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Seven Games for Seven Days (or Years)

    As I get older I find myself in the situation that a lot of collectors do; just too much shit.

    It's not necessarily that my love for gaming is fading, quite the contrary. It would probably be fair to say that I'm just as interested in the hobby now as I ever have been. But, with a job that continually ekes away at my free time along with having a family and a household to maintain, I end up finally getting a lot of the stuff that I've searched for and have no spare time to enjoy it. If I never bought another game I still wouldn't have enough time left in my lifetime to fully digest what I've already got.

     With so many choices you'd think that I'd have a wide variety of gaming experiences, right? Nope.

    I don't know if it's analysis paralysis, rat's nest syndrome, or a deeply rooted psychological fear of change, but I find myself coming back to the same damn shit over and over again. Street Fighter II till your blue in the face. Fatal Fury until your eyes glaze over. Streets of Rage narcolepsy. Final Fight irritable bowl syndrome. Why?

     I've got all these games and not only do I not get a lot of chances to play them, but when I do it seems I vehemently deny myself the opportunity to play something new. Then I had this poorly conceived thought of forcing myself to play new games in unconventional (for me) genres. Possibly force myself to play each game for at least one whole day (day being an entire afternoon) then write down my thoughts on how everything goes. Great idea, right?

    Through the magic of procrastination, apathy, and boredom, that never came to fruition. This document was originally created roughly SIX FUCKING YEARS AGO.

    In six years I couldn't find the time and motivation to do what I originally set out to do. How sad is that?

    So as of today (5/23/10) I've decided to finish this vendetta against my own gaming tastes. I'm going to play a bunch of games that under normal circumstances I would not see beyond the title screen.

The Sandbox Entries
    So I'll start off on the right foot by lumping all three of these games under the same entry in complete defiance of the writing approach I just speculated on trying. These three loosely fit under the sandbox style of gaming and while completely different in presentation, I'm going to take the liberty of shoehorning them into one larger entry simply because of their similar play style. Plus, I actually played two of them to completion, which is a feat that I very rarely do nowadays.

  • Gun (Xbox) This was actually a pretty cool game. The story itself was rather short, but then again I mostly ignored the side quests and other fluff and stuck to the main story arc. The graphics were pretty good, although the entire map area was a bit small when compared to other open-ended games. The map boundaries were pretty jarring; most of the time you'd just run into an invisible wall in a vast open plain. The voice acting was serviceable, the combat adequate, and the horseback travelling was novel yet not completely different from the car driving (or running fast) found in other games. Now that I've seen the main quest to the end though, I don't see myself sitting down to replay the game from scratch or to finish off the dippy sidequests. I also found the whole noble halfbreed characterization one of the most trite, cliche' concepts in any work set in a western atmosphere.

  • Crackdown (Xbox 360) This was the first game I bought for 360 and one of the few that I actually looked forward to purchasing prior to owning the system. After playing the entire campaign until the end (again, quite a feat for myself) I thought that it was a really cool game with some great concepts but it ends way too soon. I love the superhuman abilities, especially how they offer such a great alternative just driving a car. My biggest gripe is that the melee attack is just too overpowering. It levels up incredibly quick, and being that there are really no "bosses" (just regular guys with a larger health bar) you can fucking bulldoze through virtually the whole game by only kicking. Once you defeat the bosses there's really nothing left to do in that area other than find hidden shit, which really has no appeal to me. My final verdict would be that I'm glad I invested time with the game and I did enjoy it, but I don't ever see myself even putting it into the console again now that I've beaten the campaign.

  • Prototype (Xbox 360) Rented this one from Gamefly and sent it back several days later. Flash forward a few months and it was on sale cheap, a hell of a lot cheaper than it was available anywhere else. Although I haven't played the entire story, what time I've spent with it left me impressed. Taking the accentuation away from vehicles and concentrating it onto superpower alternatives for transportation is very entertaining. I was really impressed with how fluid everything moves; the climbing, jumping, flying, and gliding all blends seamlessly together and controls really well. While the cityscape is a bit bland (boring even?) but the crowd interaction is neat and the sidequests are varied enough that I actually enjoy playing them. Devouring military personnel to sneak into a base is much more entertaining than taxiing NPC's from point A to B or inane fetch quests.

The Role Players
    Confession: I can count the number of RPG's I've played on one hand. The genre just never held any interest for me, even when I had a lot more time to devote at each gaming session. Grinding bores me to tears, non-interactive cut scenes just aren't my thing, and the inability to remember what the fuck is going on after putting a game down for several months only reinforces my bias against them. Being that none of the current generation offerings appeal to me in the least, I've reached way back into nostalgia to experience two RPG's that I (thought) I enjoyed in the remote past. I remember playing both of these titles years ago whenever they were current and AFAIK only had positive things to say about them at the time.

  • Miracle Warriors (SMS)

  • The 7th Saga (SNES)

The Sports