The Best Interview in the Universe!
So what do you get when Maddox, Lord and Master of the Internet and the proud owner of the accurately-named Best Page in the Universe, does an interview with MyGamer about his taste in games? The Best Interview in the Universe, of course! I, Steven Rondina (Spudly over on the forums) had the chance to get an interview with the self-made pirate to discuss his taste in video games.
MyGamer: So Maddox, which consoles do you own?
Maddox: In order of acquisition: Atari 2600, Sega Master System, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, Atari Lynx, Gameboy Color, SNES, Sega CD, 32X, Sega Game Gear, Sega Saturn, Playstation, Dreamcast, Neo Geo Pocket Color, PS2, N64, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, Xbox, Nintendo Wii.
Missing from this list: Xbox 360 and PS3 which piss me off for various reasons, but more on that later… The Atari 2600 was officially the first system I bought, but I didn’t open it and took it back to the store for a Sega Master System since I played the hell out of my friend’s 2600 at the time, and it made more sense to get a different system. The SMS was an incredible system that companies kept developing games for long after its US demise. It did great in South America, and some games you wouldn’t think were ported came out on the system (Mortal Kombat 3 for example). Imagine MK3 on a system that came out in the NES era, and you know how much power the SMS had…
MyGamer: Favorite games of all time? Favorite past consoles and portables on the whole?
Maddox: My top five probably have to be:
Radiant Silvergun (Sega Saturn), Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Playstation, Sega Saturn), Snatcher (Sega CD), Guardian Heroes (Sega Saturn), and Contra III (SNES)
That was a tough list to compile because Super Metroid, Astro Boy (Advance), Gunstar Heroes Advance, Lunar, Katamari Damacy, R-Type Final, Starsiege Tribes, Grand Theft Auto III, Resident Evil 4, and many of the Street Fighter games should probably be on there.
Top five consoles:
Sega Saturn, Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo DS, Sega Genesis and PS2.
Note: The Gameboy Advance didn’t make the list because the DS plays Advance games.
MyGamer: What’ve you been playing lately?
Maddox: Metal Slug 7, Legend of Kage 2, The World Ends With You, Lords of Thunder, Streets of Rage III, Space Invaders Extreme, Tribes 1, Lock’s Quest, Jump Ultimate Stars, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Mega man 9, and Castle Shikigami III.
MyGamer: Do you have any preferred genres?
Maddox: Shooters probably, and no, not first person shooters. People take the word “shooter” to mean FPS these days, and it pisses me off. Shooters, both side-scrolling, vertical, and 3D are one of the few genres of gaming that can truly test your chops as a gamer. You can’t fake your way through a shooter. You either have what it takes, or you’ve gotta practice more to get better.
Platforming games also test your ability like shooters. A few years ago, they were plentiful. Today you’d be lucky to get 1 release per year. And no, Super Mario Galaxy isn’t what I’d consider a true platformer (though it’s a great game and there are platform elements). It’s hard to convey platform gaming in 3D because it’s hard to know where your character is going to land after a jump. The only 3D platformer to pull this off successfully was Jumping Flash on Playstation (not counting faux 3D platformers where the graphics were 3D but the gameplay was strictly 2D; Jumping Flash was a 3D platformer with 3D gameplay). It was a brilliant game with a great solution to the 3D platforming problem that made your character look down so you could see where you were going to land, unlike Mario 64 and Galaxy, where you often land right next to an enemy instead of on it. Levels in Jumping Flash scrolled vertically and enemies often shot at you from below. I thought it was the natural evolution of the genre, but sadly this gameplay device wasn’t explored beyond this series.
MyGamer: Are you still tired of Sony’s bullshit? Exploding laptops and messed up gears in the PS2 aside, do you like (or not hate) the PS3 or PSP at this point?
Maddox:My biggest gripe about Sony is how they force you to buy proprietary peripherals with all of their stuff. Sony loves to make products that don’t use standard memory cards, standard CDs, or standard video formats. That’s why when you buy a Sony camera, you have to use their bullshit flash memory format instead of SD or SDHC like every other computer, camera, video player, laptop, cell phone, and console in the universe. That’s one of the big reasons I’ve been holding out on a PS3.
And the PSP is a joke. There weren’t any games worth owning on the system until just recently (God of War: Chains of Olympus, Ultimate Ghosts n’ Goblins, etc), and Sony expected people to buy movies they already owned on DVD but in their bullshit UMD format, and pay full price for it. Fuck that. Plus the PSP was too expensive, and Sony focused on porting crappy first generation Playstation games like Ridge Racer to it rather than making compelling original titles. There are about 3-4 games I want for the PSP, and won’t buy one until the price hits $100 because that’s what the system is worth to me.
MyGamer: Are you enjoying the Wii? Many (including myself) were enthused about the Wii early on, but with the exception of a few titles, almost everything has been cheesy mini-game compilations or gimmicky as hell. And there’s no end in sight to this. Is the Wii still way hotter than Sony and Microsoft, or is it starting to let itself go?
Maddox: The Wii is the best thing to happen to gaming since the original NES. And if you don’t like the Wii, then this is really going to piss you off: Nintendo has single-handedly saved the video game industry. No other company is bothering to move gaming forward like Nintendo is. There are only a handful of genres in gaming, and clearly Sony and Microsoft don’t give a shit about any of them except for sports and FPS. I’m so sick and tired of sports and FPS games, and if it were up to Microsoft & Sony, they’d keep milking these tired genres dry and run the entire industry into the ground. I mean, I get it that the industry goes through trends and a few years ago it was RPGs, 2D fighters, shooters, platformers, etc. But this FPS craze has been going on basically since Quake came out on PC. On the Wii, we not only see a representation of every genre of gaming, but we see new genres that didn’t exist before the Wii came along (surgery, cooking, balance, etc).
Nintendo took the novelty of a motion-sensing controller and turned it into a solid gameplay element in a lot of their games. Before it came out, people couldn’t imagine how to play games with a controller that looked so stupid, and now, people can’t imagine playing certain games without it. I can’t go back to tapping a button to make someone punch after I played the boxing game in Wii Sports. Fishing games are so much more satisfying with the Wii controller. World of Goo would suck without the controller (playing it with a mouse just isn’t the same). Now Microsoft and Sony are scrambling to duplicate it with their own versions. The Sixaxis controller seems like an afterthought, whereas the Wii was designed from the ground-up with the gameplay in mind.
Also, when people shit on the Wii, what they often overlook is the incredible library of games available on the Virtual Console. It doesn’t matter when a great game came out, if you never got a chance to play it because you never owned the system it was originally released on, now is your chance. Nintendo has by far the largest library of A+ titles available for download. I know Xbox zealots have billions of mods and emulators, but modding voids your warranty and can fuck up your system if it’s done wrong, and you constantly have to update your mods because of firmware upgrades. No thanks. Also, people who download huge libraries of emulator games rarely actually play the games they download. They’ll download like 300 games and then end up playing 5 of them. What’s the point? Also, I believe in paying for games I own because I love video games and I want the industry to thrive. The only reason I’ll download a game is when I already own it (because I don’t think I should have to pay for the same game twice) or if I can’t play the game any other way; if nobody will port some of these awesome old video games, I see no reason they should go forgotten and unplayed..
A great example of a game that you can only currently get on Wii is Lords of Thunder. Great 2D shooting game, check it out.
MyGamer: What do you think about the Xbox 360? You called it the PS3’s fugly step-sister, but it DOES have Ikaruga, Street Fighter 2, Metal Slug, Contra, and so on. It seems like, at least with the Live Arcade, it would be right up your alley. Are you starting to get into it or is it still Gary Busesque to you?
Maddox: The Xbox 360 is a PC with identity crisis. I mean, it looks like a console; you hook it up to your TV, it’s smallish, and it plays games, but it’s still just a PC. That’s because there aren’t many exclusive titles on the system worth owning. Don’t believe me? Here are the top 10 games for Xbox 360 on Metacritic as of this writing:
1. Grand Theft Auto IV
3. The Orange Box4. Gears of War
5. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
6. Call of Duty 4
7. Halo 3
8. Gears of War 2
10. Fallout 3
Of those, here is the number of games you can’t get on PC: 1. That game is Halo 3, and guess what? It’s coming out on PC too. There’s no reason to own an Xbox 360, period. Xbox Live: who cares? I already have the Internet, and can play with my friends on free servers all I want. Yeah there aren’t achievements like on 360 on PC, but so what? I’m not about to pay $400+ just to have achievements in my games. Wii games like Mega Man 9 have achievements too. All of the other “value-added” features on 360 like downloading movies, messaging, etc., are all things that I can do on my PC. You can get a decent PC that plays most modern games without a problem for around $500, and you get a 500 GB hard drive, not some shitty 120. Plus PCs are scalable, so you can upgrade your system if you want better graphics for games that support it. You can do so much more with a PC, that there’s just no reason to own a 360. Castle Crashers may be one notable exception, but again, I’m not going to pay $400+ for one game; I’ll wait for it to come out on PC.
MyGamer: Are there any games that people need to just shut up and buy? Anything of late that you don’t think is getting the coverage and sales that it deserves?
Do yourself a favor: go out and get a DS and The World Ends With You. It’s one of the best games I’ve played in a long time, even though it has to do with fashion and styles. It just oozes originality and gameplay. No hardcore gamers should call themselves hardcore without having played this fun and unique game.
Also, find a copy of Astro Boy for Gameboy Advance and Gunstar Heroes Advance. Holy shit these games are awesome. Resident Evil 4 got a lot of buzz, but still not enough, check it out. Fantastic game. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is also a game I can vouch for. Also, Shadow of the Colossus and R-Type Final on PS2 shouldn’t be missed. Oh, and Okami.
MyGamer: Which general batch of gamers has been pissing you off lately? Any fanboys that need to shut the hell up?
I’m really fucking tired of people who play Xbox 360 and PS3 calling themselves “hardcore gamers.” Look at the list of top 10 games on 360 up above. See anything in common? Those are the games that most people play on 360, and with the exception of Braid, they also happen to be the most popular, most heavily marketed, and most consumer-oriented games in the industry. It’d be like someone eating a meal at McDonalds and saying “I’m a foodie!” No, you’re not. If you’re into movies, you don’t go out and see Jurassic Park and call it a day. You try to see movies that try new and interesting things. The types of movies that only someone who has watched thousands of movies could appreciate for doing something unique.
Similarly, if you’re a hardcore gamer, you should be looking for new gaming experiences. You shouldn’t be satisfied playing the same old mass market games. Not that these games are bad, but they’re not for “hardcore” gamers any more than McDonalds is for hardcore foodies. If you’re a hardcore gamer, go out and play Katamari Damacy, track down an old copy of Radiant Silvergun on Saturn, or play an indie game like World of Goo. These are the experiences that move gaming forward. Not blockbuster sequels like Halo 3.
MyGamer: What do you think is the worst thing in gaming right now?
Maddox:The glut of FPS games. We need to move on. I’ll only play 1 out of every 10 FPS games that are released, so I have a pretty busy schedule because that comes to about 3 per minute.
MyGamer: What is your pick for best game of 2008?
Maddox: The World Ends With You, Nintendo DS.
MyGamer: What game are you most looking forward in 2009?
Maddox: Street Fighter IV on a console.
MyGamer: Anything else you want to say for us?
Yeah but I should probably stop here so I don’t sound like a blowhard. I hope it’s not too late!