Archive for the ‘Xbox 360’ Category

I don’t have any gaming guilty pleasures

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Every once in a while, probably to foster discussion, I see a website or a twitter account ask what gaming guilty pleasures that I have, and my answer is always the same: I don’t have any.

So, what is a guilty pleasure, anyway? A guilty pleasure is something that you enjoy (game, music, movie, activity, whatever) that you feel guilty about liking, and maybe want other people to not know that you do.

That’s odd, right? It’s not just me, is it? You have a thing that you like, but you have to keep it a secret so that other people don’t find out about it, because if they do find out about you liking the thing, then they’re going to think you’re weird. Especially if they all dislike the thing. Then you’ll be the only one in the group that likes the thing that everyone else doesn’t.

Which is not that big of a deal.

Maybe it’s because I grew up at a time where video games weren’t as mainstream as they are today. It was a time where having an interest in computers and video games was something that weird outcasts did, so it didn’t really matter what I liked. The other outcasts and I would talk about whatever games we liked amongst ourselves, and that was pretty much that. We liked a lot of the same games, sure, but we also liked games that the others didn’t, or even that the others had never heard of. But that meant we had more games to try and like or not like as appropriate.

Or maybe it’s because I’m comfortable in forming my own opinions without worrying what other people are going to think. Especially on matters as trivial as the kind of entertainment I like. I realize that this might sound like I’m being preachy or like a chapter out of a self-help book, but I don’t have a problem telling people what kinds of games I like because my friends don’t mind if like something that they don’t. Sure, they might think it’s a little weird that I don’t like the newest Shootymans 3 game or whatever, but I think it’s just as weird that they do like it. Besides, with friends lists, always online consoles, and game collections and activity being on the public Internet, trying to hide a game you’re enjoying playing from your friends is borderline impossible:

Oh, look, I spent 12 hours playing Faerie Solitaire, or I played a video game based on professional wrestling on the Xbox 360, or I imported a cutesy puzzler from Japan to play on my PS3.

So, I’m going to continue on, liking what I want to, and disliking what I want to without feeling bad about it in the slightest or worrying about what other people might think of something as trivial as my preferred video games.

Hori EX2 Fighting Stick

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Okay, confession time. The other day when I mentioned that I hadn’t bought a joystick from the 1995 to 2011 isn’t quite true. I actually did jump back into the fighting game arena a few months earlier than that, with the Hori EX2 fighting stick.

hp photosmart 720

I was still pretty new at the whole XBox 360 thing (I was a hardcore Nintendo guy for a long time), so I was a little bit behind the times when it came to games and controllers for the thing. But, when Street Fighter IV became a thing, I knew I had to have it. And since it played a lot like Street Fighter II in the arcades, a game I spent hundreds of hours on, I decided that I wanted to try and replicate that experience.

And finding them on clearance at my local Toys ‘R’ Us didn’t hurt, either.

So I had a controller that was better than the Super Advantage (by a long shot), and sort-of arcade-like, but I had a lot of problems with it. My biggest problem was with the ‘gate‘ that the joystick used. The ‘gate’ is the hole that the joystick goes through, and it can be square, circular, octagonal, or something else entirely, I guess. But this one is square, and for some reason, I couldn’t get the hang of it. I’d try to press ‘back’ and my hand would find ‘back-up’ and my character would jump, usually directly into a face-crushing combo. That kind of thing. That’s not too hard to get around. What is harder to get around is the breakaway cable.

This joystick, like a lot of joysticks, has a breakaway cable that keeps your Xbox on the table when someone walks through the room without paying attention and gets his foot wrapped around the cable. This is usually a good thing, but on this one for whatever reason, I had a lot of trouble keeping the thing plugged in. It kind of seemed like the cable would break away just from the weight of itself.

That’s bad.

I fought with it for a while (in every sense of the word) until I just kind of petered out with Street Fighter IV. Since the arcade scene here dried up, it’s tough to find folks who want to play fighting games, and the people on the Internet are way too good for me to have much fun there. So, after a few months, I put this away and didn’t think about it again until I moved a few months later.

Mad Catz Super Street Fighter IV Arcade FightStick Tournament Edition S

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

So, in the span of a few years, I went from the best home joystick ever made to the worst home joystick I’ve ever used (and yes, that includes the wacko joystick things that the TI-99/4a used). So, as a result, I kind of fell out of even caring at all about joysticks for home consoles. I would briefly toy around with the idea of building my own joystick out of wood and some arcade parts, but that always seemed to be too much work, and not enough video games.

But something happened in 2011. In 2011 I started trying to dig up some information about the upcoming Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (since I had already bought and really liked the first MvC3 game), and I saw a few videos where people were using this enormous fighting stick that looked like someone chopped off the front panel from an arcade cabinet and then jammed a USB cable on it.

Look at all of that arcadey goodness.

Look at all of that arcadey goodness.

Which, apparently, that’s exactly what it is. Which means two things:

  1. These things are kind of expensive. Around $100 or more. That shouldn’t be a huge surprise to anyone who’s kicked around the idea of having an arcade cabinet in their home (some day…). Equipment that needs to stand up to the rigors of arcade life aren’t cheap.
  2. You’re going to get as accurate an experience as possible if you’re trying to replicate the arcade experience at home. Which, apart from taking one more reason away from going to your local arcade (assuming one even exists), ensures that you’ll have very little trouble going from your home joystick to the arcade joystick since they’re exactly the same. Finally, I can keep my muscle memory!

Now all I need to do is to find an arcade version of either Street Fighter IV or Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (since that’s what I mostly played with this thing) so that I can put my skills to use.

Some day…