Revocation’s Dan Gargiulo’s Top 5 video games for keeping sane on the road

Like his bandmates in Boston death-thrash champs REVOCATION, Dan Gargiulo should have been getting ready for Summer Slaughter 2013. Y’know, there are important duties to be done before hurtling across the country in a van: like filling said vehicle full of diesel, packing a bag, loading his guitar into the van, stockpiling Cheetos and cancelling the milk. But instead, we had Gargiulo sneak off and gave us five video games guaranteed to keep him away from hard drugs, TV defenestration, people . . . And as it turns out, action, too. This is what Revocation’s resident games master came back with . . .

I like to call myself a fan of video games, because if I use the word “gamer” to describe myself people might assume that I belong to some community of basement dwellers, and I don’t—because my bedroom is on the second floor. I don’t feel much camaraderie with other people who play games just because they also play games. Not to mention most people I know who play games enjoy action-packed, fun-filled games that involve guns and stuff. My tastes are narrow and I’m not willing to branch out (with a few exceptions). These are a few games I play on my laptop while touring, often when I should be socializing.

1. EarthBound.

A 1995 Super Nintendo RPG that parodies other RPGs of that era. Despite its constant clowning on other games it manages to actually have a better story and gameplay than the games it pokes fun at. You get to fight aliens, hippies, piles of vomit, robots, etc. The graphics aren’t too great but I honestly think that graphics are the least important part of a video game. The music is trippy as hell too. Play it if you like turn-based combat, which I do. I’m also currently playing it’s hard-to-acquire sequel, Mother 3. I had to download the Japanese version and get a translation patch just to play it. Totally worth it.

2. Final Fantasy Tactics.

It’s long and tedious strategy RPG and the combat is slow. I love this game because you can spend hours planning out and customizing your group of cartoon warriors. The story is okay, but after beating the game over ten times in my life I just skip it now. The final boss is a gigantic pope zombie thing. He kind of looks like the singer from Ghost. Rad.

3. Dragon Warrior (or Dragon Quest if you live in japan).

This was one of the first popular RPGs. It’s so tedious and poorly designed that when you try to walk down a flight of stairs you actually have to access the menu and hit “stairs”. But I like that sort of thing. How could you not think that’s funny? You wander around the 8-bit world and are annoyed again and again by the much maligned “random battle” game mechanic. This seems like a bad review, but honestly despite all its flaws it’s one of my favorite games for the NES.

4. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

This game is the most recently released game that I play on tour and it came out in 2002. It’s like Skyrim, but far less intuitive and way more complicated. Convoluted almost. There’s no fast travel so you actually have to slowly walk to wherever it is you’re going. The action is awkward and the graphics leave a lot to be desired but I still think this is the best Elder Scrolls game. Nostalgia might have a small part to play in that. Morrowind has an enormous game world with a wide variety of strange locations, and there are a ton of things to do. it’s like being on an alien planet, full of Vikings, elves, orcs, and humans who hate you for being a foreigner. (Your character is a foreigner.)

5. Fallout 2

Came out in 1998 I think. This is probably my favorite game of all time, besides maybe Demon’s Souls. Unlike the popular revival of the Fallout series by Bethesda, this game and the original Fallout are top-down view, turn-based combat games. Most people who are fans of the new games (which are first person shooters), have trouble enjoying the old games because of the painfully slow pace. That doesn’t bother me one bit though. The more tedious the better. It’s kind of like Mad Max, except there are some high-tech plasma rifles and such for you to find and use against mutants and junkies. I could sink over 50 hours into this game, easily. When I was a kid my neighbor’s house was burning down but I didn’t go outside to check it out because I was busy pumping lead into aliens.

**Revocation’s self-titled LP is out August 6th on Relapse Records. Order it here