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August 28, 2013

In the early days of this blog I wrote about the PS2 and the feelings running through me knowing that the system was ceasing production. I talked about how I loved the system and played many a game that I loved on it. That was only half true. The PS2 is part of the reason that I stopped playing games for a long time and the main reason why I felt so disconnected from the gaming world.
There are many games and genres of games that I don’t gel with at all and the PS2 was full of them. Now this is going to piss off a lot of you. But there are games deemed classics by their critical and commercial success and they either don’t interest me or I’ve tried to play them and they’ve annoyed me so much that I’ve given up.
This has all come about because I tried to start my next incomplete game for my XBOX 360 last night and I was met with two flashing red lights. Two flashing red lights thankfully, not the dreaded Red Ring of Death. This apparently means my XBOX is over heating. While it is hot in the UK at the moment, it’s not that hot. Most likely my 360 is caked in dust which is over heating the processor and not allowing air to travel through.
It looked very much like this. But dustier.

While I was trying to find fixes on the internet (I might make a video of what I find inside the XBOX once I crack it open.) I decided to just try and finish a game on my PS3. One of which was Shadow of the Colossus HD remake that was available through PS+. I missed this on the PS2 the first time around and loved the idea. Roaming around a huge world looking for giant monsters to battle. No levels, just boss battles that you shouldn’t win. My brain was telling me that as a gamer, I should play this game and complete it so I can talk about it with conviction and gravitas in the high brow conversations I’ll have about games in the future while drinking fine wine and eating roasted meats. This would sit alongside my opinions that Bioshock creates an atmosphere unmatched in any other game. That tower defense games are the most comforting type of game ever created. Finally, that paying for a yearly update to a fighting game such as Street fighter 4 is perfectly reasonable considering you can then play that game for hundreds of hours afterwards.
My dinner guests would laugh and nod with what I had said. I would then lead onto my recent play through of the classic Shadow of the Colossus.
Unfortunately I would then tell them about how the mechanics of the game frustrated me so much that after about an hour of trying to slay the first colossus, I was ready to snap my controller in two. So I stopped. I had downloaded it through PS+ so I didn’t feel like I had lost out. It did lead me to look over my relationship with the PS2 generation of games. 

I wasn’t quite this close to the screen. Or wearing girls clothes.

There has not been a generation that I didn’t gel with more. I think the problem comes from two things. Video game consoles were between 16-25 year olds when the PS2 came out. I was also 16-25 when the PS2 was out. Two entities finding their place in the world. What are the extremes of their character? What will be their successes and failures? How will they change themselves and what things will stick?
Video games were moving through their late teens and early 20’s at the same time as me and we didn’t gel all the time. There were exceptions. The Warriors is probably the best licence conversion outside of comic books to ever be released.
Metal gear solid 2 and 3 were amazing as I’ve mentioned before. I even enjoyed the various wrestling games that the WWE released on the platform. Many more however didn’t inspire me. I still think GTA 3 is over rated.
I would enjoy crashing and blowing stuff up but I never felt the need to complete the game. It was full of conversions of PC games that didn’t work anywhere near as well and in general I found games to feel awkward and unfinished. Much like a 16-25 year old.
However without these games that I found frustrating we would not have the ground breaking stories and game mechanics and graphics that we enjoy today. It does however show that a HD lick of paint is not enough to change someone’s mind about a franchise. I really wish I could talk to my dinner guests about how Shadow of the Colossus is a triumph of gaming creativity. However, to me it’s a spotty teen trying too hard to be cool and gives some people that impression when in actual fact he’s just difficult to be around not worth the time.

XBL, PSN and Twitter @Urbundave
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