Apathy towards my backlog

I can't muster up the willpower to play any video games, regardless of how bored I am. I have the final two episodes of Wolf Among Us to play, as well as the most recent episode for The Walking Dead. There are 144 games in my Steam library that I haven't played even once. About 1/3 of my PS3 library are games that I haven't finished and a few are still in their wrappers.

Instead, I waste time aimlessly browsing the internet or playing solitaire. My apathy is even bleeding into my writing of this blog, to the point that I am having trouble forming sentences to describe the situation I find myself in.

Hopefully this mood passes soon or I can will myself through it.

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Old Consoles Brought Back to Life.

Back in I think 1991, my parents bought me a SNES for my birthday, if I am not mistaken it was a "launch" SNES. I played the shit out of that console, in the heyday of Square and Enix playing some of my favorite RPGs, FFII(IV), FFIII(VI), Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, Earthbound. I had many other games, but those five games were the games I kept. After that SNES served me for about 8 or 9 years, it one day decided it didn't want to display any images anymore. I think the normal thing to do would have been to throw it away, but I didn't. That console had some sentimental value to me. I kept it. Through 13 or 14 years and 4 moves, that console always ended up in a box in my closet.

I had forgotten I had it. But I found it today when I was trying to get an old PS2 to work. The (slim) PS2 apparently just didn't like the default AV connector that came with it, and using a universal Component cable I have for my Wii, it worked beautifully, unfortunately my launch PS2 with the HDD gets disk read errors on every disk I insert.

Anyway, back to the SNES, like I said, I found it when I was rummaging through my closet looking for my PS2 power cord, and I just figured I'd give it a shot and see if I could get it to work. Using the AV cable from my Gamecube, I turned on the SNES in hope of seeing and hearing the opening for Secret of Mana. The black screen, my old enemy, greeted me. I was about to throw in the towel, but then it occurred to me that I could search on the internet to see if I could fix the AV issue with my SNES. I knew it wasn't the cord, because my Gamecube worked perfectly fine with it. Turns out he easiest and quickest troubleshooting step was to clean the connector slot in the SNES. My games have stayed in pristine shape, so it never dawned on me that maybe the issue was the connector in my SNES. A little rubbing alcohol on a t-shirt wrapped around an ID, and the slot was clean.

I turned on the SNES, and I was greeted by this...

I cannot put into words the elation I felt at bringing back to life my old SNES after what seems a lifetime, and to be able to recover two old consoles, one of which I have an extensive library for, was one of the greatest feelings I have felt in a very long time.

Now if I could only get my NES working again, but alas, that won't happen until I tear it apart and rebuild it, possibly in a toaster.

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Raise your glass in memory of a fallen duder.

The following are merely my thoughts and in no way represent anybody but myself.

Today, one year on, I raise my glass of Johnnie Walker Blue Label to honor the memory of Ryan T. Davis. He was taken from the world too young and too soon. Taswell was a great and very friendly man. Every person who I have ever heard tell of their meeting Ryan has said that he always made them feel welcome. Everyone, regardless of race, gender, or whatever else, was welcome. Ryan may have called people out on their bullshit, but I applauded him for it and I fully expect those around me to do the same for me. On this, the one year anniversary of his death, there is still a hole in my life shaped like a man I never met in person. I may not feel as sorrowful as I did on the day I found out about his untimely passing, but there is still some sadness at the event.

One of the best ways I can see to honor his memory is to continue subscribing to this website and doing my best to not bring discredit to it or the community. Unfortunately, the events of this past week, and during E3 in the chat, were a blemish on the reputation of this site and the community at large. And to be honest, I can't think of a worse week for that shitstorm to take place. By extension, Ryan's memory was not being honored by those "fans" who attacked critics of the site. As @jeff and others have said, that is unacceptable. I feel we, as a community, need to be more proactive in preventing the toxic minority from controlling the conversation, and in doing so help honor the memory of a man we all miss.

In closing, @rorie and the moderation staff deserve major kudos for doing their best to keep the toxic parts of the internet from tarnishing our little corner.

Bottoms up and stay classy, duders.

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After thirteen years and a lifetime, I am returning to school.

I received my high school diploma in May of 2001. Returning to school after all these years, I feel more fear and nervousness than I ever have. I don’t know why I am more afraid of walking on the campus than when I deployed to Iraq, or when I heard the news about 9/11 knowing that my mother was in DC at the Pentagon at the time. I think maybe it is fear of failure, which might be my greatest fear. Or perhaps it is fear of not being accepted by the university I wish to attend, then again maybe I am getting ahead of myself and it is a combination of these fears including that I have to take the SAT, a test I never took before since I joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school. I really wish I had taken it when I was still in high school now.

Math, a subject that I grasped with ease and considered my strong suit all those years ago, I found lacking on taking the practice test. I found my skills lacking to the extent that I fear that even with a month to go until the test, I may not be able to bring them back up to where they were. Thirteen years can do a number on your proficiencies when not used, most anything beyond basic algebra seems like gibberish to me now.

On the other hand, English, a subject I would have considered one of my less than stellar skills, seems to have improved in the intervening years; other than my tendency to write in a conversational way and use comma splices. Maybe those skills just haven't deteriorated as much.

I guess there is really nothing I can do but study hard and try not to let my perfectionist tendencies take control.

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I want to correct a mistake you "normals" keep making concerning inverted controls.

This is completely and entirely WRONG!

You "normals" always claim that "Inverters" should also invert the x-axis because of this mistake, and that mistake is shown in this image on the wiki.

The mistake is entirely with the visual of placing the stick on the back of the head. You should instead view your entire head as the analog stick. Are you doing that? Good. Now with your head as the stick you still look up when pulling the stick back and still look down when you push the stick forward. However, when you push the stick to the side, the head does not turn, it leans. In the case of aircraft, where I am sure a good number of us "Inverters" learned this control scheme, the aircraft banks to that side.

Now, when you lean your head to the side, your body tends to follow your head and turn that direction, in essence it is banking to the direction your head is leaning as an aircraft would bank to the direction you are pulling the flight stick.

This becomes even more apparent when you view your entire upper body as the analog stick, when you bend/lean your upper body, the rest of your body will go to the direction that you are leaning.

I have yet to figure out how you "normals" justify that scheme when you aren't moving a crosshair around the screen and it is instead staying in the center of the screen.

One final thought: When and why did inverted controls get named inverted? I distinctly remember them being normal when I was growing up, though my memory may be flawed.

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I played a Pokemon game for the first time in 14 years

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.

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Get Busy Living, or Get Busy Dying. That's Goddamn Right. Part 1

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.

But at least I have a badass car to show for it.

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.

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An introspective look that stemmed from a video game. (Spoilers)

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.

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Death of a "Stranger"

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?

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Thank God for cloud saves. Or whoever it was that had the idea.

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!

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