Gamer Girl Gone Wild

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My [lack thereof] Game Collection

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Oak Lawn, IL, 1989.  I had just turned four.  The golden year.

One fateful evening, my parents took me to my beloved Aunt Carol’s house for a routine pizza dinner and some idle chit-chat between the family.  After I delicately scraped off the melted block of cheese from my pizza and scarfed down the sauce saturated crust, I politely asked my Aunt for an ice cream sandwich as my dessert.  My splattered in sauce self didn’t miss a beat as  I flashed her the Bambi eyes, and she caved.  As usual.

As we went downstairs, my four year old mind racing with the thoughts of ice cream sandwiches (Maybe she’d let me have TWO! :D), I noticed something different.  Hrm.  There was a boxy thing in the corner, on my Aunt’s desk.  What is that thing?  Looks like a TV!  Sweet!

“Can we watch cartoons?” I tugged on my Aunt’s shirt and pointed to the monitor.  She smirked and told me, “That isn’t a television, sweetheart.  It’s a computer.  We can play games on it.”

Something snapped in my four year old brain at that precise moment.  It as probably something important, which explains my current on-going psychosis in the present time, but back then, it was pure excitement.  Games?  I like games.  I like winning.  Games!  Winning!  I can win all the games?!?!?

My Aunt Carol sat me down, and we played King’s Quest 3.  You should have seen how excited I would get just by getting 1 out of 250 points in the game.  That game was my introduction to PC gaming, and from there, I developed a deep love for it.  My aunt bought me many computer games for my birthday, and even supplied my very first computer.  As I got older, I wanted more and more games that were age appropriate.  Sorry EA Kids, but I really shouldn’t be playing Eagle Eye Mysteries at age 12.

The only problem was that my parents didn’t make a lot of money.  So I couldn’t afford computer games.  I had to save up for years to buy King’s Quest 7, which was 50 dollars when it came out.  50 dollars!  Only to buy it on GOG.com years later at a significantly lower price.  *PLUG*

Being a reclusive goth teenager angsty type, I spent a lot of time in my room.  My dark, dank room.  With my lonely, lonely being.  And in my dungeon, I would spend many hours on the internet, researching games.  Because I couldn’t afford games, I would go through any means necessary to play them.  This included finding games on…some less reputable sites,  borrowing games from my friends, saving up money for years, whoring myself.  …Okay, not the latter.  But I may as well have.  My parents did their best, though.  Instead of buying the individual games, they bought me less expensive game collections that game out.  For example, I obtained the King’s Quest,  Space Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry games all on a few CDs.

No matter how I came to playing the games, I was a complete info junkie, and needed to know everything about them.   So I’ve played, and know more about computer games than your average person, but I don’t have any tangible boxes to show for it.  My digital collection is insane, but deep down, I long for boxes.  So.  Many.  Boxes.

I started collecting rare PC game boxes just a few years ago, because I really didn’t have any.  I adore them.  The Neverhood box is maybe one of my most coveted, since it’s a more rare game.

So if you see me squeeing over a boxed game, even if it’s considered a mediocre boxed game, it’s because I could never afford to collect.  When somebody gives me a PC game as a gift, I nearly flip a shit;  it’s like Christmas all over again, sans weird drunk uncle!

Maybe someday, when I am rich from…doing…something that will ultimately make me rich, I’ll buy all of the boxes for my digital games.  And then…I can take over the world!  Or at least build a fort with my boxes.  A sweet, sweet fort.  A dark, dank fort.  For my gothy, angsty being.

 

 

My Secret Life as a Sleuth

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I have a secret.

Well, it’s not actually a secret.  It’s more of a fantasy.  Ever since I was a little girl…I’ve always wanted to be…

(insert really really long awkward pause, and a cymbal crash)

A detective.

….What!?!? Don’t you ridicule, now!  Everyone has fantasies about being someone else, after all.  Some people want to be famous athletes, some people want to be actors and actresses, some people want to be a transvestite…it’s all good!  *I* have always wanted to be a detective.

Click to continue »

Dating Games -You Could Get Laid!

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Date time!
I admit, unabashedly, to being what one would call a nerd.  Gaming has alwaysseemed to be a big part of my life, even as a young girl.  I remember vividly the day I got my first Tandy computer, and falling in love with parser driven games like King’s Quest, Space Quest, and Hugo’s House of Horrors.  Because my love for computers and video games blossomed at such a young age, it stayed with me up until adulthood, and has even managed sneak into my love life.  As backwards as it may sound, I am a girl who would rather play a video game on a date then go to a movie, so when I am looking for a candidate suitable for dating, I make sure that video game play is going to be on the agenda.   But what exactly makes a game appropriate for a date?  In my experience, some date games only lead to disasters (like Tetris.  God.  The blocks.  STOP THE BLOCKS!) but other games can lead to a pleasant experience, and can even lead to…ahem…other activities of a more sexual nature.   So when you finally do find that perfect partner that likes video games almost as much as you do, you can refer to this list of possible date games.   These are games I’ve played personally on dates, and have had success with.

Phantasmagoria

Phantasmagoria

Wow, where can I even start with this game?  One might look at it and immediatelydoubt its ability to be a good date game, but I am telling you, it has the potential to make an eventful night.

So what are the pros exactly?  It’s very long. (…that’s what she said?)  It’s especially long if you are new to the adventure type genre, and you are not familiar with the classic Sierra puzzles.  Because it’s very time consuming, this is a good game to play over a nice chunk of time, which means more dates.  Give your date an excuse to come back, I say.  Even if it’s just to continue a game.  Even if your date doesn’t like you, well, maybe he or she will like the game enough to go back for more.

The cheese factor in this game is exponentially more than other games, which makes it amusing.  Because the game is so interactive, it will cause you and your date to engage in conversation and work together to solve the puzzles, and we all know how awkward it can be when you have nothing to say on your date.

Because the game is categorized as horror, it’s also good to scare the living daylights out of each other to provoke comforting.  There was a point in this game where a cat flies out of nowhere and attacks your character, and when this happened during my date, I clung to my partner like wet clothes.  It’s very much like seeing a scary movie with your date, only this is much more interactive, so instead of stiffly sitting there in a theater or on the couch watching a movie with your date and constantly wondering what your next move would be, you could be engaging in puzzles, talking with each other, and laughing over how cheesy this game actually is.

Kings Quest 6

Alright, alright. I know this is the second Sierra game I have mentioned, but it really needs to be, and I’ll tell you why.  This game fills me with tremendously wistful and romantic feelings, because it’s basically a romantic comedy in game form.  This game pretty much encompasses every Jennifer Aniston chick flick ever made. Even if you are a guy or a girl that happens to flee from all things cheesy and romantic, there are still some pros to consider.   The most important point being, it’s simply a fun game, filled with whimisical and fantastical creatures, references to fairy tales, challenging (but not overly obtuse) puzzles, and pleasing to the eye graphics.  Because it’s challenging, it makes it a great game to collaborate on, and because of it’s romantic nature, it’s a great game to spark some amorous feelings.  The sentiments of the main character are very sweet and good natured, and really emphasizes the heroic prince archetype.

I admit, the premise is a bit overused and corntastic.  But I still find myself slipping into that giddy teenage girl, hoping for a handsome young prince to come sweep me away from the voracious Minotaur!!! Well.  At least come sweep me away from my math class.

Super Mario World

Super Mario World is one of the games my generation grew up on.  I was six when it came out, which put me at an age where I was old enough to at least understand the game, but too young to actually be very good at it.  I guess I was a pretty ill-attentive girl, because I seriously didn’t beat this game until my late teens.

Super Mario world is a great date for gamers and non gamers alike.   Even if you are not a big gamer, chances are, you most likely know who Mario and Luigi are, and are pretty familiar with the games.  Nintendo has always been really good at creating games that everyone can play regardless of their age and gender, and also the masters of making an enjoyable multi-player.  This game is good in particular for it’s turn based style collaboration.

The game is also not very emotion heavy; it’s seriously a happy go lucky fun game.  Out of the three games I mentioned thus far, this is probably the most light hearted.  No drama, no heavy emotions, no odd feelings, just a good time for a fun date.

Note * If I am on a date, I refuse to be Luigi. Don’t even think of trying to play Mario. I will harm you.

Rock Band


One of the most socially adept games I have ever played has to be Rock Band. Guitar Hero was okay, but Rock Band was the first game I played that really managed to get me to open up at parties and social gatherings. Not only can the players actually play together simultaneously (unlike the turn based style of Super Mario World) but it’s a good way to start conversations about your music interests! I know I am not alone when I say that similar music interests are important to me when looking for boyfriend material. I can tell what kind of music my date may or may not like based on the songs they choose, and there’s nothing better than finding common interest on a band we both like. I think it’s safe to say that everyone likes music (and if you don’t…well..what planet are you from?..) and listening to music can be a great way to lighten the mood and have a good time (unless you’re listening to Morrissey. Liiiiife suuuuuuucks).

Lumines

…Wait a second. Lumines!?!? No no no, this isn’t supposed to be on my list!  I hate this game with every fiber of my being!  Ugh, I am just so bad at this game it makes me angry.  It makes me feel so…riled up.  So…aggressive. So…..aroused?? Could it be the sheer frustration of losing this game to my opponent makes me want to bone him? (I know.  I’m such a tactile girl.)

Huh.  Interesting.  You’d think losing at a game like this would make me pretty irritable.  After all, no one likes losing a game to someone else.  But this game is so exciting, so challenging.  I hate it!!! ….But I love it.

The multiplayer mode in Lumines can be very very competitive.  For some people (like myself) a good competitive game can really get the heart goin’, and cause a lovely adrenaline rush.  Let’s just say, this game has led to some very good times for me and my date.

….I still hate it though.

Technically, any game can be made into a decent date game depending on the person.  These games may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they have certainly made for some fun times with the dates I played them with.  So, don’t just look for a date to go see a movie with or go out to dinner with.  Add some fun;  pop in that old SNES cartridge or break out the Xbox! And for gods sake, keep Lumines away from me unless you are looking to be mauled.

I’d love to hear other people’s experiences with playing games on dates, so spill ‘um!

Top Ten Male Characters in Gaming History (Readers Choice)

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

A few months ago, I attempted to write a top 5 sexiest male characters list, which turned out okay, but decided recently that I wanted to come up with a broader list. Being sick of the bountiful amount of “Top Ten Sexiest Females” lists that only seem to focus on cup size, I decided to devote this list to the Top Ten Male Characters in Video Gaming History.

However.

When I started my own list, it started to turn into an extended version of the top 5 Sexiest Males. Maybe it’s because I am bias due to my gender, because all of the males I chose were either lovely musclely manly men, or a fixture in my “Male Characters I would like to bone” fantasy. So to fix this little quandary, I took a survey. I took two days to ask 200 people of different genders and different backgrounds the question: “In your personal opinion, who is the number one male in gaming history? Any console, any era.” and came up with a lovely top ten from everyone’s responses. There were a lot of unique responses, but this top ten contains the answers that were given most frequently. Don’t feel bad if your choice didn’t make the list, they were all awesome. I will give you guys the list, then write a few things about the character. And if I don’t know anything about the character, I’ll make stuff up. Here are the final ten, all chosen by you guys. Enjoy!

Number 10 – Leisure Suit Larry

Leisure Suit Larry

Original Console: PC
Games Appeared in: Leisure Suit Larry series
Debut: 1987

I must admit, I was surprised to see enough Leisure Suit Larry answers to make the top ten list. Although I don’t consider him to be one of the best, I consider him to be somewhat of an icon in the gaming world, especially due to longevity and great personality. Leisure Suit Larry, otherwise known as Larry Laffer, is a middle aged lounge lizard, who’s goal in life is to get as much poon as he can in any given situation. The games produced in the adventure game era were very quirky, and fun, however this character slowly died off with the birth of newer, more action based games for other video game consoles. In 2004, developers attempted to bring this character back, sans the original creator, Al Lowe, in the flop game “Magna Cum Laude.” In 2009, they tried again with “Box Office Bust” but without the heart and soul of the game, Al Lowe, it fell short. Regardless of the changes, the original Larry Laffer character will always be remembered.

Number 9 – Megaman

Megaman

Original Console: NES
Games Appeared In: The Megaman series, and I am NOT naming them all!
Debut: 1987

I thought Mega Man might actually claim a higher spot on the list. His first appearance was in 1987, and is still going strong with new releases. According to my research, there are well over 50 releases bearing the Mega Man name, which makes this Capcom’s most successful franchise. The games are versatile, in that they have been released on many consoles. I can’t speak too much for Mega Man’s personality per say, but…he seems fun lovin’, right? Blue is a good color for him. I think the reason he made this list was due to the impressive amount of games and success that came with his character, not necessarily for earth shattering character personality development.

Number 8 – Pac-Man

Pac-Man

Original Console: (I couldn’t determine whether this was released for the Apple II, or the Atari first)
Games Appeared in: The Pac-Man Series
Debut: 1980

So, yeah. Pac-Man. What can I say? I guess he is a male. His name suggests he is of the masculine persuasion. His figure suggests he is an animated pie chart. Because there is a Mrs. Pac-Man, I decided to consider it a male, even though he is clearly not human and more so of an “it” with the word “man” tacked to his name. Again, not too much character development going on here, but Pac-Man IS an iconic character, and one of the most recognizable. You might not know who say, Leisure Suit Larry or Mega Man are, but everyone is familiar with that bright yellow, gluttonous …thing. So I approve of his placement on a list like this. He isn’t my choice, but definitely deserves recognition.

Number 7 – Commander Shepard

Commander Shepard

Original Console: XBox 360
Games Appeared in: The Mass Effect games
Debut: 2007

Now, here is a male character I know literally nothing about, having not played the Mass Effect games. This is a character I would choose solely because he seems to be of the “hawt” nature. However, I will trust the people who voted for him and got him on this list. In my personal opinion, I think this character still might be a bit new to make a top ten list regarding the best male characters in History, but maybe I am wrong. Afterall, the Mass Effects games are..well...MASSively popular and successful. I have been told by the voters that he is strong and all around kickass, so maybe that, and the ridiculous success of the Mass Effect games are enough to justify his placement.

Number 6 – Guybrush Threepwood

Guybrush Threepwood from Monkey Island 3

Original Console: PC
Games Appeared in: The Monkey Island Series
Debut: 1990

There is absolutely no question that the Monkey Island series was, and remains, a very popular series published by LucasArts. These games do a great job of keeping the adventure genre alive, and entertaining. Leading the games is the amiable Guybrush Threepwood, a bumbling pirate type who always seems to win battles by sheer fluke. Which is fine in this girls book, considering MY top male character is Roger Wilco. The popularity towards Guybrush has also spilled onto his voice actor, Dominic Armato, who is saught after by geek girls everywhere. Good character development, good voice acting, and longevity have made this character a favorite of many people, and he would definitely be on my top ten list. I would even put him higher on my own, as I grew up with the character and was very young when I first experienced a Monkey Island game.

Number 5 – Link

Link from the Legend of Zelda series

Original Console: NES
Games Appeared in: The Legend of Zelda Series
Debut: 1986

In looking at other people’s personal top ten lists, I have noticed a pattern. Link is on the top three of every one of them. It’s not hard to see why, he’s appeared in games since 86, and the Legend of Zelda series has drawn in many fans since then. Not only that, but it seems like Link is cos-playing gold these days, I always seem to see several Links whenever I go to a con, including a few “sexy” female Links. See now? This is why I am bias towards making a male list; link is sexy, mrowl! *cough* Anyway. The votes placed Link right smack dab in the middle of the list. Not a bad place for him, I would think. Though the people who did vote for Link defended their choice like it was the word of Zeus. You crazy Link fanatics.

Number 4 – Solid Snake

Solid Snake

Original Console: MSX2 Home Computer
Games Appeared in: The Metal Gear series
Debut: 1987

Having never played the Metal Gear series, I decided that I am not the one who should be talking about Solid Snake. So instead, I asked one of the people who voted for Solid Snake to say a few things about his character, including why he chose him:

“Snake is the definition of a man; with his scraggly beard, raging pecs, and flowing bandanna. He definitely relies on his knowledge of battle for everything, including social situations, combat, and love. Snake is the ultimate badass – he took down a Hind D with a missile launcher. His voice acting also has a lot to do with it: the sexiness of his voice drives women AND men crazy. Snake is incredibly sexually awkward, and is more in love with his guns than women in his life, which makes him fun to watch: he gets off more to his desert eagle than Meryl who is the main female in Metal Gear Solid. His ability to persevere through impossible situations makes him seem so tough, that it makes you feel like you can do anything as well. Young men want to grow up to be Solid Snake, and grown men are disappointed that they’re not.”

Number 3 – Duke Nukem

Duke Nukem

Original Console: PC
Games Appeared in: The Duke Nukem series
Debut: 1991

When I first started doing this survey, I had received so many votes for Duke Nukem that I was sure he would end up in the number one slot, but when I tallied up the votes, he ended up in the number 3 ranking. I can say I have some pretty fond memories playing the original Duke Nukem on MS-Dos, in fact it was one of the first computer games I had even owned at that point. There is no argument that this man is hardcore, although I can’t say I much appreciate his chauvinistic, womanizing ways. Duke hasn’t any superhuman powers, but still manages to kick some major ass despite that. Apparently, he is irresistible, because when I was image searching him, there was an abundance of images featuring him surrounded by women. I better stop talking about him before I managed to convince myself he’s a jerk wad! Here are some notable quotes, since fans LOVE to quote this guy:

Quotes: “Daaaamn, I’m lookin good”, “Shake it Baby!”, “It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum… and I’m all outta gum”, “My boot, your face; the perfect couple.”, “You’re an inspiration for birth control.”, “Oh…your ass is grass and I’ve got the weed-whacker.”

Number 2 – Gordon Freeman

Gordon Freeman from Half Life

Original Console: PC
Games Appeared in: The Half Life Series
Debut: 1998

Even though Gordon is a fairly new character, I still think his spot on this list is understandable. His character is introduced as a physicist that ends up in a bit of a conundrum, and finds himself in an epic battle against alien and human forces. When I asked voters why they chose this character why they picked Gordon for their number one choice, the most common answer was “Because Gordon is a true hero.” I think it is impressive when a newer character like this, with not as many games as something like Mega Man and The Legend of Zelda, can hold a higher rank then both of them. So there must be something fascinating about Gordon that sparked so many votes, by women and men alike. I never played much half life, so I am not too familiar with this character, but the amount of votes he got did stimulate my interest.

Number 1 – Mario

Mario

Original Console: Arcade
Games Appeared in: Donkey Kong, The Mario Brothers series
Debut: 1981

Well, well. What can I say about Mario that people don’t already know? He started out in Donkey Kong as the “Jumpman” and is now considered one of the most important video game characters ever by many, many people. The Mario games are not just a franchise, It’s a monster. Mario games as a whole has sold over 200 million units, which makes the Mario Series the best selling games of all time. It’s very very difficult to argue with statistics like that. Mario is depicted as a portly, short, Italian plumber. If Mario had looked any other way, or was depicted as a suave beefcake like Duke Nukem, would the Mario Series have been successful? Mario has been in almost every genre of game, spanning from sports, to action adventure, to puzzle, to RPG. Although….no love for Luigi?…

You know, guys, Luigi has been in the game for a long time too. He didn’t even MAKE the list! I think Luigi deserves some love. So here is my honorable mention, who always seems to be overshadowed by his ironically shorter partner in crime: Luigi.

Luigi

Well, that about wraps it up. Thanks to everyone who voted in this survey, I think it cranked out a pretty good list! Except, next time I want to see more Luigi, and less Commander Shepard. Come on, how unfair is that?

Cheers!

Geeked Out

Monday, March 8th, 2010

You know…I got my first computer in 1992.  Can you imagine that?  Most people can’t even fathom the fact that the internet was invented in 1969, let alone people having computers in the early 90s.  I was seven, and amazed with computers after my aunt introduced me to parser games, the first one being King’s Quest 3.  I can still imagine what the floppy disk looks like.

Kings Quest III

Other seven year old girls were asking for Barbie dolls.  I was asking for a Sega Genesis, and a computer, like my aunt had.  So that year for Christmas, dear old Saint Nick got me a Genesis.  I was grateful, and I loved it.  But my aunt gave me something even more incredible.  A tandy computer, complete with an A: drive and a B: drive (or as I would call it, “the big disk drive.”)

When I went to school after winter break, I told everyone about my new computer.  I was so excited.  We had to write a small paper about what we got for Christmas, so I naturally  wrote about my Tandy with the “big disk drive.”  I sat down when I was done reading it to my second grade classroom, super proud and cocky, knowing that I was given the best gift out of all the students!

Tandy Computer

And then it happened.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a group of kids snickering and whispering.  And then I heard, “What a geek!

It wasn’t the last time I would be teased for being a geek.  The kids were cruel, often calling me a computer nerd, an ugly geek, and boring, up until the early 2000s, even.  A girl with a computer?  Shouldn’t she be playing with dolls or baking cookies, or hanging out with friends?

I found comfort in my computer for the longest time.  When the internet became more popular amongst households, I jumped on it.  I had to be apart of this new networking phenomenon. Up until recently though, the computers and the internet were not on the “popular” side.

Today, you are hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t own their own personal computer, or a laptop, with an internet connection.  Back in the 90s, when I had them both, I was teased.  But now, I would be teased if I didn’t have a computer or spend time surfing.   What was geeky and nerdy behavior then, is now…well….common.

In fact, it’s now “cool” to be a geek.  It’s becoming more and more popular to be into nerdy things, especially if you are a female.  But how did things change so rapidly?  What does it take to truly be a geek or a nerd these days? Throughout time, the terms “nerd” and “geek” have had negative attachments to them.  Not just in movies or in fictional stories, but in real life – especially in the 90s where everyone was striving to be hip, and cool, not smart, or nerdy.  (And I am speaking in general terms here, there of course were individuals back then, like myself, who went the nerdy route.)

Since geeky and nerdy are now the cool things to be, then what actually constitutes as a geek or a nerd?  And what takes it’s place?  Or maybe nothing took it’s place, maybe things have just changed as time went on, but if that is the case, are geeks and nerds still geeks and nerds based on it’s prior definitions?  Or do we all fit in now?  Can the geeks live in peace with the non-geeks?

This is mostly rhetorical of course, but I find it interesting to reflect on how culture has changed, and how what I used to be teased relentlessly for, is now what I am praised for.  Hell, I have guys ask me out when I mention I can program!  Where we you people when I was in high school, huh?

Regardless of what is cool or not, I will always want to be the geeky one – the one who finds more enjoyment on her computer than at a party or social gathering, the one who programs all weekend, instead of parties, and the one who prefers a game of tetris over a blunt to get her high.  The square.

But, am I okay with being the square.  And as long as there are computers to be played, programs to be programmed, and an internet to waste my time on, then I will be there, nerding it up and having a blast doing it.

-Roses