Console Gaming

Falling in Love with the Idea of a Game

Back in September of 2010, I wrote about how I found myself falling prey to gaming hype and how I seemed to gravitate towards games with the purpose of becoming a pundit of sorts. I’ve altered my stance on the the idea of becoming a force to be reckoned with in the game blogging world (there are far better things to worry about, like finding a job, falling in love, and learning how to manage finances). Since then, I’ve noticed I’ve been making a rather large number of gaming purchases, which worries me somewhat.

The ever lessening time I spend affixed to one game (a month ago, I was playing Guild Wars, then two weeks ago, Everquest 1’s trial, and now, I just bought Dead Space and Magicka on Steam) makes me think that I am less of a gamer because I do not love gaming, per se, but rather have grown to love the idea of a game.

This is worrying because I have yet to find a job. This is also worrying because it’s a waste of money that could be accruing interest in the bank. This is worrying because falling in love with the idea of something, ANYTHING, instead of the reality that is there makes me think I haven’t grown as a person.

Around seven or eight years ago, I was enrolled in a mandatory college class for religion (Catholic universities like the one I went to have mandatory religion subjects to foster personal growth in students) called  Marriage and Human Sexuality. One of the things I learned in that class was that there’s a difference between loving someone and falling in love with someone.

According to that class, you can fall in and out of love with someone, and that feeling you get when you fall in love might seem genuine, but can quite possibly be a mixture of a crush with your own projections of what you want in a partner, which may not actually be in that person you’ve fallen in love with. Once the honeymoon phase is over, and the cracks begin to show in the relationship, the illusion reveals itself, and you fall out of love.

Back then, I realized that, lonely as I was, I knew I didn’t want to simply “fall in love” with a personal illusion of a woman I’d gotten to know. I wanted to love and accept someone for the good aspects and not-so-good aspects they had.

I thought I could extend that sort of thinking to all the different aspects of my life, which is why I try and take pains to think about the things I do or engage in. When it comes to gaming though, I feel like I never learned anything from my class back in college.

True, games and people are different things and I may be too hard on myself, but it doesn’t diminish the distress I feel when I think about how I buy games, play them for a short while, and then never finish them. It’s like I’ve fallen in love with the idea of the game, but found that my projections of what I expect that game to be do not mesh well with the reality of the game, and I shelve the game for failing my perceived ideal.

It’s a waste, and yet even with that realization in tow, I cannot help but still want to purchase new games with the hope that they will astound me and lead me to some great divine epiphany of awesome that I cannot comprehend but simply bask in.

It scares me to think I haven’t grown as a person. Perhaps I should give myself some credit for at least realizing that something might be faulty in my acceptance of hype and my constant failed relationships with games.

That said, I wonder if the ones who are truly fanatical about games can even see the deficiencies in the games they say they love. That blindness to truth seems even scarier than any issue I might have at present.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Exists, to be Released This Year

Due for release this year on the PS3 and Xbox 360.

This seems like a good incentive to finish FFXIII to me. Of course, if you hated the Final Fantasy XIII, you’d have reason to skip the sequel entirely.

What did you think of Final Fantasy XIII? Let me know in the comments, so I can debate the merits of Leona Lewis’ voice. 😀

News comes from via Destructoid.


EDIT: Siliconera has an update on this. According to what appears to be’s Twitter account, a trailer for FFXIII-2 will be made available on January 20.

A Nearly Comprehensive List of Things to Look Forward to in 2011 and Beyond

One of my Google searches for upcoming games in 2011 had me stumbling back into the NSFW recesses of Sankaku Complex, where one article they had was a huge 1.2 MB picture of a list of multiplatform and exclusive games to the PC, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360. While Sankaku Complex said it asserted the dominance of the PS3 over the two other consoles, it seems fairly evident that the PC would be the place to go if you really want a lot of games.

I can’t seem to find the original author of the picture but I’m guessing that this listing is perhaps incomplete to a certain extent as well, seeing as it’s a day or two old and something new must have happened between the posting and now that would require a minor update.

Added to the picture above is a link to a blog by Adrian Werner, who also has another extensive list of PC-specific games to look forward to for 2011 and beyond.

Anyway, the point of this post is that there are a ton of great games to look forward to, and it’s an exciting year for me, for a lot of reasons. I’m hoping 2011 will be much better than the year before it, and I pray that good things happen to all of us, regardless of our gaming preferences.

As Stargrace of MMOQuests would say, “Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!”

On Sex With Hookers and the Context of Real and Gaming Life

I’m in a lot of pain right now due to my wrist hurting, but I really wanted to write this post, so I’m just going to endure the pain for the next thirty or so minutes while I type. Apologies if the message gets kind of jumbled up during the moments when I stop typing.]

Yesterday afternoon, I had sex with a hooker.

I will not tell you if this is a gaming reference or a real one, but obviously one is preferable to the other given the proper context. Suffice it to say, each of your individual contexts might differ depending on your mindset, strength of will, gender, and feelings towards the issue of paying for sex.

You might feel elation at having paid for sex. Or guilt. Or despair. When you’re playing games, such an act has few repercussions, except perhaps in the manner in which your character develops in an RPG. When you’re in the real-world, however, the feeling you had when experimenting during a game may have magnified itself because you’re actually there, and you feel every bit of it.

Translate this into other actions, such as shooting a gun, stabbing someone, or stealing. When it is done in the real world, there is a distinct change in the air, as if somehow, the quantum mechanics surrounding the realm of human emotion had changed. Every act we do is inextricably connected to other people, and this may change the lives of others in a distinct, yet unknowable way.

In games, on the other hand, the damage to the fabric of reality is mitigated by the way programmers have decided to deal with your action. You can escape from cops by running to a safe house, which automagically (YES AUTOMAGICALLY)  lessens your wanted rating. You can alter one person’s life, but that person knows no one else but you and therefore directly influences no one else regarding the evil you’ve committed. Hell, you can die, lose your belongings, and just come back as if nothing happened.

The one thing that redeems the nature of doing stupid things in the real world, however, is that you can find ways to redeem yourself for the stupid things you’ve done, but only by working hard at changing your life for the better.  In games, the ability to turn your karmic “reality” into a quantifiable number that can be altered is far too simple, and no amount of programming knowledge will ever quite get it right.

So yes, you can have sex with a hooker in either the gaming or real world, but if you really want to change from being a lonely sex-starved individual with a twisted, addled conscience, the real work begins after you’ve screwed up if you did it for real.


You can choose not to do stupid things in the real world or gaming world to begin with, and work with a decided difficulty adjustment to your life. Think of it as the Hell Mode of living on Earth.

Shinji Mikami’s Tango Gameworks Joins Zenimax

This just in from Bethesda’s Twitter: Shinji Mikami, the creator of the Resident Evil series of games, along with his studio Tango Gameworks, have sealed the deal on the company’s acquisition by Zenimax Media.

The deal between Tango Gameworks and Zenimax will see Tango developing multiplatform titles alongside Bethesda Softworks, id Software, and recently acquired Arkane Studios.

In a nutshell, that’s the gist of everything on the story so far. You can find more PR-speak in the link here or you can just act like me and start wishing for a Fallout: Old Tokyo (with dual-language audio) with your hands outstretched and weaving through the air.

Thoughts on Paying Someone to Update Your Console

I’ve been keeping watch on a particular issue that’s popped up on Destructoid and Kotaku, reserving my thoughts on the subject till I had more information. The issue was about paying someone, Best Buy in this case, to update the firmware on your PS3.

Just now, Destructoid updated with a story telling the side of Best Buy, and I think I now have enough information to comment on the matter in full.

For the most part, I personally think paying someone to help you to update your console, whether it be PS3, 360, Wii, DS or PSP, should be a non-issue.

The issue that some people have with this service is that updating one’s firmware is dreadfully easy. For them, perhaps, such is the case, but not for everyone, I’m sure. Back when I was working technical support for a major game console, I learned that even the most dreadfully simple of things can be very complicated if one has no background in the matter.

For instance, let us take the issue of cables. You have different types of cables (Component, Composite , and HDMI, if I remember correctly) which you can use to connect a console to a particular television. If you had no technical experience with the rear end of a TV, you’d probably be afraid to try out different cables to connect your console to your television, especially if you just bought a new television and didn’t want to break it.

Having someone whom you feel is an “expert” or at least has a substantial background in the topic you’re having trouble with usually puts you at ease. Best Buy is offering that sort of security (at a price) for people without the background knowledge of a console but who want to enjoy gaming as well, or are offering the service for people without a reliable internet connection (for instance, I have an unreliable net connection and rely on luck and late night attempts to get PS3 firmware updates).

Now, what wasn’t pointed out in the original articles of Destructoid and Kotaku was that the the firmware upgrade fee actually covers more than firmware, but also includes “user account setup, parental control setup, and other components.” For that price, if they include teaching you how to be self-sufficient, then I’d have to say that’s thirty dollars well-spent to ensure that you don’t screw up.

If gamers are close-minded about this particular issue, pose to them a single question: Ask them if they know how to hunt for game with a spear. Chances are they don’t. Explain to them that they pay for someone to provide them not only with the service of raising and maintaining an elaborate food distribution system (MARKETS!), but also the actual product. While they could probably kill a pig with a spear if push came to shove, they pay for the convenience of not having to do it and the security that the meat they’re eating isn’t poisoned.

A simple enough transaction, I would say, for a little peace of mind.

The Emotion of Sound: An Alternative Reason for Wanting to Play Final Fantasy XIV


It all started with Final Fantasy VII. Aerith died, the music played, and the realization that video games could evoke emotions like sadness dawned on me. It was a single moment, punctuated with music that struck the heart, and it steered me towards an appreciation for gaming.

With that appreciation for gaming comes a longing, however. There are times when, like a personal orchestra, a song will play in your head and won’t disappear: the soundtrack of your life, some folks call it. It comes and goes and the song changes, but when that song plays, you can’t help but remember things, pieces of memories or adventures you’ve had in the real world or in your mind, and you feel things you ever thought you would feel (or would have to feel again).

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Moral Quandaries and Dead Rising 2

I’m not finished with Dead Rising 2 yet, but I think I’ve played enough (possibly halfway through the story) to write about Dead Rising 2. I purchased it for the PS3 with the intent of killing some time and some brain cells mindlessly beating the stuffing out of zombies. Instead, I ended up thinking deeply about certain aspects of the game that struck me personally.

If you’re wondering what the story is in Dead Rising 2, it’s like this: Chuck Greene and his daughter Katey came to Fortune City, Nevada as part of a zombie-slaying reality game show called Terror is Reality. During their stay in Fortune City, someone released the zombies out into the wild, infecting the general populace and making a mess out of just about everything save for the Safe House that Chuck, Katey and a host of other survivors managed to find. Sadly, Chuck’s been falsely accused of releasing the zombies, so he has to clear his name in three days before a pickup arrives and arrests him.

There’s a second wrinkle to this story though: Katey was bitten by her mother during a previous outbreak of zombification. The reason they’re in Fortune City is because Terror is Reality pays Chuck enough to purchase Zombrex, an zombification inhibitor drug, for his daughter. With the city gone to hell and his name tarnished, Chuck Greene has to scour Fortune City, not only for clues to who framed him, but also for Zombrex to keep his daughter from turning undead.

The gameplay itself doesn’t feel terribly deep (mash the B button with an equipped weapon to kill zombies or punch them, rescue survivors, create custom weapons to do more damage to zombies, level up, and repeat process with a new weapon.), but there are certain aspects to the gameplay that, when coupled with the story, make it very difficult to put down.

First, there is the time management aspect of the game. Every moment not spent on pause is time ticking away on the main quests and storyline of the game. To add a wrinkle in the process, one of the main characters sends you information on things happening in the city, and you can choose to aid people or not when this information is given up till a certain time. If it’s your initial set of playthroughs, you probably won’t have the strength to do everything or the firepower to cut through swathes of enemies, sadly. In other words, you cannot save everyone.

In my case, I went to an area knowing that there was a non-storyline boss character there, and I didn’t have the strength to defeat it. So upon reloading a save, I had to choose between using my time more wisely and saving other people or focusing on beating that one enemy to get to the person trapped by the bad guy. Reluctantly, and with much regret, I chose to let someone die.

Related to this is general scarcity of Zombrex. To find Zombrex, you must acquire it in the city through exploration, buy it from looters who’ve set up shop, or earn it from rescued survivors or slain enemies. Now, finding enough Zombrex for Katey is hard enough, but some survivor quests actually pose to you a survivor who’s been bitten by a zombie. The question is: do you give the Zombrex you’ve saved for that single survivor, or do you leave him be?

During my playthrough I encountered this once, and chose to give the only piece of Zombrex I had to the survivor. After escorting him to the Safe House, I basically had to worry about where I could get another one for my daughter. Luckily, one of the looter shops was selling Zombrex for the ridiculous price of $25,000 (with the next dose of Zombrex from him requiring $50,000, bloody pushers). With an only a small fraction of time left before Katey needed her Zombrex injection, I bought the meds, ran as fast as I could back to Katey, and got her the Zombrex shot in time.

Lastly, one aspect of the game that really hits the sadness lever on my heart are the psychopaths. Psychopaths are a blanket term gamers have used for the minibosses that appear in the Dead Rising series. There are many heart-wrenching stories of people who’ve been pushed over the edge by the zombie outbreak, from the chef turned cannibal cook to the roller-skating guy in a mascot costume who lost his mascot’s significant other. Their stories are all caused by the outbreak and while they may have been unhinged prior to the release of the zombies, the outbreak becomes the final straw that breaks their minds.

The one some of them blame? Chuck Greene, sadly.

I want to keep playing this game just so I can find out the reason behind why Fortune City became a hellhole, as well as keep Chuck’s daughter from turning into a zombie. While I do not know if Chuck can keep getting Zombrex for his daughter after the course of the game’s events, seeing him fight to keep her alive makes this game quite worth it.

In 1998, I Wasn’t Playing Starcraft…

Instead I was playing Diablo and having a blast with that particular game. Knowing myself, there was also a good chance I had ended my hiatus from Final Fantasy VII that year and defeated Sephiroth in 1998 instead of when it came out.

This isn’t to say I’ve not had any experience playing Starcraft or other RTS games. In truth, I have tried Starcraft, but I consistently failed the game on easy after trying multiple times to get past certain stages that I figured it wasn’t worth it to see the story.  I also had a brief dalliance with Batlle Realms that ended badly and, more recently, I realized that Warcraft III and Defense of the Ancients was not for me.

My memories of High School are more or less fuzzy, unfortunately, as those were times I aimed to forget more than anything else.

What about you? What were you doing in 1998? Besides playing Starcraft, I mean.