(I've updated my Greeting on my page to include links to all my Gaming Timeline blogs. Check it out if you're interested, it's just below the picture of Pink Floyd ladies and above where you'd see my new blogs)
I've recently been called a movie snob by my older brother, and while I really don't see how someone like me who prefers the British goofiness of Pirates! Band of Misfits to the more critically acclaimed Wes Anderson quirk of The Fantastic Mr. Fox (both great movies I just saw on Red Box by the way), finds the disgusting 2000s humor of Clerks II more humorous than the 90s indie charm of Clerks (again, both great), still watches Independence Day when it comes on TV, and still wishes there were shows with concepts as silly as Biker Mice From Mars can be called a snob, at least there's some justification for what he's saying.
I do enjoy the dumb stuff like romcom The Ugly Truth, but if you were to look at a list of my all-time favorite movies, you'd find mostly critically acclaimed (re: snobby) titles like Cinderella Man, and somewhere on my worst list would be the incredibly popular, but critically ridiculed Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen (though I thought the first one was decent). So, given that my tastes tend to coincide with the Tomatometer on rottentomatoes.com, a movie ranking system that gets its data from snobby film critics, my older brother referring to me as a film snob makes some sense, even if it's not completely accurate.
In videogame land, though? I have the tastes of a high school jock who just wants to fucking shoot aliens and see some T&A already. I mean, that comparison kind of doesn't make sense given how boring I find modern FPS to be, and the fact I never actually played Duke Nukem. Though I really loved Timesplitters 2 on Gamecube. You guys played that, right? No? Call of Duty and Halo then? I figured. ZZZZzzzzz
My point is, you're not going to see a whole lot of heady or cerebral games on my list of favorites or nostalgic gaming memories, unless you think I played Lemmings for the strategy, and not to watch those neon-troll-afro'd, smock wearing homeless bastards kill themselves in hilarious ways; I assure you, it was the latter.
Which brings me to the white elephant in the room: turn-based RPGs. Along with most Real Time Strategy games, if I'm being honest with you, I just don't like them. Never have. I don't want to crunch numbers or wait my turn, math was always my least favorite subject, and I learned plenty about waiting from having a computer teacher for a mom that helped fix other teacher's tech issues after hours. I don't need a simulator of either of those things.
Now, this bias conflicts with the fact I enjoyed Pokemon as a kid, if you don't factor in that the game was easy enough for my goomba stomping tastes, and was more a collect-a-thon than anything. It didn't have the graphics or story of something like Golden Sun, which I asked for and recieved as a Christmas gift, but that comes later; that's partly why I liked it though: so simple compared to most RPGs.
In contrast, some of my fondest memories of Super Nintendo came from the stunning graphics and clever storyline of
Come Stomp Some Goombas, Man! You're Not Trippin', Just Pet That Kitty and Know That Devil-Horned Turtle Monster, Bowser, Is A Friend
Yes, the classic that mixed some amount of platforming in a dedicated turn-based RPG, and had a storyline where a wizard was the bad guy and Bowser was on your team.
I can't tell you a whole lot of specifics about the game, other than I wasn't really the one playing it. I mentioned in my sports blog a few days ago that I used to chat with my best friend in middle school while playing defender with him on our soccer team. Well, when I'd go to his house we'd always either play outside, like hide and seek or something, or play videogames. I still hated RPGs, but I think he sometimes convinced me to play (and fail), but I always had fun just watching him, cause of the humorous moments and the stunning graphics.
The game was developed by Square, and was the first Mario RPG, so it had a lot of Square touches, like the five-member party, the different classes (I think Peach was a healer at least), but it also incorporated platforming elements both in the battle sequences and in the environment. I remember some part where you had to hop from chandelier to chandelier and fight the bad guys atop them, I think somewhere towards the beginning of the game where you met Bowser.
Later on in life, I'd actually share my friend's affection for, and even enjoying playing Paper Mario, which had a gameplay style that even more masterfully combined RPG with platformer, by which I mean felt more like a platformer and was more accessible to me, but I'll always remember the wow factor of just looking at Legend of the Seven Stars and its story.
Of course, the fact RPGs look pretty and have deeper-than-normal storylines for videogames would burn me in the future when I was tricked into renting them.
Granted, for some reason it just took a commercial that I apparently imagined entirely, given that I thought it had 64 on the end of its title, was for N64, and somehow the orange alien on the box art was featured in the ad to get me to rent
What Will I Do? Where Will I Go? The Random Youtube Uploader Always Knows. Truly, He or She Should Lead Our Country
So if you thought my memories of Super Mario RPG amounted to "there were nice graphics, story seemed funny I think; Bowser was on your team, I know that... wait, was h... yeah, no, he definitely was," you were right.
Guess what I have to say about the absolute favorite cult classic of apparently all of the internet? I had no idea what to do and I hated it.
Yes, I know it's not my thing, but I swear, though clearly Youtube doesn't want me to prove it, that there was a massive TV ad campaign for this thing when it came out and it hyped me up something fierce. So I rent it at Blockbuster, excited, pop it in, and... there's a bunch of cops and barriers and I have no clue where to go. I think there was a slot machine in a tent I thought would lead to something, but no, just a randomized series of numbers.
Then I'd walk out of the tent and walk around trying to figure out how to go beyond the barriers. Then I literally got so frustrated I cried, and was glad to be rid of it when I returned my rental.
That is my childhood memory of the legendary Earthbound.
This has been a blog about every SNES RPG I can recall playing.