Hello! Welcome to the first news update of “The Gaming Hipster”! Today’s news: The blog is born!
Now, although I’ve written a rudimentary “What This Is About” page that you can clicky-click right up there on the menu bar, I think this first post is probably the best time to give a more personal explanation for why I’ve created this blog. A mini-autobiography of my history as a gamer if you will.
I’ve been playing games since the original Super Mario Bros, often enlisting one of my sisters’ help in executing the infinite life trick or simply having someone beat the game outright so I could jump to any level I chose. However, sometime after the SEGA Genesis, video games were absent from my life for many years. When I heard people talking about a giant sword on the top of a mountain that you needed a horse to get to, I figured that horse must have been able to do some damn amazing jumps to climb that thing. I’d no idea who Zelda, or Link, or Ganondorf was.
During these years I spent alot of time to myself, and alot of time reading. Something that has instilled a great respect for literature and storyline that remains in me to this day, but also created a sort of dissonance between myself and my peers. Although I was caught up in the Pokemon craze like everyone else for a bit, for the most part I was obsessed with reading Boxcar Children and Animorphs while my peers were playing the newly released Playstation and Nintendo 64. It was when this dissonance actually started making it difficult for me to make friends that my mother gave in and bought my brother and myself a Super Nintendo. Thus my obsession with video games began.
It wasn’t long before I’d poured thousands of hours into some of gaming’s greatest franchises; Castlevania, Zelda, Final Fantasy, Halo, Super Mario, Mortal Kombat, The Sims, and many more all through middle school and high school. My social life didn’t develop quite as much as my mother had hoped, instead, my obsession with reading was balanced with an obsession with gaming.
Now, fifteen years later and a history of gaming behind me that straddled the line of addiction, I find myself burning out. With my background of exposure to both literature and video games, I’ve begun to see the patterns in both story-telling, character development, and gameplay that dominates the AAA video game industry. This disillusionment has created an itch. Now, it’s only when I play games like Bioshock, Heavy Rain, Portal, or Braid that I find a way to scratch at it. True, I still play some of the big name games that come out. I admit to being a Final Fantasy fanboy, and Dead Space tickles me when I’m in the mood for horror, and I can appreciate the width and freedom of games like Fallout. But it’s when I discover games that are truly trying to do something different, be it an interesting form of gameplay or an unusual storyline, that I truly find my satisfaction.
So, this blog is here to shine a light on some of these games, and maybe start a conversation on what makes a great game. So bookmark this page, subscribe to the RSS feed (does anyone use that anymore?) , and drop me a line if you have anything to say, or know of something I should play :).
-The Gaming Hipster