Tag Archives: video games

Let’s Talk About Piracy

Stealing is wrong. You know that, I know that. I really know that. I have an almost pathological inability to steal. Once, when I was about eight, I went into a convenience store with my mom. We grabbed some snacks, and as we got ready to check out, I grabbed a 25 cent stick of gum. However, I don’t think my mom nor the clerk saw this, and as we walked out, I left wondering if I had just stolen something.

To this day I’m not sure if I stole this or not, but at the same, I’ve more than repaid the location with ‘tips’ and the like.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I had nightmares about stealing and jail and moral condemnation to hell and who knows what else. I freaked out a little bit. The next time I was in that stores, I tried to give the clerk my money, as a tip, but she wouldn’t accept it from a little kid. She didn’t know I was trying to right such a great universal wrong, and I wasn’t going to say I stole something, because I didn’t even know if I did in the first place. It’s been twenty years, but I still feel guilty and morose over a potential 25cent piece of gum.

Stealing, then, is unquestionably wrong. Piracy, for some reason, doesn’t have the same moral weight behind it. Continue reading

My Evolution of Musical Tastes

Music is highly subjective. I can like one thing, you can like something else, and that’s perfectly okay. We don’t all need to like the same genres or styles, and even if we do, we can prefer different artists within those genres. You can’t really be wrong when it comes to music.

Unless you like Friday. They you are a terrible person.

I wrote a quick thing about my musical tastes before, and I realized afterwards that I was wrong. Well, more accurately, my tastes had evolved in a more complex way than I had originally thought. All of my music is stored digitally now, like most people, and each song has an ‘acquired date.’ By sorting through these, I can see the literal evolution of my music library over time. It’s quite interesting, actually. Well, maybe not to you, but for me it’s interesting. Continue reading

The Dangers of Late Night YouTube

Every since my computer decided to install stupid updates over a 24-hour period, my schedule has been thrown all out of whack. I had to stay up late that night to finish my writing, which made me groggy the next day, which I overcompensated by sleeping in, which made it harder to fall asleep that night, and this then compounded onto itself until we reached last night, 11:30pm.

No. The answer is always no. God.

I’m normally in bed by this time, or if I’m still awake I’m reading or meditating or at the very least getting ready to go to bed. Last night was not normal. I was too awake to go to bed. I knew if I tried to sleep, I’d just lie awake, tossing and turning for at least the next 45min, if not more. I needed to do something before going to bed, but what? Read? Watch some random television? Play a videogame?

And that’s when YouTube beckoned. Continue reading

My SD TV Adventure, or, How Much Do Graphics Matter?

Last week I finally beat FFXIII, and though I panned the game and have no intention of ever playing it again, I can’t deny how pretty it looked. The backgrounds, the characters, the fluid animations, even individual strands of hair looked good. The game is quite old at this point, in videogame terms at least, but it still stands tall in the graphics department.

It’s just a shame those graphics were used to create such stupid characters.

When I finally finished FFXIII, I needed to wash away that experience with something classic. About a week earlier I had listened to Twilight Symphony, a re-orchestrated version of the music in Zelda: Twilight Princess. I later downloaded the free album from their website. The music by itself is incredibly, but hearing it brought back memories. I loved Twilight Princess, and you can never go wrong with a Legend of Zelda game. Yes, let’s play that. Continue reading

Finally Beating Final Fantasy XIII

I’m a completionist. If I start something, I finish it. This is especially true for videogames. If I start playing a game, I need to finish it. This is especially true if I pay full price. A bargain bin game, or something on sale, I don’t feel the same pressure to complete. When something costs $50 or more, though, I definitely want to extract every minute of value.

I’m a picky gamer, in that I don’t play too many games. I’m not one of those people with a thousand games in my backlog. I focus on classics and those with near unanimous positive reviews. I also have my favourite series and genres, and I try to play through them, warts and all. This week, I finally played through perhaps the most wart-infested game of the Final Fantasy series, XIII.

This makes the game look far better than it actually is.

Some background: I did not buy this game at launch. I didn’t even own a PS3 at that time. Reviews were mixed, to say the least, and upon hearing that I had little interest in the game. Five years later, I got a PS3, and I found FFXIII in the bargain bin, $10. Well, why not? I’ve played every other console game in the Final Fantasy series, enjoying almost all of them, so let’s complete the collection. Continue reading

Being an Adult Videogame Player

A few weeks ago, I filled out a survey. I don’t remember much of the details: I think it was one of those fun little Internet things someone sends you every now and then. You know, “What type of Star Wars character are you?” sort of thing. It wasn’t about Star Wars. I actually don’t remember what it was about, or what result I got. I only remember one question.

It was a fill in the blank. “Adults who play videogames are … ?” It then provided two possible answers, ‘immature’ or ‘children at heart’. I stalled at that question for about five minutes. Where’s ‘none of the above’? Where’s ‘completely normal’? Hell, where’s ‘geek’? That seems to hit closer to home. What a terrible set of answers. You can tell whoever designed this never played videogames.

This is the artistic approximation of most adult videogame players. We are quite an interesting bunch.

Continue reading

Earning Your Play

Do you know what’s fun? Doing fun things. Do you know what’s not fun? Not doing fun things. Sorry for stating the obvious, but it’s important for the point I want to make. A lot of life isn’t fun. I don’t know, maybe you find shopping for groceries fun, but it’s not the highlight of my day. Same with doing taxes or cleaning or working out; these things are important, surely, but they aren’t exactly fun.

This person appears inquisitive and healthy, but not having fun.

In general, life can be divided into categories, things that are fun and things that are important. I will admit right away there is a lot of subjectivity here. What I call fun, say chess, you might find completely boring. Similarly, what I find to be very important, learning to write better, you may find only moderately important, or not important at all. That’s okay, it’s natural, and it won’t detract from my main point.

Here’s the issue: very often, we put off doing what is important over what is fun (or easy or convenient). “I know working out is important, but I just want to sit and watch TV today. I’ll do it tomorrow.” And then that gets pushed to tomorrow and tomorrow and, opps, it never gets done. Continue reading

How Videogames Have Ruined My Life: Anger

I have a superpower: I never get angry. Most of my friends have never seen me angry. They joke about it at times. I’m a third-degree blackbelt, so in theory an angry me could be a dangerous me. We’re talking theoreticals here, because so far it hasn’t happened. Indeed, there’s a good chance all my martial arts training, which emphasizes self-control and mastery, helps prevent anger in the first place.

In general, I have a very zen approach to life.

I should also add that I’m not one of those people who feel angry but just never express it, instead bottling it up inside until, one fateful day, it explodes into unexpected fireworks. You see, this model still assumes getting angry in the first place, something I almost completely avoid. I work with children, sometimes very small, trying, disruptive children, but I still don’t get angry. Frustrated at times? Yes. Mad? Not really.

You would almost think I’m not human, or perhaps that I’ve discovered enlightenment … and then you see me play a videogame and my aura of emotional control disintegrates. Continue reading

The Downside of Completionism

I apologize for the following redundant definition, but a completionist is someone who needs to complete a given task. If something begins, it needs to be completed. There are different varieties and degrees of this, and I imagine most people have felt it in some sense, at least in passing.

Here’s a common example: you purchased tickets to a terrible movie. You didn’t know it was terrible until you sat through the first mind-numbing hour. There’s 45min left. Do you sit through the rest or do you walk out? I mean, you already invested time and money, why not see it through? Maybe it will get better. If you can think like that, then you are a completionist, at least in some way.

When you saw this scene, you should have left. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil the movie for you. Just know, if you watch an old film and this scene appears, know that the movie never gets better.

If you can walk out, then I admire you greatly. I do not have this ability. Continue reading

How Videogames Have Helped Me: Sickness

I’ve been rather cruel to videogames. I’ve written three different posts over the last three months claiming how videogames ruined my life. That expression is slightly tongue-in-cheek, but there is truth in it. If I had never played video games, or at least never played those specific games I mentioned in each post, my life would likely be changed for the better.

Maybe not THIS much for the better, but still for the better.

That’s all well and true, but that’s only half the story. Videogames have also played a viable support role in my life. They’ve helped me think differently, overcome obstacles, engage socially and, of course, provided thousands of hours entertainment. It would be remiss of me not to mention all the positives of videogames. Continue reading