Let’s Talk Pokémon!

Pokémon is celebrating its 20th Anniversary!

That fact really puts my age into perspective, but I will say that I’m impressed that Pokémon continues to resonate with kids today. It has been a very successful franchise, and actually holds onto a special place in my heart.

Pokémon wasn’t just a game to me. From the moment that I discovered The Official Pokémon Handbook at my school’s book fair, I couldn’t quench my thirst for it. I was eight years old. I read that book over and over again — memorizing everything that I could about the Pokémon. Back in those days, I could tell you anything you wanted to know about the first 150 Pokémon.

Pokémon did play the biggest factor in my development into a solo gamer. I had always been Player 2 to an older brother that owned all the consoles, but Pokémon changed all that for me. When my parents bought me Pokémon Blue for Christmas it came with my very own Gameboy Color. Thinking back on all of that, it gave me the freedom to finally game on my own!

I have to admit that this anniversary has me feeling very nostalgic. In the spirit of said nostalgia, I’ve decided to challenge anyone who reads this!

The Challenge

Find the BEST picture of your all time favorite Pokémon and post it in the comments below! Have fun walking down memory lane!

I’ll start.

My Gaming Nostalgia

Ever really think about what it was in your life that really shaped you into the gamer that you are today? Can you remember the moment? I was recently asked these questions, and it really got me thinking.

I have to admit that it’s very difficult for me to remember one specific instance that really shaped me into the gamer that I am today. If I had to choose, there are two periods of my life that stand out.

First let me say that I’ve played video games since before I can remember, and before that I was an infant lying on the floor watching my older brother play them. (Trust me, there are home videos.) You might think that this makes it hard for me to pinpoint a time that changed me as a gamer, but it really isn’t. You see, I was always Player 2 early on. My parents decided video games were my brother’s thing. He received the systems and games as gifts, and since they were his I was only allowed to play when he wanted me to.

A big turning point for me as a gamer was when I received a Gameboy Color and Pokémon Blue for Christmas. I didn’t realize until much later that the Gameboy was my first game system, and that Pokémon was my first truly solo gaming experience. Of course, I didn’t know this at the time. I was too engrossed with actually playing Pokémon. There is even a picture of me at about seven years old curled in my dad’s old grey lounger with my head hung over my new Gameboy. I’m sure my family didn’t get to visit much with me during the time I spent adventuring through Pokémon.

Everyone might be surprised that the most influential moment of my early gaming life was a time that I wasn’t even playing the game 90% of the time. I was watching my brother play through a specific game, and he would let me play the mini-games or do miscellaneous things in the game but never the story. That game was Final Fantasy VII.  I’ll never forget the summer that he got that game. I don’t even think that we really knew how popular the game was, but we literally spent the entire summer playing it. I say we because I was so engrossed by it. The story, the graphics, the gameplay; I always wanted to play, but I settled for the mostly watching. I couldn’t get enough.

This was the summer that we snacked instead of really eating. My diet consisted of nachos, Pizza Rolls, Bagel Bites, and delicious popsicles. I can honestly say that this was when we starting choosing what we now call gamer food. That is, the food that is chosen for ease and convenience. I’m also pretty sure we never changed out of our pajama’s either.

I digress. Final Fantasy VII wasn’t the first in the Final Fantasy series that I had seen, but it was the first that I got to experience more. It was the game that got me hooked on the series, and since I’ve become quite an avid fan. That game, easy snacks, and comfy clothes made up a summer that shaped me the most as a gamer. I found my niche and my passion within the gaming world, and I haven’t turned back since.

It’s nice to look back on those moments, and it was even nicer to share them with everyone. It really makes you think about the things that make you feel nostalgic. I can’t take the credit though. A representative from a company called Man Crates sent me a request to see if I was interested in writing about those key ingredients that shaped me as a gamer.

For those of you that don’t know what Man Crates are, you should — Shame on you. Haha, I’m just kidding. They’re essentially crates that contain a bundle of quality goods for any man in your life. I’m not talking about cheap colognes, ties, socks, and boxers. They also have a new offering where they cover a gift card in concrete to be smashed open by your man — No, I’m not kidding. This company really represents Go Big or Go Home, in my opinion.

Did I mention that all the macho goods come in a wooden crate? Yes, you have to use a crowbar to get these bad boys open. I feel like that’s a manly gift in itself. Give him a wooden crate, a crow bar, and watch as he gets to show off his strength by opening it.

So if that sounds like something you would gift to someone, click their logo below!

 

Man Crates Store

PC to Console: Pt. 2

It’s been about a month since I purchased my Playstation 4 in order to play a (MMORPG) game that I originally played on the PC. That game is FFXIV: A Realm Reborn.

Long-story-short for those who don’t know: My PC’s graphics card died on me last year, and so I decided to take the other route with gaming.

Let’s forward to the present where I’ve played on the PS4, controller, and FFXIV for a month, and talk about the pros and cons I’ve discovered. These are purely my opinions and are more in relation to FFXIV gameplay than general MMORPG gameplay.

thumbup  Pros   

  • You have the versatility to sit how/where you want. Couch, Bed, Chair? Sure! I personally game at a desk, but I’m almost always leaning back into my comfy computer chair unless I’m typing. This allows me to game for longer periods of time without getting that tell-tale ache in my neck and shoulders that I used to get from playing on my desktop PC. (My boyfriend might argue that this is a con, haha)
  • Great for hand-eye coordinated folks. This is an obvious one. If you are great at console games, you’ll likely prefer to play an MMORPG on a console. Why? You have 16 buttons on a controller and it’s quite easy to memorize where they are and what they do even when considering combinations. Not to mention, these buttons are all within easy reach without moving your hands/fingers into unnatural positions. The average keyboard has 104 keys alone, and for an MMO you tack on an additional 20+ combinations for Ctrl #1-0 and Alt #1-0. You may not use all 104 keys, but it can be cumbersome to press combinations. I always hated the Ctrl #1-0 and Alt #1-0 combination for actions as you often used your left hand to press these but also needed your lefty for character movement (WASD).
  • It hones your ability to prioritize actions and unclutters your screen. On the PS4, you have what’s called “Cross Bars”. You have 8 separate bars that hold 16 actions each, with an optional +16. That’s 128 actions (+16). However, you can’t see these all at once nor would you want to fill all your space. You have to press certain combinations of buttons (I.E.: L1 and Triangle) to access each bar. When you’re in a pinch, you want to be able to quickly access those actions most needed. That’s when you begin customizing your bars so that have to press less combinations (using less bars) to access those actions. Controller usage, in this way, forces you to become a quicker more efficient player. PC users have the option of putting nearly every action on screen, but that can become cluttered and inefficient. If you have to glance over extra icons that you rarely use, it may take longer to locate that one that you do!

thumbdown  Cons

  • You have to purchase and attach a separate USB keyboard to chat. It’s a minor con, but a con nonetheless. It’s an extra purchase first off, and can be an annoyance if you choose to game away from a flat surface. When I gamed at my couch in the living room it was a pain to balance it in my lap and type, and then move it off my lap when I wanted to sink into my couch; rinse and repeat. Some people don’t mind this, but if you ever gamed on a PC (desktop) it will drive you nuts.
  • You can’t see/access every action as easily on screen. On PC, you are able to set up bars to put practically every action on screen easily seen and accessed. Simply drag mouse pointer and click. On PS4, you can’t. This requires a bit of memorization on your part as a gamer to remember where you put that certain ability and what combination of buttons access it. It also requires some time put into customization and prioritizing to be as efficient as you can with the room given to you. You may find that you don’t truly know what needs to be where until you’re smack dab in the middle of a hectic battle and need it ASAP. If you’re a healer (*ahem* me) then that can be particularly problematic.
  • You are limited to voice chat with other PS4 users. MMORPG’s are a great way to socialize with other players, and nothing beats voice chatting away while you run amuck. Unfortunately, I think there are more PC users than PS4 users. That means that most players utilize programs like Ventrillo and TeamSpeak to voice chat and thus leave the PS4 users in silence. This isn’t too big of a deal if you’re near a table or desk as you can set up via a laptop or similar device, but if you’re a couch or bed gamer it can become pretty inconvenient.

  

Just to name a few! I honestly enjoyed gaming on PC as well, and I’m not one to take one side over the other. They both have their good and bad points, of course, and it all boils down to a matter of preference over facts. I’m still withholding my judgement until after I am drowning in end-game content.

When I get to that point, I will post a final decision!

I play as Ceren Alstrahl on the Sargatanas server for anyone that’s interested!

cho-g1

Microsoft to Support “Free” Windows 10 by Charging You for Competitors’ Operating Systems

If you are planning to upgrade to the “free” Windows 10 or own an X-Box with other consoles, please read Level Whimsicality‘s post!

Not all Gamers are Created the Same

We see it all the time. A family with children goes to a public place and the scene is always the same. They walk in, sit down, and almost immediately the parents hand over their smart phones or tablets. Within minutes the kids are engrossed in their favorite games.

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Now I have a lot to say about this type of parenting method, but that’s not what I wanted to discuss. I want to touch on how this may affect the upcoming generation of gamers. Does parents’ habits of handing over their smart phones/tablets shape them into gamers? What sort of gamers are emerging from this?

Let’s start with smart phone/tablet games. They can be as simple as scrabble or as in depth as an RPG, but most kids go for the colorful simplistic games. When it comes to handheld consoles such as the Nintendo DS, PS Vita, ect., there are more complicated games available, but they also remain fairly basic for the sake of kids.

I’ve always said that I would give my children the older consoles to start out. I see so many young kids receiving the latest and greatest for Christmas, and I tend to shake my head at that. I want my children to first game on old school systems at least as far back as N64, if not farther. I want them to experience video games from the beginning, but I also want them learn video games as they evolved like I did.

Retro NES Ad

It actually benefited me to learn video games in that way, and I didn’t realize this until I started playing games with my boyfriend. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that he isn’t much of a gamer. Oh, he’ll definitely pick up a controller to play anything once, but he gravitates toward the old school games that are straightforward. The next generation games, on the other hand, have so much depth they are overwhelming at times. I don’t have the same issue. My skills and understanding of gaming evolved as the games themselves evolved. It’s as if the evolution of gaming guided us gradually into what video games are today, where as his gaming experience has skipped decades of it.

However, now I wonder if I’ve had it all wrong. I want my kids to follow the evolution of gaming so that they wouldn’t be dumped into the depths of next-gen gaming, but what if upcoming generations of gamers are learning this on mobile devices, specifically smart phones/tablets?

I really don’t know why I hadn’t considered this before. My first gaming device was a Gameboy Color. Sure, I used to play on consoles with my brother, but my first true solo play was on the Gameboy. Now look at me! I’ve gamed on console and PC for many years.

We can’t dismiss the popularity or molding skills of handheld consoles, but we as a gaming society are quick to dismiss smart phone/tablet gamers. I think it’s time to acknowledge that they may be a large portion of next generation of gamers!

Renee Giroux-Nix's daughter, Bella, 3, plays games and uses educational apps on her mother's iPhone, in Cedar Park, Texas, Oct. 10, 2010. Just as adults have a hard time putting down their iPhones, so the device is now the Toy of Choice, akin to a treasured stuffed animal, for many 1-, 2- and 3-year-olds, a phenomenon that is attracting the attention and concern of some childhood development specialists. (Ben Sklar/The New York Times) -- PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE OCT. 17, 2010.

There is an epidemic of children constantly playing games on tablets and smartphones when their parents don’t want to deal with them in public places and otherwise. In no way do I agree or wish to promote this! Video gaming is a fun and rewarding pass time that should be done in moderation and with breaks, especially when involving children.

Happy Gaming!

cho-g1

Blogging Old School

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I was blogging old school about video games from a tender young age. Just look at that proof!

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Happy Saturday!
That is all.

Classic Game Fest 2015 – Austin, TX

For those of you who don’t yet know what Classic Game Fest is, it is one of the largest retro gaming conventions in the country!  It’s a 2-day celebration featuring classic video games, retro game tournaments, costume contests, live video game music, and tons of video game/ merchandise vendors.

I’d like to start off by mentioning what happened as my boyfriend and I were walking to the convention hall. On our way to the front doors, we walked past a lot of people who were leaving for the day. One father with his little son was passing us when he stopped and asked if we had preordered our wristbands. We hadn’t, and so he pulled off his wrist band and gave it to us!

Now, these wristbands were only $20 for two days, but it made me super happy nonetheless! That meant we only had to pay for my boyfriend’s wristband and we were in.

Once inside, I had the attention span of a fly. Everywhere you looked there was something to grab your attention. I was pulled this way to look at t-shirts, and that way to look at handmade creations. All of these were video game related, of course! Oh, the money I could’ve spent at this place, haha.

I did purchase a couple of things from vendors inside.

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This adorable Navi!

Created by: The Gnarly Garden.

Chelsea Powers creates custom sculpture and ceramic art, so go buy something gnarly!

Here are other goodies of hers:

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This original art of Zelda!

Purchased from: Shark Robot.

They have original geek art on t-shirts, posters, bags, ect.

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My convention goodies!

PS: I purchased an 2XL in a woman’s t-shirt and it barely fits. Really, CGF, really?

You can find all sorts of geekery at this convention. Just take a look at these other Vendors!

Vendors weren’t the only great thing about CGF. They had several different Classic Video Games available to play, and they had a few tournaments going on. Super Smash Bro’s, Mortal Kombat, and Killer Instincts were among those tournaments, and they projected these up on the walls for everyone to watch.

Of course, there was a Costume Contest!

What was my favorite thing about CGF? The live Video Game Musicians that played on the stage!

Unfortunately, I only saw two. The first was when we first got there and was Descendents of Eldrick. They played rock versions of different video game songs, and they were awesome. We listened to a few songs at the stage and then jammed out as we walked around checking out all the vendors.

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The second artist was David Erick Ramos, a youtuber who plays ocarinas. We actually hung around and grabbed seats to hear him perform. I’m definitely glad I did! He is very talented, and plays everything from video game music to his own original pieces. It was really mesmerizing to listen to.

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Here is his YouTube channel: David Erick Ramos

I have to give major kudos to my boyfriend who isn’t into video games but went with me anyway. He survived 4 hours in an overcrowded convention where his girlfriend dragged him here and there due to her temporary overexcited ADD. He also didn’t make fun of me as I talked to him about things that sounded like they were in a different language. Gamer lingo, FTW!

Needless to say, Classic Game Fest was a blast! If you have a chance to go, then go. You won’t regret it!

cho-g1