Geeking Out on Gaming!

It’s been quite some time since I indulged in a proper, old-school-style geek-out over gaming! It looks like the last Skyrim update I did was 30 April 2012, so I figured I’d bring you up-to-speed on my virtual adventures. I’ve also updated my PhotoBucket with an arseload of new screenshots from Skyrim. I’ll be adding my Half-Life screenshots at another time; hope you like them!

I know; a lot of you could care less about gaming, and that’s fine with me. To each their own, and all that! However, when one considers how much time many people invest in being Twitter-pated idiots, or Facebook ‘gawds’ with a bajillion ‘friends,’ then the amount of time invested in gaming becomes downright sensible and logical, in comparison! There are blocks that (used to? still?) keep people from gaming online from a company computer, but I’ve yet to see any blocks to so-called ‘social’ media at a workplace. Digressing…

First off, there have been a few changes and upgrades to Skyrim since I started playing it a couple of years ago: the main ones being the Hearthfire, Dawnguard, and Dragonborn additions. These added some characters, new dungeons and lands to explore, additional armor, weapons, and clothing; and a few more options for houses and living locales. Some dialogue has changed slightly – for example, the Jarl of Falkreath used to send a courier your way once you reached Level 5, and he would request you to fetch a bottle of well-known mead because he was sick of sucking down “the local piss.” Now, he sends you a courier at around Level 10 or so, as he’s heard of your “deeds throughout the land.” I have an idea about how to get him to say the old line, especially now that we’ve decided to do one character at the ‘Master’ difficulty level, and make a final, showpiece character at the ‘Legendary’ difficulty level. My fiancée and I started playing at ‘Expert’ level about three months into the game; ‘Adept’ is the default, but we like challenging ourselves and the limits of the game! There will be an online version of the game released sometime next year, but I won’t be involved in it. On a side note, there are apparently player-created ‘mods’ of the game available. Most of those look boring as hell! Seriously – one mod seems to have been created solely for the purpose of making one of the in-game ‘tavern wenches’ a marriage partner! *YAWN*

Anyway, I’m close to Level 70 with one character, while my Orc languishes at Level 65 – all she has yet to do is face Miraak at the summit of Apocrypha!

We decided to go old-school and go back to playing the original Half-Life. It’s been about 25 years since I last played it, and it’s funny to see how the graphics, which used to be state-of-the-art back in the day, now seem quaint and archaic in comparison to games such as Starcraft 2 or Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic – and, of course, Skyrim! Also, I’m finally going to be able to play Half-Life 2 and see how the graphics compare between the two, now that I have a computer that can handle the load – I’m hoping to find my ‘face’ and wonder if it was also used in the Half-Life 2: Deathmatch edition…it will be interesting to find out!

Speaking of quaint and archaic, we’d gone to a Shady Old Rack…I mean, Radio Shack…to get some items for our Sirius radio. It was a fairly large store and had a good-sized section of electronic toys, R/C vehicles, and various games. One was an old Atari™ joystick which had been rebuilt into a 10-in-1 controller for some of the ‘classic’ games programmed into it; in a fit of childlike nostalgia, I purchased the thing for $25 USD.

It’s hilarious to see those ancient, primitive graphics on my flat-screen TV and hear the old bleeps and bloops of Asteroids, Missile Command, Yar’s Revenge, and Adventure! To get a good idea of how my fiancée felt when he tried the games, here’s a funny skit from Conan O’Brien’s show. It’s his Cluless Gamer: Retro Edition; in it, he sits down with Aaron Bleyeart, his gamer pal, to try out some of the original classics. He also completely destroys at least two of the games by pulling them out of the system when the power was still on! It was so easy to ruin them, way back when…

Conan O’Brien – Clueless Gamer Throwback Edition: Atari 2600

I noted that he must have had some sort of mini-contest where viewers could pick a game for him to play, and people chose E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. I’d almost forgotten just how crappy that game was! Personally, I would have chosen Adventure! for him to play, as that game had some sort of plot and three difficulty levels to choose from. It would have been awesome to see him get comically frustrated as hell with it, much like I did when I played it for the first time in, oh, about 30 years! Level one was easy; level two presents the difficulty of three different dragons and a bat that takes items from you and exchanges them for something you might not want (like a dragon!), and I have yet to defeat level three…I used to kick ass at that game, and I’m still trying to remember how to take the ‘magic dot’ from one dungeon and place it in a wall so that you can see the names of the game programmers. Speaking of game programmers, I can tell that there are a few Trekkies in the team who created and developed Skyrim…does the name ‘Temba Wide-Arm’ mean anything to you? If so, you just might be a Trekkie! Also, it isn’t lost on me that there are some elements of the saga Beowulf scattered throughout the realm of Skyrim.   😀

Yeah, I’m a gaming geeky girl from the old school, and I’m proud as hell of it! In fact, my level of geekiness rivals that of the annoying people who take the time to learn how to speak Klingon or Elvish, LMAO

Case in point: “Laas…Yah-NIR…”

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Talkin’ About My Generation…

Before this scheduled post, I wanted to acknowledge a major event in this country. 50 years ago the governor of Alabama, George Wallace, blocked the entry of Black students to the University of Alabama. President John F. Kennedy acted to remove him from the steps of the school so the students could attend. Today marks the day that NAACP activist and civil rights pioneer Medgar Evers was gunned down at his home. The vitriolic political climate today rivals the hatred of that time, even though people keep claiming that we’re in a ‘post-racial’ society (whatever the fuck THAT means)! It’s an amazing, fascinating, and very sad thing. From the Huffington Post:

“Evers was 37 when he was shot and killed outside his home in Jackson, Miss., on June 12, 1963. The man accused of his murder, Byron De La Beckwith, was freed in 1964 after two trials ended with deadlocked all-white juries. In 1994, he was retried and found guilty of murder. He died in prison in 2001.

Bill Clinton called Evers the first assassination victim of the civil rights struggle. The former president said it was a time when African-Americans could fight and die in combat overseas but, in many Southern states, couldn’t vote or run for office.

“The next time you hear people complaining around Washington about what a rough business democracy is, we might do well to remember what it was like 50 years ago and the sacrifices that were made,” he said. “When you get angry about what you see and frustrated in Syria and the aftermath of the Arab Spring, remember 1963 when we lost a genuine soldier, citizen, hero, and left his wife to chart her own course for 50 years.”

I would add that Emmitt Till might be called the first recognized assassination victim, for many reasons!

On another note, Tata Madiba is gravely ill. He’s been in hospital for five days now, battling a recurring lung infection. He looks so frail…Winifred has been to see him; one of his daughters flew in from Argentina, where she is an ambassador. They are saying their good-byes to that great man. He’s a true king; a legend, a giant among men. I remember when he was released from that South African prison…I thought, “Wow…this man has been behind bars longer than I’ve been on this earth.” Some things are very humbling when you take the time to think about them. He’s fought long and hard for his entire life, it seems. It’s time for him to rest, and I will be saddened by his passing…I, and multitudes of others.

Back to the topic: The ‘generation gap’ has been on my mind recently, due to conversations I’ve had with my son about things in his life that he’s wrestling with. Like many ‘millennials,’ he’s on Facebook and tends to be very vocal about his life; I’ve tried to let him know that he leaves himself very open and vulnerable to heartless sociopaths by doing so, but he doesn’t listen. He thinks that having an assload of online ‘friends’ means something, even though his loved ones are merely a phone call, text, or email away – and always available if he wants to talk. It frustrates me at times that he places so much value on some faceless interweb denizen’s opinion! Anyway, there was some ‘news piece’ on a local channel, talking about how the generation labeled ‘baby boomers’ are experiencing hearing loss at an earlier age than, say, the ‘greatest generation’ did. It made me reflect a little bit on my own, ‘lost’ generation – the one labeled ‘Generation X.’

To me, the ‘boomers’ seemed to be the most self-centered generation. They acted like the only historical events occurred during their lifetimes, even though plenty of events have happened since they stoned it up at Woodstock. They spoke of Vietnam, murdered politicians, marches for everything under the sun, and The Beatles. They think that, because the ‘civil rights’ and ‘equality for women’ era was in the forefront, they’ve solved all of the problems and “nope, nothing more to see here – we’ve done it all!” They talk about the four students killed at Ohio State as if nobody else has ever been murdered by police during peaceful protests. They were the most vocal about childbirth, sexual development, and sex after 40…now they’re vocal about geriatric sex. Come to think of it, obsessing about sex-related things seemed to define their generation the most – and, I can see that ‘millennials’ have the ‘boomers’ beat when it comes to sexual obsession and blind self-absorption! It’s so strange…I recall a time when knowing how to ‘read’ people was an important skill. Because of this, I much prefer face-to-face interaction when I have to talk with people – they can’t hide their thoughts, because their expressions give them away!

I’m a GenXer, but I was born after my time…I also feel, in some ways, that I was born before it. Where and when I ended up in the world when I was born is just that – I’m here now, at this time. I’ve never ‘fit in’ anywhere, with anyone, so being a solitary loner is my nature. I observe anything and everything that catches my attention. I also enjoy life to the utmost – it’s a treasure to appreciate!

What defines Generation X? Depends on who you ask, I guess. Lots of people would say, “Apathy – GenXers don’t care about ANYTHING!” Not true, not true at all. Speaking for myself, I would say that I care TOO much sometimes – I have to step back at times and ask myself, “Is this really what it seems?” The Cold War was at its height during my youth, so propaganda about the ‘evil Russkies’ and the ‘great bear’ was everythere, much like the anti-Muslim propaganda is now. The point is, those of us who were exposed to propaganda tend to recognize it for what it is – although, admittedly, a lot of people still fall for it! Personally, I try not to jump on a bandwagon or ride coat-tails, and that’s why I’m accused of not caring. I care, but I don’t need people pushing my buttons or demanding that I see things exactly the way they do. It’s impossible! Cynicism and skepticism is big amongst us, too.

My generation shares common experiences. Here are but a few:

  • The launching of the first space shuttle.
  • Owning a ‘personal computer’ – the home-based PC.
  • Video games! Atari, Coleco, Activision, etc.
  • The fear of nuclear war.
  • Personal stereos: if you had a boom-box, you were righteous; if you had a Walkman that had two headphone jacks, you were too cool for school!
  • Making those gawdawful fashions of the ‘70s and ‘80s work – it was tough, but doable! Best leftover fashions of those days are bell-bottom jeans, platform shoes, and big hair. Yes, I rocked ‘Afro-puffs’ before they were in style!
  • “I want my MTV!!!” – those words were on EVERYONE’S lips! The video age was in as ‘video killed the radio star.’ Music took evolutionary leaps with the mighty Moog synthesizer, amongst other things.
  • We were called “latch-key kids” because we were the first generation to come home to an empty house after school. Both parents working; the baby-boomer ‘hippies’ morphed into ‘yuppies.’
  • Corporal punishment still occurred in schools – the teacher could beat your ass at school, then you would get another ass-whipping when you got home for acting up! No worries about some psychotic fucktard shooting up the classroom, or getting shot yourself for giving some nerd a wedgie.
  • If you don’t remember Esperanto or the real ‘generic’ foods that used to be sold in stores, then you’re most likely NOT a GenXer.
  • The news stations hadn’t quite gotten into the entertainment industry, so you could still trust what was reported. Being a journalist still meant something, so you could still see ‘real’ journalists in action. No, Geraldo wasn’t counted even then because of his moronic stunt with Al Capone’s vault, along with everything he did on his fucked-up ‘talk’ show.
  • Video cassette recorders and video-discs. The original DVDs were larger than LPs! The question to ask in stores was, “VHS or BetaMax?”
  • Cassette tapes, 8-tracks, and vinyl could all be found in the same place – now, what stores remain will turn over entire departments to fit in the ‘latest technology’ and get rid of the tried and true, all because of some blast on Facebook, Twitter, or Yelp.

That was merely a tiny sampling of common experiences that link a lot of GenXers. I’ll leave you with a few more songs, because I can’t stop looking out of the window. The sun is peeking through the clouds, I saw a rabbit just outside of the fence this morning, and the fawnless doe was bedded down next door for a few hours. I enjoy living in an area that’s like a nature preserve…it keeps me in touch with reality!

Before the music, one final thought: what do you do when you go to a baseball game and a hockey game commences? Wow…

Steve Miller Band: “Serenade

Howard Jones: “New Song

Bruce Hornsby & The Range: “The Way it Is

Faith No More: “We Care a Lot

Dire Straits: “Money For Nothing

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