Tag Archives: video games

It’s a Generational Thing

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And no, sexting doesn’t count. Your mother and I paid good money for that Gardasil vaccine.

You can’t tell kids to go outside and play anymore, because that’s, like, child abuse or something? I know too many kids who don’t know how to go outside and play; everything they know is on a screen, conceived of, directed by, and produced by other people. Maybe this is a minority opinion, but when I was 16 years old, if I was watching TV, using a computer, or playing a game, it was only because it was not possible at that moment for me to be making out in the backseat of a car. Granted the internet wasn’t as exciting or accessible in the early ’90s as it is now, but I still don’t think it’s better than sex. And you know I love the internet.

Any resemblance to actual teenagers, living or staring like undead zombies into a monitor in a small room with the curtains drawn tight to prevent the glare, is purely coincidental. I swear.

I drew that Ramones T-shirt and now I can’t get…”Sweet Disaster” by Dreamers out of my head. Weird world we live in. Gen X did not expect to live long enough to get sour about the next generation. Gen X didn’t expect any of this. Gen X would like to be sedated, but Gen X is too busy to take a break right now.


Monday Gratitude: Meaningful Work


I got 2 phones.

I wanted pictures of a fluffy elephant toy and I didn’t want to pay for it, so I went to Toys R Us and photographed a fluffy elephant there. The Canon Rebel was in my bag but just as I found the store it occurred to me that it would be equally effective, for my purpose, and much less conspicuous to use a camera phone instead of a massive DSLR.

The black phone on the left is one of the crappiest phones you can buy. The keyboard sucks, the GPS sucks, the voice recognition sucks, and also the rear-facing camera is broken, so it only takes selfies. The white phone on the right is superior in every way, but it has a cracked screen and that bothers me more than all the  other things, I guess. But I carry it sometimes for various purposes. No one noticed me taking 30 photos of 1 plushie from 30 different angles, and now I can do some more work on my big project.

After a crash photography shoot and some bare bones work in the library, I went to Ms. Kitty’s house, and she told me about “2 Phones” for Kevin Gates. In this masterpiece of self-aware modern music, the upcoming entrepreneur must carry 2 phones, one with which to communicate with his lover, and the other to conduct his business. I told her that I used one for Pokemon and the other to play words with friends. And then later, while I watching the video, Miss Kitty came in and told me about the Pokemon Go remix. Which makes sense.

Anyway, whenever I think of all the things I haven’t got…it’s important to remember how much I have. I’ve got 2 phones. But what I’m most grateful for is the work I did with that phone. It really is a true privilege to get paid to create things.

Pokemon, Go Outside!


OK, truth be told, I do understand some things. For example, I know you’re totally jealous that I got that Eevee.

After yesterday’s sea anchor of a comic, it seemed like something lighter was in order. My friend who does stand up comedy spent the entire day making jokes on Facebook about Pokemon Go, and when the kids and I came back from the park (where I got that Eevee, yessir), she was in my dining room, still making jokes about the game. She didn’t actually know anything about the game, although neither did I 2 days ago. So this is what I have to say about that. I haven’t really played video games in years, not since the ’80s, and I never played this game in any of its 42 previous iterations. But this one looked like fun.

For those of my readers who are my father, or as plugged in to popular culture as my father, Pokemon Go is an “augmented reality” game. That is to say, it’s played in the real world, using your phone’s GPS to map the game elements over actual parts of your city, and thus forcing your children to go outside and take long rambling walks if they wish to play. It’s actually reasonably exciting, or would be if they had anything near the server power required to handle the huge number of users interested in being the best that ever was and catching them all. There were probably thousands of people milling around the park playing this game, all of us getting continually booted off the server.

And I know the next thing those of my readers who are my father will say, but you’re wrong: my stepkids were among the youngest of people participating. Most of the players were in their 20s and 30s. It’s really not a kids’ game. Or not just a kids’ game, considering that people with the ability to drive to particular locations and the stamina to walk long distances have a distinct advantage in gameplay, and also that you need a smartphone to play. In addition, I note that a bunch of the game locations in my neighborhood are in bars (although my friend in Peoria said they were all churches where she lives, and also the library where she works).

Another feature is that it tracks how far you walk in the game, so it’s like a Fitbit that lets you fight monsters on your phone if you go to certain places. And somehow, it seems to have brought people together and inspired them to be friendly to each other in real life. It’s like the opposite of the internet.

I’m not going to go crazy with it like some people, though. Every time I opened the app, it insisted there were Pokemon behind the nursing home across the street from my house, so I finally went over there and just as I arrived they moved to the next block over. I declined to climb the 6-foot cinderblock wall and skulk around in someone’s back yard in order to keep playing. I am probably not going to be the best that ever was. But maybe I’m going to spend more time walking outside.

The Evolution of Gaming

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Well, at least it keeps those pesky kids off my lawn.

In case you do not hang out with adolescent people, you might not be aware that this is a thing. Kids with perfectly good video game systems–multiple systems with a nearly limitless number of games available across a variety of platforms and devices–will spend hours watching strangers on the Internet playing games they could be playing themselves. This would be a hard thing to understand in the ’80s, but I guess now there are so many video games available that you get tired and worn out of playing video games? So you watch other kids playing video games to take a break from playing video games?

Maybe it’s just a testament to how amazing video game graphics and story lines have become, but it also strikes me as really passive and sort of disturbing.

Kids today have to have other kids do their playing for them.

::shakes fist relentlessly at sky and hobbles back to the nursing home to resume being old::