Monday Memories: Video Game Nights

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday everyone!

It’s a holiday where we are, and we’re hunkered down at home due to snow blanketing the ground outside. It was the perfect weekend to just relax at home with some hot chocolate and good video games.

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When I first started gaming, I mainly played single-player games. Granted, I think back in the early 90s, when many consoles only came with two controllers, many of the games I picked up were only single-player. Aside from that reason, it was also because I was the main gamer in my family. I grew up watching my uncle play, but we didn’t play as much together when I started playing myself (mainly because, ya know, we lived in different houses and he was an adult with things like a job and taxes and probably some sort of social life that I never saw). There was some games I was able to rope my father into playing once in a while, and I remember watching my older sister play Super Mario Bros. occasionally but, until Rachel came along and was old enough to comprehend video games, I was on my own.

Thank God for Rachel, because if she didn’t get interested in video games, I don’t know if I would have continued playing. I adored the stories and the characters that I saved the world with when playing games, but it kind of sucked coming back to the real world and having no one to talk to about how you slayed the final boss with an epic sword attack to the head.

The majority of my friends weren’t into video games, or at least not as much as I was. The only console one friend owned was a Nintendo 64 and she only had Majora’s Mask and Goldeneye, and I’m pretty sure she only had the latter because of her love of the James Bond franchise. The former helped her understand some of my gushing of the Legend of Zelda series. Another friend shared my love of Pokemon for a while in elementary and middle school. A third friend was into video games almost as much as me, but it wasn’t something we spoke about too often. Video games wasn’t much of a topic among my friends, and I kept it as my own little hobby.

Until the Nintendo GameCube came out.

It was 2001 and I was eleven. Rachel and I probably got the GameCube for Christmas that year, and one of its first homes was in the kitchen porch, hooked up to the house’s smallest television. The GameCube library was one of my favorites from Nintendo, with one definite notable favorite: Super Smash Bros. Melee. It was because of this game that “video game nights” became a staple in my friend group throughout middle school and high school.

Everyone would show up at our house and take over the basement where the GameCube would temporarily be located and hooked up to the big screen television (thanks, Dad, for giving up your “room!”), and we’d all proceed to kick each other’s asses in Super Smash Bros. Melee and, when it came out, Mario Kart Double Dash. Pizza and chocolate were our diets for the night, and Mom loved the fact that we were all staying put at home instead of getting into trouble elsewhere. Even later, when the Wii came out, that console’s Smash Bros. and Mario Kart had a lot of hours put into them, even as we were all growing a little older.

I haven’t played video games with any of them since we left high school.

But remember that friend who only had the N64 with Goldeneye and Majora’s Mask? A couple of Christmases ago, she bought her husband a refurbished Wii with the sole purpose of getting Super Smash Bros. because of those video game nights at my house so many years ago, because of those memories.

I definitely miss those times, but video game technology has grown so much since I first became a gamer. While I may not be playing locally with old school friends any longer, thanks to the wonders of the Internet and game consoles these days, I am able to play with new friends in entirely different countries and that’s pretty damn awesome. Video games have become so much more than a hobby — it’s been the common thread between many wonderful friendships, both old and new, throughout the years.

Did you play a lot of video games with old friends? Did the games bring you closer? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around

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Monday Memories: Game Boy Advance

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

The Nintendo Switch and the 2DS XL are our current go-to consoles when it comes to playing games lately. Recently, however, I found my old Game Boy Advance during a cleaning spree, and I remember how much I used the old handheld…

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The Game Boy Advance was released in 2001 and I loved using mine over my Game Boy Color. The landscape screen for the games made it seem like the screen was so much bigger and I remember having the little worm light adapter hovering over the screen to make it brighter. The backward compatibility for Game Boy Color games was an added bonus.

I went through so many pairs of AA batteries when playing my Game Boy Advance, wearing it down while playing favorites like the Pokemon series, particularly Emerald, Sonic the Hedgehog games, Harvest Moon, and Fire Emblem. It was with the Game Boy Advance that I started my love affair with the Harvest Moon and Fire Emblem franchises.

Besides being home to some of my favorite old games, the Game Boy Advance was used quite often when Rachel and I were playing The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures for the GameCube. With the link cable to hook up the Advance to the console, Rachel and I had some awesome adventures playing a co-op Legend of Zelda. More often than not, I was diving forward to meet the enemies while Rachel was trailing along, picking up all the treasure I would leave behind. It was a good system.

The wireless adapter that came with Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen was also a treat, granting us a Union Room that allowed easy trading and battling. Granted, Rachel and I tended to be the only ones in said Union Room, but it was definitely easier than the link cables we had for the Game Boy Colors when it came to trading and showing off our teams to one another.

I found my old Game Boy Advance buried in one of my old desk drawers, with the cover to the batteries being gone and the batteries themselves all corroded. For the heck of it, I cleaned out the dead batteries and tried putting fresh ones in, but to no avail. The poor console was officially dead. Still, it was nice finding it, especially since I thought it got caught in the basement flood years ago (pretty sure that’s what happened to my Game Boy Color!).

Did you have a Game Boy Advance? What was your favorite older handheld console?

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Monday Memories: Warhammer

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Today we’re taking a stroll down Memory Lane. I was digging through some old school stuff the other day, finding some things that reminded me of one of my favorite college courses.

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Back when I was in college, I took a sci-fi and fantasy course as an English elective. It was probably one of my favorite classes, considering homework assignments included watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and we spent a class or two discussing the differences between the book’s and movie’s ending of the Watchmen. During about of month of classes, we focused on video games and their place in society. To go along with this theme, we played the MMORPG Warhammer.

At that time, I was fairly new to MMORPGs. Really, the only one I had played was City of Heroes, and it was mostly solo missions. Meeting the rest of the class in one of the study rooms of the library and loading up the game from the computer folder “Math Homework,” (so other students in the school wouldn’t find the game, of course) was a treat. We created our characters and explored the world either together or in groups, and our homework assignment consisted of playing with our characters enough to write up some fantasy diary entries or short stories.

While playing a session, we were told to create “dark” characters rather than heroes, and I was finding it absurd how little clothing the female dark elf I was being had on. The so-called armor was little more than a bikini and I lamented about it to the classmate I was playing with. “Andrew” was creating his own character and waiting for mine to materialize in the world, saying, “Eh, I’m sure it’s fine.”

As soon as my character appeared, his character — dressed fairly normal for a starting character — turned to look at mine and I just heard him say, “Wow… you’re really not wearing anything… But that’s okay, I won’t tell! Let’s go this way!” Cue my scantily-clad character running after his as he loped through the beach-like setting we were in.

In another session, my character was killed by a boar due to another player antagonizing it and the creature believing I was with him by proximity. This other player — who wasn’t in my class, mind you — continued to show up randomly throughout the session and I tended to get into trouble due to his antics.

Yet another session included someone — again, not in my class — following my character around and asking if I was really a girl. Pretty sure I ignored him until the previously-mentioned player appeared in the area and I ended up poisoned somehow.

While playing this game, we had one of my favorite writing assignments. We were told to put ourselves in our character’s shoes, writing diary entries or a short adventure story based on our play-through. Considering how much I enjoy writing, especially pieces that are inspired by the fantasy worlds of video games, this was right up my alley.

We didn’t play Warhammer for very long, but they were still a great couple of weeks. I didn’t play much of it on my own, and the online game itself has been shut down since 2013. It gave me a great taste of MMORPGs, aside from City of Heroes, giving me a new way to play video games. Considering how many online games there are now — PUBG, Fortnite, Overwatch, Star Wars, to name just a small few — playing MMORPGs more is something that is still on my bucket list.

Did you ever play Warhammer? Any other MMORPGs that you want to recommend?

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