I have to thank Vice City for a lot of things. Countless hours of fun, an engrossing story, a fascinating look at 80s culture, a finely crafted world. But perhaps most of all, for igniting my love affair with Iron Maiden. V-Rock, 2 Minutes to Midnight. The second the song's opening guitar riff begun, I was captivated. And I've not looked back since, until now. This led to my first purchase of a music CD. Edward The Great, a Maiden hits compilation. I was blown away, with Fear of the Dark live at Rock in Rio being of the most mesmerizing pieces of audio I had ever heard.
More recently, I have to thank Mass Effect. Again, a wonderful game full of fantastic features but musically, that credits song. M4 by Faunts. On yet another occasion, a game proved to be a gateway to the discovery of music that just clicked with me.
I'm sure this has happened to me with many other games but these two really standout as the artists I'm most grateful for discovering. I can't imagine I'm the only one this has happened to, what with the rise of licensed soundtracks in games throughout the past two generations of consoles. What music have you discovered because of video games?
Ever get the feeling that a game can sometimes feel more like work than play? RPGs in particular. Managing your party, inventory, stats ect. can become a game within itself. Sometimes you just want a game to tell you what to do. CoD, Team Deathmatch. Shoot people, win. In Borderlands, I have to decide what to do next. Do I keep this gun or sell it? Which quest should I start? Am I wasting my leveling up this particular stat? After a long day, the thought of playing such a game makes my head spin. Of course, I wouldn't have even started playing such games if the opposite wasn't also true. The freedom to do as you please, create a unique character and strengthen that character over time and reap the rewards for your efforts. I spoke of Borderlands, but the game that really encompasses those things, for me, was Oblivion. The second I stepped out of that sewer and into the sun drenched forests, I knew something special was ahead of me.
I guess what I'm saying is, different games for different times. Or different moods perhaps. It may seem obvious but I think a lot of people dismiss certain games based on one experience, in which they may not have been in the right mood to enjoy that particular game. I know if I had played Oblivion for the first time when I was tired and stressed out, I would have hated it. Thankfully I didn't because I would have missed out on one of the most memorable gaming experiences I've ever had but I hate to think of those who would have fallen in love with countless other games if they had just played them at the right time.
Here's a game I was meaning to pick up for the past year and a bit, ever since I played the demo. I would have just downloaded the episodes as they came out but seeing as I'm only on a 40gb, space is already as issue. So yesterday, while in GameStop, I spotted it second hand for €22 and thought it was about time I got around to playing it. I'd be lying if watching the amazing Endurance Run of Deadly Premonition didn't have a influence on my purchase. Watching that really got me in the mood for a good, proper horror game so I knew now was the perfect time to pick it up.
The game is split into 12 episodes, each containing a series of scenarios with different playable characters. I've only been playing for about 40 minutes and I'm already on Episode 3, so I can see this being a rather short lived experience. But a good one still. Through a combination of eerie music, a grainy camera filter effect and a dark and mysterious mountain village setting, the game certainly succeeds in creating a tense and disturbing atmosphere. The gameplay is mixture of stealth and action. When it comes to engaging enemies, jumping head first into an encounter will usually end badly. You need to either stealth action or use the environment to your advantage. One unique and interesting feature is the ability to 'sight jack' enemies and other AI characters. This lets you see things from their perspective and can be used to gain a tactial advantage. As far as the story goes, it seems to be fairly standard stuff so far. The voice acting and dialog is about what you'd expect from any horror movie. I haven't really gelled with any of the characters yet but there's still plenty of time for them to grow on me. I'm intrigued to uncover the mystery behind this demented village and see how our protagonists will escape, so I guess the story is at least succeeding in drawing me in.
I'll continue playing an episode or two a day until the finale...maybe towards the end I'll have finally mustered up the courage to play in the dark with headphones on.
As I sit here writing, the realization that churning out 18 more of these purely for the purposes of increasing an arbitrary number isn't going to be easy, has hit me. Hard. I'm always meaning to write more though, so I guess this gives me the perfect excuse.
So, Pokemon HG and SS hit European shelves two weeks ago. It's the first Pokemon game I've bought since Diamond and Pearl, three years ago. But that doesn't seem like such a long time considering before that, Red and Yellow were my last forays into the world of these wonderful creatures. As a kid I, like millions of other kids around the world, got caught up in PokeMania. The anime, the game, the trading cards, the sticker books and of course, the effortlessly cute and infinetely entertaining talking Pikachu toy. If my copy of Pokemon Red is to be believed, I spent 255 hours questing around Kanto in an attempt to be the greatest like no one ever was. And then of course Yellow came out and while it was essentially the same game, the thought of having Pikachu be at my side while I bested the Elite Four all over again, was one my young self couldn't resist. I'm not really sure what happened after that, the craze just seemed to slowly die out. By the time Gold and Silver were released, I was still invested in the franchise but it seemed like everyone else around me had moved on. It wasn't until I started up Gold and was greeted by the startling revelation that there was an all new set of Pokemon, did I contemplate such a thought . MY BELOVED 150 WERE NOWHERE TO BE SEEN! As a child, I had grown so attached to these characters that the very thought of not being able to interact with them was devastating. So devastating that I didn't revisit the franchise for 8 whole years. Now I know what you're saying. "But you can catch the original Pokemon!", "You can even go back to Kanto, you fucking noob!". But my 8 year old self was in too much of blind rage to actually play the game beyond the first 15 minutes.
Where was I? Oh yes, Soul Silver. It's damn good. Now excuse me while I stick a Gastly on my PokeWalker and go for a jog.