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Background: Video Games & My Experiences

yoshi11.gifLET THE FUN BEGIN...I am very excited to be taking the MWG: Video Gaming course during this J-Term (beginning Jan.2). I knew this summer when Jerz told me about the course that it would be right up my ally. I ordered my books and corresponding materials last week and they have begun to arrive and I started reading/skimming through Brenda Laurel’s book Utopian Entrepreneur. It seems like an interesting first hand account of a programmer/designer that had a dream. Then again, everyone that creates a video game has some kind of dream. Laurel’s dream was just one that had a significant social purpose. I am really excited about this course, so I decided to blog about my personal experiences with video games over the years.

Though I have not played too many of the games that came out over the past 2-3 years I still love the “classics”. (I know that seems like a line from Jerz’s page, but it’s true) Ever since I can remember I had an interest in video games. Xbox is about the only system I’ve touched recently and the game I played was Mortal Kombat. I think my Dad (not a nerd or geek by any means) and I (a self-proclaimed geek) paved the way for my family’s interest in gaming. My mom was the only one that never got into it. I enjoy quest adventure games as well as combat games. Dad likes the sports games and my sisters have a variety of wacky tastes.

The first system my family ever owned was the original Nintendo that came with the standard issue Duck Hunt/Super Mario Brothers combination game.

A screenshot from Nintendo's Duck Hunt

Then I picked up a Sega Genesis one Christmas and that was sufficient for a few years. The next system we bought was Playstation. I never showed partiality towards one brand. Sony, Sega, Nintendo...whatever was hot at the time I wanted. Since the Playstation we have yet to purchase a new system. Personally I feel like the market is moving so fast in one direction, if you hop on the next big thing (ie: Dreamcast...failure) then you are going to get screwed. Spending all that money on a gaming system that will be dead in a year is not a financially productive use of your money. I’ve found that though the classic Playstation system is dying out, you can still get the original big games for a cheaper price now. I’ve seen the Tomb Raider games for as low as $10.99 at KB Toys. And mind you, this was one of the system’s most lucrative games.

Computer simulation games have been a big part of my experience as well. While in elementary school I used Apple computers quite a bit in their early stages. My favorite computer game was The Oregon Trail, the original version with the very poor graphics.

A screenshot from The Oregon Trail

Handheld gaming systems also played a large part in my childhood. I started out with Disney handheld games with only a few buttons that were for Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King. These games were fairly easy. I eventually bought a Gameboy, the original clunky grey one with no color and a greenish brown screen. I got as many games for it as I could, but eventually the non-color original Gameboy died out. Very rarely do you hear about a game coming out that can be played on this system today. Only Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance rule that market today.

I became interested with virtual reality as well at one point and convinced my parents to buy me an R-Zone system as well as a Virtual Boy (made my Nintendo). The R-Zone (Reality Zone) was actually a flop as far as mass popularity was concerned. I only had one game for mine before I got tired of it. Now, the Virtual Boy was a different story all together. I still play it to this day when I am bored. I have tried to find more games for it, but sadly it was also deemed a commercial flop.

Currently I am playing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer game for Gameboy Color. The game I purchased at a second hand gaming store for $12.00 and the system belongs to my little sister. I bought the game because of my Buffy fanaticism and solely for that reason. I am hoping that I can somehow tie it into this course and possibly my final project in some way shape or form. Meshing academics and Buffy worked well for me so far in EL236 and this summer with my Arthur Miller & Buffy Essay. So in hopes of a wonderful J-term class experience I am ready to push START and let the game begin.

Comments (2)

Utopian Entrepreur was my favorite text for Media Aesthetics with Jerz. I enjoyed it, and I'm sure you will too. Take a look at the way the book is set up. If only every author would put as much time into the design of their book. :-)

I hope you enjoy the gaming course, and I would love to hear more about how you are bringing Buffy into the mix (that is, if you do). She's a fave of mine--and a video game of her escapades--AMAZING!


You've really launched into the course, Leslise. That's great! I look forward to your response to Strong Bad's retro-nostalgic look at video games.

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