Personal Info and Gaming History

February 10, 2011 1 comment

First of all, thank you for visiting my Blog. I just wanted to start things off by sharing some of my gaming history and some basic info about me.

For one, I am 30 years old. That probably categorizes me somewhere in-between Pac-Man and Frogger in terms of video game age. Regardless, I am still playing video games in the prime of my adulthood. Why? Simple, I can’t stand the majority of TV programs out there. I’m the kind of person who would rather sit down and relax with a good video game or movie instead of watching TV. Video games are far more interactive than television, in my opinion. I feel like my mind is more engaged while playing games, whereas TV tends to lull me to sleep.

I am also married and we have three children, so I have my hands full at home. This makes for some interesting challenges when it comes to me and my gaming, some of which I’ll discuss later.

I’ve been playing video games off an on now for almost 25 years or so. My first console was a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and my brother and I played that thing to death, resurrected it so we could kill it again, and so on. We started with Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt, which I believe was the standard game that came with the console. But some of the more memorable titles for us on the NES were (in no particular order):

From there, we moved on to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and played a ton of games on there. Some of the highlights:

  • NBA Jam (He’s on fire! My brother and I would torch each other and friends for hours at a time playing this game.)
  • Donkey Kong Country (one the best games on the SNES. Period. I still have a copy of this game for my daughter’s SNES)
  • Mortal Kombat (yeah, even though this version had the lame “no blood” censorship, it still looked way better than the Genesis version)
  • Mortal Kombat II (I had a reserve copy waiting for rental at the local Blockbuster Video, rode 10miles on a bike on release date just to get it)
  • Killer Instinct (I would LOVE to see a newer, HD version of this but with RARE now owned by MS … I wouldn’t get a 360 just for this, but it would be tempting)
  • Madden NFL ’95 (this is the ONLY time I liked the Steelers. Rod Woodson + kick/punt return = TD every time)
  • NBA Live ’95 (I actually wrote a letter to Nintendo about this game, lol at my n0Obness for not understanding publisher-console manufacturer relationships)
  • Street Fighter II (I had both the original port and the Turbo edition and I still have a copy of Turbo lying around …)
  • Super Mario Kart (still have this one too, so many fond memories of red shells and banana peels … )

After the SNES, we actually skipped on getting the N64 in favor of the Sony Playstation. Its been all Sony since then 😀 Our Playstation was cool at first, then we Gan Ning’d it 😉 My personal favorites from this console:

  • Metal Gear Solid (my Gan Ning friend got me into this series with this game … best $5 I ever spent)
  • NFL Gameday (had this game when we got the console, bought the sequels later on too)
  • Mortal Kombat 4 (watching Quan Chi rip off your leg and beat you with it never got old)
  • Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (exotic cars + running from the cops = bad idea for a teen learning how to drive)
  • Crash Bandicoot (played at least a couple of these titles)
  • Gran Turismo (best racing game on the best console available. Owned both the original and GT2)

Even though the PS One had thousands of games for it, between Gan Ning-ing everything we could get our hands on and getting older and more into other things, its harder to remember which games we played for it =/ My brother and I played sporadically as we both went from our teenager years into our adult years, but we did have enough good gaming sense to move up and upgrade to the PS2 after it came out.

My gaming history with the PS2 went in phases as my life changed dramatically during the console’s lifetime. The first phase took place during my college years when the PS2 released. I was working full-time while I attended college, so there was little time for gaming. That being said though, I still had some favorite games to relax with when school was out:

This is where the next major adjustment in my life took place. Right around this time period, I met my wife and an opportunity arose for me to move ahead in my career at the same time. So, in 2003 we got married and moved thousands of miles away from our families for us to start our lives together along with my new career.  Things didn’t go as smoothly as we all had hoped that they would. My career turned out to be little more than a facade as the company began to crumble underneath us. Our marriage was on the rocks as well for various reasons that are typical of 1st-year married couples. Gaming became more of an escape, at times due to all the turbulent events going on around us. It took awhile to sort things out, but we eventually found a way to move on and survive.

At this point, I’m still playing the launch PS2 that I brought with us when we moved. I still played the games listed above, but I added Mortal Kombat Deception to the list of playable games, as well as a cheap bargain bin hit (for me anyway) Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero, and finally Madden NFL 2005. It was while playing Madden ’05 that my launch PS2 finally crapped out. In my frustration over the event, I put a boot through the top of the PS2, finishing off any hopes of getting it repaired. Now PS2-less, I saw no need to keep the games lying around, especially when I had already decided to reduce my inventory of games and the time spent playing them, especially my M-rated titles (I didn’t mind the MK games at the time, but the more I noticed my daughter enjoying them, the less I wanted her to continue enjoying them). So, I traded in all my games for some worthless amount of less-than-store-credit-cash at the local Gamestop and moved on with life.

About a year or so later, another unexpected event took place and that was when my teenage nephew from back home asked if he could come live with us in our home. My wife and I agreed to this, but it would not be long before either he or we realized just how different life was going to be for him out in this part of the US. My wife being the awesome person that she is, knew that he would be bored just sitting around the house outside school hours (especially in the winter) with nothing to do and nowhere to go. So, she made the decision to go out and buy a new PS2 slim to keep both him and I entertained ❤

Our first game was Need for Speed: Underground 2 (it was either that or the newest Madden game) but soon we began to grow our library of games once more. It was at this time that I first got introduced to KOEI and their Warriors’ series of games. My nephew and I were browsing the local Gamestop and he picked up a copy of Dynasty Warriors 4. I had never heard of the series before, but my nephew was familiar with it. We brought it home and the first time I played it, I got hooked. While my nephew laid claim to playing as the mighty Lu Bu, I chose to utilize the create-a-warrior feature of the game and cheesily created Jet Li and gave him the Fu Xi moveset (which I knew at the time as the big-ass sword moveset).

Many people want to hate on the series, but I had this difficult-to-explain attraction to the game that still sticks with me today. leady247 does a good job in tackling the task of trying to explain the series appeal in his series of blog articles entitled What Makes a Musou? Regardless of whether or not you are a fan of the series, I encourage you to read these articles.

Moving on with my new-found love of hack & slash games, I expanded my gaming library to include the following KOEI games for the PS2:

  • Samurai Warriors (the music playing on the Anegawa stage to this day remains my all-time favorite video game track)
  • Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends (my first expansion, not the last)
  • Samurai Warriors Xtreme Legends (introduced to my favorite character, Honda Tadakatsu)
  • Samurai Warriors 2 (rejuvenated my “completionist” mentality, I had to do EVERYTHING in this game)

It was while searching for information on Samurai Warriors 2, that I stumbled across the KOEI Warriors site. I was intrigued at the opportunity to discuss my thoughts about these games with many other people on their Forum, so I joined my first online forum using the name that now titles my blog to honor my favorite character from the KOEI series of Musou games. I quickly became a regular member there, spamming posting my way all over the Samurai Warriors boards. In time, I grew to have a similar fondness for the community there, especially the site’s founder Insp. Chin. I eventually found my way into the Forum Staff and have been pretty active since then, despite a few feeble attempts at retiring for various reasons. I am currently a Global Moderator there, and probably will be sticking around for a good while if things continue as they are today.

Moving on back to the rest of my gaming history, since I was an active member of the largest KOEI fansite around, I was getting introduced to all kinds of KOEI games and was hearing about them months before they were even available in the US. This naturally fueled my desire to continue playing the games and so I continued to expand my KOEI collection:

  • Warriors Orochi (a musou fan’s dream: Dynasty Warriors meets Samurai Warriors, I had mine on day one)
  • Samurai Warriors 2 Xtreme Legends (fully engulfed in fandom, I continued buying the expansions)
  • Samurai Warriors Katana (we had recently bought a Wii, so I grabbed this one too)
  • Warriors Orochi 2 (a pure fan-service game from start to finish with 90+ playable characters from the musou series)

Other notable non-KOEI games (all for the Wii):

  • Star Wars The Force Unleashed (I’m a Star Wars fan, I have a Wii-mote … I was hoping for the ultimate lightsaber experience and was only mildly disappointed)
  • Super Mario Galaxy (probably my favorite platforming game of all time. I completed it 100% with all 242 power stars)
  • Mario Kart Wii (my family’s favorite game for almost 2 years straight … still working on that 3-star rank ;))
  • Super Smash Brothers Brawl (a friend recommended it, it has online play and SOLID SNAKE)

This is when another major life-changing event took place, and that was the birth of our 2nd child. It had been many years since my wife was pregnant and it was technically my first experience with a baby. Priorities shifted dramatically, and playing video games was now more of a luxury than ever. In fact, so dramatic was this change, that I had to sell off my PS2 and all the games I had for it, including all of my KOEI collection. I resigned from the KOEI Warriors Forum Staff, and took time away from regular gaming to get adjusted to the way life was now moving on. I still kept my eye on KOEI and its latest games through the KOEI Warriors site though, and things started to settle down a bit.

That was when KOEI announced their latest game for a console I had not yet experienced, the PSP. That game was none other than Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce.

This game represented a departure, not only from the typical Musou game, but also from the types of games I was accustomed to playing. It featured shorter battles, designed for quick, pick-up-and-play gaming. Intrigued, I followed news on the game closely wondering if this type of gaming would fit my situation as a husband & father of a growing family. When enough information was released and videos of it circulated the KOEI Warriors Site & Forum, I became convinced that if I wanted to keep playing video games in my spare time (which was now MUCH less), then the PSP was my answer.

I bought my PSP in 2009 and haven’t looked back one day with regret. I bought Madden NFL 2009 to hold me over until I could get my hands on Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce. Once I got Strikeforce though, I couldn’t put it down. This was THE perfect game for me. I intend to do a detailed article/review on this game in the near future, but for now just know that this game rates as one of, if not, my favorite games of all time.

I slowly built up my PSP library around Strikeforce, focusing on series’ that I enjoyed on the other consoles, such as:

  • Warriors Orochi (currently re-visiting this game right now and hope to have it 100% complete soon)
  • Star Wars The Force Unleashed (hey, I liked the Wii version enough, and this was the cheaper and better port anyway)
  • Gran Turismo (ironic how it never managed to release until after I bought a PSP)
  • Street Fighter 3 Alpha Max (I wasn’t keen on the Alpha series, but I gave it a shot anyway)

Then, another bombshell game announcement hit the airwaves. Kojima Productions announced that they were making a new Metal Gear game for the PSP. Of course, they already had Metal Gear games on the PSP well before this, but none of them really interested me for various reasons (one of which was the desire to keep to my “no M-rated” policy). So, I followed this game with great interest, hoping that I would get another shot at one of my favorite game series. As soon as I verified the T-rating, I was sold.

Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker soon was added to my collection, and once I finished my 500+ hours with Strikeforce, I eagerly jumped right in to this game. This game was another perfect game for me. It was quite easily the best-looking game ever on the PSP, and it was designed by Hideo Kojima himself, making it a crucial piece of the Metal Gear storyline. I will also expand on this in another article later on.

That brings me more or less to where I am today. I have since added NBA 2K11 to my PSP collection to satisfy my basketball gaming needs, but don’t have any real need to expand my library any further. There are a couple of games out there that I would like, but they are both rare KOEI titles:

  • Warriors Orochi 2 (the PSP version is VERY hard to find and it remains at its release date price online, so I’m only half-heatedly interested in buying this)
  • Shin Sangoku Musou Multi Raid 2 (otherwise known as Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce 2 – the game that was released only in Japan and probably will never be released in the west)

Nothing would please me more than to add these to my collection, but Strikeforce 2 won’t have a US release, I’m sure of it. I don’t speak Japanese, nor do I have the time to stop and translate things while trying to play a portable game. So, it will remain as one of my biggest gaming disappointments.

I have more things I could write about, including if and when will I be able to move on with the times and get into the current generation of video games, but that will have to wait until another article. Thank you for taking the time to read this (you deserve at least a dozen cookies if you made it this far). I hope to have more to share next time.


Categories: Gaming