Friday, November 29, 2013

Bugs!

I was pretty proud of myself for catching this one:



But how the hell can anything compete with this nonsense:

The spirit of the season

People wonder why I get grouchy this time of year.



That's why. Yes, those are extreme examples, but not uncommon. There was a story on the 'news' yesterday in which a mother complained about not spending Thanksgiving with her family while standing in line at fucking Walmart. She dragged her daughter along and they ate turkey out of balled up aluminum foil. The kicker was that she was doing this 'for them.'

'I am skipping Thanksgiving so that I can buy more stuff.' In her mind there was nothing wrong with the statement.

I have no special allegiance to the Thanksgiving holiday. It is excuse to eat things that I don't get to eat very often, like homemade pumpkin pie and Young's Double Chocolate Stout. The frenzy that it kicks off, that has been sliding slowly backwards as retailers scrounge for more money, is repulsive. It is almost everything that is wrong with people collected into a box with a nice bow on top. Greed, misplaced priorities, indifference to all those around, it's all right there in line, waiting to knock down the door for clearance loofahs and toasters at 50% off.

Merry Retail-mas, and a happy credit debt year.

...

Assassins Creed IV make me want to me a pirate. I already fly a jack rackem nine months out of the year on the pole in my yard, perhaps it should never come down.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Insert pirate pun here

I am going to contradict most everything I said yesterday. You have been warned.

There is nothing decidedly 'next-gen' about Assassin's Creed IV. It looks slightly better and that is about it. No swanky voice controls are utilized. The SmartGlass integration may or may not be any good, I can never be bothered to have my phone near when I am playing because that means someone could call me. It is the third game, slightly streamlined set in a more interesting time period. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Assassin's Creed games have become an annual event. They certainly vary in quality but I have yet to play what could be considered a 'bad' one. The modern day segments annoyed me less than most, they never got in the way of sneaking around and stabbing dudes in the back. Black Flag minimizes this a little too much. You are no longer Desmond Miles, just nameless QA guy working for Abstergo Entertainment. You are making a game by playing a game, get it, nudge nudge? Honestly, I miss my overwrought plot lines and John de Lancie as my bitter, bitter father.

The standard Assassin's Creed pattern of opening an area and doing all of the possible sub-quests before advancing doesn't really work, either. I tried this in the first section and it let me do things that just didn't make sense, like recruiting pirates when I didn't have a ship and performing assassination missions when I was not an assassin. They are there because they always have been, not because they make sense in the new game. Black Flag is hesitant to take than final step, to not be just another Assassin's Creed game.

There still isn't much to complain about. It is a definite upswing for the franchise and you get to play as a god damn pirate, doing piratey things in piratey places. I have yet to tell YARR at my Kintect but I cannot promise that it will not happen eventually.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Xbox One ahoy

So, so poor now, but I have two shiny new consoles to show for it. My reactions to the PS4 have already been recorded and have not changed. It is an exceptional if bare bones system that will be used to play Retrogun and other indy exclusives for a long, long time. What it will not be is my primary console for multi-platform games. That box arrived on Friday afternoon and and has since taken up a commanding presence in my entertainment cabinet. I really enjoy using the XBox One, more than I thought I would, and it has sold me on voice commands and playing with the lights on so the Kinect can see me.

Setting up the PS4 took all of five minutes, most of which was spent finding a place in the power bar for the plug. The Xbox One took much, much longer: there were more cords to move and an additional piece of hardware to calibrate. I also learned that not all HDMI cords are the same - the one I was using for the Xbox 360 did not work with the Xbox One, which is why they have one in the box, I suppose. From opening the box to the system allowing me to play was about an hour and what finally greeted me was comfortingly familiar: it was Windows 8.

Microsoft has done a good job synchronizing their look across three different platforms so I was not at all thrown off my the big square buttons and nested menus. What made it even better was the I didn't need to learn then, I could just tell the Xbox where to go. Voice commands work almost 100% of the time, at least for me. Being a midwestern white guy with zero discernible accent has its advantages. I was able to install Skype and make a call without touching the controller. This feeling of newness is what the PS4 is missing. I am doing something that I could not do before.

It is obvious that this is the first iteration of the UI as there are obvious changes that need to be made. Foremost would be the ability to stream music via Xbox Music without having to snap the application to the side of the screen. On the Xbox 360 I was able to stream music from a Windows Media Device (read that as my old ass desktop) over any game. The One allows this streaming from the cloud, which is better, but you have to give the entire right side of the screen to do it, which is terrible. The music in Forza 5 is not good, but shrinking the screen enough to allow music streaming was just not going to happen. Fix this.

Forza 5 was my launch title and I do not regret it. It suffers from a few of the same things that Killzone Shadow Fall does, namely that it is a new iteration of an existing series that looks better than its predecessors but is not necessarily a better game. I fell in love with Forza Horizon. The open world crossed with just a hint of a story line kept me hooked until the very end. Contrast that with Forza 5, which looks better and leverages drivatars to great effect but has already lost me because there are very few tracks and no narrative. It will be a game I play in spurts when I need to get my race on, not one that devours weeks at a time.

Killer Instinct is just not going to get played. By all accounts it is far better than it has any right to be. I will never know because my arcade stick is not supported and I am not going to shell out $200 more dollars for one. Yes, the d-pad on the new controller is better but using the shoulder buttons just doesn't work for me. I made it through enough of training mode to know that, given the appropriate interface, I would probably enjoy it. Unfortunately I am no pad warrior and it is just not going to happen.

There other quibbles that will most likely get sorted out in time and I can get over them if I keep in mind that the Xbox 360 I am used to is almost a different console than the one it started as. The final version of the interface was polished and honed and broken and fixed for years before it ended up as we now know it. The fact that most everything works in the Xbox One UI is a miracle. If the store still sucks in six month I will complain. For now there is no reason to go into it anyway.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Anticipation

Had two whole viewers for a little while last night. It was oddly stressful: I had no idea who these people were, I was not broadcasting my voice or image, yet someone was watching me die, over and over, in Knack. At least the game is done. I still don't think that it is nearly as bad as it has been made out to be. It's a launch platformer that leaned a little bit on the difficult side.

Tried Warframe. It is just not for me. Playing alone is almost impossible, playing with others is a crap shoot, there is no lock on so trying to engage in melee combat is a fools errand. At the very least I can understand the allure, it is the same thing that sucked me into Phantasy Star Online years and years ago. It is just that right now, with one new console and another on a truck, I don't have the time in invest in that kind of game, especially when I don't really enjoy the combat.

Tonight will belong to Forza 5 and nothing else as Microsoft has not sent me the free code for Killer Instinct that I was promised. It is the highest reviewed game of either launch bunch, and why wouldn't it be, this is not Turn 10's first dance. The only complaint is that there are too few tracks, and that is okay, because I have plenty of other games to play. Assassins Creed IV is also waiting in the wings along with Grand Theft Auto V. That's somewhere between one hundred and and infinite number of hours right there.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sharing my pain

After furiously refreshing the UPS tracking page for three days my Xbox One has finally shipped, presumably to arrive sometime tomorrow. I was so excited last night that I actually dusted my entertainment center and speakers and made a new home for it on one of the shelves. Not being able to store it vertically is going to bug me because I want to show off just how huge it is. Once it is unboxed I am going to stack up my fat Xbox 360, my launch PS3, the PS4 and the Xbox One into an electronic orgy like pile and take a picture for posterity. This will be the most consoles that I have consecutively owned in a long time.

Knack has just about worn out its welcome. It should have ended last night but did not have the sense to. There was a climactic fight inside of a volcano that should have been the big finale. Knack was down, infected by a poisoned relic and constantly losing pieces of himself. He had to fight a giant mech that was both faster and more powerful than he was. Typical hero trial stuff and it should have ended with the credits. Instead Knack just gets better and now I am jumping around on an airship.

So here is what is going to happen: I am going to share my pain and test out the Twitch streaming.

http://www.twitch.tv/infinitebacklog

Starting around 8:00 central tonight I am going to stream the final few levels of Knack. This is my first attempt and I have no mic do there will be no talking and I have no idea what the quality of the stream will be. It is experimental all around, so if you happen to stop by let me know how it looks.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's not that bad, and I am terrible at games

I appear to be having the opposite reaction to Knack as just about everyone else.

'It's repetitive!' and 'It's too hard!' 

Knack being repetitive cannot be denied. There are about two or three environments that have been recycled several times now and the levels themselves are at least twice as long as they need to be. Enemies come in about five stock varieties that are reskinned. Encounters are just varying combinations of the five enemies dumped into a room.

This has been going on for about nine hours now but for some reason I am not tired of it yet. Perhaps the new console shine is brightening up a game that I would otherwise dismiss. Regardless of the reason, I am going to finish Knack, probably tonight, which leads me to the second complaint that I don't quite get. The game doesn't seem that overly hard to me.

There were warning to not play the game on Hard. No problem, I never play games on hard, anyway. On Normal Knack dies in one to two hits, regardless of his size. I think that this disconnect is what bothers people - Knack is suddenly King Kong sized yet he still gets smoked. It can be rationalized away by saying that his enemies grow with him. Instead of fighting over sized beetles he is throwing cars at planes and the planes are firing missiles back. The game doesn't really change; this is not a compliment, adjusting how Knack plays based on his size is a huge missed opportunity, one that could convince people to overlook how hard it is.

...

PSN issues prevented me from downloading Warframe last night. I would like to give it a try before the giant black box of doom arrives on Friday. Forza and Killer Instinct are going to devour my time, as will Assassins Creed IV. GTA V will just have to wait, perhaps indefinitely.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Not so shiny after all

Alright, time to slack off at work because it has been an insane seven hours and there are still a few more to go.

I will admit to be rather annoyed when I could not use my free 30 days of PSN first thing on Friday morning. It is a silly complaint and they had it fixed by the time I got back to the system that evening. The Playstation Network has been playing catch up to Xbox Live since its inception and it appears that it will continue to do so. I will spot them a half a days outage. They still got me the free games that I was promised and I will most likely renew my subscription when the thirty days are over. Cloud syncing of saves automatically is very cool, plus it looks likes a good chunk of the PA fighting game crowd will be making the jump next year.

Now if only my arcade stick worked. It doesn't. Which sucks.

Killzone Shadow Fall is already done and I will forget about it in a few days. Visually it was impressive (for a launch title) but as an entry to an established franchise it was average at best. Killzone games like to offer up maddenly difficult rooms near the end of the game that throw wave after wave of dudes at you. Big, bullet sponge dudes with impeccable aim and infinite ammunition. There are at least two of these in Shadow Fall, and they are really hard, but the not-fun cake is easily taken by a skydiving segment that has you plummeting down from orbit, dodging collapsing buildings. After about fifteen minutes of retries I realized that the invert vertical axis control setting does not hold true for flight controls. It was a separate option.

I am not sure which is worse, the separation of these settings or the fact the section controlled so poorly that I did not even realize that my controls were reversed.

Shadow Fall ends on a downer, which it should, and it teases the next game, which it also should. Not bad, just not new.

The not bad, just new feeling spills over to the rest of the system. Yesterday when I said that the whole experience was akin to upgrading an existing PC with a new video card it was not meant as a negative. This is quite literally more of the same but shinier and with a few new bells and whistles. The interface is very similar and the store is exactly same (which is not good). Sharing photos and streaming video is very cool but they do little to change how I interact with the system. I still have the new console buzz when turning it on but it is tempered because something newer is coming later this week.

Perhaps my bias is showing, but the arrival of the PS4 has made me more excited for the XboxOne. I get all of this plus voice control out of the box? Leaving the camera out of the PS4 package may have been a mistake. Time will tell.

...

Resogun is the new Geometry Wars. Geometry Wars spawned months of competition after it came out because for months it was the only thing worth playing. Then the post release drought ended and we still played Geometry Wars. Resogun will do the same thing. Months from now, when I am still working through the multiplatform backlog on my Xbox One I will be making time for Resogun. It's that good.

...

My goodness, Knack is actually pretty good. I described it as this generations Kameo before I had even played it. It turns out that I was correct in all the right ways. More tomorrow after I spend more time with it but I am pleasantly surprised.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Still here

Been a bit busy with, you know, a new console. I will post reaction tomorrow. They are good but not glowing; positive but not without reservation.

A few quick hits:

1. Early PSN sign issues are easily forgiven. It took less than a day to get it sorted out.
2. Killzone Shadow Fall is not as good as Killzone 3. Or Killzone 2. It may not be better than average.
3. Resogun is almost the new Geometry Wars. That is high praise indeed.
4. No one will agree with me on this one, but I am having a hard time warming up to the Dual Shock 4. The handles feel too long and the Options and Share buttons are in an odd place. Also the light on the front of the controller reflects off of the television when I play in the dark, which is all the time.

It's good but it doesn't feel new. Shiny and fast but more of an incremental upgrade, like adding a new video card to an existing computer.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What timing

Grand Theft Auto 5 just shipped.

Fuck me running.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Oh no! Deep crow!

I am really, really late to the party on this one but declaring Zeboyd Games as geniuses still needs to be done. They have suckered in an admitted graphics whore with an homage to 16 bit RPGs that both pokes fun at and improves upon all of their stereotypes. Add to that layers of Penny Arcade references and I have been thoroughly amused for the last six hours of gameplay.

Let's see if I can describe the combat system in a single run on sentence: Turn based/active time combat with swappable jobs and minimal equipment management with full auto regen at the end of each battle to keep the non-random encounters interesting and right at the edge of what can be beaten. It's beautiful. The leveling system is compressed to the point that levels are gained after almost every fight. The whole game is a 40 hours epic crunched down to 10 or so hours and it is a better game for it.

If that doesn't get you interested then years of Penny Arcade lore will. I have been jealous of the boys for almost as long as they have been doing the strip. This also means that I get most of the references. I say most because they are everywhere. Fighting the deep crow was a treat.


I am a terrible person for not having played this game earlier. My only solace is that I paid full price for it and I hope that some of the money is still finding its way back to Zeboyd. Well done, gentlemen, well done.



Monday, November 11, 2013

Tactical foolishness

I have made a significant tactical error. Sam Fischer would be ashamed.

My budget allows for only one launch title per console: Killzone and Forza 5. Everything else, and there are quite a few on the Xbox One, will be via my standard provider. From said provider I had two games last week: Splinter Cell Blacklist which I was playing a random new Armored Core game that I added months ago when then list was getting a bit thin. An assumption was made that Splinter Cell would take more than the weekend to finish so I sent back Armored Core unplayed.

I finished Splinter Cell that very night. Not having a new thing to play does not sit well but I did not want to buy a new XBLA game less than a week before the PS4 came out. After much soul searching I parted way with 2.99 and picked up On The Rainslick Precipice of Darkness 3. There is something poetic about closing out the end of a generation with a game that looks and plays like a SNES RPG.

That was timing failure number one. Secondly I forgot that there was a PS3 game coming out this week, and of course guess what shipped on time. Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus does need to be played, I would have prefered to play it later but now will have to do.

Yes, I know, first world problems.

...

It stands to reason that Tom Clancy games are a bit plot heavy. There is a lot of political intrigue to force out along with the ultra-violence in a short amount of time. I tuned it all out by the three quarters mark when I lost track of who was attacking who. The president gave Sam's team to power to do whatever they wanted but only if she agreed and blah, blah let me get back to my dark hallways and sneaking please. The shocking finale that had me playing as a member of the team instead of Sam, killing the Secretary of Defense, and Sam then appearing out of the background in a different outfit was far more confusing than it was anything else.

I made it to the end, something I would ordinarily be proud of, but it took dropping the difficulty down to rookie to get there. It was the best I could do in the time that I thought I had left before there were more important things to play. At four days before the PS4 I should be more excited. Instead I am second guessing buying both systems. There are not enough exclusives at this point to warrant owning both of them. The PS4 is cheaper and more powerful but the Xbox One feels like a generational leap instead of a better iteration of the current one. It's got me making space for a Kinect and I hate motion controls.

The PS3 was a $600 paper weight for months at a time. There were great games on it, some of the best of this generation, but will it become the silent partner just like the PS3? Am I so far down the Microsoft road that there is no turning back? Do you even know anyone else who has a Windows Phone?

Friday, November 8, 2013

No offense to the PS4...

But this is pretty cool:



The joining of video games with television and movies does not interest me but being able bounce back and forth between a game and others applications does. For example, I get stuck in a game. Instead of pausing the game and digging out my laptop I can switch over to Internet Explorer, find what I need, then be right back in the game. The same goes for Twitch, though I hope that Twitch work a little better than it does now.

Facial recognition to sign in to your profile is nice but I play in a dark room. Kinect 2.0 is good but I doubt it is that good.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hiding for no reason

Last night I got sidetracked by Splinter Cell Black List's optional levels. There are one note songs, either all stealth or all combat, and in theory they are shorter than the story levels. I say in theory because two stealth levels took me around two and a half hours of retrying. They were absolutely merciless exercises in perfection via repetition. Anyone sees you? Restart. Touch a laser beam? Restart. Attack dog smells you through the door? All restart. At about the one hour mark I paused the game and took a personal inventory. Why was I doing this? It stopped being fun thirty minutes ago.

I was taking the failure personally because the answer was always right there. If I had just waited a few more seconds or hid behind a different wall it would have worked. The stages in which you are encouraged to incapacitate all the enemies are slightly easier but the full on combat area that tasks you with surviving 20 fucking waves of dudes with guns is right out. I doubt that I will be attempting that one again.

It's the same kind of pseudo completionist nonsense that forced me to get all of the Enigma collectibles to appear on the map in Arkham Origins even though I had no intent of collecting them all. There is a limit but until I hit it I must have everything. I want to know what I am missing, maybe?

Anyway, it's time to buckle down and actually get work done on this game. Time is running out. There are PS4 games and controllers on the shelf at Best Buy (but no demo kiosk, which was my whole purpose of stopping there). There are pictures of stacks of PS4s on pallets just waiting to be sold.


Street dates suck. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Free is good

I scraped my head on a very roughly textured sloper at the gym last night. It both hurts and serves to highlight my rapidly retreating hairline. So I have not been in a good mood. Then I got an email from Microsoft stating that my copy of Killer Instinct, complete with all the characters, is going to be free and my day got better. No reason was given but current internet guesses range from a random drawing among rewards members to it being based on gamerscore. Regardless, I will take it, and assuming that my Qanba works on the Xbox One, I will be repping Fulgore whenever I am not playing Forza 5.

He may not be announced yet but there is no way they would leave him out.

Killer Instinct was the odd one out at the arcades of my youth. It was mostly Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. For a long time I played KI like I played Street Fighter: footsies and single hits. It worked and made people really angry because they didn't get to see big combos. Eventually I figure out linkers and could in respectably, but by then the next iteration of Street Fighter was out and it was time to move back. Resurrecting it as an Xbox One launch title is an interesting move made all the more daring by its subscription based distribution. Just want to play as Jago? Fine, just pay for Jago. This will lead to a lot of character specialists and I am okay with that. If I wasn't getting the whole deal for free I would do the same thing.

But how will it play? I am intentionally keeping my hopes low. If it comes in around the Injustice mark with better netcode I will be satisfied. Anything less than that and, well, it was free.

...

I am still rather upset about how I am going to have to change the name of the blog. Perhaps I will be able to snag infinitebacklog.com if I just let it expire and the blog disappears for a few days. Not fun.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Well that's a fine how do you do

The domain infinitebacklog.com was registered through Blogger around three years ago. It appears that they are not longer providing this service and that the domain name will expire on December 5th.

Can't purchase the domain name because they own it. Can't renew it because they don't do that anymore.

My choices include shit canning the entire thing, going back to the original name which was dumb or coming up with a new one, none of which are very appealing.

Playing on modern fears

I play the Splinter Cell games for the same reason that I return to Street Fighter after multiple rage quits - I enjoy the abuse. Both games punish mercilessly punish mistakes and reward good planning. It occurs to me that I just described Dark Souls, a game that I refuse to play, but fuck consistency. Who has time for that.

It took a good hour last night to get the Batman out of my play. Batman is stealthy but when he is seen he just kicks everyone's ass, creating a giant pile of dudes in the snow. When Sam is seen he dies because the bad guys have machine guns. You can tell a game is all in for stealth when it gives the player more points for just avoiding guys than it does for killing them. Avoiding confrontation is always the best way, it is just incredibly hard to do.

Especially when there are dogs and Sam smells like freshly cooked sausage.

If I must leverage an early complaint it is that the game takes itself deadly seriously. The recent Call of Duty games have had similar themes but there is a nod, especially in the bigger set pieces, that this is all just for fun. Sam never smiles. Everyone and everything is an asset and nothing more. The presentation is incredibly polished and because of that just a little unnerving. How unrealistic is any of what is portrayed? Not fanciful enough if you ask me. Not when I watch the news every night and it is always only a few degrees away from batshit insanity.

Games, like movies, reflect the mood of their target audience. They play on what we are nervous about or aggressive towards. Developers are in the business of giving us what we want and apparently we want to feel more secure by killing foreigners who are intent on killing lots and lots of civilians.

That got out of hand quickly. It's just a game, chamberlain, take it easy and stop watching the evening news.

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's happening

From an online chat with the Microsoft store:

"I'm happy to inform you that yes you will be receiving your order on November 22,and so we will ship the product a week before that. So before we will ship the product,we will charge your account and so please inform your bank that there will be an upcoming charge so that they will accept the charge and there will be no delay on the shipment."

Relief.

That's not funny

It is time to be uncharacteristically fair to a game that I did not really enjoy.

My initial dismissal to a non Mark Hamill Joker was premature. It took a bit for me to warm up to him, but the time he spent venting to and seducing Harley was very good. Spending just a bit of time in The Joker's head and he goes even crazier trying to figure out why Batman didn't let him die was fascinating. It would have been better if I was getting tired if the character.

I am not a comic book nerd. My obsessions are limited to video games and, well, more video games. The only comic books I own are the Knightfall series and everybody has that in a box in their basement. My point is that Batman's rogues gallery is larger than The Joker and Bane. The idea of an entire game set around Black Mask or the Falcone crime family was refreshing. Yes, the origin story of why Joker is obsessed with Batman (and vice versa) is good, but I want new stories with new characters. Give me more Clayface or Two Face or Zsasz. There are dozens of second and third tier villains to choose from and instead we get more of the same.

Which fits because the entire game is more of the same. And I am done being nice.

Technical issues, specifically the game locking up, are unforgivable, especially at the tail end of a console's life cycle. Arkham Origins locked up at least once every single time I played it, to the point that on at least one occasion I had people on my friends list sending me messages, wondering why the hell I was logging on every ten minutes. I do not understand how the game can have issues of this sort when it is literally the same thing as the last one minus all of the love and detail that made the previous game something special.

To give credit where credit it due, Chance said all of this and said it better, though I think that he was a little easy on the game. Yes, in a vacuum, the game is acceptable. Media is never consumed that way - I played Arkham Origins knowing full well that the last game was better and that there were other stories in the Batman universe that hadn't already been beaten to death. There are better open world action games. There are better Batman games.

In other words, I want Batman as a playable character in InFamous: Second Son. Is that too much to ask?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Wrong again?!

Let there never be any doubt that this blog is written as a stream of consciousness exercise and rarely proof read. A few days ago I noted that the absence of the Joker from Arkham Origins was a good thing, made some excuse about it being time for other villains and ignoring that I knew Mark Hamill would not involved so Joker's voice but just as if not more wrong than Batman's.

Oh well.

It is time to stop being so nice to this game. Between the constant crashing to the meaningless fetch quests I am getting suspicious that this is a not very good game disguised as a sequel to an otherwise peerless franchise. Time will tell.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A brief history of wasted money

Is it strange that I sat in front of my television for quite some time last night mentally arranging my new consoles?

A chronicle of Chamberlain's consoles.

Intellivision - belonged to my Uncle and I would always pester him to play it when we visited my Grandparents. Berzerk is the game I remember the most. Also my Grandfather saying that I could not play with it because his toe hurt. I believed him because I was a child and Grandpa says is absolutely true.

Atari 2600 - My father brought home a 2600 and a pile of games unannounced. I know now that it was either in middle of or just on the cusp of the great crash. Games were cheap and I did not have the discerning taste I do now (irony intentional).  Cosmic Ark, Adventure, Star Master, Combat, E.T.; these are the games of my formative years.

Mac - I remember when my Dad brought his first Fat Mac home and made the mistake of showing by brother and I Dark Castle and Shufflepuck. He also made the mistake of not password protecting the thing so we would wake up as early as we could to play. I don't know if we every finished that game...

NES - The NES was a Christmas present. I remember emerging from the house when winter was over and trying to brag to my neighbor that we got one. It didn't work because he had one, too. I also remember the very moment that I beat Super Mario Bros for the first time, finding the wand in Zelda by chance and understanding even as a child that the underwater section of TMNT was bullshit.

Turbo Grafx-16 - I don't remember why this was purchased prior to the SNES but I am glad that it was, if for not other reason that I got to play the Bonk games. It was eventually sold to help pay for an SNES.

SNES - I was in high school by the time the SNES came out. My parents went out and got it without telling us so when I came home one day to find my mother playing Super Mario World it was quite a surprise. Equally surprising was her not giving up her turn when she was done. The SNES stayed at home when I left for college so I never actually owned my own. All my games stayed home with by brother who kept them in mint condition along with a copy of ChronoTrigger that he sold for Texas dollars years later. This was also my first intro to online gaming - the X Band and Killer Instinct. It was terrible but I didn't know any better.

3DO - Yup, I owned one. Paid $500 for it, too, and that is in 1994 dollars. (note: 788.64 in today's dollars). This was done just because I was going away to school and fuck anyone who told me I was wasting my money. They were right, of course, but the system did have arcade perfect versions of Samurai Shodown and Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Once I found an adapter to use SNES controllers on it those games rarely left the system.

Playstation - My first job was at the Blockbuster a few miles from school. This provided me with ample free movies and, more importantly, free game rentals. I actually rented a two systems over Christmas break and played system linked Doom and Tekken for about two weeks straight. When I bought it and brought it back to my room the first game I played was Street Fighter Alpha and I had no one to play it with. Just like everyone else I played Final Fantasy VII and then bought VIII and IX out of blind faith. I also owned an original copy of Symphony of the Night that I sold years later because I needed the cash.

N64 - Waited in line at Best Buy for this one and bought no games because of the Blockbuster thing. Secret time - my store got the demo units in prior to the systems release date. I took one home after close one night, played it for hours, then brought it back the next morning before the store opened. My favorite version of Doom ever is still Doom 64. Another secret - I never bought either of the Zelda games. Shame on me, I suppose.

Dreamcast - This was the first system I ever pre-ordered. Again, I rented an import prior to its release and played the crap out of House of the Dead III. The only game that came home at release was Soul Calibur but it was worth it. Owning a Dreamcast, especially towards the end of its run, was like belonging to an exclusive club. We just knew that what we had on our hands was really, really cool. Skies and Arcadia and Grandia III were proof enough of that. Online play again became import - I had a second phone line installed so I could play Phantasy Star Online and not tie up the line.

PS2 - By this time I was working at an Electronics Boutique. My manager was not always on the up and up so I got to take mine home a day early. The first game I showed to anyone was Star Wars Starfighter to which my father replied 'Impressive. Most Impressive.' in a reasonable Vader voice. Silent Hill 2, Ico, God of War(s), numerous terrible JRPGs; there are far too many games to mention.

Gamecube - The GCN marks my final moments of love for Nintendo. The PS2 was there for its exclusives and multiplatform games. The Gamecube was there for RE:Make and Eternal Darkness, and eventually Resident Evil 4. Oh, and Ikaruga. Note - never finished Ikaruga, even after buying it on XBLA.

Xbox - I passed on the Xbox at launch out of misplaced loyalty to Sony and Nintendo.  When it became clear that it was the place to go for cross system titles I had to have one. It was paid for with trade ins, namely my N64 and Dreamcast. Blood money. A few years later I won one at a Mechassault tournament and then was given one by the company that same week. I gave both of those away just in time for my Xbox to die. This is a trend that would be repeated.

Xbox 360 - Reserved but obtained late because I was running a store and I oversold my launch allocation. Of the two previous next gen systems the 360 got the vast majority of the work. Not surprisingly I am current on my fourth unit. I have no regrets and in spite of what I know about the new systems the Xbox One will still end up being my main. For now. Unless the stupid game registration comes back. Then fuck 'em.

Playstation 3 - I still have mt launch 60 gig. It is a wonderful obelisk to excess and complexity and it will see use long after the 360 is moved aside as my guilty pleasure JRPGs just seem to keep coming out for it. The poor thing sits idle for months at at time, something that I am afraid will happen to the Playstation 4 as well. I have mentioned that I really want to make the PS4 my new home but I do not think I will be able to do it. The pull of the achievement metagame is just too strong.

The word of PC gaming was left out because I have embraced and retreated from it several times. Right now I am in full abandon it mode and that is after discovering Path of Exile. Eventually I will be back, but not until the sheen of my other new hardware wares off.