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In 1988, the four year-old version of me received his first video game console. I cut my teeth on the Nintendo Entertainment System, which kicked off a lifelong obsession with the medium. I've owned 16 different gaming consoles throughout the years, with the only semi-well-known consoles that I never purchased being Saturn, 3DO, Virtual Boy, and Jaguar. Some of my consoles broke down because I played them so much, while others were lucky if they ever got powered on. I decided to go through my gaming history and single out my favorite game for each system, along with some runners-up. Read on to see the highlights of each console, along with some personal stories about my experience with them.
By my count, I've owned 16 consoles (excluding current-gen systems). Here are my favorite games for each of them.
I've long been a fan of convincing my friends to do stupid things with me. Whether it's breaking into a scholarship hall in college to steal a bunch of nacho cheese or getting a bunch of people to get drunk and see Jack & Jill with me (to make fun of it, I assure you), no pursuit is too stupid or potentially ill-fated. I went solo skydiving several times in the early 2000s, and I decided recently that it was time for my first high-altitude tandem jump. Expecting to recruit maybe five or six adventurous friends, I was surprised to assemble a group of 17 terrified buddies to join me in my trip to Westside Skydivers in Winsted, Minnesota. Among the group were four Game Informer editors: Tim Turi, Ben Reeves, Ben Hanson, and myself. We grabbed footage of the entire ordeal, and you can watch it here.
Watch me get scared out of my mind, Tim being angry at the sky, Hanson looking like he's either about to cry or crap his pants, and Ben Reeves making the dumbest faces I've ever seen on a human being.
During a trip to New Orleans last month, I purchased an item that I immediately fell in love with. It was the Mega Fart Whoopie Cushion. I had a good week of fun with it before I returned to the office, which is where things took a tragic turn. After demonstrating its amazing fart power, I made the mistake of allowing Tim Turi to test it out. After a maliciously forceful plop onto his chair, the Mega Fart popped.
One of my Twitter followers sent me 142 Whoopie Cushions, so I did what had to be done.
I like Ben Hanson. I consider him a good friend, and he does some amazing video work for our site. However, he's also a complete moron. While we were filming our show floor tour, I decided to play a little game with him. Both Ben Reeves and I were wearing wireless microphones, so Hanson could hear us no matter where we were. I told him to look away, and said that Ben Reeves and I were going to hide and see how long it takes him to find us.
The dumbest thing I saw at E3 wasn't Nintendo Land, Wonderbooks, or the guy dressed as a horse. It was Ben Hanson.
Last year, I tried a little experiment when my dad visited me in Minneapolis. He never really understood why I love video games as much as I do, so I sat him down and recorded him playing five games. As expected, he hated Heavy Rain, was frightened by Katamari Damacy, and generally hated every second of the experience. He just left from his annual trip to Minneapolis, but I wasn't about to let him fly back to Kansas City without playing another handful of games that he'll hate.
My father made his annual trip up to GI, and I couldn't let him go home without playing more games that he can't stand.
I sit next to Bryan Vore, and there's a reason he's heard the sound of metal balls rolling across plastic for most of his work days this year. A little before Christmas, I saw this crazy ball maze game at a mall, and immediately sent my mom a picture of it as an idea for a Christmas present. The holidays rolled around, and I opened up the Perplexus Epic. I knew that I'd get consumed with the game, but didn't know if other members of the GI staff would share my enthusiasm. A couple months and two more Perplexus purchases later, and we're still only halfway through the Epic.
In the Game Informer office, the sound of metal balls rolling across plastic has increased about 4,000% since Christmas.
Ever since I moved to Minneapolis a couple of years ago to work for Game Informer, my sisters and I have started a bit of a tradition. Every time I come home to visit, we wind up in a bet based around a round of bowling. This originally resulted in tame consequences like getting hit with pies or eating spoonfuls of cinnamon, but eventually graduated into more undesirable acts like vomiting a gallon of milk or drinking a smoothie from hell. The girls eventually wised up and realized that I keep beating them at bowling, so they switched up the bet this time and focused it around go-karting. They beat me, so it was my turn this holiday break to do something stupid.
I lost a bet, so my sisters got to cover me in assorted crap and make me run a quarter of a mile. It sucked, and you can watch it here.
Like many gamers, I was skeptical when I saw the first concept video of Kinect. Adults and children were shown playing trivia games together, fixing busted tires at pit stops, scanning their real-life skateboard into a video game, and pretending to be a kung-fu master or Godzilla. I was initially skeptical of the peripheral, doubting it would work as advertised. My skepticism grew as the marketing campaign pushed forward, with Kudo Tsunoda knocking virtual balls back and forth everywhere from E3 to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. These demos started resembling gimmicky motion-based Wii minigames more and more, and I set my sights low for Kinect.
My history with the peripheral started with skepticism, graduated into cautious optimism, and has been on a steady decline into disappointment as time goes on.
Last month, I flew out to California to visit Obsidian and write our South Park cover story. THQ is publishing that game, and I learned that their PR rep Neal had been crashing midnight game launches in the Professor Genki suit from Saints Row: The Third. He happened to have the suit in his car during the trip, and asked if I'd be interested in donning the cape, stunt suit, and oversized head for the Skyrim launch. I've long been a fan of making an ass out of myself, so I said I'd be there with bells on.
While I was writing the South Park cover story in California last month, I got a chance to step into the oversized shoes of Saints Row: The Third's sociopathic Japanese cat mascot.
All of us gamers are insanely busy right now, dedicating whatever free time we have to our pursuits in Skyrim and Arkham City, or leveling up our characters in one of the season's big shooters. It seems like we've been hit by an avalanche of great titles in the past few months, but as I thought back, I realized that 2011 isn't an anomaly. I think back to working at Gamestop in 2001, and selling countless copies of titles like Grand Theft Auto III and Metal Gear Solid 2, along with the big launches of the Gamecube and Xbox. With all the fervor over this holiday's games, I decided to take a look back and compare this year's lineup with the one from a decade ago.
Sure, we're bogged down in Skyrim, Arkham City, Zelda, Uncharted, Battlefield, Modern Warfare, Mario, Assassin's Creed, and more, but the holiday season was arguably even more crowded ten years ago.
I've spent plenty of time discussing my love for the Mario series in articles and on Replay, and playing through Super Mario 3D Land brought back lots of great memories. Nintendo fans are thrilled about the game's inclusion of the classic Tanooki suit, so I put together my ten favorite Mario power-ups in honor of its return.
In honor of the Tanooki suit's return in Super Mario 3D Land, I look back at my ten favorite forms of Mario.
Outside of a trip to England, I had never traveled outside of the country until this last week. That’s why I was thrilled to learn that Tim Turi and I would be going to Japan for the Tokyo Game Show. I was excited about experiencing such a radically different culture, especially when it came to culinary options. To say my diet in America is limited would be generous, as I exist on a diet of frozen pizzas, macaroni & cheese, and peanut butter sandwiches. I knew things would be substantially different in Japan, and I told myself that I’d be willing to try any and all food options available to me. For the first several days, we ate miso ramen, curry, sushi, and other Japanese favorites. Then Tim Turi saw an Outback Steakhouse and LOST HIS ****ING MIND.
During my trip to Tokyo, I witnessed an utter freak-out from my fellow associate editor.