NBI 2016: Gaming with Grandparents

NBI 2016: Writing Prompt- Week 1

It never really struck me as odd— my papaw and I playing SNES together, we were just two people enjoying Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario Kart. Now I realize how fortunate I was to get a chance to game with not one, but eventually both of my grandparents.

I don’t have many singular memories that I can pick out pertaining to gaming with my papaw, except one particularly strong memory, but it involves sneezing…so I will spare you the details. What I do remember is that even though gaming wasn’t one of his main hobbies, he enjoyed sitting down with my sister and I to play some Mario, and we really enjoyed playing Mario with him. Although he was in his eighties and he didn’t grow up with video games he had a lot of fun playing them. I assume he must have bought the SNES but I have no idea how he convinced my mamaw. As far as I know she had no interest in video games or most new technology at the time, and I can’t recall a time she ever picked up a controller and played some Mario with us.

With the introduction of the Wii and Wii Sports, I saw the first opportunity in years to get my mother and my mamaw to play video games. Once we got past the creation of their Miis, as well as the hesitation and resistance towards playing a video game my sister and I started a game of bowling. Bowling on the Wii soon became a tradition. Every time my mamaw would come over for a special occasion and after we ate a meal we would all bowl together. Not only did my mom and mamaw both really enjoy bowling on the Wii, becoming quite competitive at times, it also afforded them the opportunity to engage in an activity neither of them had for quite some time due to its physical demands.

The fun I had gaming with my papaw and mamaw is something that I will hold on to and cherish. It’s a reminder that once we hit a certain age we don’t have to stop gaming, and how special gaming with people you care for can be.

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Back to Blogging

It’s been awhile since I have tried to blog regularly, but I think I am finally ready to give it a go again.

Blaugust

About 8 months ago there were 50+ bloggers typing away vigorously as they attempted to write 31 blog posts within the month for Blaugust, turns out I actually completed the challenge, and then subsequently fell off the face of the earth (read: stared at the WordPress editor for a month and then started school again). I never did a proper reflective piece on Blaugust, and I won’t do one now, but I did really enjoy it.

blaugust_2015_conquerorWhat I want to do is thank Belghast for putting the event together and congratulate all the participants. Also, I never got to show off this nifty badge Belghast made for everyone who completed all 31 posts.

One more thing. I need closure, because…

100 Noses

In April of 2015, I decided one of the firsts things I wanted to focus on as I practice and improve my drawing was the human head. It was during Blaugust that I started posting my progress on this project starting with drawing 100 noses. And while it took longer than I wanted, I drew the last one on New Year’s Eve. I haven’t decided what my next “100…” project is going to be, right now I am thinking eyes.

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Back to Blogging

Coming out of Blaugust I didn’t have a plan for when to write, and I started to question what I wanted to blog about.

I don’t think a month, or really a week has gone by since August where I haven’t told myself I should start blogging again, and I often found myself fiddling around with the blog or staring at the WordPress Editor. I even started writing a few posts, but as you can see nothing materialized.

I suppose the logical question is what changed to make me start blogging again. There are a few reasons chief among them being I have a little more time right now as I am in a transition period as I recently completed my undergraduate education. The second reason is I need something to help focus my gaming and drawing because my efforts in both are feeling a bit scattered.

So, the plan is to post at least once a week, with the focus being MMORPGs, drawing, both, or something else entirely.

Blaugust is Over. Let’s Talk About it Later.

Blaugust Day 31

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The last day of Blaugust is upon us. I am not sure if August went by so fast because of Blaugust, but this month has flown by. I plan on doing a reflective piece on Blaugust, but I will save that for later this week once I’ve had some time to mull it over.

For this last post, I want to quickly review my August Goals and Gamer To-Do List.

August Goals

I finished both Earth One and Battling Boy earlier this month, and started A Thousand Splendid Suns just the other day. So, I was successful in reading what I planned. I attempted to fix the Wii but when I tried to access the bottom I ran into triwing screws and didn’t have a screwdriver that could fit well enough to unscrew them. For some reason, I haven’t bought a trwing screwdriver online yet. Eventually. This month I also wanted to organize my bookshelf, start building a desk, and get more acquainted with windows 10, I did not get to any of this. I did mess with windows 10 a little more, but not enough to write about or feel satisified with.

As far as the blog goes I did get a Contact page put together that I am happy with for the time being. Unfortunately, I did not get to the blogroll or about pages, but both of these are high on my to-do list for September. Blaugust has definitely shaken some things loose in the ole noggin and given me a lot of things to think about when it comes to what I want this blog to be.

The Gamer To-Do List

In RuneScape I got 92 cooking, and tried Dominion Tower. Well, I attempted to try Dominion Tower. If I would have done a little more research earlier this month I would have realized I didn’t meet all the requirements to access it. To access the tower you need to have completed at least 20 quests from the list of quests that have bosses you can refight- I’ve only completed 15. Although I could not access the full minigame I was able to fight an easy version of a boss designed by the community at Runefest 2011. The third item on my list for RuneScape was to try Player-Owned Ports and I didn’t get a chance to try it, maybe in September.

After the release date for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns was announced I have had a renewed vigor to get in the game. So last week I completed Part V of the personal story which was all about protecting quaggan, and today I got lvl 60. I also originally planned to complete the Gendarran Fields map, but instead I was mostly focused on clearing Dredgehaunt Cliffs since that was where my personal story was taking place.

Blaugust

This wouldn’t be a very good end of Blaugust post without saying that the Blaugust community has been amazing. Congratulations to anyone that wrote any amount of posts for Blaugust!

Quick Note: I think I finally found a mobile browser that will play nice when logged into wordpress, so many of you can look forward to -in the words of Murf- “Likeageddon” as I still plan on reading everyone’s Blaugust posts.

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook

 

Spider Scurry, Spider Get Smashed

Blaugust Day 30

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Yesterday I mentioned I attempted my first Guild Rush in Guild Wars 2 while trying to get to a vista. The Guild Rush I attempted is known as Spider Scurry, and as you might imagine you must traverse Dostoev Sky Peak as a spider.

As a spider you have the following abilities:

  1. Search: Search for area traps.
  2. Web Decoy: Create a clone of yourself at target position on traversable terrain. Can be used to distract foes.
  3. Leap: Fire a web to pull yourself to a target area on traversable terrain. Can be used to pull yourself onto raised platforms.

On my first attempt I ran in and didn’t look at the skill descriptions and quickly died. Turns out there are traps scattered throughout the course that are only visible when you activate your first ability. Besides traps there are also dredge and the occasional turret that will attack you. Who knew the dredge were so proficient at dispatching spiders? It didn’t take long to find out that as a spider you’re not very durable so it’s important to use skills 2 and 3. It also really helps if there are multiple people doing it at the same time and if you have escorts- I suppose that’s why it’s a Guild Rush.

I don’t know how many attempts it took to just reach the first platforms, but if I did know it would be more than I would care to admit. I feel sorry for the people that were helping me. For them it was a continual process of seeing me die and a combination of waiting for me to return or running back to the start to help me. I felt so incompetent, but even though the experience was a bit frustrating at times it was still fun, and I got the vista.

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook

Helping Hands at Dostoev Sky Peak

Blaugust Day 29

One of the items on my Gamer To-Do List was to complete Part V of my personal story in Guild Wars 2. I didn’t realize that I only had one more thing to do before Part V would be completed. So, when I logged into GW2 today I was expecting to spend most of my time working on the personal story, but it went really quick and I couldn’t continue on to Part VI because I am not level 60 yet. Instead most of my time was spent exploring Dredgehaunt Cliffs.

During my time exploring I came to a vista, and I couldn’t figure out how to get to it. I decided that instead of running around in circles for another 5 minutes I would ask someone, and I did. The person I asked was really helpful and informed me that I would have to do a Guild Rush or at least start it to get where I wanted. I’ve never done a Guild Rush, so this was a completely new experience for me, and I’ll probably go into more detail about this particular Guild Rush tomorrow. For now, I’ll just say there was a lot of failure and incompetence on my part. Luckily, the kind soul who helped me was there with their guild, and I ended up with multiple people from the guild helping me through the Guild Rush.

I didn’t reach the end of the Guild Rush mainly because I didn’t want to take up anymore of the guild’s time, but I did get the vista which was my main objective. I don’t know the guild’s name only that their tag was PT, but I am very grateful for their patience and willingness to help.

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook

I Need to Catch-Up on All the Things

Blaugust Day 28

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The release date for Heart of Thorns, the first expansion for Guild Wars 2, was announced today. While I’m excited, it reminded me how far behind I am on everything. Guild Wars 2 news, RuneScape news, podcasts, Blaugust posts, and the list goes on.

When I get behind on something and then finally get a chance to get caught up I want to pick up where I last left off and go through it in chronological order. And when you reach the point where you haven’t kept up with something for weeks or months getting caught-up seems quite daunting, so you put it off and starting becomes more and more difficult. This has also been a struggle I have had with Blaugust, I don’t want to read what you posted today until I have read what you wrote in your 27 previous posts. Why? I can’t quite put my finger on it, I guess it’s the same reason why I trudge through the archives of podcasts I enjoy or videos of youtubers I enjoy watching. I want to see the progress, the changes, and the overarching narrative. I don’t do this with everything but there is an awful lot of things where this applies.

I am going to have to come back to this topic in the future. I just needed to write something today. I am also going to try and forget that most people started blogging before Blaugust…think of all things I could read.

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook

The Great Blaugust Sea: Part III

Blaugust Day 27

[This is a short piece of fiction inspired by Blaugust, as well as the MMO blogosphere and accompanying podcasts. You can find the first part here and the second part here.]

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The sky and sea were frantic. Every cannon on every ship was now propelling bottles through the air, and the sky and sea felt every blast and every projectile. On the shore the sand grated against Talan’s ankles as the combined force of the blasts shook the earth. Although the very first cannon blast sent him into a panic this barrage was so deafening the cannon blasts melted into the background, and all he could hear were the thunk, thunk, thunk of messages being received from all directions.

He reached down to scratch his ankles to relieve the irritation from the biting sand, and broke his gaze from the sky briefly to watch the sand dance across the ground. As he began to look back towards the sky he noticed a pair of depressions that resembled crude footprints. He took a few steps, knelt, and inspected the footprints. The footprints lead straight into the sea, but there were no indications that anyone was out in the water unless they were on-board one of the ships.

He had to get to one of the ships. He had to know what was going on. Maybe someone knew where the great library was. Someone had to know.

Placing his index finger at the toes of one of the footprints he dragged it through the sand leaving a small trough. Before the waves made their return he quickly pulled out his bota bag and filled the trough with fresh water. From the trough small vines began to sprout and radiate out over the footprints.

Once the vines completely covered the footprints one vine split-off, approached Talan’s feet, and interwove itself among his toes.

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook

The Great Blaugust Sea: Part II

Blaugust Day 26

[This is a short piece of fiction inspired by Blaugust, as well as the MMO blogosphere and accompanying podcasts. You can find the first part here.]

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The ships varied widely in shape and size, and Talan quickly found himself lost in their mystique, but before his mind could wander too far a thundering blast assaulted his ears. He fumbled for his ears as he tried to cover them and determine where the blast had come from. Looking across the sea he thought he saw a wisp of smoke coming from a ship a short way north. Immediately he thought the ship had been hit by something and he would soon see the whole thing go up in flames, but as he made his way north and could see the ship better– there was no smoke.

Suddenly, a second blast to the south grabbed his attention and he spun around to find out what was going on. Scanning the sky something caught his eye- if he wasn’t mistaken it was a message in a bottle sailing just below the clouds. He followed it as it reflected the sun, and it made its descent toward one of the ships nearest to the shore. With a loud thunk the bottle was sucked into a tube standing a few feet off the ship. That’s when he noticed what looked to be a cannon near the bow of the ship. His observation was soon confirmed when the cannon sent a bottle flying south. Another thunk echoed off the ships and Talan knew the message had been received.

Then the sea shattered.

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook

Link Bubble and SWTOR

Blaugust Day 25

Today I just wanted to mention an app on Android that I enjoy using.

The app is Link Bubble Browser. Link Bubble loads webpages in the background so that you can continue browsing or looking at whatever else you were doing. I find this particulary useful when browsing Twitter. I’ll see a link to something that looks interesting and click on it, and instead of Chrome or your browser of choice opening, taking you out of Twitter, a small bubble pops up on the side of your screen and you can continue scrolling through Twitter while the webpage loads.When you’re ready to look at that link you tap the bubble and the webpage comes up on top of the app you were on- in this case Twitter. When you’re done looking at the webpage you can share it with another app, save it to a reading later app like Pocket, or close it.

Previously, the free version only allowed you to load one webpage at a time in the background, but recently all the premium features have been made free, so now you can have an infinite number of bubbles.

I should also mention that their is a similar app on the Play Store known as Flynx, that has near identical features. Although I haven’t used Flynx, if anyone has I’d be curious to know what you think of it.

Both Link Bubble and Flynx can be found for free on the Google Play Store.

I also wanted to say a few things about Star Wars: The Old Republic.

I was able to play some SWTOR today, and I am really enjoying it so far. I meant to play some RuneScape or Guild Wars 2, but decided to keep playing SWTOR. I’m not very far. I’m level 10 currently, and still on Hutta going by the name Red Blade as I try to deal with competing Hutts. I’ve decided to go light side with my Imperial Agent, whether I go 100% light side or not is still up for debate.

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook