September 30, 2005

Gamer’s Dilemma

Man, it’s hard to be a gamer sometimes. So many choices. So many games. So many systems. So little money.

We’re getting close to the release of the first Next-Gen system, the X-Box 360. That sucker will set me back $400 (‘cause really, what real gamer is going to get that piece-of-shit Core Package). Toss in a game or two (now at the great low price of $59.99) and I’m down $560, counting taxes. Ouch.

But wait, there are still plenty of games for the current systems that I want too! Let’s take a look, shall we?


Far Cry: Instincts -The demo was great. Reviews have been extremely positive. Plus, I love me my FPS’s

Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood -Loved the first one, I’ll explain more in a future post

Ninja Gaiden: Black - I’ve been meaning to buy this one since the original was released a year ago!

Half-Life 2 - With all the money I spend on console gaming and dvds, I don’t have the flow to purchase a PC that can play this baby properly, looks like I’ll get my fix on the X-Box.

GTA: San Andreas - Never bought the PS2 version because I was waiting for the X-Box version. Now it’s been out for months and I still haven’t gotten it.

Ghost Recon II: Summit Strike - I have no idea why, but I really want this game.

Blitz: The League - Well, I don’t know if I really want this one yet - I gotta see what the reviews look like - but I like the concept and the graphics look sweet. Not too fond of the 8-on-8 action, but what can you do?

Black - Practically zero info on this one, but those Criterion boys do know their programming.

Jade Empire - Yeah, I’m really behind on some games. This is one of them.

Conker - The original N64 version was one of my favorite games on that system. I want to play it now with the pretty graphics!


Shadow of the Colossus - Read the previous post for my thoughts on this gem.

Metal Gear Solid III: Subsistence - After MGS2's convoluted story, I was turned off my the MG series. But, MGSIII’s great reviews have rekindled my interest. Since this upgraded version of the game is coming out, I’m waiting for it.


Zelda: Twilight Princess - I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Ocarina of Time is my favorite game of all time, so this is a no-brainier. Plus, it might just be the last normal, playable Zelda released - have you seen that dvd remote control Nintendo is trying to pass off as a game controller? They are a zany bunch I tellz ya!

So, there you go. I think the grand total of the above it like 10 million dollars. Or maybe it just feels that way. Either way, with a full-time job and girlfriend, when am I going to find the time to play all of the above? Yup, it’s hard to be a game sometimes.

Shadow of the Colossus

A few years back I was obsessed with a little gem for the PS2 called Ico. That game is so beautiful, ethereal, surreal and just plain fantastic that it is the closest gaming has gotten to being an art form. It is close to the top of my list of five best gaming experiences ever. I've waiting for a sequel to Ico since the moment the credits ended. Well, I'm not getting a sequel to Ico, but I am getting Shadow of the Colossus, the next game by the creator of Ico, which could be described as Ico's spiritual successor.

I recently purchased the October issue of The Official Playstation Magazine because it had a playable demo of SotC. This game had fallen off my radar in the past few months, since almost of my gaming has been on the X-Box these days. But, that was before I played the demo.




First, much like Ico, this game is definitely NOT for everyone. One of my biggest pains as a gamer was that a gem like Ico was met with very little fanfare. It just didn't sell very well. Why does that bother me you ask? Not because I want more people to play the game, not at all. I could care less if Joe Schmoe - who plays games because some commercial made it look "cool", or because it's about gangsters killing rival gangsters - plays Ico or not, because quite frankly, Joe Schmoe is not going to appreciate the true masterpiece the Ico is. No, instead it upsets me because the creators of Ico deserve to be rewarded with mounds of cash for trying something truly unique, truly non-mainstream and for not giving in to the normal conventions of gaming. Ico was perfect the way it was and it wasn't bastardized by the interference of marketing surveys, stockholders, or catering to the lowest common denominator. The game's director had a vision and that vision was seen through. No compromises. And for that, he and his team should be rewarded.

But I digress. This post is not about Ico, it is about Shadow of the Colossus. And this game takes all that I previously mentioned and runs with it. Yes, he's done it again. A game that looks at gaming slightly different. A truly beautiful game, so amazingly huge in scale that few others can compare. A game that stimulates the player through the sheer experience of the world it creates. A vast world that is free to be explored as you want. A world with mountains, streams, lakes, forests, swamps, canyons and open fields as far as the eye can see. A game the features this vast world, modeled in insane detail down to the tiniest, most insignificant rock, and yet, all these creations are just there for the players enjoyment, for really, they are not necessary in the grand scheme of things. There might be a valley you can visit, with a beautiful waterfall, that is there - but if the player does not go exploring to find it, he'll be able to play the entire game and beat it and never see it. Yet it was created with as much detail as the main road you'll cross countless times.

SotC is, to quote the reviewer that reviewed the game in the magazine (it got a 4.5 out of 5), a "virtual vacation". It is not a game for the action-minded gamer. It is not a game for the gamer that needs his hand held and prompted what to do at all times. It is a game to be experienced rather than played. And all this, I got from one lousy demo. Man, I can't wait for the final product!

Ok, pretentious rant, over!