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10 Video Games DUís Bert Ehrmann might like
By Karl Seton Schafer
Fort Wayne Reader
This article is a tribute to my friend and fellow FWR columnist, Bert Ehrmann.
I've known Bert Ehrmann for almost four years now. I've followed his blog, DangerousUniverse.com, for as long as I've know him (and Bert was blogging long before they were even called "blogs"). We've had many discussions about movies, TV, comics and everything in between. I've also read EVERY one of his columns in FWR. So whereas I don't always agree with Bert, I feel I can guess with at least 75% accuracy what he will or won't like. To put that into perspective, I can only guess with about 25% accuracy what my wife will like at any moment.
What astounds me about Bert, though, is that with all his love for movies, science fiction, comics, etc., he's not a gamer. Most people who love those things are gamers; games offer an opportunity to interact in stories that we love. And yet Bert doesn't play them at all.
So I am taking this opportunity to plead with Bert to give video games a real try. I've compiled a list of games that should be on anyoneís top games list, and I truly believe they could persuade Bert to take interest in video games.
I base this list on a few things I know about Bert: One, he is meticulous and loves a good story. Each of these games have elevated the (relatively new) art of interactive storytelling and character development. Two, besides being a good writer, Bert is also a gifted artist. Each of these titles has art direction that is way above the current par. Three, Bert is clever. Whereas some of these games are action-oriented, each is based on gameplay that relies on your wits, not your ability to press buttons fast.
Here we go...
1. Metroid Prime (Gamecube) - One of the seminal exclusive titles for the Gamecube, Metroid is probably as close as one could get to experiencing Bertís favorite movie, Starship Troopers. The graphics are superb and the story unfolds slowly as you explore the vast planet of Tallon IV. Combine this with complex puzzles, tense action sequences, and video gameís greatest heroine, and there's no question Bert would enjoy it!
2. God of War (PS2) - It's hard to write about God of War without gushing. Of all the titles on the list, I believe this is the only title where the creators truly created something new. Bert will love the art direction and its sense of realism. There's a level that takes place in hell with the souls of the dead raining into pits of fire that I believe he will particularly enjoy.
3. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (PS2) - One thing I've always loved about the Ratchet & Clank series is the developer's ability to humanize a fox-like alien (Ratchet) and robot (Clank). Bert will like this one for its quirky story and clever humor. It's a video game comic book that doesn't take itself seriously. Plus, it's easily the most fun on this list.
4. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II (PS2/XBOX/Gamecube) - I'm actually not sure is Bert likes the fantasy genre, but even if he doesn't, this action-RPG is awesome. It's big, it's all hack-and-slash, and the best way to spend a Saturday evening at home if SNL is a re-run.
5. Doom 3 (PC/XBOX) - I think Bert will appreciate the palpable sense of genuine horror of Doom 3. This is actually a scary game that takes place on a Mars outpost. With a complete set of cool looking alien baddies to battle and an action-oriented story, this one is sure to pleaseÖ as long as you don't look for great character development. You play that character in every horror movie that knows there's a monster around the corner, yet walks around the corner anyway.
6. Beyond Good & Evil (PS2/XBOX/Gamecube) - This game was a critical success and a sales flop. Sometimes, that is where you find the best stuff. And sure enough, Beyond Good & Evil is amazing! Bert will like it because youíre not playing a bulky hero, but a heroine with a talent for taking pictures. Your job in this game is to use your camera to fight evil. Of course, you're also armed with a staff and some amazing abilities, but you primarily use your camera. This game is recognized as one of this generationís few titles to successfully tell a real story.
7. Halo 2 (XBOX) - This is pure science fiction. It's all action in a wonderfully realized alien world. No one I know doesn't like Halo or Halo 2. I'm positive Bert would love them too; itís unadulterated fun ripe with laser guns, grunting aliens, space ships and interesting planets with puddles of "goo" inexplicably covering the terrain. The Halo series is also another one of those titles reminiscent of Starship Troopers.
8. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (XBOX) - Probably the only deep and unique story in the Star Wars universe that wasn't created by Jim Lucas. Or is it George? I can never remember. Anyway... Bert will like this for the story, but more importantly, if you play through the game you start to get a sense that this universe is real. Hardly any game can do that, and if there's one universe you wish was real, it's Star Wars.
9. Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube/PS2) - Bert loves this movie starring Val Kilmer called Spartan, about a President's daughter who is kidnapped. Where I didn't like the movie (even a little), RE4 follows a similar storyline concerning an abducted President's daughter. Throw in some zombies and amazing graphics, and Bert will be in nerd heaven.
10. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (PS2/XBOX/Gamecube) - Set in the time of Ali-Baba, you play a young prince trying to restore a broken timepiece. This game was a breakthrough because of the easy-to-control acrobatic abilities of the Prince. Bert will enjoy this because it's a fun game set in a stylized world with great characters. It's also the only game on my list with a unique setting that isn't science fiction. 'nuff said!
Come on Bert, play these game and your training is complete. Come to the dark side...