Getting Jealous and Trying to Get Jealousy

I’m single now, but have been in long term relationships, one which was almost five years long. Even though been cheated on, abandoned, and I still don’t get the whole jealousy thing.

I don’t understand the purpose being jealous. Feeling threatened by other people or even (ahem) objects just shows a lack of trust in the other person and security with one self. It’s also a major turn off.

I equally don’t get it when other couples tip toe around, being careful not to make the other person jealous.

I’m not saying I haven’t done stupid things like neglected friendships when being in relationships. However, I have never thought to give up one on one encounters with people of the opposite sex just because of the status of being in a relationship. I (surprise) connect with guys. I enjoy their company in an entirely non-sexual way.

Many of them are gay and many of them have relationships of their own anyways. Sometimes I’m in a big group, and sometimes, one on one with a person. I don’t think you give up that right to have plans with your friends when you enter into a relationship, even if the friend is of the opposite sex and even if it’s just the you two doing something together. I have always been more likely to hang out with people one on one or in a very small group, so maybe that’s why I don’t see anything wrong with people keeping their other close knit friends no matter what their relationship status.

If anything, maybe a guy should take care with women having gay and bisexual women friends. It makes the same amount of sense.

If a boyfriend or husband ever tried to tell me to not hang out with someone, how would I handle it? I think I would have a hard time seeing their point of view, though I’d try. I’ve let guys come between be and friends too much in the past. There just has to be enough trust to allow that most important person in your life have other people be important in theirs. If your significant other isn’t worthy of your trust, what are you doing trusting them enough to be in any kind of relationship with you?

Do you worry about flirting? Anything can be flirting. Anything can be interpreted as flirting. Worrying about that is like worrying about a ‘your mom’ joke. It isn’t serious unless it’s serious, and really, how often is that?

I’d give any guy the same free reign I expect from them, to hang out with whoever. The guys who are going to cheat on me will whether or not I try to control their friendships. They are not worth keeping anyways. If I can’t trust someone without monitoring them, then I can’t trust them at all.

I guess the most important thing is to make sure you’re on the same page in a relationship. If you’re not, that could take some serious discussion. It’s probably a better discussion to have before hand than after the fact. Different people have different boundaries and limits, and for those to be respected, they have to be known first. Then, I guess, you can tackle the obstacle of trying to understand why and coming to some sort of understanding.

Blue is for Boys

…and a man asked, “Why are girl geeks so rare?”

…and all the women in IT and other geek fields raised their heads just far enough to roll their eyes, give the ‘for real?’ look, blink, sigh, giggle, give the evil eye, laugh, rant about feminism, turn it into a ‘your mom’ joke (“…because we were all too busy with your mom for her to have a daughter after giving birth to you”), etc.

A similar question could be asked about a LOT of things if you just missed the fact that all kinds of sexism is still out there.

Some of the hottest topics in the U.S. right now are womens’ rights over their own bodies and whether people who don’t want to have and guy-girl marriage have a right to do so. Some of the hottest topics in the world are whether or not women have the right to even make their own decisions and live if they try to.

It is always surprising, yet not surprising, that people miss what gender identities other than strait male, go through. They want to know why they don’t see it, and my easiest answer is that it isn’t happening to you or you’re so conditioned to accept it, that it is no longer an issue.

Women accept that they are no good with technology, or cars, or sports, or other ‘guy things’ from a young age. And then there are people like me that you wonder if we’re into it just because it was implied that we weren’t supposed to be.

Not all sexism really bothers me. It’s not worth my life, my energy, being negative to get worked up about even little thing. Some people do that, and in doing so miss the real stuff. They are too busy concentrating on the small symptoms rather than the real disease. I’m not talking about a ‘your mom’ joke or ‘that’s what she said’, though those sorts of things exist instead of ‘your dad’ or ‘that’s what he said’ and one wonders why even if just a little.

Just like homosexuals are more concerned with having equal rights, getting and keeping jobs, and feeling safe than whether or not they say ‘gay’ in a certain way at purepwnge.com, I am not going to care if you hold the door for me or not.

I’m talking about the sorts of things that allow the initial question to be asked. How does it happen that women have an extreme less of a chance to have certain careers, that are well within their abilities, in their future?

I could fill this post with stories of my own experiences. Explain I’ve seen sexism and sexism be enabled by guys and gals alike. Yes, many women help sexism along plenty. But I think really what I am trying to say is…

Really? You don’t know that sexism is alive and well?

If that’s the case, open your eyes a bit wider, read a little, listen a little harder. Even if it is not happening to you, you should be able to see it and empathize and even help stop it in some small way.

Since you’ve asked the question, I guess you’ve decided for some reason to care. Asking this question has likely lead you to see it (or marked your really seeing it for the first time). You don’t need to look far to get some whys.

However, there is no real satisfactory answer to why are world is filled with prejudice. Why don’t people don’t treat people as just people? I don’t know.

Why do we have to arbitrarily label, categorize, and judge each other as being inferior?

I don’t know. I wish we’d stop, or at least try. I think that’s where I get mad and pick my battles is when people don’t even care enough to give a sincere effort to be more sensitive to what fills someones shoes. Take a moment to think about what it takes to walk their mile, especially since we have the power to make that easier for everyone with so little effort.

And with that, I will vacate my soapbox for the time being.

To change gears into something more silly while maybe getting a glimpse of walking even a tiny bit in a woman’s shoes, check out this Smartest Man in the World podcast. It’s one of my favorites. That Rory is one funny guy. :)

Worst Controller, Best Controller

I can still remember when the Nintendo64 came out after so many Nintendo Power magazines of anticipation. What was once code named the “Ultra 64”, which I though was a cooler title at the time, was finally released. Sure, it was supposed to be a CD system, and turns out it was cartridges instead. Being a steadfast Nintendo loyalist I didn’t question this.

I didn’t question this until I played the system.

Worst controller ever.

I felt so completely let down. All of my willpower tried to enjoy the Nintendo 64 the way I did my Nintendos before it. Alas, I found myself wanting to go home to play some Super Nintendo or a PC game.

I have small hands, so I rationalized several minutes of trying to figure out the best way to get my hands around the damned thing to control Mario by blaming myself at first. How many buttons are on this thing? Do most of these even do anything?

Controllers should be comfortable. I did end up playing 007 and Super Smash Brothers with people who had the system and my fingers and palms ached more than the blisters from playing Street Fighter II with the Sega Genesis controllers (Why did they put a ridge around the buttons? No, I don’t know either.). The controller was too wide, had too many buttons, for no reason had some like phallic symbol in the middle. Don’t get me started on the d-pad and analogue. Making characters move has been effortless since the invention of the joystick. It’s pretty hard to screw that one up and, yeah, they managed it.

Controllers should be intuitive. There are buttons on that thing that I never bothered to reach and I’m not sure what were for. I don’t think the game designers knew either.

I know I’m not the only one who was left feeling unsatisfied with this system. Many people put them on the shelf or tried to sell in to get a Playstation.

Me? I got a Playstation. Their controllers were essentially a next generation version of the Super Nintendo controllers. Also it sported the disc media that Nintendo had promised and then backed out on. Nintendo so completely dropped the ball, I never thought to look back to see if they were throwing it again.

Best Controller Ever

Years later, there is a Nintendo product sitting next to my old, old SNES. This next generation of consoles has a lot to offer. Not one of the systems sucks… well, the PS3 is too expensive for anyone’s tastes, but people would probably say it was a good system if that weren’t the case (likely doomed to be clumped with the Atari Jagar, 3D0, and Dream Cast before it- all good systems, but overpriced- but since it’s a blue ray player too, maybe not). The Xbox360 is probably the first true online gaming console to even take a chip off of what PCs have been doing for years, and its hardware is nothing short of sweet (with the exception of a very noisy fan and lower end version).

And the Wii is just something else.

The original Nintendo was revolutionary not because of its hardware. Few people realize this, but it was actually a step back for its time. Look at any game that was a port to the system (and most of them were) and you’d see what I mean. It was graphically inferior to an Atari or Commodore of the times. And yet, it stole the heart of the average household.

The Wii is in that category, but it’s more than that. The Wii came out at a time when it seemed like the only place for console technology left to go was to become more similar to a mini, cheap, gaming PC.

Nintendo proved us wrong.

The Wii reminds me of another console that Nintendo tried and bombed. Did anyone else have a Virtual Boy? I think my parents threw ours away (after buying it for us for $30 with several games). It was awkward, clunky, very red (no color), and kind of dangerous to the eyes and body. Video games do not make me dizzy the slightest, but this thing made me light headed and wobbly after playing. The warning in the manual said not to play for more than fifteen minutes at a time. I think that’s why it mysteriously disappeared into the closet and then from the closet to video game heaven. By then, we had kind of stopped using it anyways. It was like a novelty item, extremely cool for a limited time only.

The reason why the Wii reminds me of this is because that’s the attitude I cautiously approached the system with. I played it over people’s houses many times before I was convinced it was more than a novelty item. I’m still a bit worried that game developers will fail to step up and make games for it that take advantage of the power of rethinking video games it’s put in my hand and head.

I admit, I gawked at the price of the Wiimote and Nunchuck as much as I gawked at their names. Since then, I keep finding out what else this controller can do.

It’s just a controller… or maybe it’s a ball of potential masked as a controller.

Look at me, I’m a Nintendo controller. I’m a laser pointer. I’m a sword. Woah, it just talked, is there a speaker in there? Pull my trigger. Punch me out like I’m brass knuckles. Put me up to your ear, twist me to control this, bump into you, and perform the most fluid fighting moves ever.

This controller is the most intuitive yet complex thing of it’s class I’ve ever seen, a true marvel of design. The intuitiveness carries over to the point where one game and another have very different controls and uses for it, yet I can pick them up in a few minutes. And the ways I’m controlling and number of controls are learning I’m realizing are more than for any other console I have in the past. Without thinking I’m switching the thing around, and using all of the buttons. There are 9 buttons (including the home button) and 2 d-pads. It doesn’t feel like it when I use them all. I was surprised when I counted.

This is what they were maybe thinking about when they made the Nintendo 64 controller, arguably the worst controller of all time.

And here it is my beam katana, my master sword, my light saber, my platforming controller, my boxing gloves, my steering wheel, my phone, and whatever else the game designers will think up.

The phone was the latest ‘woah didn’t see that coming’. But, with the built in speaker, makes sense. Way to add that much more game flavor.

You taste that? That’s a win.

Best and Worst of Atari 2600

Before I even start, I’ll say it’s okay if you don’t agree with this post- that’s what the comments section is for. If people have enough opinions, I might even look into the titles for a follow up post. The following are my opinions on the best, worst, and other awards I deemed appropriate for this 2008 Atari 2600 retrospective!! *cheers, applause* I could spend much more time coming up with other categories and remembering other titles, but here is a start on some of the good, the bad, and the obnoxious. If there are some obvious omissions, like Adventure, it doesn’t mean they weren’t considered. It means I’m leaving fodder for future posts -and- Adventure was already given air time last post.

 


Best in Ground Based Cannon

Winner: Space Cavern

Space Cavern

I know what you’re thinking. How do I dare pick something other than Space Invaders? Well, I dare because the first doesn’t always mean the best. Space Cavern sports both baddies from the sky who shoot at you and dudes from the side who try to flank you as your attention is turned to the sky. You also have nothing to hide under. I remember this being my dad’s favorite game growing up, and last time he saw my Atari 2600 out, sure enough he asked if I still had it.


Best in Horror

Winner: Haunted House

Haunted House

I’m not going to say that Haunted House is scary, but I will say that it has helped pave the way in psychological thriller/horror games that came after. Like in classics such as Clocktower for the SNES, you are a normal (though pixelated) person just trying to escape the extraordinary with your life in tact. This is also, like Clocktower, a game that changes the placement of things every time you play! You move through dark rooms with only a limited glow about your person to avoid all sorts of creepy baddies. Hopefully you can find the key to open all the locked doors. While the graphics may make you laugh, the soundtrack has some creepy sound effects.


Best in Racing

Winner: Enduro

Enduro

I know many of you might think Pole Position was as good as it got, but Enduro was the top of the line. The controls are tight and the graphics believable. The thing that really puts this game above the others is the day, night, and weather changes that made Enduro exciting, and dare I say, a bit realistic even. At night you can only see headlights clearly and in the snow the handling of your car changes. The sound helps with the excitement and nothing feels better than passing the other cars. As a matter of fact, that is the goal- not to beat the timer, but to pass a certain number of cars each ‘day’.


Best in Multiplayer

Winner: Warlords

Warlords

If you were to come over my house right now with a friend or two and say you wanted to play a video game, I just might plop this on. Yes, it is THAT good. You use paddles and play with up to four people (you can have others be controlled by the A1 which is surprisingly good). The object is to simply smack each other’s ‘base’ with a ‘ball’. You can intercept the ‘ball’ with your paddle controlled ‘person’ and either catch and throw it or smack it away. You must first chip away at the ‘shield’ around the base to get the chance at winning. The fun of this game reminds me of Bomber Man a bit in it’s style and combination between luck ans strategy.


Best in Simple Fun

Winner: KABOOM!

Kaboom!

If you know me in real life, you might know that I have occasion to sport a KABOOM! t-shirt. And why not? This game is just as much fun you’re going to find on an Atari 2600. The premise is uber simple: a robber is dropping bombs and you have to catch them as the fall to the bottom of the screen in- you guessed it- tubs of water. It’s sort of the opposite of your ground based cannon- a ground based catcher. There is plenty of animation and pretty colors. Unlike most Atari 2600 games, the graphics are even surprisingly easy to comprehend and appropriate. The game starts off easy, but soon your rocking your spinny paddle.


Best Ported from the Arcade

Winner: Dig Dug

How many Atari 2600 games were simply arcade games reprogrammed for the home? As PacMan shows us, this didn’t always lead to good things as often they became shoddy shadows of their former selves. Though the graphics took a hit when coming over, Dig Dug remains the same addictive game you remember spending your quarters on. The controls and gameplay remain intact as you tunnel your way through dirt and pump your enemies full of air (“blow them away!” Har!). The only thing you might notice is some lag time when too many enemies are on the screen. Other than that, this game remains intact and very enjoyable.


Most Mindless Fun

Winner: Barnstorming

Sure, there’s a point to this game, but who cares! You get to fly an indestructible plane around to your heart’s content crashing into barns and poor hapless ducks(?) that emit a funny noise and shoot forward when hit. You can even pile up a bunch of ducks in front of you for maximum hitting and squaking! Fan-tastic!


Best Innovation & Atmosphere

Winner: Mountain King

Mountain King

This was the one Atari 2600 game that actually successfully drew me in. The setting a creepy mountain landscape where you begin by collecting piles of dots (coins?) that make a noise when you pick them up. You are armed with a flashlight and ability to jump and climb ladders. The jumping is challenging, but unique as you point diagonally up, and then down when you want to angle back downward. Once you collect enough piles, they stop making noises and you hear a creepy tune. The tune actually gets louder as you get closer, and quieter as you get further away, to the bouncing, invisible, flicker-dot. You navigate up, down, and side to side (which loops) to try to get close enough to see the flicker out of the corner of your eye. The music gets loud ominous and you approach closer and flash your flashlight on it as it bounces side to side to get away. You pick it up. Now you must go to the throne which is near the bottom middle and get the crown. The skull will let you past now that you have the flicker-dot. Once the crown is on your head, the tune Mountain King begins and the bats start a-coming. You are on a time limit to get to the top of the mountain and those bats can take your crown away. There are also other things you can find with your flashlight and if you find yourself at the bottom of the screen, a different type of enemy may mow you down. I don’t think any other Atari 2600 game ever got my blood going like this one, or was as fun to watch. There is a lot of atmosphere and urgency that will bring you back again and again.


Most Obnoxious Sounds

Winner: Yar’s Revenge

Yar's Revenge

This is the only game I remember jumping up to turn down the volume on before one of my parents got pissed. That’s how bad that alarm-like noises are. Overall, I know a lot of people love this game, but I never cared for it anyways, and the noises further prevented my attempts at trying to like and bond with this game.


Worst Gameplay

Winner: Raiders of the Lost Ark

I know there might be a few people out there who enjoyed this atrocity. To do so, one must have turned down the music, liked the inability to move randomly, had a second set of hands to control their inventory on the second controller, and been able to decipher the more horrible than normal graphics and figure out what the heck to do! Or… they just called a 900 number or peeked at the back of the manual. If you need to cheat just to figure out what is going on, I don’t think it’s a worthwhile play. While there might be some other more forgettable games out there with worse gameplay, this one was very widespread and disappointed a lot of people.


Biggest Bomb

Winner: ET

ET

It seems like no one can talk about Atari 2600 without mentioning the landfill full of ET cartridges. It’s still the easiest game to find and purchase in its original form. Why? Just play for a few minutes and you’ll see. Unless you read the manual, nothing makes sense, and even if you do, the game is hard for the wrong reasons and has not much to do with ET. If you like falling down a pit a lot and having a hard time getting out, you might like this game. I have to point out the irony of all the ET games that ended up in a cemented landfill and the fact that ET falls down a pit so often in this game.

 

So I hope you enjoyed my memories of Atari 2600 in it’s glory. I did. I have a sudden urge to organize a Warlords game. Why not, I’ve done it for Gauntlet II and Dr. Mario after all. Feel free to post your own feelings on your favorites and least favorites. With the technology of emulation, you can try these titles, but I’m afraid the lack of paddle & joystick can be sad.

Quantity VS Quality

This is somewhat in response to the Twitter spam ‘discussion’ between Scoble and Badera.

There’s a lot of cliches that begin with the phrase ‘there are two types of people’. Though the world is not simple enough to classify everything as one or the other, there are dichotomies in this world and people especially.

When I look back on why certain relationships with people have failed, I think it has to do with a fundamental difference in values. I’m not talking about religion, I’m talking about people who are about more about quality and people who care about quantity.

A quality person is someone who values the intangible essence of something over the actual amount. They would rather have one moment of true revelation that a million okays. They actually believe that the thought is what counts. They are someone who’d rather hang out with a few people and have in depth discussions. Quantity people can deal with being wrong, losing a game, or considering other viewpoints, because they aren’t keeping score.

Quantity people are all about keeping score. They are worried about numbers of instances over the content of the instances themselves. They’d think the better gift is money rather than a well thought event planned by the giver.They’d go to a party at someone’s house advertised on a flier and try to say hi to as many people there as possible without really getting to know anyone. People like this are about life as a competition and being right.

There’s nothing wrong with that type of person, it’s just not me, not how I view the world and go about things. I think the unquantifiable things are what make life worth living. One real connection means so much more than a hundred passing hellos.

That’s as much true on the internet as it is anywhere else. I’m prefer my little online community any day of the week than a bunch of faceless, passing, generic comments.

You Can’t Pwn At Pong

Mario Bros Atari
I’m only twenty-something, but I still am not sure I feel right saying ‘pwned’.

It feels a bit unreal to have gaming be the younger cool. It seems like just yesterday, I was my little brother’s age and getting flack for the same reason he’s considered awesome. I feel like the same people who will wear Mario Bros. shirts now might be the same ones who poked at me in school for video gaming. Part of me wants to reveal the poser they are. I would ask them:

In the first level, do you go down the pipe for the coins? You do? Now why would you do that? There’s a barely hidden one-up that you miss if you go down the pipe. 100 coins equal a one-up. Do the math.

They look at me blankly, thinking, “Up-whats?”.

Am I still allowed to use the word poser?

Across the room, nestled between cd video games and Super Nintendo cartridges are little rectangle bricks that belong to no Nintendo. One of them even says “Mario Bros.” on it.

People think Mario, they think Nintendo. It’s hilarious how many games people remember as being exclusive classics for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System originated for the Atari, early PC, and even old Macs.

You just can’t pwn at old video games. There was no typing to other players in a multiplayer environment. Even when doors and muds came about in BBS land, I don’t know about you guys, but I remember there usually being 1 node for one person to play at one time. In Legend of the Red Dragon, when you killed someone in the field and were interviewed for what you said after kicking ass, no one ever uttered “Pwned!”. They would have looked at the screen, backspaced a few times, and totally “Owned!” you.

Legend of the Red Dragon

I also feel I don’t really pwn, because I don’t play Halo. To me, Halo is just MIDI Maze, Wolfenstein 3d, Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, Heretic, Hexen, or GoldenEye 007(etc.) all over again… in space… with more jumping. Wait, System Shock was in space (with zombies even). So yeah, just with more jumping. I know people will raise their fists at me, but to me Halo has been repeated so many times that I shrug.

I watch my little bro in his headset screaming ‘Dude! Let’s super jump.’ and just ask, “Why is there so much jumping?” and feel kind of old.

I don’t mind feeling out of touch with pwnage. What is kind of sad is that I’ve stopped being as excited by new video games. I’ll say, “That’s kind of cool.” or “That’s pretty neat.”, but for the most part, I just feel like I’ll never be as excited as I was when video games were still new with leaps and bounds in their advancement. I didn’t even have the money for them, but I had plenty of time and an obsessed uncle.

Don’t get me wrong, I roll up my Katamaris and I play my voice acted RPGs, RTSs, and TBSs. So, maybe I’m just not a shoot ’em up kinda gamer.

This is not the case, because I’m not all about the MMORPGs. Instead they horrify me. The amount of time (or cheating) you have to invest to have a good time just boggles my mind. In addition, it’s kind of like I say when I see someone play Halo and I say, “Why is there so much jumping?”, with these it’s, “Wow, why is there so much running around?” Sure, there’s always been world map trekking, but this is insane. It used to be a few steps to the next town or a few random fights, now the random fights *ARE* the game. The intimacy of you, the characters, and the plot has been sacrificed to hack and slash with a subscription fee.

If you are reading this and like Halo or your MMORPG of choice, good for you. I mean, I’m obviously old and not so cool, so don’t listen to granny here.

I will keep saying “In my day…”, but that’s okay too. The best part about it is that now I have the resources to find all the old games I missed and try them out with the PC and emulator. Then I’ll snap shot the screen shots that amuse me and put them away for future posts. I know old games are not without flaws, but their flaws were lack of budget and technology to back them. I am floored by the mediocrity of today’s games. We have the tech and budget now, but where is all the fun game play and awesome writing? Creativity used to outpace the ability to convey it, now that the money and tech are there… where has it gone?

I am glad that there are exceptions. I just wish they were more the rule than the exception. At some point I’m hoping I’ll see it come back around and people will learn that eye-candy and hack and slash just isn’t enough.

Pure pwnage needs something more to back it up.