Wednesday, December 13, 2017

That One Game....

I think anyone that has been playing video games for a long time will eventually come upon That One Game. What do I mean by That One Game?

What I mean is a game that goes above and beyond being an entertaining experience. A game that actually fulfills a role in your life. I'm talking about a game that helped you through a situation that you may otherwise have not made it through. A game that changed, perhaps even saved, your life.

I was catching up on my YouTube watching a week or so ago and came across this video by ReviewTechUSA where he talks about how the game Halo 3 probably saved his life.



While watching his video I got to thinking about the games that I have played over the years. There are plenty like Skyrim and Kingdoms of Amalur that blew my mind with how good they looked (for their time). Old beat em ups like Double Dragon 2 and Final Fight that get my blood pumped whenever I hear their soundtracks. Final Fantasy 2 for the SNES is pretty much my personal favorite RPG of all time. To this day I'll argue that Tecmo Super Bowl is the greatest football video game ever. And Payday 2 will likely be the closest I'll ever get to committing a major crime. 

But despite all the awesome and cherished memories I have from those games and many more there is only one that holds a specific special place in my heart. A game that didn't really save my life but one that helped me through the darkest time of my life. 

It was January 2004. In the previous 6 months I had basically failed out of college, lived with my mom who had just recently separated from my dad, had lived with my older sister and her family after my mom had moved down there with them, and was back in my home town.

You see my mom was sick. Cancer. Diagnosed in Summer 2003 but I didn't find out about it until Fall 2003. She was living on her own in a large city when I moved in with her to help her out. But I was still in my young and stupid phase (early 20s) and wasn't really there for her. Then she wanted to live with my older sister in another state and since I had nowhere else to go I went with her in Fall 2003.

I still wasn't completely there. Between trying to get over fucking up in college, wanting independence, trying to work at a basic mall job and being young and stupid I was all kinds of fucked up and not much good to anyone. 

She moved back to our home town late 2003 with my dad and little sister. I stayed with my older sister until January 2004 when it became clear she needed someone to be at home with her full time. My dad was working and little sister was still in high school. The rest of the family actually had direction in their lives so who better suited to do it than the family fuck up with nothing going on in his life?

To give you context my home town is a hole in middle of nowhere. Like no traffic lights and the only major chain of anything there now is a Dollar General that was just built there about 6 years ago. Even though I had a car it wasn't in that great of shape and was serving as a storage unit for most of my possessions (we were living in a temporary camper after our family home had been destroyed by storm damage and were trying to get my grandmother's home up to a livable condition) including my consoles so I only had my Gameboy Advance and one game.



I'm not sure when I actually bought it but up until January 2004 I had barely played it. Like I had maybe done 2 gyms. So I figured now was as good a time as any to finish it up.

Once I restarted playing Sapphire again I felt something. I felt like I had something that I could actually accomplish. I was collecting pokemon. I was defeating gym leaders. I was figuring out puzzles. When playing that game I wasn't just a screw up with no direction. I was actually doing something right for once.

It was a bit of a preemptive coping mechanism. 

I remember when it came time to collect the golem pokemon Regirock, Registeel, and Regice. Now let me remind you that I was in a small backwater town that wouldn't get high speed internet until about 2008 and even if it was available at the time I didn't have a pc to look things up with anyway. Meaning that when it came to finding them I had to do it the old fashion way of figuring it out for myself.

Probably the biggest obstacle was translating the 7 sentences that were in Braile into letters in order to get the history behind the golems and the clues needed to find them. Oh and they weren't straight forward either so you still had to figure out exactly what the clues meant.

Finally capturing them was one of my personal biggest gaming achievements ever. And I would need all the help I could get for what was soon to come.

My mom passed away in March 2004.

It hurt. It hurt a lot. In fact it still hurts a lot. There was so much that I didn't get to tell her. So much of me she never got to see because either I was too stupid to show it or just hadn't discovered it yet.

But Pokemon Sapphire kept me together. It gave me something to work towards. It gave me a sense of completion. It kept me sane. 

That's why I was so excited when Sapphire got a remake as Alpha Sapphire a few years ago. It let me replay my favorite entry with better graphics online capability and fine tuned music. And to this day Mudkip will always be my partner pokemon.

I wouldn't say that it saved my life or anything that serious but it certainly did improve my life a lot and helped me when I was in a really dark place. 

For me there is no question that Pokemon Sapphire would be That One Game for me.

What is That One Game for you?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

10 Reasons We REALLY Should Be Celebrating International Men's Day

So it's International Men's Day. I haven't really prepared much but I did come across this great post by Glen Poole at The Telegraph. He plainly lays out 10 reasons we should be celebrating International Men's Day. I just want to go over some that really strike a cord with me. Please bear in mind that while Glen speaks mostly from a UK perspective I'm in the US so that's where I'll be coming from.


1. Everyday isn’t International Men’s Day

This is a common complaint and derailement of the very idea of IMD. This often comes from (mostly) women and feminists that simply don't like the idea of dedicating time to focus on men. They think that if they can convince everyone that men get attention all the time and don't really need any specific focus we can all get back to the "real" focus which in their minds should be women. Honestly I think they don't like it simply because IMD is something that has come up outside of the purview of women's interests and feminism but that is largely speculation.

2. We need to talk about men

If you stop and take a look at how men are doing these days you will quickly realize that things aren't so great and that everyday is not IMD. The vast majority of suicides in the US are male. Boys are falling behind girls in nearly every level of education. Men have a shorter life expectancy than women. Fathers are fighting against an unjust system to stay in their children's lives. The majority of the homeless in America are men (here on page 9). So yeah I don't think there is anything with talking about men....in some other capacity than "what are men doing wrong and how can they do better for the sake of women?".

3. Politicians have embraced the day

While things are not as fortunate here in the US the idea of IMD is gaining traction here. The city of Philadelphia is one of the first, if not the first, city in the US whose mayor has issued an IMD Proclamation. Yes that won't fix men's issues overnight but the longest journey has to start with a single step.

4. It’s inclusive of all men and boys

One thing complainers and naysayers will do when they want to rail against the idea of IMD is that they will try to liken it to  "Heterosexual Pride" or "White History Month". Personally I think that says more about what they think of men than it does about men. Think about it. In order to prevent focusing on men and boys these people generalize "men" as "straight white guys" as a quick way to declare that we don't need any attention.

That sounds pretty racist and sexist to me but somehow that keeps getting passed off as "progressive". Gay. Straight. Transgender. Cisgender. All races. All religions. All economic positions. We are men. We really have to get past this tendency to pick apart men as a group into other categories just to keep us divided. Being supportive men means being supportive of men regardless of other characteristics.

8. You can be a feminist and support IMD

Feminists are quick to say that you should be a feminist because feminism supports men. To that I have to ask, "Why are feminists so dead set against International Men's Day?". Yes I know "not all feminists" but there WAY TOO many that are against it for that to resolve the question. You would think that a movement that frequently brands itself as being supportive of all people even men would be on board with setting aside some time for men to focus on helping them for their own sake.

I mean unless there is something wrong with being supportive of men for their own sake......?

You should definitely go read Poole's whole list and more importantly don't be scared to help a guy out. Ask him how he is doing. Let him know you're there to listen to him if he needs an ear. Let him know that you are there to support him if he needs help. Let him know that he matters to you.

Have a good day folks.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Age +1

So I turned 37 today. 

Don't feel any older.

Went out for a late lunch with the wife.

Got some Funko Pops for gifts from the wife.

Daughter made me a cake. Lemon cake with lemon frosting.

Bought myself a copy of the Legend of Zelda Art and Artifacts book and a new video card (to hopefully get my main pc back up and running).

Also the last day of my vacation.

All in all a good day.

Back to the grind tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

31 Days of Pumpkin - Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream


Here we go folks the last treat.

Ben & Jerry's Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream.

This is one I've been eating the past few years. Love this stuff to death because not only does it taste great but it's not full of nuts, chips, fudge, and what all else goes in most flavors of Ben & Jerry's. It's just pumpkin cheesecake ice cream with graham cracker bits.

I'm lactose intolerant so I have to eat it in small portions bit it worth every bite.

Hands down my most favorite treat of the series. 

So that's all people. 31 pumpkin treats to enjoy in the Fall. Considering I've covered so many now I doubt I'll be able to do 31 treats every so how year without repeating so I'll likely do something different next year.

Take it easy!!!

Monday, October 30, 2017

31 Days of Pumpkin - Pumpkin Spice Special K


Special K is one of my favorite cereals. Pumpkin Spice is one of my favorite seasonings. Putting them together?

Magic.

I picked these up a few days ago and have been looking forward to trying them and I was pleased. 

Special K is a pretty tough cereal so it has more resistance to going soggy than the pumpkin spice life I talked about previously.

The spices were a good mix and went really well with the faint hint of sweetness that Special K has.

So far I have only seen these at Wal-Mart and only in the last week or two. I'm hoping a lot of them make it to the clearance isle.

Here we are folks one more to go. What pumpkin spice treat will I end things with?

Come back tomorrow to find out!