Movement

I can’t lie I haven’t been myself the past week. Personal things have gotten me down and it was an uphill battle even yesterday to get some words written down. All I could bring myself to do over the past few days was work, eat, and attempt to get some sleep. This happens, all of us go through depression or changes and have to give ourselves some extra time to get our momentum going. This article is about the one factor that can get you out of your dark depressive state and really attack life again.

This is about movement.

As in all things I am a gamer and I would like to throw out a simple example to illustrate the importance of getting yourself running and moving.

Level 1-1 of good classic Mario Bros on the NES is something that millions of people have played. Some memorizing the level to the point they know where to hit every jump and how to always get that flag pole to register from the very top. I have also seen people miss the very first jump in that game and say out loud, “I can’t do this I am bad at video games.” Well, Confucius was right when he said, “The man who says he can, and the man that says he can not, are both correct.”

I thrive off of the simple moment of showing someone that in that level all you need is to give the little plumber some movement and momentum and you can more than clear a jump! It is when the new player stops and looks at the hole and then jumps with no movement that they fall down and lose their life.

Now we all stop, things hit us, we trip and fall on hard times. Sometimes you miss someone so much it feels like your heart is ripped from your chest and you find you are at a standstill on the things you normally enjoy doing. None of that will get better until you make a move.

james-pond-191266-unsplash.jpgPhoto by James Pond on Unsplash

When I am helping a good friend out of a depressive state I start with the smallest step possible. Something small that they know they need to do and get them rolling. I ask, “Hey did you drink some water today or get a shower in?” Sometimes the answer is no, that is okay, sometimes we just need a little help. I’ll bring their dehydrated ass a bottle of water and get them moving. Suddenly the next day they text me and say, “Hey I showered and already drank two glasses of water, just letting you know so you don’t bother me.” At that point, I’m just happy they started moving since that was half the battle.

It is important since unlike that little Italian plumber we don’t have multiple lives. I like to think we do have a reset button to get the level rolling again at times, but really it is that we can climb out of the hole. Our Platformer known as life is a level that we don’t know how it ends. We may run up against a mean boss that we don’t think we can take, or a jump that is in our minds impassable.

Just take a step back and look at all the power-ups you have gained up to this point. Call a friend, grind, exercise and get what you need. Think of it like picking up your speed, each thing giving you a boost until you soar past that obstacle like it was a breeze.

The importance of movement is hard to describe in a small blog. It is something that I need to and will elaborate on further as I go. It is something that if you struggle with I am always only an email away. Start small friends, brush your teeth, make your bed, then get out and hit the big things hard.

Again, we all get hit with depression. You can let it win, and it will win undeniably. However, you can also fight, and when you fight then the victor is something you can help determine.

Just remember until the next one, play games and be happy.

-Shane

 

Feature Photo by Miguel Salgado on Unsplash

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Brick Wall Board Games

On my list of things to do today, I have, write a blog post about a board game called Seasons. Overall the things I have pumped out and written since I started this blog up, none of them have made me hit a brick wall when it comes to getting the words out. So I will be talking about that problem, but I do want to discuss the future of a board game day in general with all of you amazing readers.

Here is the problem.

Tabletop games are a large part of my life and I am around them often. I work with them and they are always there, yet somehow I draw a blank talking about them sometimes unless it is the week or months current demo. I get into my salesman mode over a game when writing when really I just want to talk about why I like it and how it is fun to me.

I noticed this in two places. One was that they are the least read topics out of anything I do. That is fine and somethings will be noticed and others will not. The interest of the readers and having conversations with you is the most important part of all this to me. I think I could easier talk about why Bastion is probably my favorite or second favorite game soundtrack over why Seasons is one of my favorite drafting games.

The reason why I can is that one is a passion. Something that I enjoy talking about and getting reactions from and seeing how you all react to them too. Having someone message me in an email and having it say they picked up a game after I talked about it made my whole day awesome. The other just still makes me feel like I am trying to sell something to you. Which if you saw me during the day at work, that is exactly what my goal would be. I want this blog to be a passion and not just more work.

That leads to the second places that I noticed this problem and that was my blog about Star Realms. I adore that game! It is something that I would gladly play if someone asks me too and enjoy it the whole time through, and yet still I made the thing sound like a sales pitch to my dismay. I felt that I was drifting from what I want this site to be and to grow into and that is a place to talk about games for fun and why we all enjoy them.

I don’t care if you play Minecraft to level out a mountain, beat the Ender Dragon, or to dig a hole. I care that you are happy and having a damn good time during it.

I don’t care if you go out to the movie for the plot, the date night, or the popcorn. I care that you enjoyed yourself and it gave you something to leave with. That you left with more than you brought.

Each time I post I worry that I will waste your time and that is the worst thing that I could possibly do with this site. So I need to really get down to my brass tacks and figure out what I like talking about so you get the best I can provide.

As the site expands and now has twitter and twitch is about setting up and ready to go I think making the time I do post matter more is the most important part. This summer along with my 40-50 hours at my game store job I plan to work another job as well to get a vehicle paid off and to upgrade my car to a newer one. I miss road trips and getting out to see everything, so I want to return to doing that as well. Turns out that is a lot simpler if you have a safe vehicle to rely on.

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Does this mean the end of board game posts?

I don’t think it does really. I like talking about things and at times boardgames will pop up and I will show why I love them, to try to share some of the joy with you. I know there will still be a post about the Game of Thrones boardgame, one that I have dumped hours and hours into. Really what I think the board game side of things will come down to is I will reach out to my network of friends and have someone who writes about them with a passion about boardgames instead. A few people already come to mind and they can hit the topic harder than I can anyways.

With this, I hope today wasn’t a waste for you. Sometimes all this website may turn out to be is a journal of sorts, but I will always be transparent with you guys and let you know what is going on. The other good news is I don’t think I will have any gaps in posting this week as a motivation based one for Friday crept into my mind, and I want to talk about it.

No matter what, go out and enjoy what is there. Play some games and be happy!

-SCH

Feature Photo by Susan Yin on Unsplash

Five PS1 RPG Games That Need A Remake

The heyday of the classic turn-based RPG is well behind us. Many good titles still come out and remind us of the joy those turn-based classics once gave us, but AAA likes to keep things flashy now and even Final Fantasy has evolved. Maybe for you, it was on the SNES or the PS2, but for me, I am focusing today on some of the great PS1 titles that I believe need to have their very own remake. I am not simply talking about another graphical update like we see often but something more akin to what was done on the Resident Evil 2 release we had earlier this year. Look into Spooky Hi-Def Zombie Galore if you want to see more about that title.

So what five titles am I wanting to see done in glorious 4k Ultra HD to take my breath away once again? The same way they did years ago with my 13-inch tube tv, well look ahead and see.

 Number One – The Legend of Dragoon

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A game that changed everything I knew about RPG titles in general. When so much of my attention began to wane from the same repetitive motion over and over, I was brought into full immersion with this when it released. Picked up shortly after a Christmas this title lasted me for a few months and to master it all the way, it took even longer. The combat system of this game is something that you didn’t see at the time and I would love to see ported into today. It had an engaging story that taught you about loss and sacrifice and some of the graphics that still make me smile now with how well they did then. One of the titles that I was distraught to never see a sequel, I would be overjoyed to see this pop up on a remake list now or anytime I am still alive.

Number Two – Chrono Cross

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If you managed to play through the SNES title Chrono Trigger much of this game felt familiar to you. It was a sequel to the Trigger game that confused many by simply not having a two after the title. It put you back into time paradox stories and made you chose what party members you wanted to fight beside you with forty-five different ones to choose from. My personal favorite Glenn always took me far, a bonus since he had a special move with the main character Serge. The move sets in this would look great updated and the locations you went through would be stunning as all the dragons were summoned through the game. To be honest the best part about the updated title would be the music. An arrangement that still to this day gives me chills and sets me up for a day of adventure when I hear it.

Number Three – Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete

Art by aojiroiemura

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This one may be cheating a little bit since the title has already been moved up from Sega Saturn and released in a few different variations. The best part about this title to me was that it was one of the few that I didn’t mind watching someone else play. At the time I was really into the anime Trigun and my friend playing through the game progressed fast and let me enjoy every cutscene I saw. It may be nice to just get the cutscenes updated and move the game into an HD 2.5D style. Lunar is a title that reminds me of all the good stories told on the PS1 and may even bring back a surge of great movie title updates like Escaflowne. A man can dream.

Number 4 – Xenogears

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When a game spawns an entire franchise it is a surprise that the first title doesn’t get a full rework. Getting into the whole Xenosaga franchise, later you may even have seen Xenoblade, but somewhere you have seen this. It was a case of a game that was meant to be a sequel that later became it’s own entity entirely and anything with mechs would look cool updated. Imagine the fresh crisp graphics in RE2 that we got with the stellar stories told in this title. It would be a fast seller and branch people into so much more. Early on some of the religious content got the game some chaff, but years and years have passed and what better time to bring Xeno to the forefront than now?

Number Five – Final Fantasy IX

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I get that many would say Final Fantasy VII should be the title on this list. Let us be honest here and remember that is “supposedly” happening soon. The show specials that have been shown for that game look great and is what brought me over to nine. Love or hate it type of game you will see both fans going after this title at times. The characters were unique, the summons felt special, and the darker tones the characters had to face brought Final Fantasy ahead and apart from the other RPG titles closing in at that time. Finishing Borderlands again made me feel we could even tweak a bit with the graphics since the game always had a cartoon type of style, but tried to maintain realism with heroes like Steiner. Seeing my big boy summon Alexander in full HD would rock and I can’t wait for the day that happens.

Give me some feedback on what you thought of these five. I am positive there are so many more that would be great to see. Titles that had such a compelling story you didn’t mind the graphics or fits the old games sometimes had. Titles that made you scream if that memory card became corrupted. Thank god for the cloud saves now.

No matter what, give this a like and a share and I will see you tomorrow with the next title.

-Shane

Feature Photo by Cláudio Luiz Castro on Unsplash

Life Is A Platformer

Don’t miss that call it could be important! Did you make it to your work on time? Did you remember to eat so you had enough energy to make it to the meeting with the boss? No matter how you look at it everything in life can be translated into a video game. In this case, it is all 2D.

That call could have been making it over the jump in a level that led to failure if missed.

If you didn’t complete the level in time you fail, same goes for missing work or an important family event.

Don’t get that mega mushroom and I’m sure you won’t have an easy time with the endgame boss.

I know that a lot of people see every day as a challenge and an uphill struggle that makes you stretch and get there. Taking a moment each day to see things in a different light, or a more lighthearted one even can change how everything goes.

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I mentioned in Starting The Day With A Win that I have a routine I try to do in the morning to get the ball rolling and really get pumped for what lays ahead. I tell myself that mission one is making that bed. Mission two is power up with food so you can take on the day. The biggest tasks that I look at remind me so much of how life is like a platform game than possibly any other.

Things in these games, like Mario, Sonic, Braid or even Never Alone are simple to start and they progress harder through the respective levels. So many people have stormed passed level 1 -1 of the original Mario Bros. How far have you gotten without the continues? Have you actually gotten to the right castle before and saved the princess?

I like to think of all the different stages you have in life as different levels you can have. Each year is marked down as a long level, each month, day, or even sometimes minutes if its a really hard moment. I set my goals up based on these different timepieces and in my journal write down all the big obstacles I have coming ahead of me. In my year goals, I have twelve months I have to get through so my level time is defined, what bosses sit at the end and how much of the special item do I have to collect?

In an example, this year I know I am getting debt free. I am getting a newer vehicle, jumpstarting my online presence in writing, and completing all my backlogged video games. There are so many other things on the list as well, but let’s save you some time here loyal reader.

Many of those things listed can be completed with one thing. Money. So my coins from Mario or golden rings from Sonic are defined as dollar bills in this case. I then add up my total cost for everything I want to accomplish and get that down too. Then I divide it all out and see where I sit as I break it down into tinier levels. After all, a day level isn’t going to be as hard as the whole year, and as long as I hit the daily goals it builds into completing that larger goal.

So I know what I have to collect in the level, then I start out with my fear setting. The large obstacles that I can run into. Tim Ferris has a lot to say about this topic through TED talks and his books. I advise both if this is something that interests you. With the fear setting, I am able to understand the obstacles and adequately prepare for them before hand. I know that after two weeks of dieting or three weeks of working two jobs I will hit a wall. I have been there, I have failed, and I learned more about the level. Writing down and mapping the level out helps me know when I have to jump before I even get there. Now I am finding my hand reaches for the water before even thinking about the Pepsi because I can’t complete the level otherwise.

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Complete the obstacles, collected the items and already you are almost done with the level, you just have the boss at the end. This is where you put your largest most blatantly hard task you have. In day levels for me, it’s usually getting to bed on time. Something that I lose a lot, but it teaches me the next day when I wake up how important that is to do. My devious weekly boss is staying in budget. Something I struggle with daily, but I know I have to do to get by. That yearly boss that I hate looking at is my physical fitness. Sure I can save money and pay things off, but it is easy to ignore what is in front of you.

Make the boss yourself and have your own Dark Link battle. It isn’t pleasant, but it needs to be done.

Life is simply a platformer that you make and build. Construct your level, find and prepare for the obstacles, and take down that boss. Only you can do it. There is no Obi-Wan coming, you are your only hope, but you also know the only path there is to take. After all, you are the one crafting your game.

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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.

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A Big Thank You

As of my last post, I have officially done twenty of these blogs. I know for many that may not seem like a large number, but it is a great start to something big. Instead of doing my normal review or post about games like I do I wanted to take a single day to talk about the future of this site and where I want things to go. As always any input from you is greatly appreciated and taken to heart. With that, every single like and share you give goes such a long way too so thank you.

Now for the longest time, I had tried to get a blog started to be efficient in my day to day writing. Recently I began this one and have gotten into the swing of things and enjoy what I am doing and talking about what my passion is. The group of you guys and girls that have been following and liking the pages makes me want to rush home after work every day and get another one of these up and sent for you all to read.

Now reaching people across the country with some of my latest posts and across the world even with a few! I’ve really begun to get a rush from the act of writing again and can’t wait to see how big this will thrive.

I’ve noticed that two types of posts get a lot more traction than any of my others do. Those are the top five reviews and motivational posts. Reviews of games are read too but seem to get less traction. There is nothing wrong with that as people will always read what they want to read and I am starting to see what some of those things are.

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I have laid out a long list of what I want to see each and every month from this website and blog. Videos and Podcasts are something that will not happen for some time yet but will prevail through. A few times people have asked me to go live on Facebook or Twitch and that setup won’t take me long. Any help or suggestions here are again appreciated.

Since writing has again taken deep root in my heart I want to also start to bring some of my book ideas to life again. Things ranging from fantasy to old war fiction, I have a ton of great things I want to tell. I plan on releasing these slowly through the year and will look into means that may have Patreon or Amazon for ebooks along the way. As always these things do take time and I enjoy the work I do for a living and am there forty to sixty hours a week without fail. So I will follow my daily goals on typing up words towards these stories and all of you here will be the first to know.

A quick segue. I hope you all understand what reading this really does mean to me. This morning I was able to practically hop out of bed and get rolling with everything. It lets me know that I can do something that I’ve wanted for ages and get some feedback on it. As I’ve written before in The Culture I believe that gamers are some of the best people out there. We don’t bash others who enjoy our same hobby and can form lifelong friendships without ever even meeting face to face. Some people met the love of their lives over games and others have gained true character strength by getting through a challenge in a title they never thought they would.

So really all I ask as this short Tuesday update hits is what would you like?

I have a top five ready to go for Wednesday again and more motivation for you soon. If you like these give me a shout. Send me a message anytime and I will get back to you all. If you see me on Xbox or one of the many gaming platforms feel free to drop in and chat. Tell me what games make you happy and help add more to my list of games to play.

Until the post, tomorrow, remember play games and be happy.

Shane

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