Thursday, 3 November 2011

Personal Gaming History

As an avid video game player today I started playing games only a short time ago. My earliest memory of playing a game was on the PlayStation. It was a racing car game which I used a wheel and peddles to control. I thought it was amazing. The car was so realistic and the controls amazed me. I felt like I was actually driving! I lost interest soon after as a friend of mine around the corner from where I lived had a Nintendo 64. She had GoldenEye and I remember me and my sister laughing crazy at how fun it was. 

For the next few years I lost interest in games until I visited America during my birthday. I had received a Dreamcast with at least 100 games from a friend. My favourite game that I played constantly while I was there was Shenmue. It took elements from several different genres but mostly consisted of RPG, adventure and open world game mechanics. I remember while I was playing it I was just amazed at the environment changing on its own and the characters had voices, even the minor characters you would speak to on the street. I spent so long in the one part of the game. It was the fork lift area. I loved the racing and the actual crate moving. It was such a small part of the game but it was the only part that I played over and over again. I think it was the involvement of picking up an object and moving that I enjoyed. Maybe a bit of CPU bugging when I ran into them also!

Shortly after receiving the Dreamcast I got a Nintendo Gameboy Color. I got Pokémon Red with it and I absolutely loved the idea of levelling these little creatures and watching them evolve into great big giant beings. I got them all to level 100 and I was so chuffed. Admittedly I used the candy cheat from a magazine to level them.

Soon after I moved to America I bought Pokémon Silver. I was in love with the color in the game and all the new Pokémon that appeared. It felt so new and the graphics impressed me after playing Red for so long. That Christmas I was given a PlayStation 2 with Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts. I watched the opening movie for Final Fantasy X and I was just gob smacked. I couldn’t believe how realistic it looked and the water in the blitzball stadium just flowed like real water. The lighting used and all the sound, I thought I was watching a movie. I sat and played through the game seeing all the characters and creatures in it, watching the way everything moved and yes there was some horrible voice over in the game but I just loved the design and graphics the game showed off.
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Another Sqauresoft game I got that Christmas was Kingdom Hearts. Again the opening movie for the game was incredible. Although it was very cartoony I just loved the texturing they put in and all the colors used. The graphics were on the same level as Final Fantasy X but because it was a lot cartoony with the Disney characters but it had so many different environments in it and so many fighting moves and styles I loved mixing and matching with your team to be the ultimate boss taking down machine!

The next Christmas I got Soul Calibur II, after playing Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast that a friend lent me, I fell in love with Ivy. Her sword was incredible and her move set was so fun to watch while I was playing as her. This was the first fighting game I’d played properly and I set out to learn her move list. I gave up shortly afterwards because some of the move sets were seriously long and complicated which I really didn’t like. I ended up playing it casually and soon lost interest.

When I moved back to England I got Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4. It was a fun game because it was so unrealistic with gravity you could just pull off anything. The thing that I really enjoyed was the levels. The Alcatraz level was my favourite because of all the railings it had. Graphically it wasn’t impressive but I enjoyed just flying through the air and looking at it from above.

I then had a go at my first MMORPG. It was Final Fantasy XI and when I started playing it I thought it was really cool. I created my character that was personalised for me. I named her and levelled her in the class I wanted to. I got to level 34 before I realised the game was terribly difficult and consumed far too much of my time. Graphically it was impressive with the expansive areas and different spell effects but it was too big, too hard and very unsocial.

When I moved to Derry, in Northern Ireland, I saw my boyfriend’s extensive game library. I had never seen so many games and consoles and I tried my hand at so much more styles and types of games then I had time for.

One game that really stuck out for me was Mario Kart Double Dash for Nintendo Gamecube. It was an old game when I started getting into it but it was so fun and fast paced. The blue shells were my ultimate nightmare and I’ve never raged at a game so hard but every minute of it was incredibly fun. It was very kiddy looking and it was honestly the first time I’d experiences Mario. I felt like a kid playing it but I enjoyed it all the same. 

The Nintendo DS came out and I got one with Nintendogs. Seeing the difference in graphics from a Gameboy Color to a DS was shockingly amazing. Seeing a little dog on my screen barking and tail wagging in Playstation 2 graphics was mind blowing. It was incredible fun teaching my dog tricks and doing competitions. It was truly like having a dog but without all the hard work. I got several games for the DS including Rayman 2, Mario Kart DS and Animal Crossing Wild World. The DS had many sequal games and also retro games like Rayman 2 and it was a great handheld but I always felt that a console game was more graphically impressive and longer lasting.

I bought an Xbox 360 at this stage and had Viva Pinata and Forza Mortorsport 2. They were fun games for a short time but they didn’t hold my attention for long. They were graphically impressive and it was a clear step up form PlayStation 2. Although I was impressed with the more processing power and graphical output of this console I didn’t seem as interested in games.  The games seemed rushed out and very short. Sure they were high quality but they seemed to lack an all-round feel and depth in the game play. I got into World of Warcraft soon after and I enjoyed it a lot more than Final Fantasy XI. It was very bright and a lot less realistic then Final Fantasy XI but it had a lot more gameplay and fun activities. It constantly updated with new patches and added more things to do but eventually it became very familiar and started to become boring.  Other things I noticed was that a lot of games became easier or had the option of being easier. Devil May Cry 4 had the option of an easy mode but even the normal mode was easy, same with Shadows of the Damned.  This game was very fun and out of the usual story archetype but it was very short and easy.

I hope games in the future will be much like older games, more story and gameplay focused rather than forcing it out in a short time frame. The graphics are at a high standard but I feel that may be focused on too much. I’d prefer a game that I can sit down, get involved in and really enjoy what I’m doing even if it means getting angry at dying. I’m not really into the gimmick of motion technology to control your character. Unless they develop super responsive technology where it doesn’t skip any of your movements I might enjoy it but for now I’d prefer to stick to a controller. I’d like break through games with different ideas. There are enough FPS games and generic adventure games but I’d love something that was completely different. Guild Wars 2 is an example of this. It’s been delayed so much because it’s trying hard to make itself stand out from other MMORPGs. Its big ideas for sever vs. server battles, incredibly massive and detailed landscapes and hopefully a very different game play and story. There doesn’t seem to be enough funny stuff in games. Everything seems really serious and aggressive but I’d like a game that was a laugh to play. The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker would be a good example. Although it had a serious element to it it was very youthful and comedic. Same with Shadows of the Damned, a very funny game.

A few games I’d like to play in the future would be Lollipop Chainsaw. A cheerleader who kills zombies! When I saw the trailer I laughed at the idea and thought that this is something I’ve been waiting for. It looks like a really qwerky idea. Asura’s Wrath is another game that I think would be really interesting and very over the top.  A man with 6 arms beating up epically oversized gods.

I’d love to make a game that would vivid and bright. Centred around a jungle world or something similar. I’d love some crazy over the top enemies that tried to kill you by throwing fruit at you because you’re allergic to it or something weird like that and the aim is to find a cure for your allergy. Coming off the top of my head with this idea! I’d just really like a weird concept and a very colourful game. Maybe it could be a bit of a RPG, RTS game. Something that would have a good, funny story involved in the game play.

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