Canada’s EGLX 2018

2018-03-08 12.22.24

Alright, where to begin?

This past weekend we had jetted off to Canada for their Enthusiastic Gaming Live Expo, or EGLX. It set our nerves on fire, as neither one of us have ever gotten the chance to go to a video game expo before, let alone fly out of the country!

Our main reason for going, aside from video games (duh), was due to the majority of our favorite YouTubers being guests at the expo. We figured that this kind of opportunity wouldn’t present itself very often, so we braved through whatever anxiety we had when it came to airplanes, hotels, passports, and whatever general adulting we needed to do to travel to a different country and went.

It was one of the best things we’ve ever done.

We had gotten a weekend pass to fully enjoy the experience. The place was packed, especially on Saturday. In the middle of the hall was a giant stage with four sides, each with a jumbo television to broadcast the tournaments and shows, such as Super Smash Bros, Halo, and Hearthstone. A screen for speedruns of games was set up in the back, rows of computers took up a side of the room for Rocket League and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and the other side of the room was filled with booths for artists and indie game developers. Right down the middle were old arcade cabinets and televisions set up with games from Nintendo 64, the GameCube, and the NES.

We spent a lot of our time in the retro gaming area, having tons of fun with the old games like Mario Kart 64 and Double Dash. The artist alley was also a great time, and we’ll be showing off all the cool merchandise that we got from there.

Hidden Block and Normal Boots are the YouTubers who headlined the main shows on Saturday, with the two groups of friends going against each other then pro player Allister Singh in Pokken Tournament DX. The two groups then played a hilarious Family Feud-style game using answers from a survey that had been put out to fans a couple of weeks before the expo.

Hidden Block and Normal Boots each had a Q & A panel throughout the weekend, and we went to both of them, enjoying the banter between the guys as they listened to and answered questions from fans. They were all delights, and very nice whenever we got the chance to speak or see them. We didn’t talk to many of them for long, not with how many other fans they had, but we did get a couple of pictures with a few of them.

Then, of course, there was the hotel and the room service that we got used to over the weekend, haha! It was an utterly fantastic weekend, a trip that we certainly wouldn’t mind taking again.

Have you ever been to a gaming expo? Which ones would you like to go to?

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Switch Week: Back in my Day…

sw-comparison

krismii
I have personally been playing video games since I was old enough to pick up a controller and read on my own. Before then, I had watched my father, uncles and, occasionally, my older sister play games. While I’ve played games on the NES, the first console I have concrete memories of is the SNES. Back then, we’d simply have the game cartridge that housed the entire game — no DLC nonsense — and a controller or two in order to enjoy the video game.

rachmii
I believe I started playing games once I was able to pick up a controller, too. However, I enjoyed watching you play mostly. I didn’t start seriously playing games on my own until I was much older. While I remember watching you play games on the SNES, my earliest memories are from the Nintendo64. I remember playing Pokemon Stadium with you all the time. We’d pop the game in, occasionally have to take it back out to blow in it, hit power, grab the controller, and then begin to play. It was that easy, that simple.

krismii
Back then, you unlocked secret characters by playing the game, devoting hours to learning the world. Now you unlock extra characters with a credit card. Back then, your save files were on the cartridges themselves. Now you pay extra for more storage space so you can download and save games. There are times when I miss the simpler past of video games.

rachmii
The difference between then and now is that everything is all about money and things are much more expensive than they used to be. Nintendo is a business and that comes first, despite how much they love their audience.

krismii
And yet… back in our day, multiplayer games were only for two people. Now, we’re able to connect and enjoy games with people all around the world. Back then, the graphics and music were wonderful, but now we have HD images and orchestras to blow us away. Back then, we were told to sit farther back from the television or we’ll ruin our eyes. Now, we have virtual reality.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’s amazing how far technology has come, isn’t it? And it makes me wonder how it’s going to be just two years from now. While they’re promoting the Switch I’m sure they’ll begin working on something new and it makes me wonder how amazing that will be. Video games fascinate me and not just because they’re fun, but because of all the time, effort, art, and creativity that goes into it.

krismii
While there are times when I miss the simple old days of gaming, it’s remarkable how far we’ve reached in terms of technology and community. I’m sure the Switch will continue to push onward and promote that sense of kinship among gamers, and I’m looking forward to it.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Playing the old games fills me with joy, but that’s also what the virtual console is for. I too am looking forward to what the Switch brings us and what the future holds for gaming.

Are there any features you wish the Switch has that older consoles had? Do you miss the older consoles and/or are you absolutely in love with the new technology? Let us know in the comments below!

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Dive into Another World: MMORPGs

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday and new year, everyone! Here’s hoping that everyone is planning great things for 2017, both for personal and gaming goals!

Rachel and I have been hard at work trying to improve this blog, to figure out bigger and better ways to connect to fellow gamers and writers. Because, honestly, isn’t that the point of gaming? Socializing and excitedly freaking out with your fellow nerds?

(Real talk, I’ve never understood where that old stereotype of gamers hanging out in the basement of their parents’ house alone came from.)

This year I would love to try my hand at more MMORPGs. Although they’re not required to enjoy the games, Rachel and I are comparing prices and reviews of microphones and headphones for such games so we can, you know, possibly communicate with other gamers (outside of the game’s chat system, of course).

I’m not entirely sure where to start. I used to play City of Heroes when it had been around, having tons of fun flying around, kicking butt, and teaming up with other players when I could. Back then, I was like Batman, working better alone if only due to my computer being just barely able to run the game. It wouldn’t have been fair to join a team of fellow superheroes only for my system to lag during an important battle.

Rachel and I were thinking of Lord of the Rings Online, figuring that it was a familiar enough franchise for us to dive into and play with each other. Star Trek Online is another world I would love to join. I would love to try perhaps World of Warcraft down the line, that kind of fantasy world being right up my alley. Overwatch is still on my list to play, too.

What about you out there — any MMORPGs that you enjoy playing? Any recommendations, for games or equipment?

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Reminiscing

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy August everyone! Kristen here! With summer on its last month, I find myself reminiscing about fond memories of video game nights with friends when we were much younger and carefree…

Being an adult can sometimes be hard.

 

Despite my Monday post from last week about solo video games, there are definitely plenty of games that are best played with company. Fortunately I have Rachel as a ready-to-roll Player Two, but back in high school I used to be known among my friend group for running video game nights.

Let it be known that I was probably the nerdiest of my friends when it came to video games. Most of my friend group didn’t even own consoles, but they all had a fantastic time button mashing in Smash Bros. and throwing bananas at each other in Mario Kart while munching on my mother’s amazing chocolate desserts.

Then everyone kind of grew up. We had a few others here and there, but a couple of the friends were sometimes too serious in the pursuit of the level goals, bringing the rest of us down. Our game nights fizzled out until much later.

Rachel and I had an inkling to have an old-school video game night within the past year, reinvite some good friends, see how rusty everyone was in a Mario Kart game. We had a few new friends that we were planning to invite (such as the dude who is now our brother-in-law), mix and mingle the old with the new, see how everyone was doing.

But being an adult got in the way, and everyone just seemed too busy with family, work, getting married, taxes, things like that. Of course, paying bills and all is important, but I do get a bit melancholy thinking about those old video game nights. Rachel and I have spoken of what it would be like to be able to meet and have friends close by enough so we can have those video game nights again.

Perhaps one day we’ll be able to have and hook up all those console accessories that let us play more online games or even stream on Twitch. It’s a fun thought.

What about the rest of you? Do you all have a good group of gaming friends, or do you prefer solo games?

What’s Wrong with Gamers?

Rachel Mii Double JumpHi, guys.

I’ve been playing video games for most of my life. Yet, it’s always an awkward conversation when I tell someone for the first time that I play video games.

Is it because I’m a girl? Is it because some people see video games as a waste of time? I’m not really sure…

I grew up watching Kris play video games because she grew up watching my uncle play. I started playing myself, with Kris, even though I was young and didn’t really know what I was doing.

Seriously, in Mario Kart I would just drive around in circles laughing hysterically as though I was actually accomplishing something.

I play all the popular games most know and love–Pokemon, the Legend of Zelda, Mario, Sonic (when it used to be pretty good).

Video games are fun for me. I grew up with them, I can’t imagine not playing games. It’s a hobby of mine. Everyone has a hobby, right?

Yet a lot of people give me strange looks because I play video games.

“You’re too young to know half of those games.”
“People who play video games are lazy.”
“Let me guess, you’re going to go home and play your stupid games.”

All those things have been said to me at one point or another.

I already explained to that I grew up playing those games, so even at the age of 22, no, I am not too young to be playing those oldies.

As much as I would like, I do not sit around all day playing video games. I work 8-10 hours a day and then come home and blog and write. I don’t play nearly enough video games as I would like. However, just because I play video games people automatically assume I’m lazy and that’s all I do.

Why is that? I have no idea.

The last comment stung as it was said by a dear co-worker of mine. I’m a teacher and we were breaking for April vacation. We and a few others were chatting about family events, friend get-togethers, and other things we had planned for the week. When I mentioned I didn’t have too many things planned as of that moment, everyone assumed I would just go home, hop into my pajamas, and stay on the couch all week without getting any sunlight.

When, in fact, I didn’t get a chance to even really sit down and play because I ended up going out every day that week.

This post came out to be a bit more rant-like than I expected. But us gamers have to stick together.

Have you ever been made fun of for playing video games?

Games and Socializing

Double Jump Kris MiiHello everyone, and happy Monday!

With last week’s posts detailing favorite multiplayer games and co-op modes, this post is dedicated to how video games contribute to our social needs (kind of like the Sims, ya know?).

Back in the day, being a gamer was on par with being a nerd who had no life. Gamers were those elusive folks who spent the majority, if not all, of their free time hanging out in their parents’ basement and pwning noobs in their favorite MMORPG.

That last sentence was painful to write.

Nowadays, not so much. Video games have become one of the top ways for people to socialize with WiFi always at the ready. In fact, we’re in such a digital age, that meeting others online — through dating sites or video games — is the second most popular way to meet others, just second to being introduced to others through mutual friends.

Despite all the misconception about gamers being anti-social, I think it’s funny how most video game companies have been trying to avert that for years. For instance, the reason why Pokemon started with both the Red and the Blue version was to force others to interact and trade those version-exclusive Pokemon with each other.

(Of course, we were/are such Pokemon fans that we got both versions anyway, but that’s besides the point.)

Video games are such a focal point in our daily lives in this digital age, especially with all the vast improvements to them — storylines, graphics, characters — that even those who don’t play games on a regular basis know about them. Mario and Call of Duty are well-known enough that those who haven’t picked up a controller know about them.

Those who create and produce video games are just as creative as those who work in the movie industry. Indeed, they’re pretty similar: script, camera and control work, voice acting, plot, it’s all there.

So, if going to the movies — where you sit in silence in a darkened room — is considered social, it makes sense that video games — where you’re shouting strategies and curses together while (usually) working toward a common goal — are social as well. Many of my favorite games have a co-op mode, and it’s awesome reaching for the same goal with Rachel or my friends, or even sabotaging them to make sure I’m the best.

How about you? Are video games a social thing for you, or do you prefer to play solo while getting away from the real world?