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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Video Game Ramblings

I will readily admit that when it comes to video gaming, my gaming knowledge is very much skewered.

I'll admit that during my entire history of playing video games (and by video games, I don't mean the arcade and pinball machines that could be found in coin arcades, shopping malls, and 7-Elevens all over the country), I've been mostly loyal to one video game company, although I have dabbled in other systems over the years. In case any of you are interested in any way, here is a history of my video gaming life beginning with my very first gaming console in 1989.

1989-1990: Intellivision (yes, Intellivision. You can read the whole story of how I got my Intellivision console HERE ten years after it was at its peak in popularity.)

1990-1992: Nintendo Entertainment System. It got fried in a lightning storm during the summer of '92.

1992-2003: Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Believe it or not, it still works in 2013, but I need new controllers.

2003-2006: Sony PlayStation. Was actually a hand-me-down from a relative, but it got me hooked on games like Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, and the Sony exclusive Final Fantasy games.

2006-2011: Sony PlayStation 2. The most recent console I own. In all honesty, I haven't played it in two years due to lack of new games because of the PS3 coming out and my having absolutely zero interest in the PS3 games out on the market.

2008-2011: Nintendo DS. Prior to 2008, I never owned a handheld game console. But the Nintendo DS was my re-introduction to Nintendo after a five year absence, and I never really looked back. I would love to get a Nintendo Wii one day...well...when I have enough space, that is.

2011-present: Nintendo 3DS. The current gaming system I play.

So, yes. You can see that Nintendo is more or less my video game company of choice. I dabbled in Sony consoles though (and by extension, Sega, as I owned the Sega Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 2 console). Surprisingly enough, I never did get into the XBOX or XBOX 360 at all. Maybe it was because I found the games to be somewhat on the dull side, or maybe it was because I couldn't justify paying such a huge price for a gaming console...or maybe I had heard too many horror stories about the red ring of death which signifies that your console has gone to video game heaven.

(My SNES has lasted me 21 years and counting. Just saying.)

Now, why am I telling you this? Well, it might explain why any video game feature that I blog about here will more than likely cover a Nintendo game. And, it might explain why you will never really see an entry on any video game that has the words “Grand Theft Auto”, “Resident Evil” or “Call of Duty” within their titles. I've never played any of these games, and really don't have much desire to either.

But, you know what? I feel as though in order to expand my knowledge on video games (and given that I sell an average of seven video games per shift at work, I should really know everything there is to know about video games), I should do my blog entry on a video game series that is A) not Nintendo, and B) not rated E for Everyone.

I've already pointed out that for the most part, M rated video games bore me to tears because they seem to be the same game over and over. I mean, granted, some use the same argument for why they don't like games starring Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog, but the thing about those games is that they are always constantly changing. Ever since Mario's introduction in the 1981 video game Donkey Kong, he's evolved from barrel thrower to three-dimensional superstar! But for some reason, all of the Call of Duty games that I have seen my nephews playing look EXACTLY THE SAME to me.

(My apologies to all of those die-hard Call of Duty fans that I have offended with that previous statement. Those games just aren't my cup of tea.)

It's not to say that I am completely against first person shooters at all. I think that I would enjoy playing one if it put less emphasis on gore and more emphasis on plot. I also think that when it comes to first person shoot-em-up games, I would enjoy a game that is somewhat on the linear side. Not that I'm against open ended games, but one of the main reasons why I refuse to play the newest Final Fantasy games is because the story suffered at the hands of open-ended game play.

As a result, Final Fantasy XII remains my biggest disappointment in all the years I have played video games.

So, given my little monologue up above, what game could I possibly want to discuss? A game that is non-Nintendo, non E-rated, and has a rather decent plot to accompany a first-person shooting mechanic?

Well, it happens to be a game that I inherited along with the second-hand PlayStation system ten years ago. Mind you, the games that I mostly played were Spyro the Dragon and some car driving game. But there was another game that I ended up getting so addicted to. A game that I never believed I would have any interest in whatsoever, but was completely hooked on due to the elaborate plot, the challenging aspects of making it through an area alive, and the puzzle solving aspects throughout the whole game.

Have any of you heard of the “Medal of Honor” series of games? They are a series of games that are sort of similar to the more recent Call of Duty games, only the vast majority of them are set during World War II. From what I am hearing, there are thirteen games in the Medal of Honor series, and some of the more recent versions of the game are almost exactly like carbon copies of Call of Duty.

But the earliest games of the series? Now those were genius.

You see, the game that I was addicted to playing was the original Medal of Honor, which was released on Halloween 1999. In that game, espionage and secrecy is the main plot component. You're a member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and your missions – should you choose to accept them – is to infiltrate enemy fortresses, dispatch anyone who might get in your way, and sabotage any plans that they might have to destroy entire communities.

There are a total of seven missions throughout the whole game. They are...


And, I will state that these missions are not easy. Oh, sure, you might be able to get through the first two or three without getting shot at too much. But anyone who has ever played mission number seven knows just how insanely difficult it can be.

In fact, here's a true confession for you. I've only ever beaten Medal of Honor once. That's how hard it is.

You play as the fictional Lieutenant Jimmy Patterson, a former C-47 Skytrain pilot in the Air Transport Command who was later recruited to the OSS. As Patterson, you have to make your way through these seven different mission to prevent the German forces and their allies from causing all sorts of nastiness in the world.

What makes the missions even more challenging is the fact that each mission is split up into several different levels. And, in each level, you have to meet an objective or criteria in order to proceed any further in the mission. You'll have to sneak into forbidden areas. You'll have to locate secret parcels and deliver them to the right people. You'll have to obtain keys to unlock doors, and secret passwords in order to move further in the game. Sometimes you'll have to disarm people, or sabotage equipment in order to get through the level.

And needless to say, the swarms of enemy soldiers willing to shoot first, ask questions later are endless. You really have to use your environment and keep a quick wit in order to make it through the game alive.

But don't worry. You have an entire arsenal of weapons at your disposal, just itching to be used against the enemy.

(And, one of the main reasons why I loved the original Medal of Honor is because in the earliest games, the game didn't actually show blood and gore. Sure, you still knew that they were dead because their bodies would fade away eventually...but as one who can't even stand the sight of his own blood in real life, this was definitely an added plus.  It also explains why the original Medal of Honor was given a rating of T instead of M.)

Seriously, you could use grenades, rifles, shotguns, and even a bazooka or two to make your way through enemy terrain and fight the good fight.

All in all, it's a great game series to play if you want a game that has a great storyline, but you're turned off by blood and unnecessary gore. And if I'm recommending a video game that has all that when I normally don't play them, it's gotta be worth a shot, right?

And, one final note...the game's story was inspired by filmmaker Steven Spielberg!

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