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So I stayed up all night for the first time in a long time today, and sometime around 7:00 am I decided to listen to the newest episode of the Game Informer show. Since it has been a pretty slow week in gaming, host Matt Helgeson decided to change up the format and ask his guests 10 questions about games, and the state of the world of gaming. As I listened to the Game Informer editors answer these though provoking questions in my sleepless state, I decided I wanted to answer them as well. I still haven't slept, so this should make for a good blog!
1.) What is your favorite game of all time?
For many people this is a very difficult question, but it has always been easy for me since my answer hasn't changed in over a decade. Without a doubt, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is my favorite game. There is a reason why so many people love this game, and why it frequently finds itself atop so many greatest games lists, it really is that good. The combat is fun and fluid thanks to the targeting system, the dungeon design is top notch, the characters are all very interesting, and the world is a blast to explore. It has also aged wonderfully (partly thanks to the amazing 3DS remake), and I have never been disappointed upon revisiting this game. It really is the perfect game (for me!).
Runner up: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - Even if you haven't played a Metal Gear game in your life, it is worth playing them all just to get to 4.
2.) What was the first console you owned?
Most people can usually pinpoint their first memory as the first extraordinary thing that happened to them. For me that event was my Dad coming home with a Super Nintendo. That system, along with Super Mario World and Final Fight, started a lifelong love of gaming that persists up to this very second (and is still going!). I still have that SNES, along with some of my fondest gaming memories to go with it.
Runner up: Perhaps the true answer to this question is my 3DS, the first console I bought with my own hard earned money.
3.) Recommend one game to your readers.
Another easy question, since last year I played an amazing game that I know many people missed out on since it never came to North America. That game is Mother 3 on the GameBoy Advance. Undoubtedly one of the best RPGs of the generation, Mother 3 is an awesome game with an inventive rhythm based combat system, creative enemies, and a story that is epic, hilarious, and moving. If you don't feel anything during the climactic, plot twisty final battle then you may not have a heart. It is a mystery why Nintendo never localized this game, but lucky for us an extremely dedicated group of fans has completely translated the game, and you can use their patch to teach English to a Japanese ROM of the game.
Runner Up: If you don't want to mess around with emulators, then go play Fire Emblem for the GBA. Technically the seventh in the series, it was the first to come to the states.
4.) What is the best video game console?
This may be a hard pill to swallow for some, but I'm going to make the argument for the Nintendo Wii. When you take a step back, the Wii was an extremely interesting experiment. Not only was it the first console to put all of it's trust in motion controls, but it also dared to be less powerful while claiming it could still have amazing games. Luckily, this experiment has become a success story, and one of the best selling consoles of all time. The Wii has proven that motion controls can work in a hardcore gaming experience (Skyward Sword), and that a system running on old tech can still produce amazing looking, top notch games (Mario Galaxy). What it lacks in WiiWare games it more than makes up for with the Virtual Console, the best game downloading service on any console. As for games? I'll leave you with a short list: Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess & Skyward Sword, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby Epic Yarn, Xenoblade Chronicles, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, and Super Paper Mario. Gotta love the Wii.
Runner Up: Super Nintendo, for having all of those Super games you can get on the Virtual Console! Super Mario World, Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy III (VI).
5.) What will happen to gaming in the next ten years?
I think we will see many big franchises go completely subscription based or free to play. Imagine Call of Duty being subscription based. Instead of a new retail game each year, it would just get updated with new maps, guns, and mechanics over time, with players paying a monthly or yearly fee. How about a Madden game where the rosters are updated yearly, and gameplay is patched like an MMO? With the FTP market getting so big, I can see these big one game per year franchises changing to match this new trend.
Runner up: The idea we all (or at least I) love to hate: completely cloud or streaming based consoles. Ugh.
6.) What is a big gaming series you just can't stand?
Sorry guys, but The Elder Scrolls sucks. I spent a lot of time with Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, and have to say I don't look back on any of that time fondly. I love RPGs, so I give each new TES game a chance hoping to love it (I loved Fallout 3), but so far the series hasn't won me over. The biggest issue is the combat, which is just plain boring. First person melee is hard to do right, and spamming right trigger to do the same sword swings for 100 hours just doesn't work. The giant open world is great, but only if you can have fun playing in it.
Runner up: I was also unable to get into Mass Effect. The third person shooter combat is fun, but the RPG elements are lacking.
7.) What is the most important game ever made?
When Nintendo revolutionizes gaming, it's either go big or go home. So they went big. Super Mario 64 is the most important game ever made, because it showed all other developers how to do a 3D world right. As the first true 3D platformer, it seems like a miracle that it is as good as it is (and that it worked as well as it did!). Even today, few games have managed to it's quality. It also perfected (and maybe created?) the hub world style that many games of that era would use, and some continue to use even today.
Runner up: The Legend of Zelda. How can a game from the 8-bit era be so complex!?! Wow!
8.) Who is the best video game character?
Snake from Metal Gear Solid is definitely the best character out there. Snake is a genetically created super soldier living in a world where being a genetically created super soldier is actually pretty normal. He works alone, taking down entire armies on his own (or sneaking past them at least), and his character is constantly being fleshed out by his interactions with other characters through codec calls. He seems to always be getting the crap end of the deal, and in some cases he is used as a pawn. But he persists, and always comes out on top. By the 4th game, his accelerated aging has turned him into a frail old man who is basically being kept alive by his body suit. How's that for a unique character?
Runner up: Leon Scott Kennedy. Just go play Resident Evil 4 and you will see why he is a certified BAD@$$!!!
9.) What is your most anticipated game of 2012?
I have never really played an Assassin's Creed game (maybe an hour of the first one), but Assassin's Creed III is my most anticipated game for sure. I was immediately sold on the game when I saw it was being set in the Revolutionary War (underused setting!), and the recent gameplay trailers have only added to my excitement. There are many other games I'm looking forward to this year, but I choose ACIII because it is an unknown. I could say New Super Mario Bros. 2, but what fun is that? It is 2D Mario, so I already know I am going to love it. I am looking forward to ACIII most because it has the potential of introducing me to a series I have yet to try out.
Runner Up: Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward for 3DS. The sequel to the amazing visual novel game Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors for DS, you should check it out!
10.) What did you have for lunch?
It is currently 10:17 so I haven't eaten lunch yet. If someone posts a comment on this blog asking what I ate, I will let you all know!
So there it is! My 10 answers to 10 questions from the GI Show! You can listen to the show that inspired this blog here! I still haven't slept, so I apologize for any major typos or errors. Please leave a comment below letting me know what you think, and thanks for reading!