2001 marked the end of my high school career, and the beginnings of my college days. My senior year had its fair share of tribulations – I spent my last significant time with Chad and Trent, lost both of them and Chris to drug addiction, crushed on, deliberated and eventually got the courage to ask my first girl out proper (and was declined), continued to avoid W. and his abuses, and had to take SAT tests. Bleh. On the flip side, my friendship with Anthony continued to grow, the drama program was awesome as hell (save one incident with a smart-aleck who was the son of the instructor who punched my testicles in some sort of dominance challenge – I stared at him, went to the teacher and reported the incident, and watched the torrent. He never messed with me again), and I got a lot of kicks out of multimedia. I began hanging out with a lot of young women this year – for some reason I felt that I got along with them better. I have emotional understanding, significant amounts of it for a male apparently, and was able to listen to their problems and do my best to provide them with solutions, which helped my friends out a great deal, I hope. I’ve continued to be more inclined to get along with women over most men to this day, although there are exceptions. In short, despite a few setbacks and the loss of some of the dearest friends I had, I managed to have a solid cap to being a high schooler. I wouldn’t EVER go back, though – I say fuck reunions. :p
College was a shock in many ways. I grew up in a rural area which, I hate to say it, but I have to, was mostly white. I went to college in a larger city and was flabbergasted at the cultural diversity. It took some time to get over the culture shock, and I’m so glad I did. It took a bit to get used to the changes in the schooling, too – I began with 17 units, mostly drama classes with a smattering of English and a Japanese writing course (which was difficult), and used the bus to get me to school and back. I began learning how to drive at this point (late bloomer!), but it would be a year and a half before I felt comfortable enough to get myself to school via car. I met some cool people on the bus who would become good friends I miss these days – Seth in particular was a joy to chat with. Seth was a brilliant guy, especially at math, who aced everything he took (save one class, but the teacher was a douche and never gave A’s) and happened to be a huge Nintendo nut like me. We spent a fair amount of time playing Smash Bros. Melee (woot) and Capcom Vs. SNK 2 (woot x 2), and Seth was responsible for landing me a Super NES! So I have fond memories of hanging out with him, although we’ve lost touch today. I also made many drama compadres during my tenure with that program, although, thanks to the death of Myspace as a social network and my hatred of Facebook, I haven’t talked to many of them lately. No offense meant! Drama was good fun, and many of the people were in multiple classes, so I had a great chance to bond with many of them. However, I realized that I didn’t want to pursue that as a career a few years later, and changed my major to English after I had nailed the Drama one down pat. I just didn’t want to be an actor – the fame and publicity didn’t appeal to me. But I do love the stage and all of its aspects, and have a passion for live theater that gets fulfilled all too rarely.
I’ll save my other college thoughts for the next few posts of this, or I’ll have nothing to write about. XD
Anyway! I acquired another new system this year – the Gamecube! I bought Smash Bros. Melee before I had the system in my hands (which I got for Christmas if my memory is correct as a deal with my parents). This game buying before system owning quirk was a bit of a tradition that I wanted to continue but fell out of after this (shrug). I had a black one, and I had a lot of great memories with it – you’ll notice Skies of Arcadia Legends, Resident Evil 4, Beyond Good & Evil, Tales of Symphonia, Metroid Prime and Zelda: Twilight Princess in my Top 30. It felt nice to have another current-gen system, what with the Dreamcast suffering a premature death and the N64 wheezing its final breath. I had a Game Boy Player for it, which was a nice if somewhat unneeded addition to my console, seeing as I had a Game Boy Advance, but playing GBA games on the TV was a pleasant novelty. I also had all 4 controllers, although I’m down to three now (one broke, I think…the C sticks kind of wear out after a bit). It’s the first console I wore out – the disc drive began to be unresponsive, so I dumped the thing once I had a Wii. It’s the only console I don’t still own after all this time (alas, my personal Dreamcast died in 2010, but I had a spare, thank god).
This transition period is reflected in my candidates for the best game of 2001 – one N64 game, one ‘Cube, one Dreamcast, and one PS2 game. Weird how that works.
But before we get to that, there’s two other topics I wish to briefly cover. First off, my art began to evolve more toward its current form in 2001 in college. I had up to that point relied on using circles to illustrate my character’s heads, which was something I wanted to get out of my system and make my characters look more human, so I began that here, and have been refining that for the last 10 years. Secondly, and quite importantly to this site, I began Wildcat Online on August 6th, 2001! I got a computer after a visit to my grandparents in Utah, and quickly immersed myself into the internet world I had been dabbling in with full haste. My initial site and its long history are fully detailed out here, if you care to read more. And man, I can’t believe it’s going to be 10 years this August. O_O
Paper Mario (N64, Nintendo/Intelligent Systems)
Taking the timing elements in battle from Square’s earlier Mario RPG outing, Intelligent Systems reinvented the concept with a unique graphical style and a more defined battle engine that pushed the action command aspect into the forefront. A great beginning.
Super Smash Bros. Melee (GC, Nintendo/HAL Labs)
Building on the core from the N64 original came Melee, the game that launched Super Smash Bros. as a major Nintendo franchise and a system seller. With more characters, stages, items, and moves, plus several new additions like the Trophy Mode and several new solo excursions, some still feel that this is the high point of the franchise.
Project Justice (DC, Capcom)
Capcom’s swan song for the Dreamcast is a fitting one, as it ended up being one of the best fighters on a system full of stand-outs. Crazy-awesome characters, a versatile team system and a solid combat engine made Project Justice a joyous brawler.
In my opinion, the best game of 2001 was…
To be redecided!
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
Capcom vs. SNK 2
Devil May Cry (video game)
Grand Theft Auto III
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages
Maximo: Ghosts to Glory
Silent Hill 2
Sonic Adventure 2
Super Dodge Ball Advance
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
Wave Race: Blue Storm
Back to 2000 – Forward to 2002