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What do I like?

Since I started this contest over on Shacknews, I figured that I'd hide my favorite things here. That way, if someone stumbles on this blog, they might gain some insight on what they should know for the contest. It's not like I'm going to give anything away, but there might be some clues here or there. Also, this will just help me think of what I enjoy these days.

Video Games

Fez - This game was one of the reasons I created the contest. I loved the hidden puzzles and riddles and how deep a lot of puzzles went.

Battletoads - A lot of this game is now muscle memory for me, but I appreciated the graphics as a kid, and it still sticks with me. Plus you get to climb on snakes!

Super Mario Brothers 3 - Sure, Super Mario World is probably a better game in some ways, but I enjoyed the world map, the hidden warp whistle in world 2, and the other secrets scattered all throughout the game. I can still remember the 1-Ups you can get in 1-4.

Planescape Torment - This was definitely the best of the Infinity Engine games. Baldur's Gate was fun, but Torment made me care about the characters and appreciate solving quests without combat.

Orange Box - Okay, I haven't played Episode 2 yet, but TF2 and Portal were both amazing (as well as Peggle). I played Portal 2 at around midnight or so the day it was launched and two hours later I was done. However, I could only feel joy over the game. I didn't feel as though it were too short. Also, TF2 was probably the game that broke me out of my World of Warcraft addiction.

Final Fantasy - I loved the character choice at the start of the game, and I appreciated the fact that you're locked into that choice. I mean, the characters didn't have any true purpose outside of combat, and it'd be weird to have four enigmas in a game these days, but I'd like to see more of this style.


Ready Player One - While Fez was my video game reason to do this contest, RPO is definitely the book that made me want to do it. Sure, the book is mostly just referential humor, but I think Cline did a good job creating a believable dystopia. It's definitely a must-read for any geek that lived through the 80s.

Taltos Cycle - Steven Brust has set himself up by making himself write a series that is most likely going to be 18 books long. The most interesting thing is that all of the books are good to some degree. Athyra is odd as Vlad is not the central character of the book (something that is done again in Tiassa), and Teckla/Phoenix are painful to read just because Vlad and Cawti separate in the book, but the books are generally quite strong. I also think that Loiosh is the best side kick an assassin could have.

Early Chuck Palahniuk - It saddens me to qualify this author, but his later books (Haunted and beyond) just don't live up to the quality of his early stuff. Survivor, Choke, Diary, Lullaby, Invisible Monsters, and Fight club should all be set up in some kind of literary museum.

Malazan Book of the Fallen - Here is an epic fantasy series that has been completed. The books are the most epic of fantasies that I've ever read. The characters take on gods, dragons, and armies by themselves. Characters like Bottle, Fiddler, Quick Ben, Rake, and Tehol are all unforgettable.

Shakespeare - Best stuff ever written. Read it all in order to understand allusions.



Pink Floyd

Nine Inch Nails




Dream Theater

Meat Loaf

The Kleptones

Johnny Cash

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

TV Shows


The Wire

West Wing

Arrested Development

Venture Brothers





Requiem for a Dream

Die Hard

Fight Club

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels


Moulin Rouge



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Dr. Mario, Milestones, and Couch Gaming

I was pondering the many firsts in my life, and I noticed an odd coincidence. Two of my firsts revolve around the franchise known as Dr. Mario. It all began during a birthday party in the sixth grade. My friend Ryan was having a sleep over Saturday night for his birthday, and the major activity for the party was a pile of rented games for his NES. I don't remember what all of the games were, but I do remember that he had Trojan and Dr. Mario. We played Trojan a bit, but it was so incredibly difficult and frustrating that we gave up on it quickly. We then began to play Dr. Mario in versus mode, passing the controller around to those who wanted to play. As the night went on, people began falling asleep. I, however, continued to play. I forget who stayed up with me, that is irrelevant to the story. I just remember that I stayed up all night for the first time in my life. I could have played that game forever, if I was allowed.

My second first with Dr. Mario took place about ten years later. It was my senior year of college, go Ducks, and two friends came over for a planned night of gaming. We had picked up Dr. Mario for the N64, and we also picked up a bottle of Burnett's Vodka and Jim Bean Bourbon (both low quality liquors). My two friends, my roommate, and I proceeded to turn Dr. Mario into a drinking game where the winner of this four player versus game had to take a shot. The rounds were short, roughly four-six minutes in length, and we occasionally shared in shots with the victor if we were feeling dry. This proceeded for a couple of hours, until both bottles were empty. Now, none of us were heavy drinkers, and this was my first time doing anything resembling a binge. Well, I became incredibly sick and I relieved myself, like you do, and I went to bed. The next morning, I learned what the other people meant by hang-over. I was in pain all day, and it was another first brought on by Dr. Mario.

Gaming for me is all about being social, especially when it's on the console. I want to play with people in the room with me so we can all have a shared experience. It's why my best memories of PC gaming comes from times we set up a LAN party. Internet multiplayer is great for people who have trouble meeting up with others, and it certainly helps with FPS/RTS games where you need the entire screen, but I fear that we're moving away from couch gaming. Even Nintendo has started to separate itself from this ideal by building in a controller that only one person can use. I'm sure they could design some great party games for the Wii U, but I haven't seen those come out yet. Anyway, this is just becoming a rambling mess, so I guess I'll end it here.

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