Posts Tagged ‘Universe’

Pictured: The Big Bang. Or an orgasm. Likely both.

It is said that in order to know where you’re going, you must first know where you’ve been. Pseudo-intellectual philosophical and existential debates about history repeating itself aside, I tend to think of this saying as having an eye on the past while you think about the future. After all, if you are aware of your mistakes and your challenges in getting to where you are, then you will have that much easier of a time in getting to where you want to be, right? At least, that’s how we tend to rationalise the idea of work experience; it’s the difference between knowing a bunch of things and being able to productively connect those things together.

In recent weeks I’ve thrown some strong opinions onto the internet and been criticised, in isolated cases, as someone who either hates gaming, loves gaming too much, hates Xbox, hates Sony, is jealous of next-gen gamers, so on and so forth. I think a few people actually referred to me as a “pathetic excuse for a journalist” during one of those articles. Taken in my stride though they were, it being the internet and all, I was forced to really think about how people can react in such ways to opinions that disagree with their own.

This leads me to today’s column, which I assure you is going to read in its entirety like a blog post. It’s an extremely personal entry that I am going to keep that way on purpose, so if you’re not interested in my life and would rather read about what new dumb things EA are saying or how much worse Watch_Dogs looks this week, then by all means feel free to close this article right now and go about your life. I promise, I’ll only cry a little. That said, if you are sticking around then I appreciate your interest even if just voyeuristic, and hopefully you can join in the fun by commenting when you’re done reading this.

So. Origin stories. We all have one, right? Almost every noteworthy comic book character has had an origin story created for them and sure, some of them were far better suited to allusions of mystery and intrigue rather than a set-in-stone canon, and sure some others (*cough* Deadpool) have absolutely the most confusing origin stories in all of comics but more often than not, a character’s personality traits and behavioural habits are explained entirely by their origin story. I think the most well-known origin stories of them all are those of Batman and Superman; perhaps also Iron Man. We know where they’ve come from which helps us to understand the whys and hows of what they are.

Likewise, as gamers we all have our own origin stories with gaming and I’d like to share my own here, in a few hundred or so words.

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Growing up I had a lot of interests that came and went like the whims of a teenage girl discovering her sexuality (perhaps not the best comparison to draw?) and so at different times I was passionate about such things as football (also known as ‘soccer’ in America, Oceania and South Africa only), skateboarding, cricket and cars. Sure there were other interests the likes of Formula 1, wrestling (we all had this phase, admit), chess, volleyball, reading and so on but the first few were the ones I got really into, as in at different stages of my life I could name every first team player for South Africa in the past twenty years, I could quote batting averages for those players, I could name every famous skateboarder and tell you their signature moves, I knew every single player bar none in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, I could name every Manchester United player for the past half-century, I could quote engine dimensions and drivetrains on every single Porsche to have ever released including the elusive-but-amazing 935 and 959 supercars. I was something of a boffin, owing mostly to my obsessive-compulsive nature.

Thing is, during all that time these were just passing fancies for me, again like the whimsical sexually curious teenage girl I mentioned. The true obsession for me was always gaming. When I still had milk teeth, before I could even count to ten, I was obsessed with games. We had an old Golden China ‘TV games’ console with a bunch of old cartridges and I adored that thing to bits. I would play all sorts of games the likes of Excite Bike, Othello and… look it’s been a long time, I can’t remember the names of all of them. I would make every excuse to go along with my family on Sunday afternoon to the flea market in the hopes that someone there was selling cartridges that I could then force my parents to buy (read: cry until they did) in order to come home and play games. It rarely worked, but I was ever so incorrigible, even then.

My parents always thought that I was quite an outgoing child who loved everyone because I would always want to visit family and friends of family and stay over, but my parents never figured out that my outgoing nature had purpose; there was a pattern you see: Every family I wished to stay with, even if just for a school weekend, had some form of gaming device that I wished to get contact time with. I stayed over with a friend of my mother’s, at the time a complete stranger to me, because I really wanted to play some sort of magic-themed game on their Windows 95 PC. I would regularly visit cousins just to play the likes of Contra, Need for Speed and Tomb Raider. I would then try where possible to borrow these games for myself, although I was completely useless at installing and playing things at the time.

I pestered one of my cousins for weeks — read: weeks — just so he would come home and install The Lion King and Aladdin onto my home PC for me. He never did. But perseverance was my greatest attribute and I really just wanted to play all things. At primary school when the Computer Literacy course was introduced, I was always the first to line up outside the computer room high up on the third floor of the school’s multi-storey ‘junior primary’ building. Mind you the only games those old, useless PCs had was Dave, but I didn’t care. I played it and enjoyed it, regardless.

I got my first PC in 1997, a second-hand Windows 95 antique that my parents picked up at a pawn shop for cheap. I used it primarily for Freecell, Solitaire and Minesweeper; I couldn’t wrap my mind around Hearts back then. There was also some Commander Keen and Quake thrown into the mix. I finished my first game in 1998; it was Super Mario Bros 3 on that Golden China, and a copy that I’d ‘lifted’ off a family member’s console and then returned later in a ninja-esque fashion. What? They wouldn’t lend it to me when I asked. By 2001, I had acquired a proper PC that was capable of some gaming and managed to play the likes of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Tomb Raider 2 and some old Transylvania puzzle game the name of which I cannot recall, and I loved that PC to bits. I spent more hours playing Need for Speed: Porsche 2000 than I think some have spent playing World of Warcraft, I am not even kidding around about that. By 2003, after the death of the previous PC and some seven months spent without any form of gaming in my life — apart from a recently discovered magazine called NAG that I picked up at a local corner store — I was absolutely obsessed with gaming to the point that I would sit at the desk where my PC was and just imagine myself playing games. I failed two subjects in the term that I received my next PC because I only ever cared about playing games and gave zero flying fucks about any sort of homework.

It was that need to always be free at home to play games that led to me always completing my homework at school, when I was in high school, so that I could come home and play games. It got to a point when I would come home and fall asleep immediately after having lunch, and then I’d wake up hating myself because I’d lost some two or three hours of precious gaming time. And I didn’t even have a lot to play back then; indeed, a lot of time was just spent replaying the games I had already finished a bunch of times. I was just that obsessive about my gaming. To put that into perspective, I finished Doom 3 at least once on every difficulty, plus a bunch of other shorter runs, finished Half-Life 2 on every difficulty, twice, and then also finished the full fifteen-season career modes of FIFA06, FIFA07 and FIFA08, which perhaps explains why now I cannot go near a FIFA game without wanting to hurl.

I could go on about how much of my life I gave to games the likes of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Freelancer, Dark Messiah: Might and Magic, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and more; perhaps even talk about how my addiction to DotA in 2008 pretty much eliminated my chances of successfully passing my Computer Science degree at university. But I think I’ve made my point, and talked up my origins enough.

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I am obsessed with gaming. I think that kinda goes without saying at this point. I was that kid who turned down invites to parties and outings because he wanted to stay home and play games. How I managed to ever have experiences of drunken debauchery growing up, I still don’t even know. Sometimes it even boggles my mind to think that there are people in the world who would willingly have sex with me. But there you have it. I would much rather stay home in hibernation spending weeks playing Skyrim if I could. In recent years, I have at least accepted that anything in excess is unhealthy and so moderation is key. This is why I barely play that much any more, although I do take every afforded opportunity to get in some gaming.

Unfortunately life gets in the way of obsessions… well, life and restraining orders I guess. So if you’re in school now, you should definitely enjoy that free time while it lasts. Come university and thereafter employment, assuming you make it out of university in one piece, your time is going to become the thing you obsess over, because there’ll always be so much to do and so little time to do it.

Nowadays you could say that eGamer is my obsession, although I do have one other obsession in my life. Not relevant to this column. So when I go on about Xbox’s Games with Gold or when I criticise early adoption, you’d best believe that I am doing so because I truly love gaming and I want to see it progress. My first column for the year cautioned restraint by asking gamers to hold off on getting immediately hyped about the games they will see this year. It was a fruitless endeavour, achieving only around a hundred reads and barely any interactions. Perhaps that’s my failing as a writer. But the perspective is there; I do care about this industry and I want to see it progress, not be held back by the mistakes of the past.

It is extremely frustrating then to see the egregious defences that readers come up with, the insults and vociferous, vicious retorts that they use to defend their opinions just because they differ to my own. As if my words are poison to their minds or something. Don’t get me wrong though, this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to their words. Like I said, I’ve made my peace with it. I just think that it’s worth pointing reference to and going, “Do you see what’s wrong with that picture?” And I really hope you all do.

Also I hope that you guys enjoyed this read. So I guess now it’s your turn, since everyone has an origin story. What’s yours?

The post Life, The Universe And Gaming: Everyone Has An Origin Story appeared first on #egmr.


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Last week we previewed the upcoming From Software masochism simulator Dark Souls II for you guys. Now what you might not know is that prior to that, last week’s preview — which it was my turn to put out — was supposed to be Dying Light however the realisation that its release date had been pushed back forced a fresh start with a new game. At the time I had taken to Twitter to ask my beloved followers what game they would like previewed and amidst the various Final Fantasy XV and The Witcher 3 requests (both too far away) I got a Dark Souls II request, which I accepted. What happened next was a flurry of replies along the lines of, “But did you even finish the first one?” and, “Real gamers have finished Dark Souls.”

One of my university friends, whom I get on splendidly with IRL, actually followed that up with a tweet that went as follows: “Think you a gamer … beat Dark Souls ..”

Harmless jab though it was, he wasn’t the only one who seemed to think so and it certainly warranted me starting up that Dark Souls II preview with an immediate disclaimer that went like so: “I’ve never finished the first Dark Souls but I gave it more than one solid go.” I figured that way I wouldn’t immediately be taken to task for previewing Dark Souls II and anyone who disagreed with someone who hasn’t finished Dark Souls previewing the sequel could just close the tab then and there and be done with it. Thankfully there wasn’t too much in the way of fanboy rage in the preview article itself… at least not until you go to its N4G page. Ouch.

And so I decided it was time to address this issue once and for all. Even though it’s totally been addressed literally billions of times before. Even though this particular discussion was going on before your respective deities created everything you know today. Even though nobody doesn’t know the song of the people that is about to sung right now. Fuck it. I feel like having a rant and right now, these Dark Souls fanboys, the so-called ‘gaming hardcore elite’, have pissed me the fuck off. So let’s do this, shall we?

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First off, straight up, fuck Dark Souls.

I don’t think I’m less of a gamer or a person in general if I haven’t finished Dark Souls. I’m sorry but if difficulty is what makes someone a gamer then I have completed all of the Gears of War games on insane, I’ve completed both the Darksiders games on apocalyptic, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings on dark, nearly all of the Call of Duty games on veteran and even the Mass Effect games on insanity difficulty; I’d actually pay real money to see some of you Dark Souls hardcore gamer elites try to do even half of those. So no, difficulty is not the issue for me. (Sorry if that sounded boastful but in a discussion about Dark Souls fanboys… you get the idea.)

The real issue for me is time. A lot of people have time to throw hundreds of hours into an RPG. The last time I had that kind of time was when Skyrim was out and I gave it three weeks of non-stop gaming before putting it away and not even getting so much as an hour to get back into it after acquiring all of the DLC for it. Dark Souls is one of those games that requires hundreds of hours worth of time investment. Between doing game reviews and playing other games for myself (which happens so rarely these days) I just do not have the time for another hundreds-of-hours-long RPG the likes of Dark Souls.

It’s not about difficulty; it’s about time allowance.

Still, so many gamers will scoff at my not having completed the game as if it makes me less of gamer or a person in general and yet how many of you finished Dark Souls — to play your own game for a second — without resorting to guides or tips of some sort? How many of you actually played the game to completion? And yet you call yourselves hardcore. Excuse me for saying so but any game that requires you to do extensive research before making progress is not a game I would play in a hurry. And that’s not to say I don’t like a challenge, because I’ve played the Myst games and various other old puzzle titles the likes of which I guarantee a lot of Dark Souls players would struggle with. I finished Beneath A Steel Sky without a walkthrough, if that means anything to the kids reading this. It’s not about challenge, I assure you. I relish a challenge, and I will worship the ability of a game to educate me. But a game that presents vapid difficulty just for the sake of being difficult… I mean really, that’s like entering a relationship with someone you know is a creepy stalker who will ruin your life. And then wondering what happened.

I get that there’s a sense of achievement to be felt in Dark Souls and I get that the reward comes in figuring out the common sense route to take, but why can’t I be allowed to do that in my own time? Hell, Yahtzee only got around to Dark Souls this year. I currently don’t own a copy of Dark Souls, having returned the copy I had, but I plan on purchasing the game when next I come across it at a store. I plan on actually giving it another go, mostly because the completionist in me won’t allow me to just put it down and walk away, and because like I said, I do like a challenge. Even if it’s just egregiously masochistic difficulty.

But don’t frustrate me with your assumption that because I’m putting it off until later, I’m not worthy of the title of gamer. What the fuck even is the title of gamer meant to mean, then? I’ve played hundreds of games, a lot of them on the highest difficulty. I’ve spent hundreds of hours playing some of those games. There is nothing in Dark Souls that scares me or makes me apprehensive about playing it. I simply do not have the time for it right now, nor the willingness to have difficulty for the sake of difficulty shovelled constantly into my face.

Please tell me again how that makes me or anyone else like me any less of a gamer or a person in general, because I’d really honestly like to know.

As if Dark Souls is the qualifier for all gamers in order to call themselves gamers.

Bitch please, that’s Half-Life 2.

The post Life, The Universe And Gaming: “Real Gamers Have Finished Dark Souls” appeared first on #egmr.


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Es ist schon eine ganze Weile her, dass wir Euch in der Kategorie Videoselection eine Auswahl an angesagten Gameplays, Lets Plays oder Trailer vorgestellt haben. Heute wollen wir in wieder in die regelmäßige Reihe einsteigen und eine Auswahl an Videos […]
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