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Because there are some pretty strange things happening with the Wii. OK, we all know the type of games that you can typically find on the Wii. There are plenty of kinda sports type games (no, bowling isn't really a sport). There are plenty of movie and TV tie in games. There are quite a few games that even try to make you smarter. And yes, there are even a couple of violent games there, too. Now here's something I never would have thought I would see. The Wii being decried for having violent games on it.

So, the number one family console in the history of video games is being criticized for having violent games on it, and it's all because of MadWorld. The National Institute on Media and the Family has issued a statement commemorating the game's release.

In the past, the Wii has successfully sold itself as being the gaming console for the entire family and a way to bring family-game nights back into people's living rooms. Unfortunately, Nintendo opened its doors to the violent video game genre. The National Institute on Media and the Family hopes that Nintendo does not lose sight of its initial audience and continues to offer quality, family-friendly games.
I don't know what's going through the minds of these people, but one violent game isn't going to destroy Nintendo's family friendly reputation. Relax people, there are plenty of cutesy casual games on the way still. By the way, about time you throw us real gamers a bone Nintendo. I may just pick up a Wii sooner than I planned.
With Feeling

Way back in August of last year, I wrote about my experiences with the first game in the Halo series. Since then I have played all 3 games, well, 3 of 4 if you count Halo Wars. Speaking of Halo Wars, I do have a copy of it sitting here in my house waiting to be played. And why don't I? I'm playing through F.E.A.R 2 right now and want to hold off on a new game until I get through that one.

Since I'm turning a new leaf (read my last post) in my gaming habits, I think I have a plan with Halo Wars. See, here's the thing. I'm heading back downrange in a few days, and lucky me, I have an Xbox 360 (brand new in the box) waiting for me. I plan to pick up a TV when I get there, something big enough that I can actually see the figures on the screen with, meaning no 13 incher for me. When I get the set-up completed I'll have to have something to play, so I'm going to pull out Halo Wars, right? Nope. I'm going to pull out (pretend that you are hearing a big announcer type voice when you read this, I'm thinking of the scene with Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness when he has to say the magic words as he takes the Necronomicon) Halo: Combat Evolved. Why the first game? Well, as the title of this post may suggest, I may not have been with the game the first time I played it. Meaning, I may get more out of it the second time I play it. I was pretty harsh with my assessment last time. I blame a lack of caffeine at the time.

Now, after that game, Halo Wars, right? No, next is Halo 2, then Halo 3. See, I'm trying to go back through the story so I have it all fresh in my mind for Halo Wars. But, Halo Wars is a prequel. Why would I need to review the first three games if they happen after the events of the fourth? From what I understand about the game (I haven't read a lot about it yet, wouldn't want to spoil the fun) it does show the evolution of events and actually ties into the other games. This game is considered "canon". Basically, what that means is that Halo Wars is the historic set-up for the other three games. I think it will be interesting to see how the events in Halo Wars tie into the events of the other games and expanded universe (the books and such, and yes, I've read most of the books). I think it will be much more interesting to experience the events of Halo Wars if I have a better working knowledge of what has happened to date, and that will lead to the "oh, so that's why that happened in Halo X" ruminations.

Now after that is all over, and this course of action will take a long investment in time to follow through, I may have another plan for another series. Right now though, I've bitten off a huge gaming bite and hope I don't choke on it.
One thing I've noticed lately is that I really don't spend a lot of time playing through individual games. I spend a number of hours going through them seemingly just working to get to the end. Working. That word should never be used in the same sentence as video games, but that's what I've been thinking lately. I don't have a reason for needing to rush through them, I'm not on a deadline. I don't do reviews here, at least I haven't yet, so what's the hurry? I see two reasons for that. One, today's games seem much too linear for my tastes. Most of the games I've seen these days tend to be of the "complete this mission then go directly to the next one" type. That gets very old very quickly, especially with a game that's just a little short on story. Whatever happened to that great gaming convention of optional side quests? And two, there are just so many good games coming out that I don't want to miss any of them. I feel that I need to get through one so I can get to the four others that I have waiting. And then the next month starts the cycle over again. Oh how I hate having a day job.

There used to be a time when I would only buy one game a month, or even every other month. I used to play games so I could explore every inch of their gaming world. I would try to get every weapon, every rare item, beat every boss, and just spend a lot of time wandering around. Final Fantasy VII was one of my favorite games to try and get everything in. I beat all the Weapons. I collected all the rare items. I even got every optional character in my game. I spent over 140 hours in that world, much longer than any other game I've had before or since, and I loved every minute of it. Later games in the Final Fantasy series (X is really notorious for this), made several of the side quests damn near impossible. How many people actually sat in the Thunder Plains long enough to dodge 200 lightning strikes in a row? Not me, I have a lot of patience, but I'm not a masochist.

The trend with newer games seems to be that if a developer adds an extra coat of graphics paint, they think they can skimp a bit on the content underneath. That trend troubles me. What we are getting is a superficial upgrade at the cost of the core elements of gameplay and enjoyment. I don't care if I can see a character's every hair move in the breeze, or that the water effects look hyper-realistic. That's not why I play games. I play because I want to experience a different reality than the one I'm in now. I know that I seem to be contradicting myself regarding graphics, but here's the thing. I have an imagination, and therefore, do not need graphics to show every detail of every little thing on the screen for me to enjoy a game. And no, I don't hate my life, nor do I want to hide from it, I just want to engage my mind in something other than the norm. To me, graphics are not a consideration on whether to buy a game or not. Don't get me wrong, I do like a good looking game just like the next guy, but I'd rather they skip an extra coat of paint and add a few more hours of side quests instead.

I am hopeful with some of these games coming out in the next few months (or longer in some cases). Of course Final Fantasy XIII and Versus have my attention, as does the latest Star Ocean game. Halo Wars is definitely in the queue, and so are a quite a few games from the recent past. I still haven't spent enough time with LittleBigPlanet, or the Gears of War series. And I cannot forget about Fallout 3 either, especially with the upcoming DLC on the horizon. So I plan to go the slow route, and take my time to really explore and experience a game. I'll eventually catch up on all the games I want to play, even if it takes me a few years to do it.

So what do you think? Are you happy with the way things are trending in the gaming world, or are you as nostalgic about the good old days as I am? Drop me a line, tell me what you believe.