This page isn’t for reviews of video games. You can find those all over the internet, typically written by people who have better insight than I do into the biz of video games. Instead, this is a place for me to share some impressions that video games have left over the years.
A few years ago I listened to the amazing series on WW1 by Dan Carlin called 'Blueprint for Armageddon' on his Hardcore History podcast. I wanted to learn more about WW1 because I knew nothing about it. Later that year I saw that that Battlefield 1 was going to be WW1 themed so I played it because I wanted to emmerse myself more in the setting. I had never played a FPS before, unless you count games like Doom or Bioschock. It was pretty fun to play matches, more fun than I thought it would be. I wasn't very good at it though and my k/d never got about like .9 or so, probably because I get bored waiting or camping or sniping in games and I like to run in and start shooting. It was real fun to drive around in that one man tank. They have one at the military musuem nearby and it looks mighty uncomofortable inside.
On the Ballroom Blitz map I once parachuted out of the burning zeppelin onto the raised plaza platform where all the snipers like to set up. While parachuting I took out my machine gun and started firing. One of the players looked up at me to see what the hell was going on and as soon as he saw me through his scope I managed to kill him. It was probably the coolest thing I've ever done in a game and I stopped playing for a week because I was so satisfied by that awesome manuever.
I wonder what both the men who died and the ones who survived the war would think about it being a video game. On one hand it's making a game out of the most pointless war ever, but on the other it brought the conflict to people who had probably never given the war much of a thought. It made me a lot more interested in the battles and I want to visit Amiens and Heglioland now.
I've including these in the same entry as they are both kinda the same thing for me. My Dad liked to play these every now and again on the Sega and we'd play them as well. I remember when you hit the sides of the track in the car racing game a digitized voice would go 'easy on the equipment' and to me that was the height of tecnology, that the Sega could say human words! I also know every American baseball team franchise from the MLB game. I just looked up the World Series Baseball on youtube to make sure I got the name right and I watched the first minute of so of the gameplay and wow I still remember everything despite it being over twenty years since I last looked at it.
This game stressed me out to the point that I couldn’t play it. For those unfamiliar, which is probably most people because this is a fairly obscure game, aliens-not friendly grays, but sinister Gieger-esque aliens- abduct all of the dolphins in your pod except you. It is up to you to rescue the rest of your family/friends. The dolphins are not cartoony, but realistic, and your powers are limited to typical dolphin stuff like echolocation and poking stuff with your nose. It’s not a fantasy world like Sonic or Mario. Just you, the lone survivor, needing to somehow beat aliens (?!?!?!) to save your family.
It was too much for eight year old me to handle. Too much anxiety. A few years ago I asked my mom why she got us the game and she said she saw it was about dolphins and she thought “hey, my daughters like dolphins” and that was the extent of it. That’s exactly why this game fucked me up. I liked dolphins. I didn’t want to think about them being held prisoner by malevolent aliens on a spaceship, and I sure as shit didn’t want to be responsible for rescuing them.
Don’t get it twisted, this had nothing to do with the Disney movie. Instead, this was Donkey Kong inspired game for the Intellivision. We didn’t have a console, (or a computer, this was the 80s and we weren’t millionaires) but my grandma had an Intellivision in her basement, and before we even got an NES I’d go over to my grandmas and ask to play to it. This game and Burger Time and Skiing on the Intellivision where the first games I ever remember playing and I think my and my sister’s enthusiasm for the game is what prompted my grandma to get us an NES for Christmas.
Decades later and a continent away, I saw an Intellivision for sale at the thrift shop near us (the same one where I later bought the CD for Hotel Mario) but I didn’t buy it. It was gone the next time we were there, and I still rue not getting it when I had the chance. I picked up a pong console, but those sorta eat.
I went over to my brother’s one day and he was playing a game where he was shooting cop cars with a rocket launcher. “This looks like a fun game,” I thought.
Somehow or the other the tiny little library at my elementary school, which was a single room overseen by the sweetest and oldest nun in the world, got a Phillips CDi. Before school started I and a few other students would crowd around the TV and watch this interactive, educational game. I only had the haziest memories of it but I was able to figure out what it was a few years ago from footage on YouTube.
Okay, this isn't a game, but a way of playing that pretty much ruins games. In my experience it was for Elder Scrolls Online, but this has the potential to ruin any MMO type game. Min/Maxing is when the player figures out exactly how to be the super best at a game, like raising their damage done or their armor resistance or the like, by doing a bunch of math and applying buffs and enchantments and spells and potions and exploits to basically become a demi-god. I was in a guild for ESO and while it was fun at first the more my other guildmates got into the game and became obsessed with the numbers that their characters made when attacking, the less fun the guild became. It's not fun for me to try to figure out how to maximize my two-hand attacks - I'm going to use the axe because it looks awesome and I don't care that it has a slower swingspeed than the great sword. It still does the job of killing monsters.
Video games are supposed to be fun!!! Min/maxing takes the fun out of video games and turns it into a chore. I want to find treasure and slick outfits and build a chill house to come home to at the end of the day, not get out my spreadsheets and crunch the numbers.
I know the response to this is 'git good casual' but I don't have the time nor do I have the inclination to make video games a job. Too many people take video games way too seriously. I don't think you should have to do homework to play a video game. I don't think you should be getting mad about nerfs or balance changes. You shouldn't be having any negative emotions or thoughts connected to a game, because then it stops being a fun diversion and instead is a problem in your life. A player should not define who they are by the media they consume and if you let video games become a part of your personality you need to stop playing them and do something constructive with your time.
More coming once I think of them!