The Gamer’s Conscience 02.17.03

Before jumping into this edition of the Conscience, the basic premise of this entry was going to basically be a long and ill-detailed rant about having to slave through midterms here within the non-Berkeley University of California undergrad system, and it’s relation to drawing me away from gaming. Who better than one self-appointed game know-it-all, among other self-appointed game know-it-alls, to lay down some major word-age in a continuous vent on how studying takes way too much time away from crafting the perfect review or column? I mean, the vast majority of us are slaves to some kind of obligation; being a quasi-diligent student, a construction worker, son of a sultan, etc. So since trying to come up with something of substance within that realm, it was evident that it would be like trying to milk Cherry Coke from a diamond, or something increasingly remotely ridiculous than that. Maybe something like this.

So after some thought in between two heavy midterms this Winter quarter (cause that’s how they do it in the UC system; not two semesters, but three quarters), I got to thinking about the issue of time management in the gaming world. As stated before, the lot of us have some outside obligation that is ever-insatiable, only to pull us away from that one last run in Tony Hawk 4 or the necessary hours to finally knock off Xenogears (yes, I’m still not done with it) or Blood Omen. There must to be some factor at work, ever so silently chipping away at the psyche of gamers like you and I. How did it evolve to a point; a point where there might be no time at all for gaming? Is obligation that big of an overwhelming force?

To answer the question, I thought it would be a good idea to do a little soul-searching. A certain degree of retrospect into how it got this way- where somehow, some way, the gamer in me was lead astray.

It all started a while back, at least seriously, with the introduction of an arcane system whose name only exists in trivia and maybe 5 linked pages from Google: the Emerson Arcadia 2001. Among a library of about 10 games, the two that stuck out were Cat Trax (a Pac Man knock-off with cats and dogs) and Tanx A Lot (can’t remember much about this one! maybe that’s a good thing), which consumed much of my time in between Transformers episodes from the Galvatron era and reading exercises from the Santa Monica public school system.

Sequentially, throughout the years, as I was never all too serious about school, the admiration of the craft grew bigger with each system released, and the pursuit of adopting the “need to know” basis of gaming was paramount. In this case, I “needed to know” absolutely everything about the gaming scene! Knowing how to unlock Shen(g?) Long in Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition, despite it only being an EGM rumor, dethroned all else. It was all about the knowledge of the game. Chun-Li’s ‘spinning star kick.’ The Konami code. How many MEGS made up SNK’s greatest releases from back in the day. And that Tengen’s take on Tetris may have been the better.

Then, as the gradient of gaming knowledge became higher, these little nagging persistent social qualifiers called “grades” began to slip. All through High School, this was the case. You could pull me aside and ask- “Hey Fred, how do you pull off that one Bison Killer with Akuma in Street Fighter Alpha 2?”, and I could recite off the top of my head (Jab, Jap, ->, Short, Fierce! Beeatch!) with ease. But if I was at the end of a gun’s barrel, and was asked to tell the guy at the trigger end what mitochondria do in a given animal cell, then I was screwed. Face it to say, school wasn’t the passion.

But then, as I grew older, games began to take a back seat in and of themselves. Following the disembarking from High School, I began to realize that an ugly truth began to set in: random video game knowledge, by and large, would not be formidable in any way, shape for form. The social specters that act in tandem, age and personal responsibility, forever engrained themselves in my head. Knowing that the US release of Final Fantasy 3 isn’t really the third in the series won’t pay the bills.

It was then that videogames made that proverbial leap over the hill from ‘obsession’ into ‘pastime.’ And despite having the neck to do so, it has never looked back.

However, just because there isn’t all the time in the world to enjoy the pursuits of these digital works of art, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t any time to do it. In between these ghastly midterms (and other assignments of gravity and pulp) there has been enough time to hammer out some great sessions. Weekends still exist, and I can say that if it hadn’t for that evolved obsession, I would not be composing this column right now. For better or for worse :)

Between pursuing a Political Science degree and breathing on the outskirts of this collective smog cloud we call Los Angeles, there has been some time for some quality gaming action. Absence has indeed made the heart grow fond; because of school taking up the lot of time, I’m probably more appreciative of the games I’ve got and the time I can spend with em’. Yeah- it took me over a year to finally get into Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, but with 91.1% of the map in tow things are looking up. Sure there’s all the intrigue of the outside world and that of academia, but sometimes you just want to sink your teeth into a solid gaming excursion. Damned great stuff indeed.

So, to sum it up really, I wholeheartedly apologize to those 4 (on a good day) readers of the Conscience for not keeping up with the weekley rotation. But let it be known: despite that absence’s apparent dimension, the sacrifice was not in vein. It opened my eyes to the silent epiphany that calls itself “time management,” and how it toils away in the background to regulate what wants to be done and what has to be done. And now, Political Science classes 149 and 151B can kiss my proverbial ass; Kain has pilliars to corrupt.

Work hard, play harder.
That’s the Gamer’s Conscience.

The Open Conscience: 2 neurons fired.

Some of you more thorough readers have noticed a little augmentation to the title of this column, which was brought to my attention by a ‘Conscious’ reader who goes by the handle of Tempus!

Okay, I have to ask about the title of your column. Conscious is an adjective, used for describing. So, are you trying to say, “The gamer is conscious”?

This has been bugging me ever since you’ve been posting. Otherwise your columns are prettyenjoyable, and you seem to have a better grasp of proper HTML than your fellow gaming writers. Oh, about the Pelican thing; they probably use a unique wire colour scheme intentionally, so people won’t use their equiipment outside of it’s originally intended purpose. Just a thought.


Tempus, you’re absolutely right. Damned right. This whole time, I’ve been blind to the fact that I’ve been using ‘Conscious’ as a noun, and not in it’s correct adjective self. To tell you the truth, if I had noticed it reading something else, I’d be bugged as well. So, pending some back-end work, the grammatical aberration should be remedied once and for all.

The kind words are much appreciated, Tempus, and respected as well. Rock on.

And because even the discontent are represented, we have this one from Mike V:

Pfft, dont get mad cause you got made fun of on the neo geo board. You shouldn’t take shit like that seriously (though it was f*ckin funny you wanted a neo geo cart for a cd burner). People on message boards routinly haze people who have little knowledge on the topic. Don’t get your panties in a bunch over it

and f*ck, you prolly pissed off a shitload of people with that NIN comment

*looks at army of smarks with chris benoit shirts take them off to reveal NIN shirts*

I used to have an aim handle of broken ya ass, NIN is one of the greatest groups around. Keep your music opinions out of the gaming columns

bahahaha, 60 dollar cd burner for a Neo Geo cart…ahahahahahah

Now, I’m not too sure if there may have been a power outage in your area to keep you from reading it, but there was an entire column following that one paragraph in question. As a matter of fact, that one paragraph was a lead in to the rest of the column regarding how poor of a non-mod-friendly cable that Pelican makes. To my knowledge, the column is still up here.

But, the hazing, as you put it, was completely out of left field for me, especially in a marketplace post. A General Discussion forum? Maybe. But marketplace? T’was unexpected. That’s all.

And about Nine Inch Nails? Well, you hit the head right on the nail with calling it a “music opinion.” It is indeed just that. An opinion. As for the music opinions, they will pop up every now and then where needed. Also, if there were indeed a whole army of Benoit fans with NIN shirts under the Benoit fans, then it would appear I’m indeed rooting for the wrong guy.

And this CD-burner, Mike, has a retail of 80 dollars- not the 60 mentioned above. And upon consultation of this price guide, there appear to be a slew of carts that would ideally trade for an 80-dollar burner, let alone a 60 dollar one. Mainly, the Samurai Shodown carts I’m seeking. Oh, the wonders of the free market.

Thanks for dropping a line, Mike!

And now for something almost different!

Because we all need reassurance that humanity as a whole is intact, I present the following video; found by a friend of mine somewhere on the net. Enjoy.

And finally!

Last column, some of you may have read the introductory paragraph I had regarding the Neo message boards,and the apparently angry tone I took to two members of the board who had followed up a posting in a market section of the Message boards. It seems that my comments had ruffled some feathers over there. I just want to let it be known that there is no ill will towards the site, any of it’s members, or affiliates in any way. Because of the good will of some members there, I will be a future owner of an AES system to call my own (I can’t grasp this “NGH” thing). So here’s to a beautiful future. And indeed, the future is now .

And that, my friends, is it for this week. Now, I’m off to passively remind the staff that yours truly is still indeed alive. Until next week!