Have you ever considered which games were the turning points in your gaming career? WHY NOT? This week, we reflect on ours. Plus: The "Hypothetical Pre-Order Game," two grown men fight over Tom Welling, and barely a peep about Wing Commander. You're welcome. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Richard Naik and Tim "It's a T-Shirt!" Spaeth.
Cleveland native Tim Spaeth grew up in a happy household – a household with a father whose major client happened to be an Atari games distributor. This led directly to Tim's first nickname: "The kid who got Atari games before anyone else." Indeed, he knew Pac-Man and E.T. were colossal bombs weeks before the rest of the world, and the resulting celebrity brought him great pleasure.
Through the years every aspect of Tim's life has been touched by gaming. He mastered typing thanks to Space Quest, honed his poker skills on The Sierra Network, and learned to hate after a particularly traumatic game of Tecmo Super Bowl.
Today, Tim lives in Chicago with his three kids and strives to find that perfect balance between family, career, and Warcraft. He enjoys broadcasting, martial arts, rock and roll, growing and shaving his beard, singing show tunes to the homeless, and losing at Mario Kart to his lovely, talented, and amazing girlfriend.
In late 2008, Tim became the producer and host of the GameCritics.com Podcast, and he's thrilled to be bringing GameCritics' unique editorial voice to a brand new medium.
[quote=Alv]But the thing that really set this game apart from its peers was the gameplay aspect, specifically the energy management between weapons, shields and engines. Easy to get into, difficult to master, but when you did, gave you a real feeling of achievement.[/quote] The management of shields, weapons and engines is something I really missed in other space fighting games. It was fun to figure out different things like being able to outrun not only torpedoes, but even missiles in an A-wing with full energy on the engines. Or being able to destroy a tie fighter by ramming it with… Read more »
[quote=Li On] X-Wing (1993) This game influenced me twofold. The “German” version had a German manual but the whole game was in English, which resulted in me learning english to understand the game. Me having only very basic english skills at that time collided with the games relatively complex nature. It was one of my very first PC games and I was still used to the standard NES controller with not many buttons beside A and B. Now this comes along with missions that are more complex than “just kill everyone”. Mindblowing! [/quote] With you on that. X-Wing was truly… Read more »
“Gaming Made Me” is an ongoing series at Rock, Paper, Shotgun: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/tag/gaming-made-me/ There are also guest features from e.g. Ken Levine: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/07/13/gaming-made-me-ken-levine/ GMM is a quite interesting read. Games that influenced me greatly: X-Wing (1993) This game influenced me twofold. The “German” version had a German manual but the whole game was in English, which resulted in me learning english to understand the game. Me having only very basic english skills at that time collided with the games relatively complex nature. It was one of my very first PC games and I was still used to the standard NES controller… Read more »
M.U.L.E. was a furious game, and you could play with 4 people! That was a serious contender in the after school computer lab 😀
[quote=RandomRob]ELITE (C64, AppleIIc) – first space trader/pirate sandbox rpg. In size and scope still an amazing achievement… [/quote] Thanks to you and Alv for bring up ELITE. I played Elite Plus on the PC and while Mechwarrior introduced me to the sandbox/mercenary for hire, Elite did get me into trading gameplay aspect. While I’m a huge fan of the space sim/trading genre, to date, there’s only been one modern game that I thoroughly enjoyed in the genre: Escape Velocity. If there were more space trading games over the years, I may have cited the game as well. Also, after you… Read more »
Great podcast again this week; Tim must have put a ton of work into it (esp. with the Fantasy Preorder segment which was a howl) so well done to all. Great listening as usual folks, and thanks! @Alv – nice list! I’m with you big-time on the first two and haven’t played the third. My list (nostalgia + listing stuff FTW): The Emerald Isle: This was a text adventure released by an Eighties British outfit called Level 9. It wasn’t their best work, but was accessible to a 12-year-old and really made my imagination run wild. I remember having to… Read more »
Mortal Kombat does it more obviously than any of the games you mentioned. None of those games have their endbosses taunt you repeatedly after your many losses.
Also, in reference to the discussion on Mortal Kombat – the “dumbing down the difficulty” thing isn’t actually new. Fighting games have been doing this for a while now. In fact, I may have first noticed it in MK: Deadly Alliance, but I’m sure other games like Dead or Alive and Soul Calibur do it too.
[quote=crackajack]Mario 64 3D matters. Exploring a world in 2D is fine, but really running around in a world that’s getting that extra dimension, different story.[/quote] Yeah playing that game for the first time is a defining moment for me too. It was my first proper 3D game, and having come straight from Megadrive and SNES, it completely blew me away. It was the only time a game ever really properly stunned me. I couldn’t get my head around not only seeing this whole 3D world, but the notion that I could go anywhere in the visible area. That whole castle… Read more »
Not necessarily my favorite of all time, but certainly the three that had the most impact. To this day I look for elements of these three games in all my purchases, and they make me the gamer I am. Elite – Spectrum 48k Although I attained Elite status years later on the PC, I only ever got to Dangerous on the Speccy, but when I did, I knew I was a gamer. It took sooo long to achieve, so many tape loading errors, getting destroyed while trying to dock, getting blown to pieces by Krait/Sidewinder pirate gangs, that when I… Read more »
Tim Spaeth, you should totally hook up your PS2 again if only to find out that once upon a time Sony made consoles that don’t require firmware updates!
That’s actually my favorite song from the original, although I could probably identify any song from the whole series by ear. I’m that cool.[/quote]
Mega Man X is right up there with Mega Man 2 and 3 and 9 as having the best music of the series. Although, I prefer the music of the Armadillo.
my list Super Metroid It has everything i like about every kind of shooter & open world games: action, atmosphere, exploration, upgrades, music, bosses, even story/narration. Clearly the game that defined my love for games the most although i don’t think i realized it the day i finished it. In retrospective it really set the bar for the games i liked afterwards. Mario 64 3D matters. Exploring a world in 2D is fine, but really running around in a world that’s getting that extra dimension, different story. Game number 3 is hard. Maybe i pick the chess computer i occasionally… Read more »
re: Bosses-exactly. No matter that their other flaws (and starting with X5 there are many) they always managed to crank out good bosses, which is why I always looked forward to them.
I don’t think this show would exist without your smooth, pleasing baritone.
[quote=Decabo]Tim, you always do an outstanding job as host. Looking forward to the next podcast.[/quote]That means a great deal, Decabo — thanks!!
[quote=Decabo]Tim, you always do an outstanding job as host.[/quote]
Yes he does — in fact, I shudder to think how awful the show would be without Tim around to be hilarious and keep us all on track.
I’ve only played 3 of all the games mentioned in the main topic, but did I ever devote my time with them. Mega Man X is a game that I would play through at least once a year, and it still holds up really well as an action platformer. No one does boss battles quite as thrilling as the Mega Man games. Super Mario RPG was my first traditional JRPG and I still hold that as one of the genre’s high points. It’s short and very focused, which is a praise I’d also give to Chrono Trigger. I once spent… Read more »
I’d mention ELITE (C64, AppleIIc) – first space trader/pirate sandbox rpg. In size and scope still an amazing achievement… DONKEY KONG COUNTRY(SNES) – making sprites from samples of CG rendered characters.. brilliant stroke of art, that. CARNAGE HEART (PSOne) The only mech sim I can recall that involved making logic flowcharts for robots to battle one another. Had a slightly steep learning curve, but once you got the basics, very fun to play with and watch how your robots behaved. TOMB RAIDER (PSOne) (special mention) for the music, the first game I really remember that had a soundtrack that emotionally… Read more »
Out of this World was, in it’s a time, mesmerizing. Not the best gameplay experience, but a watermark for graphic design.
Tim, you always do an outstanding job as host. Looking forward to the next podcast.
You might be interested to know, Brad, that Snatcher WAS ported to the PSX and Saturn, and later to the PlayStation Network.
The downside? Only in Japan!
That’s actually my favorite song from the original, although I could probably identify any song from the whole series by ear. I’m that cool.
[quote=Richard Naik]Tim, you have no idea how happy I am that you used the Boomer Kuwunger theme.[/quote]Just because it’s Mega Man music, or does that song in particular hold a special meaning for you?
Tim, you have no idea how happy I am that you used the Boomer Kuwunger theme.