Thursday, October 27, 2011

...I have lots of first world problems...

Chief amongst them is neglecting my blog. Oh hi, yes I know you still exist and that you probably don't care about this anymore, but that's not going to stop me from spewing my self-righteous gibberish into the intertubes.

Quite a few things have happened since I last posted, so I guess I finally have more things to talk about at least for a little while. So why don't we just take a quick run-down of things going on in my life. And yes I'll be getting back the aforementioned topic of this post in a little bit.

First and foremost, I reached a huge milestone in my life, realized a goal that has ever sat in the corners of my mind. I have finally built a gaming computer. Now many of you readers out there (who aren't gamers in the strictest sense) are wondering "how is that at all significant in any way, shape or form?" Well dear readers, the fact of the matter is, this is something that I have been thinking and talking about doing since I was in MIDDLE SCHOOL. (Back when most kids were just hoping for more money to fund their Neopets addictions, I was thinking BIG.)

This whole gaming addiction started back when I was young. Back in the day, my parents were pretty controlling about TV usage (remember how we didn't get cable until I was in college? Yeah.) and I was typically tied up with my extended day program in elementary school, so it didn't leave much time for me to watch what few cartoons I had access to at the time. But one day, my cousin sent me back his old game system from Taiwan. It was a Chinese NES clone that had a single cart which could play something to the tune of 80 DIFFERENT NES games. I played a TON of them without even knowing what they were or what system I was playing. I played Mario, Excite Bike, Elevator Action, Baseball, Penguin Adventure and even Battle Tanks (complete with a level editor!).

But my favorite of all time was Contra.

(For those of you who feel like waxing nostalgic for a bit here, throw on the Jungle Jam music on youtube for this next section).

The cheap little Chinese knock off cart that I was playing on had every possible permutation of Contra, complete with the 30 lives konami cheat preloaded. I loved that game. Can't say why or how, perhaps it was because it was the first game I ever beat (with the help of my cousin...and the 30 lives cheat...SHUT UP I WAS FUCKING 7). That was what started this addiction in me. This eternal lust for all things gaming was furthered along by the afterschool program's decision to buy a Sega Genesis to allow us kids to play on. This was my exposure to all things Sega. From Sonic and Sonic 2, to Aladdin and even Ecco The Dolphin, I was a genius. (By which I mean I could get past the first level). Children from all around flocked to watch me work my magic. Even the children after me opted to let me take their turn so they could catch a rare glimpse into Marble Zone Act 2. Vacation weeks were especially wondrous for me. This same program held a special vacation week for school vacations full of field trips to the roller rink and Disney on Ice shows. There were movies and snacks and it was a wonderful time. But I was more interested in the Super Nintendo they had. This was an area of gaming that I had no idea about. All I knew was the controller made different things on the screen do different stuff, and that was enough for me.

Eventually playing these weren't enough. I eventually begged and pleaded my parents for a Game Boy. They said it would kill my eyes and I'd go blind, but I begged and begged. Finally one christmas, I got my very own Game Boy Pocket. It was bright yellow and glorious. I kept that thing in immaculate condition and fed it a constant stream of triple A batteries. I fought my way through Zelda: Link's Awakening, got retro with Super Mario Lands 1 AND 2, and beat the Elite 4 at least four dozen times in Pokemon Blue. Then the school banned game boys in all forms. So my nerd-dom took off in new directions. Magic the Gathering, pokemon cards, Dungeons and Dragons, Pogs, Crazy Bones everything.

Finally I made it to middles school. Thoroughly indoctrinated in nerd lore, steeped in geek culture and infused with dorky tendencies, I got involved with the hitherto undiscovered world of PC games. Prior to this point, I was running a Mac LC520 and playing freeware games and rocking the shit out of space blaster and number muncher. But it wasn't until the middle school started a fundraiser by having us sell magazines that I realized what gaming truly was. In case your school didn't run these kinds of fundraisers, the gist is that you go around and annoy your neighbors, parents, parents' coworkers and extended family, trying to sell them magazine subscriptions which you could then trade in for points which you could use to buy stupid bullshit prizes like "SPY SUNGLASSES" that had SUPER AWESOME REAR VIEW MIRRORS TO SEE WHO IS "FOLLOWING" YOU! I used this opportunity to buy myself (and by buy myself, I mean make my parents buy) a subscription to PC Gamer.

The stuff I saw in that magazine entranced me. I wanted all of it. I had to have all of it, play all of it. The colors, the graphics, 3D! Words couldn't describe how badly I wanted to get my hands on these games. I wanted, no needed to play Starcraft, Oddworld, Half Life, Doom, EVERYTHING. But my computer at the time couldn't handle any of them. Thus started my desire for a properly built gaming PC. I didn't know anything about computers or how they worked, I just knew that the higher the numbers were, the better it was and the more expensive it was. So I stared at the Alienware and Falcon Northwest ads with envy, wanting it all. I even remember a time when, in middle school, we were given the task to furnish our dream room (probably as a lesson on looking shit up on the internet, I don't remember...) Given a budget of a few thousand dollars, we were told to look up prices and figure out how much items cost and to stay under our budget. Needless to say, I factored in my would be new computer into this mix. Sure I wanted a TV and I needed a bed and the like, but I found ways to cut costs there (I bought a futon so that I didn't need BOTH a sofa AND a bed). Every spare dollar I had was spent into customizing my very own Alienware Area 51 desktop, complete with lights and glass side panel.

All of this was eventually sidelined by the acquisition of my N64 and eventually my PS2 and later my Xbox 360. From the moment that N64 entered my house, I was a console gamer through and through. Everything else pretty much fell by the wayside. I realized that the constant fight with PC required specs was a losing battle and that I should just stick with the relative simplicity of console gaming. Recently though, I began entertaining the idea of building that computer again. And now that I could (barely) afford it, I finally decided to dive in head first (leaving my bank account significantly lighter than before).

So at this point, all of you are probably wondering what this has to do with first world problems, (especially those of who you DIDN'T BOTHER READING MY IN DEPTH AND HEARTFELT RECOUNT OF MY DESCENT INTO THE DEPTHS OF NERDDOM.) Well to put it simply, I'm finding that I need to prioritize in a way I never had to in the past. Let me make a list of things on my to do list right now. (In no particular order)

1) Buy Curtains
2) Buy Groceries
3) Beat Batman Arkham City
4) Play Battlefield 3
5) Beat Battlefield 3's single player
4) Re-rank myself in Starcraft 2
5) Get better at Team Fortress 2
6) Begrudgingly give Modern Warfare 3 a shot (because Amazon forced me to)
7) Improve my Minecraft fortress (and find even more goddamn diamonds)
9) Go to the damn gym more
10) Play Gears 2 AND THEN Gears 3.

And that's just the top 10 items...there's also Just Cause 2, finishing The Hunger Games, starting Catching Fire, figuring out when I'm going to buy Skyrim (because lets be honest, I'm GOING to play it) and getting better at drafting MTG (among quite a number of other things I forgot to know like continuing to update this blog...).

So what's my first world problem? I've got too many fucking video games to play through and not enough time to play through them (because I work).

That's my first world problem du jour.

...And that's what I learned today.

PS If you're not a gamer and didn't like this post, too fucking bad. If you REALLY want me to write about something you want to hear about, why don't you suggest something on TILT's facebook group?

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