nawkcire

Games, Tech and Blogging…I can't guarantee in that order.

Late Lifestyle Change

Summer’s ending which meant community pools are closing fairly soon. It’s unfortunate because recently I got into swimming again after half a decade avoiding it. I might have swam a few years back but never returned since. However recently though I’ve been feeling the need to exercise more. No pressure or anything, just thought about it and decided to do it. At first I did a bit of sit ups and push up and now I’m starting to take an interest in swimming. Likely not going to be competitive but more recreational for it’s health benefits.

After a week of swimming at the local pool, I already came to a few conclusions. First being I’m very out of shape. In my teens, I could swim a lap or two but now a lap is pretty much just out of reach at the moment. Regardless, I am definitely capitalize as much of the summer remaining to swim. Even on my “busy” recording schedule for my gameplay series on YouTube, I should find something outside and outdoors to do.

At the moment I’m still as hesitant as I was before with running and jogging. I think it’s more of a self esteem issue I want to confront but I haven’t gotten the gall to put up with it. Any advice to anyone with a friend with self esteem issues; if they want to confront their problems, help them at all cost. Seriously if I had a friend, I would want them to help me through some of these problems. In time, I’ll find my way through it; just will and the choice to do something about it will take me there.

On the video game front, I’ve been enjoying Kerbal Space Program a bit more. Maybe because I have a plan or a fixed time limit because of the series, but I’m really enjoying it. The career mode is pretty dull but combined with the let’s play series on my channel, I like it. I feel I can definitely share all the highs and lows. So far as of this post, I’ve been into orbit a few times, rescued a couple Kerbals, and set up two satellites around our fair planet. And of course since career has contracts, I’ve been working on testing parts for money and science to get the jobs I want done. For the moment in the future, big plans and construction plans are coming up. Mostly setting up a permanent presence in the Kerbol system. Maybe considering on some roleplay in career mode. Sky’s the limit, quite literally. Definitely a lot of plans for manned and unmanned missions. Hopefully go beyond what I already have done in the game in the past, which is travel to the two moons around Kerbin. With the ARM (Asteroid Redirect Mission) update, definitely want to showcase a bit of that content as well. Not sure when but definitely when I feel confident on orbital rendezvous.

Besides KSP, I’ve been approached by some Steam friends on playing some other games with them and maybe record some of those as one off videos. I did do a few videos in Insurgency but I found the content wasn’t that interesting. Who knows, I might record more Insurgency and maybe get working on an Unturned collaborative series. For now, my system can handle storing a regular gameplay series and some videos here and there. As far as having a parallel series in another game, that will require some help.

For now I have a good balance between KSP and swimming. I can upload while I swim, then coming back I can continue editing. That’s how life should be, balance. 

Specking IRL

In video games, especially in MMO’s, specking is a way if life. The purpose to be best of the best; either to be the most swift, the most smart or the most strong. Which would explain why everyone looks alike in their equipment, either to counter weakness or amplify their strengths. As I grow older, it seems to me this fact slowly holds true in many vectors in living.

Must like video games, modern society focuses on learning a set of skills or possess particular knowledge akin to skills and attributes. When you go to school at a young age, it’s merely the tutorial to the real world. It should be teaching things to talk to other people and complete certain tasks. Over time you begin to do these things regularly in different settings and with speed. Then you get into university, that’s where you specialize into doing something in the group. This institution is the two to six years where you pick you class, archetype or specialization. After that with much hope and debt, you are thrown into the open world with other newbies and seasoned veterans. It this ultimate massively open world experience; you get no respawns and rerolls, reputation and social groups matter, and the choice to add more specializations at a cost.

Choosing something for yourself in this game may be difficult but like any MMO, it’s based on what you want. If you want a life of brute labour, focus mainly on a strength build of lifting weights and running. If you want to be more brain than brawn, tapping out data and equations; then calculus and mathematics should be something you should really concentrate. If you stay the course, you would do fairly well. Those who decide to backtrack and choose something else, it can get difficult. Without the safety of a tutorial environment, you would have to learn on the go. If you wind up in a grind, you wouldn’t have just bored to deal with; some people just can’t handle it and would just get fed up.

As a person with a intelligence build who is more into a physical build, here’s my advice to anyone still in tutorial. Find something. Pick something you are good at and go with it. If you can think fast then find something more fast pace. You like to lift? Then pick a laborious workfield. Want to stick to something you like to enjoy? Stick to it. Disregard what other people say to you that you won’t make money or whatever, screw them all. People want you to have a intelligence build and all you want is agility with some strength, then agility and strength. It is up to you to make those choices to get you the right build. When you get it right, things will be easy. Get it wrong? Well…let’s hope you enjoy a longer grind to the top than you think.

Mistakes

No matter who you are, you screwed up at one point or another. Whether you forgot to take an exam, broke your leg that time you jump off a building, or you go arrested for possession of marijuana when you were actually holding it for a friend; you got in trouble and you had to pay the price for your own stupidity. No matter what the case, “mistakes happen” said every teacher ever but they don’t tell you that being an adulthood, mistakes get you into really big trouble (at least 75% of the time).

As kids, we all got into trouble at some point to some degree. Most of the time, the worst we get would be a beating because back then there weren’t child abuse laws like there are now. So we got our asses literally handed by our parents for everything we did. If your parents didn’t beat you, then well done because either you were smart enough to get someone else beat or your parents didn’t care about you and you’re probably needing this weekly blog post more than me. When we were kids, consequences were consistent. It would be a slap on the wrist, being grounded, or for some, get hit. If you are fortunate, your parents would be the main source of your consequence. As you grow older everyone else, including you, will put out the pain. In high school, your consequences would include the most easiest of consequences but they would hurt physically or emotionally just like how your parents raised you. Low grades? Consequence for not learning. Not going to rehearsal to see a movie? Well you can kiss your shot at the talent show next spring goodbye. Accidently got someone/yourself pregnant? Congrats, you are now a parent. It would seem like the you are either screwing up pretty badly or just feel the world is never giving you a break.

As with growing up, things get more complicated and the consequences to your mistakes regardless of how small are now amplified. Why? Because society thinks being an adult is knowing everything. In reality, adults know nothing. Seriously, I know some people including myself; we still don’t know what we’re doing. We’re always getting into trouble either in our own little ways or after two decades of getting beat down, we’re finally learning to cover up for our mistakes. But even when we cover up our mistakes, being adult has it’s curveballs. Even if you cover up, it might come back to bite you back whether you learned your lesson or not. So to really enjoy adulthood as society places it, is to really never do anything wrong or against society itself. Discussion of fascism aside, I don’t think any of us can really be capable of never screwing up and usually if we do, we would either get in trouble personally or professionally. Legally would be the beating your parents gave when you were a child, but as an adult legal troubles are the worse because this can just ruin in one hit.

Though as badly as your parents, school or society puts it; we all get into trouble regardless of degree. You could be a millionaire having an affair or a teenage girl with an unfaithful love in your life. Just know before you realize it, everything is a mistake. Everything we do or experience is a mistake. Regardless whether we want it to happen or not, something started us along these path of choices and we travelled the best we can here. Even then, we will travel down the wrong path, make the wrong choices, even tried to go back and try again. Doesn’t necessarily make mistakes a bad thing to do, in fact mistakes can sometimes be the best thing that can happen. Getting into trouble for me usually taught me more than school, which is pretty irony but true. The choices I made that never panned provided me some perspective. School can tell you about experience and things that went on with the world and things that might help you with your job. There is no substitute to learning stuff on your own, even when you screw up you learn what would happen when you screw up.

We are not all perfect people, we don’t fit in to any description quite perfectly. We all make mistakes, the best we can do is learn from them and be comfortable with those mistakes because what you did with your life makes your life unique. People might scorn you for them after and you might get into more trouble, mistakes happen but they always happen. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s recommend to make mistakes. When you can do something wrong, sooner or later you will learn to do something right. That’s how evolution happened and parenthood happens because no one learned to evolved or became a parent, you learn from what you know and how badly you screwed up.

Until next time, screw up a little. You’ll live a little, maybe learn something from it.

Everything has changed…

I’ve taken the next step into the voyage into YouTube. At the start, I didn’t want to turn it into something bigger than just to moderate my time.

Though my prowess in visual art is lacklustre, I find it fairly productive. The whole process of editing my videos have been kind of therapeutic in a weird way. Mostly indescribable the way it’s a bit calming to just go through and edit everything. After all the artwork and stuff added to the edited gameplay, I must admit it’s pretty beneficial. For time, I put away about 2 hours per video to recording and editing and about 5-10 hours on uploading. So turn around is about 12 hours for a video. Since I like to record en masse, that would come in handy since I can edit and upload at the same time. As long as can put out videos as fast as I can edit them, it’s not a problem. However throwing a wrench in the works has already taught me a few things.

Before the last couple parts of my Defiance let’s plays (part 60 and 61), OBS was the one program that required tweaking and adjusting. For most of the series, I’ve been secretly adding and subtracting numbers to find the best settings for me. Though these little additions and fixes are sparse, they have been helping me push back the file size. From a 1 GB file to just under 900 MB, not much of a reduction but it saves some space in case I need to do anything which ironically is not the case.

At the budget of “I wish I had money”, Windows Movie Maker seems to be the route to take for editing at the moment. I feel like I only scratched the surface of editing. Cutting has been pretty easy, but with all my efforts the couple tests I’ve done have only cut down maybe 5 minutes off of a 20 minute video and less depending on the size of the video. Most of the time, I cut a lot of driving and small bits of the combat in game to push through it than watching these drawn out battle scenes.

So far it’s been slow learning about visual art and video editing. It has it’s challenges and rewards. It’s definitely something that I can grow into but my interest in creating art is more or less reserved to writing than to a canvas of colour. For now, my maxim of “whatever works” has taken me this far. Until next time, let’s see how far I can really take this.

Formality v. Functionality–Big Twitter apps

[Starts 3 paragraphs in for those who want my review, thought you liked a good story…]

It’s not a surprised I use Twitter more often now to promote my blog and YouTube channel. I’m usually on there to just find something to read or have something short to get off my chest rather than posting it on my blog with under 140 characters. For a awhile when I started my blog, I wanted to be able to spread my message out there in the simplest form. Mainstream or some way to broadcast to the world, “I wrote something, might be nice to give it a read.” I started using Twitter as a media prerequisite to learn about the world and the culture I live in, over time the account went into disuse until I started my blog. First impressions, Twitter wasn’t the best place for a 19 year old. I was on it because my teacher wanted me to be on it so classroom censorship was a tough deal breaker when you have something to say but your account is restricted for media studies only. The turn around when I started this blog a few years ago a way to document my thoughts and activities. As I began to grew a skin around blogging and microblogging, I decided to use an application to be a hub for all my Twitter needs. At the time, I just read up on applications and reviews; most of it in jargon. So rather than just reading a review for the pick, I just observed what everyone was using. Most of the time, it was TweetDeck and HootSuite.

tweekdeck

For the past couple years, I’ve used TweetDeck on the basis of popularity. It was most commonly used when I was lurking at hashtag threads. When I first got it on Chrome, the interface was simple to master. One simple login screen later, the application went to work by sending me feeds from my own Twitter. Soon after, found the Search button to find other hastags to follow and after that was able to organize to what I wanted to see and not see certain posts. But that’s just one camp out of many to simplify the experience.

The other large one I seen and heard about was HootSuite. Only largely came to me from large app review sites and users from organizations. I was really hesitant at first to ever try it. Today, let hesitation be damned! Setting into a new application isn’t always easy if you’re like me, why move on to something else when one works perfectly? After creating an account through HootSuite, I was greeted with a stark dashboard similar to the TweetDeck app. Along with an approximate sidebar for your options. So how do they fare against each other?

hotsuite

After spending a few hours on HootSuite, the similarities begin to fade away. Both platforms offer multi-account support, so you can monitor each Twitter profile simultaneously. Each can create tabs based on criteria such as retweets, favourites, and hashtags you wanted pinned as a tab for easy reference. TweetDeck and HootSuite provide a simplified interface to ensure ease of use, so you know where to go and how to do certain Twitter-y tasks. Unfortunately this is where TweetDeck ends it’s list of goodies.

HootSuite offers more than just connectivity to Twitter. It provides a way to be connected to other blogging and social media websites like LinkedIn, WordPress, Facebook and mixi (Hell if I know what is mixi). Along with account aggregation, it has an array of enterprising features such Assignments to help business consolidate their media efforts. As a Pro and Enterprise user, you have access to team organizations to help with assignments. With organization, you would want to see the team’s or your brand’s performance in media; so they have analytics to help form a report on your media involvement through all your accounts or just particulars. Along with it’s organizational faire; it boosts a range of in-app applications such as a YouTube app to view and share through your HootSuite, which most apps are trying to advertise the same view and share feature if not trying to enhance the in-app experience.

As a Personal user, I found the program fairly restrictive. Most of the features your listed as Pro feature which required a $8.99 (assuming US currency) per month payment for use. The only things I can really necessarily do is add apps within an app and just view counters of my tweets and followings with analytics. As a personal user, the only redeeming quality is a list of followers and a list of people I followed; which is easily accessible but really unnecessary at times. Like this feature already available on TweetDeck and on Twitter itself, it’s analytics is par if not worst to the online solution already provided by Twitter. I’m a free user on both, but getting additional data from Twitter for free. Though if I was a business, I would agree HootSuite might contain some insight through it’s own analytics but would not necessarily change my behaviour within social media. The auto-scheduler is a nifty touch if you want to send out tweets at a particular time. However this feature is best removed to prevent people with spam accounts from filling threads with their wares. Unlike Tweetdeck, it feels more geared towards businesses than it is for individual users. With it’s suite of analytics and in-depth monitoring, it’s a improbable choice for a single user like me.

What I found interesting is the load times and the refresh rates. Upon loading up each application, I found TweetDeck to be much faster. Though if you have a speedy connection, you won’t feel it. As a person who uploads video to YouTube, it’s noticeable. I can only speculate what is going behind the scenes, but this slowdown makes it very regrettable since it feels not optimized for lower connection speeds. On HootSuite, you can set refresh rates to as close to 2 minutes for each tab within the application. On TweetDeck, you can set it to almost real time in a margin of a few seconds if you have a slow connection. While TweetDeck can update in the background, Hootsuite seems to stop updating when you’re not in the Chrome browser tab. Along with update angst, the way it personally handles hashtags does make it easier to read since it gives you a brief amount of time before the dashboard tab refreshes. Good thing if you are watching a keyword or tag with a lot of frequent users.

Each application has features gear towards a niche user. Enterprising and business prefer to see things by the numbers while your average Jane and Joe want to just post and share. As a personal user with very little social outreach, it would be preferable to stick with TweetDeck by Twitter for it’s simplicity. Simple doesn’t always mean better, simple means in this case I get what I need and I don’t really need it to be any better. If I was a social media specialist or a community manager for a large organization with multiple accounts, I would say HootSuite is the way to go to provide the means of easy consolidation; but would not jump on board too quickly on analytics.

Overall experience for both, restrictive on HootSuite where features are blocked and load times are slower when connection is slow. However it does provide a sense of additional control through analytics and aggregation. Where are TweetDeck is simplistic with little to no load times. However remains to be seen if it can handle business.

Don’t believe me? Give them a try on Chrome:

TweetDeck

HootSuite

Until next time, follow me on Twitter?

Dating a Gamer – The Insider Guide

[Left in a lot of euphemisms, enjoy!]

This week, we’re going to be a bit light on the subject and approach a topic I don’t talk to anyone about; mainly because I have no one to really talk to about things, hooray loneliness! With how prevalent gaming culture is now, it’s best to lay down the line about going to pick up someone who is a gamer just like you. If not like you, then picking a gamer to be that special somebody in your life. Like any good RPG, there will be ups and downs filled with dungeons of demons and dragons in the hopes your reward was worth the quest (Can this sentence get any dorkier?).

As a note, I’m not a dating expert; I’m a gamer. I take from my personal experience to help you if you are confused or unsure. Results may vary since people’s personalities vary, this is to help you and not all necessarily get you hooked up with anyone. 

Let’s Play

On top of how you fine that special someone, a new complexity reaches when the person says “I like to play games” and “I’m a gamer”. It might sound like a turn off, but I find video games are the best way to learn about someone. Much like learning their hobbies and interests, video games can be a great indicator of their personality. Approaching someone with the question should be around the same time you ask about their interests and hobbies. Now, don’t freak out that you don’t know any of the titles they’re mouthing off, feel free to ask them about it and you can totally just Google it later.

When you bring up the topic of video games, there can be two reactions; ecstatic or passive to the topic. If they seem to come back with the “Meh, games are okay.” kind of response, you got a lamer. They’re not into games but they have no opinion on it (or they do but they just want something else, I’ll let you figure that one out). To me, these people are way to active to play video games; totally understandable, we all need something else.

If they’re really interested, they would probably tell you their favourite games and all that. Good indication, they are committed to one thing. If you’re looking for a long term relationship, commitment is good right?

Choose Your Own Adventure

Now when it comes to their favourite games, they usually stick around for a reason. The game will always fall under a certain genre, much like music or movies. It can tell a lot about someone based on the games they stick to or are currently being played.

If this special someone like MMO’s, they’re usually seeking social interactions and a sense of belonging. Depending how often they play these games, they want to be sociable with some control.

Shooters are the equivalent of your adrenaline junkies. They seek a short thrill and they want those quick amazing moments. As one of them, definitely you want more and more until you get burned out.

Strategists whether they play in real time or turn based, these people really like to plan it out before they execute it. Total control for the right results. Plan and then execute. Careful where you make you move because they will make their move.

Roleplayers like to be in their own world and play their own parts. Self control comes from doing deed for the comrades around them. They can get fairly creative sometimes (Bow chicka wow wow).

Indie gamers are a toss up. Those I’ve met have been a bit of everything; hipsters to mainstream gamers. These people usually are looking for something outside their comfort zone and open to new ideas and concepts. They want change and want to find the small and special gem.

Tank or Spank?

There are two “streams” in gamers; competitive and co-operative gamers. All gamers possess both but one will be the most dominate. There is no both or none; even lone wolf gamers, they are competitive because they want to be good by themselves. Competitive gamers strive to be better than all and would try to do whatever it takes to be the best and on top (Wink wink nudge nudge).  Cooperative players usually put the team before themselves, they rather watch your back than be alone. They are committed to being one with the team than running solo.

Endgame

After all it’s said and done, knowing if someone is a gamer can be the easiest way to find out more about themselves than through other hobbies or interests. Opens up to know what their personality is like. However as a note of caution like any human being, a gamer has their flaws. They will range from person to person, but usually it’s obvious depending how much video games they play. Sometimes they can be hyper focused on games, but that’s the risk you take. Only way to really date a gamer is to be a bit of a gamer yourself. You don’t have to be totally involved to it or into it, just contribute a little and they will contribute back.

Each gamer has their flaws so watch for pitfalls and explosive barrels. Be committed to the plan or leave the game. Most of all, enjoy it and take every little bit of loot you get. When you find the right one, make sure you’re both geared up for the best two-man raid of a lifetime.

Things I’ve learned making Let’s Plays

I’ve never put in so much time for one thing I wanted to do; okay, I put in a lot of time for a few things. However I never been devoted to be a bit creative. It was always something I lacked. I can be creative at times to think of ideas (thus how this blog was born) but I never really been a visually creative person. Start of this year, I decided to make let’s plays on YouTube which somewhat harkens back to my old Black Ops gameplay. I always wanted to do something constructive or creative to develop something I had problem learning. For my new readers, I’m ADHD and I am not a very creative person; quite the unusual irony.

Over the past six months, I learned a few things from playing and recording video games. To veteran recorders and producers of gameplay, it may be obvious; but I do admire the fact the consistent and persistent nature of YouTubers. They remind me the humbling experience of being unpopular, bottom of the pyramid, way of finding a style. To those who haven’t had their mind set on WordPress wanting to do LP’s or record gameplay, I want you to learn from someone who doesn’t have a following and started with pretty much with a lot of time, plentiful amounts of procrastination and no money to put forward to upstart a hobby or interest. Take this as a warning or advice (or both).

Starting off, I needed a recording software. Something light on the system and can record the amount of time you need. For me, I need it to record continuously because I never know if there will be some good action bits. At the moment I’m using Open Broadcaster Software because it allows a one click solution with minimal set up but enough functionality to make changes to the encoding. At the beginning, I downloaded the program to replace CamStudio because the installation file I downloaded for The Dead Linger didn’t work. Both are free, but after having an experience in both products, I’ve come to realize the interface with OBS is easier and built towards online streaming and local recording than for tutorials and short presentations.

When I started with Banished LP’s, I recorded them in large huge batches. I’m talking like files sizes of 1GB times how much time I had. So in under x amount of hours, my hard drive would be capped out on raw video files. I think at one point I had 10 files lined up for uploading and those uploads would take up to 12 hours per file to upload. So it would take about 10 days to upload if you include time for me to just use my internet connection for anything besides uploading. So in the 30 plus episode run, it took a day each. However in TubeStar, the same 20 minute file would take about an hour or two. So if the game is very action based would require more frames. Therefore the file size will be larger compared to text based or 2D games. This is true in OBS by the way, try with your recording software of choice!

In making The Dead Linger, I found a difficulty with sandbox games where travelling is required. For one thing, you have to fill the time walking with something interesting. If you are a quiet gamer, definitely cut out the nothingness. If you have something to talk about, just talk and don’t hold back until you’re done. It can be interesting, informative, funny or just be somewhat like a small video journal about your life while you play. Just let it out and even if you are going to cut it, then cut it but it’s always to have some extra bits to have more to add if the video is a bit short.

Length of the video to me is only the limitation to the audience and your hard drive. However personally, I think people have a bit of a short attention span. With that in mind, I do my best to make my videos 20 minutes or less. At first, I aimed for 20 minutes. Now I end it when I think I have enough content or I set an end point. I guess it’s because Defiance has missions unlike The Dead Linger. So I can end one mission as a video. What I’m trying to say, find a way to end a video.

Early on, I said I’m not a very creative person. The truth really unfolds if you watch my YouTube channel compared to everyone’s LP. I don’t have a visual introduction, no end cards or effects. I just play as is and I do that because two main reasons. First being theory; I don’t really want to promote myself, I want to promote the games I play. The games are the feature on my channel and I want people to find their niche in video games. The large part I want them to see my video and try the game themselves. I think the second reason why I don’t have visuals is obvious. I’m not the best editor or graphic designer. I’m usually the idea man, the guy who wants to do it and get it done. I like to be the person to establish point A and point B and let people define the direction of travel. But at times, I do regret I’m not a visual person. I wish I could have some creativity so I could make graphics. But for now, you got to like where you start out. You don’t have to be established to start something, you just have to start.

Have I learned everything from making videos? I’m just about to get started. I don’t have a job, I don’t have the creativity, I don’t have best of anything. I just do it because I go in knowing I could fail and I would learn something from it or succeed and gain something I don’t really know and I could get interested into it. I might not make money from it because I consider myself small time but it doesn’t matter. For better or worse, I do what I love. I love video games, I love playing video games and I want to share my love with people who are still finding their love.

If someone who loves to teach a noob about graphic design and video production, let me know!

Apocalypse…Now?

If you are a 20-something like me, you probably remember the Y2K. For the younger generation, remember when that guy high on bath salts? What about that Mayan Calendar business? No? Don’t follow “end of the world” conspiracies? Okay, fine. For most of us, we have certain specific fears. Whether you are afraid of heights or spiders, we all have one fear we may or may not acknowledge; the fear of the unknowns. Things we don’t understand or yet to comprehend. Ideas like the future or death is something we can either be happy or dread would happen because it is something we have never experienced. What if I told you, fear of the unknown is a natural feeling.

There is nothing to feel dreadful for when it comes to things we yet to know. We face it together in our own way. When we lose something in our lives, fear is there to remind us we are still alive. Being fearful is a natural response to things we are scared of such as darkness and heights. To me, we feel fear because we are not quite sure what’s there beyond what we can see. We are not scared of the colour black normally, but when we’re in the dark we are scared not because it’s dark; I think we are all just afraid what is within it. For the large part, we all get startled or scared based on what we previous encountered. So if we are in dark places all the time, usually we can get comfortable with it and we overcome it. How about on a grander scale? What if this scenario of fear goes beyond just one person and it’s a population?

Over the last couple decades, the western world has changed from worrying on past mistakes to brazenly take on challenges beyond what we can full understand outside our own understanding. We see things through one way mirrors. We see and examine things from our enclosed space to make assumptions of others. As a society, it can be dangerous for us to be looking through this mirror. We can do what we can to put labels on people to the extent where we can catalogue everyone and everything in the world based on these assumptions. As a gamer, we are presented these assumptions. The end game scenarios presented to us show a torn world from it’s former glory and a world where the places of pride are bloody battlefield where we get by through killing others to achieve our goals and needs. It always happens at once, the spark that lit the gunpowder. The world’s fragility, regardless of it’s daintiness and finesse, would be able to manage to get through the first of many days.

In any apocalyptic scenario I could conjure, I always account for optimism of which a few good people would prevail to defend their way of life or the lives of others. Whether they would be soldiers fighting sentient robots or doctors curing the human zombie virus. They will be the ones we will be looking forward to get us through the upcoming days; hope in a nutshell. Life would continue as close to normal before any situation goes out of hand, after which it would fall apart a bit at a time. The hardest thing lose for anyone is control, because they are scared of what will happen if they do. Which would explain why dictatorships would like they do; they keep the same people in power and to maintain it, they use whatever power to gain more power to hold on to their power. This cycle only breaks when the leader does not possess everything. This is when revolution (or rebellion depending on which historian you ask) occurs to star anew. In our culture as refined as it is now, started with revolutions of both peaceful and violent natures. These fumbling and failing are reminders we are all part of something bigger and we should never gain power by taking it from others. An apocalypse whether it is natural or man made would be the greatest lesson in humility to all mankind. When the electricity powers down and the oil dries up, we will depend on the largest resource we have; ourselves.

To me, an apocalypse is not really the end of humanity. It is revolution at it’s largest when we are not generally prepared to face it. Usually it will be slow going at first where the socio-economic systems break down in places. All the end results would be people trying to calm people down and attempt to maintain order even if there are shortages on resources like food and fuel. Even as the world falls apart around us and society ensuring its survival, would we be able to see it in time to save ourselves? Would the apocalypse be here without us knowing it? Could a day, a few month, a couple year down the road; would that be all the time we have left?

Hard to image what the beginning would be like, the collapse. Would it be full of civil unrest? Catastrophic failings to our human hubris? Zombies roaming the Earth? What would life be like right before everything kicks off? Would those people even know it was coming? Would we even know it was coming? We never really look too far ahead of us as a society. We are always looking for the here and now; what we need now so we don’t have to worry about tomorrow. We never really look too far ahead of ourselves to really see what we can do to keep everything steady as it is now. I remember hearing so much about peak oil, the world supply of petroleum is running out and we reached a point where we can’t get anymore of it. We humans use it for many things; from fuels to fun toys, from tools and trade. What if suddenly there was no more oil left? Would we still be here on our computers? Are we still going to be able to open a plastic bag of food and drive our cars? Of course a few have been looking into alternatives to mitigate our dependency on fossil fuel, but would this research reach mass production? Would it be just in time before we run out of fuel for everyone?

However the world falls apart, the question remains; are we prepared for everything? There were speculations the 2000’s were going to be chaotic, where the end to our means finally arrives. Predictions of resource depletion and violence if we continued our way of life. Perhaps the apocalypse is already here. Perhaps this is what they meant. Did we even see it coming?

The Video Game

You thought the debate between console superiority was crazy, there is one which still debatable and attempts to define the gaming industry outside or within the entertainment genre. What constitutes a video game? This in many forms has sparked many opinions about what qualifies as a video game. Many are in depth, setting parameters which define most but not all video games to date. While the others grasp on the notion of a video game on principles of entertainment to define them as mere entertainment, which skirts the very purpose of the question.

Lets break it down simply, the noun itself; “video game”. Video being an electronic medium; TV, computers, anything with a visual display which can generate images. With an emerging tech industry, video is going beyond flat images and even innovating on it’s own medium. Holographic and 3D technology is slowly coming to fruition but will be awhile before it is accepted as common medium for all our commercial uses. “Game”; a form of play or sport. If it is competitive then it’s played with a rule set which luck, strength or skill is  a determining factor for a victory state. Now we are going somewhere; we can now say games are a sport and a form of play. Take that mainstream media for calling it child’s play! Suck it hard and savour it! Regardless of either play or sport, if there is a competitive element it must have winning condition based on those 3 attributes. So poker is a game since it’s a bit of luck and skill. Soccer is a sport since it’s all skill. FIFA 2014 is a sport because it requires skill to win. Starcraft? Definitely sport since the win condition requires skill; same with most strategy and shooters, though shooters are sometimes more of all the three than just the one. What if the “game” does not possess a competitive or sport component? Is it still a game?

Now we have to understand what exactly is “play” to understand what is defined as a “game”. Like sport, play is set in two camps, structured and unstructured. Structured being a clear set of rules enforced while unstructured where none are existent or clearly enforced. Under this all video games are games; games with no clear goal and those with one are all defined as play, in turn maintain their game status. Even sports can be play if rules or victory conditions aren’t observed. The National Institute of Play (apparently it is a thing), goes beyond the two camps to describe types of play. Attunement play is to make interactions with other beings or persons to socially connect to them. Body play involves human movement; jumping, reaching, rolling and anything you can do with your body. Object play is the manipulation the environment; skipping stones to moving your dear companion cube, this would constitute as object play. In it’s complexity, social play gets into involving a group into an activity; whether the group is one more person or a crowd. Imaginative play or pretend play would sit nicely under this type; this form is more creative where you make up your own little world or place in your mind. Narrative play; in short, storytelling can be considered play since it allows us to convey our experiences and stories onto others. Creative play, somewhat like the jazz music of play; where we build upon our own or other ideas which can help us understand complex thought in simple terms. All video games would fall under at least one of these categories regardless if there is a victory condition or not. Some can even go to say they may be two or more of these types. A game is both competitive and non-competitive with or without a end or victory condition.

As humans, we tend define the world as we see it. We qualify and quantify to the exact measurements for our satisfaction but in the end exactitude can lead to exclusion; what we can exclude, we could learn more about. Perhaps the question is more than to define what a video game is, perhaps it’s an exercise in humility. Regardless of the genres of games out in the world, video games is just another bit of our existence; a subset within a subset within another subset in the totality of human experience.

“Hero”

One word of many I never really got into my life on a casual term. It’s one of the words that are I feel overused as a positive compliment to an individual. Whether you say it in it’s masculine or feminine, out of it’s commonality is it’s mediocre value to the word which I think should be more valued.

A hero (or heroine if you are a woman, for ease of use I’ll refer to the masculine term) in contemporary is a person admired for their courage, achievement or possess noble qualities. I find the definition insufficient for a lot of reasons; mostly the because these are descriptions of every person. Courage is among us whether we choose to acknowledge or refute in our self-esteem. In many ways we own our life through courageous acts regardless how small they seem to be to someone. To ask the pretty girl (or guy, not going to judge) to asking their hand in marriage. From fighting wars to getting over a loss of someone. We have some amount of courage based on our experiences. The more we can embrace different and new experiences, the more courageous we are because we are ready to face those same and similar events.

In our society, we tend to overstate achievements. As a gamer, I see achievements in a material and numerical state. As social status symbol, it distinguishes experiences we endure; as a material society, this gets a higher meaning with material manifestation in medals, parades and an every lasting legacy through name or likeness. Achievement in it’s basest sense successfully fulfilling something, the something being a goal most of the time. Our society values achievements which hard to obtain; most of the time, these are academic or difficult goals to obtain. As before, achievement is overused and even underused to differentiate events in your life. We might not get a medal for the first kiss, but we would remember the very first kiss than any other sequential first kisses with other people. We celebrate the achievement of completing of high school with prom, but it is more of a necessity than an achievement because it is not the end but an ends to a mean. We might not get a notification for life’s achievements, but we should acknowledge them they are what they make us individuals.

Nobility is a quality dictated by others. It defines what is good and what is bad to do and the etiquette of resolution and action. Whether to steal to save a life or holding a door for someone, this is a noble quality to conform with our morality and ethics to act in the good or reputable. In our society we consider noble qualities are acts and ethics which positively serves the group.

Back to heroism, you can see anything could label you as a hero but society materially distinguishes you if you are a hero based on a set of conditions. In my life, heroes are usually refer to who has been in war or has saved someone life. But under the contemporary sense, anyone can be a hero in their own right.

The way I would label any person a hero would be someone who has endured a great hardship to success in their goals. Especially those who question and defy conventional ethics or morals to achieve something for the good of all. To me a hero does not need to be recognized for their deed nor the adoration of others to do what is necessary. They are there to help others regardless of their enduring hardships. They put themselves out there to save others but never be saved themselves. They are the risk takers and defenders to keep us going. They are the warriors and pathfinders who march forth into the unknown to seek our answers. They remind us every moment is hard fought and worth preserving.

We are the heroes and we stand amongst our own.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 216 other followers