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Checkpoint: A Week Before X-Mas Edition

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I received an surprise today. My Persona 4 order came in and included was the art book which I thought I Amazon.ca wasn’t getting. Atlus knows how to treat its fans! This glossy 100 page art book is honestly the nicest pre-order bonus I’ve ever received — yes, even nicer than the MGS4 one.

So here we are. Six days from Christmas. Let’s talk about Christmas gaming highlights. Most of my recent holidays were uneventful, but there were a handful of holiday gaming moments which I found to be quite influencial.

1993 – Super Nintendo

My earliest memory of video gaming influence was the Christmas where my cousin brought his Super Nintendo to the family gathering. I guess you could say that this was the moment I became gamer. It was also the moment I fell in love with 2-D fighters, specifically, the Street Fighter franchise. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, I loved every moment of Street Fighter II: Turbo. A week or two later of begging and pleading, my brother and I received our own Super Nintendo with Super Mario World, a mail-in coupon for Super Mario All-Stars and Tecmo Super NBA Basketball. I remember the Super NBA Basketball costing $94.99 CAD at the time. $59.99 doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?

1996 – Arcades: Street Fighter Alpha 2 & X-Men vs Street Fighter

By this time I moved onto the PC platform for my gaming needs. There was no PlayStation. No Nintendo 64. It was just the now age old Super Nintendo and my first PC, a Pentium 120 MHz with some pitiful amount of RAM. So during this particular holiday break, the family took a trip to Los Angeles. Now, you have to take into consideration that we weren’t wealthy people. I didn’t get many games or receive many opportunities to visit arcades. I knew there was a Super Street Fighter II: Turbo, but I was oblivious to the fact that there was even a Street Fighter Alpha.

So when my uncle took my brother and I to an arcade, you could imagine my mind being blown when I first laid eyes on Street Fighter Alpha 2 and X-men vs Street Fighter in the arcades. I desperately wanted to play despite my inability to even pull off a dragon punch on a arcade stick. It was all every exciting and when I got back home, I wanted nothing more than to play those games some more. Unfortunately, financial limitations prevented me from pursuing that desire.

2006 – Gears of War & Xbox 360

So for approximately 10 years time, I was primarily a PC gamer. We got our hands on a PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Gameboy Advance and GameCube, but I was enjoying the high definition experience that was PC gaming at the time. I saw no reason to even pay attention the consoles until Epic Games introduced a game called Gears of War. This console exclusive was doing things my newly purchased PC was only dreaming of. At this point, I realized that I had to pick up an Xbox 360 for the holidays. As it turns out the Xbox 360 was the first brand new console I purchased with my own money. (The rest were obtained by my brother or used, you see) This marked console marked my transition from PC gamer to simply a gamer.

Gears of War was the high definition experience I was looking for, but at the fraction of the cost. I could purchased an Xbox 360 and a couple of games with the amount I put down for a GeForce 7800 GT. Gears of War was also the first cooperative game that my brother and I sat down and played together in a long time as well.

And that should account for anything of real significance. The other years were populated by great games, but they nothing I would consider “stand out” moments. How about you, kids out there? Anything worth sharing? I’d love to read it.

For the weekend, I’ll be wrapping up my Fallout 3 review. I’ve started Far Cry 2 and I believe I can at least finish half of it.  Oh, and some R2 if people want to.

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