Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wrestlemania The Arcade Game: Yokozuna!

Another one of JDA's games.

This one I enjoyed a little more than Battle Arena Toshinden.

A WWF Wrestling game when it was called the WWF. Not sure what it's called nowadays.

I don't remember if there was ever a point to this game, but I just chose Yokozuna and cheesed it up to the extent that I could. Him or Bam Bam Bigelow.

Go strong Asian video game characters!

Battle Arena Toshinden: JDA's Game

JDA being my cousin from New Jersey.

He gave me this game sort of as a gift, to which I was absolutely shocked. It was money he was giving away to me, but who was I to object.

Battle Arena Toshinden was 3-D fighting and with weapons. It was cool for like 5 minutes, then I'd probably get back to playing Madden 97.

Dance Dance Revolution: I liked the music

Completely, utterly, totally, my little sister's video game.

We have the platform as well of course.

A game I only played a handful of times and had no attachment to other than hearing my sister play it. And when she played it I got used to the music, which grew on me like pubic hair. "If you were here" was my ringtone out of college, "Put Your Faith in Me" reminded me of the Asian-y atmosphere at UCLA.

My sister played the game so much that she won a contest in her school.

Madden 2001: Awesome Last Effort on the Playstation 1

There was a Madden 2001 for the newly-minted Playstation 2.

I figured that Playstation 2 would have to chop down it's prices eventually and so I didn't get that game.

Instead for Christmas, it was Madden 2001 for the Playstation 1.

The game was serious fun. It was the furthest I'd gone with a Madden game. Previous to that I was only able to get to second base. Heh. Heh.

By then, the dynasty mode had been worked on and there was a whole Post-season Management. I particularly loved Player progression, the NFL Draft, Preaseason, and Depth Chart. I chose the Bears as my dynasty team.

Of course I added Charles Woodson, Champ Bailey as my corners, legitimately. Had them locked up for quite the longest time. I got all other fill-in talent through the draft. Of course I drafted whoever rated high in speed at any position and built my teams all around that. L.Dumler was a motherfuckin' beast on the right end.

It was the same with running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks. Draft whoever was fast and watch the develop into stars.

NFL Talent evaluation was so easy back then.

NCAA 2000: I liked the music?

NCAA 99 was a really really fun game.

NCAA Football 2000, I bought at Toys R Us, discounted at $29.99.

Everything was much cleaner in that game, however, it wasn't as exciting as 99 for me.

One good thing about it though was the main menu music. Felt very high schoolish or worldly high schoolish, like cheerleading championship hype music. I kinda liked it, and I re-played their songs in my head before my high school cross country races and while staring at white, freckled, red-headed girls with braces run races as well.

Yeah, NCAA Football 2000 was about the main menu music. Sorry.

Madden 99: Bitch to NCAA Football ;99

I didn't buy this game when it immediately came out. I bought it on sale at a Toys R Us.

I think I bought it after I'd bought the used NCAA 99 just to import NCAA players over.

Wasn't too excited about this version of Madden, but it did have the Play Creator and the Swim Move.

I think I wanted to see if Steve Maris and Bo Simmons would get drafted. I think they did.

NFL GameDay 98: The Introduction of Polygonal Football

The whole reason I got it was because of the much-hyped Polygonal players. I didn't care that Madden 98 had an artificial AI.

The polygonal players were something I'd never seen before, and it sort of hinted at a size that football players could have. Prior to this game, there was very little sense of depth in football players. Madden 97, Gameday 97, all same depth motherfuckers.

The polygonal play was somewhat tough. It felt kinda stiff and limited. The only money plays I did have weren't streak plays but was this was arrow play from a Trips route which would get me 7 yards each down, so each drive was kind of a grind.

What was kind of cool was the stiff arm. It was cool to smack down would-be tacklers even though I rarely ever saw that in the real game.

A notable accomplishment in this game: I created then-current Bears running back 6'1, 244-lb Curtis Enis and made him a 1000 yard rusher! BAMN!

NBA Live 99: The Game That Taught Me to Value Speed

I bought this game at a video game store in the Glendale Galleria used. I think I bought after going to church or something.

No matter.

This was the game made while Michael Jordan was in his first retirement, which was basically the death of Chicago Bulls basketball for me. I got this game after the NBA Lockout of 1999, and played it for 2 years.

As a Bulls fan, I kept fidelity to the Bulls roster post Michael Jordan. With every move for Bryce Drew, a drafting of Dalibor Bagaric, or Marcus Fizer I created a corresponding player in the video game allocating their skills, according to their NBA Draft net profiles, and added the new acquisitions with optimism. This kinda led me to thinking that players might've been better than they were. I held out hope for Dalibor Bagaric for the longest time.

Then of course, he walked into a game with his shorts on backwards.

The actual game itself privileged the ability of the power forward to beat his opponents in a fast break. It was all about speed. When I liked Allen Iverson for a quick second (at about the time he was leading the 6ers to a Championship run), I singlehandledly throttled the Lakers. However, simple things in the shooting motions such as layups and close shots were a struggle.

Despite it's shortcomings, the game was as solid a simulation for me until I transitioned over to a Playstation 2.

NCAA Football 99: Northern Illinois, Steve Maris, Bo Simmons to the Title!

I bought NCAA Football 99 used from a Blockbuster in Glendale. On the cover, a Michigan Blue and Maized Charles Woodson, the same Charles Woodson I'd wish'd the Bears would've drafted (I don't think they had the opportunity to), the same Charles Woodson that I'd seen do a monster 1-handed interception.

I forgot why exactly I got this game. I'd always heard that NCAA Football games were just watered-down Madden games. They didn't even have players I knew.

But no matter.

Once I sunk in, what I enjoyed most was the Dynasty Mode, quite a distinction from the other sports video games with professional sports teams. With the Dynasty mode came the ability to see improvement in and recruit players. That in itself, seeing improvement, recruiting player, was the reason to keep playing and what sold me on the NCAA football series.

I took the worst team in the game, Northern Illinois University (NIU), located in De Kalb, Illinois, or in other words, not-Chicago, Illinois, and took them to a #1 ranking and won numerous bowls with them. I know that NIU has had recent success, but they weren't successful at the time. I know that they had Ryan Diem and cheered on his drafting way back when. I know that now as a UCLA alumni, that NIU probably has switched football situations with us now.

Though, I could take comfort in the fact that at least were still in LA.

At the heart of the NIU wolfpack attack were my created players the 5'9, 174 QB Steve Maris, who wore number 9, a name I randomly generated perhaps because of Roger Maris and his 61 home runs and the context of the home run chase going on in baseball in 1998-1999. Steve was like my answer to Rudy, though at quarterback.

On defense I had 6'1, 249, Bo Simmons, hard-hitting Free Safety who I made unable to run, but had the ability to hit very hard. I imagined Bo to be a shaved headed black guy.

Those two I made some NCAA heroes that would make Tommy Frazier shake in his shoes.

Mortal Kombat 4: Still an Enigma

Now this was a game I bought when I was living near a Toys R Us. It was probably $19.99, and thinking I had to fit in with the need to fight or get into fighting games, I bought it.

Mortal Kombat 4.

Never got anywhere with this game, but I figured visitors would enjoy the game.

That is...when visitors came by.

We didn't have many visitors.

Mortal Kombat 4 I still got to barely know thee.

Bust A Groove 2: Music I Still Get Down 2

Originally my little sister's video game.

I never liked button pushing in rhythm games (see Parappa the Rappa). I didn't have rhythm or patience to press in sync, especially to watch these video game characters dance.

However, the game itself had many interesting settings, characters, and songs. Maybe my sister'd beaten the game, I sure hadn't. I only paid attention whenever I liked a song, and I damn near liked all the songs.

I liked the character Heat, and his stage's theme song. He was pretty much the Ryu of the game, least for me: the versatile, standard, straightedge protagonist. His theme song reminded me of Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki, especially the bridge part.

The stage I liked the most belonged to the little girl Shorty. Her theme song was "Happy Heart in the Sunshine" at some kind of Theme Park. Loved it so much that I downloaded the Japanese version of the song. That song is fucking candy for your ear, if you like to be upbeated.

Need for Speed High Stakes: Hot Pursuit!!!

I got this game along with a driving set for my 15th Birthday.

This game I asked for a very particular purpose: to hone my driving skills.

I don't know that I ever finished the objective of the game, all I did was play the Hot Pursuit. Always played the evasive Need for Speedster. The pattern of the game was somewhat predictable: they police would catch you once, you'd get a warning or the first ticket. Second time your second ticket. Third time, they'd lay the spike strip, which you'd have to know how to evade.

I think I always ended up getting caught. Yay, law enforcement. I only wish law enforcement consisted of saucy-lipped scantily-clad, big-butted, big-boobed, curvy Brazilian women.

That would be the ultimate Dream hot pursuit.

Knockout Kings 2000: The Birth of Rocky Juarez

The first and only boxing game I ever owned.

This was before Manny Pacquiao was popular for Filipinos like me everywhere.

It was relatively easy to pick up. It was a more sophisticated version of the classic button-mashing game (see Ninja Turtles ultra), only you were throwing combinations of punches. Combinations of punches that were called flurries. Pretty much what you had to do all game, while avoid getting hit. I used to focus on beating the computer opponents body with flurries aimed at the body. This would set up punches to the face. Simple formula to victory, however you had to be more mindful when your fighter wasn't too big.

What was really fun was creating the boxer and taking him through the ranks. I created a fighter named Rocky Juarez. Don't remember how far he ended up, but I think he could beat the current actual Muhammad Ali. That is the really old and retired one. Not sure about the Muhammad Ali in the video game or in the past though.

NBA Shootout 97: The Game that Ushered Me Into Playstation 1

So Sega Genesis was still making relevant video games by the time Playstation 1 became a hot item. I was still playing NBA Live 96 on my Sega Genesis.

NBA Shootout 97, the game was all graphics.

The home courts, the polygonal players, the up-close shots.

On its hardest difficulty setting the computer would almost never miss. Presented quite the puzzle back in the day. However, a guide book said that the key was to let the poor shooters shoot. You'd leave someone like a Dennis Rodman open.

I'd choose the Grizzlies at the most difficult setting, reasoning that I'd be one of the best players. So I learned how to play with Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Bryant Reeves, and Greg Anthony as my main players.

Cool Boarders 2: A more dynamic Snowboarding

I'd experienced Cool Boarders 2 first through a demo disc that I got from Playstation.

Previous to that it was the game 2Extreme on a previous demo disc that came when I first got the Playstation. That game was fun, but it was all racing.

Cool Boarders 2 was racing as well but allowed for tricks such as 1080s and the change of outfits. Wasn't quite sure what the end goal of the game was, and still unsure.

Triple Play 2000: Slamming Sammy !

Only baseball game I ever bought, and I forgot how.

But I do remember that I got Triple Play 2000 because Sammy Sosa was on the cover.

This was the year after he'd hit 66 home runs and was battling with Mark McGwire in the home run race.

Pitching was fun with Kerry Wood and Jon Lieber. I kept the team as it was, making only the changes as the team made changes. It was fun closing with Tom Gordon and Rod Beck.

I took the Cubs as my team, (as I took all Chicago sports teams in video games) and won like 5 World Serieses. I only considered buying this game because I'd played Triple Play 97 that my cousin in New Jersey had...that was reasonably fun, I guess I could expect that and more...and...it was.

Very good introduction/assimilation to the game of baseball it was for me.

Medal of Honor: A Headache

I bought Medal of Honor in 1999 at some Video game store at the Glendale Galleria because I wondered why I couldn't just like the ordinary games that other boys my age liked. I really only liked sports games.

A first-person shooter where you used different guns depending on the situation.

I kept wondering why I could stay alive after many gunshots but my enemies would die on the first bullet I lodged on them. Hmm...I guess I was a really really elite soldier or something.

The game was actually as satisfying as game reviews revealed it would be. One of the best shooters ever! I had gotten over 83% of all missions completed.

But then one day, my head started hurting. Every time I looked at the screen and tried to play this game, I would feel dizzy. A jarring dizziness. It was like one of Wolverine's claws was trying to escape from my skull...I couldn't play this game anymore.

And so the game's still there. Saved on the memory card. 83% completed.

NHL 98: Making Tony Amonte a Hall-of-Famer

The last hockey game I bought and it was big.

This was 1998.

I had read in a video game magazine dedicated just to sports video games for one issue that this game had it all. It was rated a 5 out of 5 on everything from graphics to gameplay.

Bought it and played it a bunch; this game, not a basketball game was my favorite game to play. And this was when basketball was at the peak of its popularity, it being Michael Jordan's last season (1998) and all.

I loved the create-a-player option, so much that I created a team full of created players. Reason why I loved the create-a-player option? The players actually varied by size, speed, and skill and it was somewhat recognizable. I particularly loved the ability to sprint in these games, unlike the iterations on the Sega Genesis or the Playstation competitor NHL Faceoff.

My favorite player was a guy I created who was 5'6, 204. I named his ass Brett Conrad. Not sure exactly why. But I used to love making up white American names for players and adhered strictly to that code. This motherfucker was like the Barry Sanders or Maurice Jones Drew of hockey.

I also created a player named Bernie Peugeot. Now this motherfucker was like 6'1, 240 or some shit, and I modeled him after Bernie Nichols, some guy who came to the Blackhawks in 1995 and had a dope season with them. Or at least I just took Bernie's name. Bernie sounded like a try-hard kind of name and so I kinda used him like a workhorse. My team kicked plenty of teams asses. Of course "teams" meaning 1998-hockey-video-game-artificial-intelligence-controlled teams.

During the actual games, there was a major glitch which I used to give the Chicago Blackhawks like 10 Stanley Cups and break all NHL records of note. That glitch was the ability to score goals from a distinct spot far away from the goal. It was from the side, you'd get the right angle, and bam you'd score. Off that glitch, I expected like 21 goals a game and really after a while was just playing the game to see what kind of statistics I could amass. I made Tony Amonte, an above-average but not quite all-star perennial Blackhawks forward at the time, beat every record that Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux held with a baseball bat AND a baseball.