Weekend Blur

Sometimes everything passes by you in the blink of an eye. You get to work at ten in the morning and suddenly you are leaving at four AM. Normally this is a schedule you wouldn’t want to have, but every once in a while for a special event, it is totally worth it. So for today’s quick little article, I am going to tell you about all the gaming that was had at work that kept me away.

To give you a quick preface, my full-time job is at a game store. Been there for years and love it, but decided to also do this blog on the side for my own enjoyment and to branch out a bit. It helps scratch that itch I get at times to go out and write. The game store hosts all kinds of events throughout the year and this last weekend was the release of a large magic set. I talked about it a bit in The Culture, but this was a big one for a lot of reasons.

War of the Spark in Magic the Gathering brought a lot of high powered cards to the table and advanced the plot of the in-game lore significantly. Much in the same fashion of Game of Thrones and Endgame this last weekend, Magic also wrapped up years of work and the big bad guy battle.

With this culmination of work getting put together, people showed up from all over to play in the prerelease. A chance to get to play with the cards a week before the set even officially comes out and to get together with other fans of the game to talk and trade. Every person has their own goals when coming to one of these events. For some it is fun, others it is the competition and trying to get first for more packs, myself I like to trade during the weekend. My first goal when a set comes out always is trading as fast as I can for a playset of each card. A playset is four in this game, with that being the max amount allowed in a constructed deck.

Friends and I joked about where we would be going next in the story as I read the Novel that was released for the set when I did finally get home. Part of the beauty of Magic is that the set pieces can change radically from location to location. An eldritch horror set can be followed by a steampunk one, all from the way the story advances between planes, something I will love touching upon soon. All the guesses aside I do want to thank everyone who did trade with me and helped me get closer to getting a set of the cards I need.

Now with me working the events I got out the shop around five am for the midnight release, midnight the next day and a little later the last. Many of these hours going into trying to get ahead on things with this upcoming weekend being big too. I always have loved the fact that at my job there is something new on the horizon every time you look.

To mitigate the busy weekend I have ahead I am going to pump out the articles and schedule them to post in advance this week. This blog has a lot of relearning attached to it on how to maintain a site. I love to think I will get back and still write something out, but priorities tend to shift and sometimes the minutes slip through your fingers like sand. To be fair when I was home I didn’t want to tear myself away from the book I’m enjoying either and that was a large part of it.

The largest thing about this blog is I don’t want to become known for “calling in sick” and you great readers missing out. I was given a few messages asking if I was doing okay since I missed two and it made me smile even though I had to admit I was just not getting to them. It did push me harder today as work finished and I got my chores out of the way. Doesn’t matter how old you get you still have to clean your laundry and do your dishes. With everything settling and my eyelids already getting heavy I just wanted to get this out there and thank everyone once again.

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The schedule for the rest of this week is as follows.

Tuesday we will be firing up a new motivational post to really get you guys excited for the summer and the week in general.

Wednesday we have a brand new top five that I am excited to talk about. One that many people will chime in on I am sure, but I look forward to hearing opinions.

Thursday we have a tabletop game that I have enjoyed for years and wanted to bring to the table and show all of you. It is colorful, quick, and has an amazing drafting mechanic.

Friday I am popping out a game review even though I usually take this day off to get you guys some extra content for the missed days this last weekend. I wouldn’t be at this point without you guys and I plan to stand and deliver.

Saturday is talking about a few separate things involving comics and books that I’ve wanted to touch on for a few weeks.

Then we will finish strong on Sit Down Sunday with a co-op game you and a loved one have to try out.

I know this page isn’t much yet, but it is growing every single day with all of your help and that is awesome. So Listen up for that Facebook notification when a new post pops and I will excitedly see you all this week.

-Shane

Feature Photo by Sandeep Swarnkar on Unsplash

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Tabletop Lifestyle

We were knee deep into a game of Betrayal at House on the Hill when someone walking by asked, “What are you guys doing?” A normal question, but a surprise since we had fully immersed ourselves and forgotten we were at a pizza place. A quick answer told them about the game and they were excited to know that they could bring the game in there as well.

Sometimes with things like that, I smile because people forget that they are allowed to go places and nerd out and be happy. I know that when my group of friends travels out of town and we sit down before a large magic tournament our talk may sound like gibberish to many. One of us at a large table usually is re-sleeving his deck up in between bites of a burger and trying to figure out the exact fifteen cards they need to use for their sideboard.

 I’m describing taking what you love in tabletop games and embracing it.

Many times growing up my friends would play card games or Game Boys we snuck in during recess. If someone caught us that wasn’t a teacher we had to hear over and over how we were nerds. It was an interesting experience getting made fun of for something you love. Something that I thought for most people would go away as they got older, but for many, it hasn’t.

A large part of it is different generations not understanding how much the gaming medium has changed over the years. I have had times playing a Star Wars game and my Dad asks what movie I am watching, mesmerized by the action taking place and not believing that I am controlling it. Things have grown and advanced and a lot of this article has been sparked by the popularity of things like Game of Thrones and Endgame this week. A sort of pride of being a gamer and nerd and seeing these things hit strides so large that everyone is talking about them. Except for those few people who some reason seem proud they haven’t watched either. I guess they don’t like badass things so the joke is really on them.

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People have started to bridge the gap between all of these different specializations in gaming and nerd culture. I have now convinced people who in their words, “Hate all board games from too many years of Monopoly.” To play the Game of Thrones boardgame with me and then eagerly ask how they can get one or when we can play next. I’ve seen people get into DC deck builder and Marvel Legendary just because their favorite hero is on the box. Things that in the nineties and early 2000’s you just didn’t notice. Well, other than Pogs I suppose.

So  I wanted to bring this to the forefront of peoples minds and propose a challenge in this little blog of mine. In the spirit of For The Sake Of Gaming, I want all of you guys and girls, my loyal readers, to go out and play some games in the public. The largest renaissance I saw of this was during the first few weeks of Poke’mon Go and why did we stop? This weekend when you are out watching Endgame or grabbing a bite to eat, indulge in it. Take your favorite board game with you and a friend and play it around someone in the coffee shop. Be like that old geezer in the beginning of Bug’s Life and play some intense Chess.

Nothing is stopping you from going out each and every day and enjoying yourself. Some of the most painfully stricken people I’ve met are hand in hand with the happiest. They take each day as they can, enjoying the small things.

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I get that Thursday has been a tabletop review and I have next weeks on the works already. This week has been a crazy one with each and every day going late into the night and waking up early to rush into the store for work. Tomorrow night I will be working until about four am and enjoying the release of a new Magic set. This one is going to be huge and I can’t wait!

Fridays are soon going to turn into a guest author edition and if you want to be a person who gets themselves out and writes on here let me know. I want all my friends who have writing as a passion to follow through with it as well, I support you because I know how much you support me. I don’t ask much if you are interested other than the theme the blog has going for it right now. Again please message me with any questions you may have, I want to help.

Until the next time, go out, enjoy the culture, but don’t forget to Play Games and Be Happy.

Feature Photo by Aubrey Odom on Unsplash

I Don’t Have Time

Out of all the excuses I hear from people why they don’t play games and read books the forever common, “I don’t have time” is the worst.  A common reason people spout out because they think it makes them sound important. After all, if you are busy you must be successful right? If I chose to tell people I don’t have the time to do the things I love and enjoy I’m finally being an adult right?

Sadly the truth is far from what people tend to believe. Things like reading and playing games are the reason you work not the other way around. Before all these, I like to think you put your personal health and family, but that is because you prioritize. Prioritizing will give you the time you need to get everything you want to be done. Taking the time to tell yourself early in the week what you need to prioritize now so you can do what you want to do later.

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I read a few years back in a book that by changing your internal vocabulary from, I’m too busy, into, that isn’t my priority you shift your mind. You then stop to think, why isn’t finishing the game I’ve been wanting to play for days or getting through that book on my bedside, not my priority? You will find yourself asking questions like this at times when you are sitting there doing nothing. Laying in bed when you shouldn’t be, sitting scrolling through Netflix until you chose nothing, or going and eating more food again. By no means do I want you to think I am bashing you here, I’ve done it all too.

I have just recently been getting people asking me things like, when do I manage time to play these games? Same time I always have really, when I can. I work a job that usually nets me a minimum of sixty hours of work a week. I like to go out to eat with friends and socialize and If I can I like hitting up Friday Night Magic then I push myself to finish two books a week. So I game the other time I have in the 86,400 seconds we get to a day. Sometimes I stay up late sure, other times I wake up nice and early and knock out the last level or two of a game as a good way to start the day. Starting off the morning with a win can go a long way for you in your real-world experience as well. Sitting at work knowing you just saved Tamriel or maybe even the whole universe is a bit of a confidence boost.

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Let’s say you wake up, you make your bed and shower and hop on to finish one of the games on your backlog before anyone else is awake. The world is nice and quiet and you get to charge down the path of a game to find out why Master Chief is doing what he is or when Tom Nook will give you a sweet new item. Games have progression in them, you are meant to progress through them and play them! When you don’t they build up gamer remorse just like anything else will in life. I should have played this, I should have read that, why didn’t I watch that movie before I saw the spoilers.

In fact the other day I was talking openly about Bioshock Infinite to a friend, a game that came out over six years ago. From the sidelines, a person in the game room shouts how we shouldn’t spoils games out loud for others. I asked if they owned it? Of course, they did, but they had to let me know that they just don’t have time to play it, as they continued sorting their magic singles. Six years is just under 2,200 days. Some 52,800 hours worth of time and if you didn’t want a spoiler I’m going to say you could have spared six of them to play through the main quest quickly.

It is okay if gaming isn’t your priority, in fact, you can be a person who plays once a year. You break out the old N64 every Christmas and run a few laps with the friends or family on Mario Kart and then laugh at the graphics on the original Smash. The goal of this is, if you enjoy the games and miss them then make the time to play them. You can buy every game that goes on sale and try to build a larger and larger collection, but to what end? Collecting for collecting sake is cool and I admit I’m envious of many man caves that have the full library of some of the older Nintendo titles, but what have you played?

I really don’t mean for this to sound pushy. I simply love the vibe you get when everyone is playing a new game at the same time. It can be all the same one when a new big AAA title drops, but a lot of the times I just like hearing about the little ones. I want to know why you like Aviary Attorney or why the newest updates to a game in early access have really made a difference. I want you to get me excited for a game so we can experience it together.

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The reason for all of this? My priority is to be happy while I’m here and to have a good time. To make the people I meet and talk to smile and laugh and to do as many things as I possibly can. Sure you may see me awake at three A.M. playing a game from time to time, but don’t worry, if you send a message to chat I’m sure I’ll give a quick reply.

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The Culture

Today has been a long one. One that quickly slipped through my fingers no matter how many loads of laundry I attempted to do. One thing led to the next and now sitting here it is nine at night, some days tend to go that way and you don’t find time for any of the hobbies you tell yourself you enjoy. The whole day one thing has kept bouncing back into my mind to write about, and instead of taking the easy, “I’ll do it tomorrow route.” I’m going to make my tired butt write.

Today the Borderlands Game of the Year Edition remaster came out on PS4 and Xbox One. Although I have not yet had a chance to sit down and play it, the conversation of doing so came up multiple times with different people this afternoon. Whoever I was talking to and I reminiscing over the first time playing the original game. Laughing at the jokes that a shooter hadn’t really done well before then and getting excited to travel back to Pandora. Along with all the hype for Borderlands 3 of course.

This instant connection with another person as you speak about a game isn’t just stuck to the Borderlands franchise. It is one of the few things that can span language barriers and distance when it comes to gaming. I have students come in from UNK that barely speak English but will talk circles around you about League of Legends, with the mention of Teemo sending them into loud moans of disgust. Then there are the friends’ states away that can jump into a firing squad on a game and the friendship is still there strong as ever. Even now I work on a story for a group getting ready to start a new DND campaign on roll 20.

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The beauty of all this is that is a language to gamers themselves. One that while I grew up and went from house to house and school to school many times over I could always use. It didn’t matter how much money my family had or if we lived in the bad part of a town in California, we talked about Poke’mon. We talked about the new Smash Brothers or how there are secrets hidden in Ocarina of Time. When I moved to Kansas my Sophmore year and left behind all my friends from the first fifteen years of my life I found new ones talking over Halo 2. Who soon found ourselves binging the entire series over again and anticipating the launch of Halo 3 for all the new times to be had.

Really it doesn’t have to be a game that is even out yet to get the “bug” going and feel that contagious spark amongst others in the community. Recently a lot of that is going around in the Magic the Gathering culture as a new set spoils a few cards each day. Friends sending me messages over deck ideas and coming in to order boxes daily. Making people feel and talk about the story with a new gorgeous cinematic trailer, and trying to guess where the story goes.

The conversation is great when you can move up and down the age spectrum too. As many times as I can relate with someone twice my age over how cool it was the first time beating Adventure on the Atari, I can flip that and talk about Season eight on Fortnite with a little dude. Usually with them resulting in dancing away in some sassy dance featured in that season.

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It is something that excites me more and more as I get older and continue seeing the taboo that games are for nerds fall away. The fact that Esports leagues are popping up in high schools is great to me, and mainstream media making movies over titles I never thought I would see. That podcasts about DND are at an all-time high and Game of Thrones, a fantasy series, is the most anticipated show this year.

So even when the day is long, and I wish I could have skipped parts of it in its entirety, I’m always happy to sit back and talk an exciting new game with a friend. After all, it’s part of the culture.