TPG staff members open up their closet doors to reveal just exactly what types of skeletons they have been secretly hiding. From disliking revered franchises to enjoying that guilty pleasure, Adam Ames, Phil Cordaro, Steven Smith and David Queener let loose with their dirty little PC gaming secrets.
I just have a million of these. Or at least I would, if I had any shame. First off, I totally love console gaming. I find this totally reasonable since there are some games you only get on consoles. I love all that stuff about the lean back on the couch plug and play experience, but there are plenty of PC folks that would crucify me for defiling myself with such peasantry. I also play a lot of PC games with a gamepad which probably infuriates a lot of those same people. One time, my friend ironically gifted me Secret of the Magic Crystals on Steam and I totally loved it. I think Portal is the most overrated game since Earthbound, which is something that would probably be doubly infuriating to people who play games on the PC and console.
I have a ton of unplayed games in my steam library but I guess that applies to everyone. I like Call of Duty. About the only thing I have going for me is that I can’t think of any major release that “everyone has played but me”, but people are going to have different standards for that anyway so I’m sure there are a million games that would qualify for a million different people. So let’s just assume I haven’t played anything so everyone can get equally mad. That’s right, I’m totally that guy who works for every magazine that doesn’t actually play video games and just writes reviews based on screenshots and other reviews. Also that is a huge conspiracy I have just uncovered to you all. You’re welcome.
I have completed Half-Life twice, once on Hard. I have played all of the expansions. I have completed Half-Life 2 one and a half times, and both episodes a single time. I hated every single moment of it and am baffled every time someone praises the franchise. The story was a been there done that of BlakeStone in the Quake engine, only I got locked in rooms with NPCs who talked at me for what amounted to ″Go into the next room and kill things, I can’t be bothered to and am content to starve to death if need be.″ The second was more of the same but the hallways were wider and under a skybox, and the experience of being locked in rooms was all the more grand. Half-Life is not the worst FPS I’ve played, but it was my first introduction to so many of the things I hate about modern shooters, lacking only regenerating health for the greatest hits against my favorite genre.
Now let me turn the ire of any remaining readers: I feel the same way about Bioshock. Slow movement, bad shooting, forced story, and mechanics poorly cloned from Clive Barker’s Undying in a very interesting setting realized in the most trite of ways. The player is herded and confrontations are forced: Do you spare the Little Sister, or do you sacrifice her? It has to be one or the other, if you successfully sneak around the Big Daddies (as they are merely territorial, not hostile) the level will prevent you from exiting. You can only make the ″moral choices″ the game wishes you to make. Both games require you to go down the down staircase, and nothing other. Though there are worse violators of what makes a Game to me, none have perfected that violation quite like Half-Life or Bioshock.
From the point of most serious PC gamers, the use of a mechanical keyboard is almost a requirement. I got into the PC gaming arena 14 years ago, but I up until recently, I never owned a mechanical gaming keyboard. During that time, I just used a standard $15 membrane-based Logitech unit. I really had no desire to plop down $100+ for something as perceived simplistically as a keyboard. In my mind, as long as it was a good brand name, I would be fine. I still believe that to a degree, but once I used a mechanical for long periods of time, I found there to be a world of difference. It was a generous gift from Bryan Edge Salois of Examiner.com during an episode of TPG Cast that opened my eyes to the true value of mechanical keyboards.
I have been a PC gamer for almost all my life. The first game being a text-based adventure on a Xerox 820. My favorite genre is the RPG. I have played all sorts, from JRPGs to Action RPGs. When asked to name the best RPG (or even the best PC games period) there are a few names that always come up – Planescape: Torment, Baldur’s Gate and Fallout. When players ask for a really good Western CRPG the short answer is usually “any Infinity Engine game.” Personally I cringe at these games. I have been playing Fallout since it was a new release, but have avoided Infinity Engine titles. I bought myself a copy of Baldur’s Gate many years ago and found it to be the most inane game I ever wasted money on. Once you leave the first town it becomes everything I hate in PC games. The combat is somehow both hectic and dull at the same time and I keep ending up with useless companions.
It might have an interesting story, but I’d never know because I’ve never advanced beyond the second disc. Every few years I would reinstall Baldur’s Gate and try again, hoping that it will get better with age. It hasn’t. As a result, I have not played any other Infinity Engine titles. That means no Planescape, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale – none of it. I started to play Arcanum but it felt too much like Baldur’s Gate and I uninstalled it. So I am a lifelong PC gamer who has never played “the best” PC games ever made.
My PC gaming dirty secret is pretty tame, but undeniably embarrassing given the critical acclaim this series has received. It may seem staggering to most people, but I have never played a Mass Effect game despite owning the entire franchise. When friends and other critics have discussed the games, I have deceived them by feigning interest and pretending to be well versed with the characters and their development. Simply uttering the game’s title creates a sense of shame which is very uncomfortable and disturbing. I cannot think of a rational explanation because one of my other pastimes involves watching a number of obscure science fiction TV programmes. The story elements also cater to my interests as I have always enjoyed Bioware’s exceptional storytelling abilities.
Marvellous RPGs such as The Knights of the Old Republic and Dragon Age: Origins have left a profound effect and furthered my interest in the genre. As such, it is peculiar that I haven’t rushed out and prioritized Mass Effect over other games which on paper less suited to my interests. The sheer number of games on offer means it can be difficult to get involved in an expansive and lengthy experience. Nevertheless, I will do my utmost to play every Mass Effect game during my free time from this point on.
We aired our dirty laundry, now it is time for you do to the same. What types of skeletons are hiding in your closet?