Nick's Gaming Blog

About

Hey everyone!  The name’s Nick, and this is my blog…err…website, about gaming.  Though there’s a good chance that the web address for the site did a pretty decent job informing you of such.  As for a personal background of sorts, I didn’t really start gaming until around 1999/2000.  Up until then my parents were strict on the “reading lots of books and watching PBS” regimen, and my gaming was restricted to one of those original GameBoys.

Ah, the ten pound GameBoy.  You kept on playing until your poorly developed arm muscles caved under the weight.

Ah, the ten pound GameBoy. You kept on playing until your poorly developed arm muscles caved under the weight.

You know, the ones that, with all four AA batteries securely in place, weigh enough to sufficiently double as a weapon capable of delivering blows of the blunt force trauma variety.  During said time, I played some truly awful games: Star Trek: Generations, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show,and I suffered through Kirby’s Pinball Land one Christmas when my father made the common mistake of confusing the word “dream” with “pinball” when the department assistant asked what he was looking for.  Nonetheless, I was not a spoiled child (my parents might argue that I was “spoiled with love,” but hugs and compliments do not a video game purchase) and only got one or two games a year.

My father thought what I most desired for 1993's Christmas was to play pinball...something I'd already demonstrated I lacked the hand-eye coordination for in real life...for my GameBoy.

My father thought what I most desired for 1993's Christmas was to play pinball...something I'd already demonstrated I lacked the hand-eye coordination for in real life...for my GameBoy.

Then, about ten years ago, my father decided that we needed a new PC, probably because Windows 3.1 is about as anti-intuitive as operating systems come, and…we got one.  Next thing I know, I was a PC gaming junkie at the age of thirteen, with a small dispensable income from delivering papers.  While I could divulge in great detail the wonderful titles that I played, suffice it to say I was a Lucasarts junkie.  The Phantom Menace, The Curse of Monkey Island, and my favorite, Grim Fandango were just a few of them.  While my parents probably should have been alarmed about my delving into a universe structured around the pagan Aztec beliefs of the afterlife, where my character was a “grim reaper” of sorts and chain-smoked to a point that, had he not already been deceased, he would have “fast tracked” the process…they didn’t.  This was probably  because I wasn’t playing one of those “all the rave” games that most kids my age were; the ones that usually ended with my decapitated head on a pike after someone had been urged to “FINISH HIM!”  These were the ones that my parents saw on the talk shows and the late night news programs that were supposed to turn me into a “prepubescent murder machine” and convince me to imitate any and all violent actions I came across while playing video games.  And, after a few questions, and a scan of my games for any “gore-laden” cover art, they left me alone.

Oh Grim Fandango. *Romantic sigh*  You taught me so much about chain-smoking and heavy drinking.

Oh Grim Fandango. *Romantic sigh* You taught me so much about chain-smoking and heavy drinking.

As it is with most younger PC gamer junkies that don’t happen to live in a Depression-era house where the walls are “oh-so” conveniently lined with cash, after about four years the Compaq was starting to have problems with the up-and-coming titles of the time, and I became a console junkie.  Oddly enough, I was one of those “Gamecube only” gamers of the last era, where practically every third-party studio raped my itty-bitty box-shaped gaming machine.  I own ports of games that should have never been played on anything but their debut system (Splinter Cell, not included).  On the other hand, I was the first of my bunch of gaming friends to sing the praises of Ikaruga, Alien Hominid, Baten Kaitos, as well as have access to all of the Resident Evil titles of that generation (stupid gun-con titles and Outbreak titles not included).  Most importantly, it allowed me to hone in on lesser-known titles that, had I been forced to balance several console’s worth of games, I might have otherwise overlooked.  And by that, I mean Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem.  Dear god, if you have not played this game, GET ON IT NOW!!!!!!  But I digress.

Even aliens, just visiting our planet, detest communism, even in an exaggerated mechanized form.

Even aliens, just visiting our planet, detest communism, even in an exaggerated mechanized form.

I was one of the “fashionably late” members to the current generation of gaming, if only because I didn’t know what console to get.  However, resigning myself to the fate that I’d have to become a drug mule, lining my stomach with cocaine packets, in order to obtain a Wii off Ebay, and the fact that I didn’t want to be the “third wheel” of multiplatform releases, I went with the Xbox 360.  It helped that I knew I’d get to play Xbox games I’d never played during the previous generation at wonderfully low prices.  That helped the decision a lot.  It was during this time that I was attending Kalamazoo College in Michigan, and started blogging about my life, movies, and games as well.  As I was an English, as well as a Religious Studies (the anthropological/social science approach to Religion) major, my thoughts about narrative structure, critical theory, aesthetics,  ritual and practice, they all began to blend with my love of gaming.  I actually wrote my capstone paper for my English Literature degree on female agency and post-colonialism in Prince of Persia.

Outside of class, I spent some of my free time writing for the local ezine The Kosmopolitan, as well as my school’s newspaper The Index, providing a game review roughly every other week…some of which I have included on this site.  I’ve always prided myself on attempting to provide a critical lens when reviewing games, or writing editorials about such, to elevate gaming criticism to something beyond saying that Gears of War‘s graphics look “good” and that Halo is “cool.”  I personally believe that games, like many other venues, have the potential to be art, and thereby should be examined in an equally serious fashion and that’s what I strive to do on this website.

If you don't think this is art...umm...you're probably lacking any semblence of a soul?  Yes, that's what I was going for.

If you don't think this is art...umm...you're probably lacking any semblence of a soul? Yes, that's what I was going for.

Currently?  I’ve just completed college and am semi-looking into grad school, semi-attempting to gain a job in the gaming industry, in some writing associated venue.  I know it’s an uphill battle, but I think this site is a step in the right direction, at the very least a place to display some of my work.

Thanks for visiting!!!