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Finding the PS2...

A Post-Christmas Column by Two ESCapers
January 3, 2001

(Editor's note: In December of 2000, one red-clad jolly old elf disappeared in the woods near Dallas, Texas, while delivering presents. Two weeks later, this note was found clutched in an empty red mitten...)


Dear Santa,

I wasn’t sure I’d be writing to you ever again. I mean, what with all the Y2K hoopla, I imagined this Christmas to be a hellish frightscape of mutants and zombies, with Erich, Matt, John, Nelson and Garret bravely defending the doors at our barricaded ESCmag Tower while Toby warms up the chopper and I rev the chainsaw now attached to my arm…

Is it wrong that that sounds fun?

Anyhoo, Y2K was a big ol’ bust, but the year sure rocked. We got back on track with the site, adding console reviews and discussion boards. I am deeply grateful to all of our contributors and their willingness to sacrifice their lives while I escape the zombies.

Damn, got off track again. Without further ado, what I’d like in 2001, in no real order:

1. More Excellent Shooters. Deus Ex showed that the System Shock games, which combined story with action, were not an anomaly. Gamers love that stuff, and I especially love little scripted moments that immerse you in this brave new world.

2. Discussion, Discussion, Discussion. We’ve added great new forums, from PC, Mac and console games to real-life issues. Go, be fruitful and multiply and all of that. Registration is free, and I promise we won’t use the profiles to spam you or anything.

3. A Superhero Strategy Game. Dammit, one of these years, someone’s gonna listen and finish work on Guardians: Agents of Justice. Or at least create a whole new game. The success of the "X-Men" movie shows that the public can embrace comic-book heroes. Let’s strike while the iron is hot!

4. Less John Romero, More Warren Spector. Who knew that ION Storm’s triumph would be not the overhyped Daikatana but the far superior Deus Ex? At least one good thing came out of Austin this year. (And if you don’t get that, for Heaven’s sake, open a newspaper.)

Gotta go, Santa. The zombies are breaking through the front door.

-- Andy Grieser


'Tis the season to be jolly and thankful for all of the great gifts we have received over the past year. This year we were blessed with the release of some of the greatest games ever to grace a PC or console. The year 2000 held the releases of Diablo II, Shenmue, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and the Playstation 2.

Over the past year, I have been able to reflect upon some of the pros and cons in the gaming industry. Utilizing my position as a senior reviewer here at ESC Magazine, I have been able to experience some great games, and others I would like to forget. We all have fun playing games, and we enjoy them very much; why else would we be in this field? Playing a video game is like getting a new toy every day of your life. In a virtual world, something new happens every day, and events have no real effect on real life. Why would you want to expose yourself to the real world with all of the problems experienced within? In a virtual world, seated safely at home, you can explore the ruins of the pyramids, converse with lost legends or relive moments in your life with a simple push of the reset button. For having this opportunity over the last year at ESC I am extremely grateful. Toby Davis and Andy Grieser made an impact in my life when they hired me, basically off of the street (my site has just closed after many problems). Yet, this is all in the past. So Santa, I thank you for my gifts of yester-year. Here is what I want to see next year:

1. No Good Games Released Until March. Face it; this past holiday season has done a number on your wallet. Either you bought up all of the great games as they came out, or you are waiting till that faithful morning of unwrapping to get your gaming fix. Every system has great games come out in the last three months, and the Dreamcast has had phenomenal title after phenomenal title for the past six. I need time to recover, play the games I have, and save up more money. For the love of Mario, have mercy!

2. A New GameCube in My Hands by This Time Next Year. I want to see a new Nintendo system in my entertainment center next year. I want to be playing the newest Mario game, or be surfing on the waves in the "next-generation" Wave Race. I want to see Nintendo blow Sony’s sales numbers right back at them, and show the world that the King is back.

3. More Video Game Novels. I have just finished up the fifth book in the amazing Resident Evil series by S.D. Perry. She is an amazing writer and brought my favorite series of games to life. I can’t wait to see what she does for Code: Veronica and the original stories that she is writing in the series. Still, there are games out there that could be turned into awesome books or a series of books. People could write stories on Half-Life, Diablo I/II, StarCraft and even have some fun with short stories on The Sims. I have a project based in the Hexen universe that I’m working on at the moment.

4. Classic Series Revitalized and Reinvented. Many classic games are being given updates, yet the gameplay remains unchanged. Centipede, Q*Bert, Missile Command, anyone? Some companies are making great new products using old licenses like Duke Nukem: Forever. I want to see some other classic series return. I want a new Shadow Warrior game. I want a new Blood game.

5. Return to Castle Wolfenstein Done Right. I still can’t believe I am hearing the words cyborgs and zombies with the word Wolfenstein. I mean, it’s all about shooting up the "human" bad guys. Who doesn’t want to have some WWII Nazi undermining fun?

There are many more things that I could want for the next year in gaming, but I don’t want to be selfish. I just want the first year of the new millennium to be the best gaming has seen and with the launches of Nintendo’s GameCube and Game Boy Advanced, and Microsoft’s Xbox, as well as tons of new PC hardware and software. I can already foresee that next year will be another milestone in gaming, and I am happy to say that I will be right in the middle of it. Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night …

-- Erich Becker

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