Back when Pokemon Red first came out, on paper it seemed like a game I would enjoy. I borrowed a friends copy and attempted to play it. I say attempted because I got to the second or maybe third town before I gave up on the game. It was tedious and boring as shit to me. Based on that experience, I avoided subsequent Pokemon games since, as far as I could tell, there weren't any meaningful changes to the formula that would cause me to change my opinion of the series.
Fast forward to November 22nd when I purchased the Zelda 3DSXL bundle. A friend of mine had been pestering me to try playing the new Pokemon game since I was getting a 3DS for the first time, so I picked up Pokemon Y when I picked up my bundle (along with a couple other games, but those aren't important.) I can't put my finger on what they changed that made this new game catch and keep my attention, but I have now beaten 6 of 8 gyms, and am just under 2/3s the way through completing the Pokedex. I dare say I am actually enjoying this game.
There are several changes that happened between Red and Y beyond the obvious graphical improvements. Experience Share is probably the main thing that has helped my enjoyment of the game; not having to switch out my pokemon to get them to level up gets rid of the majority of the tedium I felt in Red. The roller skates are a pro and a con to me. Yes they allow you to travel faster before you get the bike, but I feel that the accuracy of your movement is hindered by such.
There is one thing that I really just don't care for in Pokemon Y though. The camera in Lumiose CIty is too fucking close and too low when you aren't riding the bike. I understand what they were going for, but their execution of it is piss poor. I've heard people call Lumiose a nightmare to navigate, I wouldn't go that far, but is definitely annoying since you don't have camera control.
All in all I won't let my dislike of Lumiose hamper my enjoyment of Pokemon Y, it is a rather enjoyable experience. Does this mean I'll be picking up the next Pokemon game? Probably not, and I almost certainly won't be going back to play the older games, but my opinion of the series has definitely improved. I also kinda understand why people clamor for a Pokemon MMO, but I seriously doubt that will ever happen.
One final thought: Fairy Tale Girl looks high as fuck.
If you've read my last blog, than you are probably aware that after playing Gone Home, I took a long hard look at myself and I didn't like what I saw. A little background info about myself to maybe make this a little more understandable.
I was born in 1981, I grew up in San Diego, CA. I was considered a "gifted" child when it came to education. Math, reading, and writing; I excelled at all of them. I was rather creative and due to my passion for writing, I wrote numerous little stories as I grew up. Having an interest in video games, I also came up with ideas for them. I think being "gifted" was a detriment more than a blessing for me. School was not challenging, nor engaging, and by the time I hit middle school, my grades were merely passing because I was bored with school and school work.
I barely graduated high school in 2000, and at the end of July of 2001, I joined the US Marine Corps. That was a challenge. A goal for me to accomplish, to be one of the few and the proud. Marine Corps boot camp is 13 weeks long, and a mere five weeks into my training, 9/11/2001. Being of prideful American stock, I was ready to "get some." Obviously, I had to finish training first. After boot camp, I had a less than eventful enlistment. I volunteered for every deployment that came up, but since my first duty station was in Okinawa, there weren't many going to Iraq or Afghanistan, and, to myself at least, it seemed I had made myself too valuable and was denied the opportunity to go on any of those deployments. My active duty enlistment ended in 2005 as a corporal, and I decided to go into the reserves, since they always seemed to be getting deployed. I finally did get deployed to Iraq, as a sergeant. I won't go into my experiences there, suffice to say it was a sobering one. I was a fool to want to go to war; there is no glory there, "heroes" are dangerous, and man is it fucking boring some times. Real heroes are the man on your left and right that are helping keep you safe while you do the same for them.
I was passed over for promotion to staff sergeant, and that ended my time in the Marine Corps in 2011, since I couldn't do a full enlistment on active duty, they wouldn't let me do an extension, and I was done with the reserves. So I came home, no more challenges to face except civilian life.
Since leaving the Marine Corps, I feel like I've been in a holding pattern. Same shit, different day. I was surviving, but not really living. Go to the shitty job you got in this shitty economy to pay your bills. Day in and day out, the same thing. I lost that passion I had for life somewhere in that transition from marine to civilian. Tired, cynical war veteran who is just surviving. That's a pretty apt description of me, and not one I'm happy with.
Here's the meat of the matter...I think I may be able to change that, or at least give myself something to live for. A goal, a challenge to face and conquer. And since I've had the midlife crisis car since I was 27, why not go whole fucking hog with it? Take command of my crisis. Find myself or some shit. At least I'd have a interesting story when all is said and done, and maybe, just maybe, I will be refreshed and love living life again.
I am planning a trip; a drive in that car around the United States. Starting in Jacksonville, FL across the southern states to San Diego to see my brother, then up the PCH to see some friends in Oregon, maybe up to Washington to just drive the entirety of the PCH. Then I am going to drive across the northern states, an area of the country I haven't been to, on my way to Toronto visit some family. Making a stop in South Burlington, VT to visit the Magic Hat Brewery for a tour, I then plan on heading back to Florida, first making a stop in Providence,RI just so I can say I've been to every state on the eastern seaboard. This drive, as it stands now, is 8500 miles, and I figure it will cost me about $2000 in gas.
Right now my trip is in the planning stages, and that's where I need some help.I'm not asking for money, I need some places to stop and see on this voyage. I've got a couple spots I'm planning on hitting, like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, getting some BBQ at The Shed in Mississippi, and the Grand Canyon, since I've only ever flown over it. But I would like more. So I am asking that if you know of some places that are awe-inspiring, or some oddball attraction that is must see, or just something cool, please give me ideas.
I don't plan on making this trek until either late 2014, or spring 2015, I figure it will take me that long to save up the money necessary for this. So there is plenty of time to suggest, and I appreciate any help.
One final thing, take it or leave it, always have a goal, something to strive for, something difficult to achieve, conflict and challenges make life interesting. And for those users who are still in their early 20's or younger, by all means grow old. But don't ever fucking grow up.
About 12 hours ago, I finished Gone Home, and the game really resonated with me, I knew a couple of the reasons, but I wasn't entirely sure why. After vainly trying to stop thinking about the game and get some sleep for the past couple hours, I have realized why. I shall preface this by saying there are endgame Gone Home spoilers to follow, so don't read if you haven't played the game.
These days, I don't feel much of anything, fewer highs and lows, mainly just an even melancholy. Games, by extension, don't make me feel anything, and immersion is a difficult thing for me, but I was happy, truly happy, for a fictional character when I found out she ran off with her lover. At the same time, I was sad, but not for Sam. I was sad for myself.
If you had told me 18 years ago, when the game took place, that I would grow up to be a tired, cynical war veteran working a dead end job just surviving, I would have punched you in the face. I was going to be an author. And an astronaut. And maybe a game developer. I had fucking passion. I loved life and living it. My friends and I were going to conquer the world, we just didn't know how, and we weren't going to let that stop us.
My biggest passion was, by far, writing. When I was a senior in high school, for my senior project, I was going to write a book. I think my first mistake was letting my mentor on the project talk me down to writing just three chapters. Had I stayed with writing a full book, I might have seen it as a challenge to complete it in such a short time and finished it. 14 years later, I still only have those three chapters.
As I played through Gone Home, many of Sam's interests mirrored my own from that time period. I listened to punk rock and was very anti-establishment. I was rather into video games, still am really. I loved ghost stories, and X-Files was a favorite show of mine. I'm surprised there weren't any Unsolved Mysteries tapes in Gone Home, I feel that would have been right up Sam's alley.
As I said before, I was happy that Sam had run off to be with Lonnie. Up until that second to last note, I was afraid I was going to find Sam hanging from the ceiling in the attic. I've had my brush with similar situations as to what Sam was going through. Of course, that sadness I felt was for the person I used to be; that passionate writer, that creative young man.
He's gone now, and all that sits in his place is a tired, cynical war veteran. One that works a dead end job, merely surviving life. And that is no way to live.
I guess I'm not as stoic as I thought, I have tried to write this three times and stopped each time due to tears. As it is, the amount that is here, is all of my thoughts on the matter that I can actually form into some form of coherence.
It is a strange thing to feel a profound sense of sorrow and loss at the death of a man I have never actually met, but I feel it as clearly as if Ryan were one of the several friends and family I've had to say goodbye to in the last 10 years. Since I first was linked to this site in 2010, Ryan has been an integral part of my week, be it as host of the Bombcast on Tuesdays, TNT on Thursdays, or just ringing in the week on Mondays. I will truly miss him, and my sincerest condolences go out to Jeff, the crew, and Ryan's family.
Ryan, one final song for your Summerjam approval (or disapproval)
I have an item I was going to send the crew before I learned of Ryan's passing, and even though it won't be sent for the original reason, I'd feel wrong not sending it. Anybody have the mailbag address?
Recently had my laptop's solid state hard drive die on me, and among the casualties of the failure were 190 Gb of music, and all my PC game saves/mods/etc. The music, unfortunately, is gone, I already shed a tear and drank a shot in it's memory, but much to my surprise, the vast majority of my game saves, being that they were for Steam games, were saved from the apocalypse via cloud saves, something I thought I didn't use. I'm probably more happy about this than I need to be, but the fact that I've already gone through Binding of Isaac four times and didn't want to have to do it again just to get back to where I was is a ray of sunshine in an event that was before all doom and gloom. Though I suppose it could have been worse, my entire laptop could have died like my previous one, or it could have done like my last phone and deleted it's own operating system. Optimism!
A question that had previously come to me when I was playing GTA4 on 360.
First, a little backstory: I originally played GTA3 and the others prior to GTA4 on PS2, but I purchased them for XBox as well so my brother could play them. While playing the XBox version of GTA3, I was able to tune to a station while driving s vehicle that would play whatever music I had on my XBox, I thought that was really cool. Cut forward however many years it was, playing GTA4 on 360, that is no longer possible, if I want to play music that is on my 360, (while not as extensive as on my original XBox, is still a decent amount,) it plays over the game audio and is not linked to a radio station in the game, same goes for SR3.
Don't get me wrong, SR3 has an outstanding soundtrack, I especially love the Adult Swim station and the "mix tape" ability, but sometimes I would like to listen to some of the songs that are on my 360 in game and not have the game audio drowned out. Now for the question:
If they could do it on the original XBox, why do they not do that on the 360?
An acquaintance of mine said that they spend so much on the liscencing of the music thaat they probably want to make sure you hear it, and while that might be somewhat true, if that was the only reason, they wouldn't give you the ability to turn off the music. Any thoughts?
Throughout my (as of tomorrow) 30 years of life, whenever someone would find out I was born on Christmas, their immediate reaction was "I bet that sucked, getting cheated for presents." The response I always gave was, not really. I am a quality over quantity type person, always have been, I would much rather have one quality item/present then ten run of the mill items/presents. Because I had this mindset, I always only asked for one thing every year, and usually got it or some reasonable substitute. My parents were good about also providing me with other, lesser presents, so I never felt cheated. Today, I realize that, since I have only ever experienced my life with my birthday being on Christmas, I don't have another point of view to compare with and don't know if I would feel differently if my birthday was in June. I will say the only thing I ever felt sucked is that I had to wait a whole year between days I received gifts. Doesn't bother me anymore.
There are two points I want to touch on, that was one, the other is that never, in my 360 months of life, has anyonee ever commented on the situation of giving other people presents on your birthday. Take that June birthday again, do you think someone born in June, or July, or any other day of the year, possibly barring the week of and after Christmas, would ever think of giving someone else a present on their birthday? I feel quite certain 99% of people would say, vehemently "FUCK NO!" Well, maybe not that strongly, the point remains. Admittedly, for the first 18 or 19 years of my life, I felt the same way, and refused to get other people Christmas presents out of a sense of pride and selfishness. I thought to myself, "This is my day, I'm not giving other people presents on my day, they don't give me presents on their birthday."
Happily, I no longer think like that, and I say happily because I no longer have that stress in my life, I have let go of the anger at seeing other people getting gifts on my birthday. Indeed, I take great pleasure in giving gifts to friends and family if it brings them some small amount of happiness, however brief it may be. One of the other reasons I don't mind so much anymore, is that as an adult, I find myself buying all the stuff that other people could buy me as a present, not leaving much else. A few examples would be, my mom wanted to buy me an XBOX 360, I had already bought one in that year in August, wanted to buy a new laptop, too late, already had one. I have to force myself to deny myself something I want so my family can get it for me later in the year. Sometimes it isn't so bad and a particular item comes out late November or early December.
Anyway, my rambling is done, and to whomever may be reading this, enjoy this Christmas, if the Mayans were correct, it could be our last.