Apparently the Dreamcast Sucks…

I hate video game reviews. I truly do. With this week’s release of Jet Set Radio HD, I’m just reminded of how deep my hatred for what game reviewing has become. How can a website rightfully justify giving a classic a 4.5 when they previously rated it a 9?

Now, I understand that tastes change and people move away from the things they used to love, but how does a quintessential Dreamcast title suddenly become something broken and unpolished? For that matter, was the Dreamcast ever worth owning? All I’ve been seeing from the re-releases of its “classics” are reviews that top off at 6 out of 10.

It just boggles my mind to try and figure out how a game becomes so awful over the course of a decade. I haven’t played a single title from my youth in recent years that hasn’t held up to some degree. Sometimes awkward dialog or story progression rear their ugly heads, but level design and controls have always been a constant for me.

If I disliked the way the camera moved or the way combos were executed back in the day, I clearly remember all of that and expect it in the future. Hell, sometimes games I disliked back in the day are actually better with age, so what gives with “Jet Set Radio?”

I’m also getting really tired of reviewers claiming that titles are antiquated or feel old and that is their reason for being bad. Well, why do new games like “Castle Crashers” and “Scott Pilgrim” come out and get high marks for being old-school and retro? The contradiction doesn’t make sense to me. You can’t praise one thing for the same reason you hate another!

For that matter, old games don’t suddenly become bad over the years. I understand that the philosophy behind developing anything should be to improve on the predecessors, but I still enjoy “Super Mario World” and “Street Fighter II,” despite the fact that their sequels may have improved in certain regards.

Not that film or music can even really compare to video games, but you don’t see Roger Ebert going back and claiming “Hotel Rwanda” actually sucks. When he states that his opinion of a movie is positive, he always sticks to it. Just because things have changed in cinema or methods or production doesn’t mean that Rwanda is no longer worth it.

Sorry, I can’t control this properly anymore!

If I go and ask my friend if she still likes the older Dave Matthews albums, she’s not going to say no! I don’t dislike old Tool albums or Daft Punk, either, despite their styles changing and evolving over the years. When something is good, it is good!

My only real understanding of this situation comes with my old passion for Slipknot. I used to love their direct and dirty style of metal, but as I grew older and broadened my range of music, I drifted away from them. I no longer listen to them and I don’t really have the desire to.

I still recognize their greatness, though. Nothing is wrong with the band and their music will always be a shining example of power/hard metal done right. Hell, their live album is fucking insanely good!
In fact, I went and re-beat “Super Mario Land” last night just for fun. That game is still good. I have lots of nostalgia for it (it was my second Gameboy game ever), but the title is a quick, quirky, fun little game and is well worth playing through. Hell, it’s even better now because of how similar newer Mario games are becoming.

Maybe I just hold video games closer to my heart? I really can’t make up an excuse or claim my passion is stronger, though. That’s very selfish. I’m just finding it hard to understand how “Jet Set Radio” is now considered a waste of time when it was once proclaimed to be a revelation.

I suppose my friend Corey sums it up the best, though.

Unobtainable Love

Feelings of love are a very curious thing. They strike without warning and fester without asking. Love drives people to the brink of insanity or brings them to the cusp of ecstasy. Love can mend your life, but love can also break your heart.

I happen to find myself smitten with someone, yet I am utterly confused as to why. This lovely girl is someone I met over the past summer. I worked with her only for a few short months and I did not see a strong bond between us. The best quality about her, for me, was the ease I had in approaching her and speaking my mind.

Regardless, I have not seen this girl since she left work. That was approximately one month ago, give or take a few days. I wanted to say so much to her on her last day, but I held my tongue and wished her luck. There is no need to ruin her perception of me, especially since I could tell it was positive.

Still, this past month has seen me leave one job and become isolated. Wishing I could still have strong friendships at work, I keep thinking about the good times at my previous job. I had worked there for two years and all I can think about is her. Even though I have never spent time with her outside of my job and I actually have contact with a few other co-workers, she is the one I see in my dreams.

I remember the first day I actually worked with her, too. She had come back from another state and was transferring to a school locally. Being away from her family did not bode well with her. She was ringing a customer out and could not remember a few of the PLUs. I butted in, like I tended to, and felt some kind of superiority. She was pleased, but I was just aggravated that some petulant child was given her job back, regardless of qualification.

For the next week or so, I did not introduce myself or even really speak to her. I was not an angry or irate person towards her, but I wanted nothing to do with this girl. I had been working my ass off for nearly two years and had gotten barely any recognition, but this bitch could come back after a year and be greeted with open arms! That was infuriating beyond belief for me.

One afternoon, though, an older co-worker of mine had told me that this girl always loved working with me. She was happy when I provided help and was delighted that at least one of the baggers was able to competently perform their job. My presence, in all likelihood, just made her feel at ease. I guess caring about your job makes others perk up. Who knew?

Well, once I was told that, I swallowed my idiotic and misplaced pride and spoke to her. Turns out we had a few things in common, but not a vast majority of similarities. We both loved the Beatles and that alone gave me plenty of conversational pieces. I actually puzzled her with a few of the songs I recommended and her father interviewed Paul McCartney himself!

Still, I was astonished at how easy talking to her was. I could mention anything and this girl would respond to me. I have never had that happen to me, even with the girl I swear I was in love with. This co-worker shot straight up my list of favorite people to be around, let alone co-workers.

Over the weeks, we spoke more about anything that came to our minds. She mentioned “Portal” and how the game was seemingly difficult to her, which I chuckled a bit. I at least gave her credit for trying and explained that her perceived difficulty was probably just due to a lack of experience. I never belittled her or ridiculed her for not being able to complete the game.

When I mentioned I would be heading to DC for a System of a Down concert, she told me about how she was in love with them in her middle school/high school years. We chatted about some of our favorite tunes and even got another co-worker to add his two cents. The atmosphere shifted from work related tension to jovial fun.

Then one weekend, she had to get coverage for a shift of hers. She had randomly won tickets to a Dave Matthews concert and was not missing the show. That is literally her favorite band in the world. I happily took the shift for her and explained how if Dave Matthews was her thing, I understood perfectly.

Now I personally am addicted to Dave Matthews. Maybe subconsciously I am trying to impress this girl, but seeing as how I probably will never encounter her again, why am I bothering? Is my need to find love so pathetic and nagging that I will fling it onto a person no longer in my presence?

What makes matters worse is that this girl has been dating someone for five years. She obviously is in a committed and happy relationship, yet I keep seeing myself with her. Before I even found out, I told myself that I could see myself being with this girl forever.

That last thought is entirely silly and brainless. How would I even know that I love her? What exactly have I done with this girl to cause such a stir to my heart? What if I am entirely mistaken and just filled with lust?

Speaking of that, this girl really is not a drop-dead diva. While she certainly is a pretty girl and I had a strange infatuation with the way her teeth looked, I could not claim she was a perfect ten. What bolsters her beauty for me is how wonderful she is to be around.

I am not unattracted to her, but I was more intrigued and enamored with her personality than anything. Alas, she is not to be mine and I will more than likely never get these thoughts to her. Even if I could, though, would I want to?

As I have been trekking through the Dave Matthews catalog, one song comes to mind. The love song “Sleep to Dream Her” rings truer for me each day. A tale of a man who cannot be with a woman except for in his dreams; that is exactly my current situation.

I would never force her to be with me, though. Even if I will never be able to say I actually did love this girl, I care too much about her to enforce my own stupid wants and needs upon her.

Hopefully I will be able to tell her how I felt one day, looking back. Maybe when we are old and happy with families and responsibilities, I can laugh to her and recount how I fell head over heels for her. Maybe if I improve my voice, I can sing her the Beatles “Julia,” to which she claims her name comes from.

Whatever the case, I just am unable to remove her from my thoughts. She permeates in my mind and I have not made physical contact with her in weeks. If I ever hear that she has left her boyfriend, though, you better believe that I will make every attempt to cease my lack of “contact.,” even if my means coming back home.