majadamus / Member

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Too Many Hobbies

Years and years have gone by and my video game collection keeps growing and growing. I beat a few games here and there in hopes of shortening my backlog significantly. My life is becoming busier the more money I receive. I’m almost near my goal of buying a house. Maybe the add on expenses of home ownership will curb my insatiable desire to buy video games. I may have subconsciously tried to save money by replacing my # 1 hobby, video games, with reading books. If you read a lot, buying books can be just as expensive or more than gaming. The downside to having these two main hobbies is trying to find time and money to keep up with them.

I work two jobs. As of right now I can afford to sustain a disposable income for these two hobbies. These aren’t my only hobbies, however. I also like to draw which I’ve taken a break from a year to see if I still want to do it. And I still do. I also enjoy writing. I’m not particularly good at either hobby, but I enjoy them immensely.

Drawing and writing are my least expensive hobbies, but require a great deal more of time to become skilled at. But, I have to get realistic with myself here that I’m probably going to have to cut off one my lifelong hobbies. It will probably be drawing. I have a lot of ideas I’d like to get drawn on paper, but I’m often told writing is the best choice for me to express myself by others. At the age of five I was set on becoming a great cartoonist. Nearly three decades later I might be coming to the realization that I’m not that good at drawing. Video games and books occupy most of my free time. And I can’t let these two hobbies go. These two interests are what I’m primarily focused on.

In time I hope this passion for gaming and reading lead to something rewarding in my life. If it doesn’t, oh well, at least I got some joy out of it.

Hard going back to the Wii

I have recently started to make a conscientious effort in trying to shorten my backlog list. I beat Gears of War 3 last weekend, and I've started to play Turnabout Reclaimed DLC for the 3DS. So far so good. I have beaten four games in total this year. I'm off to a decent start. I've been mainly focusing on last generations' games, but I have only been playing mostly PS3 and 360 games. My Wii is sadly being neglected collecting dust. I want to go back to either No More Heroes 2 or Super Mario Bros. Wii. But, I don't want to get readjusted to the awkward controls. The Wii mote seems more appropriate for No More Heroes 2, and not so much for Super Mario Bros Wii.

No More Heroes 2 makes better use of the Wii mote because of the motion commands demand more use of it. Super Mario Bros. Wii has shaking the Wii mote to have your character do a spinning jump. This game is a lot more challenging than I thought it was going to be. Sometimes I have to shake the Wii mote while Mario is jumping in the air, and this lead to frustrating missed platform landings. When I come home from work, and I want to play video game I don't want to be moving much, but my fingers on the controller/keyboard.

I want to go back to my Wii and finish up other games as well like Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Super Paper Mario. I have a "To Be Played" stored on this laptop I'm typing on. After I get through this list I will try to get back to the Wii. The "Too Be Played" list might seem unnecessary, but I have a similar list for reading books, and I read almost 60 books last year because I stuck to my "To Be Read List". Honestly I haven't been sticking to my video game list. I might have to do with me taking reading more seriously. It's been ingrained my brain from school and parenting that reading time is serious time, and video games are just a waste of time. Maybe that's the case. I don't see anything that I enjoy a waste of time, but I probably should remind myself of that every now and then so I can get through these 100's of damn video games.

Realizations of A 30 Year Old Gamer

Nearly three decades of gaming, and I’m still not considered one of the best gamers out there. There was a time when I was unaware of highly skilled gamers who speedrun and compete professionally causing me to believe that I was a top tier gamer. This was pre-internet age. I was in my pre-teen years. I only played video games with my circle of friends in my neighborhood. My for gaming was growing, and I spent a great amount of my time indoors trying to play the few video games my parents allowed me to play. Conversely, my obsession with video games lead to arrogance, and a decent amount of skill which also resulted in frequent wins over my highly limited choice of opponents, my friends. I was the best among this group and I was proud. They were out playing sports and socializing while I was playing video games and leveling up. This pride in me did not hold for long once I started venturing outside my social circle of inept gamers.

Once I hit thirteen years of age my friends wanted to start going out to the mall and hitting on girls. Not me. I spent most of my time in the mall at the arcade. One game that stood out to me was Marvel vs. Capcom 2. I thought this game was awesome so surely I would spend a good amount of time with the fighter and become the best gamer there is. It certainly did not turn out that way. I tried my luck against this Asian twenty year old that I’ll never forget. This was the moment I realized that there are gamers out there that are much better than I am.

As I approached the Marvel vs. Capcom 2 arcade cabinet there was a line on the 2nd player side. People did not even bother lining up behind the Asian man because he was that good. I took my place in line, and for some reason I still thought I’d had a chance at beating this guy. “No one plays video games as much as I do,” I thought, and I will at least give this guy a challenge.

Eventually it was my turn. I inserted my quarter, and I selected the characters I knew most about based on the comics I read and the video games I played. So, I chose Cyclops, Ryu, and Wolverine He selected Sentinel, Magneto, and Ryu. The match commenced. I shot out a projectile, he leapt over it with Magneto, and landed a hit, and then another after another until the match was over. I was shocked at how helpless I was. The match ended quickly. I decided not to play again for the night, left the arcade in frustration, and joined my friends in walking around staring at prepubescent girls. I couldn’t focus on that. I was still in the state of shock at the ass whooping I just took.

Skipping ahead a decade from then, I was near graduation from college, and I spent most of my gaming time in the world of Vanadiel in Final Fantasy XI. Spending hundreds of hours playing this game I felt I was one of the best black mages on the server. I was better than most than even those with more expensive gear. My superior skills were shown in the tough battles my party had to encounter. I made my way up to a high level linkshell which I was kicked out of for trying to steal a piece of equipment. Due that attempt, I gained a bad reputation on the server. Then I knew my Final Fantasy XI career was coming to an end.

I had quit Final Fantasy XI so I could focus on school more. Because of that I was able to graduate, and enter the “real world”. I got a part time job right out of college. It wasn’t full time, but I was still living with my parents, and I had a decent amount of disposable income even though I still had to pay them rent. I started buying more video games. I had a lot of time on my hands and was able to get through many of the games I was buying. But, that all changed when I finally landed my first full time job.

With my newly attained position in the workforce I had a newly attained way of life. Working nearly every day of the week, and sometimes every day of the week, I started to realize I don’t have a lot of energy to put towards video games when I come home from work. I needed something to do that was more relaxing in my spare time. I remembered a hobby I use to take more seriously back when I was in school, and that was reading. I took it a lot more seriously now since I’m no longer in school, and I felt the need to exercise my mind still.

Now here I am at the age of thirty with very little free time. I have been going to fighting game tournaments, and I can’t compete with these sponsored professional players. They play these video games like a job. Had I found out about this fighting game community when I was college I might have dropped out, and started taking fighting games more seriously. I was young and dumb, and certainly would have. Good thing I was ignorant of this community at the time.

I’ve come to the realization that I have passed my prime of video game skills back in my early twenties. Back then I had the time to invest dozens of hours a week in video games. Today, I’m glad if I can get five hours of gaming in a week. I will continue to play video games till the day I die. It’s something I love, and I wish I could do more with it, but as of right now I have to focus on other aspects in my life.

My Three Most Anticipated Books for 2015

It has been two months into 2015, and I have yet to post my obligatory “what I’m anticipating the most” list. Over the past few years I’ve rediscovered my love for books. It has not replaced my love for video games. My love of books has just pushed my passion video games into another space of my life. I don’t play video games as much as I nearly use to. I do when I have the time, but books are less taxing on the eyes, and don’t require as much energy to enjoy. With video games I need to really rev myself up to get anything accomplished in a game. That’s not to say I take books lightly. Sometimes I need as much brain as I can get when I come across a book that’s very complex, and has dozens of words I’ve never seen before.

So, for now I will show my top three books I’m anticipating this year. George R.R Martin has stated that his latest book in the Song of Ice and Fire series is no longer coming out this year. I was sadden to hear this, but if he has to take his time to bring us the best high fantasy can offer us this generation, by all means, take your time Mr. Martin. Without further ado here is my list.

3) The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae

It’s February, and I know it is the time to remember that African Americans just aren’t a race that appeared out of nowhere. We actually have history. But, I’m not reading this book because it’s Black history month. I always have at least one author of African descent on my “Too Be Read List”. I’m pointing this out it won’t seem like I’m reading it due to this this particular month.

I’ve never heard of this author before, or any of these essays. And rarely do I ever hear about black introverts which this book tells humorous stories of. I’m not certain if this book focuses solely on her or not. I just want to read about another African American introvert. We may not have the same genitals, but I believe I can still relate to this woman.

2) The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro wrote a story about organ donation in a book called Never Let Me Go. It was a depressing book that was meant point out the potential dangers on how unethical cloning can be made to be deemed acceptable in society. It was a short book, but it has left a long term effect on me. I’m wondering If another book written by Ishiguro can even half the impact Never Let Me Go did.

The Buried Giant is a book about war, vengeance, and love. I don’t want to read too many more details on any book I’m about to read. I want to go in completely unaware of what’s going to happen. I won’t go into further details on the book. I will just sit back and read my other books anticipating the release of The Buried Giant.

1) Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley

Nearly halfway through the book I knew I was set on getting his next book in the series. It’s the type of high fantasy I love with interesting characters that betray, love, and kill. The characters personalities have a modern twist. They speak as if they’re from this time period, but there’s enough imaginative storytelling to keep readers grounded in this world’s environment. I liked this author’s work so much I follow Brian Staveley on twitter. At the moment he’s not that much of a well-known author (no certified twitter account), but he should and I think he will be.

Amiibos, do I need you?

I’m not a collector of toys. I am a collector of books and video games. When I first heard that Nintendo would be releasing amiibos for some reason I thought these plastic toys wouldn’t sell well. Disney Infinity and Skylanders success should have given me an idea how quickly these figures would start selling out. For some reason that somehow evaded me. I said to myself I’m not going to buy any of these plastic take up space items that have almost no use.

I have a Wii U, and have yet to play because I lack the space to put it anywhere in my temporary entertainment system. I do intend on buying and playing Smash Bros. Wii U, but I have no intention to buy any amiibos. I’ll be honest there have been statues I have thought about buying like the Kinetiquettes Evil Ryu $350 statue. And I have been made aware of the rarity of the Marth amiibo that just happens to be my primary favorite character in Smash Bros. I don’t think I’ll ever buy it because I like controlling what’s on the screen, and not have leveled up CPU do all the brawling.

I recently read in a Game Informer magazine about the developing process of Smash Bros. Wii U. One of the development team members says the amiibos add a lot to the game. I’m not convinced. As I’ve said before I want to do the playing and not watch the CPU do the playing. Although I could see how amiibos might be used in a fun way for betting by having leveled up characters dish it out. But, I don’t really see kids, maybe teens, using them in such a way.

I don’t have the time, desire, or money to spend on amiibos. They are just not for me. As I’m writing this blog entry thinking to myself, “Am I really a video game collector if I don’t seek out these amiibos?” I say to myself, “Yes, I am.” I don’t have to own every single video game out there, and I sure as hell do not need to own these easy to lose overpriced figures that will someday become lodged between my washing machine and dryer.

Post Censorship Woes (Somewhat)

After taking a break for a few months from Gamespot because of the new web layout that made me scurry away in frustration, I come back to post on the forums to see that words like "fuck" "shit" and "cunt" are no longer censored. I also started noticing that gamespotters were flaming each other back and forth with no reprimands. This made me want to start surfing forums again to see what type of flamebait these trolls can come up with to spew in threads. I’m referring to System Wars in particular.

After getting a few laughs from some of the System Wars posts again I decided to post again. I don't have much of a foul mouth, and my anonymity on the internet doesn't bring any latent vulgarity that might be swimming around in my subconscious out onto the threads, but sometimes I do have to express myself in such a way so that some of these idiots can understand my insults. I came to realize it was kind of fun having censorship, and over authoritative mods flexing their e-penis on the forums.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want the old way back. I just remember it being fun trying to figure out what was hidden behind those stars (*) that blurted those nasty curse words. It was sort of like a game. In other ways it was fun when I tried to come up with clever ways to flame people without the mods noticing, and seeing and learning how others avoided the ban hammer as well. I'm sure they learned from me in the past from me when I was trolling System Wars too. We can all learn from each other.

This blog entry has been dedicated to you, Gamespot of the past. I've seen you've learned a lesson from Giantbomb by adding vulgarity to your podcasts as well. As stated before, we can all learn from each other.

Been Stuck On You For Quite Some Time, Digital Devil Saga

I started playing Digital Devil Saga four years ago. I was enjoying the game immensely. The grim atmosphere, the grundge like music inspired by the 90's, and the depressing storyline had me sucked in. I haven't played a JRPG like this, at the time, ever. Few Japanese developers take the risk to make a mature game that won't cater to a huge audience like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Tales of games that are targeted towards a teen demographic. There are other JRPGs that are meant for a more mature audience, a la the Shadow Hearts series, but none have been quite as good as the Shin Megami Tensei games. And even when there is a teen cast of characters like the Persona series, the game still does have a more mature vibe to it.

Digital Devil Saga is a game I have been stuck on for years now. The random battles as you get close to the near end of the game are sometimes as hard as boss fights that are in other JRPGs. I want to level up, but I'm afraid to get in random battles because the monsters are so hard. It's not that I'm underleveled and should leave the dugeon. It requires more strategy than other JRPGs I've been pampered by, and I'm bit rusty implementing my characters' skills in to action. I will return to Digital Devil Saga when I feel I'm ready, but for now I just to find the time to play video games I'm focused on now.

Until next time, Digital Devil Saga.

How My XMas Went

What I received:

  • $100 gift card for Amazon.com
  • The Alchemist

I'm a little angry with Amazon right now for not allowing me download MP3's that I paid for. Why do I need to download an app to download music? I didn't have to do this in 90's. Why now? So, anyways, I don't know what I'm going to buy with the $100. Maybe some more video games. I need to hurry up and buy certain 3DS games because they are becoming pretty scarce pretty quickly. I was waiting for price drops, but those don't come too often on the 3DS platform.

Another gift I received was the book called The Alchemist. I had this book on my wish list for quite some time now. I'm hearing it's a life changer. A book hasn't done that to me since I read 1984 which kind of sparked my interest for politics. I'll see what this book will do for me.

I had a delicious dinner. I ate prime rib and ham. Not among my family, but with co-workers. It probably would have tasted better in the comfort of my own home. It was delicious nonetheless.

Now towards the end of my day I come home to play on my Playstation 4 and PSN is down. Terrific. After skimming through twitter and reading the constant complaints of hackers ruining many gamers' holidays, I somehow thought it wouldn't affect me in any way. Right now as I'm typing this out I'm listening to the PS4 OS music which is sort of calming me down a bit while thinking which game I should play next (Probably Guilty Gear Xrd). Although today may have ended on a bad note I've had a good holiday season. I hope those reading this have a happy holidays as well.

More Video Games Recently Bought.

  • Injustice: Gods Among Us: Ultimate Edition (PS4) - $12.99
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3) - $14.99
  • The Last Of Us: Remastered (PS4) - $29.99
  • Assassin's Creed Unity- (PS4) $29.99

More of patiently waiting leads to more saving. At least when it comes to most video games. But, of course, you shouldn't wait too long for some video games because those can appreciate in value. That wasn't going to be the case with these games since a lot of these are fairly new. With that said, I'm surprised to see Assassin's Creed Unity and Last of Us Remastered go down in price so quickly. As for the other two games on my list, Lightning Returns and Injustice, I've been waiting for a quite a while for those games to go down to a decent price. It's also perfect timing to get Injustice for the PS4 since I got a new fighting stick coming to my front door today. I can't stand playing with a controller anymore. Once I learned how to use a stick I never went back to a controller when it came down to playing fighting games.

Here Are The Books I Read In A Year (2013 - 2014)

When I started working 3rd shift at my various jobs, I would often read books while there because there was usually a lot of downtime. I've always been somewhat of a reader, but I wanted to take it to the next level. I wanted to expand my interest beyond science fiction, fantasy, and psychology. So, what I did was read at least two hours a day during workdays, and three hours on my two days off. At first I said I'd comprise a reading list of twelve books to get through, but eventually I shortened it to 10 books per reading list because I like the number 10 more. And buying 10 books is cheaper 12 books per reading list. I would make up a list of ten books when I came to my second to last book, and then only buy 10 books once I was started my last book the "To be read" list.

I've never read this much in my life. I always have enjoyed reading, but disciplining myself into getting these books read has made reading a lot more enjoyable. I've expanded my interests, bettered my vocabulary, and made my thinking clearer. Reading has become so enjoyable that I prefer to read over playing video games now. Don't get me wrong if I have enough time, energy, and lack of eye soreness I will put some time into video games. Most of my disposable income has gone towards books. Maybe next year I will go back to video games being my primary hobby, but, as of right now reading is my number one hobby.

Here is my list of books that have been read between 12/8/13 - 12/8/14:

Reading List # 1 (Started 12/8/2013)

1. Brave New World ( 12/11/13)

2. Of Dice And Men ( 12/14/13)

3. Outliers (12/21/13)

4. You Are Not So Smart ( 12/27/13)

5. Prozac Nation (12/31/13)

6. The God Delusion (1/6/14)

7. Stories of Your Life And Others ( 1/10/14)

8. Art of War (1/12/14)

9. Rise of The Warrior Cop (1/17/2014)

10. Wool (1/27/14)

11. Extra Lives (1/31/14)

12. Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria (2/2/14)

Reading List # 2

1. Newtown: American Tragedy (2/7/14)

2. The Black Count (2/15/14)

3. The Emperor’s Blades (2/22/14)

4. The Shining (3/3/14)

5. Collapse (3/15/14)

6. The Shift (3/24/14)

7. Shovel Ready: A Novel (3/27/14)

8. Necronomicon (4/13/14)

9. Quiet (4/17/14)

10. How To Be Black (4/19/14)

Reading List # 3

1. The Way Of Kings (5/6/14)

2. The Third Chimpanzee (5/10/14)

3. Appointments With Heaven (5/15/14)

4. The Companions (5/20/2014)

5. Dust (5/26/14)

6. A Theory of Fun For Game Design (5/29/14)

7. Is Marriage For White People? (5/31/14)

8. Dune (6/8/14)

9. Never Let Me Go (6/12/14)

10. The Future of The Mind (6/17/14)

Reading List # 4

1. Dune Messiah (6/21/14)

2. Dr. Sleep (6/28/14)

3. Fast Food Nation (7/3/14)

4. Words of Radiance (7/19/14)

5. Star Wars: Darth Plagueis (7/26/14)

6. Decision Points (8/5/14)

7. Console Wars (8/14/14)

8. A Visit From The Goon Squad (8/18/14)

9. Frames of Mind: Theories of Multiple Intelligences (8/25/14)

10. Infidel (8/29/14)

Reading List # 5

1. Beyond Good And Evil (9/2/14)

2. What Makes Your Brain Happy And Why You Should Do The Opposite (9/6/14)

3. Sand (9/11/14)

4. The Brief And Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (9/16/14)

5. The Opposite of Loneliness (9/19/14)

6. Roots (10/3/14)

7. Children of Dune (10/9/14)

8. A Clockwork Orange (10/11/14)

9. How To Win Friends And Influence People (10/15/14)

10. Mein Kampf (10/25/14)

Reading List # 6

1. Plutocrats (10/30/14)

2. Lord of Flies (11/1/14)

3. Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership (11/7/14)

4. The Stand (11/25/14)

5. Allah Is Not Obliged (11/29/14)

6. Star Wars: Path of Destruction (12/4/14)

7. Genghis Khan: And Making of The Modern World (12/8/14)