I haven’t written for this site in a long, long time. But I’ve been writing.
It’s not a huge secret that my dream thing, whatever you’d like to call it — goal, job — is to write about video games. I could write about a lot of other things, too, but video games are something that I’m particularly enamored with. Something that’s been pervasive throughout my entire life. It’s just always there, looming in the background. At work, at a friend’s house. Nine times out of ten, I’d probably rather be playing a video game or talking/writing about a video game.
Like I’ve said, I’ve been writing. And 2013 is the year in which I finally hoist myself off my increasingly fat ass and get myself into college. The 20s were definitely a strange time for me. They’re not over, but they’re almost over — I turn 28 in six months. Nothing has really changed in my life since I turned 18, outside of minor personal things like coming out to people and whatnot. In general, I’ve always been this sort of low key, sort of over the top obnoxious if you really know me kind of guy, always thinking about video games.
I wonder where life could take me if I let it do so. Would I ever design a video game? Or help design one? What if I worked for Nintendo, or EA, or some other huge company doing something not exactly related to writing or making a video game but involved in the industry?
Honestly, nothing would please me more in my life than to just be simply involved. My main thing is writing, which isn’t obviously the best at the moment — it’s shaggy, longwinded, a bit lazily thought out. Sometimes my writing doesn’t exactly cohere into anything. It’s just a mess.
I’m hoping to sort all of that out. And while I prepare and eventually attend an actual fucking college, I might as well use this place as a respite for all of my nerdy thoughts that are always there, always looming, large and unavoidable, at work or at a friend’s house.
Here’s a brief collection of some writing I’ve done while away, all of it without proper context:
On Yoshi’s Island DS
Further taking the game away from greatness is its presentation, the one thing the original game really excelled at. The music is absolutely forgettable. It was more memorable in Yoshi’s Touch & Go, for chrissakes. It’s just there. Some fake flute, some fake steel drums. Ambient noise that doesn’t build towards anything. Just there.
The graphics, while technically better, are completely scrubbed of the original’s charm — thus, worse. There are no thick crayon lines, hastily colored in hills, Crayola night skies. It no longer looks as though a talented seven year old had his or her way with a video game. Instead it exists as a polished, cute platformer. No sense of risk involved in its creation. It is completely safe, banal. Boring looking.
Collectively, this coheres into an effort that feels like it is straining to be something better than it actually is, and playing it in 2006 began to feel like a chore. “Oh, I see what they’re trying to do here” was a common thought, not “wow, this is incredible.”
If you disconnect the dots, though — or even better, not play the damned thing for six plus years — and look at Yoshi’s Island DS as a standalone product, its own thing — the game is really not that bad. It only fails in comparison.
On the original Super Mario Kart
The most amazing thing this game has over its siblings, probably, is the very distinct lack of a blue shell. Doesn’t that make you grin, like, instantly? Or is it only me? Why is it always only me creepily grinning and no one else?
From something titled “Dr. Mario is For Like, Rocket Scientists”
Pretty sure Dr. Mario is for like, rocket scientists. It is a game that has been throughly unconquered by me thus far in my young adult life. This is not uncommon for anyone into games — some genres and some games are just not for them.
I want Dr. Mario to be for me, though. Everything about it — from its Mario with a degree killing viruses “story” to the catchy/evil sounding music to the basic idea of a Nintendo developed puzzler — is my cup of tea. I love puzzle games. I love Tetris, Bust-a-Move, Panel de Pon, Picross, Puyo Puyo, Yoshi’s Cookie. I love all of them.
And in the first three out of 20+ levels, I love Dr. Mario, too. But it gets tricky for me about level 5, and the default level is 10. What is wrong with me?
On its surface, Dr. Mario looks like a simpler Tetris, rushed to stores during the great puzzle boom of the early 90s when everyone and their mom loved the genre. I still have fond memories of my white trash neighbor friend’s mom, huddled over her SNES, playing Toad’s Woods. I remember thinking “Wow, she’s cool” and “Wow, this is kind of sad” at the same time, cool because it was a grown up lady playing SNES, and sad because it was in a darkened room that resembled a basement dweller’s paradise.
Dr. Mario looks like a simple copycat ala Yoshi. Ala horrible, boring, slow, dull Yoshi. But it isn’t dull at all, nor is it simple. Horrible? Well, no, not that either. Boring? No, no, it’s not that either. Okay, it’s nothing like Yoshi.
You have to simply eliminate the viruses that are inexplicably contained in a giant bottle by putting three similarly colored pills on top of them. In the first few levels, this is absolutely fine and dandy. But by level five, no longer are there two or four or seven viruses — there are like, 20. And then 30. And then 50. And then 70.
See that picture above? A virus is only the size of one half a pill, and pills usually come in two colors. The remaining color is left falling downwards onto a new virus, usually (if you’re me) a color that doesn’t match with the virus it is now touching. Now, to eliminate that virus, you have to eliminate those leftover half pills with similar colors, four for each color.
And if you’re me, you will have leftover pill halves everywhere in the playing field, on top of totally mismatched viruses, on top of three different other colors, on top of about 50 different viruses that will probably never ever be cured. Just another game of Dr. Mario.
Okay, done copying and pasting and farting. There is a whole slew of stupid things I’ve written in the past year or so, but they are just that: stupid. And I’m over caffeinated, and suddenly am losing interest in showing you stuff you have no interest in reading (or am I wrong?? Tell me I’m wrong!!).
SO. This is going to be a more journal-like experience, probably. Enjoy, maybe!!