The New Gamer 2003 Gaming Retrospective

January 30, 2004 By Glenn Turner
We won't forget you Joe!

Well, the first new year for The New Gamer brings back old and new contributors for this collective recollection of 2003 gaming memories! Follow along with us through bitter tirades and drunken gushing as we ask our humble staff & contributors about gaming in 2003!

What was your favorite gaming memory of 2003?

attercob: Rediscovering the overlooked PC FPS 'Clive Barker's Undying' from a few years back, which still provides atmosphere in spades, not to mention genuine spookiness despite its dated engine and utter lack of commercial success. Sad that i don't have a current game to rave about, but that's the way things are...

Dark Schneider: LAN party, plenty of beer, good friends, and Tron 2.0. That game revolutionizes the LAN party experience.

peccaui: Beating Viewtiful Joe on Kids Mode - the final boss and the ridiculousness of the ending proved to be so much fun that I couldn't stop laughing at how fantasticly fun the game was. Immediately after finishing I started right into Adult Mode and played it, mesmerized, up until Fire Leo.

Rutilcaper: When I was a young boy growing up in a cabin in West Virginia I owned a pair of Pink Panther feetie pajamas. Now, sources aren't are reliable as I'd like them to be but I would imagine that I, as all young children are, was a bit incontinent. This year the frights were as few and far between as they usually are, but Silent Hill 3 brought sparks into my heart that nobody else could, not even Orion's mother, and that's a tough act to beat! While I still don't understand how a town in 2016 gets by mainly with typewriters and not computers, it's probably not my place to ask. With nothing but a chicken caesar hoagie and a giant icee to keep me safe and secure (Okay, my buddy was there. But he screamed at the bathtub scene in Eternal Darkness) I trudged through the town of Silent Hill yet again in just one day. Anime voice actresses singing video game opening themes? Keep 'em coming!

The Tick: Attending E3 for the first time isn't just my favorite gaming memory of 2003, but also one of my favorite gaming memories of all time. The first day is still a blur, being surrounded by that many new games, 30 foot tall video screens, people in costumes (I met the REAL Megaman), and who can forget the introduction of the N-Gage! Hell, even the gaming ghetto that is Kentia Hall was great.

unitdaisy: Hmmm, I have two, playing through the weapons level (is that what it was called?) in Soul Calibur II with peccaui switching the controller back and forth between us. Some of the battles were really inane, but just the excitement of sharing and discovering a new eagerly awaited game together made it fun. Also watching the opening of Prince of Persia - it seemed so full of promise, beautiful art work and potential for a great story line...

What was your most unpleasant gaming memory of 2003?

attercob: Getting Runaway's Fast-Tracker-2-quality theme etched in my memory for days at a time.

Dark Schneider: Metal Arms for the Gamecube. My blind grandmother had more direction.

Fun for some, Soul Calibur 1 is more fun for others.

peccaui: I'm with unitdaisy on this one and will go a bit further - playing Return of the King on co-op before going through the single player campaign was horrendously frustrating, especially since that's practically why we bought the game in the first place. Did you have to play through Golden Axe on single player for each character before you could play on co-op? Hell no. There were many a time where I uttered a phrase I never thought I'd hear in relation to gaming with Unitdaisy: 'Well, you can keep playing by yourself - I'm through.'

Rutilcaper: I think it was the movie Blade 2 that taught me how a sequel could ruin a promising franchise, but it was Devil May Cry 2 that refined the idea of ruining what could've been the most perfect game on the planet. From it's totally lack of story to its stunningly ridiculous athletic moves that don't actually DO ANYTHING, Devil May Cry 2 sat me down and made be cry like a baby for the three straight days I played it. Never before have I returned a game just because I didn't like it, but I guess there's a first time for everything. It was like Capcom held me down while my mother urinated in my eyes. If Hideaki Itsuno cut off my arm and fed me pieces of my own flesh while whipping me with chains I honestly feel like I would've been less offended by this game and its obscene marketing tie-ins. A woman who turns into a flying chicken? Why not!

The Tick: Paying money for Enter the Matrix. Even worse, its notorious, so I can't even get a good amount of cash for it used! Oh well, I own the original ET for the 2600, and now I own its modern day equivelent as well.

unitdaisy: Most certainly that auto scrolling level in Return of the King where if you didn't keep your control stick jammed to the right and barrel full speed along every cliff and around every corner you would automatically die - bleh.

What were you most surprised by in 2003?

attercob: A number of fledgling US Distributors took a chance on out-of-fashion Euro adventure games and actually had a go a US distribution.

Dark Schneider: Console hardware prices/deals. I can't stop buying things, because it's either cheap now, or I can get something free with it.

If only it were this stylish and captivating.

peccaui: That a Star Wars game came out that I actually wanted to play. Yes, I'm looking at you Knights of the Old Republic.

Rutilcaper: Douglas, Douglas. He's not a true blue private eye. He wakes up early and smells of the sea, because he sells fish on the sly.

The Tick: That Nintendo doesn't know who I am! (See this years advertising campaign) I'd really hope that after almost 20 years of selling us video games, they would at least have that figured out. So here's a tip big N: I am a gamer and I want games - and not just retro NES game characters. Hopefully, next year I can say that I was most surprised at how cool all 50 of my Nintendo games were.

unitdaisy: That the Gamecube is now the same price as a Gameboy SP and people are still slow to pick it up, yeah sales are better, but at $99 everyone should own at lest two; I have one in every room.

What were you disappointed by most in 2003?

attercob: No Full Throttle 2. ever. Dammit.

Dark Schneider: Hype. Hype over this game, hype over that controversy, hype over this hype over that controversy over this game. Makes me want to stop caring.

peccaui: P.N. 03. Even though Rutilcaper had warned me, I went right ahead and played it - dreaming of a game that would take the savvy character of Space Channel 5 and merge it with some nimble action. What I got was a dull, clunky and uninspired grey husk of a game, and I realized that exactly when going from plain corridor to plain corridor after entering some outpost thing after corresponding with some sleaze vbag. It's been a little while, but I think he was my pimp. Either way, I died in those corridors five minutes later and felt nothing but disappointment. Such potential in those movies and screenshots - wasted. And then I sent it back to Gamefly and that's how I got to where I am today.

Rutilcaper: There are a few things I hate in this world. In descending orders they are: Zombies, Robots, Dinosaurs, and Mutants. My prefer killing fields are as follows: Decrepit Town, Space, the sub-Saharan area. Somehow a game managed
to combine ALL of these things and still managed to be totally unplayable due to horrible camera angles, poor controls, and really did show to us that it's possible to have a total lack of understanding of how the mechanics of a game, ANY GAME, should work. It is my contention that Dino Crisis 3 is the only game in the universe (known or unknown) that involves zombie mutant ninja laser dinosaurs (in space!) and STILL can't pull an interesting moment out of its hat to save its life. This ties in nicely to my theory that Dino Crisis games are only good on the even numbers, but it doesn't really help me when I have a hankering for wasting some evil Velociraptors.

Attercob likes his 'Girls-Gone-Wild' zombies.

The Tick: This year I was most disappointed by Soul Calibur 2. What I wanted was the same experience that I had six years ago when I spent weekends playing Soul Calibur on the DC. Unfortunetly, Namco listened and gave me EXACTLY what I wanted... the same experience that I had six years ago. Where was the innovation that was there when SC came out?

unitdaisy: No new Monkey Island game was released. Can I get a sequel to Grim Fandango? Hello? Anyone listening?

What one game did you play in 2003 that you think everyone should pick up?

Dark Schneider: Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, hands down. If you don't own it, buy it. If you won't buy it, die.

peccaui: Viewtiful Joe, if for no other reason to either be introduced to the brilliant feeling of old-school 2D platform gaming for those that started gaming on the PSOne, to be re-introduced if you're old school or to just play some of the best time-based gameplay yet. To me, Viewtiful Joe represents respect for the old blended with a brilliant injection of creativity - yes, games can be hard and fun just like the old days. Oh, and yes time-based controls don't have to be clunky like Max Payne or Enter the Matrix.


The Tick: Viewtiful Joe! No second thoughts. Best 50 bucks for a game in all of 2003 by far. It took one of 2003's biggest gaming pitfalls, cell-shading, and ran with it, making a beautiful game. But oh no, they did more -- they made the game extremely fun. No doubt, Viewtiful Joe makes the purchase of a GameCube worthwhile. And neccessary.

unitdaisy: Soul Calibur II. It may not be the overall best game in the entire universe, but I still believe Soul Calibur is the most enjoyable fighting franchise out there, games you can play over and over with friends who are experienced gamers and friends who are no gamers at all. And everything is so beautiful, ah, so beautiful...

Hey, that ellipses tells me that we've hit our character limit - but you haven't! Tell us your favorite or otherwise gaming moments of 2003, if you feel so bold. If you feel so bold!

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