Friday, June 09, 2006

An introduction, of sorts?

Hi. I'm Jamie. I've been playing video games all my life; in fact, I learned to read phonetically from playing video games when I was three. I used to be the socially reclusive type who would play video games for like, thirteen (!) hours a day; but, one day at around the age of sixteen, I told myself, "Hey, video games are really cool, but I want a life, too!" So, while I've kept my hobby, I certainly don't find time to play any video game - for any amount of time - anymore. For me, balancing 'having a life' with 'playing video games' can be a rather dangerous endeavor, but I manage. In fact, not using my free time for only video games has made me appreciate truly good games even more, now. Hell, I can still remember when I would swear up and down that Final Fantasy 7 wasn't an amazing game, simply cos I could play so many damn games and consider them ALL to be a good experience; they were all I ever did, anyways! Those were some funny times.

So, to mitigate my problem of balancing my time-consuming, money-consuming hobby with being social, having friends, getting a job, and focusing on my studies, I generally narrow down the games I buy to my three favorite genres: 2-D and 3-D platformers (FYI, I consider Castlevania to be a platformer; it seems relevant to me to point that out. I'm not sure why), 2D Fighters (3-D fighters are a completely different ballgame; just as anyone that plays either one seriously), and - the WORST perpetrator of time-wasting in video games - RPGs of all different forms, be it traditional RPGs, tactics RPGs, action RPGs, or what have you. This presents a huge problem to me, as the platformer genre is waning in popularity on non-handheld consoles, 2-D fighters are practically on the verge of death in America (With Global Gaming League taking an interest in the competitive fighting scene as of late, this will hopefully change, but as of now, we're fighting an uphill battle), and RPGs are incredibly difficult to make truly good games out of, in my opinion (I plan on writing many blogs about this).

Now, perhaps I'm not the most enlightened gamer; on one hand, I own a lot of consoles, and I even take drastic measures to play imported games if I'm interested enough - Most of my friends from my hometown will remember how much I ranted and raved about a certain Tactics RPG series called Langrisser; some RPG enthusiasts will remember this series by the Genesis RPG called "Warsong," the first game of the series, and, incidentally, the only game in the series that was released stateside. On the other hand, the scope of games I've played - especially in recent years - is fairly small outside of the genres I enjoy. While I still deviate occasionally from my preferred platforms (Who's gonna pass up the newest Metal Gear Solid game, anyways?), the days of Pre-PS2, where video games were the sole joy of my life, are gone. I no longer rent and try every single game at a rental store.

And who'd want to, anyways? Games are so focused on being long and complex. Bigger graphics means bigger games means bigger headaches. I'd feel overwhelmed even if I DID still play video games for thirteen (!) hours a day. Unless you play a lot of games on handhelds, you don't get a lot of the quick and dirty fun you used to be able to get from games; but, even that is sort of out of the question, since it's hard to find places where you can rent handheld games. But I digress.

Anyways, though I'm not a 'hardcore' gamer anymore, I'd like to think I'm pretty knowledgeable in my areas of focus. I hope to talk about what makes games in my favored genres truly great, how to make them better, and how to learn from previous mistakes (and previous successes, too). These are tough times for people that are into these specific genres, but hopefully, someone will take up the cross and make something truly great out of these genres.

And, if no one does, maybe I will someday...


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