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|YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK!
The contents of this page have been bought with tax payer money!
—A TV Anchorwoman on a younger Chris winning the Sonic the Hedgehog Watch & Win Sweepstakes.
Chris likes video games. A lot. In fact, Chris almost definitely centers his life around and spends more time on video games than any other activity or pursuit, including his ongoing quest for a woman who will emerge from the Internet and have sex with him. He says he spends between two and four hours a day playing games, and that's just what he'll admit to.
Without diving too deep into the amateur psychiatry pool, it's not hard to see why video games hold so much appeal for Chris. His brain is wired to operate according to absolute values and rigidly-defined processes. That's one reason why he has so much trouble dealing with real life — the rules keep changing on him, when he can figure the rules out at all. In the artificial worlds of Chris's favorite games, the challenges he faces are the kind that his inflexible mind is able to conquer. There, the rules never change, and all he has to do is follow them. Reality isn't so simple, which is why he spends as little time out there as possible.
The early years
Chris has been an avid gamer since a very young age. He first played video games on a Commodore 64 home computer. Before he was eight years old, he had a Game Boy and a Nintendo Entertainment System, and he acquired more consoles and games throughout the 1990s. According to the Sonichu Chronicles, he's been a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog since the character's 1991 debut for the Sega Genesis. His game collection really took off in 1993, when he won his famous shopping spree in the Sonic the Hedgehog Watch & Win Sweepstakes and added $1,000 (even though the total spent was $980.82) worth of Sega games and hardware to his hoard.
Chris's game collection
- Main article: List of Chris's games
Although the last completely reliable account of his collection dates back to January 2009, Chris owns, as a conservative estimate, nearly 700 different game titles across 19 different platforms. (He sold off roughly 100 games in various trips to GameStop and local pawn shops during the late summer and early fall of 2010, but that still leaves a hell of a lot to go.) He also maintained an account with the Gamefly mail-order rental service until August 2010.
Sony consoles dominate Chris's collection. Counting the games he's downloaded by way of the PlayStation Network, nearly half of his games belong to the PlayStation family. Nintendo comes next, including more than 100 games for Nintendo's different portable platforms, and Sega brings up the rear. While he owns every Sega console short of an 8-bit Master System and Sonic the Hedgehog is one of his favorite individual franchises, games for Sega consoles don't make up more than 10-15% of Chris's collection.
Chris's violent hatred of the Xbox is well-known, but he likely also owns or at one point owned an original Xbox console; however, it is not known how much he has actually played Xbox games. His eBay account shows that he tried to sell off a handful of Xbox games in the summer of 2008. The record of his eBay sales also indicates that, in addition to owning at least one of every machine he owns games for, he's gone through at least three or four of Sony's original PlayStation consoles over the years. It's possible that he's had to replace a few of the infamously fragile machines, but this could also be an indication that he has bought the systems and games in bundles.
It's impossible to gauge exactly how much money has been shoveled into the furnace of Chris's game collection. Knowledgeable trolls, however, reckon that his physical collection of games and hardware represents around $20,000. His PSN downloads, meanwhile, can be accurately accounted for — there, the bill is close to $3,500 and surely climbing all the while. One of the more grievous examples of Chris's video game related overspending is his apparent ownership of at least two copies of the eighty dollar Street Fighter IV Collector's Edition, as evidenced by the two identical exclusive Ryu figurines he later sold on eBay. While it's possible that Chris received the second figure from an outside source or packaging error, his attempt to bribe BlueSpike with a copy of the game and his habit of wasting money for no particular reason lend credence to the theory.
What Chris plays
Going on what evidence is available — what he talks about on his websites and YouTube, what his PSN profile shows the most effort put into, what he decides to construct elaborate fan-works around — Chris has fairly childish, "casual" tastes in video games. He puts an enthusiast gamer's level of effort and time into gaming, but he does it playing stuff like Sonic, Pokémon, Animal Crossing, Guitar Hero, and other games geared toward a less "hardcore" audience. His favorite racing game, Burnout Paradise, is a straightforward action/arcade-style game. LittleBigPlanet earned a hardcore following with its level editor, but otherwise it's just another side-scrolling platform game (and Chris hardly strains the level editor to the limits of its potential). Much of his PSN trophy case is filled out with achievements racked up playing simple downloadable demoscene productions. Even his beloved Brütal Legend isn't remarkably deep as far as gameplay is concerned; while the game is an M-rated title with swearing, decapitations, heavy metal music and tricky real-time strategy elements, for most part the atmosphere is still jolly and humorous enough, and majority of gameplay consists of exploring the world and having straightforward beat-em up fights. Some have questioned whether or not Chris's interest in Brutal Legend was because of an affinity for director Tim Schafer's other quirky, offbeat games such as Psychonauts and Grim Fandango. While Chris might be drawn to the perceived Random-access humor of such games, more likely, they were too intelligent for him, and not mainstream enough. More likely, his interest in Brutal Legend was due to Jack Black providing the main character's voice, and possibly Chris's failed attempts to appear to be an enjoyer of music.
The games that Chris owns are not necessarily the games that Chris plays. His PSN downloads strongly suggest that he spends money on his gaming hobby more or less for the sake of spending it. Witness the $65 he spent on downloadable content for Disgaea 3, a game he had only played to 7% completion several months after originally buying all those downloads. It's reasonable to assume that Chris has similar spending habits in real life, a theory bolstered somewhat by his retro game collections. Chris's collections of games for the Sega CD, Sega Saturn, and a couple of other now-dead consoles are dominated by bargain-bin trash, extremely common or extremely shitty games that are easily picked up for very low remaindered prices. No knowledgeable gamer would ever pay money for Sewer Shark, except maybe as a gag gift, but Chris apparently thought it was worth owning.
His collection does a good job of telling us what sort of games Chris doesn't play, though. Outside of the Pokémon series, for instance, he has almost no evident interest in role-playing games. Most of the non-Pokémon RPGs in his collection, like Suikoden and Final Fantasy VII, are PlayStation retro releases he impulse-bought through the PSN. Chris buys those up like penny candy — he's even downloaded several digital duplicates of PlayStation games that he already owns physical copies of.
Despite being obsessed with Pokemon, he's not a hardcore Nintendo fan as some might suspect. He never seems to show interest in the latest content from Nintendo, and the hardcore Nintendo games he does own (such as games from the Metroid, The Legend of Zelda and Mario franchises) are most likely just collecting dust on his game collection racks.
He owns almost no sports games. In the Mailbag, he once noted that "Sports titles do not really thrill me," although he didn't explain exactly why.
With a few exceptions, Chris has no apparent interest in video games aimed at his own age group, which is unsurprising. "Hardcore" games aimed at "adults" are games that simply would not interest Chris because of his juvenile mindset. Video games (and anything else, for that matter) with mature themes that aren't two-dimensionally crass and full of random-access humor would probably confuse and bore Chris and make him feel awkward and uncomfortable, adding to the fact he probably wouldn't be able to get very far in the game. This is supported by the fact that he did try out Bioshock, a first-person shooter with RPG elements, but only for a short time and never touched it again. Most likely the whole game itself flew right over Chris's head and he decided to play some Wheel of Fortune instead. However, ever since his sixth declaration that he has left the internet in late 2010, some more high-profile games aimed at adults have appeared on his PSN Trophy list (Such as Grand Theft Auto IV and Fallout: New Vegas). Apparently the Hannah Montana PS3 game is no longer enough to fill his abundance of free time, and he's taken to playing games he wouldn't normally were he doing anything else with his life.
While he sometimes gets tagged with the "weeaboo" label, Chris doesn't appear to prefer games made in Japan over any other part of the world. In fact, his favorite games of 2008-2009, the period where he's told us the most about what he plays, are pretty evenly divided between Japan (Sonic, Pokémon), the United States (Guitar Hero, Brutal Legend) and Europe (Burnout, LittleBigPlanet). He counts a few Japanese Game Boy and Nintendo DS imports in his larger collection, but they're obviously titles he picked up to try and impress/bribe Megan Schroeder — almost all of them are spinoffs from popular anime, especially magical-girl series like Sailor Moon and Pretty Cure.
When Chris and Megan still got along well together, they were serious players of the arcade version of Soul Calibur III. There's also an arcade in Chris's plans for the CWCville Shopping Center. However, given Chris's more recent inclination to retreat into the comfortable confines of his bedroom, chances are he's not much of an arcade-goer anymore.
Chris the console warrior
Chris thinks the perennial "Console Wars" between rival manufacturers of game machines are extremely serious business, and engages them in all of the bile and fervor of a 10-year-old child soldier in the PlayStation Army. On rare occasions he has almost seemed rational in this respect, saying he "just doesn't like" or "doesn't care much for" the Xbox, but most of the time he doesn't spare strong words when describing the vile Hex Box. By comparison, he has waxed poetic when describing the awesomeness of the PS3, most prominently in his PS3 History Level for LittleBigPlanet. According to Lucas, Chris would even express his fury over the Xbox in public while hanging out at The GAMe PLACe.
It's hard to tell where Chris's religious devotion to the PlayStation comes from, but a religion is what it is. Like his faith in GodJesus, his support for Sony is blind and unthinking. Though he can come up with a simple justification for his opinions in a pinch — typically he brings up the annual fee for online gaming on Xbox Live — Chris shows no sign of having put any serious thought or study into his choice of consoles. His descriptions of the PS3's advantages in places like his Columbus Day 2008 video tend to sound like boilerplate marketing copy (as filtered through the mind of a cave-dwelling autistic, anyway).
Interestingly, Chris was not always a blindly devoted fan of Sony. In the Animal Crossing Documentary, we see that back in 2003, Chris pledged his allegiance to Nintendo and the Gamecube, stating that both forerunners to the PS3 stank as much as the original Xbox. It is unknown at which point Chris defected to Sony, nor the reasons for doing so. Likely, prior to this Chris was a Sega fanatic at Nintendo's expense; if true, then it demonstrates how fickle Chris is regarding devotion.
In typical fashion, Chris is ignorant of things he has chosen not to like. The only 360 game he seems to shown interest in, "Don't Be Nervous Talking to Girls", seen in Sonichu 10 being modified for the PS3, was suggested to him by the fans. Though the game is just a crappy dating sim, and though there are other 360-exclusive games which would appeal to him, Chris claims that it's the only game worth playing on the 360.
Even slinging mud at the names of the consoles is very serious business to Chris. In Lars Call, Chris says he doesn't like it when people call PS3 the "PS Triple", because that's what trolls call it. Of course, this comes from a man who kept ranting about the "Hex Box".
Chris and online gaming
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his antisocial nature, Chris isn't much for online multiplayer games in any genre, be they sports sims, shooters, racing games, or whatever else. Though he owns several games for the PS3 and other consoles that would allow him to play online and interact with other people, his PSN profile shows that he's put hardly any time into multiplayer games.
In 2010 and afterward, two exceptions to this rule emerged. He did a good deal of online racing in ModNation Racers during the summer of 2010, while early in 2011, Chris began to show an interest in an online role-playing game for the first time, DC Universe Online. His fondness for ModNation competition eventually passed, but it remains to be seen whether or not he'll develop a lasting interest in MMO gaming.
Dedicated observers of Chris's gaming habits may notice a bit of a paradox developing here. Chris claims to hate the Xbox 360 because Microsoft requires a $50 annual subscription fee for online multiplayer gaming. Why should this wind him up so badly, when he hardly plays any multiplayer games anyhow? Well... that's Chris for you. Mailbag correspondents have tried to point out the seeming contradiction here, not to mention the weird contrast between Chris's thriftiness as far as Xbox Live is concerned and the massive amounts of money he's wasted on worthless digital trinkets through the PSN. For all the good it's done, though, they may as well have tried to change his opinion of Asperger's syndrome.
Chris the trophy whore
While Chris has little evident interest in directly interacting with other humans in online games, he does seem to enjoy building up a massive trophy case to passively show off in his PlayStation Network profile. He's doggedly played through a number of games in order to earn every available achievement, and on occasion he appeals to his fanbase for help in earning trophies. For instance, he begged readers of his Twitter feed to download his ModNation Racers levels so he could pick up one more trophy.
Slacker that he is, Chris prefers to put forth as little effort as possible to earn his trophies. Presented with a trophy in LittleBigPlanet 2 that asked him to contribute a custom level to the game's online community, he fulfilled the requirement by uploading an empty level with no work put into it. (When this level was deleted by the community's administrators, he took the next-easiest route and uploaded his old levels made with the first LittleBigPlanet.) In an e-mail to Jackie, he expressed great pleasure when the ModNation experience system was patched to make certain trophies easier to acquire.
Chris and PC games
Games for personal computers are conspicuously absent from Chris's collection and his evident game-playing habits. The only sign that he's ever even owned any PC games comes from his eBay account, which shows that he tried to auction off a collection of vintage Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games for the PC in the summer of 2008. He might also own a copy of the first Lego Island game for PC (as seen by his possession of the Infomaniac minifigure - which was only obtainable from early copies of the said game). In the Fanmail Reading video, after a fan sent him a copy of Half-Life 2, Chris explained, "I don't play PC games. I used to, but I don't anymore." He didn't say why he gave them up, though. In his first Mumble chat, he claimed to "remember Touhou", but later backpedaled and said "I never really heard of that."
Chris the industry insider
Chris gets most of his information about the gaming industry from comparatively mainstream sources. He's an avowed reader of Game Informer magazine, as well as Sony's online magazine Qore, and regularly follows the G4 cable network, but he doesn't seem to spend too much of his time actively following more dedicated gaming websites or message boards. He apparently still takes the Spike TV Video Game Awards seriously, which puts him about five years behind anybody with even a cursory interest in the games business.
Chris the game designer
At various times, especially during the Miyamoto saga, but going as far back as the late 1990s (when he had a prophetic dream of a Sonic game for the Game Boy), Chris has imagined that he could launch himself into a career as a game designer. It's telling, however, that nearly all of his "ideas" for potential video game projects simply involve swapping Sonichu or other Chris-spawned characters into an existing game concept. Pokémon: Lightning Version is a Pokémon RPG with Sonichu in it. Sonichu Adventure is Sonic Adventure with Sonichu in it. John's Custom Gundam: Sisterly Rescue is Gundam: Journey to Jaburo with Megan's quasi-retarded brother in it, and so on.
The closest he's gotten to coming up with something like an original idea is Christian Weston Chandler's Adult Chronicles, and we don't actually know what that game is supposed to amount to beyond what Chris drew on the cover, and occasional haphazard mentions. It's entirely possible that Chris doesn't know the answer to that one either.
Chris nevertheless sincerely believes that his characters and game ideas are ready for commercial prime time. He once rejected an e-mail from the Mailbag that brought up the notion of a not-for-profit fan-made Sonichu game, and brushed off similar suggestions in his first IRC fan chat. In the video about dispelling rumors of an official Sonichu game, he scoffed at the idea of his game ideas being made with 2D graphics.
Modding and customization
One of the great ironies of Chris's existence is that he loves to create and share his creations, even though he possesses almost no genuine innate creativity. He tends to gravitate strongly towards video games that allow him to create his own content and share it online.
Since console games are often not modifiable, while PC game modding tends to demand more technical skill than he possesses, Chris has only been able to show off his creativity in this field so much. That said, the PS3 games LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers exerted a powerful grip on him with their customization capabilities. Chris made a ton of levels in LittleBigPlanet, dropping out of sight for the better part of a month when he first acquired the retail version of the game. Likewise, he has made levels, characters and custom cars for ModNation Racers, and it resulted in a similar disappearance during the summer of 2010. His output hasn't shown too much actual competence, but it's not for lack of time and effort spent.
Even in games that offer only light customization features, Chris makes a point of personalizing his experience as much as possible. He spent considerable time on a Guitar Hero band, up to drawing disturbing pictures of his virtual bandmates. The amount of time he spent on tweaking his Animal Crossing villages is simply colossal. According to the Regina e-mails, Chris made a similarly big deal about Jet Grind Radio and F-Zero GX, even though both games limit their customization options to things like swapping around car parts or personalizing small decals.
Likewise, as the gallery below displays, Chris enjoys customizing his game hardware. He's splattered Sonichu artwork all over his Gamecube, a Nintendo DS, a couple of Game Boy Advances, a PSP, his now-deceased original PS3, and possibly other consoles or handhelds. One of his Pokéwalkers also appears to have received the Sonichu treatment, being repainted in blue and yellow.
Chris's perception on video game technology
Chris obviously has no idea about how video games or video game consoles work. For example, as seen in a panel of Sonichu 10, he seems to think that games are interchangeable and can work on any console ("DO NOT BUY OR DOWNLOAD ILLEGAL COPIES OF L.B.P. ON Wii OR XBox360; IT IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW!"), even though he could easily check and see that he can't play his copy of Little Big Planet in his Wii, although he is either too lazy, or is afraid of having his house raided by jerkops.
Neither is he aware of what the technology is currently capable of. As stated in the survey of Chris and reality, he once suggested that Nintendo should create a Poké Ball peripheral which could display holographs, of which we can only see in science fiction currently.