Top 10 Tuesday: Video Game Experiences
Video games are a huge part of this generation’s culture. Granted, some of us may not have ventured much further than The Sims, but that still counts. Being a member of an incredibly geeky organization at school, there’s no avoiding gaming in any of its forms. I’ve adapted.
The way that I write, and imagine my novels, I love video games – especially story driven ones. There’s something about being able to participate in a story, to be involved, and to watch it unfold – it’s amazing. Thinking about this, I decided that today’s Top Ten Tuesday would be about just that: my video game experiences.
- Released: December 8, 1994
- System: Sega Genesis (1989)
In the gaming world, I don’t know how well this game was received, but to me, it was magical. My first console, my first video game, given to me for my seventh birthday in 1995. The system, when it originally came out, cost about $200 and included one game. I know I got some other games at the time, two of which were Tiny Toons-related, but what I remember the most was The Lion King. My mother must have taken me to see that film eleven times when it came out in theaters, and most of my memories of living in Georgia include running through a sweltering movie theater parking lot, shouting excitedly about going to see what I figured must be the greatest movie ever made in the history of ever.
I barely remember anything about that birthday party. Most of the people we knew in Georgia were crazy, so the weird next-door-neighbor kids and my mothers gossipy WE housewife friends from down the street were of little to no interest to me. My dad worked out of town during the week, and my birthday was on a Tuesday that year, but my mother knows next to nothing about electronics, so my dad must have been there because I was so engrossed in playing the game that night that I didn’t even want cake.*
- Released: March 31, 1998
- PC Game
This is likely where my fascination with bizarre, tongue-in-cheek, dry humor began. My elder cousin Sara, thirteen years my senior, was still living with my aunt Sha when my sisters and I would go to spend the majority of our summer there. I spent hours lolling about on her bed, talking with her and playing on her computer. One of the games she had was Starship Titanic.
The significance of this game was beyond my grasp until several years later, when I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Douglas Adams designed this thing, and it shows. The plot, the dialogue, and the puzzles are all classic Adams “logic.” I made little, if any, progress at the age of 10 or 11, but that doesn’t mean much; I gave it another go last summer and had to use message boards and walkthroughs just to get through 15% of the story. This game, while ridiculous, is freaking impossible.
If nothing else, at ten years old, I got a kick out of telling
lamp guy Krage (pronounced “Craig”) the BellBot that he looked like a lamp and that I was in love with him.**
- Released: July 29, 1992
- System: Sega Genesis
This must have been another one of those games I got for my seventh birthday. My dad probably bought it solely because it had a dolphin on the cover, and he knew I had an obsession with dolphins, like every other girl between the ages of six and sixteen. I say this because he clearly knew nothing about it beyond the fact that the main character was a dolphin.
I don’t know anyone who has beaten Ecco. It’s actually infamous for its level of difficulty. I suppose once you know what you’re doing, it’s simple, but that’s just it: like Starship Titanic, the riddles are freaking ridiculous. Every couple years I give this game another try, and even with walk-throughs, I just cannot seem to get anywhere.
As a seven-year-old, however, this didn’t matter. I had plenty of fun bopping around in the water, making Ecco do flips and beating the crap out of sharks.***
If you don’t believe me about the absurdity of this game, you can download it from Steam for something like $3 and give it a go.
- Released: October 31, 1996
- System: Sega Saturn (1995)
I think I got my Saturn for my 9th birthday, in 1997, when my sisters and I lived with our dad in Nashville, TN. For the most part we played things like Virtua Fighter II, some racing Daytona game, and a bunch of game demos on one CD that we must have played for hours and hours on end. Eventually my dad picked up some other games, like Command & Conquer (which I currently have on my PSP now, that’s how much I loved it), Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, and a wonderful gem that I don’t think he realized wasn’t family-friendly: Blazing Dragons.
Blazing Dragons was the brainchild of Monty Python actor Terry Jones, and the voice acting featured, among others, Cheech Marin, Rob Paulsen (Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Jim Cummings (best known as Winnie-the-Pooh). It’s rife with sexual innuendo, dark sarcasm, and the most bizarre, inane, off-the-wall humor I’ve seen anywhere (short of Adventure Time). Based on an alternate-universe King Arthur sort of story, where King Arthur (“Allfire” in this version) and his knights are all dragons, and the humans are evil, this entire game is nothing but puzzles. You play as Flicker, an absent-minded but incredibly intelligent dragon who lives in the castle and is crazy in love with the princess. The point of the game is to save said princess and the ridiculously idiotic knights in time for the tournament, so that you can become a knight, save the kingdom, defeat the evil Sir George and wizard Mervin, and get the girl.
It took me nearly six years to beat the damn thing. I was a junior in high school when I was finished. I’m not kidding.
I have so many memories attached to this game. Burning Crusade, the first expansion, was my first Valentine’s Day present from a guy I dated for several years. I made friends through my guild that stuck with me for some time, a couple of whom I talked with on the phone once a week pretty regularly for a year or so. And my knowledge of the game is the reason I was able to start a conversation with some of the people who I later found out where in the Role Players Guild, the student organization that I’m now the
mom president of.
My senior year of high school, I had three whole classes in which I had nothing to do – that is, I had no classes. School administration, however, wouldn’t let me go home, so I had to dither around in the extra room off of the guidance office and do busy work, or stare at my hands. Eventually I started visiting the IT guy down the hallway, hanging out in his office and chatting while I watched him do technological things and whatnot. When a friend introduced me to WoW, the IT guy hooked me up to a private server in his office so that I could play in there during the school day without getting busted for playing games on campus (the rules they placed on the laptops they provided us with were kind of ridiculous). I spent a lot of time in that office, chatting with him and killing giant spiders in Duskwood. By far, my favorite memory of high school.
- Released: January 2001
- System: Dreamcast
This is one of those weird things that I never would have picked up on my own. I was at my buddy Alek’s house for Thanksgiving, and while we were waiting to be called for dinner, I sat with him in his room and watched him play video games. That night he was focused entirely on House of the Dead 2, which is essentially a zombie game with a gun.
Let me tell you right now: I am no good at shooters, and by shooters, I mean anything that requires me to aim. I can’t play Halo, I can’t play Time Crisis, I can barely shoot things with the slingshot in Ocarina of Time (we’ll get to that). I couldn’t even manage to play Goldeneye when I was little. I just do not go well with shooters of any kind.
This is what I told Alek, when he offered me a turn. Instead of trying to persuade me, or being disappointed, or even just shrugging his shoulders, he pulled out a keyboard, hooked it up to the game, and handed it to me.
Typing of the Dead essentially makes you go through the whole game and, instead of shooting the zombies/monsters/whatever they are, type words that pop up on the screen for every enemy. The boss at the end of the level has multiple words, and if you miss even one letter, you’re screwed. No one else in the group could do it.
I, however, have a typing speed of 120 words per minute, and I haven’t had to look at the keyboard to type since I was eight years old.
Yeah. I pwned.
I’ve got this weird love-hate relationship with Oblivion. It was the first RPG I ever really played that wasn’t an MMO, and I was entranced. I tried it for a bit on my PC, then played on my roommate’s Xbox 360, and then went back to the PC for a while. A couple of times I screwed myself over so much that I had to start over, just to fix the character crap I messed up. And also, holy hell am I awful at melee. Jeezopete.
I like the story. I like the premise. I also like getting to listen to Patrick Stewart’s voice for the first ten, fifteen minutes of the game. But I’m telling you, I suck.
Nonetheless, I spent hours – seriously, hours – a day trying to get good at it, and from time to time I go back and give it another shot, until I get irritated and give up.
I can’t really explain why I started playing this game. I didn’t play the first two, and while I had a mild interest in them, I pretty much shied away from anything that I knew my high school boyfriend had played. However, my roommate’s boyfriend picked it up the day it came out, and more or less camped out on my living room floor to play the game (since he left his Xbox 360 at our place for us to use). Eventually, after he beat it and they were back to their usual routine of never being home, I found myself snowed in (this was Snowmageddon ’11), bored, and suffering the downward spiral of a budding relationship that I knew was already heading for the toilet.
I distracted myself with this game, and over the course of the week (during which I had no classes because of
hell Terre Haute freezing over), I obliterated this game.
Then I did it again. I spent my evenings, for the next few weeks, wrapped in a blanket in a comfy chair, nursing Crown & Coke and beating the crap out of bandits, bats, and those creepy nightmare-thingies. I cried both times at the end, although that may have been the Crown.
I think I started this sometime in December, at my best friend Brian’s house. I don’t really drink a lot, but I was having a not-good day and I thought, I want to hang out with Brian, I want to eat pizza rolls, and you know what, I want raspberry Smirnoff Ice with which to wash it down.
Brian thought it would be awesome to introduce me to Legend of Zelda at that point, which I guess was pretty amusing. There is nothing like running from the forest to Hyrule Castle in the middle of the night with three girly beers in you and no knowledge of the fact that any second zombies are going to pop out of the ground and try to bite your face off. I made him kill Queen Gohma for me, though, because I was a little too buzzed to do it myself, and also I am terrified of spiders.
Also they told me that if I kept hitting the same chicken, I would get a cool prize. Jerks.
1. Ocarina of Time (sober)
I actually started playing this again just a couple of weeks ago, and holy crap am I hooked. I still tend to encounter enemies and start yelling, “ohgodohgodohgod” in an ever-increasing volume, but it’s much easier to keep my head when I haven’t got alcohol in me.
I still had Eric kill Queen Gohma for me, though.
* For the record, it was chocolate cake with chocolate chips and chocolate icing, and those little pumpkin-shaped candies on top. My mother made it every year for me on my birthday until I was well into high school.
** Fun fact: Douglas Adams, Terry Jones, and John Cleese all did some voice-acting for the game. John Cleese, however, is credited as “Kim Bread.” Supposedly Cleese had asked to be credited this way for a Doctor Who serial Adams wrote.
*** I did put the game down, however, for several years sometime after my eighth birthday. I obliterated a shark, and then was distracted by a particularly delicious sandwich. While I was watching the screen, the shark respawned and scared the ever-loving crap out of me, eliciting a high-pitched eight-year-old scream from me that scared the ever-loving crap out of my grandmother.
Posted on June 21, 2011, in Top 10 and tagged Athenas Army, blazing dragons, booze, burning crusade, childhood, Crown & Coke, Douglas Adams, ecco the dolphin, Fable III, gaming, geekery, John Cleese is in Everything, legend of zelda, Monty Python, not writing, oblivion, ocarina of time, raspberry Smirnoff Ice, sega, Sega Saturn, starship titanic, typing of the dead, video games, world of warcraft. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.