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Preview: Hover: Revolt of Gamers

A throwback to the classic gameplay of Jet Set/JetGrind Radio, Hover is an injection of adrenline to your boring gameplay lineup.

Review: Colin McRae Rally

A throwback to the classic CMR 2.0, should you hop in and take this ride or leave it at the starting line?

A Second Look @ Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach was the last great "hurrah" from Bungie Studios in the Halo Universe, and it remains as one of the best games they ever produced.

An idea for a game based on the 5 stages of grief.

Just had an idea that I had to share. A game idea. One for kids. Its sketchy at best but its more of a teaching tool than something for adults.

You play as a kid, selectable boy or girl, with an adult AI character, selectable man or woman depending on the person that was lost. For a few hours, having experiences with the adult and learning to trust them. Safety, happiness, and bright colors are the themes from the start. Puzzles are easy, hints are plenty, and reassuring comments are abundant.
Then during one of the levels, the adult's gone. The character goes through the 5 stages of grief through themed levels.

Denial: The player finds their way back to the beginning of the first level while the colors gradually fade. The kid thinks they're okay on their own but the levels they went through with the adult are now hard or impossible to complete. There are no hints, the character is left alone.

Anger: This can either be done through the character they play, a change in the levels color schemes, or conjured as emotion through the player. They meet other adult characters that are downtrodden, always looking down, and never listen to the player's instructions. None of them work well, they don't seem to understand the puzzles and walk away at times. The character in turn gets mad and the movement is faster.

Bargaining: This is done in the same instance as anger. Switching out the adult they trusted with someone else. They start to long for the original adult and will subtly ask the others if they can go find the original. Replacement adults show the wrong kind of sympathy, leading the character to...

Depression: They can't have the original adult back and suddenly new puzzles are introduced. These can't be solved. None of them. Character visibly gets sad and the overall color scheme turns blue and the character's walk slows.

Acceptance. Returning to a backtracking section of the level, the character comes across something that helps them solve one of the puzzles. At the end of that puzzle is something that helps them solve another (a map, a tool, etc.). This is done several times until the last. During these puzzles the colors slowly change back to normal. The player feels as though they can accomplish things on their own.

At the end of the last puzzle, the character comes out into bright sunlight with a smile on their face and the smiling faces of the replacement adults. They realize now that they can do whatever it takes by themselves and they can learn to move forward with life.

The idea is sketchy because I feel like not all of the levels should involve puzzles. Maybe building things too and that requires one of the adults but none of them want to help. It can most definitely be improved on but I'd like to see it happen. It wouldn't have to be played by kids who are going through a tough time, it could be used to prepare them for IF one of those tough times come.

My Gaming History, Abridged

I have recently discovered that it is mentally impossible to be sad while the Super Mario World overworld theme is playing (wait about 40 seconds for the Yoshi bongos).

See? I told you.

I can't remember which was my first experience playing video games, or the year, but it was about 1991. I do remember having two babysitters growing up; family friends with kids of their own. One family had an NES while the other had an Atari 2600. Eventually the second family bought a Nintendo and a year later my brother and I were given one. Its the only time I can remember my dad actually playing video games with us: the Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt combo game.
I went through having an original Game Boy, a Game Boy Pocket, a Game Gear, a Nomad, a Genesis, and a crappy computer. These were the systems that I grew to love gaming on and would borrow games from friends and vice versa.
My brother and I always hoped to be the first one home after school so we could play whatever new games we had on whatever console we had then. I was rarely obsessed with the games I had but ones such as AAHHH!! Real Monsters, Vectorman, MUSHA, and even Bubsy (I was young, don't judge me) always captivated my attention.

I remember being obsessed with Pokemon in 6th and 7th grade. I would always look forward to waking up on weekdays before school just to watch the Pokemon cartoon. I had the comics from Nintendo Power, I had toys, I had plush dolls, the strategy guide, and the cards. Still do. They're in a box in my closet. A little while after going to a meeting for the Pokemon card game I just gave up on it all. It must have had something to do with the old-looking guy that was sitting around playing a card game with a bunch of kids and being serious about it.
A demo of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater came about via a Pizza Hut promotion and I was instantly captivated with the sport. I credit the Pro Skater series with turning me towards gaming even after going through a phase of being a skateboarding poser. After seeing how skateboarders treated each other and how no one was willing to teach me to ride one I delved into gaming more.

Some time in the summer before 10th grade I bought a Gamecube and for a year I only had Super Smash Bros Melee to play. I discovered EB Games and unfortunately sold off most of my collection, which included almost all of my PS1, NES, GameBoy, Genesis, and some PC games.
A year later I bought myself an Xbox when I read that if Monolith were to make a Shogo 2, it would be on that console. Shogo: Mobile Armor Division was the first PC FPS game I ever played. Not Doom, not Quake, and to this day it remains in my all-time favorites. I played on a crappy, over-priced, underpowered Gateway computer that could barely run flash games well enough. A friend loaned me some RAM and from there things got better. I could finally play games in a slightly higher quality. I also got interested in computers and fixing them. I had to otherwise the computers we had would succumb to viruses. But despite my best efforts they would always get ruined. I don't know how many times I've had to reformat the computers we've had but it was a pain to lose my saved games after pouring hours and hours into them.

My childhood hero was Sonic the Hedgehog. I had a plush doll, still have it in fact, that I carried around with me everywhere for over a year. I never took it to school because I was afraid of it being stolen or ripped by some other kid. Ironically that didn't help because the neck ripped open while it was in the wash. I watched the SatAM cartoons near-religiously, I had a couple of comic books, I had the Tiger handheld, I have a VHS tape of the cartoons, I had toys galore. Eventually I just grew up and Sonic lost his attitude when the Dreamcast came around.
I remember being in middle school and a friend of mine would always badmouth the Dreamcast for whatever reason we could find. We were Sony fanboys and we were dedicated to the console. Yet, whenever I looked and read about the games being released I was secretly envious of it. Oh how wrong I was to look down upon the console. A few years ago I bought a used DC and a few games for it. I can't believe how ignorant I was back then.
The original blue blur will always be one of my heroes, not this green-eyed poser you see in today's games that can't do anything right.

My favorite game of all-time is Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on the Dreamcast. The graphics are superior to the other consoles, even PC, and it just had this overall feeling of completion. It's the definitive version of Pro Skater 2 in my mind. Neversoft asked fans what they wanted and they implemented those ideas into the game. The level editor, the create-a-skater, an expanded soundtrack, Spider-Man as a secret character, and a couple more pros added to the already amazing line-up made THPS2 the perfect way to do a sequel. I own almost every version of Pro Skater 2 with the exception of the Mac and iPod versions.

I'm a collector with a preference for the old school. My current collection total sits at over 400. Lately though I've been feeling that its all for nothing so my collecting has slowed down significantly.
I have some rare gems in my collection such as M.U.S.H.A. and Legend of Dragoon as well as a few others.
I was never really into RPGs and RTSs. They seem to be clones of one another. But I'm coming around: I've been playing a few of each and, although I'm not awestruck by them, they can at least hold my attention.
Sim racing is my favorite genre. It takes more skill than arcade racing and has helped me with driving in real life. 

I don't consider myself a professional, and I'm certainly not an amateur. I'm not hardcore or casual. I don't dispute console faults and advantages. I'm a gamer. I find the best of each and play them as equals. Fanboys are the most annoying, ignorant, and selfish beings on the internet.
I've been expanding my gaming horizons lately and have played some Magic the Gathering.
I also want to start a DnD group, but I can't find anyone willing to delve into the adventures with me.

This is part of where I stand when it comes to gaming. I hope, if you've been paying attention to my blogs any, that you get a general sense of who I am gaming-wise. Without video games, I don't know where I'd be. They've been there through rough times and they've also caused some great moments (double kill headshot with a single bullet in SOCOM:Combined Assault. No one else will ever see that). I feel like I'm a part of something big and that's how I like it. Gaming crosses so many cultural boundaries and is being pushed forward by people with bright ideas. I enjoy those ideas. I wish many others would as well.

Keep Playing.