallow for a history major interested in foreign policy, taking the game out of the realm of political and tactical espionage and into the realm of wacko conspiracy theories jumbled together with mildly outlandish science fiction. I don't intend sacrilege, but I think Kojima could learn a thing or two from Tom Clancy (as an author, not necessarily as a game developer).
My roommate eventually sold his PS2, and since then I have spent most of my game playing time with used copies of SNES greats like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. I am both surprised and pleased at how these titles hold their own (with someone to whom they are fresh) more than a decade after their release.