Rough Start to 2020

So as of this writing, or at least the beginning of this writing because I know it will take me a few days to finish it, I’m already behind on my 2020 plans though to be fair not completely my fault either. So, leading up to today (12/28), I’ve had the craziness of Christmas coupled with a nasty cold which has severely slowed down anything I wanted to work on, heck I haven’t even had time to play any games.

I had hoped that by now I would have at least a couple of reviews done and I was on track with finishing God of War but then things ground to a halt so I’ll have to find a way to catch up and get ahead. Under normal circumstances I would already give up for the year, but I’m still determined to make 2020 a turning point in every way so really, I just have to power through this cold and get back on track. I do have a few games to play that I’d like to talk about it’s just finding the time and the energy. Also coming up in four days I’ll be hitting my 38th year of existence on this floating orb so that will slow me down a little too what with celebrating and everything.

Another thing I’ve started, apparently I already had a GoodReads account and completely forgot about it, but I’d like to read and talk about more books so I set myself a challenge to read 5 books in 2020. Now I know that doesn’t sound like much but finding time to read is a challenge for me so it’s a reasonable goal in my opinion. Obviously, I want to read more than that but it’s a start.

Speaking of challenges, and getting back to my Steam list, which is every growing, I’m setting the same goal of five games to finish by the end of the year. Now just like the books there is a strong chance I can go past that, so I’ll update my goals as necessary but for right now it’s a good starting point.

Looking back I suppose I’m not truly as far behind as I thought I was, yes I had hoped to have a second review ready to give me a little more time but that’s alright. Now while this is up here and now on the first of the year there won’t be one this weekend as I’m counting this for this weeks post and it’ll still give me a little more time to get ahead, also, I got a new sketchbook finally so I’m going to be drawing again and this time really working at it.

That’s all for now folks, I know it isn’t a grand opening to the new year thanks to this cold but it’s a start and my hopes are still high that things will be just fine.

~Fallyn Aingeal~

Farewell to 2019, Plus Other Things

 

It’s still roughly the beginning of December but I’m jumping on finishing off 2019 so that I can take the time to enjoy the season as well as to finish planning for 2020…the year, not the show, just in case I had to clear that up. I’m not gonna lie, I’m disappointed in myself as far as what I’ve accomplished for the year. I had big plans, or at least big ideas but I really didn’t make any of it happen and a lot of that is simply because life would get hectic and I never made the time which is a big thing that I want to change in the coming year and I’ll address everything else in turn down below I promise. Before I get in to things though I want to share what I’ve learned over the year and the biggest thing that I learned is that to be a success at something you love you can’t wait for time to open up to follow your dreams, you have to make the time, nothing gets handed to you (that part I knew already though) and any dream worth following requires time and effort to make it happen. A lot of my time is partially spent on procrastinating and other parts are simply me trying to find ways to unwind from work and putting off what I want to do until the last minute so in the coming year (actually years I suppose), while taking time for me is just as important as anything else but I need to balance that with following my passions as well and on that note, I’m going to start rambling some more about what’s going to be happening.

The Blog

A large part of this has gone from wanting to talk about new games, to reviewing random games (usually older games), to a bizarre mixture of review/diary of sorts. Now taking that all in, it’s not to say the journey has been bad and I’m not going to sit here and say “I need to focus” or “I’m going in one direction” because the truth of the matter is, part of this has been fun where I’m essentially just writing what I love or what I love to write about and I actually don’t plan on changing much of that.

I’m still going to talk about the things I love but the biggest difference when it comes to my writing will be that I want to get ahead of the game, I want to make sure I not only have the article ready long before I plan on posting it, but I also plan on having at least a couple of weeks out so I don’t have to worry about any surprises disrupting my post schedule, plus having that buffer will give me more time to focus on other projects as well.

Speaking of schedule I plan on keeping to where I’m at, once a week and the only thing I can’t decide is if I want to post on Saturday or Sunday as both options are good but sometimes I just want to publish it so people can see it…so that part is still up in the air though I’m leaning towards Saturday mornings that way people can enjoy my nonsense over the entire weekend. As for topics, I know what I want to do and I also don’t know what I want to do (totally confusing I know, let me clear it up). So here’s how I see it, I like doing my own thing when it comes to reviews and I plan on keeping those for sure only I may refine how I write them but that’s going to be the surprise for the coming year, for both you and me if I can actually figure it out. In addition to my own reviews I plan on keeping up with the “Gaming Memories” topics for as long as I can remember my own gaming past and the reason being is it lets me relive my memories as well as share something of myself. Now that I think about it and taking another look at the blog in general, I think a lot of what’s there I’m going to keep doing, talking about books and movies as well as other random topics as I find the inspiration to write them.

Part of this, I suppose, is about refocusing but in large part it’s more of just creating a plan and one that I plan on sticking to. Sure, I may have to adjust and alter the plan over time, but this gives me a good starting point.

Extra-Life

If you’ve been following along you’ve probably missed that I stream, even more so you’ve probably missed that I stream for Extra-Life and you would be completely forgiven for missing that because I’m terrible at what I do. Okay joking aside, I’ve done Extra-Life for several years and failed (in my eyes) year after year and a large part of that is because I fail to advertise that I’m doing it at all let alone on the yearly game day and that is a huge thing I want to fix. Now I don’t plan on spamming everything I do with the fact that I’m doing charity streams, but I do plan on making it more visible than I do now.

On that note, I’ve bounced around numbers each year, I’ve tried raising $1,000 and I’ve tried raising $500, and in both cases it’s because I think I’m better than I am so next year the goal will be much lower and realistic, plus if I surpass the goal even better. I do plan on being more vocal about it so that I can do better and there are still things to work through as far as how to do that, but that’s part of why this is the last post of the year so that I can take the time to plan things out.

Streaming

Now part of this goes along with Extra Life up there but there’s more to it than just that. First off, streaming was never meant to make me any money (which is good cause I’d be on the streets right about now if it was), however I won’t lie that it would have been awesome. Realistically that isn’t the goal though, I enjoy streaming, I enjoy playing games and sharing the ones I love but we all know how easy it is to get lost in a sea of thousands of hopefuls wanting to make it their full time job. In general, I stream because it’s fun and I plan on keeping to that ideology to be honest. I want to stream games that aren’t the normal “mainstream” games that everyone else is streaming, it’s already easy to get lost in that sea so there’s no point in making things even harder on myself. To be honest I’ve streamed a few games that had gotten a good reception because they are interesting and quirky or just plain different in general so you can expect that in the future more often, and I’ve also been told by a good friend that I’m good when I talk, easy to listen to and fun to watch and that alone gives me reason to stream more if I can brighten someone’s day even a little.

That being said, I do still plan on bringing bigger games to my stream as well but there are hundreds of others doing it much better than I and I’m not going to really try to grab that attention from them…mostly cause I know I can’t, plus I can’t afford to keep buying new games like I used to.

Patreon/Ko-Fi

This is the last subject I want to talk about for now, gotta save something for later after all. I know up above I said that I didn’t stream as a source of income and that is still very true (how could it not be, it was like…a paragraph and a half ago), but I do have a lot of things I want to work on and if I can do well enough that anyone would like to donate then even better. To be honest the real, or rather biggest, reason I’ve been looking into both of these (and trying Ko-Fi for a bit) is that I love to both draw and write and I like doing both the old-fashioned way with pen and paper so any and all money I get from either source would go mainly to that as well as towards newer games to stream and/or review, but mainly supplies. Of all the things I want to do this upcoming year, this will be the hardest to figure out so that is definitely not something that is going to happen January 1, no it’s more like a spring thing that I’ll finally introduce it properly and even then it’s only if I get the feeling there is any interest, I hope there is, but we’ll see about that one.

In Closing

There you have it folks, it’s not everything and actually the list is pretty long of all the things I want to accomplish but these are the three big ones to start with (and lead in to in the case of Patreon and Ko-Fi). I will say that as I finish this up I’ve been going through a bit of a depression, honestly I’ve been feeling as low as I’ve felt in a very long time in that it feels like my life is going no where and that is a scary thought when your in your late 30s and you feel you haven’t accomplished anything. If I had my way, I would make a living writing and drawing, drawing (realistically) isn’t going to happen, but writing always could and it’s a goal I work towards and want to work towards until it happens. My biggest concern is like many people I wake up, go to work, come home, and go to bed…rinse, wash, and repeat and I don’t want that to be the remainder of my existence on this rock, I want to be able to enjoy life without constantly worrying about if I have enough to pay the bills, I want to experience life and be in life not just watching it happen to others and I’ve declared in a way that 2020 will be the year that changes everything and that change will, and even has to, start with me. Thank you for sticking around for this and I hope to see you in the months and years to come.

~Fallyn Aingeal~

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In closing, I offer little miss Mia, making herself at home on my desk…and notebook.

 

Favorite Games – The Halloween Edition

Since it’s Halloween time it seems as good a time as to talk about my favorite spooky/scary games, or at least some of them. I’ve always loved Halloween but for the most part I’ve always had something that stopped me from fully enjoying it, be it work, or a busy life, or not enough time to even decorate properly, there’s always been something and even in the midst of my own apartment being renovated I’m trying to find ways to enjoy it. Now I will be the first to admit that scary things (movies, games, tv shows), well, scare me. I’m not a huge fan of things being gross just for the sake of being gross but still, I do enjoy a good thriller and even a good horror movie when the mood strikes. I will also admit that when playing scary games, depending on the game, usually I end up playing from save point to save point (so about five minutes at a time when I tried tackling Dead Space). In short, I love scary games they just, you know, scare me, but regardless of that fact I want to talk about some of my favorite ones so do follow along and enjoy the ride.

Layers of Fear

I want to start off with a game that scares the ever-loving hell out of me and ranks as one of my favorite scary games of all time. I honestly did not know what I was getting in to when I first heard about it and once it was one of the Games with Gold on Xbox, I figured I wasn’t out much as far as trying so I gave it a shot. I don’t swear much in my posts, but holy shit did this game terrify me, I was literally only able to play it a few minutes at a time between the jump scares and the super creepy atmosphere I was constantly on edge. All in all, there weren’t a lot of jump scares it was more about the environment, the mood, and especially the story which had to be one of the most twisted ones I’d experienced in a long time. Now up until this writing I hadn’t played in months up until the morning of writing this entry for an early morning stream, but one of the biggest thing that draws me in is the heavy focus on exploration and story since combat isn’t a driving factor (it doesn’t even exist to my knowledge in the game).

Never knowing what was around the next corner, and often times turning around to a very different setting than what you left, never knowing what was behind you or even around you…I really do love this game and eventually I’ll be able to finish it, hopefully.

CarnEvil

Anyone who grew up in an arcade most likely knows of this one, wandering around a carnival and blasting creatures that nightmares are made of, it was less scare and more just the setting that made it creepy yet incredibly entertaining for me. Basically it was a light gun game in the shape of shotguns as you wandered around, clowns were prominent of course because, why not, but also many other nightmarish creatures, and overall it was just a good bit of fun and it was my personal favorite next to House of the Dead 2 anytime I was able to get to an arcade. Now I will concede that it’s been years, actually decades, since I’ve played this one mostly because arcades in my town have gone somewhat out of style and the few that are still around mainly have an overload of racing games, but I still loved it when I was younger and if I ever get the chance to play it again I wouldn’t even hesitate.

Silent Hill 4: The Room

Now I will admit I was never a huge fan of Silent Hill, I remember when the first game came out and everyone told me how terrifying and scary it was and when I first played it I didn’t understand what the big deal was. I wasn’t scared (which was odd since at the time even Super Metroid scared me), I wasn’t freaked out, maybe it was that I didn’t get far enough in but I also didn’t have the patience for it either so I quickly put it aside…and then “The Room” came out.

While for the most part it wasn’t too scary for me to handle, I actually made it much farther than I thought I would, but the atmosphere is what did it for me and I notice that’s a trend amongst scary games for me. Sure jump scares get me, no question, but when the environment is done just right I’ll spend a great deal of time trying to get from point A to point B, longer than I should, because I’m always expecting something just based on the mood the game presents. If I’m being completely honest though, the one thing that actually did really creep me out was a room with a giant head in it, I mean come on, and those eyes, I get shivers just thinking about it now.

Resident Evil 0

I love Resident Evil, as a series of course but there are a few that stand out that I really love and Zero (yes, I’m writing out the word) is without question my favorite. I know at the time the feelings were mixed on the game, ditching item boxes for item dropping which most definitely made things a little more complicated (though if I’m right, that was the intent in the first place, to make the game more difficult) as well as adding a new partner zapping system which allowed you to hot-swap between Billy and Rebecca to solve the games puzzles. Like I said, I loved it but I also loved essentially seeing the original game from the perspective of Bravo team plus Rebecca Chambers was always my favorite character in the RE series so seeing her get her own game (well basically) was pretty awesome as well.

This was also the first RE game I ever finished without even considering a cheat, and I still have no idea how I managed to finish it without extra help as I needed it for the first three games plus RE4 as well. Tis a mystery that will never be solved for sure.

Bioshock

Finally I’m adding Bioshock because why the hell not. When I first tried the demo I “noped” the hell right out as soon as the first slicers showed up before the game even started that’s how spooked I got. Eventually I forced myself to try it and I’m proud of myself for making it through the entire game. Between the environment and location, the eerie setting, the twisted baddies, the entire game was nightmare fuel for me and oh how I loved every second of it. It wasn’t even the jump scares that got to me to be honest, it was always the environment more than anything, everything about the environment alone was done so well that it always kept me on edge because it always felt like there would be a jump scare around the corner and a lot of it was mostly my mind playing tricks on me.

Over time I’ve played through a couple of times I believe, and I’ve played both sequels but if given the opportunity I’d always choose the original each time.

There you have it, not all my favorites but ones that stand out the most and why. I hope you enjoyed reading, I know I enjoyed writing it, until next time…as Elvira would say “unpleasant dreams”. Sorry, it’s late, I’m getting loopy, but I’ll see ya next week folks.

~Fallyn Aingeal~

Fresh Eyes (SNES Edition)

What’s your favorite game? I know, hard question, right? Damn near impossible for almost any gamer really, so instead of asking your favorite what if I asked you what game (or games) you’d love to experience for the first time just once more. A chance to see a game with fresh eyes just like the first time to hopefully, or, in some cases, feel the same type of wonder you felt the first time you played it. Still hard I know but I bet everyone has at least a few that if given the chance, would love to see as if it was brand new. I’m no different in that regard but it’s still hard to narrow it down to just one so I’ve gotten it down to three…plus a few honorable mentions. My real issue is do I rank them from lowest to greatest desire to see fresh again, or do I just throw them out there and hope for the best?

Well if you know me at all then you know the former is usually my specialty (and I’m giving myself double points if I used the right word there). In case I didn’t use the word “former” correctly, I’m just throwing out three games that I wish I could see again for the first time, at least just once more. Obviously, as the title states, I’m focusing on the SNES and even that was hard to do since it’s my all time favorite system and there are so many good games to choose from and to be fair the ones I’m choosing…two of them I think a lot of people would agree with and one not so much but I love them. Okay, enough stalling for space, time to delve into the games.

Super Metroid

Without question Super Metroid has been and always will be one of, if not my absolute, favorite SNES game. From the action to the music everything about this game was perfect to me but even more than that (and I know I’ve said it before but it deserves repeating), in a time when all I saw were bright and happy games seeing one that was super dark and gritty was a huge welcome. I loved everything about it even the parts that were super frustrating such as a few of the bosses but in the end I love it and while I love a lot of games this is one that if given the opportunity I would really love to experience again for the first time. I’m not kidding about how much I love this game, it was the reason I started getting a Nintendo Power subscription if for no other reason than to get the strategy guide for it, I would play it for such long stretches that I’d nearly wet myself because I didn’t want to stop to use the restroom (I know, gross, but true), and the picture below? I’d planned out a dozen ways to make my own aquarium to mimic it as best as I could because it was my favorite location in the entire game. To be in that moment again, to see it for the first time with that same wonder and even fear (and a little terror when trying to escape back to your ship at both the beginning and the end of the game), I can dream and imagine what it would be like for sure, but nothing (no matter how many times I play it) will ever bring that initial feeling back sadly.

Maridia Tube

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

First off, this is a massively underrated game on many fronts in my opinion. Most of us know it’s unfortunate history, partly created because at the time Western audiences were viewed as being unable to handle the difficulties of an actual Final Fantasy game and while we know that’s not true, I think this particular entry serves an even greater purpose that should actually be celebrated. I played this entry into the Final Fantasy series (yes I know it’s not recognized as part of the series since it isn’t numbered) because it was packaged with another game, I can’t remember what game I know it was one that didn’t seem to go with it. Now up until the point of playing Mystic Quest, I had never really played an RPG at all so right away I was blown away by a game that was almost purely story driven and the action was turn based which allowed me to enjoy the game without worrying about having the skills to beat it. I was drawn in with the graphics first, but the music is what really pulled me in deep, on top of that having a quest that centered around finding elemental crystals made it even better for me. At the time I was big into Earth Science, and minerals, and elements and this one hit all the right chords. Everything about it just hit the right spots for me and I fell in love with the game, it was the first RPG I ever played and the first one I ever beat and throughout the entire adventure I was enthralled, I never wanted it to end and from there I started playing more and more RPGs. In all honesty, Mystic Quest is what turned me into a Final Fantasy fan in general and an RPG fan in particular, not to mention filling my youth with some amazing adventures.

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

It probably isn’t a surprise this would be here, it’s consistently on people’s favorites list and for very good reason. In many ways it’s the perfect game, well balanced, open world yet still guided in a way. Throw in an excellent score and amazing graphics and what isn’t to love? Link to the Past was the system seller for me, I wanted the SNES before but it wasn’t until my best friend brought his over to my house along with this game that I knew I had to have it…I had to have this game over any other for certain. I really couldn’t tell you how many times I played through this on the original hardware, I know I play through it less on my 3DS but a large part of that is because of the fact I’m not experiencing it like I did the first time and there’s a certain amount of sadness to that so sometimes I don’t play all the way through because it is a little depressing. I know it can be silly in a way but when it’s a game that’s special it’s hard for me to see it any other way. I know I don’t stop playing because I’m bored, it always comes down to it’s not the same and some people may think that I don’t really love the game if I’m not willing to play all the way through over and over again but I think that’s wrong thinking there. I still love the game without question and would love more than anything to experience not just the entire game anew but those opening moments as well, I know for a fact when I first played I had chills and I miss that feeling when it comes to games.

Finally, I come to honorable mentions, though originally it was two now it’s but one:

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

This one hit me like Mystic Quest did in a way, by this time I’d played a few RPGs, but it also mixed two things I loved (or grew to love). On one hand you have Mario, mix it in with the developer responsible for Final Fantasy and you have pure gold. I loved the music, and the graphics of course but the story was next level for me in terms of a Mario game and add in a new combat system…at least to me at least. I think this is more or less here aside from the fact that it’s an awesome game but also because it’s an RPG and there is a long list of those, I’d love to experience for the first time again. My main reasoning is the fact that once I experience the story of an RPG it’s hard for me to play it again since I know what’s happening or going to happen so to see it again for the first time would be amazing and this one is no exception.

In reality, there is a much longer list of games that I would love to experience for the first time again on any system, but these top my list on the SNES. They are all amazing games in their own ways but the wonder and feeling I had with each one of them never really faded from memory but trying to recapture that feeling always seems impossible. It’s also more than just the feeling I got from playing those games for the first time, it’s a feeling I miss when I play more modern games though to be fair there have been at least two in recent memory that have given a similar feeling, both Spider-Man and Monster Hunter World have given me that same feeling from when I was a kid so perhaps not all is lost on the future of gaming.

~Fallyn Aingeal~

What Being A Gamer Means (To Me)

It is the year 2019 (September to be precise) and I’m rapidly approaching my 38th birthday, in short I’m getting old and while I feel on the outside I’ve aged well (to be honest I definitely don’t look my age) internally I fell like I’m in my 50s. I’ve been there for almost the entire home video entertainment run, I started playing on my brother’s Atari 2600 and I recall my first game being Slot Racer and I’m pretty sure I was around the age of three when I got my first taste of gaming. Now of course I know I wasn’t there in the beginning, and realistically it’s more accurate to say I’ve been around since the NES and onward. I’ve seen a lot over the years, but it’s been recently that I’ve begun to question what gaming truly means to me.

As newer games come out and I’m constantly feeling as if I’m being left behind for failure to adapt, I’m wondering if it’s just that I’m getting older so I can’t connect anymore or is it something else? It may seem odd but every year lately I constantly wonder if I can even consider myself a gamer or not anymore, I don’t play games like I used to and in many cases I don’t have the patience for the games that I do play which is why I wonder if I’m even one anymore or not. I can recall  spending hours, even entire nights devoted to a gaming marathon, spending weeks on a game for the pure love of it and nothing more and now, I play for an hour and then turn it off to go sit at my computer and what’s worse I get nothing done when I’m there…than I regret not sticking with whatever game I was playing before.

I’ll give you a great example, today I bought Yakuza 6 The Song of Life on the PS4 and up until now I’d never played a single game in the series. I managed to get through the lengthy opening that seemed to drag on for no reason and once I was able to take control and actually play I only did so for about a half hour bringing my total game time on my day off to about three and a half hours (counting Monster Hunter World earlier in the morning). I suppose part of the issue is the games themselves, over time games are made to cater to what’s popular, what’s “in” and lately it’s all about Fortnight and Apex, and even in the last maybe ten to fifteen years perhaps a good portion of time and money has been pushed into multiplayer. It seems now a days all that matters aside from Battle Royale games is when the next Call of Duty is going to release and quite frankly, I’m bored.

Obviously games have to change with the times but as a gamer it’s only fair that I would change over time as well, I’ve spent so long growing up with games that there isn’t anything left to “grow up” with any more, now it’s like…oh I know, it’s like end game content in just about any MMO, I’ve hit level cap and now it’s just a grind because there really isn’t any new content. That may be a bit over-dramatic, but this is the kind of thing that bothers me. Now I will say that lately there have been things that have made me excited, the expansion for Monster Hunter World being the biggest thing and I’ve discovered games recently that remind me of my beginnings as a gamer which I hope is a trend to bring back the gamer in me but just what does that mean? What does it mean to be a gamer to me?

I used to think that being a gamer meant you had to play all the games, and that mobile gaming (phones in particular) wasn’t exactly true gaming but over the years I’ve realized that for me, being a game isn’t just about playing games it’s being part of a very unique culture. A culture that is more than just playing games, it’s talking games, reliving experiences, sharing memories and sure that all may seem like it’s exclusive to the retro gaming community but it isn’t, it’s about a shared love of something that can do so many things. I don’t just play games, well I mean I do now but before I became old and boring, I experienced games, I was drawn into them and they inspired me to do great things (eventually I’ll do something great I promise). Games also inspire me to learn about the world around me and the world of the past. Think about it, a lot of games are steeped in history and inspired by it and while a game isn’t a substitute for education it can be an excellent supplement to it, there’s no question that the Assassin’s Creed series is a great source of information while still taking liberties with history, God of War brings ancient Greek and Roman mythology into the mainstream in a bigger way than games of the past like Kid Icarus and ActRaiser. I realize I’m not just a guy that plays games and constantly reminisces of the past, but I’m a gamer that enjoys the story and is inspired by it, knowing that I can do something amazing if I’d just try.

Being a gamer to me (and for me) isn’t just a hobby, it’s a way of life and it’s one that I’ve drifted from and one that I’m trying to get back to only with a more proper balance between the life of a gamer and that of a family man but there is always a way to balance it.

I admit that this is, somewhat, of a rambling that may or may not make sense then again maybe it will, maybe you too dear reader will identify with the struggles of growing up and growing old as a gamer. Either way, if you’ve made it this far then I thank you, you amazing person you.

~Fallyn Aingeal~

Top Ten! Twenty? Thirty!?

Well I tried to do it, I really did, but I really couldn’t narrow it down to just ten games, or even twenty, heck the list made it just past thirty before I was able to trim it down by a couple to make it an even number. Though in reality, this isn’t a top ten list of my favorite games, this is a list of games that impacted me in one way or another, games that helped to shape who I am as a gamer as well as well as my passions. With that in mind, this will probably be long, sorry in advance. I suppose I could break it up into several posts and it’s possible I will it just depends on how much I want to talk about each game. One final note before I start jabbering on about the games, they aren’t in any order, well maybe in order of console but that would be it because there is no way I could actually rank them as far as favorites go.

NES Era

The Legend of Zelda

220px-Legend_of_zelda_cover_(with_cartridge)_gold

This wasn’t the first game I ever played, I’d have to go back to the Atari 2600 for that one, but I credit it with starting my life long love of gaming. From having free reign to go where I wanted, the action, the weapons and upgrades, everything about the Legend of Zelda just spoke to me. Tie all of that in with the cartoon that would pop up on Friday’s as part of the Super Mario Bros Super Show, as well as the books and comics, and it quickly became my favorite game for the longest time. LoZ was a game that got me thinking differently about a lot of things at that young age (roughly seven or eight if I remember) but most of all it ignited my curiosity, wondering what was around the corner, where was the next secret hiding? To top it all off, there was an entire second quest to experience where dungeons were in different locations as were items, it blew my little mind at the time and still does when I think back on it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game

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I was always a huge fan of the Turtles…the 80s/90s Turtles that is and the Arcade game was like playing an episode of the cartoon show and I loved it. While it is true that a lot of games were made from cartoon shows as well as the other way around, the Turtles Arcade game really felt like it was lifted from the show (there are probably others that did as well but this one really stands out to me). Personally, I was always Donatello, he was always my favorite and I won’t lie I wanted to be super smart like him. This one also holds the distinction of being one on a short list of games that I’ve beaten multiple times, usually once I beat again (if I ever beat a game) I’m done with it. I often try to play a game multiple times but since I’m familiar with the story I burn out fast but not with this one, I can’t count how many times I’ve finished it and I count that as a good thing.

Contra, Gauntlet II, and Guerilla War

I wrapped these three into one for two reasons, first off to try to cut this down a bit and secondly because they actually are connected in a way…I’ll explain. All three of these games are ones that my brother and I would spend hours on together, he was my go-to player 2 and even though he was just shy of twelve years older than me he always made time to play on the NES with me and these three were games of choice.

Contra was one we had the most fun with for sure and we both managed to get through it without ever knowing about the Konami code and to be honest I was always surprised that people needed the code to beat the game in the first place. Contra is another game on the list that I’ve beaten several times over.

Gauntlet II was just pure fun, level after level of a seemingly never ending *coughs* Gauntlet *coughs*. Bad jokes aside, my brother and I had managed to get up around level 95 before it was time for dinner and never managed to make it that far again but that was also the time when the SNES was coming out (at least when we had Gauntlet II) and we stopped playing games together as often.

Guerilla War was the last of the big three my brother and I would play endlessly and I think we played it so much because a) it reminded us of Contra in a sense only from a top down perspective and we loved it, and b) it was one where you could continue endlessly only resetting your score without having to start from the beginning when constantly unless you both died at the same time. Now while we played and beat it several times, we never truly beat it since we always had to continue constantly.

Gameboy Shortlist

Link’s Awakening

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I can’t express how much I truly loved this game, seriously, I played it so much and burned through so many batteries on my Gameboy it’s not even funny it’s part of the reason my parents got me the Super Gameboy when it released so I wouldn’t waste so many batteries now that I think about it. From a gameplay perspective it was very similar to A Link to the Past and obviously it’s graphically different because of the difference in hardware but it felt very similar. Throughout the game there are several references to other Nintendo properties which adds a little comedy to game such as Bow Wow (better known as a Chain Chomp), Goombas and Pirahna Plants, Shy Guys, and even Wart from Super Mario Bros. 2 make an appearance.

Cameos aside it was such an addictive entry into the Zelda series and it’s one of the biggest reasons I started writing in the first place. I remember writing a small play for me and my friends to act out, I even tried writing short stories to add more to the lore of all the Zelda games.

Pokemon Blue Version

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I won’t lie, I can’t remember exactly why I had to have this game, but I know I had to have it and as I recall I was a Freshman in high school when it released. There was something about the concept that I really loved, creating a team to take on the world and show you were the best trainer ever, stopping an evil plot, evolving a fish into a dragon…all the good stuff. To be fair I wouldn’t be surprised if part of it was because of Blastoise on the cover too. I honestly never would have guessed that Pokémon would blow up like it did but I’m glad it did, there is something about the game, the style, the mechanics, that make it accessible to just about anyone who wants to play it.

The Age of the SNES

Super Street Fighter II Turbo

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Now I am not a huge fighting game fan, there are some that I enjoy I’ll admit, but it’s not my genre of choice. This one though, was my first, or at least I’m pretty sure it was my first. It was actually given to me by a friend in middle school along with Sim City (that one will crop up later) and I can’t remember why, more than likely he was tired of it either way I got two free games. Honestly, I really loved how it played, it was smooth and fluid, frustratingly addicting, and it even got me to play a few more fighting games before I decided I wasn’t a huge fan of the genre. More importantly though I loved the stories of the characters and it broadened my horizons as a gamer. I may not love fighting games but I’m glad for this one introducing me to the genre because over time I’ve played some great games.

*Important note, the game was released on the SNES in ’91 and I wasn’t in middle school until ‘93/’94 which is when I got it from my friend*

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

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Now I’m gonna start with saying that all I remember as far as how I acquired this game is that it was packaged with something else and I’m pretty sure it was NFL Football (totally weird I know but it was like a makeshift bundle at Best Buy years ago). To this day I have always credited (and always will) this game for getting me into RPGs in general and Final Fantasy games in particular. Yes, I know the reasons as to why it was made, thinking that Western audiences couldn’t handle a true Final Fantasy game, so we got a stripped-down version. In reality though, if it wasn’t for that stripped-down version, I never would have known the joy that the entire Final Fantasy series could give a person.

Mystic Quest triggered a love of fantasy in a hardcore way, after playing and beating it (the first and one of few FF games I’ve beaten) I went full tilt on the fantasy scale. Reading books, watching movies, my gaming choices even started drifting into fantasy even more than before and I’m grateful for it too. It’s safe to say that Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is one of my top five favorite games of all time, from the graphics to the soundtrack, I loved every step I took, every battle, every victory chime and I’ll defend it’s awesomeness for as long as I’m a gamer.

Mario Paint

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Before I tried Mario Paint I always loved to doodle and sketch, from the time I was eight or so I loved drawing on anything I could get my hands on. Mario Paint took that passion and multiplied it ten-fold, the game (and I use the term somewhat loosely) was an oddity in its own right but it would still be a few years before I got my hands on Paintshop Pro and longer still before Photoshop and Mario Paint helped fuel that creative desire that I still have to this day.

Final Fantasy II (IV)

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Where Mystic Quest introduced me to Final Fantasy, the second (or rather fourth depending on where you are) cemented a love for the series that even Final Fantasy XIII couldn’t destroy. This one showed me what a Final Fantasy game really was and was so deep. One of these days I really need to finish it too, every time I try I get to the point where *SPOILER* Cecil becomes a Paladin and for whatever reason I just can’t finish and I’ve tried…oh how I’ve tried and I don’t know why I can’t finish it.

Illusion of Gaia

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The first true-blue Action/RPG I’ve ever played, at least one the best ones I played in my early years that’s for sure. When I first played it I couldn’t completely wrap my head around the story but I understood enough for it to click just how awesome the game was. On top of a great story you have a main character that can switch between an adventurous boy (Will) to one of two others, Freedan and Shadow (a dark knight and a humanoid energy construct respectively) with each form having its own strengths and weaknesses to help you get through the adventure. What really stands out to me though was as I was playing, I was seeing something I’d never seen before, at least not up to that point. There was so much depth not just to the story but to the characters as well, it was a game that really made you care about the characters and what they were going through and it made gaming more personal for me.

Sim City

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Told ya I’d come back to this (see Super Street Fighter above), and I’ll admit when I first heard of it, I had no idea what it was. Once I played it however, I still had no idea what was going on, but it didn’t take me long to figure out what I was seeing. No question it was the first city builder I’d played, and it wasn’t the only one around by far, but it was another game that in a way catered to my creative side. I spent hours, days, even weeks playing and trying to design a functioning city. I always failed, but the process always held my interest and it translated into other areas, for instance as I would write I would want to design cities and worlds for my characters to inhabit and Sim City helped in that regard…well I mean I didn’t try doing it in the game but it did help me think about the world and environments in a different way.

Sim City also sparked a love for the genre which rolled over to all the Sim games of the time; Sim Tower, Sim Ant, eventually the Sims, as well as the tycoon style games like Rollercoaster Tycoon and Zoo Tycoon.

Super Mario RPG Legend of the Seven Stars

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Everyone knows this game, or should at least, developed by Squaresoft (now Square-Enix) for Nintendo and using many of Nintendo’s beloved characters (including cameos) it took Mario completely out of his element and shoved him into an entirely new genre. Not only did it take Mario and company and put them into an RPG (along with introducing new characters that have sadly just slipped into oblivion) it also introduced a unique element to the combat system, timing button presses to guard extra damage or do more damage it took the turn based aspect of RPG combat and added, essentially, quick time events.

By this time, I was a full fledged Squaresoft fanboy and when I first heard about this, I had to have it, no question about it, and I have zero regrets.

Earthbound

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One of the craziest RPGs I’d ever played and one of my favorites for sure and to this day I still have no idea why I wanted it. I had never heard of it before I got it and quite frankly, I think I just wanted a new game and it was easy to talk my mom into buying it since it came with the strategy guide and it seemed like a good deal. Once I started playing it though, wow, I mean really wow! I think the biggest draw for me, besides the crazy, was the fact that it essentially starred just regular kids and as a kid it made me dream of having my own adventures, so I guess in a way it really hit home. I never did finish it, even wrote to Nintendo Power to get help with the final battle but by the time I got a reply I had moved on to other games.

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

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Of course this was going to be on here, this was the system seller for me especially after a friend had brought his system over to play and the second I saw the Triforce I was hooked. I had to have this system, and this game, like a primal need even, it simply had to be part of my life. LttP took everything I loved about the original game and blew it up in every possible way, the story, the visuals, the soundtrack, at no point did it ever disappoint and I spent hours trying to find every secret (way before the internet was as big as it is now) and if I could relive any game just once this one would be it. This is the game that keeps my head in the clouds and keeps me dreaming, of being more than I am, it’s the biggest reason why I write, why I draw, and why I try to create.

Super Metroid

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While the Legend of Zelda was always bright and cheery…well sort of, Super Metroid (and really the Metroid series in general) was the exact opposite. Where Link had friends to call on for help, Samus had her training and solitude and that alone is what truly pulled me in. Being alone on an alien planet with no one to talk to, to turn to for help, or even for comic relief, it actually made me think about the world itself (the real world that is). As dark as it may seem, Super Metroid made me think in terms of looking out for myself, that there wasn’t always going to be someone there with advice or a helping hand to get me through things and it’s probably one of the best lessons a game has ever taught me.

Enter the 64-bit

Perfect Dark

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I personally never owned Goldeneye, I played it (not much), and I enjoyed it, but I never owned it however I did own what was essentially a very similar game in Perfect Dark. Between the two games I preferred Perfect Dark by far, maybe because I was never a huge James Bond fan, but the story was fun and the game itself was challenging and throw in an alien named Elvis and what more could you possibly need?

Perfect Dark may not have been as impactful to me as many of the other games on this list but it made its mark and lead me back towards Sci-Fi.

Dreaming on Dreamcast

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

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I’m not a huge fan of skateboards, maybe because I know I’d fall and break my neck, but there was something about this particular one. Maybe it was the soundtrack, maybe it was the mechanics, maybe because it was simply just an incredibly fun and addictive game, but I loved it regardless. To be honest, playing it made me feel like I could do anything, it kind of put me into a groove thanks to the music as well as the flow of the game and I would just sit and zone for hours. This was also a game that introduced me to music I probably never would have hear otherwise (the Rock Band and Guitar Hero series did the same thing years later), it helped me to define my own taste not just in music but in a lot of things like my own fashion sense. Something about the culture that surrounded skateboarders then and now, one that was just about being who you were and this one spoke volumes to me.

Phantasy Star Online

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The fact that I didn’t have a large Dreamcast library aside, this was unquestionably my favorite game for the system. I could never even get very far into it, in fact for all the hours I pumped into it I only barely got inside the Dome after the starting area. To be fair I had no way of getting online at the time to play with others and at the time I was so introverted I wouldn’t have tried if I could and I never had friends at the time that really wanted to play it either so I was largely on my own but none the less I loved it. Hour after hour, long after the sun went down, I was drawn to this game and I loved every second.

Enter the Playstation

Mega Man Legends

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Such an amazing game on so many levels, and another one that would always set my imagination wild with adventure. I mean really, you have Mega Man in as much of a non-traditional Mega Man game as you can get, 3D and a mix of action and RPG, a new backstory as an adopted kid after the world is essentially flooded. All of this was a nice change of pace from the standard Robot Masters and Dr. Wiley method that, while worked, was starting to get stale (at least for me) and even the X series didn’t help much though they were great games, but it was more of the same. I was always sad that there would never be a third installment and more than likely never will be, I mean, at least we got Mega Man 11 but I think the spin-off series are going to be dead for a long while.

Gran Turismo

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I don’t think I’ve said it yet, if I have…sorry, but I’m not a huge sports fan in general and while racing isn’t a traditional sport, I do lump it in with the rest because at least a few people would consider it a sport. Gran Turismo though, wow did I love this game and I think it was because it was so realistic (at least for the time) and while I enjoy the look of a nice car, this one made me really appreciate cars as a whole, how intricate they are, how even the smallest thing could turn a beautiful piece of machinery into a lump of metal. It by no means turned me into a car guy, I can change my oil and a tire, that’s about it but it did give me a new level of respect for cars in general and car racing in particular.

Vanguard Bandits

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The first game I ever played under the Working Designs label before I ever got a hold of the Lunar series on the PS1, it also came before Final Fantasy Tactics so really it was the first tactic style game I really sunk my teeth into (though I did own Ogre Battle on the N64 I barely ever played it). It was a brilliant blend of both fantasy and sci-fi and being a tactics game mixed in RPG elements as well and while I may be terrible at tactics games I still love them and this one always stood out with very fond memories.

Parasite Eve

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Blending Horror with RPG and a somewhat wild, yet oddly plausible story, Parasite Eve really pulled me into the horror genre (I was already eyeball deep into RPGs). I could never really get over how amazing this game was and really underrated (at least from my point of view). The most unique thing about it is the fact that it is heavy handed with horror elements and I think that’s where it really shines, I mean Squaresoft had dealt with heavy subject matter before but this one was darker in a way and maybe it’s because it was more realistic that made it seem darker. To be fair, early Final Fantasy games had their dark moments as did others like Chono Trigger but the pixel graphics somehow soften the blow in a way but seeing it rendered more realistically (given the power of the PS1) made it seem more macabre to me. As dark as it may seem, it made me think more about life and death though to be fair at the time my own grandfather had been declining in his health so this brought it all to the forefront as well but as humans it’s an important thing to take in and consider.

Final Fantasy VII

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I know, everyone thinks it’s overrated and maybe they are right, then again maybe they aren’t. For me, this was an amazing game, the story, the graphics…yes even the blocky bodies, and most importantly, the music (one of my favorite soundtracks for the record), but most importantly to me was the Materia system. Of all the Final Fantasy games the Materia system was my favorite and as silly at it seems I liked the way the Materia looked (at least when it was slotted into gear), that smooth crystal look that reminded me of Mystic Quest and FF II (IV), and trying to balance it all.

Initially I spent about 50 hours in the game when my save file was corrupted and had to start from scratch and by the time I finally finished the game (counting the corrupted save) I had put close to 200 hours into it and regretted nothing. By the time FFVII came out I had drifted away from writing and this pulled me back in.

Castlevania Symphony of the Night

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Hands down my favorite of the series to this day and another game joining the ranks of the few that have been beaten more than once. As many times as I’ve played it I’ve never found anything I didn’t enjoy about it, yes that includes the “cheesy” acting though to be honest I prefer the dialog of this one more than almost any other Castlevania game I’ve played. The soundtrack really stands out for me but really, everything is epic in my eyes, the action, the graphics, the splash of RPG elements, there’s even a few puzzles sprinkled around and challenging boss fights (except for Legion, I always found that to be one of the easiest fights).

I do love the connections to other Castlevania games and even not having played many of the past ones (or getting far into the ones I did play) I still understood what was going on and made me come back for more again and again. At one point I had been renting the game, in fact I had rented it about three or four times and still hadn’t beaten it because I was exploring everything heck I even bought the strategy guide before actually getting the game because I knew I would own it eventually and I was right. As a matter of fact, I had finally convinced my mom to buy it for me since I had rented it so often and wouldn’t you know it, that night I finally beat it.

I will say this though, I completely stumbled upon the inverted castle by accident. I had never known about it and never found the Holy Glasses which you technically need to see the floating orb behind Richter. Yes, I know I bought the guide first but I never looked at it until after I beat the game and found the inverted castle and the second I saw that castle come down and realizing I wasn’t done yet I was in awe, completely blown away, it was like a game that was already awesome suddenly got even better.

PS2: The Return

Baulder’s Gate: Dark Alliance I & II

I know, not fair, it’s two games which brings the list to 31 but outside of story they are essentially the same game and the reason they are on here besides being two of my favorite dungeon crawlers of all time as well as having one of my favorite characters hidden away in them (Drizzt Do’Urden), but they also helped me come back to reading as well has helped through a rougher time in my life. These games would just let me completely forget about the world around me and immerse myself in a fantasy adventure unlike any other and whether you play D&D or not, one thing the game has inspired is a passion for excellent story telling.

PC: The Final Frontier

Alone in the Dark

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My first true blue introduction to the survival horror genre, even as silly as it was it was just as equally terrifying. I was absolutely terrible at the game, no question about it, but I didn’t care I loved playing it. This was also still back in the time when my brother and I spent more time together and while Alone in the Dark wasn’t a two player game, we would often play it together and fail miserably and for me it was more about spending time together than actually getting anywhere in the game itself.

The 7th Guest

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I don’t know how my brother and I stumbled onto this game but we loved it and much like Alone in the Dark we were terrible at it to the point of needing to by the massive strategy guide for it and still had trouble beating it. I remember being blown away by the very concepts I saw in the game if not the game itself. Aside from the creepy story you had fully acted sequences super imposed on top of the game area to help tell the terrifying fate of the house guests. Believe it or not it was as much the strategy guide as the game itself that contributed to me wanting to write. If you didn’t know, the strategy guide had the full script in the back of the book and it was such an amazing thing to see, to be able to read it (over and over in my case).

Age of Empires

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It’s been a long journey (and according to Word, so far eight pages worth so congratulations on surviving this long), but we’ve come to the final game and one of the best RTS games in my personal opinion. Before this I had played Command and Conquer as well as Star Craft and Warcraft but Age of Empires really stood out to me and largely because of the historical aspects more than anything. I mean the sci-fi and fantasy of the others was great and all but being in charge of an ancient civilization as it rose to power and decimated its enemies was something completely different, though in my case I was the one being torn apart, I mean let’s be realistic, the AI was brutal in those early days and it’s part of what made it even better.

The end, or the beginning?

You stuck it out, we’ve reached the end, time for me to wrap this up. Looking back, I know I didn’t explain why each game impacted me and maybe it’s because they didn’t in an obvious way. All these games hold a very special place in my past and mean the world to me. Some of them were my first gaming experiences while others helped me through rough times. Many of them inspired me to be more than I am, always reaching for the stars in a way and I’ll admit that because of that I may not have reached my full potential yet but if there is anything that gaming has taught me it’s that it’s never too late to shoot for your dreams.

Thanks for sticking around and reading, see ya next time!

~Fallyn Aingeal~

*Final note, I wanted to include pictures of the games from my actual collection but currently all my older stuff is all in storage for the time being so had to find box art images*

New Year, New Me (A Couple Weeks Behind)

How many times have we heard that before am I right? Yeah I’m joining everyone else with the new year resolution and all that, same as I have in years past…many years past. After having another birthday in the past week I’ve decided I’m getting too old to start “tomorrow” to improve myself and it’s time to start now (actually, it was time to start several years ago). Now I have a few options, try to do everything I planned last year and most assuredly fail, do as little as possible and still fail, or refocus (yet again) and try to focus on just a few things that I really want to push myself on and I’ve opted for the final option.

This here little blog both is, and isn’t, a major priority in the coming year. I still intend to use it as a means of revisiting my childhood as well as sharing my own opinions on the games I play and have played over the years, but it isn’t my number one focus. What is my focus you may ask? Go ahead, ask, it helps move this along actually. Mostly my focus is on improving; my art, my writing, streaming, all the things I love to do I want to do better. I’ve let my passions go by the wayside for far too long and it’s time to change that, I wake up, I go to work, I come home and go to bed, that for the most part is my life and it’s boring and the little time I do have I use poorly.

With all of that being said, out with the old and in with the new…me that is, and I plan on making the best of it, here’s to a better new year and one filled with as little regret as possible. Also, I know I’m a little late on this, I got busy and couldn’t get back to it but it still stands!

~Fallyn Aingeal~