Monday, January 24, 2011


Before I post any additional content on The Video Game Tome I feel the need to shed some light on the gamer I am.


My earliest and foggiest memories of video games are of my father and older sisters playing "Super Mario. Bros." on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). That and "Duck Hunt." I was quite young then (six maybe?) and did not play, only watched. (Say, this brings to mind an intriguing phenomenon: video games that we just watch and do not even play. Sounds like it deserves its own post to me.) I am sure I would have liked to, but the three of them were always using it. Compare those simpler times with today when I am the only gamer represented in my family.

Not long after, I began gaming on our family's Macintosh. "Super Munchers" and "Glider" were epics that I never tired of. At some point we acquired several CD-ROMs, each with a game and demos. "7th Guest," "Dragon's Lair," and others that I cannot recall the names of. (One was a point-and-click adventure... medieval-themed... I remember ants... and a woman turning into a tree... anyone? Another one took place in the future. You lived in an apartment building within this city that was built inside of a gigantic dome. I remember walking down a corridor in first-person, buzzing people's doors and then hearing their voice through an intercom system. The demo had a cliffhanger ending when some large robot appeared near the elevator and threatened my life.) (Update: I believe the first game I was describing is one of the "King's Quest"s.) I would love to rediscover some of those games. They hold part of my childhood. I'm pretty certain among the CDs was a demo for "Marathon." It was terrifying and quite difficult. I had no way of knowing then, but the developers behind that game would go on to make one of my favorite series of all-time: "Halo."

One Christmas (my eleventh perhaps?) I unwrapped a Nintendo 64. Finally, I was officially the proud owner of a home console! That present and later purchasing "The Sims" for my PC are two of the biggest events on my gamer timeline.


In my life I have personally owned the following gaming systems and devices:

Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
Sega Genesis 3
Game Boy Color
Game Boy Advance
Nintendo DS
Xbox 360
Nintendo DSi

*I include the iPhone because I feel it has made a significant splash in gamedom. The sheer volume and quality of games thereon is impressive. Even though my previous cell phone, iPod, and other PDAs have some games on them they are not making the list. Not until the iPhone have I actually considered such a device a gaming system.


You will notice I have never owned a Sony system. Allow me to tell you of an event that might reveal why. I vividly remember the great day my mother took me to Target. I was going to get my first "next generation console." (This is a trite phrase because every new phase in the ever-developing technology of consoles is heralded as the "next generation." We are current in the seventh generation of consoles with Xbox 360, PlayStaion 3, and the Wii.) This was in the dawn of the sixth generation, when the arms race was between Sony's PlayStation 2, Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox (SEGA's Dreamcast actually started the sixth generation but quickly fell out of the race. If anything in the history of things was "before its time," it was the Dreamcast). Not long before that day I had played "Halo: combat Evolved" for the first time. It was the most amazing game I had ever played. The most beautiful graphics I had ever beheld. I was quite certain I would be purchasing the only system that offered it. These were times when rumors ran high. I even asked the clerk if the Xbox could play PC games (a ridiculous claim that I had heard somewhere). In the end, it did not matter that it indeed did not. I was sure I wanted the Xbox.

Naturally, I became a Microsoft fanboy. Sony was the sworn archenemy and we could never be friends. (In my mind Nintendo is the middle-ground that both sides get to enjoy. After all, it is such fun!) The Xbox was clearly "better" than anything else anyway! I felt I had won. I used to readily declare my dislike for PlayStation. In truth and in hindsight (two elements that often disclose where we were wrong), there was no reason for this. I have hardly spent any time with any PlayStation. Now, the only reason I do not own one is due to limitations of time and money. Someday I hope to catch up with entries I have missed out on ("Kingdom Hearts," "Shadow of the Colossus" and "Heavy Rain" come immediately to mind.) The power of the console ultimately does not determine how good the games will be. In a great ironic bout of poetic justice, the current generation of consoles put the shoe on the other foot: the PS3 is technologically superior to the 360.


Here I am now in 2011. I often use my Xbox 360 (huge fan of Xbox Live Arcade), occasionally play something simple on my Mac (Humble Indie Bundles? Check.), sometimes pick up my DSi (mainly for something Mario-related) and when I have none of the above with me I can just bust out my iPhone (many possibilities there). Oh, and I still have that beloved N64 I got over a decade ago (see picture above).

In my previous post I listed several reasons why I am passionate about gaming (entertainment, art, escape, social, therapy). Each one of these rationale deserve an entire post to make the point. I plan to write on that at sometime. Until then, I hope this gives you an idea where I am coming from.

-J.S. Lewis

Updated on 7/8/11

Monday, January 17, 2011


I have been craving an outlet for my voice on video games for some time. I already have The Film Tome where I can geek out on all things related to movies. I occasionally have a segment on AllMoPs entitled "Gamerain" where I highlight some choice video games (usually in terms of a review or a bit of news). Recently, I have become an officer (my official title being Online Steward) in a new club within BYU called VGAME. We have a blog for the club and part of my duties requires me to post thereon. Thus, one might find some overlap between what I post there and what I post here. However, there will be many-a-post exclusive to The Video Game Tome (mainly those including lengthy analyses, which may or may not be ripe for VGAME's purposes). Enough disclaim.

I am a definite gamer and quite passionate about the practice, not only as an excellent source of entertainment, but as an art form, a means of escape, an engaging social experience, and a therapeutic power. It is due to this love (which sometimes manifests itself as an obsession) for video games that I feel the call to start this blog, another tome.

I realize that I have four other blogs to my name and it would be wise to consider downsizing instead of starting yet another. Truth is, I am already not updating those near as much as I want to (though I have been posting a poem every day this month on euphrates). There is a lot to consider here, but all in all, who cares? I want to write more, so if that desire is strong enough, it will happen.

You can expect news, previews, reviews, and studies of video games here. I have a lot I want to say about these controversial marvels, it will be interesting for me to see if I can take the time to do it.