games / Columns

The 8 Ball 4.23.13: Top 8 Embarrassing Moments

April 23, 2013 | Posted by Marc Morrison

Welcome to another installment of The 8 Ball. This week’s topic is about my and Liana’s more embarrassing gaming-related moments in our lives. This is a more subjective list than most, telling you stories and thoughts, rather than a hard and fast list on what we think. Never the less, enjoy a few of our tales:

8. Suikoden 3 Cheating vs. Time Spent

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Back in the heady days when you could cheat in console games, I did so with Suikoden 3. Specifically I used a Codebreaker (different type of Gameshark) to try and boost every single party-invitable character up to level 99. I used a mild XP boost code to make the process go a bit faster. It was largely for not though, since it still took me about 200 goddamn hours to do this. Spend hour after hour grinding out levels for characters I’d never used, or bothered with, just for the accomplishment that I had done it. Even if I had cheated to do so. Had I done it without the Codebreaker, it probably would’ve taken me 400 hours and I would’ve gone insane.

7. Virtual Boy Twins

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I’ve actually owned two Virtual Boys in my life. The first one I got as a present when the thing first launched, with Mario Tennis and Red Alarm. Both weren’t terrible, but the system was well-known for causing headaches after about 20 minutes of playing, either from the eye-strain, or the uncomfortable way you actually had to use it. I think I eventually lost it during a move during my teens, and then later on I somehow managed to get another, with only Mario Tennis. The fact that I actually had two of these monstrosities is fairly embarrassing. Then again, it’s probably more embarrassing for Nintendo to even be reminded they made it.

6. Meryl’s Codec

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Back in my day we had these stores in the land known as “Blockbuster Video”. Here you could go and rent movies and games for a few days and enjoy them for a set amount of time. What a novel concept. Back in the heyday of Blockbuster’s reign, I rented Metal Gear Solid for the PS1 from them. Got home, played and enjoyed it, up until the point where you had to find Meryl’s Codec frequency. The game’s tip as “Look on the back of the box”, but I didn’t have the box, only a Blockbuster case. I spent about 10 minutes going through every Codec frequency there was, until I stumbled upon hers, as well as Natasha’s inadvertently. While it was a neat idea to place valuable game data on the box art, it left those who rented the game in a bit of a lurch.

5. GBA SP Failure

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I owned a Gameboy Advance SP for 4 years and literally did nothing with it. I bought it when the system was fairly new but just never had any drive to use it. The three games I owned for it were, original Gameboy Tetris, Tetris DX (GBC version), and Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (also for the GBC). For the entire 4 year span of me owning it, I never bought an actual GBA game. Eventually, I think I sold the thing to Gamestop for a paltry sum. There were a lot of good games for the GBA, games I’ve gotten into now, but back then, it just never really interested me in trying them out for the system. Also, the creen was a bit too small for me.

4. WWF BADitude

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For a time, around 1998-2001, I was into wrestling. I was more into wrestling games though, with a friend and me spending countless playing WWF Warzone on his N64, especially the Royal Rumble mode. I picked up WWF Attitude for the PS1, and eventually proceeded to throw a controller at the PS1 in frustration, breaking it. I forget who I was/who I was facing, but I was in a 3 on 1 match, where I was the one. After spending 20 minutes trying to beat all three guys down, I snapped, and just chucked my controller at the PS1 after eventually losing the match. Unfortunately, the controller hit right where the PS1 disk-spindle was (what you put the disk on), and cracked it. When I went to take the disk off the spindle, the entire thing lifted up off of it, making that PS1 non-functional. Bummer for me. Also, that game was largely trash.

3. Launch Troubles

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I ran into small issues when I got both my PS2 and my Xbox back in the day, and both are pretty good. My Xbox story was I got the system, the remote control, and I had the option of either Halo, or Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2X. I chose the latter of the two, and upon retrospection, I am an idiot. At the time, I did love THPS2X (and still kind of do), but let’s be real, Halo blows it out of the water in all respects. The PS2 issue was I got the system, and a game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. I didn’t however, get a memory card. So I had no way to actually save the game I was playing. So I would play for a few hours, shut the console off, and have to start back up from scratch. Not exactly the most fun process to go through. I went through this for about a week, then scrimped enough money together to actually get a memory card.

2. It’s a TRADITION!

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This isn’t my story, but I’m a part of it, mainly for making fun of my friend. I had an old friend Brian who was obsessed with RPG’s, especially Final Fantasy, starting with 7 and going on. When Final Fantasy X came out for the PS2, he rushed out on launch day to buy it. The small problem he ran into was he didn’t own a PS2 at the time to actually play the damn thing. His rationale for doing this was “Well, it’s a tradition of mine to buy the new Final Fantasy game on launch day.” My response was “That’s fine and all, but it’s a better tradition to actually own the damn system to play it on, first.” He didn’t own a PS2 for at least 6 months, possibly for over a year. I always would chide him when I came over, “So, how’s the box art on Final Fantasy X looking today?” He was not amused by this.

1. Steam Library

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My Steam game library is frankly scary to think about at this point. I have 749 games on Steam, with 475 other files (DLC primarily, one movie, one software), which equals out to 1,224 total amount of things on Steam I own. With that said, I’ve barely touched 3/4ths of my library. Of the 740 games I have, I’ve only played around 200 of them. At this point, I have games in my Steam library; I literally have no clue as to what they are, or how I got them. I used a Steam calculation website, if I wanted to install every game I owned, it would take over 4TB’s of hard drive space to install. Good luck with that. I view my Steam library as something cool and unique to me, but damn if I’ll ever play even half the games I own. Seriously, what the hell is “Bad Rats” anyway, and how is it in my library?

The Better Half

Note: Really, really embarrassing confessions follow.

When I suggested this topic to Marc, I had no idea how tough it would be to write this. Writing a gaming column is, on good days, like being Prometheus chained to a rock, having your liver eaten by a bird. The next day, it grows back, and you start all over again.

But sure! Let’s open ourselves up to complete ridicule by admitting violations of hard core gamer taboos! Great idea, Liana!

I was thinking that if we invite the dogpile, it’ll hurt less, but now it’s scary! In writing this, I realized that there really is a thought police in video games, and as much as I’m pretty open with my opinions and not afraid to be the lone voice. But there are some things I have not been able to bring myself to admit… until now!

Marc, this is why we can’t have nice things. I should never be able to pick the topic again! Crikey! Sorry Monkey! I really am a Darkling!

8: Developers are my kryptonite — I get more nervous interviewing game developers than major celebrities. — Actors? Whatevs. I settle down pretty quick, even when it’s, like, Edward James Olmos. But game developers? Unless something truly mind blowing comes out during the interview, I am jello. David Jaffe responded to a tweet of mine this week and I was like, Belieber-level excited. Not at all pro, I know, but who cares about a six-pack when you can have a quad core? Clearly, I am left out of many, many girl gamer discussions.

7: Voice Actors are my underwear models — I don’t get Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbach and Bradley Cooper. I think they are probably nice people but I do not understand why they are supposed to be more attractive than the average guy. But voice actors? Gimme some of that. T.C. Carson? Michael T. Weiss? John DiMaggio? Steve Blum? Yes please. Carlos Ferro? Steve Valentine? Nolan North? Can I give you a hug? Before you think that I just like nerd boys, I don’t get David Tennant or Matt Smith either. I fail at girl stuff.

6: I don’t think I really “get” Halo — I feel like such a poser playing Halo. I play it. I finish the campaign on difficulties above normal. I’ve tried multiplayer and find dying every five minutes really not fun. I never get better at it. I have never related to a Halo character that wasn’t the Arbiter. I feel like Cortana was that girl who would secretly plot my destruction in college. I never manage to feel involved in a match, even though I love Gears of War multiplayer and find it crazy exciting. I feel like I have a bad memory cluster or something. Why can’t I relate to this game?!

5: I think I get Call of Duty even less — Seriously, I love the hard-wired marine ethic but I can never finish a single Call of Duty game. There are no aliens or dwarves and I get frustrated that the only way I’m likely going to see a lot of those countries is through a game. MW3 got me closer to getting it because of the near-future stuff, but then the whole Black Ops franchise… why is it Black Ops? These maps are in broad daylight! I try so very hard to understand these things, but… ugh I suck.

4: I had lots of fun with Epic Mickey 2 — You are not supposed to say that, but I did. Yeah, I saw what was wrong with it, but I liked co-op play and having Mickey and Oswald beat each other up. Also, I really liked Too Human, and was charmed by Darkest of Days. Weird.

3: I hate “normal girl” characters — I’m sure I’ll lose feminist points for saying this, but I’d rather see big, exciting female characters than this trend of girls-next-door designed not to “offend” women. I like the characters with giant boobs and ridiculous outfits who scream aggressiveness, or some creepy tiny thing with huge eyes… or Hannah in Fable, because oh sweet Albion she was about something without being “Oh look! We’re politically correct!” I would rather a fembot turbo slut with turret tits in a game than a flailing fiery wreck of political correctness. Or useless girlfriends who exist only to be girlfriends. I know I’m in the minority here. I know that it’s probably wrong. But I don’t feel “included” in a game when “the girl” is the representative of Boring McBoringville, or OMG the embodiment of loooooooove and salvation. That is so depressing!

Example of “normal girl”: Jennifer Aniston. Jennifer Aniston is a thing I play games to escape, but as soon as there’s a ‘spunky love interest’ you eat a gob full of Jennifer Aniston. And once you get “normal girl” in a game, then there’s usually always a “slut girl”, aka Claudia Black. I always end up liking the slut girl better, because she is Claudia Black. But I am too lazy to relate to the world through my vagina and I can’t keep up with that. Furthermore, slut girl never ends up getting the guy, even though she is ludicrously more interesting than normal girl, because this “balances” the game. Moral of the story: if you’re interesting, boys will boink you when the narrative needs sizzle, exploit your skills, then dump you for Boring McBoringville when they’re ready to settle down. Like I said: depressing.

2) Some days, I catch myself humming the Quest For Glory theme while walking down the street — I’m probably mentally ill, because I really relate to life through gaming. I read books, and imagine what they’d be like as games. I see movies, and I wish they were games… especially the latest Judge Dredd movie, but also The Hobbit, Skyfall, and Les Miz. Yes. Les Miz.

When I’m struggling with something, I wish it had a Konami code. I flipped out on this trip into a rural area because it was like passing through various levels of Alan Wake, and ended up yelling “It’s not a lake! It’s an ocean!” even though no one else knew what that meant. My husband also knows what an Elcor is, even though he’s never played Mass Effect, because I have periods where I talk like one. Anyone in an N7 T-Shirt also gets addressed as “Shepherd.” I”m actually admitting this in public, aren’t I?

1) I Have a Dragon Age Problem — I have spent a total of 800 hours of my life playing various Dragon Age games. I really wish Steam didn’t show things like that. Between those and turn based strategy games, I really seem like a basement dweller with no life. I read the comics and the tie-in novels and do all the characters voices for their dialogue parts. I don’t understand why people hate the Deep Roads. I love the Deep Roads!

I have a Dragon Age sticker on one of my ATM cards. I have a Flemeth dragon on my computer tower. I have two custom hand-etched Dragon Age drinking glasses. Why? Because me and my friends mix coke and red wine, recite the Grey Warden Joining dialogue, then chug the horrendous stuff to see if we survive the taint!

David Gaider is my current #1 gaming stud. I actually started petting my computer screen once when I saw a picture of David Gaider because he is so adorable! I also secretly think that people in Edmonton are just better than the rest of us in Canada, because of proximity to Bioware. (And Happy Harbor comics, who arranged my one and only tour of Bioware’s offices. Love you guys!)

I am so not kidding I am obsessed… I should not be allowed near these people… except Jennifer Helper I want to be her BFF… not that she’d be able to stand me but… oh god I need help.

Complainer’s Corner

Nothing to complain about this week, but write down some of your own embarrassing stories and I’ll comment on a few for next week.

The General Roundup

A few comments from last week I’ll reply to: Yes, I said Bully was a current console game, but I was aware it came out on the PS2 first. I even had the special edition with the dodge ball included. I’d love a Suikoden 6 game but the first director (Yoshitaka Murayama) of that series left Konami a while back and there’s been no news about the dude who made Suikoden 5. I do remember the old Sword of the Berzerk game, at least on the Dreamcast. It was pretty solid. I would absolutely love a Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3 game. I have the first two (two copies of MUA 1, one normal, one gold) and it remains a great dungeon-crawling RPG. Also, Shenmue is kind of terrible.

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