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Part of Somber Pensive
If you're a regular in the Newgrounds BBS, then chances are you have seen Dean and I floating around there. Especially if you frequent the Video Game Forum. The Video Game Forum holds forum awards there to vote on the best video games as well as the users who visit it. In 2012 and 2011, Dean and I picked up awards for Most Knowledgeable about Video Games, Most Unbiased Poster, and Best Overall Poster. Despite this, Dean and I never really talk that much. I wanted to change that.
For the past couple of days, Dean and I have been exchanging messages, talking about video games. We talk about our favorite video games and the video game industry as a whole. It was a lot of fun to do this and I hope to do more of these in the future.
The best place to start is I guess at the beginning. How we were introduced into video games. I was introduced to video games at the age of 4, my first video game was Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo. The worlds I explored through this game was amazing and seeing it all connect together just blew my mind. As I got to the age of 6 I got Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and Super Mario R.P.G.: Legend of the Seven Stars in which these two ate up a lot of my time. When I was the age of 8 though that I got my Nintendo 64 and with it, Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Mario Party. These three games cemented me as a gamer.
When I was very young, around the age of 3 or 4 I'd assume, my Dad won what I believe was a Sega Mega Drive from a competition hosted by Irn-Bru, which is a brand of Scottish soft drink. I have very vague memories of playing Sonic and Aladdin on that system and it's probably what sparked my interest in gaming, because as I recall, he sold the system not long after winning it because he didn't enjoy gaming. Then when I was probably around the age of 5 I got a console of my own for Christmas. The Sony PlayStation. I remember that I got a copy of Rayman with it, which I still absolutely love as a game, but I don't have many other early memories with the system. Although I do still have my original PlayStation and it still works perfectly. I even have a decent selection of my old games for it too!
Not long after that I was given a Gameboy Color with a copy of Pokemon Yellow and a few other filler titles that I didn't have much interest in. Pokemon was definitely what I loved about that system and it was pretty much the only game I played. I guess it was also my introduction to JRPGs, which is my current favourite genre. I was hooked on the Pokemon series for a long time and they most likely played a significant role in allowing me to realise just how absorbing and entertaining video games could actually be.
I got a PlayStation not too long after I got my Nintendo 64. There were a lot of video game memories wrapped up in that little console. My favorite video game of all time is on the PlayStation, it is Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen. I still have a lot of my old PlayStation games as well, but my original PlayStation died. Thankfully I have my PlayStation 3 though.
I got my Game Boy Color around the age of 11 or 12, I can't remember exactly. I do know that I got Pokemon Yellow and Pokemon Gold with it. I grew up watching the Pokemon anime, so I wanted to play the games for so long. Pokemon is one of my all-time favorite series, but I was already introduced to the JRPGs with Super Mario RPG, Ogre Battle, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy VI. Pokemon has played a more significant role than Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger have though.
Since you're a Pokemon fan, could I ask you what your favorite Pokemon is? Mine has always been Wigglytuff.
My favourite Pokemon will probably have to be either Charizard of Blastoise. Pretty boring choices, I know, but I consider both to be really cool. Both were just really badass, powerful Pokemon although I was always more of a fire type Pokemon kinda guy. My knowledge of Pokemon is limited to the games though. I didn't really pay much attention to the anime at all. I'd watch it if it was on TV, but I was more interested in playing video games than watching TV when I was younger.
The JRPG genre is a bit of an interesting one for me though. With the exception of Pokemon, I spent the majority of my early gaming years playing platformers. Rayman, Croc, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro being games that I have particularly fond memories of. I only ever owned one JRPG in the PS1 days and that was Breath of Fire IV, a game that I didn't beat until recently. I think it was just the anime art style that appealed to me back then but I was too young to fully appreciate a game like that. I liked games that placed me right in the action and I no doubt considered Breath of Fire to be too slow paced and "boring" back then. All through the PlayStation 2 era I cared very little for JRPGs. In fact, I'd always avoid playing them because they were such long games that were unable to hold my interest. It was even the case with Final Fantasy X which I believe was the JRPG that I first attempted to take seriously.
It wasn't until the Xbox 360 came along that I ventured into the world of RPGs. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was my first game for that system and I was truly blown away by it. I find it hard to imagine any future gaming having such an impact on me. But that game also caused me to try out some other Western RPGs and in time I picked up my first JRPGs for the system: Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. I enjoyed them so much that I've started picking up any JRPG that I can find at a reasonable price for any system I owned.
I would definitely recommend Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen. Since it was released for both the Super Nintendo, PlayStation, and Wii Virtual Console. I am a big JRPG fan myself, but I was never too keen on the Western RPG genre. I don't even really care for those terms. I see JRPGs as Turn-Based RPGs and the Western RPGs as Action RPGs. I don't like the whole region naming, since JRPGs were inspired by Western Table-Top RPGs.
I do have quite the collection of RPGs in my collection. My original Pokemon Gold cartridge died, but I have its remake for the Nintendo DS, Pokemon HeartGold. I still have my cartridge of Pokemon Yellow. I have Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. At the top of my gaming collection sits the two rarest or at the very least most valuable games in my collection, Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen and EarthBound.
Unfortunately, Ogre Battle seems to be one of the many JRPGs that was not released in PAL regions, which makes it more awkward for me to actually play. That seems to be one of the downsides to living in the UK, there's a much lower demand for these types of games and as a result, we don't see them released here.
As games, I think I like the Western and Japanese takes on the RPG genre about equally. Sometimes the turn based combat that the Japanese seem to like can get a bit too much for me and I like to switch to something that's more action orientated. But as for my collection of RPGs, if I had to pick out some of my prized possessions (not necessarily for monetary value) they'd be games like Grandia, Final Fantasy VII & IX, Persona 3 & 4, the Star Ocean series, Chrono Trigger and Dragon Quest VIII. They're not particularly expensive games, or games that I've spent much time playing yet, but they all stand out as games that I enjoy or am likely to enjoy once I get around to playing them.
I guess that leads me to asking you a question. As a fellow video game collector, do you have a large number of games that you've yet to beat or even start playing? I've gotten into a particularly bad habit of buying games faster than I can beat them. I do buy them with the intention of playing them though. I'm not a collector who'd by a game just for the sake of owning it. I buy games that I find at good prices or because I'd really love to play them. As a result I've built up a very large backlog of games that I've yet to beat and in many cases games that I've yet to even play. My current collection currently sits at around the 600 title mark.
My collection including digital downloads such as the Wii Virtual Console and PlayStation Network, I have over 100 video games. Yes, I do run into that problem of getting more games than I have played or beaten. I do intend on beating every single game I own, and I too, buy them so I can play and beat them. I think I have beaten probably around 20-30 of the video games I own.
It is interesting to see people collect video games in such a wide array of numbers. I guess my collection is a bit more limited since I purchase video games that will keep my interest for years to come. I am more of a limited collector I guess. There are some games I would love to have that I haven't been able to get my hands on yet. Such as Shadows of the Colossus and Bully to name two. I do tend to run into this problem though, especially since I'm a bit OCD and I work on completing a game 100% complete.
I've always been a bit hesitant when it comes to buying digital copies of games. I'm much more interested in physical copies of all kinds of media. I guess I just like getting an actual item in exchange for my money rather than just some digital file. Another reason that I dislike buying digital copies of games is that I'd like to be able to play my games 50 years from now and it's hard to know if the distribution services will still be around then. At least with my physical games, as long as I still have the working hardware that go along with them, I'll be able to play them.
As for my collection, if I own the console or can pick one up cheap enough, I'll collect for it. I'll usually try to hunt out the better games for the consoles, or look for games that I'll actually enjoy. Either that or I'll sit on eBay for a while and see if there are any interesting looking games selling for a low price. I don't collect with the intention of getting a complete library of games for a specific console like some collectors do, I just buy games I like if they're priced fairly. I've been trying to put a sort of "wish list" together, containing all the games I want to look out for but I find it hard to write up something like that.
You and I share that quality then. I too am more of a gaming purist. I prefer to own the physical copy of a video game. I will settle for a digital copy if it is the only way I can get my hands on the game and if it is at a good price. If you don't mind I would like to change the subject. You and I grew up during the 90's. During that time a lot of great video games came out. Where were your thoughts on the industry as it has grown from when you entered gaming to where it is today?
I find it hard to comment on how I feel the industry has changed. Mostly because I'm not sure if the industry changed of it I changed. Current gen are starting to interest me a lot less now but again I don't know if that's because the quality is falling or simply because as I get older I find it harder to be as engrossed.
I grew up playing games that were making the transition from 2D to 3D, so there were a lot of poor looking graphics. That issue seems to be gone now but it has brought about another issue. I feel like too many games are just graphical showcases these days. I feel that perhaps too much time is being spent on the aesthetics and not enough time spent ensuring that the gameplay is enjoyable.
Another thing I dislike about modern gaming is this trend for motion controls. I hated the Wii for it's choice of control style, I have no interest in the Kinnect or PlayStation Move. I was even disappointed by the WiiU. I was hoping Nintendo would go back to making a more "normal" console but instead they've decided to have a shot at more gimmicky methods of user input. Anything that takes the traditional controller out of the gamers hand gets disapproval from me. Maybe my opinion on that will change if a decent solution is found, but so far I've seen none.
Perhaps another gripe I have is that consoles no longer feel like 100% gaming machines. In a sense they have become almost restricted computers. They have access to games, movies, music and even internet browsers. Why should I invest money in such a device when I could put the money towards a half decent computer that isn't limited to what it can do?
I guess I just miss the more simple days of gaming.
When the Nintendo Wii came out, I was intrigued. I actually liked the motion controls for it, but there weren't many games that utilized it well. The Kinect I thought was pretty nifty, but the PlayStation Move was just a waste of time and money. The Nintendo WiiU still needs time to impress. ZombiU had an interesting way of using the tablet controller. You would have to look through your backpack with the controller while at the same time looking up at the screen to make sure no zombies were coming your way. It added some tension. I like the idea of the tablet controller being your inventory screen or map screen and everything else being displayed on your television.
I will agree with you about the video game consoles turning into computers, in a way I like that, but at the same time I don't. I mean it is cool to be able to watch YouTube on my PS3. However I would have liked my PS3 to have backwards compatibility. I do miss the simple days of gaming much like you. Getting the game, putting it in the console and going. I also miss the full game being purchased, instead of companies holding out for DLC down the line. There have been some great games to come out from this generation. L.A. Noire and Minecraft being the two best in my opinion. Hopefully the independent gaming developers can give us more credible games past the lackluster overpriced flash games.
I've not paid much attention to the recent surge in indie games but I do rather like the concept of it. If indie developers want to sell their game, they have to make it good to make people want it. They can't just depend on using their name to sell games, like a lot of the bigger developers/publishers do. I'm also rather intrigued by the Ouya console that seemed to take Kickstarter by storm. A console aimed at indie developers. I really do like that idea quite a lot but I'm still a bit sceptical as to how successful it will be. I'm sure that most of the games available on the Ouya will be available on PC and the more popular ones will no doubt be available from Microsoft and Sony's donwload stores on their new consoles. It's definitely something that I'm going to be keeping my eye on though.
Yeah Ouya and Kickstarter are two things I am a bit wary about. Ouya of course is this new video game console that targets the indie games, but they really need something to give it that push. If they could get their hands on Steam and Valve, then they would be set. A video game console to be a supplement to the PC. That would be amazing. It got its money through Kickstarter, which I am all for people funding for a project they want to see be made. Kickstarter though still seems bizarre. Especially when bigger names use it. Like Tim Schafer of Double Fine Productions. He used Kickstarter instead of going through the usual steps of getting a video game off the ground. His fans gladly funded his upcoming project, but my question is... was Kickstarter designed for those who already have the means? Don't get me wrong, I love Tim Schafer, but this doesn't seem right in some ways.
I really don't pay enough attention to Kickstarter to have any real opinion on it. I just occasionally get linked to some cool projects that are running. I like that Kickstarter basically allows developers to do their own thing without having to make compromises to please the businessmen who would usually be contributing to development and publishing costs.
The indie gaming scene isn't really something that I pay a great deal of attention to though. I thought Minecraft was quite fun but I've not played that for quite some time. As a console gamer who's hesitant to pay for digital downloads, indie games aren't really all that common for me to see in physical form, so I avoid them. If I do make the switch to becoming a PC gamer (which is my intention) I'll likely spend more time playing indie games. They're usually cheap, good fun and depend on gameplay as the selling point rather than fancy visuals.
What in the video game industry does grab your attention then? You're wanting to make the transcend over to PC gaming. Which I would love to do, but don't see myself putting a lot of money towards a computer just to play PC games when consoles nowadays are opening the doors just as wide for similar capabilities to what the PC can offer. Why do you want to make the transition to PC gaming?
For precisely the reason you just gave, I guess. Consoles are becoming too similar to PCs. They're essentially just PCs with restricted capabilities. I'd rather spend a little bit extra to get a decent PC that can do everything the consoles can plus more. I also hear that there's a good chance the next generation of consoles are doing away with pre-owned games, which I think is a pretty outrageous decision. If you buy a physical product, you should be entitled to sell it as you please. It's like banning the sale of used cars. Ridiculous. On top of that, PC games tend to retail at a lower price which makes up for the inability to sell used PC games. The Steam sales are also rather appealing to me as is the ability to play older games without having to worry about backwards compatibility, like you'd have to do with the consoles.
Yeah I can respect that with PC gaming. I just don't find the purpose of spending the money, unless you're building your own computer from scratch. Well this has been going on for quite sometime now. You and I have talked quite a great deal, so I think the best way to close things would be to share our favorite video games. My favorite video game of all-time is Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen. I love how it combines Real-Time Strategy with Turn Based RPG. I can build each unit I want and have it fight accordingly. I also love the story of being part of a rebellion and slowly taking down the empire, in which based on my decisions I can rule the world as a tyrant, or a benevolent leader passing down the lands and kingdom to a prince looking for redemption. It sounds pretty basic, but you come to recruit these different characters and grow attached to them as you go.
Trying to answer the question of "what is my favourite game" is near impossible. There isn't really one particular game that stands out as being my all time favourite. Pokemon Silver version is one contender, because that's probably one of the games that I got the most hours of enjoyment out of. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City of San Andreas for just being all round fantastic games. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for how much it blew me away when I first played it. They're all good contenders for my favourite game.
Well I guess it comes down to your definition of your all-time favorite video game. If you only had these four games to choose from, and you could only choose one. Which one would you choose? For me it is always Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen. It is a game that I could play non-stop and take many different actions in building my units, attacking and defending, and deciding who to recruit and who to leave behind.
I suppose I'd have to go with TES IV: Oblivion then. That game just had so much content and provided hours of exploration. Not to mention that no matter how many times I played it, each adventure felt totally different from the last. It's one of the few games of this generation that was able to immerse me.
Well I think it is time to we wrapped this up. This has been a lot of fun. I have learned quite a bit more from talking about video games with you Dean. To all other gamers out there reading this, I would like to say just this. Always have fun, because if you're not having fun then chances are you're playing the wrong game. Do you have anything else you wish to say Dean?
I guess I'd just like to remind people that there's more to gaming than the current generation games and consoles.There are several decades worth of games out there, many of which are still well worth playing and considerably cheaper to buy than most of the current games. Don't be put off just because they're old or don't look as visually pleasing. Arguably, a lot of these older games are more fun than what we're offered today.