When first asked to write for videolamer, Jay asked for a short biography in the form of 10 games. You can see the gang’s choices over here. The games I chose to represent me aren’t necessarily my favourite games, games I have completed, games I recommend you need to play or necessarily even good games. They are the games that I have a special association with and games that take me back to a certain time or place. Much like a certain film or a song, games can tug at the memory and take you back to times past. This is my life in games in roughly chronological order.
I’m not talking about the horrible Game Boy Color game, I’m all about the Game and Watch version. This is probably one of the first games I ever played and at the time it didn’t have a particular impact on me. It was only years later when Super Smash Brothers Melee came out featuring Mr Game & Watch that I remembered playing this game and the others at all. For some reason, my grandma had a whole bunch of these handheld beauties and as young’uns my siblings and I would spend hours playing Octopus, Manhole and Donkey Kong, intermittently saddened when the batteries ran out. The more formative years of my gaming childhood would be on the Amiga and the Mega Drive but in a crazy kind of way I’m happy it was all kicked off by Nintendo and my Grandmother, who remains an avid gamer today. I don’t know where these are anymore but when my brother, sister and I got Game Boys in 1989 I guess they got played on less. Shame really [Note to self: try to find the Game & Watches].
New Zealand Story.
Aside from Game & Watches, at some point in history our family obtained an Amiga. Before that we did have some ancient machine with paddles (or something?); my knowledge of older game systems isn’t that great. All I know is that when the Amiga came along the whole family got into gaming. My dad would dream of Lemmings and play North and South, my mother got hyper obsessed with Hybris, my brother and I spent hours on Golden Axe, Team Yankee and Double Dragon and my sister had fun school to get on with. Rod Land, Night Breed, Nitro Boost, and S.A.S Combat were among a handful of games I can remember we had. Some of them were good. Some not so good. But there weren’t any game shops where I grew up so we relied on getting copied disks from a family friend and snapping up any games that our local computer shop would stock, which wasn’t many.
New Zealand Story was one of the original games the Amiga came with and one of the first games we would play religiously, swapping the joystick every life. From what I can remember, we never completed it but the soundtrack and the first few levels are clear in my head even today. I picked up a copy of Taito Legends recently and was happy upon playing New Zealand Story and I still remember where some of the hidden ‘windmills’ were. Also, predictably, the game takes place across New Zealand and little did I know that not only was Waitomo Caves a real place but for six sad weeks at the end of University I would go to live there. Good times. God I really want to play it again right now.
Well before the non-game genre became what it is today (and by non-games I mean games that I love like Animal Crossing, Endless Ocean and Pokemon Channel; see below) I used to spend ages and ages on Deluxe Paint II. The
game software came with some stamps of buildings and fireworks etc. and I used to spend ages drawing little cities and populating it with stick men. It was like a really bad game you made yourself. Still, I was well ahead of the times if you rate Drawn to Life at all. It was all a bit sad really but this is definitely where my love of games that don’t really demand that you do anything came from. Moving swiftly on….
I feel a bit bad because I completely skipped over the NES, SNES, Mega Drive era but it was the arrival of triangle tits (as she had back then) on the old PlayStation that blew a fuse in my brain. Moving from the Mega Drive to the PlayStation seemed like such a huge step not only graphically but gameplay wise. I remember pouring over demo discs with friends for games that haven’t aged well: Destruction Derby, Demo 1, Rosco McQueen. In order, the first PlayStation games we ever got were Destruction Derby, then Wipeout 2097, then Soulblade, then Legacy of Kain and eventually Tomb Raider.
At the time I was living away from home; replaying the original Tomb Raider always reminds me of sitting on the phone with my brother as he was describing what had happened since the last phone call and I’d try to help out. Obviously, my help was of little use, but I do remember helping my mother and brother find the Lost Valley. Tomb Raider still remains one of my favourite game series with Tomb Raider 2 being my pick of the bunch, although it all started to go pear shaped around Tomb Raider 3. I’ve enjoyed the recent games, including Underworld, which reminds me I really need to finish the 10th Anniversary edition and play the commentaries.
As you’ll see from this list the PlayStation gets a lot of love from me. I can’t remember when or why I got Urban Chaos but I remember spending hours on it. It felt like you could go anywhere and do anything, scaling the fences and buildings in the city to find elusive pick ups. Fighting the bad guys. The memories get fuzzy. I remember a lot of leaves and litter floating around and being able to arrest people. At the time this was GTA in three dimensions before GTA in three dimensions. I didn’t pick up the new Urban Chaos primarily because it wasn’t the old Urban Chaos. Also, black female main character! How antiracistsexist.
My brother bought me this game for a birthday and thinking about it now still gives me pangs of guilt because I haven’t busted it. An RPG set in Wales with gypsies! It was ace. The music was amazing. It came on four discs. That’s all I’m going to say about it because I never got past disc 2 for a number of reasons. The main reason being I didn’t try very hard. The bit that I think I’m on is the part where you have to fight mannequin versions of yourself. I have a niggling suspicion that this game is one of many games on the list of games I probably won’t finish before I die. Apparently, despite mixed reviews this game spawned the Shadow Heart series of games. Free fact right there.
Timesplitters 2 arrived midway through University and I’ve been playing it ever since. Simply the greatest FPS of all time. No questions asked. The original Timesplitters was a surprise hit and I played it to death. The second one managed to better the first one. I can’t wait for the next one. Humour, multiplayer, amazing music by legend GN himself, hundreds of characters, challenges, character bios, crazy statistics and a solid level editor. It’s a shame the PS2 didn’t do online properly, although I did manage to play it over an i-link a couple of times. It was brilliant. One of the few games I was literally dripping with excitement about before it was released. The perfect game. 10/10 if you need a score. Get it. Love it. And even after all the challenges and leagues had been busted wide open we would play a custom level we made, over and over again. Essentially, the level we made was horde mode before horde mode. Complete with zombies (well a virus anyway), turret guns galore and a number of fall back positions.
Great characters and weapons. The weapons were amazing. And all the game modes. There hasn’t been a FPS like it since, even though lots of FPS borrowed ideas from Timesplitters – from control schemes through to game modes. And Lady Jane. The most beautiful video game character of all time. If/when Free Radical make a new one I sure hope they don’t exclude her from the character list in favour of lesser known characters like Riot Officer, for example. In fact I love Lady Jane so much I’ve spontaneously composed the following poem to/about her:
To Lady Jane: a love that could never be.
You did have tits but they weren’t too big or important anyway
I liked your hat in the first one
But may I say that red suits you better
Forget about Captain Ash
He’s got a new girl anyway
And I hear that Jake Fenton is on the take
If you were real I would love you
And I wouldn’t even drug you or anything.
Phew, Timesplitters 2. What a game.
If you dare to look, the internet will show you I am hardcore gay for Pokemon. So why is this spin-off on the list and not any of the better spin-offs or the proper games? It’s because Pokemon Channel was different to all the rest. Imagine, if you will, being very poor, working a crappy job, and being in a relationship that should have ended a while ago. The Gamecube is dead. You have a TV that is so broken you spend fifteen minutes smacking it in a desperate bid to get it working for five minutes. It was in this climate that I used up all my remaining money to buy a dirt cheap brand new Gamecube and spent many a cold night slapping the TV and playing some classic Gamecube games.
At the time I was still desperately trying to catch ’em all and the only way to get Jirachi, the wish maker, was to buy and play through Pokemon Channel. I had no idea this game existed before ordering it online for a measly £2, and I’m not surprised either. It’s a game where you watch Pikachu watch TV. Sounds thrilling, no? Why not just watch TV yourself so you don’t have the little yellow retard changing the channels every two seconds? The answer is because the Pokemon Channel(s?) themselves were so brilliant. A channel where you guess which Pokemon is inside the egg and then wait from between 10 minutes up to 24 hours to find out if you were right? Awesome. The relaxation channel where you watch endless Flaaffy jump over a fence. Brilliant. Each channel could have been throwaway but despite the obvious limitations of the Gamecube disc size the looped TV programs manage to be better than real TV has been for a number of decades. Pikachu, who you watch TV with, despite occasionally obsessing over a rubbish channel, eventually grows on you. Singing along to the TV themes, getting excited by certain scenes of the Pokemon Movie on the disc despite watching the Spanish dub version and despite it being the fourteenth time we’ve watched that scene in a row.
By the time I’d unlocked Jirachi I almost felt bad that I would certainly never play the game again. As it turns out, I did play it again and it is still as brilliant as it ever was. I never believed that games could really make you cry and anyone who claims to have cried when Aeris died is lying to make an article sound better or to make games sound more important. I did play a game that made me fall asleep though and that’s no complaint, that is what is was meant to do.
I’ve extensively played both versions of the game and it was toss up as to which one I would choose. In the end, the original version won out purely because, for me, it’s one of a handful of truly next-generation games. From the bausting of the first zombie to the climactic fight on a tank its just an incredible game. So much freedom, too. Just want to sit on the helipad and wait it out? That’s fine. Want to save as many survivors as possible? You can do that. Want to ignore uncovering the truth and just massacre zombies? That’s cool too.
Another reason why I love this game is it’s Capcomness. Harsh time limits, unnecessary back tracking, multiple endings, nods to other games, collectibles, hardcore achievements, unlockables and memorable characters. Each of the Psychos are genuinely shudder-inducing and incredibly dark and even though you murder thousands of zombies at times, it manages to be scary or you find yourself in a pickle with no healing items and every zombie between you and some food has the power to end your progress right there. The main story is pants malone but fortunately tits is there to help get you through it. I could and do play this game over and over. In fact it is the only game that I start again once I’ve finished it. Dead Rising 2 is set to be even better, but Capcom will have to do something pretty special for it to have the same ground breaking effect that Dead Rising did.
Resident Evil: Outbreak.
Chronologically out of order but I didn’t get round to playing this until I saw it for tuppence in a pawn shop. Like Pokemon Channel, this game is a particular low in an otherwise well recieved series. So why this game and not any of the others, each of which have their merits? Outbreak has a special place in my heart because it is so broken. An online game that never worked online in this country, and yet you could see what they were trying to do with it. Also, it was the last true zombie Resident Evil set in Raccoon City. Having played and loved the others in the series, especially two and three, it was great to see the City again at another point in time and to revisit locations and meet characters whose future you already know.
If you have the patience and the stamina as well it has a massive replay value with hundreds of items and unlockables to get for each character. Resident Evil 5 was a great game, and no doubt Darkside Chronicles will be a nice opportunity to revisit RC, but hopefully down the line we’ll see a new version of Outbreak that actually works online. Something more like a Resident Evil MMO. In the meantime I’ve only got another 130 scenario and character items left to collect so I best be getting on with it.
Ciao for now Cunzy1 1 XO XO