Pokémon Go

Alright I’m going to jump on the band wagon and talk about it. Just to clarify……yes, I am 30 years old and yes, I am playing Pokémon Go. I grew up when Pokémon when it first hit the US so the nostalgia is strong here. I will also point out that my wife, brother in-law, most of my friends, and some of my co-workers are also playing. My point being is that judge me however you want I really don’t care one way or the other.

I have always been walking throughout my neighborhood as part of my exercise routine and my natural curiosity has always led me to explore and find the interesting and historical parts of it. What the Pokémon Go app has done is add a more fun component to my walk (I have used augmented reality apps in the past, but none that really maintained my attention) and extended my time walking. I have yet to fully experience the social aspect of the game, but I’m sure that will come with time.

And with the good comes the bad…..or more like the dumb. So in the local news Pokémon Go has been the go to story for a variety of reasons, but one has stood out the most to me. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 people got locked inside a cemetery while hunting Pokémon. Now, I don’t hang out in cemeteries, but I’ve noted on more than one occasion that much like state and municipal parks they close at sunset. (There are signs.) What was even more annoying was there were grown ass adults there and used ZERO common sense.

What got me mad though was that at least two police officers, and fire truck, and I believe an ambulance crew were taken off availability while they tracked down the care taker to let these idiots out of the cemetery. What’s the big deal you ask? Gee I don’t know maybe these emergency services personal would have been needed for an actual emergency oh and the waste of tax payers dollars tying up these resources.

Please for the love of cake people. Use common sense when playing. This is tame in comparison I’m sure of the things to come. Above all though have fun and enjoy.

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Video Games Yah or Nah?

I’m not really sure what parental advocate group started ragging on video games way back when, but can we please cut that shit out. Every once in a while I watch/read a news piece about how video games are destroying our society or causing some other horrific issue. I’ve got a list of about 100 other things that is going to bring society to a grinding halt long before video games will. Let’s examine what I know to be good things that have come from video games.

It does improve hand eye coordination to a point. Whether using a controller or a motion detection peripheral the player still has to interact with their hands while still looking at the screen. Your brain is literally being forced to get your hands and unison in sink. I’m not saying this will improve your baseball swing, but will train your brain to correlate the relationship quicker.

Depending on the game being played and honestly most games in general there is a learning stretch of some kind. All games require the player to think on some level either on how to unlock a door to gain entry to a room that has a needed piece of equipment or clue to the mystery or how to strategically place your forces in order to conquer the battlefield. Video games will force you to use your cognitive processing and puzzle solving skills.

There is also the social interaction aspect of gaming as well. Almost all of my gaming friends I have real life interactions with throughout the year. However, I do not hold that as necessary. A couple of my friends I interact with through online gaming no longer live in the area locally so meeting up for some pizza isn’t exactly an option. Let’s dive a little deeper into the social aspects of gaming.

I can probably find about a dozen or so articles of how couples met and gamed together online before dating, then moving in together, and finally marriage. Yes, it is possible to find your perfect mate through gaming. I can think of a few people who have found a roommate through gaming as well. How about those how have social anxiety disorders?

Without getting too technical there are people who have such anxiety that venturing out into the world and interacting with the masses scares the bejesus’s out of them. However, from the safety and comfort of their own domicile they can still interact with other people and have and maintain relationships that way.

In order to give a somewhat balanced view point on the good v. bad of video games here are some negative points. For those that will keep banging the drum that video games are too violent and that people will act them out I immediately call bullshit. First off just turn on any national news network and I promise at some point they will show something significantly more violent than anything the average video game has ever portrayed. Secondly for those that have “confessed” to be acting out a video game generally have some sort of mental health issue and/or are a child who has not been taught better. I understood early on without much input from my parents that video games are fantasy despite how close to real life or based on true events a game might be. It is your job as a parent to have a conversation with your child to remind them and check that they understand video games are just fantasy. There are more difficult topics in which need to be discussed with your child(ren), this one should be a walk in the park.

The other big issue I find most gamers have is knowing when to save and stop. (It is important to save before stopping because there’s nothing worse than working hard to complete part of a level and then losing all that progress.) On release day or when you are just picking up a game for the first time I can sympathize with and to an extent encourage a bender session. Nothings sweeter than just plowing through a bunch of a brand new game for the first time. Just remember to take bathroom breaks and eat. Beyond that you might have a problem.

I get that internet connection is probably best in the evening into the early morning, but there’s this thing called sleep. I have talked at length of how important it is to have an adequate amount. 3 to 4 hours a night is not enough. Especially, if you have to show up for school or work later that day. (Especially if your work is school. Voice of experience here people.)

There are more important things in life other than video games as well. Put the controller down and go outside for a bit. I don’t care what it is that you do, but a little fresh air never hurt anyone. The makers of the Wii have enough of a sense of humor to remind you of that occasionally.

Bottom line here is that there is room for video games in people’s lives. Schedule into your daily routine however you like, just be reasonable about the time you dedicate to it.

 

E3

So the yearly Electronic Entertainment Expo is happening yet again. I am very excited for all the new games and advancements within the industry to happen late this year and early next year. You’ll have to excuse my lack depth and general complaining.

Vidyeah games are one of the few things that I enjoy almost to the point of it being considered a vice. I will refrain from fan boying hardcore on anyone game or system. To each their own, game on people.

Core System Failure

For almost four days now one of the core systems for the Xbox 360 gaming platform has been offline now. The system starts up and loads all program like normal, I can even get the game to launch, but when it comes to connecting to the multiplayer section of any game it immediately disconnects and all sorts of error codes occur and the trouble shooting system starts up.

I can understand the delay to service restoration due to the observation of Memorial Day, but here we are heading into day five and they still don’t have their shit together. I’m not even going to pretend to even understand the complexities of how all these systems are integrated and choreographed to work in harmony together. However, when you are a multibillion dollar company and are supposed to have some of the worlds best computer technologists working for you we have surpassed the point of understanding.

72 hours is my absolute limit on critical systems shut down or failures. Unless there are extenuating circumstances such as a natural disaster or occupational forces from North Korea have taken over there really isn’t an excuse. I am confident that gamers will be compensated with reimbursement in terms of free “gold” level online gaming access, but I could care less. As I progress further into writing the next chapters of my life’s saga I have less and less time for gaming. When I am denied access for the time I can dedicate to gaming it becomes really……..not really sure how to describe it….disappointing is the word I will use, but it does not describe what I feel.

#firstworldproblems

In todays current generation of video games I know that one of the first things a lot of people rush to do is looking for a way to get an edge over other players or the game itself. Sometimes it’s exploiting a glitch in the game other times it’s modifying the game controller. There are a multitude of ways in order to get that edge, but when you are playing in public servers I consider it cheating. So do the game developers.

If your aren’t playing the game the way it was intended to be then you are indeed cheating. I don’t care how competitive you are or that you are just trying to use all tools at your disposal in order to win. Stop mucking it up for the rest of us. For starters the developers have programs that constantly scan the servers looking for things like this so once detected your not only getting yourself booted, but you are most likely getting everyone booted from the game.

Secondly you are discouraging younger/newer players. I hate when this happens even in real world games because now the next generation of potential gamers is being tainted and turned away. Even with my number of years of gaming and understanding that this is going to happen on some level all the time I will stop playing a game for months until I know for certain that any potential cheating problems have been fixed/halted.

However, I won’t totally begrudge these people. They do help game developers expose and fix weaknesses for the current game and shape future games. I have also seen some fun and interesting things come out of meddling with the game. The latest incarnation of Grand Theft Auto being the prime example of that. Developers have recognized that people will always want to challenge the game itself and have made it so that we can do so on our own private servers and rooms. Please do so.

Sequels

They say that a Sequel never holds up as good as the original. I’m pretty much in agreement with this except for Iron Man, Tony Stark/ RDJ is my man crush. Judge me how you will.

With that being said I can say with some confidence that the powers that be in Hollywood are not interested in making original content anymore. The second anything takes off almost within a year of release there are reports of a sequel. Ill point to the talks of Frozen II and the continuation of the Fast and Furious series. (RIP Paul Walker)

My other gripe with sequels is the video game industry. The Gears of War series almost ran themselves into the ground, but luckily they stopped after the Judgment release and last I checked they are looking at how to reboot the series with a fresh story line last I checked. However, the Call of Duty franchise is determined to  keep going no matter what the cost. Even with three different studios working on separate projects going forward from the most recent title release I don’t see the Fanchise standing the test of time. I think COD has been suffering some series fatigue since ghosts to the effect that I didn’t even bother picking up the most recent title. I plan to discuss series fatigue in a future Blog so stay tuned kids.