Part 1: Real Gamers
Allow me to share with you a major gripe I have with a certain section of the gaming community. These people think they’re better than everyone else, apparently. I’m talking to you, Mr. (or Mrs.) Hardcore Gamer.
Yeah… I’m talking about those high and mighty people who think that there are certain conditions to being a gamer. You have to own every system, or you’re not a "real gamer." You have to like (insert company name here), or you’re not a "real gamer." You have to like the underdog, because the games and systems that the majority apparently likes are killing innovation… or you’re not a "real gamer."
Here’s a reality check to all you elitists out there–The gaming community doesn’t have strict membership requirements. The only trait really required to call yourself a "gamer" is that you enjoy playing video games. That’s it, period. There is no chain of command. There’s no IF/THEN argument, like you’d find in BASIC computer programming.
Here’s another surprise–You high and mighty elitists have become irrelevant. These so-called "casual gamers" that you despise so much have become the majority. You’re in the minority and have little to no sway on the industry anymore (unless you work at EGM). This is why Sega tanked, this is why companies like SNK never gained more than the most fleeting trappings of success, and this is why Nintendo will never be the king of the proverbial mountain again. Sony and Microsoft are way ahead now because they understand their majority audience and try to appeal to everyone’s tastes. If video gaming loses its popularity and you so-called "hardcore" gamers become the majority again, then they’ll adapt. Nintendo doesn’t know how to adapt anymore–they insist on reinventing the wheel and they maintain that the industry is what’s wrong instead of admitting that they might be approaching things wrong.
It’s bad enough that there’s this fanboy disease that infests the Internet like electronic syphilis, in which people show blind dumb loyalty to a company without being on their payroll, while at the same time classifying fellow gamers based on the number of systems they have or the kinds of games they own or rent. That is beyond dumb. Here’s the one
rule: If a person plays games and likes playing them, then he or she is a gamer. Period.
I guess there is an IF/THEN criteria, after all, but at least this one isn’t fascist. Anyhow, moving on…
Part 2: PlayStation Turns 10
As some of the PSX Extreme staff get ready for the annual trip to the City of Angels for E3–and the anticipated unveiling of the PlayStation 3–I’d like to remind you of another pretty special occasion that’s coming up this year: the PlayStation turns 10 years old.
Yes, that’s right… it was 1995 when Sony burst onto the scene here in the USA with the 32-bit, CD-driven PlayStation. Ridge Racer blew people away. Warhawk and Twisted Metal put Singletrac (now Incog) on the map. NFL GameDay made us say, "Madden who?" Destruction Derby added a dose of aggression to go with our racing, while Wipeout removed the wheels altogether. Jumping Flash realized our fear of heights via a robotic rabbit.
Although the PlayStation didn’t see the height of its success until 1997 (with the release of Final Fantasy VII), the building blocks for the system’s success were in place almost from the start. Sony successfully forged relationships with key third-party publishers, and that immediately brought credibility to the new player on the block. Sony’s continuing partnership with Namco is just one example, along with others like Konami, Capcom, SquareSoft, and Electronic Arts.
If you happened to miss out on the early days of the PlayStation, it’s not too late to experience some of what made the system tick. Remember, your beloved PS2 also plays most PS1 games. If you keep your eyes open while at your local game shop or rental store, you might see some classics that are worth adding to your collection without spending a lot of money to do so. In fact, building a PlayStation library these days can be a relatively inexpensive proposition… if you know where to look and you’re vigilant.
Case in point: I stopped at a Blockbuster store recently to see what they had for used games, and came across a copy of Bust-A-Groove 2 (a music/rhythm game that’s tough to find–just try eBay to see what I mean) selling for a mere $7. Unfortunately, it was the disc only, but the disc was in pristine shape… and that’s rare for Blockbuster games.
Very often, stores like EB Games and GameStop have promotions going where you can buy two pre-owned games and get a third free. These deals usually apply to older PS1 games too, and since most of those games don’t sell for more than $10, you can bring home quite a haul for very little money.
As we get closer to the anniversary of the September 9th, 1995 launch of the PlayStation, you’re likely to see more than a few references to some of my favorite PlayStation titles. Think of these references as a "This is your life, PlayStation!" kind of thing. I might even bust out a personal "Top 10 PlayStation games" list that we all can fight about. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Part 3: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Awards
OK… time for this week’s "Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down" awards:
Thumbs Up: We Love Katamari! You bet we do! I’m one of the many people who took to Katamari Damacy almost instantly. Sure, it wasn’t the most graphically intense game on the planet… but it’s so different and so "out there" that it was hard not to fall in love with. Come on… when you can roll up pets and people into your ball of life, it’s cool. And, hey, you get to roll over the Eiffel Tower. Sweet.
Thumbs Down: It should be no surprise to anyone that Konami is working on another installment of Karaoke Revolution. This will be the 4th game in the series, and while we don’t know much yet about the full list of songs that we’ll see in the game, we do know one song that’s slated for inclusion. It’s a duet. Sounds good, right? Yeah… until you hear what it is. It’s from everyone’s favorite Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze movie. That’s right: it’s "(I’ve Had The) Time of my Life". Excuse me while I fetch a barf bag. Of all the possible duets out there, did Konami really have to go the Dirty Dancing route? Come on, guys. How about Ozzy and Lita’s "Close My Eyes Forever"?
Thumbs Up: After waiting what seemed like an eternity, I finally got my Gamer Advisory Panel invitation from Sony this week. I must admit that the GAP page is nice and there are some sweet extras and giveaways that Sony has lined up for its select group. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not in it just for the cool binder.
Thumbs Down: So, according to a British survey, e-mail and text messages reduce your IQ more than smoking marijuana. Nice. I guess this means that I should uninstall Outlook from my computer and give up my cell phone. Of course, reality dictates that I won’t and that I think this study is a waste of time.
I think that I’ve done enough damage for another week. As always, despite the loss of IQ that it guarantees, I’m open to receiving and reading e-mails from you at [email protected]
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