Monthly Archives: March 2015

Blog series: Defined my childhood video games

How I became a video game sniper

If you have been reading my blog to any extent, you know I have loved & played video games since possibly the womb.  Video game play has gotten a bad rap, but I definitely attribute my stellar hand-eye coordination to my countless hours playing, & in particular shooting.  Three years or so ago, I had an epiphany while playing MAG on my PS3: I am a video game sniper.  So, how did I get here?

In the beginning  …

On my ATARI, I remember shooting up a storm on Space Invaders, but it all really began with my Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  When we got the NES, we also got the Zapper light gun controller & Duck Hunt.

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Duck Hunt

via Wikimedia.org

Firstly, who didn’t technically cheat by holding the gun right up to the screen & still somehow miss?!  Secondly, who didn’t hate that condescending dog after playing for more than 20 minutes?

Screen shot of NES's Duck Hunt.

via wikimedia.org

So, that is my first memory of using guns.  My dad taught me how to shoot an air pellet gun in real life, but I never really went beyond that for me … except in video games that is!  I remember playing Contra & loving it.  There was also the Mega Man series: the android with a heart of gold & a gun for an arm!  And of course, Metroid!  For the NES, that is all I can remember as far as shooters.

Next gen shooting

On my Sega Genesis, there wasn’t any shooting going on, unless you count Earthworm Jim.  We then got the Nintendo 64 & while it wasn’t a gun that I was shooting, I was shooting the hell out of my bow & slingshot in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  Then, Goldeneye was released.

Screenshot of gameplay from N64's Goldeneye.

via wikia.com

Goldeneye multiplayer was everything at the time.  First, ground rules for multiplayer: no one can pick Oddjob nor the Golden Gun. Second, don’t look at my screen!  I spent countless hours playing multiplayer matches of Goldeneye with my friends.  Definitely a COD precursor.  Playing this game, I first heard of the complaint of “camping”.

Shooting up a storm in the arcade

I won’t delve too deeply into this medium, because I already discussed it in previous posts, but Time Crisis II & Silent Scope were big favorites of mine whenever I saw either machine in an arcade.  Certain portions of Sega’s masterful Star Wars Trilogy, also had blaster action that was performed using the joystick.

Games come on discs?! (Next next gen)

The first time I played Metal Gear Solid, it was on the PS1. Two words: Sniper Wolf.  Enough said.

Sniper Wolf (Julie Monroe) from Metal Gear Solid 2 on the Playstation

via photobucket.com

While Halo: Combat Evolved has a lot of shooting on the Xbox, I don’t really remember getting much sniping done while playing it.  On to the PS2, I returned to the Metal Gear Solid series with MGS 3: Snake Eater.  Talk about sneaking & waiting for the perfect shot.

Next next next gen

I never did buy a Xbox 360, so I can’t comment on the rest of the Halo series.  I did, however,  have a PS3 & Wii.  I played a lot of first person shooters (FPS) on the PS3 including the three Uncharted games, & Valkyria Chronicles (which is a beautiful combo turn-based shooter that you should check out if haven’t already), but the three games that really solidified my sniper leanings were: Starhawk, Fallout 3, & MAG.

Starhawk (PS3)
images gathered via google.com

images gathered via google.com

This game had everything I enjoy: the ability to snipe, teamwork, strategizing, building/deconstructing, & capture the flag!  Sniping from within a bunker was always fun & frustrating (the good kind).  I hope that a version of this fun online game makes its way to the PS4.  I am sure this is the reason I enjoy Destiny on my PS4 so much.

Fallout 3 (PS3)
via google images

via google images

This game had a really disappointing regular sniper rifle that, at first, truly frustrated me.  But, then, I came across the Drifter & everything changed.  Basically, my primarily thought while playing Fallout 3 was, “I hope you aren’t important for the storyline, because I really want your gun.”  A post-Apocolyptic world will do that to your thinking.  The Drifter did not need to live & so I acquired the Reservist’s Rifle, which by far is the most durable sniper rifle in the game.  Durable is as important as impact/damage in this game, since you are constantly scavenging to find parts in order to repair, mod, etc.

MAG (PS3)
MAG (PS3) Sniper and Marksman

Compilation via images google.com

This game was insanely fun.  It was so large in its scope, with 256 simultaneous online players in Domination, & a wide array of customization and skill set building that it stayed fresh over countless replays. I had different sniper load outs, depending on what role I was going to play in my platoon & what game mode I was playing.  I also enjoyed the ability to change your load out before you respawned in order to adapt to changing conditions of attack/defend.  While sniping didn’t lead to astronomical kills, it did lead to amazing kill-to-death ratios! I cannot say enough about this game.

Current gen

As of right now, I only own a PS4.  The games I currently play the most are Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (COD:AW) & Destiny.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4)

I remember playing through COD: Ghost Recon on my PS3, but not really enjoying the online multiplayer aspect of it, especially not in comparison to MAG & Starhawk.  I’m still getting the hang of it, trying out different sensitivity settings, & figuring out which weapons work best for my style, etc.  I”ve been looking at Youtube videos to help orient me on how to successfully snipe in COD:AW & found this sniper class video from Anonymous Player:Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare sniper class

I’ve recent joined up with a clan, The Purgers, & I can definitely state that playing COD:AW with friends is what makes the experience for me.  We participated in the latest Clan Wars & won 1st place! If you are interested in joining our clan, send us a tweet!Purgers-collage

Destiny (PS4)

Destiny is online only & reminds me of what I enjoyed from Starhawk.  From the moment I began playing, I have met countless fellow guardians that have been helpful & welcoming.  I have been lucky enough to create an unofficial crew/clan with a few fellow Guardians with whom I play whenever any of us is online.  They are very welcoming and helpful.  Team chat is the great on Destiny because you don’t have to hear anyone else while playing the game, unless you are on the same fire team or Crucible team & elect to turn on the audio.

As with COD:AW, I have recently joined an official clan on Destiny for the PS4, Dames of Destiny.  I look forward to meeting fellow gamers in this clan!Destiny-collage

The first exotic weapon that I purchased from Xur was Ice Breaker, the sniper rifle.  Thanks t the handy-dandy Destiny app on my iPhone ,I can swap this little baby between both of my Guardians with ease.   It holds 6 bullets that regenerate, has great range, plus one of the perks is highlighted in my tweet shown below: victims spontaneously combust, dealing damage to others nearby.  How can I not love this weapon?  I’ve used to with great success in the Vault of Glass & Crota.

 

via Twitter @GeekSideShowing


So, do you play first-person shooters?  What kind of video game gun &/or style do you prefer?

5 fandom friday

5 Fandom Friday: My Top 5 Comfort Movies

I missed last week, but I’m getting back into the swing of things!  Here are my top 5 comfort movies, in no particular order:

Finding Nemo

I’m a marine bio geek & have been scuba diving since I was 13, so when this movie came out it was like being under water … but all of the marine life was talking of course!  There are so many things I love about this movie & no matter what kind of bad or of down I am feeling, this one always picks me up.  Sometimes you just need to have a good cry & know it will still be okay.

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride movie poster

via Pinterest.com

This is a great movie.  Granted there is a lot that I would have preferred to see, such as female characters talking about something other than Buttercup’s love interest or upcoming nuptials.  But aside from that, it has absolutely everything else; I absolutely love this film.  Andre the Giant: Check.  The 6-Fingered Man: Prepare-to-die Check.  Amazing catchphrase: Inconceivable Check!  Snarky & handsome rogue: I’ll-most-likely-kill-you-in-the-morning Check! It’s a kissing book: As-you-wish Check!  I could go on, but this image I found on Pinterest sums it up nicely …

Fan art of the most memorable phrases from The Princess Bride

via Pinterest.com

French Kiss

The comedy chemistry between Meg Ryan & Kevin Kline in this movie + Paris + the amazing La Vie En Rose + Jean Reno + hi-jinx = I’ve seen this movie more times than I can remember.  I tend to go for this movie when I have been disillusioned with something I really wanted & worked hard towards, but that didn’t pan out.  This movie reminds me that I still need to open myself up for something better that is coming along.

Plus …

Quote from the movie French Kiss

via Pinterest.com

Monty Python & the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

via Pinterest.com

If you can manage seeing 10 minutes of this movie without laughing out loud & feeling better, you are simply dead inside!  I spent close to 25 minutes trying to decide on which meme or quote from this hysterical movie; not for a lack of material, but because I couldn’t decide on just one.  Finally, I decided on the physics lesson Monty Python snuck into this gem of a movie.

Quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

via Pinterest.com

Addam’s Family

Addam's Family movie

via Pinterest.com

I have watched this countless times, but still laugh & enjoy this film every time I see it.  This is one of only two iTunes movies I own & have on my laptop.  The casting was perfect, the score was spectacular, & the rhythm of the script was just right. Morticia & Gomez are an aspiring couple: they are fiercely loyal, in love, passionate, supportive towards each other & amazing parents, too.

Honorable Mentions:

Groundhog Day
Ratatouille
Notting Hill
Say Anything


So, there you go!  Please feel free to leave me a comment about what you thought of my list &/or suggest a link-back.

Top Ten 1-Player Arcade Video Games

I used to LOVE going to the arcade. There was something about the whole ambiance that just enhanced a certain gaming experience for me.  I’m planning on discussing home consoles in further depth within this series, but for now I will say this: once Sega decided that the home console market was no longer a focus (I loved my Sega Genesis!), it went all out in creating fabulous arcade games.  Some of these are mentioned in this post.

I’ve already covered my Top Multiplayer arcade games in a previous post, and so this time around I wanted tackle my favorite 1-Player arcade games.

10. Silent Scope (Konami)

Silent Scope arcade video game

via www.arcade-musuem.com

This gem of a machine by Konami game came out after I had become hooked on the Time Crisis series, & it was great to play through the actual scope.  My inner snipper couldn’t have been happier in the arcade.  Playing through the scope, also, created a sort of focus cocoon while at an arcade.  You were more focused on the game than in normal instances.  The story was not the draw for me, as much as the experience this arcade came created.

9. Paperboy (Atari Games)

Screenshot from the arcade video game Paperboy by Atari

via arcade-museum.com

Who knew that vicariously having a paper route would be so fun?  Well, apparently, some marketing genius at Atari Games did!  I even played this on my NES when it came out.  It seems so weird to me now, but there was great satisfaction in throwing a paper perfectly into the mailbox of someone who had a subscription.

8. Donkey Kong (Nintendo)

Donkey Kong arcade video game  screenshot

via arcade-museum.com

The inspiration for Mario of Super Mario Bros., & clearly riffing off of King Kong’s kidnapping tendencies.  Ladders, barrels, a very upset giant ape.

7. Q*Bert (Gottlieb)

This game had it all: funky looking main character, trippy color combos, & jumping diagonally.

6. Frogger (Sega/Gremlin)

Screenshot of Frogger arcade video game instructions.

via arcade-museum.com

Crossing the street has never been so fun, frustrating, & deadly!  Why the frog in Frogger couldn’t swim & why those diving turtles were so treacherous are still unknown.

5. Pac-Man (Midway)

Screenshot of Pac-Man's start screen.

via arcade-museum.com

One of the first arcade video games that made a big impression on me.  This was all about memorizing the paths of the ghosts & outsmarting the pattern.  Also, I love that the characters had nicknames!

4. Dragon’s Lair (Cinematronics)

Screenshot of gameplay from Dragon's Lair arcade video game

via arcade-museum.com

Laserdisc technology meant amazing graphics! You get to direct the choices of Dirk the Daring (which is a great name BTW) in this great arcade RPG.  You basically need to make the “right” choice or poor Dirk instantly died.

3. Star Wars Trilogy (Sega)

This arcade game cost me a bunch of money in 1998, as I gladly took part in some of the most memorable battles of the Star Wars trilogy.  Battling Darth Vader with a light saber: check! Fly a X-Wing on the assault on the Death Star: check! Trip up a AT-AT on Hoth: check! Parry blaster shots from Boba Fett with your lightsaber?! Check!

2. Galaga (Namco)

Screenshot of gameplay from the arcade video game, Galaga

via arcade-museum.com

I love this game! If I see this arcade machine anywhere, I play it.  I cannot even adequately describe why I like it so much, but I had a moment of epiphany recently while playing the opening sequence of the campaign mode of Call of Duty: Advance Warfare.  There is a swarm of flying drones that are attacking your unit in Korea & you need to jump into a tank to take them out.  Once in the tank, you take control of the turret & the swarm of drones becomes a modern version of Galaga!  I keep replaying that sequence just for the sheer fun of reliving Galaga. Granted you end up needing to use an EMP to take the swarm out completely, it is just all kinds of nostalgic fun.

1. Ms. Pac-Man (Midway)

Screenshot of one of the 4 mazes in Ms. Pac-Man arcade video game.

via arcade-museum.com

One of the most famous Ms. ever.  Talk about fun!  Obviously a spin-off of Pac-Man, this game was fun in its own right because it had different mazes that alternated, instead of the same maze.


 

So what games are on your Top 10?  Share in the comments, send me a tweet @GeekSideShowing, or like my blog’s FB page.