Category Archives: yar’s revenge

Level Up (or is that down?)

My buddy Ray, in order to give me some more range in what I write about here on The Non-Gamer’s Gamer’s Blog, and just because he’s a great guy, and a helluva friend, lent me his PS2. He even came over to hook it up, and gave me a game.

Ray got me the Atari Anthology, yeah, baby, kicking it old school. I think it was also a left-handed way of saying I was inept at gaming, and just old, period. The implication is that these would be the only games I would be good at. I can’t deny that, I guess. I was damned happy to play Yar’s Revenge on my HD TV.

Now when Ray told me he was doing this last week, I knew what I had to do. I had to get a copy of Justice League Heroes. On one New Year’s Eve several years ago, Jeff and I played this game for about, oh, I don’t know, six or seven hours straight while our respective other halves chatted and eventually slept. I had a blast. Not only was it a reintroduction to videogames for me, but it was also a cool superhero game that also played with the continuity of the comics. This was a DC Universe of characters and situations I knew. I loved it.

Once I knew there was a PS2 coming, this was the game I wanted. Well, that and the Godzilla and Ultraman games for the PS2, but those have proven slightly elusive, if not impossible. Why wouldn’t you make a game for the whole world to play? Grrr… don’t get me started…

So after warming up with some Atari, looking bright and colorful in high definition, I moved over to Justice League Heroes and enjoyed smashing Brainiac’s robot minions with Superman and Batman. Hmmm… I guess Brainiac is the default bad guy for DC Comics videogames…

I had a blast. I confess to having to call Ray to ask how to turn it off when I was done, but I’m learning. More reviews to come, especially from the PS2 now too. Thanks, Ray!

Marvel, Big and Little

My first game purchase for the PlayStation 3 was via Amazon, and the choice was made because of what a big comic geek I am. I bought Marvel Ultimate Alliance at a pretty fair price. And I was thrilled when it arrived in the mail. I was going to get to play some superhero action on this here PS3 thing.

I first learned here something that will continue to haunt me for the rest of my PS3 experience. It’s complicated, and the controllers are nuts with buttons and choices. It came with a sizable instruction book, but I ignored it, as I wanted to play. I popped in the disc and was mesmerized by the graphics. Yar’s Revenge, this was not.

What the instruction manual doesn’t tell you is what the story actually is. This is a sore point for someone like me with a writer’s brain. It’s all about which buttons to push, etc. It doesn’t matter, I like the pretty colors, and hope that the introduction will give me something. It does. Nick Fury, the real one, not the Ultimate version or Samuel J. Jackson, shows up and apparently, we, the four player characters have to find him on the SHIELD Helicarrier which is under attack by what look like Ultrons.

The funny thing is, while Fury is not Ultimate, the player characters are – Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Thor. Interesting. You get to pick one, and the others are dragged along, until they die, or you switch out to one of them. It’s a lot of smash and guess until then. Wolverine and Thor seem the easiest to play, but in over an hour of play, I was never able to either clear the Helicarrier or find Fury. I will need help with this one. And I found the whole concept of collecting coins, like in Mario Bros., completely hilarious.

When I was tired of Ultimate Alliance I tried Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet. Despite the subtitle which refers to the Jim Starlin Thanos vs. the Marvel Universe comics, this is actually a simpler kids version of the Marvel heroes – based on the hysterical cartoon for kids of all ages, and the strange (strange because I can’t imagine the Punisher or Wolverine ever smiling) action figure line. I thought this would be a better choice. It’s cartoony vs. realistic graphics, but it still looked great.

While it has the fun voices and the wink-wink humor of the cartoon, the controller continues to irritate me, and it’s just not as easy as my buddy Ray has claimed. I seem to remember him saying this took him, like twenty minutes to finish. I think I spent twenty minutes trying to decipher the instructions.

The best part for me was not playing, and letting the characters on screen hold conversations. Come on now, you can’t tell me it’s not funny when Iron Man says to the Hulk, “You’re very green, you know that?” or when Hulk counters with “This ship ugly!” For that alone, this game rocks. I didn’t get far, but at least with this one, I kinda understood what was going on.

The Non-Gamer

The non-gamer – that’s me. I’m old, horribly horribly old, almost fifty. Gosh, it hurts to even type that. Like I said, I’m old, and I’m not a gamer, at least not by today’s standards. So if I’m not a gamer, why am I writing this blog? Good question.

My background in videogames is being around for the birth of Atari, specifically Pong. Yeah, you remember Pong, and if you don’t, you probably saw pictures of it painted in animal blood on cave walls. Pong was the first of the Atari 2600 videogames, and the shot heard round the world that triggered an electronic revolution in the world of games and hobbies.

Pong was followed by fun stuff like Space Invaders and later personal favorites Starmaster, Adventure, and Yar’s Revenge and even Donkey Kong. That last one was a keeper. It triggered the jump to the next generation of videogame, and also the point where I got lost. I had an Atari 2600, but I didn’t get a Nintendo system until 1998, way beyond when it was cool or even cutting edge – and even then it wasn’t my idea to get the system. I was dragged kicking and screaming into the videogame age.

A Super Nintendo system followed later, but only so I could play geek favorites of mine – Justice League Task Force and Super Godzilla, notably the only two games ever purchased for the system. Up until a few weeks ago, that was as cutting edge as I got. Then the PS3 came into the house.

This was a surprise, but apparently something The Bride had been thinking about for a while. I had initially asked for a Roku or a Blu-Ray player for Christmas but Santa was not accommodating. The Bride thought a PS3 would service both functions and have games so she got one. And here we are.

There’s an old joke that the only thing that separates a full-time freelance writer from an unemployed bum is a videogame system. To keep that balance from claiming me, I’m starting this blog, recording my impressions as a decisive non-gamer into the gaming world of PlayStation. I’ll try not to be too stupid or naïve, and maybe we’ll all learn something. Welcome to my nightmare.