Young Joe 1990

An old friend of mine from kindergarten sent a photo to me yesterday… of me. There’s nothing special about the picture. He had taken it during a visit to our place one summer. We had stayed in touch for a few years after I moved from Edmonton. Every summer his family would come to the west coast and he would stay with us for a long weekend or so.

1990 Josef- Age 14

This was summer of 1990. I was 14 at the time of this photo. In my hands is a Sega Genesis controller. I remember he and our other friend had stayed over for about five days. The three of us played Sega nonstop trying to beat Phantasy Star 2. By nonstop I mean we pulled all-nighters taking turns sleeping trying to get further in the game. During the days we would take some breaks and go swimming. We had a good long distance friendship that lasted about a decade. Then high school set in and our summers changed.

Last Summer: Our son and his friends having a night swim.

This candid picture of me is mind blowing as well. My son looks and acts exactly the same way I did. I’ve seen him with friends at sleepovers and how they play video games much in the same manner. Not to mention how much fun they have in the swimming pool.

It was nice that my old friend sent me that photo randomly. It goes to show that people can still think of you and the good times that were once had. It’s been years since he and I hung out. The three of us met up about five or six years ago. It was a nice evening of beers and memories. Perhaps we will get together once or twice more over the years.

Life just gets busy sometimes and memories are all we have. I’ll take those innocent and happy memories any day.

Amico No Show…

Back in January of 2020 I put down $100 as a deposit on a video game system that was slated to come out in October 2020. (Read about it Here: Mio Amico). The release date came and went with a new day slotted for April of 2021. The reason was the computer chip shortage.

Well, April 2021 came and went with a promise from the company that a system would be out by the end of the year. Well, we are now into the second month of 2022 and still no system or tentative release date. Am I disappointed? Of course.

I am at a stage now where I am debating what to do. I still have the opportunity to get my $100 deposit refunded. Or I can keep waiting and hope that a physical system may actually get released. $100 is essentially how much I spend a week on gas for my vehicle. So it’s not all that much. However, not having something to show for the money is sucky.

I do think that the will be out eventually. My hope is that the games they release will be worthy of renewed gameplay and fun. For now, I’m going to give them until the middle of March and decide by then. There is currently about half a dozen games they have shown that I really want to play.

Maybe I’ll continue to be disappointed. Or maybe I’ll give up and move on. I’m not sure quite yet.

Christmas Playtime

To me, Christmas is about having fun. Since I was a child, I always remember getting toys, puzzles and video games as gifts. On Christmas Day, and the days following, would be spent having fun. Living the dream of playtime!

Back in the early 80’s with my father.

My fondest memories of my father was at Christmas. That was when he would crouch down to my level and play with my toys and me on the floor. This was always the most father/son interactions we would have all year long. Those fleeting experiences meant the world to me.

When I became a father, I spent as much time with my kids as I could- not just on Christmas. We continue to have Family Movie Nights and video game time. Christmas is a little more special and we put in a few more hours of goofing off. This year, we played some UNO, finished a puzzle and got back to basics with some smack talk during Mario Party!

We accomplished these fun times because the teenagers are very helpful as they have grown older. Having teenagers help out with the chores and Preparing Meals means that we can all spend more time as a family relaxing and playing. Even though I miss when they were little, I can still look back on those memories with joy and happiness.

Christmas is the one time of the year that we would take a lot of pictures. This year we lacked any real family photos. Perhaps it was a bit the fact that our teens don’t like their pictures taken, and maybe also- we were trying to live in the moment a bit more. This winter break didn’t feel like Christmas at first and held a bit of depression in all of our hearts. But the tender and fun moments we had as a family helped bring the joy back and made for a good Christmas Day.

How did your Christmas feel this year?

Video Game Challenge

About a month ago, my son and his friend challenged my buddy and I to a series of video game competitions. Saturday we took on the teenagers and played some PlayStation 3 games and some Nintendo Wii games. I thought for sure my buddy and I would win the majority of the games.

Boy was I wrong.

It was embarrassing losing at a game that we would spend hours playing in the arcade after work back in 1999/2000. I loved NFL Blitz and clocked a lot of hours at work playing it way back then. The boys had never played it. For whatever reason, they wiped the floor with us. Embarrassing.

My buddy and I did get our revenge on Wii Sports Resort Bowling. Bowling was something I did in high school for years. The logistics of the game were similar, so I defeated my son quite easily. My buddy and his boy had a much closer match. It was down to one point. But victory was ours!

Then MarioKart on the Wii came out. My son and his friend decimated us. It wasn’t even close. I may as well have been driving a golf cart on the Indy 500 the way I was playing. Even though the old guys lost, we still had fun and would do it again sometime.

Hakchi

Three years ago, Santa brought us the NES Mini and the SNES Mini. Christmas has always been akin to Video Games since I can remember. We played the games that were on the systems only a handful of times. After we moved, the Nintendo minis went on display in my kids’ room.

This week I decided that I was going to modify the SNES Mini. I did a bit of research online, or rather watched a couple YouTube tutorials, and decided to give it a go. I’m not going to link any of the information- as doing a modification like this is done at your own risk. But since we weren’t really using the systems, I wanted to try it out.

I spent a couple of hours downloading almost every single Super Nintendo game available. I also picked up a few Sega Genesis titles as well as some Gameboy ones. The controls on the system work similarly so it wasn’t that big a deal. I used an app called Hakchi CE to hack the system. This was one of the most straightforward things to do since my usage of Limewire and Musicmatch a couple decades ago.

Now there are 148 games installed on the SNES Mini. Each game works perfectly, each with artwork to keep it looking like the original games that the system came with. This is like hitting the jackpot of my youth- every game imaginable is available to be added to the library of titles. My favorite game ever on the Super Nintendo is also on here now- Metal Warriors. I’m hoping that my son will play it with me soon.

Next I’ll modify the NES Mini and put a bunch of Nintendo and Gameboy and Game Gear games on that one. There’s something to be said for nostalgia and gaming.

Have you done a mod on your NES or SNES mini? Let me know what features you like to use.

12

Twelve. One dozen.

The amount of days remaining until we move. So I decided that for the final countdown (BA DA BOO-BOO…BA DA BOO-BOO-BOO) I would share something about each number for the days remaining that makes me happy.

With twelve being such a great number- My daughter suggested talking about the movie “12 Monkeys” since I enjoyed it so much. And it’s eerily poignant with today’s world. But I thought why not talk about how Sesame Street made me love pinball? That’s a bit more fun.

It’s all because of “One two three four five… six seven eight nine ten… eleven twel-el-el-el-el-elve.“ Such a ridiculous cartoon teaching kids to count. But it worked. And the song is forever ingrained inside the brains of any child of the 80’s.

I have a love of pinball because of this. It is my go-to gaming in arcades. I have always wanted a pinball machine. Perhaps one day I will get one. I have also bought pinball video games because I enjoy those as well.

Alien Crush was on the Turbografx16 and I won a contest playing it. Kirby’s Pinball Land on Gameboy filled hours of boredom (my daughter has since destroyed my high scores on that one). As well, I would spend hours upon hours of playing 3D Pinball Space Cadet on Windows (pre-Internet days). But my wife treated me to something truly amazing.

Star Wars VR Pinball on the Oculus. Not only do you play pinball, but you also get to set up a really cool Star Wars Den. The pinball game has a variety of views making it truly immersive. I’ve only played a couple of times, but I am looking forward to playing some more in the near future.

My love of pinball coincides with the number twelve. And with 12 days to go, I look forward to relaxing with some vr pinball in our new place.

The Code

Thirty five years ago today, a code emerged that changed the livelihoods of millions of children. No living room remained untouched by this magic. How it got originally got shared is unknown to this day. How it remained was a simple oversight when publishing the game.

You know the code. Even if you weren’t alive in 1986, you know of the code. Konami’s Contra Code was shared so quickly by word of mouth you’d think the code was in the instruction manual. Or that the Internet was already around…

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, START

All the weapons, thirty lives- helping to make beating an almost impossible game attainable. Every boy I knew talked about the code. It was the secret that the world knew. It has been ingrained in our minds since then. It has appeared in numerous video games and other pop culture references according to the Konami Code Wikipedia . I bet even Tesla has added it in their cars somehow.

Happy 35th Birthday to the greatest cheat code ever! May the memory of getting Nintendo Thumb be the reason I cannot forgot you.

Jar Lids: For Every Event

I forget that my wife is five years older than I am. Many of our interests growing up were different. Our upbringings were also different, but it also shared many similarities. Sometimes I find stuff of hers that I just didn’t know existed. Such as an old hobby of hers.

I do know all about cross stitching. My wife has made some beautiful Christmas stockings for our family years ago; as well as a couple of pieces she made for our kids. I knew she was talented in that aspect. She has immense patience when doing a task like that.

However, I did not know that it was a thing in the late 80’s to make cross stitch for jar lids. “For Every Event” no less! I suppose if you’re crafting, why not make jar lids for your canning as well?

The designs are rather simplistic. They remind me of Perler Beads or old computer video game animation. Very squared off and somewhere along the lines of being 16bit.

This makes sense to me. I miss seeing creative people at conventions making cross stitch fan art. I wonder if they started with “Jar Lids For Every Event” first? Perhaps these crafters started with something similar to understand the basics.

I have a feeling my wife will be getting back into this hobby once we move. What other reason would she have for leaving this on our table for me to discover? In fact, I may just have to take up the hobby as well.

I’m pretty sure we have a stash of jars that need decorative lids for our new home.

My Top 5 Colecovision Games

I love retro 80’s video games. However, Atari was never my thing. I have always favored the Intellivision, but a close second is the Colecovision. Both of which were superior to the Atari in all aspects.

Aside from my opinion about which home console was best in an era “Pre-Nintendo” I also had 5 top games that I loved playing on my Colecovision.

Antarctic Adventure

A forward scrolling game where you jumped over holes, caught fish and avoided seals. The idea was a timed trial race around Antarctica. I completed this game numerous times, but still recall the “boing” sound as you bumped into seals.

Cabbage Patch Kids

This is a side scrolling “Pitfall” style game that gets harder as you go. I remember playing for hours on end, mastering each sprite location for the perfect jump. With only three lives to give- I don’t remember if there was an ending to the game.

Zaxxon

This was a space side scrolling game. The difference was that it was more of a 45° angle side scrolling- which proved tough to judge obstacles. The sound of the thrusters buzzing was classic.

Frenzy

This was a top view maze game, where you ran from room to room killing monsters and robots. Simple and a good way to burn off frustration.

Pepper II

Kind of Pac-Man esque. You avoid this creatures as you zippered up sections of a maze.

All of them were a great way to spend hours playing. Trying to beat high scores, how far you got, or times. Simple and cartoony. Pretty sure these games would be easy to beat nowadays.

Deathstar 1138

As many folks who know me may have guessed- I enjoy Star Wars. I have shared numerous memories here in my blog. But one of the things I am happiest about is that my love of Star Wars has been passed on to my children.

The one thing that got passed on rather surprised me. I had created a username on the PlayStation 3 when my son was about two or three years of age. It was a name that I continued using when we purchased the PlayStation 4. The user name is DEATHSTAR1138. A nod to George Lucas. Both with Star Wars and another of his films: THX 1138.

Over the past few years, my son has been playing video games under my user name. But what is even better, is that he continued with that user name into his Instagram account. It appears that this username is now being passed down from one generation to another. Long live Deathstar1138.

I’m not a big video gamer, so my son is more than welcome to keep using the name. I always thought the name to be quite clever. But I’m a nerd like that.

Have you given up your username to your kids? Do you think you might at some point?

4,3,2,1 Amico!

A few months ago I mentioned how I put a deposit down on a “Founder’s Edition” of the upcoming Intellivision Amico: Mio Amico. I was excited for the chance to play some original“Couch Co-Op” games once more with my family. The system had a launch date of 10/10/2020…

Right in the middle of a console war between XBox and PlayStation for their newest systems. Probably not the best plan for a relatively unknown competitor in the video game market. The Intellivision Amico is not designed to be their competition though.

“At Intellivision, our mission is to use technology to bring family and friends back together by delivering simple, affordable, family-focused entertainment to everyone.”

Tommy Tallarico, CEO

The Amico is designed for simplicity. I like the idea of the system and the affordability of the games. To me this is like buying a cellphone and some apps that can be shared amongst family and friends on the tv. The graphics and gameplay demos for the games look great. Playing games in a group was always a favorite of mine.

As of late, with the pandemic and lock downs, we have been playing more games of this style on the Nintendo Switch. If you have kids or like the idea of games you can play and stop at your leisure- I do recommend the Switch.

Sunday Morning Cartoons

Yesterday I briefly mentioned Saturday Morning Cartoons. There were always a new series of cartoons being added into the roster on tv. From Muppet Babies to Gummy Bears- the shows we’re constantly changing. The next day of the weekend never changed.

I disliked Sundays very much because of tv. When I was little I attended a catholic school. But we rarely went to church. It just wasn’t something that my parents enforced. And as a kid, I never really asked to go. So I was at home trying to find something to watch on tv.

There wasn’t much selection on a Sunday as most early morning programs were religious based. But I managed to find “The Mighty Hercules” followed by “The Smurfs”. When you only have a handful of tv channels to pick from, the selection was pretty sparse.

These two shows were my go-to on a Sunday until my father took over the tv for golf, cooking, and “This Old House”. During that time I would retreat to play Lego or use our tiny tv to play Colecovision and Intellivision. Playing video games that just never ended. A looping of memorizing the pitfalls and perils in order to see how many hours you could spend playing these games. The games became very easy.

Easy like Sunday Morning. No selection available- you just watched what was on.

Mario Kart 8

On the weekend I bet my three children that I would beat them at MarioKart on the Nintendo Switch. I said that for every point they could beat me by- they would earn a dollar. I also said that to make it fair, we would play three cups of four races each. However, my stipulation was that we had to play 150cc Mirror races.

I had no idea my kids would be so good, or clever! I thought I could let them win a bit, then school them.

Turns out my kids ganged up on me. The oldest did her best to keep the lead with one of the other two staying close behind in second or third place. The third child did their best to take me out and keep me in the last possible place. They chose to pool their winnings and split it evenly three ways.

I lost $195.

Obviously I learned that my kids think I’m not very good at MarioKart even though I’ve been playing the different variations since 1992. I also learned that when given the chance, they can actually work together for a common goal.

My wife was none too happy. Until I told her that I’m okay with losing some money to the kids. This is the week we were supposed to be in Disneyland. So their “winnings” would have been spending money for the trip.

Look at those smiles. It was totally worth forking over $65 to each of them. Plus I got to “spend” quality time with them.

Fortnite: Father/Son Gaming

My son and I were busy building a front porch the past couple of days. It gave me a great opportunity to share some knowledge about building and power tools. By the end of the build, our son had a blister from using the drill too much. That’s the sign of a hard worker!

While we were building, we talked. Me explaining the build, him telling me all about Fortnite and how to play. I promised him that I’d play some video games once this deck was completed. Originally I was hoping for some MarioKart or something simple that I can press a couple of buttons for. Not a PS4 controller with over a dozen possibilities.

We played Fortnite for a little over an hour. Time really flies when you play video games. I can see why he gets sucked in for hours on end. But he taught me to play and was very patient with my Noob skills. He has been playing this game for A Couple of Years Now. He walked me through the basics and “Protected” my lack of skills from the enemies. We did alright in one match, coming in second place.

If I want to continue with our bonding, I’ll definitely need to get more practice in for games like this. It just sucks that in a house of five, we all play video games and the PS4/Nintendo Switch are on the big screen. We have the old PS3/Wii hooked up in my bedroom. Unfortunately neither of those are capable of playing Fortnite.

I like that he can teach me stuff and I can teach him. In the end I have created a fantastic father/son bond that I shall hold onto for the rest of my life.

Pac-Man Turns 40!

Ghost munching madness! Pacman is effing 40! I remember seeing the arcade game for the first time in a convenience store when I was like 5.

Since then I have bought numerous reiterations of the game on numerous video game consoles. From Atari to PlayStation 4, Gameboy to 1st Gen Video IPod: Pac-Man is my “Go-To” game. I will play it for hours on end.

Scott Pilgrim

Ten years ago I was excited that the Google Doodle was a playable version of Pac-Man for the 30th anniversary. And just think, In ten years it’ll be the 50th Anniversary of the game! Crazy.

But those 8bit sounds and simplistic graphics paved the way for generations of games and players.

Yes, Pac-Man is a great game. I’d love to own an original upright cabinet or cocktail table version of the game. Until that day comes, I’ll just play it on our big screen. I really enjoy playing Pac-Man Championship.

Did I tell you that I like Pac-Man?

Machine.

In the dew soaked dawn

Grass stretched on for miles and miles

The life of the world was starting a new day.

The rebirth had begun… again.

From the dirt, the insects crawled out.

From the trees, the birds came to feast.

From the building came a machine:

Pushed by men

A box of wires and buttons invaded the earth.

Cabinetry of exquisite art and form;

Brought forth a new sense to the field,

Nature was no longer alone.

The men left the machine to stand tall in the grass.

It stood high on the plains.

Tall and proud as it once was,

A former God clearly visible on all sides…

Men had devoted endless hours to it.

These fields had become forgotten in the years past.

But the earth knew that the men would return.

The brief fling with the machine had taken its toll.

Man was becoming poor as his focus changed.

Until one day it all ended.

The machine, like so many others, had been cast aside.

Some men found homes for similar machines.

The machines were stored away in basements,

Hidden from their families; but still shown to close friends.

The hums and tones emanating into the dungeons that were now home,

As the lights shone forth from the device to mesmerize…

Forgotten, was it all.

The memories, the mistakes, the pastimes…

The last of the heroes to man,

Had been dragged to its final resting place.

There alone in the blazing sun,

Its circuits, wires and lights to die off.

No protection from the sun, the rain, the snow.

Never to be played again.

Through the songs of the insects and birds,

The field breathed a sigh of relief.

Never again would man enjoy

Galaga.

Mio Amico

On Monday I excitedly made a purchase online for something that I won’t be receiving until 10/10/2020. I’m one of the lucky 2600 “Founders” of the future gaming system- The Intellivision Amico.

Back in 1981 my father received an Intellivision for his birthday. That Christmas the family received a bunch of games. It was my first introduction into video games at the age of 5. I played the shit out of that system. Then my parents sent it out to goodwill along with our Colecovision when I was 13. I was okay with that, because it was Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo that entered my life.

At age 19, I picked up a used Intellivision with a bunch of games for $60 from a newspaper ad. My friends and I played for hours on end. I played the shit out of the system. We had so much fun hanging out playing games like SNAFU and Triple Action. I still have this system and play on it from time to time.

Anyway, this past Monday I laid down my $100 to secure my ability to be one of the lucky owners of the retro inspired system. This gaming system boasts the idea of playing games as a group again. Couch cooperative! Showing my teenagers about this system has them excited as well. Yes, girls and boy aged 13, 15, & 17 are excited to play games with dad!

That’s the sort of fun I love about video games. The Amico has potential to be a great system with many original and revamped classic titles that Intellivision fans will love and remember. I’m hoping for a good version of Astrosmash to be available.

So check out the video in which Tommy Tallarico shares his new vision of the Intellivision brand: Amico Trailer.

Perler Beads

“How do you use Perler Beads?”

That was the question I asked back in August 2010 when I first discovered them at a convention. Eventually we bought a few of the crafting sets and learned how to use them. It was an easy process and soon we branched out and began to focus on some other creations.

What are Perler Beads?

Perler Beads are small plastic beads that you lay beside one another to make an image, followed by melting them. There are clear plastic plates with tiny pegs which you use for the projects. They are about 4 inch square. Using tweezers to place the beads in formation- eventually you get an image.

Most of this craft is counting and separating coloured beads. Once the image is done- you use a wax style of paper and iron gently in order to melt the beads together. We liked to melt them only slightly to keep the the image, while I have seen other melt them flat, thus “bleeding” the beads together.

Today I discovered a set of coasters I had made years ago. Perler Beads are perfect for recreating 8 Bit or 16 Bit video game characters. Artistically- I found each image needed a bit of “shading” to make the images pop. By “shading” I used a colour that was similar but a tad bit darker. Greens, blues, red, yellows, etc.. all popped around the black frame.

Our kids used the coaster video game characters as templates and made numerous magnets which they would sell at conventions in order to earn some spending cash at the shows. They also made Hello Kitty hair clips and keychain Mine Craft tools which were very popular.

My favorite that I have made to date, also happens to be the largest. We bought an oversized plate and I filled it up with beads to create a Jack Skellington for the film The Nightmare Before Christmas. This particular creation took me about 5 hours and 3500 beads to complete.

Making Perler Bead creations was a fun family hobby when the kids were younger. We still have a metric shit-ton of the beads in all sorts of colours. After discovering my original coasters- I have a feeling that the kids may want to start making them again once more.

Or I could be terribly wrong and our kids will go on to be teenagers and grow their social lives. But I still like crafting and may return to it soon.

A Day Off Together

My wife took a day off work today to spend time with me. She’s going out of town this weekend. (Our son has a Speed Skating competition in Northern BC.) I figured we’d have some nice quality time together.

First, she woke up and helped the kids get ready for school. I then drove them to school. When I returned home, I made us a lovely breakfast of bacon wrapped asparagus with poached eggs. So far our day was off to a great start.

Outside, the sun was shining brightly. Best avoid it and play video games. My wife and I played on the Nintendo Switch in our dark theater room for about three and a half hours.

It was a ton of fun lounging on the couch in our pajamas until one in the afternoon. Ya, I drive my kids to school in my pjs. Not like I have to get out of the car. In fact, sometimes I go shopping in my pjs. I’ve even gone to work like that in the past. Comfort wins out over fashion sense.

My wife gets very animated when playing video games. After an intense round, match or level- she usually flails her arms. She tries to grab at me, pinch or punch my arms in frustration if she loses. Today I earned quite a few bruises.

It’s all in good fun mind you. I’m often laughing at her failures in the games. So I do kind of deserve her little attacks.

I’m going to miss her this weekend. But at least it will give me time to heal. And practice at our games.

Retro Gaming Feel

Over the weekend, I set up a little area near our front door in order to play video games.

Over Christmas we received the NES and the SNES Minis. We had an old 20″ RCA tv that we were using for a computer monitor. I decided to mount it on the wall and connect the game systems.

The tiny alcove reminds me of the look on a basement from the 1970’s/early 1980’s. The perfect little spot to enjoy some retro gaming. It may sound odd, but it works. It’s also a good little spot to hideout, but still be central in the home.

Now when one of our kids are ready to go out before anyone else, they can occupy their time playing a game. It’ll help keep them out of the way and out of trouble.

Hopefully.

Fun Romancing

Yesterday was Valentines Day. Some people expressed their love for one another on social media. Others shared bitterness and sarcasm. Many people shared pictures of lovely dinners and flowers. Whatever your day was like, I hope it was great. Mine was super romantic.

First my wife and I dropped the kids off at school. Then we went for breakfast at a random bistro that we had never been to before. One of the best breakfasts I have ever had. Also the most expensive breakfast I have ever had. This was our romantic meal of the day.

Then my wife and I went home to play some video games in bed. Followed by a mid morning nap. Which led to me sleeping until 4pm because I worked the night shift the day prior. I woke up because I had missed four phone calls from my wife. She left the same message each time in her silliest voice possible. “Call me. Call me. Why won’t you call me? Caaaaaaaaallllllll me.”

When she came home, we played some Smash Bros and Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch. My wife is really good at gaming and beat me repeatedly at these games. After a couple of hours of video games, I made dinner for the family.

After dinner we watched one of my wife’s favorite films- “Stardust“. It’s also one of my favorites. A fairytale involving love. Something about Neil Gaiman’s works translate from novel to film beautifully.

Yesterday was a day pretty much designed to make my wife happy. From a lovely breakfast date to lots of video games to enjoying a romantic film. I think we should do more days like this.

Taiko No Tatsujin

We picked up the Nintendo Switch this past Christmas for the family. Originally we weren’t planning on buying it. There was just a handful of games that we thought to be worthwhile. That is until we heard in the fall that a favorite game was coming available.

Taiko no Tatsujin

Drum ‘n’ Fun!

This game is so fast and has some great songs. Mind you most of the songs are from anime or video games. But ones that we recognize at the same time. We love the game because it reminds us of our trip to Japan.

One of our Days in Japan was spent wandering around the various arcades. This is where we discovered the “Table Flip” game, the “Drum ‘N’ Fun” game and many crane games. The joy our children experienced playing these games made us desperately want to recreate it. We even tried to pick up a Nintendo 3DS version of the game while in Tokyo, but it wouldn’t work on our North American systems.

Now that we have it in our home, we love to play it. My arms are getting a great workout as I try and keep up with the beats to the drum. On the easy level.

I was online the other day and stumbled across this video of one of the songs being played on a real drum kit. Just look at the joy about halfway through.

Check out the video: Drum!

I almost want to get the “Drum” controller for our system to add to the realism. Hey honey! My birthday is coming up soon…

Good First Day Of 2019

I had a good start to 2019. I woke up. Always a great way to begin any day.

Then I went to work. Which means I have a job that helps keep my family clothed and fed.

I finished reading a book. I love Felicia Day. She’s like my celebrity crush- sort of. More like a really cool friend crush. The kind where we could hang out and play Munchkin and then not talk for months. Anyways, I digress. I finished her autobiography. I also miss reading. Time to pick up more books.

I also played some old school video games. On a system I wasn’t going to buy. But it was a total impulse purchase just before Christmas. And I had fun playing the Super Nintendo games again.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a cheese fondue dinner as a family. We try and have it every New Year’s Day.

To end the day- I watched some tv with the family before bed. We watched some “Community” and “Parks and Rec” pointing out other shows that we recognize the actors from.

It was a good start to the year. I hope to have many more days like this.

Christmas Video Games

Almost all my life, Christmas has involved video games. Either getting new systems or games. This year was no different.

We picked up a Switch for the family and the NES/SNES minis for my wife and I. Even though I didn’t want to last year. We also picked up a couple games to play. All afternoon and night yesterday had us playing as a family.

Even today, everyone has been gaming throughout the house. Lots of laughs and smack talk a-plenty. When I was younger, my family never played games with me. I did play with friends quite often. Which was great. I also powered through those endless games for hours on end.

As well when I was younger, we had one of those large wooden cabinet tvs that sat on the floor. Over the Christmases, starting around 1980, our home had consoles arrive that would require Channel 3 or 4 to work. Intellivision was our first one. A couple years later, we got a Colecovision/ADAM computer combo. At which point my father bought another tv. This time a small 13″ one that could go into a different part of the house so that I wouldn’t bother him as I played games.

Eventually, when we moved to a new home, that small tv ended up in my bedroom for a couple years. Until the Sega Genesis came into my life. We moved again, and then my parents bought themselves another tv and I was given the large old one. Which took up half my new bedroom. So I got a Futon bed to fold into a couch in order to play games more. Which meant I also never put it into bed form. Super Nintendo, followed by the N64 became favorites to play with friends as well.

Growing into an adult and having a place of my own for nearly the past two decades, I have changed TVs every couple of years. With technology constantly evolving, “upgrading” is one of my favorite things. This Christmas we upgraded our theater room projector. For about five- six years, we had a small 720p Epson projector. It got a ton of use. But as the game systems and games got visually better, it was time to upgrade.

So on Black Friday, we ordered a new projector online. Since we had such good luck with Epson, I wanted to stay with it. Our new projector shows images in 4K. We weren’t expecting it to be such a large machine. However, the entire family agrees that the quality in the images is incredible. Especially when shown on a 106″ screen.

It was strange today to play on the big screen and then take the Nintendo Switch out into handheld mode for the same game. Going from 106″ to 6.2″ would seem incomprehensible in 1980.

What memories do you have of video games? Do you still play them? Have you upgraded your tv or stereo to match the quality of modern systems?

Enjoying Fallout

Last night my son and I began playing Fallout 4 on PS4. Ya I know the game is already 3 years old, but it’s new to us. As I mentioned back in January in Father/son Video Game Day, we finally got a PlayStation 4 for Christmas. We have been slowly adding to our library of games. A game such as Fallout 4 that has been around for a few years is generally inexpensive to purchase. So, we now own it.

Since we only just began playing the game and it is a one player, first person shooter, my son has taken most of the control of the character. I have sat on the sidelines offering advice and asking questions. It surprised my son that I know so much about the game. I had to explain to him that most games like this are formulaic. They follow a set style which makes it more natural to pick up and begin playing.

What sets apart each game are a few key features. Storyline, characters, settings, graphics (these increase in quality over the years), sound effects, and music. Fallout 4 surprised me in this last area. Where most games of this style (shooters) usually boast either no music or go heavy metal/industrial, Fallout 4 does not. Instead, because it is a post-apocalyptic theme, the soundtrack is rockabilly/ bluesy songs from the 1930’s-1960’s. It comes through their mock radio station- Diamond City Radio.

This music playlist really sets the tone of the game for me. I have already fallen in love with it after only playing for about an hour. The use of music in the storyline really sets the narrative. I am looking forward to many more hours of gameplay. With my son at the controls of course… because I suck at gaming nowadays. I miss my blocky running dude from the early 80’s.