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Monthly Archives: March 2014

The awkwardness of Middle school and High school didn’t end when the final bell rang. It continued, through after school affairs such as sports and clubs that you’re pushed into by your parents. But through all that one thing in my life remained constant: video games. After a hard day of social ineptitude and sporty awkwardness I could always count on the power button to release me from my ever changing world. I was playing Super Nintendo in those days, racing around the track in Super Mario Kart, clinging to vines in Donkey Kong, and hitting home runs in Ken Griffey Jr. baseball. If I had a guilty pleasure game for the Super NES it would be The Lion King video game. I can’t explain it but I have so many fond memories of playing it that game is always the first I think of.

There were so many great two player games that you and a friend could play for hours without an inkling of boredom. As mentioned previously, Mario Kart was one of those games as was Street Fighter. You could use several different characters each with their own special abilities and you wouldn’t get tired of them. That was the beauty of games back then. They were made specifically for two players. Their levels were made to keep you on your toes and make the two players work as a team. What they lack in the graphics department compared to the new generation games they made up for in how they were played.

Yes, my nostalgia sometimes gets the best of me. I know the Super NES shouldn’t be compared to the consoles of today but I can’t help but think that somehow the new gen systems missed the mark on two player capability. And no I don’t mean online, that’s a completely different topic.

Regardless, my thumbs were sore most weekends or rainy days–Especially when the Sony Playstation came out. I was one of the idiots that traded in the Super NES to get a better deal on the PS. Maybe it was the only way I could afford it, but more likely it was the ONLY way I could afford it. Lucky for me my good friend kept his Super NES so I was able to get the best of both worlds.

The Playstation came out with a plethora of games and the game itself was on a disc just like in the music world everything changed over from tape to disc as well. With the PS came my first taste of a Naughty Dog game in, Crash Bandicoot. This system also brought us big franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider. I remember trying to play Resident Evil without my Mom knowing because she said it would be too scary for me and she didn’t want it in her house. And boy was she right. I freaked out. But you’re also talking to the kid who couldn’t watch Jaws because it was too scary. Obviously, I overcame my fears of the walking dead and big, man-eating sharks. My Wife and I play all of the Resident Evil games in co-op mode. In fact that’s what we did on Valentine’s Day. For us, playing video games together is one of the most romantic ways of spending an evening.

The Playstation was a beautiful beginning in Sony’s PS franchise. It further developed my video game addiction. Now, not only did I still play the Super NES, I had a second system with completely different games and construction. Further I went down the rabbit hole in a virtual world where anything was possible.

After High School: Video Game Graduation….coming soon

 

For most people it started early in their life. For some, the addiction didn’t come until they were in high school or perhaps even later in life. It will keep you up at night and sometimes through the early morning hours. The disappointment of defeat or the glory of victory goes hand in hand in this virtual world. You can be anybody or anywhere you want to be. You can travel to France in the 1600’s or you can go to planets in the farthest of galaxies. Anything and everything are in the realm of possibility.

Hi, my name is Brian and I’m addicted to video games. And I don’t ever want to give it up.

My story begins when I was in the 5th grade. I can’t remember when we got it but I can remember how much time and fun I had with it: The Nintendo NES. I will give you my top five games played and would play if I had one today: Contra, Super Mario Bros., Paper boy, Excitebike, Duck Hunt. This system provided the game groundwork for nearly thirty years. I’m enjoying theses same story lines and characters to this day.

Growing up with the NES did more than pass the time on a slow Saturday; it provided my two brothers and me a platform to settle our disagreements without the usual aggression and physical contact. Although, playing the system also caused many other fights. There were many times when my Mother would have to unplug the console and take it away from us. Or she would use it as a bargaining chip to get her three sons to do their chores. And more often than not it worked.

There were many days punching in the Konami code and seeing who could have the most kills or how far could we get as a team in, Contra. Some days were spent challenging each other in, Duck Hunt but usually that ended in a fight because one of us would slide to close to the screen. Those days unfortunately came to an end when the NES over heated and never worked again. It didn’t matter how hard we blew into the cartridges or how hard we slammed them in there; the beast would not wake up.

It didn’t matter. The code was awoken inside of me and my life would never be the same. There wouldn’t be a house or apartment that didn’t have a console in it. I didn’t care if I had to ride a Huffy bike and wear hand-me-down clothes just as long as a video game station was in the living room.

I would always sacrifice for the love of the games.

 

Part 2: The High School Years, coming soon

There are few things in this life that are constant: Time is always ticking away whether we like it or not. As long as we, the human race, occupy this dirt time will always be against us. And the second is the natural opposites that white and black are, have been, and always will be.

I live neither in the light nor completely in the dark. Although it’s not from lack of trying. I merely don’t belong in the light and each day the darkness call to me. It wants me. It beckons me to bathe in it’s allure. To let it wash over me like a waterfall of sin. If I gave in my city would be lost forever. The city would be devoured by the darkness, swallowed whole and to never return. All the work I’ve put in would be erased and the thin line holding the dark at bay would be severed. (And yes, I’m thin.)

I’ve been called many things but a do-good-er or protector or hero has not been one of them. Mostly I’ve been called Wes, simply Wes. There are few who know me and of the things I do to keep the shadows from advancing each night and that’s OK by me. I don’t do it for the publicity. I do it because it’s the only thing I’m good at. I do it because I have to. I need to.

So you rest easy, Heretic Valley. I’m not gonna let the Boogeyman get you tonight.

It’s 5:17 pm. Thirty eight minutes to go.

My game has been turned off. Clothes have been put on: Black t-shirt with a little v-neck action for the ladies, darker jeans that don’t smell horrible, and black converse all-star low-tops. And the piece de resistance–One black Pea coat. Most people don’t leave home without their wallet or their cellphone. For me it’s my coat, my protector.

Twenty six minutes to go.

I start focusing more on the task ahead of me and not that of Gizmo’s empty food bowl.

Twenty four minutes to go.

With the puppy face overwhelming my emotions the dog has been fed, perhaps with too much food. I think he’s spoiled and out of shape. He snorted the other day. I thought for a moment I had a pig instead of a Boston Terrier. It wasn’t an adorable kind of snort either. It was deep, like his nose cavities were two cavernous trenches creating sounds unknown to mankind. I was startled to say the least.

Seventeen minutes to go.

I fed myself as well. A quick grilled cheese and an apple. Because an apple a day…yadda, yadda, yadda.  A quick glance in the mirror…..

Three minutes to go.

My heart always starts to beat just a little bit faster when the minutes are in the single digits. There’s so much unknown. There’s too many variables.  But I can’t help that. It’s the nature of the beast.

The time is now 5:55 pm.

Goodbye Gizmo. Don’t wait up for me. It’s sunset and it means it’s time Daddy gets to go to work.

And how I do love my work.

 

The season officially starts at 4 am et and although it is early and the game isn’t on US soil, it still makes me feel good inside.

I can smell the freshly mowed green grass cut in it’s diagonal pattern already. So what if it’s in Australia. It doesn’t mean the grass won’t be as green or the dirt won’t be as dirty. The baseball season is here and for a stay at home Dad it doesn’t get much better than that.

All of the big off-season moves are about to be judged for their on the field success. Will Robinson Cano carry the Mariners offense to the next level? Will the Yankees extremely expensive Japanese star, Tanaka bring back a playoff caliber team? Many questions have been asked and it’s about time that they were answered.

There’s no better day way to spend an early Spring day than at the ballpark. Everyone’s wearing the hometown colors, the hot dogs are freshly seated upon the fluffy buns, and the announcer over the loud speaker can barely contain his enthusiasm. Many people would argue opening day should be a national holiday. I don’t know if that should happen but I do know the giddiness that happens to me every year confirms one thing:  baseball is America’s pastime. I can’t wait until I here…….batter up!

Go Giants!

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