Seraphim84's forum posts

#1 Posted by Seraphim84 (453 posts) -

It’s no secret that I was a huge Ninja Turtles aficionado as a kid. We’re talking shampoo, action figures, puzzles, a portable pinball machine (did ANYONE else have this? There's nothing on the internet about it existing), those sorta gross vanilla pies all just because they had the four green brothers attached. So it was no question to my parents that if there was a TMNT game out, the least they could do was make sure I had it. And sure enough, it showed up. As you can imagine, I was elated. I’ll be able to beat up foot soldiers, mousers, Shredder, Krang! Well as we all know, the first Ninja Turtles game to grace the NES had, let’s say a loose interpretation of their world.

A Frog, Eye-flowers, and Fire mummies? Sure

Going into one of the sewers, you may get the purple mousers and flies with shirtless chainsaw guys. Fine, I can accept that, and hey, there’s even a foot soldier! But down the second or third sewer, you see one of two groups when you come down: blue/red moths and an immolated mummy or a skin-eye-UFO thing, ceiling legs with spikes, and a chi-channeling guy. Huh? It was years later that I found out that Konami simply didn’t have any material on the universe aside from the important stuff, so they pulled a Super Mario Land and just did whatever. Sure they had Bebop and Rocksteady, but the damage was done; this was a weird approximation to what should’ve been a supremely simple sell.

In addition to the weird bad guys and slightly unusual environments, the game proved incredibly difficult for what I would imagine to be its target audience. I mean, just try to go back to the dam level and defuse all the bombs, it’s still excruciatingly difficult. And the few times I did pass that, why couldn’t I go any farther you ask? I couldn’t figure out how to shoot those ropes across the buildings to progress!

Just look at that big screen TV!

Thankfully, this tarnished product didn’t make my love for the last vestiges of the word Cowabunga waver. And just a couple years later, that loyalty paid off with TMNT II: the Arcade Game. I’m pretty sure I never actually played this in arcades, but praise the people who decided to have it grace the NES. The simplicity of a left-to-right, jump and attack system made this game everything my seven year old self could get behind. Tons of foot soldiers, almost everything taken straight out of the cartoon (what the hell was that samurai ghost though?), it even had proper Pizza Hut advertisements! It was this game that washed all the horrid memories of the original game away, practically never to be touched again. And much like its successor (IV, not III), this is a game I've come back to every few years for the mindless enjoyment of returning to my childhood memories of yore via jump kicks and shell shock.

What did this all mean for me though? I soon realized that the shows and toys that I loved could all find themselves into the video game world. Granted, that didn’t guarantee it would be good (i.e. 1), but if done right (i.e. 2) became a necessary component of its fandom. Later on I would discover Chip n Dale, Batman, Mickey Mouse, even Where’s Waldo. Yes, this was nothing new to the video gaming world at large. But for me, to have my childhood favorites enjoyably playable made sure that I wouldn’t be able to simply pass the world by without giving it to Shredhead myself.

#2 Posted by Seraphim84 (453 posts) -

The exposure that I initially got to Nintendo and its plethora of games was severely limited despite my owning the system. It wasn’t really a topic of conversation for me (or whatever you’d call the dialogue between two 5 year olds), and remained a low priority for a while. However, my uncle (the same one who gave us the NES in the first place) and his two sons would infrequently come over and show me the full potential of the system in twofold. First I remember trying the surfing in California Games and finding it amazing despite me never really getting it. At this point manuals were too technical for me, so any game I couldn’t figure out on my own were squandered. But my cousins could play these more complex games that were simply beyond me. This not only showed me a world beyond the running-and-jumping sort of adventure, but also gave me an appreciation for watching games being played.

Second, and probably more mind-blowing was my uncle’s van. My uncle must’ve had a bit of scratch to play around with, because in 1989 he was rolling around with a TV and NES system installed in his van. I only got to play it once, but the best way to describe it would be, “No one man should have all that power”. There’s a sad ending to that, as not long after the van was broken into and everything was swiped. Nonetheless, from my cousins’ varied and seemingly limitless supply of new games, I soon realized that what games otherpeople had to play was more exciting than what games I had. I would go as far as to say that the majority of my friendships up through middle school were at least partially built upon sharing and playing each other’s video games, bonding over our respective collections and the microcosms of the gaming world that we were growing up in.

Point in case, one of my first best friends was a boy named Billy. We met in Kindergarten and immediately hit it off. We played tee ball together, ran all over the place together, and even got to that critical point where I had my first sleepover at his house (that’s still a big deal, right?). Well as I mentioned before, games were rarely discussed at this age for me, but knowing we both partook in games, I wasn’t sure what to expect as we sat down in front of his TV in the side room (while his grandmother watched some made-for-TV horror movie in the other room that I can still see perfectly, still haven’t found the name of that damn flick…). What I encountered was the game and game franchise that I could argue as one of my all-time favorites: Mega Man 3.

Now at this point, I’m pretty sure my library had expanded with TMNT 1 and LoZ if not a couple others (not sure, I’ll have to ruminate on the order I got my games some other time), but the things that Mega Man brought to the table for me were unstoppably savory. It had the password system to track your progress even though we sucked at writing them down properly much less not losing them inside of a week. The option of choosing your path (but fuck that, we had our path of Magnet/Hard/Top/Shadow/Gemini/Snake/Needle/Spark and we stuck to it despite that not being the real way) was not as overwhelming as it was in Zelda, but still let you feel like you had choice. But I gotta say, what clinched the entire game for me was the high jump/pit-vincible cheat.

For those who aren’t savvy to it, if you hold down right on the directional pad of the second controller, Mega Man not only jumps four times as high, but he can also jump right outta pits like it ain’t no thing. This made a game that would have likely been otherwise impossible for us six year olds playable, and more importantly, enjoyable. We even messed around with the toggling the second pad real quick to get the real invincible Mega Man where his life bar was depleted and the music stops, but that glitched up on us a lot. The ingenuity we felt like we had doing these things was immense. And I do mean we: doing this cheat took two people (well, until I got the game and used the leg of a tray to press the second controller for me. That’s right.), and as dumb as holding a button down for player one may sound, it was hugely rewarding and gave us a chance to play symbiotically rather than waiting for our turn.

There was something about the balance of platforming and shooting in Mega Man that was perfect for six year old-me. Shooting was inherently cooler of course, but the one time I tried Contra or games like 1942, they were frustratingly too difficult. But Inafune’s porridge was just the right amount of cartoon-y and action for me to get on board. I’m pretty sure the next day I immediately pleaded to my mom for the cartridge, and the following Hanukkah got the game that dominated that me and the pictures taken that week (always at Snake Man’s level). This is a game that another one of my cousins and I still look back and talk about fondly because of how much time we put into those wrecked levels where you fight the Mega Man 2 bosses. Billy likely doesn’t know that his influence is the reason for my love of Mega Man and perhaps why I enjoy video games as much as I do today, but I wouldn’t take my jump-while-going-through-the-door shenanigans away for anything else.

#3 Posted by Seraphim84 (453 posts) -

Ykno what? You're right. I'm starting a blog. I just started it, and I'm gonna do what I can, but the least I can do is try and be a part of this worthwhile effort.

#4 Posted by Seraphim84 (453 posts) -

First off, I’m elated to see the Blog Initiative, as it has inspired me to give back to Giantbomb in my own little way. My list of beaten games is ever-growing, but there is more to do with the profundity of gaming experience at my fingertips. While I could write 800 reviews, this isn't a huge contribution to an already saturated corner of gaming on the internet. Instead, I'm going to test the very limits of my memory. I am going to write this blog to catalog my life and how video games have been a part of it as best I can. This will include as much as I can remember from when I first picked up a controller to now: where I was in life, who was playing alongside, what the game did (or didn't do) for me. Hopefully, bringing this bit of personal context will put some familiar territory into new light for you fellow aficionados.

Well, nowhere better to start than at the beginning! Me and gaming first met in 1989 when I was all of five years old. Wee me had not yet experienced games on any screen (the Apple IIe was still a year or two away), and while my dad was against spending money on expensive “TV games”, my uncle surprised the whole family when he showed up with a Nintendo system complete with Super Mario/Duck Hunt. After moving the Betamax aside and hooking it up to the TV, I was curious but not necessarily in awe. The menu baffled me as is, and even with a tutorial from my uncle, working two buttons at the same time in accordance to that guy on the screen proved far more difficult than it looked. My sister also found the game too challenging and mostly dismissed it, but I kept at it. I should note here, despite being the younger sibling (by two years), my predominance with the machine understandably made me First Controller as default. It wasn’t until kindergarten that friends clued me into warp zones and levels beyond flying cheep-cheep insanity, so much of my early experience with the game remained in 1-1 and 1-2.

While Mario was a challenging curiosity, Duck Hunt was another story. Being able to wield that Zapper and watch as what I shot at go down was supremely satisfying. The pattern became that I’d give Mario a couple of levels, figuring out what pipes worked and where hidden 1-ups were for maybe 10-50 minutes, but then it was onto Duck Hunt. I’d of course stand adjacent to the television with the gun up to the screen so I could actually hit something, but my parents worried both for the TV and my eyesight being so close. We came up with a system where I’d put this big red pillow between me and the screen and that was the minimum distance I needed to be at all times. At some point I used the sights some (which improved a bit), but never got real great at it. Keep in mind, this is all One Duck play, rarely Two, and Clay Shooting was a pipedream. And no, we never figured out the pointing-at-a-light-bulb trick when it would’ve been useful. I still question whether or not the second controller can control the ducks.

And with that, the world of gaming was opened up to me. This ephemeral joy that I could only play if and only if no one else wanted to watch TV, and even then it never seemed like enough time. The goal wasn’t yet to “beat” anything, but instead to explore. After 15 minutes, most of my interest was gone and I’d usually be off to run around outside or get back to the Ninja Turtles battle I was simulating. But the NES and Mario had found their way into my wheelhouse for good that day. I like to think for the better.

#5 Posted by Seraphim84 (453 posts) -

This is how I imagine Alex in New York. Sitting around watching a bad movie, commenting on it to cardboard cutouts of Jeff and Patrick.

#6 Posted by Seraphim84 (453 posts) -

Between this, the price drop, and the supposed redesign, it's becoming pretty apparent that this thing will fail. Not only because of a lack of sales/interest, but also because of the bad movies Nintendo's making in an effort to save their product.

#7 Posted by Seraphim84 (453 posts) -

Via Batman Brave and the Bold. This can happen after his inevitable betrayal and acquisition of a cyborg body.

#8 Posted by Seraphim84 (453 posts) -

I'd play True Crime: Altered Beast

#9 Posted by Seraphim84 (453 posts) -

Was I the first to get mine or something?! Shirt's great guys, thanks!

#10 Posted by Seraphim84 (453 posts) -

You bet they've shipped! Lovin it