So about that Walking Dead YouTube video…

I can’t believe I forgot to put it up here. If ever there was a blonde moment, here it is.

The Walking Dead Episode 1: “A New Day”

And there it is! The stream covers the entire 1st episode, “A New Day”, and is about 2 hours and 10 minutes long. Enjoy folks!

Streaming The Walking Dead Ep. 1 – “A New Day” at 10am Eastern Standard Time on Twitch

It starts today in about an hour! I’ll be playing through episode one of TellTale Games’ The Walking Dead. You can join me and chat with me while I play on Twitch! And even if you can’t make it to the stream itself, you can catch the aftermath on YouTube! I’ll throw that link up after I post that video. Either way you watch, tell me what you think!

But, be warned, the game is rated M for Mature by the ESRB (the equivalent of an R Rating for a movie). It earned the rating for “Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, and Strong Language”.Want more info? Click here and see why they rated it that way.

And of course click right here to go to the twitch channel and watch the stream. See you there!

Off The Grid (?)

Board and card games have long been a staple of many family nights, but in this new digital age the games themselves are as varied as how you can play them.

Take the classic Monopoly for example. Sure, you can run down to a local Target and you are bound to find a classic board. Or, if you are more of a collector, you can search online for a favorite version (personally, I’m partial to the Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace board). But suppose your family or friends don’t share a schedule with you. Or that everyone is grown and living in opposite corners of the world.  It should be no surprise that that is also remedied. iOS users can download two different versions of the classic game, and even Xbox and Playstation users (sorry Nintendo, no Wii U copy for you!) can all play even online. But does playing online make any of these classic games better or easier?

monopolyplus

I say yes and no. Running with our Monopoly example, on the Xbox and Playstation platforms you can make your own board and share it with others around the world. You can also play with up to eight people, both offline and online. Not only that, but one of my greatest frustrations with real board games is made impossible by a digital copy. I can’t lose any pieces. Or, as was the usual case, I won’t lose the piece when I want to play, only to find it some night with my bare feet as I’m walking around in the dark. It happens to everyone. But, not everything is perfect.

If you choose to play online in one of these versions, and let’s say Uncle Larry tends to be a sore loser. Well, Uncle Larry isn’t good at managing properties so he bankrupts first. While everyone else may be gearing up for a long haul to beat the real estate agent in the family, Uncle Larry quits the game and goes on with his day. But when he quits, everyone else gets disconnected and the game ends early. Why is that? In this scenario, Uncle Larry was what is called a host, the person running the game, while everyone else is connected to him. To think of it in another way, if a local TV station is having technical difficulties, no one else can watch them. It’s the same concept at work here. But, since Uncle Larry quit the game, no one else can finish the game that was already started.  But of the most recent digital version of Monopoly, this is the only issue I have come upon so far.

Monopoly isn’t the only one that has been digitized by far. You can also find digital versions of games like UNO, Mouse Trap, Risk, Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, LIFE, and Magic the Gathering to name a few.

So are digital board and card games a good buy? I’ll say that if it ends up cheaper than the tangible board game, and you don’t mind playing against AI (artificial intelligence) if you can’t get people to play with you, then yes, absolutely. There’s always something to be said for playing Monopoly with a new rule that puts your little brother in jail for longer though.

Gaming Terms 101

So it’s come to my attention that most people don’t know much about gaming, and it’s true. After all, the stereotypical gamer is hunched over locked in a room with the lights off while eating his feeling with Doritos and Mountain Dew. Why do you think Call of Duty is all over that every year? Anyway, it’s not the stuff people think of when pursuing a new hobby. Nor is the community always the most welcoming. Insults come very quickly in typed form, there’s accusations going around about the gaming community being sexist, or the journalists surrendering their integrity for the sake of some extra money. Whew that’s all a subject for another day. 

But for now let me be a light and teach a little bit about some of the terms I may use in my posts or elsewhere. 

  • Developers – a collective term referring to those who make the game. This could be concept artists, those who code, musicians, or writers. Another way to think of it is the film crew for a movie. 
  • Publishers – the folks largely responsible for marketing, shipping, and manufacturing. This can in some cases refer to the developers as well. Publishers are like the movie studio (I.e. Paramount) letting the creators know what they would like to see. 
  • Gameplay – this is a term used to describe how a game is played. It’s about how the player interacts with the world that is presented and how limiting or freeing it can feel. 
  • Controls – different from gameplay, this is about what the player must do to interact with the world. For example, pressing one button to aim and another to shoot. If the player feels awkward or feels like they have to play twister with the controller/game pad, the game can have bad controls. 
  • Graphics – refers to the game environment the player inhabits. They can be detailed and realistic like the ones in Dragon Age, or they can be as simplistic as Tetris. Graphics can help service a story and create dazzling environments, but just because you can make a grizzled Tetris piece, doesn’t mean you have to. 
  • DLC – an acronym meaning downloadable content. This is content that is being added to a game after it has been made available for purchase. 
  • Platform – the system you wish to play on. This can be in reference to any of the consoles, mobile devices, or computers to play a game. It’s important to make that distinction as a game available for, say an iPhone may not be available for a Windows phone.  
  • Couch co-op – a style of game where 2 or more people can sit on a couch with 1 system and play the same game together. Usually refers to consoles you can connect to your TV. 

There’s a few terms to get us started. Feel like I should’ve added more in? Let me know and I will do so on another post! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (look at the side bar!) and on Twitch for my game streams. Class dismissed. 

Yesterday’s Stream of Halo now available on YouTube

Alright everyone for those that weren’t able to tune in live or you just prefer to go at your own pace, the video of my stream for Halo: The Master Chief Collection is now on YouTube at the below link. You’ll see me go through the “Pillar of Autumn” on Legendary difficulty, and then get my butt handed to me online. Fun times.

Go here to watch the video!

Playing Halo: Combat Evolved over Twitch!

Hey Everyone, just throwing up here that I am about to go live while playing Halo: Combat Evolved! Hit the follow button on Twitch, give it a watch and look me up on Twitter to be in the know of when I’ll stream!

Just click here to watch!

TV and Self-Identity

queer and grace

In High School, I first faced an identity crisis in regard to my sexuality. As most do during the time, I started to wonder about it and my place in what felt like a very large world. And around that time in the early 2000s there were only two examples for me to draw on to figure out what it was to be gay. The NBC sitcom Will & Grace and the Bravo reality show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I was about as lost as you might think.

See, both shows prominently feature homosexual characters and people. Will & Grace featured two regular characters, Will Truman and Jack McFarland, both of whom are gay but are drastically different. Will is a character that features some stereotypical gay features, but is otherwise reserved and a homebody. Jack however, is the embodiment of every gay stereotype. A self-proclaimed diva, fashionista, and despite being unable to hold a job for very long, still has a holier-than-thou attitude. Combine the two characters with some of the antics and information displayed on Queer Eye and I was a very confused teenager.

Was there a requirement for me to be absolutely preened head to toe? Was my back hair unseemly and in need of removal? Was I supposed to worship Cher as a musical icon because she, too, is fabulous? Looking back, I certainly succumbed to some of these ideas (show me someone that can shave their own backside, and I’ll show you a gold medalist in gymnastics), largely because I still didn’t grasp my sexuality and what it meant. So, not really listening to the little voices in my head saying it was ridiculous I hammed myself up in school, doing my best to fit a new idea in my head that I was supposed to act in a manner some would call “femmy”.

But then something would happen sometime after High School and I had a realization. In the same manner that Will and Jack were different varieties of gay, but still with some similarities, I could be my own version of a gay male. In other words I could just be… me. I was able to figure it out but what if I had watched the shows at a younger age? Would I have been able to debunk my learned behaviors as easily? I certainly don’t know the answer, but I do know is that for most teens coming to terms with bisexuality, homosexuality, or a different gender identity, there aren’t very many places to look in the world of TV.

But, what I’ve figured out is that in the end it’s just meant to be entertainment. Sure, it can be argued that such shows will be under scrutiny simply for being a show that has something few others do. But in the case of Will & Grace, it’s a show about friends and relationships with what I see as a theme of being gay in reality. Or as close to reality as a sitcom with a laugh track is anyway. Queer Eye attempted something a little different and had gurus trying to help people be better versions of themselves. Not enough shows that aspire to that right?

So, in the end, let’s try to take entertainment for entertainment’s sake and not take everything that is tossed at us as some kind of a truth. Hm?