Oh, hai! This is the classic “blast from the past” article, you know? Where said girl rambles on about her best and worst “video-game career” moves. I’ll be happily sailing the seas of the now bargain-bin titles as I nonchalantly forget the beauty of technological advancement. I mean, our species has this annoying habit of studying history and wearing old-school SNES shirts with cliché nerd-banter, so I figure I’d join them because, needless to say, I just as well own a “Legend Of Zelda” T-Shirt when Link was just a puny, princess-chasing, 16-bit elf kid. Only this time, I’m not reaching too far-up the industry’s butt-crack. This list is intended to give both you and I inspiration. It is a walk-through, if you will, that exposes my triumphs in gaming. More importantly, It exposes why I faked being sick through middle-school. I hope I am inspired to re-discover the sexiest creation birthed from Sony’s now incompetent uterus, known lovingly as my Playstation 2. I hope all of you are inspired to scour E-Bay and Amazon for one or four of these neat titles and maybe take a sick day of your own. It’ll be our dirty, little secret AND THAT IS MY PROMISE TO YOU.
# 6 THE BOUNCER
What do you get when you cross an angry, German pro-wrestler with a dash of Kingdom Hearts and a tattooed Asian? We get Volt Krueger, Sion Barzahd and Kou Leifoh, the three super-karate-fied heroes of Squaresoft’s first Playstation 2 title! SURPRISE! “The Bouncer!” Yep, this little number was the very first game I purchased for the Playstation 2.. This was when “Square” and “Soft” lived together in perfect harmony—still moderately cool, right? Anywho, “The Bouncer” turned from a bar fight into a space oddity in lightning speed and I couldn’t decide what was more bizarre, Echidna’s super-hold, cone-headed hair-do or the fact that Dominique was a cute, bug-eyed, blonde…cyborg thingy. I’m not sure why I focused all my attention on Squaresoft games back in the day, maybe it was because I felt the need to be one of those biased, disturbing fangirls after playing Final Fantasy VIII as a wee lass. You could say that “The Bouncer” was nothing special, but I try to discount all the mostly mediocre reviews because that’s just my style. Basically, it’s just a slew of short, cinematic cut scenes placed in-between fun “beat-em-up” gameplay and you can bet every, single character has their own suave taunt for amusing purposes. I do know one thing, “The Bouncer” was more entertaining than your mom and whipped cream on a Saturday night and surprisingly, it still remains so in this gal’s heart of hearts. I’ll admit, the “Story Mode” hardly made any real sense to me, but nothing was better than getting into brawls after school with my girlfriends. That is, until somebody would just have to pick Mugetsu. Remember him? He was that unbearably annoying ninja with an awesome ROFL copter roll move…thing. Also, something about Echidna’s Capoiera dance just makes me want to pop this bad-boy in again and again…and…
# 5 SUMMONER
I was one of those close-minded girls who refused to play anything that required less than forty hours to get through, so you can probably deduce I believed myself to one of those pseudo-cool gamer gals with an RPG-based diet. Of course, by now I’ve made it clear to “RPG” that I am promiscuous, but I’ve learned something valuable during my fidelity. RPG’s just adore their friggin’ “summons.” Occasionally, developers get risqué, so we’ve been duped into thinking a “Guardian Force,” “Aeon,”and “Element” are all different. So, this may sound lame but, in all my nagging, “Summoner” is an awesome game. Initially, I didn’t think it would be. As if the whole “Summoner” title couldn’t have been any less appealing to thine eyes, the cover-art displayed a dude on a mountain. Whoop-Dee-Freaking-Doo, right? The truth is, it was eleven bucks plus tax and I was aching for a fix. It is my ideal RPG albeit non-traditional in that the battle-system is not reminiscent of Final Fantasy and the side-quests are as massive as the main story-line. I enjoyed not standing in a straight line. I enjoyed the heartfelt storyline. I enjoyed getting to know the NPC’s and listening to their tales, whether of daily life or religious nuttery (I usually loathe the whole NPC portion, by the way). Overall, I just dig the feeling of “Summoner” and it taught me an important lesson: the video-game shelf is soiled with many bland, cheap, cliché, overlooked, and overhyped titles made just for you. Don’t judge, darnit! Get a doggy bag, slide-on a rubber (glove) and pick-up as many pieces of poop as you can handle and just maybe, it’ll turn to gold. “Summoner Geeks” is pretty legendary, though.
There’s nothing more satisfying than being a smooth-talking, Italian mobster voiced by Ray Liotta himself. Although I don’t have a long track-record of loving the whole “Sandbox” genre, GTA is perfect when I’m my emotions are raging in all different directions. Plus, I adore mob movies exponentially. Miami isn’t safe with a broad like me on the loose and this game has often made me wonder about my pleasure-seeking ways. I enjoy the pool of GTA titles for many different reasons; GTA allows me to destroy a city with no inhibitions and not go to jail if I run fast enough; that’s just awesome. GTA is a better reenactment of “Scarface” than the corresponding video-game title and I had been begging to explore my inner Tony Montana. GTA takes place in the 80’s, the time of loafers with no socks and odd music videos. As Mr. Shlomi would say, “I don’t know it sells itself!” I suppose “Vice City” stands-out over the others because it’s just one of those unquestionable instant classics in pop-culture. It has all the ingredients of a troubled era, all mixed-together in an entertaining game. I’ve enjoyed how “Grand Theft Auto” has progressed with simple things, but I’m always anxious to see how Rockstar will continue to push the boundaries of stealing, murdering, and casual sex.
# 2 PRIMAL
The story of a girl and her gargoyle would have never felt like a great idea until “Primal” proved me wrong. This game is cleverly composed of so many awesome elements that have pushed me to plug-in my Playstation 2 time and again. “Primal” is a prime example of overflowing badassery; from its eerie graphical arrangement to its masterful soundtrack, it had me compelled from the get-go. Something about being this demonic, crimson-lipped bird searching for her boyfriend in the planes of oblivion had some real-life appeal to me, maybe? If you want to know the truth, I was hooked on this Jennifer Tate character. There’s definitely a difference between living “on the edge” and hanging off one with one-hand, but Ms. Tate has it down. She was funny, sexy, charming, witty, and was accompanied by a useful side-kick—what more could you ask for, really? Although Jennifer sported some butt-squeezing attire and a fierce attitude to match, it was hardly enough to knock Lara into the bog below, but it was enough to convince me of my love for this heroine. Besides my weird girl-crush, one of my favorite aspects of this game is solving puzzles in different perspectives as both Jen and Scree, an endearing duo. I liked flashy effects and I liked transforming into all these advantageous freaky-deaky creatures from hell. The combat gameplay satisfied my nightly blood-lust as a latent sinner in this fabulous, virtual realm. Holy Gargoyles Batman! So much trouble for one boyfriend, but I’m sure he’d do the same for Jennifer, right?
# 1 ICO
The whole Princess in the castle bit has always gone way over my head, which is probably why I progressed away from Mario, Peach, and Nintendo in general fairly quickly. Although I enjoy the classic “brave savior” tale once in a great while, “ICO” happens to be one of my favorite games of all time—totally contradicting, I know. I mean, no, I don’t think I’ve ever been more annoyed with the concept of holding a girl’s hand but it somehow makes me feel important, you know? What’s so great about being a boy with horns being slapped with responsibility to defend a beautiful chick against menacing shadows? I guess it’s the immersive factor, really. The environments are vast and totally gorgeous. You see, I’m one of those gals who enjoys a painful amount of information overload during every, single conversation (I’m looking at you, “Mass Effect”) but “ICO” doesn’t blabber and I enjoyed that. It’s all very visual and emotional and as Lead Developer Fumito Ueda envisioned back in ’97, he wanted a game that played-out like a film and, despite the lack of heavy dialogue, would solidify a powerful bond between a boy and a girl. After fours years in development, I can truly say that this video-game is a piece of priceless art. It’s extremely hard not to appreciate Ueda’s imagination and this is exactly why I see games such as “ICO” and “Shadow Of The Colossus” refraining from getting lost in the whole next-generation craze. If there was one game I couldn’t say enough good things about, it would probably be “ICO.” Although rare, it’s totally worth it when you finally stumble upon a game like this and it’s totally worth it when a corny game is totally worth it.
I can feel myself coming down with something mean already, Dear School. What are some of your favorite PS2 titles, guys and gals?