I don't think I have done this yet on the blog this year, although I have wanted to for quite some time now. It's a shame that it took this long to give it a shot, because if it's something that you, the readers, seem to enjoy, I would have loved to do it more often. I didn't play just one game for the blog, but instead two, as a way to get a couple different perspectives on a franchise for two really different games, both of which I enjoy playing for different reasons. I don't want to do a comparison and try to determine which game is better or more fun to play, as I did with the two baseball games that came out this year, but just hold both games up and put them under their own spotlights. I just want to do it in a one-day span, to drive home the point I am making about both of them.
This all came about because I finally sat down and planned out the rest of the year for this blog. That's right, you heard me correctly. I actually decided to put some planning in to this stupid thing and stop winging it like I have done for the better portion of ten months now. With the end of the year approaching quickly, and two new game systems coming out in a mere weeks, I wanted to make a battle plan for how I could finish off this year of gaming strong. I didn't want to limp to the finish line, as good as that sounds, but really drive home the fact that I am less than two months away from this once seemingly impossible goal.
Because of my planning and scheduling, I realized that I have way more games to write about than I do days left in the year. This isn't a bad problem to have, as I once worried about finding enough to fill the year. However, since I am not ready to reveal what will happen to TheNoyse.com after December 31st, 2013, I don't want to just allude to the possibility of something, if anything, continuing after this year is over. And because of that, I want to try and get all the games in that I want to write about, if possible, while still keeping to my schedule that I have planned out as of now. Again, if you know me or anything about this blog, you will know that I'm quite likely to change things on a whim, go against the master plan and throw you all curve balls when I feel necessary.
So with that, I present to a double feature, as I write about both X-Men Arcade, and X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse.
First up is X-Men Arcade, which I played on the PSN for this blog, but am far more familiar with it as being an actual arcade game. I picked up the game on sale from the PSN store several months back, for a couple of bucks, hoping to recapture the nostalgic feeling and fond memories of button mashing next to strangers and friends alike in the arcade, all huddled around this game.
Thankfully, the digital version didn't disappoint on the good feelings aspect, as they didn't really change anything about the game. They didn't add new enemies or stages or characters, they just left it alone for all the fans to enjoy. Sure, they put some poilish on it, but not enough to ever confuse you into thinking you were playing an updated or remastered version of the game. Everything you remember loving about the game is still fully in effect on this version.
For me, playing this game in arcades was an absolute must. If the arcade I was in had it, I would be playing it, whether that meant waiting in line with friends or jumping in to an already started game with complete strangers, I was playing it. As you know, I'm usually not a multiplayer type of gamer, but once you step foot into an arcade, all gaming habits you may have fall to the wayside, as you just get lost in the musty smell, the sounds of machines racking up high scores and quarter machines spitting out change, and the sights of people just like you, all there for the same reason. To play games and have fun.
This game is meant to be just played and enjoyed. It's the truest form of button mashing imaginable, and because strategy takes a back seat to simplistic game play, you don't have to know, or even get along with, the people you are playing with to conquer the game. The X-Men characters to choose from offer a nice variety of choices to a broad range of fans, so everyone fighting for one character isn't common, as most people are just happy to play, regardless of who they are controlling.
There is a video game arcade and bar that I have been to a few times, and wrote about a time or two on this very blog, and every time I am there, the crowd around the X-Men Arcade machine is one of the biggest in the building. It's even comparable to the line at the bar and the restrooms, which says a lot. I always try to get in on a game when I go, and never hesitate about joining in on someone else's game.
Playing X-Men Arcade on the PS3 was fun, but lonely, It made me want to run down to the arcade and drop in a few quarters. I guess it's nice to have on hand whenever I feel like beating a game in about a half of an hour, but for the most part, it's just an awesome reminder of how far video games have come in society. We used to game with friends by our side, now we do it across the ocean via the Internet. It isn't a bad thing, it's just a thing.
I also played X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse for this X-Men double header. I chose this game because playing Arcade made me think of how well single-player X-Men games can be. Honestly, I don't know how critically acclaimed Mutant Apocalypse is or was, but for me, it's always the first or second game I think of when talking about the X-Men franchise. So I hooked up my Super Nintendo and fired up this game, taking me back to a different part of my life as a gamer.
As a kid, I didn't have many friends. Sure, I had lots of buddies at school and people I referred to as friends then, but looking back, they were more acquaintances than anything. I had a couple of good friends though, but unfortunately, circumstances pushed them both out of my life. Before all that happened though, I mainly hung out wiht my cousins and their friends when I felt like being around people. When I was craving me time, I would bunker down in my room and game. One of the games I dumped several hours into was X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse.
It was a great single player game, as you would pick from one of five characters, play their level, and then go on to the next character and stage. Eventually you'd beat the game, playing all the different characters and mastering all of their abilities and play styles. It felt like teamwork, playing all of them individually, but without all the social awkwardness of my childhood.
Sure, Wolverine was by far the best character, as it was so fun to just run through and slash your way past everyone. But personally, my favorite was Gambit, with his staff for melee combat, kinetic energy and card throwing capabilities. He just seemed like the outcast in the group, resembling how I felt a lot of my childhood. It was because of his appearance in this game that I decided he was one of my favorite X-Men characters, if not my overall favorite.
Unfortunately, Marvel hasn't done much with the character as far as mainstream media is concerned, but I'mm holding out hope that one day he will step out of the shadows as being a secondary, often forgot about character and actually develop a wider fan base. A lonely kid could hope, right?
Anyway, playing this game again drummed up some unexpected memories and feelings from my childhood, but there was a silver lining. It made me realize that just because I choose not game very often online with other people, doesn't make me less of a gamer. I'm just a different kind of gamer. One who appreciates the solitude and quietness of enjoying games solo, and getting lost in them, sometimes even escaping from whatever ales me in this world and enjoying the world I'm playing in, where I've been given the ability to be who I want.
11/18/2013 02:36:48 am
What a great idea, a double feature. Always coming up with new, creative ways to keep this blog fresh. Keep it up Josh.
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