This is what I've noticed about video games the past few years. Clearly, I still have a hole lot of fun playing games, but the emotional experience they are now providing astounds me. I've always preferred playing games alone, and discussing it with friends after, like a movie. That's not to say I don't enjoy some trash-talking multiplayer, in fact I've spent quite a bit of time in Grand Theft Auto Online and locally besting my cousin in NHL 14 (although he's started to even things up). When all is said and done I doubt I'll ever be super psyched for another sports game again, but bring on the rest of The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead. The point that I'm trying to make is that I'm glad video games are maturing along with me.
Before I get to my top ten favorite games of 2013, I would like to sidebar for a second to request that publishers/developers stop fucking with my childhood. Specifically I'm looking at you Ubisoft, for making that piece of garbage Flashback HD! This was one of my favorite games on the SNES, and you grabbed it, mixed it into a pile of cow shit, and served it to me for $5 that I'm never getting back. Seriously, Ubisoft, fuck you!
Also, I would like to commend Ubisoft for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. It is my honorable mention this year, and after the lashing I just gave them (which they fucking deserved) they need to be commended for this. As much as hate 1980's camp they nailed it in a way that made me enjoy it. Hell, they even made fun of shitty tutorials by starting the game with a self aware shitty tutorial.
Last but not least before I get this list going I'd like to mention a few things. I don't have a PS3, Wii U, Xbox One, PS4, or PS Vita, and my PC is a piece of shit. With that said, I have not played The Last Of Us, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and Super Mario 3D World, which assuredly would have made my top ten list if I played them. So without further adieu, here are my top ten games of 2013. No spoilers, no more words, just titles and links!
I’m going to say this right off the top, Brock Lesnar is the best heavyweight in mixed-martial arts right now. I’m well aware he is a controversial figure. I’m well aware he has many haters. Let’s be honest, most people think that because he used to be a pro-wrestler he makes their sport look bad. They may be right, but why are we still arguing his legitimacy?
Many fans complain about the fact that Lesnar got the rocket on his back when he came to the UFC. Know this, Lesnar was a two-time NCAA Wrestling All-American, the 2000 NCAA heavyweight champion, and finished his collegiate career with a 106-5 record. His NFL Combine numbers are also staggering, a 475lb bench press, 695lb squat, 10′ standing broad jump, 35” vertical leap, and a 4.7 seconds 40-yard dash, all while weighing 290lbs. Not to mention that he was already a draw.
However, it gets to a point where many fans complain specifically about how fast he got his title shot. Randy Couture also won the UFC Heavyweight Championship on his fourth fight. Complaining about Lesnar getting his shot so soon is, by logic, hypocritical. Can we not hold him to the same light for his accomplishments in the octagon? The fact that fans don’t still blows my mind. They view him as a jerk. Yet his past in pro-wrestling has taught him, in a less than humble way, how to sell tickets. Believe me when I say this, he is only trying to sell tickets.
Sure, Lesnar has yet to face Fedor Emelianenko. Let’s face facts though, when Lesnar gets a fight to the ground, he is ridiculously dominant. Not to mention that he has been training with the best. Shelton Benjamin, former WWE star, was Lesnar’s assistant coach. Within weeks of training Lesnar far surpassed Benjamin. Which only means his boxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu are only going to get exponentially better with each and every fight.
Bottom line, Brock Lesnar is the best heavyweight in mixed-martial arts today. If you don’t think so, then put the hood from the Affliction hoodie over your eyes, and try to fight someone for no reason either than the fact that you are an idiot and truly have no respect for mixed-martial arts.
As a fan of MorencySports.com, and pretty much everything Gabriel Morency has done, I was looking forward to Road Rage in Vancouver, the night before UFC 115. It's not very often you get to meet people you idolize strictly for their talents. Having a positive response to my request that I get an interview with him, I knew I would have to introduce myself. I have always been the type of person, that if I see a celebrity, I leave them alone. I'm well aware they are people too, and I respect their privacy. At least, ever since the Butterbean incident, but more on that in a bit.
As I entered the Sin Bin Sports Grill, thoughts quickly entered my head. The few times that I've performed on the stage, including the one time where I truly ate shit. As I regularly do, I b-lined for the bar, was greeted by the bartender, and promptly ordered a drink. I turned towards the stage, where a table was set up with many electronics. A couple of microphones, a video-camera pointing towards the table, and a MacBook with a velcroed on logo saying, “SPORTS RAGE”. Behind the table is a UFC 115 poster that had just been taped up by the shows host, Gabriel Morency.
Morency turns around, and we lock eyes and nod. Knowing the only interaction we've had with each other had been calling into his show and through twitter, I was surprised as he headed up to meet and greet me. We shook hands, and he towered over me. “Hi,” I said, “I'm Chris Gaskin.” Without a beat Morency responded, “You're a comedian?” With that, it was almost as if we had already been friends. That's just the kind of guy Morency is though, a class act.
Really, I could care-less whether I had obtained an interview with him. I had come to watch the show. First guest was Bill “The Butcher” Mahood, a professional MMA fighter from my hometown of Prince George. Mahood had been living in Vancouver for the past three years, and was asked to judge UFC 115. The first time I had met Mahood was at the Prince George Ramada. It was the day after KOTC: Anarchy. Mahood was sitting with his opponent Patrick Côté, and Eric Esch (better known as Butterbean). I had approached them and said, “Butterbean, I normally don't do this and I don't want to be a bother, but I just wanted to let you know that I am a big fan, and I loved seeing you knock out Steve-O in Jackass.” To which Esch thanked me and shook my hand. Meanwhile, Mahood looked me up-and-down, folded his arms, and said, “That was Johnny Knoxville.”
At this point, the show stopped streaming. There was already problems with the sound on the stream, so the entire show was pretty much for the live audience. Next up was Darsh, a regular caller. Darsh was the first caller I recognized, mostly because of my stereotyping. As I was looking around the bar, there was a large East Indian guy with a very long beard and a turban. My first thought was, “That has to be Darsh. Now, how do I ask him without looking racist.”
Up third was some dude, with a mohawk, who was yelling out the entire show. Of course the one time he quiets down is when he has the microphone in his hand. Most of the crowd had tuned him out. I jokingly leaned in towards Darsh and said, “I'm going to fade his picks.” He was followed by Chad, whom approached me after the show. It's a small world, as it turns out we have a mutual friend. He is working on his own site, InTheOT.com as well as getting huge hits on YouTube.
Up fifth was yours truly. Off the top Morency mentions I perform stand-up comedy. Which in turn gave mohawk dude the opportunity to request a joke. I hesitated, only to have Morency egg it on. In such a situation, it is tough to do stand-up comedy without having it look rehearsed. So, to bring up the bit as organically as possible I pointed out the height difference between Morency and myself, and it was off to the races. I was getting huge laughs, and without hesitation I started to ad-lib, “Every time I call in to the show, and I bet now the chat is lighting up with, 'Is this caller 12?' and, 'It's past his bed time.' Well I live on the west coast motherfuckers, so I still have an hour.” With that said, I gave an anecdote about the first time I met Mahood, and off I was.
The last guy on the show was from Alberta. Unfortunately I've forgotten his name. With that, the first ever Road Rage in Vancouver had come to an end. It's a shame that the show didn't stream properly, as it was a great show. Of course, for the most part, everyone stuck around to hang out. Immediately, Morency walked up to me and said, “Give me a few minutes and we'll do that interview.” He then turned around and did a shot. To which he said, “They're trying to kill me, Chris.”
As we went outside to do the interview, Morency decided to roll a spliff. He asked for a cigarette, which was handed to him by a fan. He proceeded to squeeze out the tobacco into the joint, causing protest from pretty much everyone around us. I proceeded to start the interview as I turned on my voice recorder. Most everyone around us was well into their own conversations, but about halfway through the interview they all stopped to hear what Morency had to say. The interview was something special, at least special enough to garner their attention.
That was the first ever Road Rage I've attended, and I hope in the future I will be able to attend more. I have always heard good things about Morency as a person. Meeting him really drove that home, though. He is a class act, and a genuinely nice guy. If you are a fan of sports and would hear someone call it how it is, I urge you to go to MorencySports.com and check out Sports Rage, Hard Drive, and anything else this guy does. It's not often I push a product, but this is something I believe in. If you don't check it out, well, then as Gabriel Morency says, “It is what it is.”