Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Don't Get It

Playing video games competitively has always been a concept I could never quite wrap my head around. Any time I could spend "training" with Street Fighter 2 to show off on the anime convention tournament circuit would be, at least in my opinion, better spent playing the million other games I haven't actually played yet. That's probably why I just don't like fighting games. Whatever depth in the combat there is, I don't want to spend the hours learning it all.

I've come to understand that games like Virtua Fighter 5 aren't for me. They're games designed for the perfectionists who get their kicks learning every combo in the book. The late-nighters holed up in your local anime con gaming room while hitting on underage catgirls and munching on strawbery filth-drenched Pocky crackers. The tournament kids who live for the hot-blooded Guilty Gear contests with ill-defined prizes. The cool kids of the gaming room. In their own way, they're the closest people who know what the hell a "Guilty Gear" is to embodying the famed alpha male of 4chan. Did you see that combo? It was so cash.

Me, I'm left out in the dust. I got about as far as memorization of the Izuna Drop before my brain shut down and let the Flying Swallow do the work. I just smile and nod. Despite the rampant insanity and pederasty apparent in the very eyes of these damned human beings, the face of terror is not here. Well, not here in this specific group of people. But in this room of flashing DDR machines and 50 screens running Naruto games, the true unspeakable Lovecraftian horror resides in the dark, scary Super Smash Brothers corner.

What is it that drives these people? Indeed, the people who have latched on to Smash Brothers the most are indeed the exact opposite of it's intended audience. Fighting games are ultimately a niche designed for the most obsessed. Smash Brothers was designed as a fighting game for people who don't like fighting games, much in the same way that Mario Kart is a racing game for people who don't like racing games, and Mario Party is a game for people who don't like fun video games. So what is it that gives people the idea that it's the kind of game that you should be pouring your heart and soul into?

The insanity of the situation is pretty self-evident. In Mario Kart, any success you find thanks to that golden mushroom can easily be undone by a randomly-shot blue shell. Likewise, Smash Bros is a game where victory is never guaranteed by skill. No matter how good you are, you're finished the second some bright-eyed newbie picks up hammer or successfully summons a Snorlax from the bowels of Pokemon hell. Nintendo practically screamed at the tournament players to stop this nonsense by adding tripping in Brawl. Needless to say, people were angry. But yet, they still play. A game where each character has little more than 3 moves and final smashes can cover the entire screen with no way to block. And yet, they studiously play. Madness.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Game Log #6

A week.

- Finally got myself a copy of Killer7. Possibly against my better judgment, I settled on the PS2 version (that being the only one available at the store). I don't quite have anything to judge it on, but the loading times are horrendous. So far, I'm definitely on the side of "this game is actually awesome", though I can certainly see how this would be a game that isn't for everyone. I'm just a total sucker for surrealism, unconventional gameplay, and assassin stories. Anything that can put those hands together is alright in my book.

- Went apeshit and bought Ninja Gaiden Black and Devil May Cry, two action games I've seriously been missing out on. Black was a huge gamble, being that the 360 has supposedly bad emulation of Black, and I had not heard much of anything about whether it was fixed with the XBox Originals version. I've been skeptical of buying original Xbox discs, as I'd never played an Xbox game on 360 that just ran perfectly. Hell, even the Halo games had problems. Awful slowdown during multiplayer, texture pop-in, etc. But so far, playing NG Black from the hard drive has been working surprisingly well. It runs as well (I imagine) as it did on the original Xbox. I think I might look into buying more of these via live, despite the tremendous ripoff of paying $15 dollars for games you can find in bargain bins for $10 or less. So far, I've broken 2 remote control playing these fucking games.

- Likewise, played a little Gungrave: Overdose. I can overlook the tremendous slowdown and nonsense story in favor of GUITAR THAT SHOOTS LIGHTING BOLTS and BLIND SAMURAI and METAL COFFIN THAT'S ALSO A ROCKET GUN.

- Sparkster for the Sega Genesis. I dunno. The music is awesome.