Many people have probably told you that New England is filled with monsters, cannibals, aliens, and Dennis Leary. Those people who have told you that are probably from Rhode Island, or as they call themselves "The Sanctuary From Demons." Author H.P. Lovecraft was made famous by his stories of creatures that roam around and under New England. Lovecraft, a Rhode Island native, famously said, "Vermont is full of flying crab people from Pluto." These are all lies made up by Rhode Island natives to help boost their real estate. There are no demons hiding in the abandoned city underneath your house, and Dennis Leary is hardly ever in Massachusetts to feast on your discarded skin. AT LEAST THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT AT FIRST.
Regardless of my disbelief in such tales, I often did some sleuthing to see if there was any truth to these legends and myths. One local myth that I was researching centered around a rickety old house in Northampton, Massachusetts. As a game, the children of the area often dared each other to knock on the old house's door. The unfortunate children selected reported that a ghastly old woman answered the door. They said that the old woman seemed nice at first and even offered them some treats, but after that things got sinister and scary, but what they experienced they would not say. No matter how much I yelled at these children in their school playground, they would not reveal what horrors they experienced in that old house. I decided to take matters into my own hands and visit the house myself.
The house as expected was in a slight state of disrepair. A black wrought iron fence surrounded a lawn that I can only describe as "gargoyle heavy." It reminded me in a way of my grandmother's house. The house could use a coat of paint and the doorknocker was made from a man's jawbone (Just like Grandma's!). After a knock at the door, the old lady answered and seemed delighted that she had a guest, displaying all of her grey teeth. She indeed reminded me of a grandmother figure, she wore a dirty old wedding dress, had small yellow eyes, and a hook for a hand. She welcomed me into her home and offered me some tea, biscuits, and a saucer of human blood... the usual things a grandmother would do. I asked if she had many visitors. She suddenly looked sad and looked down, "Only some children, but they never stay very long." I was intrigued, I dabbed some blood behind my ears, and then asked her to continue. "I always try to be nice to them, and then I show them some of my favorite things, but they always run away screaming." Suddenly oily black tears fell from her beady yellow eyes. I gave her a reassuring hug; she smelled like what I imagine a dying infant smelled like (Just like Grandma!).
I felt pity for her and asked her to show me her favorite things. She immediately cheered up and sped off the gather them. She showed me her collection of Hummels, photos of women with their eyes scratched out, and a quilt depicting the Armenian genocide. As I looked at her innocent treasure, I was wondering what could have frightened the children so badly? The last item she showed me was a blank VHS tape which she proceeded to stuff into an old television resting on the backs of two dog skeletons. I joked, "I won't die a week after watching this, will I?" She chuckled, but I got the impression that she was unsure of what I meant. "This is my favorite movie. I recorded it off the television." she said as she went into the kitchen to get more blood for the saucer. What unfolded was horrifying. I wanted to claw my eyes out. I couldn't unwatch what came forth from the glowing screen. I shot up and ran screaming from the old house, just as the children did before, leaving that wretched creature alone.
What kind of person... no.. what kind of monster's favorite movie would be Steven Speilburg's A.I.? Sometimes I think perhaps it was all some terrible nightmare, but the images are seared into my brain. My friends, there are horrors among us. What may seem like an innocent old lady with a hook for a hand, may actually be Dennis Leary lusting after your skin! The moral of the story is: Trust nobody, because the ones you love are probably demons.
I'm considering renaming my comic, as currently it is semi-nameless. It was always my intention of giving it a proper name if I kept consistently making them. Since I feel they are now a permanent fixture to my blog, I feel a renaming or... naming is in order. Please utilize the poll on the sidebar and vote for what you like best. The reason for using the word "Edge" in the title is an obvious alternate pronunciation of my name "EJ," a common nickname for me. If you have any other suggestions, post them in the comment section.
The last Metroid was in captivity. The galaxy is at peace.
If you know me well, you probably knew this was coming. My lovely gamers, Super Metroid is the embodiment of the perfect gaming experience. This sci-fi action platformer oozes with story using beautiful art, eerie music, and excellent gameplay. You play as Samus Aran, a bounty hunter who works to preserve peace in the galaxy. Taking place immediately after the events of Metroid II. The Galactic Federation hired Samus to eliminate the Metroid species, life sucking organisms frequently used as bioweapons. Samus succeeded in her task except for one Metroid hatchling who mistakes Samus as its mother. Samus takes the little hatchling to a science colony, but just as she leaves the colony is attacked by Space Pirates and the hatchling is stolen. Samus tracks the pirates back to Zebes, the setting of the first Metroid, to track down the stolen Metroid.
In the game you guide Samus through a huge labyrinth, blasting baddies and fighting huge, often grotesque bosses as you search for the last Metroid. Along the way you attain power-ups that allow access to other areas of the labyrinth. There are almost zero cut scenes in Super Metroid, with most of the story being told through gameplay and details painted in every nook of the planet Zebes. It is especially rewarding for those who played the first Metroid, as you immediately explore the areas from the first game, including the ruins of the final battle. Being able to explore the history behind the current events, adds so much history to the game, not to mention the beautiful ambient soundtrack draws you in deeper into the experience. As I have been saying, these are traits I find very invaluable in my video games, my dear gamers. The game ends in one of the most iconic scenes in video game history. As the final boss is about to destroy Samus, the Metroid hatchling, now fully grown, swoops in and rescues its adopted mother, sacrificing itself in the process. It is an extremely emotional scene, and I wouldn't be surprised if you shed a tiny tear during it. The action also never slows down during all this, perfectly immersing the player.
If you have not played Super Metroid, please find a copy or download it on the Wii Virtual Console. It is a challenging game, but not too challenging for the casual player. It also has infinite replayability, with different endings, secret areas, and item collection. The act of speed runs, or trying to finish the game as quickly as possible, was made popular in part by Super Metroid. Super Metroid is so good, the Castlevania series borrowed heavily from it in the legendary Symphony of the Night (lovingly called Metroidvania or Castletroid).
That concludes my examples of the perfect gaming experience. Of course there are many more examples that deserve an honorable mention, including BioShock and the Half-life series. I hope you enjoyed my two cents on the melding of story and gameplay in video games. Feel free to share your own personal PGE games or series or recommendations in the comments.
Few games pull off the mix of gameplay, humor, puzzles, and presentation like Valve's Portal, originally a part of the Orange Box. Without going into too much detail, you play some Asian chick with springs on her feet who is seemingly apart of some crazy experiment that involves rooms with obstacles which you must overcome to get to the exit of each room. The main tool to get by these obstacles is a Portal gun, which shoots an entrance portal and an exit portal. Once fired these portals are linked and can be used to get past obstacles, gun turrets, and acid pits. The puzzles are clever and sometimes very difficult to pull off, usually requiring precise timing and momentum. Luckily the springs on your heels prevent death from falling, even at terminal velocity.
Throughout the game you are barraged with comments over a PA system from a seemingly malfunctioning robot named GLaDOS. This is where much of the richness and humor of the game lies, as the robot will promise to reward you with cake if you complete a puzzle, only to reveal that she was lying upon completion. As you progress through the game you will see observation windows, which you assume scientists are watching you and GLaDOS is safely under your control. However, after GLaDOS attempts to kill you and you go off the beaten trail, you find the whole research facility to be completely abandoned, realizing that GLaDOS is acting alone and you are its personal plaything. The genius of this game is the weaving of this plot while still keeping the action going. When you are out of the puzzle rooms and into the facility, you continue to follow a logical path using your Portal gun until you meet up with GLaDOS itself in a final (and hilarious) showdown. The game also doesn't overstay its welcome. It's short and sweet, and leaves a lasting impression on you (Including having one of the best ending songs ever). Many could see the short length as a fault, but the presentation and game play are so good well done that you can forgive this minor "flaw." However I'm of the opinion that if your game is going to last several hours, make it the best several hours of gaming possible, which is what Valve did with Portal.
Portal succeeds in many ways which I believe makes it a perfect gaming experience. There is a sense of isolation, immersion, and mystery that grabs hold of you until the end, with humorous details at every turn. Portal is one of those games that anyone who considers themselves a gamer should play just for the experience. It's like the Catcher in the Rye of gaming. In fact I hope schools will someday assign Portal as part of their curriculum.
Now I have to live with the guilt of murdering the Weighted Companion Cube. Next time: The finest of SNES. Play It Loud.