Bang, Bang, You’re Dead (digitally)

I walk a fine line when it comes to playing games.  Either I’m completely obsessed with them or I’m fine without them.  It’s hard for me to find a middle ground.  I’m hardcore or distant, the word casual doesn’t exist in my gaming vocabulary.

A recent example of this is the game Angry Birds on the iPhone.  It’s a simple game where you launch little birds via slingshot at blocks where you must destroy little green pigs.  Fun and addicting, hence the over 6 million downloads of the game.  Then there’s the skill potion of the game, you can earn 1, 2, or 3 stars for each level depending on your total score, 3 being the best.  You see I could not enjoy the game and just play through it.  For whatever unreasonable reason I told myself I would not progress to the next level until I had gotten 3 stars on the previous one.  There are 585 stars to be gotten over the 195 levels.  Not exactly something you can accomplish in a lazy afternoon.  I played for a solid month pretty regularly often times hours on ends, sometimes spending over an hour on a single level.  Then all of a sudden I took a 3 month long break from the game.  Which falls in line with my previous statement of either being hardcore or distant.  Finally a few days ago I returned to the game and completed my quest of all 585 stars.  On one hand I felt completely accomplished, doing what most could not do even on a basic level, completing all 195 levels.  Not to mention earning 3 stars on each.  Then on the other hand, I wondered if I had wasted hours of my life accomplishing this task.

Part of me says yes, there were probably better things that I could have done with my time.  And there’s the other part that just says I got a boat load of entertainment out of the .99 I paid for the game.  That’s a pretty good bargain.  I guess it boils down to how you value your time.

All this to say, I miss talking and writing about video games.  I used to be a part of the journalism scene covering video games and now I’m not really, I still have some access but not as fully immersed as I used to be.  I really miss the free games.  Boy these things are expensive, I don’t know how some of you afford all those games.  (PS if any game developers out there want to send me review copies again, I’m more than happy to write about them.)

I’m definitely a part of the generation who can say they were one of the first generations to always have video games at home.  I’m a little young for the arcade revolution of the early 80′s but I can still remember the first Christmas that I unwrapped my very own NES.  What a day that was.  Jumping on goombas and shooting ducks and wanting to shoot that snide damn dog.  Good times.

Over the last few years I finally jumped on the Xbox wagon.  Truthfully I didn’t really latch on to Xbox.  I’ve always really been a Nintendo kind of guy.  And Playstation has never really captured my attention, except for in college when Tony Hawk was out on the PS2 when it was new.

I guess in the last few years, Xbox has filled the void that Nintendo has seemed to be lacking during it’s incarnation of the Wii.  I like my Wii and I sat out in front of a big box retailer the night before the launch.  It has provided some fun times, but as many times it has been pointed out the Wii lacks a “hardcore” edge.  Games that are either shooters or gritty.  1st party Wii titles have been good and I’m really looking forward to the new Zelda: Skyward Sword.  But if I had only stuck to the Wii I would have missed out on a quite a few great games.

I was playing quite regularly on an Xbox until last spring, but once my former roommate and I parted ways, that came to a halt, since it was his Xbox.  But I was hooked.  The online play was superb and the catalog of games was being amassed.

Luckily I have had a fortune of winning an Xbox in a contest recently and I am eagerly awaiting it’s arrival.  So I wanted to give a quick list of games that are on my “want” list.  Some of them older titles that I just missed and some that are recently out and even some that won’t be out for quite a while.

The games span both Xbox and the Wii, sadly there aren’t many PS3 exclusive games that even pique my interest, which means that none made this list.

The list.

First games that are already out.  Note: console after game is which platform I intend on playing the game on if available for multiple platforms.

Borderlands (Xbox) – I missed out on this one even when I still had access to an Xbox.  I’ve only heard good things and I think a game of the year edition is coming out soon, which will be nice (nice=cheaper).

Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) - I had gotten the first game when it launched and it fell victim to the “I played it a lot then just stopped” syndrome.  I’m actually working through the first one still.  Solely for the reason that I’ve heard great things about the sequel and want to have played the first before I move on to the 2nd one.  I heard the 2nd one isn’t groundbreaking or anything but just a solid sequel to a game.  Expanding on the original concepts and polishing what came before it, creating a great game.

Halo Reach (Xbox) – I’ve been an off and on Halo fan.  I played through the entire first game, but have only dabbled in the 2nd and 3rd games.  The multiplayer hasn’t ever won me over.  Not that I’m never any good at online play, I guess I’ve never sunk in enough time to memorize maps and such that it takes to be a good online Halo player.  I liked Halo ODST, partly, the campaign was WAYYY too short but the firefight mode was great.  So I’m excited to see what Reach is like, since I know they took elements from ODST and combined them into more of a mainline Halo game.

Metal of Honor (Xbox) – The real reason this makes the list is that I got to play the beta of the game on my PS3, not my first choice of console, but still a good experience.  Yes, it’s just another war game, but it looks solid and controversy aside, could be a great FPS, and since it’s a reboot of a franchise, I’d like to think they put good care into the game.  Though we’ll see how it stands up to Call of Duty: Black Ops (see upcoming list below).

The Other M (Wii) – This barely makes my list.  I’ve been a Metroid fan for many years.  And this was going to be the conclusion of a trilogy but done by Team Ninja, who has produced great titles before, but was their first venture into the Metroid cannon.  I heard a bit before the game launched, though the hype quickly died and I haven’t heard much since then.  We’ll see.  So much out there to play, it may keep getting pushed to the back burner.

On to games that are going to be coming out soon/anticipated for next year.  In order of release.

The Force Unleashed 2 (Xbox) release (10/26) – I really enjoyed the first game.  For me, regardless of game quality, this is a geek out for me.  I’m a Star Wars fan, and this game lived up to providing a Star Wars experience.  Many times during the game I became fully immersed in playing with the Force.  Overall it was a good showing of a game.  And from what I hear the 2nd game is a more polished version of the first one.  Hopefully the storyline is a good as well.  Though I must say after playing the demo of the game this week, I’m really hoping the game itself is much better than the demo.

Call of Duty: Black Ops (Xbox) release (11/9) – I’m not overly excited for this game.  I really enjoyed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and if you know anything about the Call of Duty series then you’ll probably agree that Infinity Ward made the superior games.  Though from what I’ve seen and the hype about this game is that Treyarch stepped up their game and this one could be as good as MW2.  If you know nothing about the Call of Duty series here is a lengthy yet informative article I just read.  All in all, I enjoy a good FPS multiplayer experience, albeit I’m still going to have to warm up to Halo, but from my experiences with MW2, I can hope that Black Ops will deliver.

Epic Mikey (Wii) release (11/30) – I think this game is going to fly below the radar and then blow people away.  This is what people are calling a “dark” Disney game.  It takes place in the Disney universe, yet it is not all princesses and flying carpets.  I had a chance to play this game at this year’s E3 convention and was thoroughly impressed with it.  It offers both an entry level game for kids while still providing a challenge and depth to those who are looking for a fully satisfying gaming experience.  Word on the street is that it will take a full 3 playthroughs to unlock all the mysteries of the game.  The game hinges on a “morality” type system where your choices will effect different portions of the game.  I hope people give it the respect it deserves and don’t overlook it because it is a Wii game and it’s a Disney game.  Only time will tell.  I for one will be checking it out at some point.

Here are 3 games that I just want to mention that are on my radar for a 2011 release.  Batman: Arkham City, the follow up to Batman: Arkham Asylum.  Gears of War 3.  And Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Let me know what you are playing and what you are looking forward to.

If you are a publisher who has happened to stumble on my blog and represent any of the mentioned games and would like to send me a review copy, please email me at andrewseely@gmail.com.