Today is a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the breeze is gentle, and the temperature is perfect. Hey, seems like a great day to play golf! You call up your friends and ask them if they want to hit the course with you, so they decide to join in on the fun. You gather up your gear, drive to the course, meet up with your friends, and start clubbing away at those golf balls. A few minutes into the game, you know today is going to be a truly awesome one. Suddenly, when you’re about half-way through the course, a random guy starts teeing and putting with your group. He talks to you and your friends like a well-known acquaintance…but you’ve never seen him before in your life. If I was one of the guys in the group, I can imagine (as well as you can) that this would be very awkward indeed. Who the heck is this guy? Where did he come from? Why is he acting like a part of the group? What’s his story? A lot of questions would come up from this odd predicament.

I guess you could say I’m that random guy.

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I’ve been a member of Gameinformer for a little while now. I’ve messed around with other gaming websites like IGN and Gamespot, but I’ve never committed to one of them as a true member. After much thought, I’ve decided that this is the place where I want to stay, because (in all honesty) it’s my favorite video game website. Of course, at first I was just a subscriber to the magazine. About two years ago, I saw a page in an issue showing off the website, so I signed up. My first name was Joseph114 (my PSN ID), but I recently changed it to DrJoeystein. Ha, you’re probably asking why. I did this because it’s a nickname my friend calls me, and I think it sounds utterly creative, unique, and crazy. That’s it…just a nickname!

Anyway, over these two years of being a member, I’ve discovered that the majority of the community is mature (don’t see that often :P); the editors are all talented writers that are entertaining and involved with the community in terms of communication, activities, and so forth; a plethora of video game news is constantly posted around the clock; users’ blogs and reviews are fun to read and even put on the front page, and…well, you get my point. These are some of the attributes of Gameinformer as a whole that have convinced me to stay. When I finally began to establish myself, I took up blogging and writing reviews seriously. I really enjoy doing these things, so why not do it here? As of now, I’ve posted three blogs and seven reviews ever since I joined. However, something so obvious dawned upon me recently. I haven’t even properly introduced myself to everyone. Am I going to keep posting reviews and blogs? Nobody knows who I am, so why should any of you really care what I think! I’m just that random golfer I was talking about earlier…I think it’s time to finally change that. For a basic bio of myself and what music, movies, books, and activities I love, check out my profile page. For this blog, I’m going to write about all of the game consoles I own, what games I’ve played and loved,Β  and what gaming has done for me. In other words, I’m going to write about my “gaming life.” Editors, members, and readers of Gameinformer, my name is Joey. Without further ado, here is my story.

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It’s hard to believe Naughty Dog created this back then.

Throughout most of my childhood, video games were pretty much a side thing for me. Legos (specifically Bionicle) and Power Rangers (yeah, you know how awesome they are) were the only things that mattered in my life. Whenever I was bored, I’d sit down and play a video game. And I’m not talking about those boring educational games your parents buy for you. No, I’m talking about true video games. Every journey begins with a single step, and that step took place on my dad’s Playstation when I was around 5 years old with Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot. It my first, true video game…well, technically Elmo’s Number Journey was, but that was an educational game! I’m just going to pretend it never existed in my life. Anyway, what was CB like for me as a kid? I’d say quite the challenge for a youngster like myself, but that didn’t keep me from beating it. I absolutely loved the crazy characters, diverse and colorful levels, and simple platforming. This lead to another game I played that is similar in style to CB, and what I’m talking about is Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!. It’s one of my personal favorites for the Playstation; I loved all of the open worlds, upbeat music, and (of course) playing as a dragon! Flying, breathing fire, and ramming my horns into enemies as a little, purple dragon was a total blast (and still is). This was when my love for gaming really began to develop.

As a big fan of Spyro and Crash Bandicoot now, I bought all of the other games in the trilogies that the original developers made. It’s just to bad Insomniac and Naughty Dog don’t own the rights to their characters anymore. πŸ™ I started to explore different types of games, which lead me to one of my favorite racing games of all time: NASCAR Rumble. The diverse tracks, action-packed racing with power-ups, and dozens of unlockables kept me coming back to that game for a long time. I’ve been hoping for another high-quality NASCAR game similar to Rumble, but none have matched up to it. Something else that I inevitably played was Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue, which turned out to be a decent TPA. Lego Racers was another, which was pretty much a Lego version of Rumble (yes, I loved it). Other than that, not much more games I played on the Playstation during my childhood. However, that doesn’t mean I never went back to it. Just a few years ago I played the original Metal Gear Solid (dad bought it and never played it). From a late 1990s perspective, the game looks phenomenal. The story was also intriguing and the stealth gameplay was thrilling at times. And just recently, I finished the original Resident Evil. I actually wrote about it in a blog, and will continue to write about the others as I play them in the future!

The Playstation console was the launch pad for my gaming life rocket, and continues to fly through the heavens to this day and beyond. Of course, I’ve only scratched the beginning. Even though I was a Sony guy (and still am), that doesn’t mean Nintendo wasn’t mixed in my life.

2275.database_2D00_hardware_2D00_gameboycolor01The first Nintendo system I owned was a Gameboy Color. You probably expect me to say that I played awesome games like Zelda and Mario, right? Well, that’s not the case; I owned really bad games. I bought all of the latest and greatest Gameboys like the Advance and Advance SP to be “that kid who only buys cheap licensed games.” Power Rangers: Time Force, Bionicle: Matoran Adventures, and Star Wars Episode II were some of the games I played. But hey, I thought they were fun. And that’s all that matters as a gamer, no matter what you play. It wasn’t until many years later that I tried out Pokemon Crystal, which lead me to fantastic Pokemon titles like Leafgreen and Emerald. There’s a lot more to this, but I’ll get into that later. Overall, The Gameboy was a nice distraction from playing games on my home consoles, and I enjoyed playing on it when I could.

The PS2. Man, that console was a glorious piece of machinery. I remember receiving it with a copy of Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex as a present from my grandmother while we were on a beach vacation. You think I paid attention as a seven year old that Naughty Dog stopped developing the games? I didn’t care, I just wanted to play some Crash! The graphics looked better than previous games, but that’s about it. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the game. I also tried out Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly for the fun of it, but the magic in the titles Insomniac made just wasn’t there anymore. These games may have started to die out for me, but my love for racing games increased with NASCAR 2003 and Lego Racers II. Driving around in custom Lego cars and just messing around with friends in the open racing world brought forth much laughter from playing with friends. What’s funny about the former is that I loved racing around in boring circles for hours. I bought all of the NASCAR games up to 2006 and then lost interest, because that’s when I found Burnout 3: Takedown. If Rumble tied with another racing game, this would be it. The racing modes, graphics, smooth controls, cars, and the famous crash mode were all awesome…until my save file got corrupted. πŸ™

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Did you listen to the main menu song over and over again? I sure did.

The great thing about the PS2 was that there was a smorgasbord of games to choose from, so I got into more games like Star Wars: Episode III, Bounty Hunter, and Battlefront 2. The first two games were a joy to play, but they paled in comparison to the game that is Battlefront 2. I can’t tell you how many times I went through the campaign, played as every side in Galactic Conquest, and played as the heroes/villains on Mos Eisely. Too many good memories come from that game…I just hope there’s going to be a third one in the future. Let’s see…I also bought Bionicle and Bionicle Heroes. The first one was okay, but since I was a fanboy, I absolutely loved it. The second one (all fanboyism aside) was actually really good. The story may have been messed up, but the graphics, gameplay, and level design were great. Oh, there’s also Kingdom Hearts, but I don’t need to explain to you how astoundingly great that game series is. My friends and I love it immensely; now all of us are continuously waiting for Kingdom Hearts III!

Speaking of friends, one of them let me borrow the Ratchet and Clank games, which is a great series with funny characters and dialogue, smooth graphics, and crazy gameplay. Lastly, two games started my love for the FPS genre: Medal of Honor: Frontline and Call of Duty: Finest Hour. These games were the bomb back then. What’s funny is that I never showed any interest in this genre. it was actually my dad that started playing FPS games. I remember him asking me one night to help him with a hard level in Call of Duty…little did he know he was soon giving up the controller for good. We eventually bought Call of Duty 2 and played that constantly as well. During this time, I heard Call of Duty 3 was coming out for the brand new PS3 in 2006. Looks like it was time for a new console.

The PS2 still remains one of my favorite consoles of all time. I haven’t even covered all of the games I’ve played on it, and there are dozens of more games I would have loved on the system! Before I move on to the PS3, let’s talk about how Nintendo consoles slowly became my favorite to play games on for quite a while.

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Never fails to crack me up. Β 

Around the same time the PS3 came out, I started messing around with Pokemon Crystal on my old Gameboy Color (as I said earlier). I came to love the simple RPG elements and simply “catchin’ them all,” so when I heard about Diamond on the Nintendo DS Lite, I had to have it. I eventually saved up enough money and purchased the system. Ha, you could say I married it when I got my hands on Diamond. I put over 300 (yes, you read that correctly) hours into it…I still can’t believe I did that. After two years of constantly playing around with it, I started to lose my obsession. I still bought SoulSilver when it came out and adored it, but I didn’t even top 80 hours with that game. Today, I still haven’t bought Black or White and like Pokemon to a lesser degree overall. Good thing is that I had a wide palette when it came to the DS. Bowser’s Inside Story, New Super Mario Bros., Super Mario 64 DS, and Mariokart DS were among the first Mario games I ever played. Remember, I mainly played Playstation games as a kid. As anyone would expect, all of the Mario games I mentioned are must-owns. I also played my first Zelda game, which was Phantom Hourglass. The art style and unique gameplay was different than any other game I’ve played, but I really liked it and ended up finishing the entire game. Funny thing is that I have Spirit Tracks on my shelf, but I haven’t touched it once. I really need to give it a try sometime. One of the last major DS titles I love is Professor Layton. AH! PUZZLES! THAT MEANS THINKING! This was something my mom was naturally drawn to (she has a DS), so she told me to try it out and I ended up really liking the story, creative and diverse puzzles, and anime style of the game. There are so many DS games I haven’t tried, and soon I’ll be getting a 3DS! ‘sigh’ There’s so little time. As you can tell, the DS has treated me well. It gave me five strong years of entertainment. Here’s to many more with a 3DS in my possession soon with Ocarina of Time (which I’ve never played), Super Mario 3D Land, and Mariokart 7!

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It’s true! πŸ˜€

The PS3 didn’t offer to many games that I wanted in its early stages, which is why I spent most of my time playing Pokemon on my DS. This actually lead to me buying a Wii, mainly for Pokemon Revolution…yeah, I got some weird reasons to spend lots of money on consoles, don’t I? Anyway, I worked all summer one time with my dad and managed to save up enough money to obtain it. Of course, Revolution didn’t last too long, but Warioware did. That game is so crazy, great for some laughs, and results in good time with the family. At first, I thought the Wii was an okay console. However, my view of the Wii drastically changed when Super Mario Galaxy came out. I got every single star as Mario and Luigi. It truly reached the graphical limitations of the Wii, pioneered outstanding gameplay and originality, had a soundtrack fitting for an epic movie, and a fresh new take on the classic “Mario saves the princess” story. These are the things that make it one of my favorite games. And speaking of that, another one of them is Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Never had I devoted so much time every day for several months to find rumors, info about new characters, and interviews on gaming websites. Brawl did live up to my super-high expectations (as all of you would most likely say as well), but I’m not devoting so much time to the “stoked stage” for any game again.

Going back to Mario games, next I was looking forward to Mariokart Wii. I got three stars in every championship, played online constantly, and even placed 4thΒ  in North America during one of those daily contests. I was actually 1st for a while, but others eventually beat me. Some other major titles I played were Twilight Princess (which I though was “meh.” Go ahead, hate on me. :P), Super Mario Galaxy 2 (a very worthy successor to the first), Metroid Prime 3 (thought the graphics and mechanics were great), and New Super Mario Bros. Wii (which, for some reason, I thought was only okay). At the moment, I have Super Mario All-Stars on my backlog. The main reason why I purchased it was because I have never played any of the original Mario games. Before you suffer an asthma attack, just know once again that I never paid attention to Mario as a kid. That would have been preferable to Crash and Spyro, but I don’t regret missing out then. Besides, Crash and Spyro were awesome games. I’ve also got my eye on Skyward Sword, but am spectacle because I didn’t enjoy Twilight Princess that much.

The Wii made a big impact on the gaming industry and on my gaming life too. I haven’t turned it on in a while, but I sure have devoted a lot of time to it. Next up we got the Xbox 360!

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Remember the epic trailer? Bungie sure knows how to charge the hype machine.

I had a PS3, so I didn’t need the 360. However, a deal came around that I couldn’t pass up. I managed to get the Pro console for half its normal price (which was around $150). You want to guess what game I bought first? Halo 3, of course! After playing the campaign, I ventured to play the first two (which were incredible games), Halo Wars, ODST, and finally Reach. I mostly played the games for the campaigns; I loved the universe Bungie created and thoroughly enjoyed the story. I can’t wait to see what 343 does with Halo 4! After Halo, I looked to the “Epic” Gears of War series (cue pun drum sound). When compared to PS3’s TPS juggernaut (Uncharted), Gears of War matches up very well. The characters and story are very entertaining, the gameplay is smooth and tight, and the multiplayer is an explosive mess of excitement. I’ve played the first two games, and am now anticipating the coming weeks for numero tres. Other than that, I don’t really use my Xbox that much. I do have Alan Wake on my backlog though, and am really intrigued to see how the Inception-esque story will play out. Now it’s time to finally talk about one of my favorite consoles of all time: the PS3.

If I end up talking too much about the PS3, we’d be here all night. I’m going to condense it as much as I can. As I said earlier, CoD3 was the first game I bought for the console.Β  As you would expect, I have every CoD up to MW3. CoD4 was revolutionary, and the multiplayer was like nothing I’d ever played before. I don’t mean to be arrogant, but you could say I’m a veteran with the multiplayer. Even though it has gotten old, I still enjoy playing the campaigns, extra modes, and multiplayer every now and then. During my time with the PS3, I expanded my FPS experience with Resistance, Battlefield, and Killzone; all of which are excellent game series. One thing I love about the PS3 is the epic exclusives, like Uncharted, inFAMOUS, and Ratchet and Clank. They’re all extremely creative games I’m a fan of. Other unique titles I love include War for Cybertron (super excited for Fall of Cybertron!), Batman Arkham Asylum and City (best superhero games ever), Assassin’s Creed (super awesome story and gameplay), Portal 1 and 2 (who doesn’t love it?), and so on.

I’ve had a lot of good memories with the PS3 so far. I absolutely love everything about it and play on the console as often as I can. My fat PS3 gave out on me in late 2009, but I’ve got a Slim now it’s still going. I also watch blu-ray movies/TV shows (like Iron Man and the Clone Wars), have some downloadable games like Outland and Braid, am planning on getting ICO and Shadow of the Colossus for Christmas, and…wait, I got to stop myself. πŸ˜› Generally, if you were to find me anywhere while gaming, it’s mainly on the PS3. Well, I suppose that’s my gaming life in a nutshell!

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Hopefully we’ll end up “playing golf” like these good friends soon.

Gaming has always been a large part of my life. It has developed a larger love of music for me, helped me with my education, inspired me to write, taught me life and moral lessons, lead me to meeting new friends, and much more. A lot of people view video games as a waste of time with no value, but I totally disagree due to there being many positive effects that they can have on society today.

Although I could write so much more, I believe what I’ve written will suffice. Besides, I’ve been busy with a lot of school lately and as long as this blog is, I don’t want you guys falling asleep. πŸ˜› Well, what do I plan on doing next? Like I said earlier, I do have an objective to write about my playthroughs of the Resident Evil games, but that won’t happen for a long time due to the onslaught of games I’ll have on backlog this Christmas. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t write about anything until then. I plan on writing a review or two, and a blog as well. But enough about this…let me thank you for checking out my blog post. I’m glad there’s such a great community that I can write to about a passion of mine. I look forward to making the blog and review section an even more awesome place in the near future. πŸ˜‰ And if you’ve got any questions or thoughts, just post below. Even though this whole blog seems sporadic and too condensed to me, I hope you enjoyed reading it!

This was an article originally published as a user blog post on Game Informer.