Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Backlog: Time to Topple Mountains, Again!

I’m genuinely excited to be playing old games right now, thanks in part to 1UP FM. In the segment titled “Backlog”, the editors and other media people play through older games (ahem..., Squadron of Shame caliber choices) like “Shadow of the Colossus” and other prolific titles to reminisce and ruminate about their experiences in game’s the world.

Although I tend to move from game to game pretty quickly, I admire this segment since it encourages me to revisit games that I quickly flew through years ago, and never gave a second glance. I look forward to the Backlog segment each week, and although they are one podcast away from finishing “Shadow of the Colossus”, I figured now was a good a time to join them as any. So today at Gamestop, I re-bought the game everyone dubbed “a masterpiece” back in 2005.

Clearly, I’ve returned to gaming’s well this past week since all I’ve played is a lot of “Super Stardust HD” (61,000,000 points, and growing), fragged up the place in Halo 3’s Chill Out map remake named “Cold Storage”, and enlisted for my second tour in “Call of Duty 4” campaign.

Maybe I’m just a sour puss but I’m only half excited for for the plethora of announcements that will be unveiled during next weeks E3 in Los Angeles. E3 represents so much to gamers everywhere, and even if it’s significance is slightly diminished, it’ll still be North America’s biggest gaming spectacle of 2008 (unless PAX ’08 comes along and ends up even bigger).

Still, while we all wait and ruminate over the upcoming blockbuster titles that will slowly surface next week, I’ll be slaying mountain sized monster men (if Colossi indeed have a gender - and they might not).

Oh, and I went out and picked up the original “Animal Crossing” for the Nintendo Gamecube. Now, before the where-the-fuck-have-you-been alarm goes off in your head, Animal Crossing is one of the few games that I missed last gen (and I still don’t remember why). Now that I dwell on it, i recall playing “the Sims” and getting fed up with that kind of game. I haven’t tried any simulator till I played “Viva Pinata” this year.

My problem in general with these games is the amount of tedium in managing the micro economies they provide. In “The Sims” (the console sims Get a Life mode), i had to get a job and try to grow and manage relationships, and it all bored me to tears . The whole doll house, sandbox thing was completely irrelevant to me (mind you, Doll house fever and the Sims were all the rage back then), and despite my initial attraction to the concept I grew bored of the game and moved on. Then in 2006, the 1UP Yours podcast enticed me to go out an try “Viva Pinata”, a similar title in the simulation world, but I couldn’t get past the abhorrent packaging Microsoft slapped on that game (if you haven’t seen it, you need to).
A good friend of mine in New York sent me the game for Christmas, and I’ve loved it ever since. Now I’m not sure what changed in me from 2002 to now. Logistically, I still can’t figure it out, but I try to tend my Garden of Love in Viva, whenever I can.

However, Animal Crossing wasn’t an impulse buy. It was influenced by the opinion everyone has that we’ll hear Nintendo announce a sequel on Tuesday. Oh, well. We'll find out soon enough now won't we.

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