Tuesday, May 22, 2012

An Awkward Firefight... (A test video)

I'm back! Like I said, I'll be posting some videos. The first will be some tests, but while playing Ghost Recon: Future Soldier this humiliating moment happened. I thought you all would get a chuckle from this:

Hope you enjoyed that at my expense... Thank you for watching! Stay tuned for more videos!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Scariest Moments in Gaming (For Me, At Least) Part Six

Here it is: the final part in this segment! Enjoy!

1. All save files deleted – Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Before hard drives and internal memory came along on consoles, there existed memory cards (I can’t believe they’re relics of the past now). These memory cards were valuable treasure to gamers. In the tiny squares of plastic held all the progress a player had made in his or her video games. But stating that memory cards only held a gamer’s progress is simplifying the entire idea. Think of what you have accomplished, purchased, or unlocked on your Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii or Playstation 3 hard drives/internal memory and imagine placing all that on a single tiny piece of plastic. Every obstacle overcome, every level completed, every costume unlocked made a home on a gamer’s memory card. It was only right that these items were cherished and (for the most part) taken care of by gamers.

However, instances could (and did) arrive when a save file on a memory card would be deleted or corrupted. The moment you read the words “No save file found” after pouring time, sweat, and tears (I never cried, though… honest) into a game could become the turning point for your newfound path into insanity (or anger management). No matter the case, whether hard drive or memory card, losing your hard work is both depressing and frustrating… and frightening when a video game toys about the subject.

That’s why my number one scariest moment in gaming happens to take place in Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. Throughout the adventure, the character’s sanity plays a key role in the game. As you traverse through the horrific world, encounters with enemies would decrease the sanity meter causing the character to lose their grip on reality. Once this sanity meter was low enough, odd occurrences would take place. These consisted of: a group of enemies appearing that disappear once attacked, blood seeping from the walls, the volume turning down as a TV volume meter appears on screen, your head exploding, etc.

Now, since I was playing this when I was younger and I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what exactly was going on, these sanity effects both confused and terrified me. I was not sure if anything in the game was really happening or if it was another hallucination. However, the effect that truly terrified me was when I attempted.

While playing the game, I reached a part where I had to time my character’s movements to make it past some spinning blades. It seemed easy enough. However, I didn’t realize how low my sanity meter was and as I made it past the first blade, my game locked up and transitioned to a blue screen. Confused, I read the white lettering on the blue screen and my jaw hit the floor. Basically, the screen stated that all my save files were “expunged” and that I needed to reset my game. Distraught, I began to yell, “No, no, no, no! Come on! This can’t be happ-” Before I could finish my statement, the game transitioned back to swinging blades and I was able to continue my trek.

Before I could though, I had to pause my game and realize everything was okay. The game managed to get me riled up as I believed I lost everything. Before continuing though, I said to myself, “I better save.” Opening up the menu, I took all the necessary steps to save my game; but I didn’t read the text boxes because I had saved countless times earlier. Well, you remember what I wrote about complacency in my previous post, right? Selecting the “Yes” option, the corner of my eye caught the question the game asked: “Do you wish to delete all save files?” As I watched the bar slowly increase, I read the word “DELETING” above the bar. I completely lost it, yelling out obscenities and cursing out both the game and console (the loudest one was more of a question, though: ARE YOU SHITTING ME?!).

As you most likely realized, the game yet again slipped one by me as the deletion of my save files was simply another hallucination. I still laugh about this moment to this day and think about how scared the game actually made me by pulling those tricks. I couldn’t imagine losing all the progress I worked for and this game threatened me twice with it. More than that, the game forced me to experience more than a simple scare through sounds or surprising enemies. Instead, it toyed with me psychologically by pretending to destroy something important to my hobby. That is why this is the number one scariest moment in gaming (for me, at least).

Closing comments

That’s it for this segment. I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about me through moments that terrified me in gaming. Though, I apologize for dragging this out longer than needed. I promise next time I do a top ten list, the most it will be separated into is two parts.

Unfortunately, I’m off for two weeks for military training so I don’t think I’ll be able to write any new posts. Nevertheless, when I get back I will finally be uploading videos! I’m excited to try out the new equipment I bought, and I hope you are interested to see what I can do. Well, that’s all for now. As always, thank you for reading!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Scariest Moments in Gaming (For Me, At Least) Part Five

2. Coming out of the closet – Amnesia: The Dark Descent

I apologize for the long wait, but here is Part Five of this segment.

In any decent horror game, hiding is always the first option one should choose (the next being to run away and the last being to fight). In Amnesia: The Dark Descent, hiding was paramount. With no possible way to stand toe-to-toe with your attackers, fleeing the scene in hopes of finding a secure hiding place is the player’s only hope of survival. This is a lesson players will learn quickly when they encounter their first enemy and try to flee while screaming in fear of getting torn to bits by some disfigured creature (check out some Amnesia reactions on Youtube; they’re hilarious).

While there were many times I was frightened by enemies in different games, Amnesia held a certain charm throughout the terrifying adventure. Maybe it was because I could not combat pursuing monsters and I felt completely vulnerable as I searched the halls of the castle; or maybe it was the dark atmosphere and creaking noises that kept me on my toes; or maybe it was the joy I felt every time I found a tinderbox (yay!). Whatever it was exactly, I finished the game with a smirk and thought, “That was a great experience.”

The most memorable, yet frightening, moment in this game (for me) was during a moment of complacency. Before I continue, I must ask: Have you ever (many of you probably have) fallen into that mode of carelessness after you complete the same deed over and over again? At first, you commit the act attentively, and then, gradually, become casual about it because not much changes. This is extremely relevant in video games that don’t offer enough variety. Well, I was beginning to follow this example because I thought I was skilled at avoiding the hostile beings roaming the halls. Boy, was I wrong. After turning a corner, I saw an enemy evolve from the darkness causing me to turn quickly run into the adjacent room to hide. Hearing the monster’s screams, I knew it had saw me run across the hallway.

I immediately searched the room for a safe haven and located a closet to my left. Quickly stepping inside and shutting the door, I heard my stalker enter the room. The slowly shuffling steps and soft grunts forced me to wait patiently inside the closet; but I wasn’t worried. “I’ve done this before and I can do it again,” was the thought that ran through my mind. After a moment or two, the steps and grunts fell silent. Finally, I could continue my journey.

As I opened the door to exit the closet my screen flashed red as a claw mark ran across my view. My voice cracked as I let out a high pitch scream (rarely, and I mean rarely, do I ever scream while playing a horror video game). The creature had positioned itself to the right of the closet door just out of my line of sight. I attempted to scurry away to safety but it was to no avail. The monster was hot on my trail and cut me down without remorse.

Ten minutes later my heart still pumped hard enough to hit the walls of my chest. I am still not sure if that was great AI design, or a once in a life time fluke; but it completely changed my impression of these intelligent adversaries. Never again did I fall into that state of complacency during my trek through Amnesia as that moment made a significant mark in gaming career.

Closing comments

I know, I know. How dare I make you wait longer for the number one entry? But I promise it will be up by Saturday along with another article I've been working on. That one will be closely related to this segment as it focuses on the horror genre. After that however, I will be gone for two weeks on military orders so another absence is inevitable. Still, when I come back I will do so with a vengeance! Not only will I increase my article writing, but I will also be posting videos on the blog. Yay! I've finally been able to purchase really nice recording hardware/software and I can't wait to try it out. I will be posting a couple tests first to make sure I know how to use it correctly to deliver quality videos. But I digress. As always, thank you for reading!