So I’ve previously gone on and on about not liking MMOs because of their lack of story, grindy nature, and horrible monthly fee pricing odel. I’ve never had an urge to play World of Warcraft, or any of it’s ilk. I didn’t see the point of grindy through levels just to get better gear so you can grind through more levels. That is, of course, until just the right kind of MMO came my way, and now I’ve stuck eating crow.
I picked up Destiny for the PS4 just after release. I played it a bit, but lost interest after a few sessions, and stopped playing for a few months. About a month or two ago, I noticed quite a few of my gamer pals still played, so I figured what the fuck, I’ll try it again. With a little guidance on how to level up quick, and what to do, I was cranking through the game. I went from level 7 to level 20 in about 5 days of occasional playing, and saw the fun of going on missions and strikes with friends. At this writing, I’m a level 29, and still enjoying the challenge of the strikes and playing with people I know. Granted, playing with people I don’t know is noticeably less fun. I played the Vault of Glass raid when I was a level 25 (don’t do that, it’s way too low a level), and half the people were guys I didn’t know. Even after explaining that I was a low level, and had never done it before, they were still dicks about me not knowing what I was doing and not helping enough. That, coupled with the fact that nobody really explained to me what the fuck was supposed to be done for each section, really turned me off. Aside from that, though, I’m looking forward to hopefully trying it again now with more friends and less douchebags.
Of course, this isn’t a true MMO, and some MMO things that I hated before, I still hate now. For instance, grinding through component collecting so I can upgrade my shit. Fucking annoying. Still, I don’t pay a monthly fee, which is huge. The story is pretty much non-existent, typical of an MMO. Just quick snippets here and there. It’s basically an FPS MMO hybrid, which right now fits my needs pretty well. Most times, I prefer to play a game with a good story and fun gameplay, but now that I have a family, it’s more difficult to spend hours playing and not be able to just walk away at any moment to deal with something and just turn the game off. It’s that pick up and put down thing that I’m digging. That, and the fact that the game plays like a refined version of Halo 2, a game I did very well in. I’m not saying I’m great or anything, but I’m far better at this than a few other FPS games of late.
So yes, MMO people, I kind of get it now. It can be fun if it’s the type of game you like to play as a co-op thing, such as an objective based PVE FPS. That being said, I’ll still never get paying full price for a fucking game, and then having to pay 12 bucks a month just to be able to play the damn thing! That’s some buuuuuuullshiiiiiiiiiit!!!
I just read an article by Brianna Wu, detailing how she is still receiving death threats from people online claiming to be part of Gamergate. She also details how many other women in the industry are still facing the same shit, as well as potential women devs throwing in the towel before really going because of threats. To date, law enforcement hasn’t done anything visibly, and those who run sites like youtube, twitter, and reddit have also not taken action against these hate groups.
I seriously don’t get the insecurity and cowardice required for such behavior. Threatening someone because of their gender is stupid as hell. Different people will bring different ideas and thought processes to the table, and we need some innovation in gaming right now. We’re at the point Hollywood is, where everything is recycling and there are very few original ideas. What sense does it make to keep that limited?
This is all aside from the question, why the fuck do you think it’s ok to threaten people? What possible logical justification do you have for ending the life of one of these women? All because a game developer might be female? All because maybe, in the future, women characters in video games would be portrayed realistically as the relevant people they are and not just set design or plot devices? For all you know, this could greatly increase your enjoyment of games. Oh, and guess what, if you don’t like that shit, DON’T BUY THEIR GAMES!!! Decide with your dollar and get your satisfaction, instead of deciding with violence and threats and getting a prison sentence. I can assure you, you won’t do well in prison, and being good at Mortal Kombat or Call of Duty isn’t gonna help you there. Basically, just stop acting like angry spoiled children throwing tantrums because of something you have an extremely limited perspective about. Man up.
So since my arcade addiction has become such a huge part of my life right now, I’ve decided to create a special blog just for gaming. I reposted a bunch of my gaming posts from this blog to that one, as well as some new ones. ALL future posts that are gaming related will be posted there instead of here. Go check it out, subscribe, and enjoy!
So a story has been circulating through the news lately, and it’s something I happen to know a bit of insider information about so I figured I’d share. This, of course, is about Chris Kooluris, the guy from NYC who turned his bedroom into a small arcade. You can read about what he did, and that he lost his fiance because of it, here.
Now, let’s start earlier. He joined the arcade collector forums for KLOV/VAPS, apparently looking for help in building his arcade. He posted for awhile, and before long things soured. He disregarded advice, was combative or obnoxious for no real reason other than ego, and ignored rules of the forums. He’s since been banned permanently for threatening people via private message. It seemed from the beginning that he was really pushing to be a sort of public spokesperson for the hobby. He works in public relations, so the Wired article that started all of this was likely arranged by him, though I don’t know for sure.
Now before you all get uppity and defend the guy, let me throw this out. Buying a few games and throwing them in a room is something anyone can do. He spent $32k on about $10k worth of games, and has one of the most poorly designed MAME pedistals I’ve ever seen. An example of what I’m talking about is that the player 3 and 4 controls have 6 buttons each, which no game in existence uses.
In the wired article, he tried painting the KLOV community as a bunch of haters. I can clear that up right off the bat. The community there didn’t really give a shit that he had a Fix it Felix and a MAME pedistal. Most collectors have at least one multicade. MAME is very commonplace, especially since most people have limited space. As is typical with articles like this, things were taken out of context. If he was an honest, humble dude just looking to learn and get into the hobby because of his love of games, he’d have no problems. I have a MAME cabinet in my collection, and I’ve NEVER gotten shit for it. It’s all about how you talk to people, and this guy apparently sucks at it because he really tarnished his own image online. To be clear, I’ve NEVER had an issue with anyone on those forums that blew up, and none of my fellow collectors have either. Sure, there are some bad eggs, but MOST of the bigger names on there were his detractors. The idea is simple: if you want to learn about the games, fix them, and enjoy them, then you’ll be fine. If you want to go there to brag about what you just spent a ton of money on and don’t have any interest in learning about, then obviously there will be friction. However, you can choose to take that friction and laugh it off, or get combative. He chose the latter.
Anyways, pedantic ranting aside, let’s just call this what it really is. This is a story of a guy who spent 32 grand for his 15 minutes of fame. He’s not representitive of the arcade collecting/restoring community. He’s just like every other guy with expendable income who buys games to put in his place. Hell, I know a private collector who dedicated an entire floor to his arcade, and he has ~95 arcade machines on the floor up and running. Where’s the story for him? Nowhere. Know why? Because he’s not in it for the fame.
This kid overspent on his games, did pretty much no work on any of them, and had zero interest in learning anything about them. He is also known to have PAID people to come over and play games with him. Sorry, kid, but having money doesn’t make you special, no matter what you spend it on. He wasn’t really in this for the games, he was in this for the “I have cool shit” aspect, and fame he was able to get from his contacts. Let’s face it, without any contacts, he’d be low on the list of people Wired would approach as far as home arcades go. Hell, MY home arcade is more substantial, and I spent about a fifth of what he did. Considering all of that, I’m amazed that TIME magazine dubbed his home arcade as the best ever!!! What an absolute joke!
The real kicker here is that I was one of his supporters. I spoke in his defense when he mentioned the stuff about the wired article, but never read it when it was released. I had no idea he chose to paint the community in a shitty light, otherwise I’d have written this sooner. I’ve gotten shit from time to time from local collectors about having a bunch of JAMMA games in my collection instead of older titles, but that’s just a “to each their own” thing. Some people like older games, some like newer games. Don’t throw a fit online because someone disagrees with your preference for Fix it Felix or whatever. I don’t let game opinions bother me because they’re just that, opinions.
To Mr. Kooluris I would say this: You are not our spokesperson, no matter how much you’ve tried. I don’t care how viral that story goes (it’s been picked up across dozens of media outlets.). When all the shit is sifted through, you’re just a poser (regardless of what you think) with money and contacts, and people should know that. This wasn’t done for the hobby, this was done for your ego. You give those of us who really give a damn about the hobby a bad name and shitty image. Not all publicity is good publicity, and telling a story about how you threw some cabs in a room, which lead to your fiance losing you, is a pretty shitty image. If you wanted to help the community, why not suggest the story and interview different collectors? Instead we get a sensation-style piece about a guy with too much money who threw some globs of paint on the wall and called it art. You’re nothing more than a poser, my friend, like i-r()k from Ready Player One.
All of this makes me wish someone did a REAL story on arcade preservation, interviewing people who do restorations and collectors who’ve been at it for decades. We don’t need just one spokesperson here, we have a community. But, if we DID need one, this guy would NOT be it.
I’ll preface this post with a warning: This post will be entirely me ranting and bitching about stuff related to my life and choices, so if you don’t wanna spend the next few minutes reading about me whining, then you can safely skip it and not feel like you missed out. That being said, let’s get on with it.
When I started blogging, it was for many reasons. I felt like imparting what little knowledge I have, and views I have on life. I wanted a collection of this information. I even felt “well so many people do this, why not me”. Another big reason is because, to me, it’s a form of therapy. People have said to me, on more than one occasion, that I have balls for posting some of the shit I post. This always strikes me as kind of odd, but that’s mostly because my perspective is different. To me, I’ll post about pretty much anything, shame free. Doesn’t really bother me much. Hell, the only reason I don’t talk about most of my crazy shit around others in person is because it tends to make THEM feel uncomfortable. For me, blogging about stuff is cathartic, a process akin to journaling which they teach you about in therapy. Only difference is that I do it in public, in case there are other people out there who feel the same way, so they can read it and know they’re not alone. Oh, and the attention, I also totally do it for the attention (of which I get very little [hey, you shut up!] ok..)
Soooooooooo, here goes! I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be miserable at work forever, and my career will burn out in about a decade. Good start, right?! I’ll elaborate. I used to do logistics and warehousing, and while I enjoyed it, I made shit money and there was no real career path. The other careers I had interest in were a wash as well, so I chose something that came easily to me, and I could make better money with: computers. I got certified and started doing PC support and followed with sysadmin work. The work itself isn’t bad, per se. I like solving puzzles, and learning how shit works. Problem is, it’s not a passion of mine. I don’t go home and play with computers. I’ll check my mail and Facebook, maybe troll Craigslist a bit, but otherwise I don’t bother unless something’s broken. Also, a ton of people in this profession are complete assholes. Many of them have this competitive thing, where every time you disagree with them, or correct them, it’s seen as a challenge and is thus “game on”. Others have severe control issues, or are so lacking in social skills that it’s painful to work with them. Sure, there are cool laid back kinda dudes and chicks too, but they’re in the minority, from my experiences. I just don’t feel the need for the pettiness and condescension. All in all, probably not the best fit for my personality, since I don’t tend to take shit like that well. To top all of this, I’m trying to find a new place to work. My current place does little other than stress me out, but even searching for a new place is also stressing me out. Can’t win either way.
The Lish and I have had to make a hard choice. After much deliberation, we’ve decided to move. Not to get too far into it, it should suffice to say that our current house doesn’t fit our needs, and altering it to fit our needs would make our already insane taxes absolutely astronomical. This wouldn’t be as big of an issue if our school district was top-notch, but it isn’t. Grade school and such are good, but the High School is apparently like a demilitarized zone since the “less illustrious” town next door sends their kids there too. So we’re moving. I didn’t realize how much stress this packs on, especially since we’d have to sell and buy right around the same time. I’m going nuts trying to get the house in salable condition, while also keeping an eye on the housing market, and trying to keep the Lish from getting trampled by the onslaught of “moving stress”. While I’m doing this, she has to be the one who must constantly keep the house 95% clean in order to show it to buyers, and be ready at a moment’s notice. We also have to round-up all of our stuff that we don’t use regularly, and store it somewhere off-site in an effort to give the house a more empty look. Not an easy task when you have a bunch of stuff, much of which is hobby related. That’s another part, I have restrictions on homes I look at. Must have room for my arcade
addiction hobby, must have room for Victoria (my ’68 Fairlane), must have heat and a roof and stuff. You know, little shit. All this, and we’re trying to get it done ASAP so we can (hopefully) move within the next year or two.
Now this next part is completely my fault, and may be slightly my imagination, but it matters. I’ve been moving a LOT of arcade machines lately. I brought a few new ones in, and I took a few out. I keep my games in the basement, and they go in and out via a short staircase to the garage. Considering how much these games weigh, and how bulky they are, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that I always need help moving them in and out (HAIYO!). I call on my friends to help me on such occasions, which ends up being once or twice a month. At first, I had no problem getting help. Nowadays, the help is drying up a bit, and I can’t say I’m surprised. I have a bunch of very good friends who always go out of their way for me, yet in recent memory all I’ve done for them was asked for help. I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to waste an entire day driving for a game, only to break their balls helping my get it up or down stairs. I’ve felt the vibe off those around me, and whether it’s my imagination or not, I feel like a user. I feel like I guilt people into helping out of desperation, since they know I can’t move these games alone. I’d imagine them feeling like “well what am I gonna do, say no?!”. I feel guilt about this, and it does weigh on me. I don’t wanna be that guy, who takes from others without really giving much. As such, I’ve been wracking my brain to devise a way of getting these in and out without needing another person. I have a plan, but I need to do some more structural engineering to work out the kinks. Once that’s in place, I won’t have to harass anyone in order to shuffle stuff around. BTW, if you’re one of my friends reading this, please don’t succumb to any need to make me feel better. I KNOW I’ve been doing this. I’m just letting you all know that I acknowledge it, I do feel bad about it, and I’m making arrangements to free you from future endeavors.
I’m currently in 2 bands. One is an original band that I play keyboards in, the other is a cover band that I sing in. The original band is much more focused. We play out once a month or so, and that’s great. The other side is that it’s harder for me to learn or work on parts, since setting stuff up at home to practice is a nightmare, and it’s hard to find the time. Also, we have a few songs with solo sections for me, and I was never really much of a soloist to begin with. I’ve never been good at just going off like guitarists do, I’m more of an elaborate fills kinda guy. Now I’m looking down the barrel of more and more shows, and my writing issues are starting to drag things down. My cover band, on the other hand, is a totally different story. I’ve been playing with them for about a year or so, and we still haven’t played out. I’m not sure what the deal is there, but it’s aggravating going to practice every week and practicing songs that only we hear. Hopefully that changes soon.
All this shit just compiles to send my normal stress levels into orbit. I know, almost all of these are first world problems, and there are many people out there with real problems they have to deal with on a daily basis. I don’t really have much of a response to that. Sure, I could say that from my perspective and such, this is an equivalent stress level to others who have real hardships but are used to coping with them, but I don’t actually believe that. I think people with real hardships have lots of underlying stress they don’t even recognize. Oh, and by the way, don’t mistake me ranting about being stressed as me unhappy with my life. Far from it. I’m just very stressed out at the moment, and needed to vent to nobody in particular. It’s easier than venting to a person, cuz then I’m always wondering if they’re thinking “listen to him bitch about stupid shit, he doesn’t even know what real problems are”. Maybe I don’t, but that doesn’t make my stress less valid and real…
Last Thursday, I FINALLY got my Asteroid arcade game to work. It took a lot of troubleshooting, and sending the game board out for repair, but it’s playable and awesome!!! I celebrated with about an hour of repeated gameplay, though I don’t seem to be getting the hang of it all that well yet. Still, it was great to enjoy the fruits of my labor, and I gladly put my DMM away in my toolbox. All of my games work now, with the exception of the multicade my friend found in the trash. That one will need a new monitor, so I might end up getting rid of it if it can’t be converted to use a standard arcade CRT.
The next day, I felt a little bummed. I’d been working on that machine for so long, and every day I went downstairs to either test something else, or rebuild something. Now, I’m in a weird position. I have nothing to fix! I know that may sound a little odd, but I take a lot of enjoyment in working out the problems. I like the puzzles. I like being able to take something that doesn’t work, and breathe life back into it. Now, though, the only things left to do are purely cosmetic, and they cost money I don’t really have. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll enjoy doing the cosmetic work as well, but right now I lack the funding for the control panel overlays, flash memory kits, flipper rebuild kits, etc. I even briefly considered parting with a machine in trade for more project machines. I’m a sick, sick man.
I’m not really sure what to do with myself at this point. I still enjoy going down there and playing the games, but I think they were best as a distraction for the times when I was stumped by another machine and needed to clear my head. Oddly enough, that was when I played some of my best games. Don’t get me wrong, there is still shit I can do, such as shop out my Stargate pin, but I’d like to do that when I have the flipper rebuild kits in hand. I’d rather it be all at once.
I guess this can relate to me having a follow through issue. I’m great at starting projects and getting things most of the way there, but it’s the finishing touches that I seem ok to walk away from. Some of the other people I know in the hobby have an OCD when it comes to restoration. It’s not done until it’s perfect. I’m not like that. I leave shit half finished all over the place. I’m not entirely sure where that comes from, but it can potentially be a problem, and I’m gonna have to work on that. For now, though, I could really use a machine to fix…
SO, if you know me personally, and live near me, GO BUY A BROKEN ARCADE MACHINE!!! I needs me some fixin’!!!!
I was browsing through the arcade forums the other day, and came across a thread with some interesting stuff on it. It was just a general discussion about a game, whose name I don’t recall (I forgot to bookmark the link). It ended up going into how quite a few of these guys have kids, and their kids won’t play arcade games. They play bullshit smartphone games, and console/PC games, but not arcade. Now I’m definitely a more “to each their own” kinda guy, but the reasoning irked me. They said it’s because the games are too hard.
Now I’ve spoken about my reasoning for preferring arcade titles before, and I mentioned the difficulty aspect. Newer games are more about instant gratification than real challenge. I seldom need to replay a level in a new game more than a dozen times, max, before getting past it. Before you get all uppity about that, keep in mind that I’m pretty shitty at video games, despite how much I’ve played them. Anyways, older games are where the real skill comes in. Any gamer who’s played an FPS or ten can blow through the newest Call of Doody without much of a problem. Ask any of them to get over 50,000 points in Missile Command or beat level 30 in Donkey Kong, however, and they’ll wind up in anger management classes. Why? Because it’s fucking hard as hell.
Like I said, normally this wouldn’t have set me off. I recently read an article and lengthy cartoon about “millennials”. For those who don’t know, that’s the name of this generation of teens, typically born between the mid-late 80s through to 2000. It was all about them not really having any sense of entitlement issues, or instant gratification problems, or poor work ethics, etc.. I’ve known and worked with plenty of the people this guy was talking about, and they all fit the stereotypes. They thought they’d get out of school and right into a high paying job without paying their dues first, thought they could fuck around at work and keep their jobs, etc. Why am I saying all this? The instant gratification part.
Keep in mind, I’m not only targeting millennials here, the article just set me off. The thing that irks me is that so many people, kids and adults alike, don’t find any enjoyment in doing something difficult. If it isn’t something that can be either instantly mastered, or mastered with relatively minimal effort, then it’s not worth it. I’d wager that this is due to the sense of accomplishment high you get when completing something or excelling at something. I believe people need and love that feeling, and would rather have it more often and with less effort. Most people wouldn’t equate the difference between someone saying “I beat God of War” and “I reached the kill screen in Donkey Kong”, but the difference is staggering. I personally get it, and I find it much more gratifying when I’m able to do something difficult successfully. Hell, some things sound difficult until you learn about them, and then you realize it’s relatively simple. A good example I can give is my current arcade addiction. If someone told me, before I got into the hobby, that they took an old machine, rewired it, rebuilt the monitor, updated the controls, etc., I’d have been like “holy crap dude, you’re like some electronics jedi! Let me be your student, and teach me the ways of the force feedback!”. Now that I know, it’s more like “Dude, anyone can do this, it’s not rocket science. You just gotta get over the intimidation.”. Honestly, I feel the same way about knitting. I see people make crazy sick shit, and I’m like “holy crap dude, you’re like some knitting jedi! Let me be your student, and teach me the ways of the fleece!”, but I’m sure if I took the time to learn about it, it’d be much less intimidating.
The real irony here, is that there are plenty of arcade titles that can be instantly gratifying. Sure, there are the punishing games, but there are also a shitload of others that are great to just play and enjoy. Beat-em-up games like Double Dragon, Golden Axe, Dungeons and Dragons (both of them), TMNT, Simpsons, X-men, and Metamorphic Force are all fun titles that can be beaten with enough quarters. I actually play them with my 5 year old every so often, and he enjoys them. Now, games like Donkey Kong, Pacman, Missile Command, Robotron, Gravitar, and R-Type are the games that require real skill to get through. You can’t just coin up your way through, you really have to develop skills and learn patterns. There are also intermediary difficulty titles like Black Tiger and Rolling Thunder.
What I’m really getting at
and taking FOREVER to explain is that A) doing something difficult is much more rewarding, in my opinion, than something easy, and 2) just because something looks intimidating, doesn’t mean it’s actually difficult or impossible. Basically, don’t get into that mindset of dumbing yourself down and taking the easy road every time. If you do, you’ll end up blindsided when something truly difficult is thrown your way.