Saturday, June 4, 2011



As I revealed a year ago over at The Film Tome, "I love lists. I love looking at ones others have constructed. I love compiling them myself. I love the resonance they evoke (their accessibility in terms of remembrance). Lists, especially ones with a ranked order (an onerous characteristic I will strive to employ) speak volumes. A list is a bold statement. A list claims consideration. A list works."

I am not as widely-played in games as I am widely-beheld in film. I am much more qualified to assemble cinema-related lists. Still, I would like to make some lists of my own here at The Video Game Tome, especially "Best of" types so that I can praise the titles I hold in high esteem. Again, as I said in my recent "Tomekeeping" post, should I ever want to write anything game-related (including any list) I have this blog at my disposal. Besides lists of my own that I might post here, in the meantime there are lists of others to consider. Plentiful video game websites and blogs are out there, some feature peculiar lists on a near daily basis. Besides providing a link to where the list originates, I will take advantage of the plug to provide a bit of commentary. 

I am a huge fan a giving credit where credit is due. Plagiarism is one of the most vile and deplorable practices under the sun. (Boys and girls, you do not even want to know what kind of crap goes down above the sun...) I have developed a nature of acknowledging the work of others. They deserve it, and whenever we hammer something out, we deserve it. Those who take the creations of others and claim it as their own are a cursed people. Whenever I share a list here that was made by another, I will label it with "Lists of Others:".

Another bounty of lists are the reactions they elicit. Some who find their results will be pleasantly pleased while others will be promptly pissed. It is great! Such passion is what makes it fun and fascinating. Of course, at the end of the day, I hope we can all go home learned and genial. We should strive to avoid serious contention and exert ourselves to understanding. Each is entitled to their opinion, though if they really wish to make a point out of it, they best be able and willing to provide an explanation.

Now that I have established the groundwork for lists in The Video Game Tome, how about I recommend one "Lists of Others:" for you?


Last month, Sal Basile of UGO posted a list of "Video Game Forests You Shouldn't Go Camping In." As you now know, lists bring me bliss. As you might not know, level design is one my favorites aspects in video games. Thus, I thought this was particularly rad.

Forests have always been an alluring locale to me. Several of my favorite films, books, and games have passages that take place within them. As a fiction writer, I have savored including them in my stories: Mystical places to fill with whatever your imagination conjures. Forests are nature's apartment complexes: Roofed enclosures that you can only really know what resides inside if you venture through each room. The earth is the floor, trunks of trees are the walls, and their leafy branches make the roofs. And that is just the architecture. Most often than not, it is what dwells in the forests that makes them a hazardous place to roam (as the twenty forests listed surely teach us).

As you look through Sal's list, memories are sure to be brought back while other games will stick out as experiences you've yet to have, but yearn to. For example, the gorgeous screenshot for "FarCry 2" (making the list for its African Savannah) reminded me how much I need to get my hands on that revolutionary game. (Tom Bissell certainly helped advertise its worth in his masterpiece of memoirs, "Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter.") Though, I won't be playing that until I have first trudged through its predecessor.

Obviously, I beamed at their inclusion of Tall Trees from "Red Dead Redemption." (I say "obviously" because that game has become one of my favorite works of all-time.) I have gotten the iconic "DEAD" many-a-time from stomping around those grounds. Though, it should be known to young and old that just last night I went in there on my covered wagon (well, it became mine after I disposed of its original owners) for the sole purpose of hunting the horrors that gave it a place on this list: bears. I was there to meet the requirements for another rank in Master Hunter. The challenge was to kill 5 bears, one kill of which had to be done with the melee knife.  I came, I saw, I knifed. (Unfortunately, this was in Free Roam where skinning animals is not option. If they did take the game as deep and detailed as the single player experience is, it would near-well-be on the verge of becoming an MMORPG.)

Their number one is an absolutely inspired choice and when you see it, chances are you will say, "Oh my gosh, yes!" (That's what I did.) I will not spoil the surprise, you will have to head to UGO (via the link above) to check it out. The least I can do is send a little bit of intergalactic traffic their way.

So, fellow gamers, if you ever find yourself in one of these twenty tree-filled and undergrowth-ridden locales (the definition for a forest, right?), you have two options:
A) Shoot like hell
B) Run like hell

What do you think of Sal's list? Any egregious omissions? Any falsely advertised forests? 

I remember well the Old Forest sequence from the video game adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (a chapter from Tolkien's book that made it into the game but not into the film) wherein Merry and Pippin are consumed by Old Man Willow. It certainly would not be my first choice to set up camp.

Please feel free to add your voice to the conversation by commenting below. Thank you and happy trails!

Updated 6.5.2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011



A few weeks ago I wrote a post entitled "Tomekeeping" for The Film Tome: "Y'know, like housekeeping, but on a Tome's behalf." Well, how about I take the same name/term and give a different meaning: The act of continuing a tome once thought retired.

Ah, yes... return of the "book dust blow." This is a literal depiction of blowing the dust off a tome, an act I will now perform in a different way by bringing back The Video Game Tome.


Back in March, in an effort to de-clutter my life, I sent out a message regarding AllMoPs. I announced I would be ceasing my weekly "All Manner of Plugs" emails and that I would be deleting some of my blogs (i.e. this one and AllMoPs). And so, The Video Game Tome nearly became a tomb. I remember actually deleting it, but good ole' Blogspot gives you the option to reclaim it during a grace period of a month or so. Soon after I chose to reclaim it. You see, I realized that just keeping the blogs was not going to hurt. What if I had an urge to write about gaming and I did not have specialized place for those words? Sure, I could write it elsewhere, but it would be nice to have a place entirely devoted to video games. Besides, I already have a few previous posts that have built somewhat of a foundation for the gamer I am. It is much like whether or not you have a gun when spelunking creepy chasms: You would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. A similar case could be said for someone who has a vigor for writing and an inquisitiveness for video games.

I will have thoughts, opinions, philosophies, critiques, and analyses regarding the wide, wide world of games. Specifically, I will share about the select games I actually choose to spend time with from that insurmountable amount. Having said that, here should certainly be time and effort spent on behalf of the concept and culture of games themselves.

Without further ado: The Video Game Tome, officially kept. Well, it was already here before now. It will be here when I need it and I invite you to visit along the way.

Why the screenshot from "Super Mario Bros."? I wondered that too... Then I found answers: The sky is blue with a cloud or two, an invitation to come out and play. It is World 1-1, though we have already come a little ways and garnered some points. But oh, there is much more to be had! There is still time. (Yes, there be meanings here. Find one and then another. Life is beautiful.) Cue that music we know and love.

Game on. Live on.