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Pete Plays: Big Ol’ Bass 2 (PlayStation)

Post-production notes:

Sometimes you come across a game that winds up being a bit of a surprise. That’s what Big Ol’ Bass 2 was for me. Sure, it can be looked at as just another fishing game– and who plays those, anyway?– but the World Monster Fishing mode in this game makes it stand out, based on cranking the Crazy Quotient (CQ) to 11.

Never mind the made-up fish that Big Ol’ Bass 2 has you catching. Bass that look like American Flags? Perch with peace signs emblazoned on their scales? A Tyrannosaurus Rex? I’m not kidding. All of these– and more– await virtual anglers in this gameplay mode. Then you’ve got this crazy editor/boss that you collect these fish for (and yes, why wouldn’t her name be Jennifer Clam?) and a nutty play-by-play commentary team that sounds like its lines were lifted from other games or completely improvised, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

This episode runs a little long– more than 30 minutes– but it gives you just a glimpse into the Big Ol’ Bass 2 experience.

It’s a pretty cheap game to add to your library; it runs less than $6 on average for a complete copy.

Pete Plays: Ridge Racer (PlayStation)

Post-production notes:

I’m still catching up on cross-posting my videos from April here on the blog, so post-production notes will be brief here.

Ridge Racer was the game that started it all for me, when it came to my love of the PlayStation. It was fast, colorful, and tight. It took me a few weeks to learn to clear all of the Galaxian enemies during the loading screen, and I was still inconsistent in doing so for years after… so it’s pretty neat that I was able to do that on video here.

Honestly, it never bothered me that the game was a pretty short experience. After all, it’s an arcade game. Beating record times and unlocking what’s there to unlock was enough to keep me coming back… plus it’s perfect for limited game time. If I have a few extra minutes, I can pop this in and run a few races before doing whatever else I need to do. It might be a tougher sell if it was new these days, given our expectations of new games and how long they should last… but I don’t hold brevity against this game.

I would go on to buy future Ridge Racer games for years. Ridge Racer Revolution, Rage Racer, R4, Ridge Racer V, and more found their way into my library. Each new game meant new challenges, new rides, and lots of fun. It’s a shame that the series is pretty much on life support now, but it had a great run.

As always, thanks for watching!

Episode 23: URNOT(red)E (1995-2001)

Post-production notes:

As I continue to catch up on posting April’s videos here on the blog, the post-production notes will continue to be brief.

There’s no question that the PlayStation was a big deal to me. From the first time I tried Ridge Racer, I knew that I had to have one– and I continue to enjoy PlayStation games to this day. In fact, I spent a good part of a recent afternoon playing games like NHL Championship 2000 and Big Ol’ Bass 2. Sure, the graphics may not have aged very well in many cases (as compared to what we see today), but that doesn’t mean that the games are any less enjoyable to me.

I could have covered so much more in this video, like the epic year of 1997 that delivered games like Ace Combat 2, Final Fantasy VII, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, PaRappa the Rapper, and more. I could’ve mentioned how the PlayStation introduced me to Tekken, or how I got my space combat game fix with Wing Commander III & IV, the Colony Wars series, and more. I spent a lot of time on the PlayStation, and it even competed for playing time against my Dreamcast in 2000-01.

I’ll probably revisit the PlayStation in a later episode– especially if I get my hands on an actual PlayStation console again (versus playing the games on my PS2, like I do now).

As always, thanks so much for watching.

Episode 14: Signposts

Post-production notes:

Boy, do I miss FuncoLand. I might do an episode on my time in gaming retail in the future, but of the memories that I carry with me from my time there… these games that I mention here are pretty notable.

There were others, too; NFL Blitz and Mortal Kombat 4 (PlayStation versions) were the first games that I had bought when I first started there. I also went on to buy F-Zero X, Rogue Squadron, and Ocarina of Time (all Nintendo 64) during 1998… but I decided to focus on generally lesser-known titles. I added Metal Gear Solid to the mentions because, as I said during the video, I might not have played it or had any interest in it if it hadn’t been for my store manager at the time.

I know that Irritating Stick, South Park, and Star Soldier aren’t the best of games… but their greatness– or lack thereof– isn’t why I have these games in my library. When I play these games, my mind drifts back some 15-16 years. It’s kind of nice, because my life was a lot different then. I was working in my (then-) dream job, surrounded by video games. My personal life was turning around after dark chapters in the death of a close family member and the pain of being cheated on in an intimate relationship that I’d poured everything into. Things were looking up, and these games are my reminders of the upside of life.

My life certainly isn’t bad right now, but I’m much older as I work at getting my degree and finding a career that suits me. It’s a much tougher road to walk when you’re in your 40s than when you’re in your 20s and trying to rebuild.

As my 42nd birthday draws closer (April 22), expect to see a few more episodes that focus on these kinds of relationships between my life and video games. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this episode.

Pete Plays: Bases Loaded ’96 (PlayStation)

Post-production notes:

Bases Loaded ’96 feels a lot like a 16-bit baseball game with an early 32-bit coat of paint. That’s really the best way to describe it; the players are all blocky and polygonal, but the animation is smooth and there’s some neat camera work. The sound is obviously better, in terms of quality, but that organ music WILL drive you nuts. The sound is also lacking versus Konami’s Bottom of the 9th, which was released around the same time. I might do a Pete Plays on that soon. 

This video is a teaser of sorts for the baseball game episode that I’m going to be doing sometime within the next few weeks. I haven’t yet decided the format, or even if I’ll break it down into two episodes (like a Baseball Week), but it’s something that I definitely want to do with Spring Training in full swing and the regular baseball season not too much farther away.

Technically speaking, I’m still tinkering with microphone position off-camera. I know that, when I’m not facing the microphone, my voice kind of dies. The problem is that I run into issues in other positions. Too close to the TV and I get interference. Too close to the laptop and I get fan noise. So… I’ve found a spot that’s to my left… but the TV is to my right, so when I turn to see what the heck I’m doing, my back is to the microphone. Obviously, a stand is probably a good idea. I just have to find one– and then a decent spot to set it up. At least, when I’m facing the microphone, my voice is projecting a lot better.

As always, thanks for watching, everyone. Look for a return to a regular shooting schedule (Tuesday & Thursday episodes) this coming week.

Episode 9: Leveling Up For the First Time

Additional notes:

Yes, Final Fantasy II (SNES, 1991) was my first RPG. It was significant in that it swayed me into playing other RPGs over time and it remains the only RPG that I’ve ever beaten multiple times.

I failed to mention in the video that the original soundtrack (OST) has stuck with me for decades since. There isn’t a single piece of music in the game that I dislike, and I spent time recording as much of the music to cassette tape as I could back in 1991. For battle music, I used to turn ATB off, wait for the music to loop back to the beginning, press RECORD, and let the music play through 2-3 times before stopping– and beginning the battle on-screen for real. For overworld and area music, I would bring up the menu before I started recording; in doing so, random battles were never triggered and I could record without problems. I’ve lost that cassette tape since then, but I’ll always have the memory of putting that tape together.

This will likely be the only Final Fantasy episode that I’ll do, so… if you’re curious, here are my top five Final Fantasy games:

  1. Final Fantasy IV
  2. Final Fantasy VI
  3. Final Fantasy IX
  4. Final Fantasy VII
  5. Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy V would be 6th.

Final Fantasy VI was/is great; I struggle with the last few hours and am not a big fan of party-splitting, but I love the characters, the story, the music, and… yes, that opera scene. It still makes my spine tingle. Final Fantasy IX feels like a throwback of sorts to the 16-bit games, which is what I so desperately wanted after not liking Final Fantasy VIII at all. Final Fantasy VII made me cry when I first played it, plus I like the Materia system and the game world felt so huge when I first experienced it. Final Fantasy X has the ability to switch members of the party in battle, which I really like, plus the game’s visuals are still gorgeous to this day.

The episodes for this coming week are slated to go up on February 4th (Tuesday) and February 6th (Thursday). I’m also considering doing another Pete Plays video this coming week since reaction to the first one was generally positive. The channel hit the 60 subscriber mark and passed 500 total views this past week, and I’m grateful to all of you for watching… and for reading the blog here, as well. For a small, for-fun project like this, I never really had any expectations in terms of subscribers, views, followers, or anything like that. It means a lot to me when even two or three people watch a video or subscribe to the channel… so the numbers that I’m seeing– while certainly not superstar status or anything– make me feel great about the work I’m doing.

As always, thanks for watching… and look for more episodes in the coming days.

Episode 8: GXTV

Additional notes:

The GxTV is a great little TV set. I do mean, little, too– the screen is 13″ at most and it certainly isn’t intended to be the centerpiece of anyone’s living room. Still… as a personal gaming TV– especially for owners of pre-HD consoles, it’s a great find and I think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how cool it really is.

The sound is definitely the most prominent feature of the GxTV. This thing is LOUD… if you want it to be. While the video gives you some sense of this, it doesn’t quite match the sensation of being in the same room and hearing it. I used Medal of Honor for the explosions and music, but Star Wars games sound fantastic, too. Also, if you play CDs (remember those) on a system that uses them (SEGA CD, PlayStation, PS2, etc.), the sound quality is fantastic. In the video, I mentioned the GxTV’s ability to take mono signals and give them simulated stereo sound. It makes NES games sound a bit more full, which is nice. This also works well for first-model SEGA Genesis systems.

This set has given me more than 10,000 hours of service since I bought it. That said, be aware if you’re looking into getting one that some sets may have a bit of color bleed and others may give you problems with reading some smaller text. It’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but if image quality is a major concern to you, it’s something to keep in mind. Also be sure to check the A/V inputs and coaxial input before buying to make sure that they function properly.

If you have any questions about GxTV sets, feel free to leave them in the comments or on the YouTube video itself. I’ll do my best to answer them.

Thanks again for watching!

Episode 5: 1st and 30

In this episode, I continue my look back at Midway’s arcade sports game dynasty with a breakdown of the NFL Blitz series.

The timing is perfect, leading up to the NFL Conference Championship games this weekend. Also, you’ll notice that I’m sporting my PlayStation 2-branded football jersey in this episode. I thought about breaking out one of my NFL jerseys, but this pick made more sense.

I’m taking the weekend off, but will be back next week to wrap up my Midway Sports mini-series and move on to other topics. In the meantime, thanks to all of you for watching the episodes and subscribing to the YouTube channel. 200 views and 30 subscribers in the first 10 days is a start that’s far better than I ever imagined for what’s a fun project for me. It means a lot that so many of you watch and like it.

Episode 2: Demo You Know

Episode 2 covers demo discs. Remember those? I sure do.

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