When Cloud Fails


Final Fantasy VII, in my opinion, is one of the best games ever made.  For its time, the graphics rocked.  The storyline kept you hunting for answers with great twists.  I’m sad to admit, however, that the game became an obsession for me.  Looking back, I can see how it helped me escape reality and how that became addictive.  It came at a time where I needed to face reality and God and make my faith real.  I was participating in the first in-depth Bible study of my life.  There were times where I had to consciously make the decision to go read my Bible.  At the time, reading the Old Testament in my study seemed rather dull and boring compared to the vivid storyline of FFVII, which I’d consider to be more of a visual and interactive book rather than a video game.  The plot of FFVII has its redemptive value which I hope to write about more at a later time.  Video games are not bad in and of themselves, but in my specific case, they took a negative turn because it took God’s place in my priorities, thoughts, and heart.

I remember when there were commercials on tv for FFVII.  My entire focus became immediately glued to the tv screen every time I as much as thought I heard the music.  I still remember it pretty well.  An announcer described the daring feats, brutal combat, insurmountable odds, “a love that could never be” (that always got me!), and dashing honor you will encounter as you play.  He said something about how you must save the world!  Everyone is counting on you!  And if you fail…  “you can always hit the reset button.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we had one of those?  Ah, to have a reset button!

“Oh man, I shouldn’t have said that!  Let’s reset.”

“Wow!  I can’t believe I did THAT!  I’ll just reset.”

“Now things will never be the same …unless I don’t save today.”

Nope.  We have no such option.  This life is the only shot we have.  We can’t go back even a few seconds to undo anything.  In fact, you’d be surprised to realize how little control you have over your life.  The only control you have is over what you say and do at this exact moment in time.  Sure, you can plan, promise, and make provisions for the future.  Those endeavors can even be wise, keeping in mind that God’s plans stand more firm.  The fact is that the only thing you can change is now.

What shall this sobering reality mean for us then?  That we have to make sure we do everything perfectly and in perfect timing?  No.  Like I said, you’d be surprised at how much you can’t control.  We live in a fallen world and we’ll be blindsided by circumstances we never could have prevented.  I don’t mean for us to become obsessed about every second on the clock, but I do mean for us to consider how much we are allowing ourselves to be taken by mediocrity.  How many Godly things have we put off to do later?  How many times have we tried to do something to better ourselves but haven’t taken the time to complete them?  How much time do we waste doing things that will count for nothing when this life is over?  In essence, how many times have we said to the Lord, “not now.”

Perhaps we fool ourselves thinking our “not now” approach isn’t so bad because it’s not telling the Lord “no.”  We have the intention to do what He’s asked of us.  After all, doesn’t He look at the heart anyway?  If we’re going to lean on that idea, we better take a good, hard look at our hearts.  Do we really want to do that thing for the Lord?  Do we truly desire that as deeply as God desires it?  If not, this message is for you.  Stop putting God off.  No more of this “I can’t do that now, Lord” attitude!  Even if you know you’re not ready for the tasks, He knows your faults and His power is made perfect in weakness.  He will do amazing things with your surrendered heart if you desire Him above all other things.

If your heart is indeed in line with God’s desires and His plan, please don’t let this message freak you out and make you rush God’s timing. Perhaps He is asking you to wait.  But if He’s waiting on you, you may have a problem.  I just ask that we take the time to question ourselves to see if He’s pushing us and whether or not we’re budging.

Consider today.  This is the only today you have.  What have you not done that you need to do?  Be advised – you have no reset button.

Podcast Spotlight: The Geekbox


The Geek Box LogoThe Geekbox reminds me of  dinner table conversations I’d often overhear while attending a small engineering college in Texas. Robots, Star Wars, and even dirigibles used as floating combat platforms were common topics of conversation. Sometimes I would find myself cringing at the depths of nerdiness being discussed; other times I would join these conversations and contribute to no end.

Much like those overheard conversations in college, The Geekbox often veers off course into morally questionable material due to different guests. I find this to be unfortunate as the rest of the podcast is of high (nerdy) quality. However, just as I would in college, sometimes it is best to leave the dinner table (ie: fast-forward) if things sink too low.

At the end of the day, The Geekbox is like coming home to a group of old friends you know and love, flaws and all.

Not perfect but highly recommended


Give them a listen (link will open iTunes).

Return to War?


Warhammer Online Logo

Warhammer Online seemed poised to be the next big “WoW Killer”. Believing the hype, I bought my copy of the game and was quickly immersed into a world constantly at war. I was hooked. The ability to effortlessly join a Scenario, unlike the time needed to simply que for Battlegrounds in World of Warcraft, was a true innovation. However, Scenarios were greatly influenced by the game world population (ie lack of players playing equaled longer que times) which eventually began to kill the game. No longer in the spotlight as a potential “WoW Killer”, Warhammer Online now has the ability to refine itself in semi-obscurity.

Recently, the Warhammer Herald (10/14) had 2 interesting bits of information regarding Warhammer Online‘s 1.3.2 patch.

1. The Apprenticeship System:

The new Apprenticeship system allows players of differing Ranks to play together, whether battling it out in RvR, or aiding your Realm’s war effort in quests and Public Quests. Just click on another player’s portrait in the group or Warband window and choose the “Make Apprentice” option, and that player will be scaled up to your Rank, no matter how much lower of a Rank they are. Check the patch notes for full details on this exciting new system.

2. New Player Guilds:

New players will automatically be placed in a ‘new player guild’, one for each Realm, to facilitate communication among those new to the game, or those who are rolling up an alt character, and to make finding a group a bit easier. The guilds are called the ‘The Forces of Order’ and the ‘The Forces of Destruction’.

First, lets talk about the Apprenticeship System. Currently in World of Warcraft, I have gotten to a point to where I am 20 levels behind a good friend that I play with. 20 levels! This ends up causing my friend to help me level while he gains zero experience points. The two of us have no problem with this arrangement but why make someone waste their game time? Final Fantasy XI already uses a “Level Sync” system that allows players of different levels to party together at a matched level. The Apprenticeship System addition to Warhammer Online is a victory dance for everyone! Now if only World of Warcraft would employ a similar system…

Moving along.

Forcing new players to automatically be placed in a “new player guild” is a stroke of genius on Mythic’s part. I would call this “forced community”. Reminds me of freshmen orientation in college. After saying goodbye to mom and dad, suddenly you are forced to “make friends” with others in an attempt at survival. Time will tell how Warhammer Online players react to this forced match up, but I think its a good thing.

Do you currently play Warhammer Online? If so, how have these changes impacted the game? Let me know in the comments below!

Videogame Addiction Center Opens in Britain

Internet Addiction

Reminds me of something I would have seen in college.

Yesterday, the Telegraph reported that Britain’s first videogame addiction center opened.

Mr Dudley* believes treating game addiction needs a different approach to “conventional” vices like drink and drugs.

”Obviously this is the very early stages of researching how many youngsters are affected,” he said.

”But I would stick my neck out and say between five and ten per cent of parents or partners would say they know of someone addicted to an online game.

”However, you can’t simply say to a 23-year-old male ‘you should never use the internet again’. It’s just not practical.

”So we go through all the issues surrounding gaming use and ensure there are triggers through which an addict recognises their usage has become a problem.

”Behavioural shifts include users becoming agressive, with chaotic lifestyles that result in irregular eating and sleeping patterns as well as social exclusion.’

”I don’t know anybody else who is treating such cases in this country. There’s no helpline.”

Having spent a summer of my life playing World of Warcraft from dusk till dawn, I can personally attest to the power of videogame addiction. If you find yourself living and breathing videogames 24/7, I encourage you to talk to someone. There is a difference between living in a virtual world versus playing videogames as a hobby. No duh, huh.

(*Brian Dudley, the center’s chief executive)

Asheron’s Call Celebrates 10 Years


Asheron's Call 10th Anniversary10 years ago, I stepped through the portal into the lands of Dereth. As a beta tester, I remember spending hours chatting with friends, watching sunsets/ the virtual sky, and adventuring forth into the unknown.  Asheron’s Call (AC) marked my first introduction to the world of the MMO.

In the years following AC’s launch, much has changed in the virtual landscape. EverQuest is no longer the reigning MMO champion, the Warcraft universe has expanded into World of Warcraft, and the sequel to Asheron’s Call, dubbed Asheron’s Call II, has come and gone.

With all the changes in the MMO landscape, Asheron’s Call is still the only game—to my knowledge—that features an allegiance system. This system introduces the unique concept of vassals and patrons. In this system, a vassal swears allegiance to a patron. The patron then acts as a protector, item giver, and basically a guild leader. The reward for being a patron equals a daily award of experience points based upon a small percentage of experience that the vassal makes while playing. The allegiance system ultimately encourages the formation of miniature kingdoms, much like guilds found in today’s more modern MMO.

Unlike a fine wine, MMO’s do not age well with time. MMO’s are all about refinement. Each new MMO takes (hopefully) the best ideas from what has come before and melds them together with new ideas. Sometimes this creative process works on an epic scale (World of Warcraft) and other times fails tragically (Star Wars Galaxies). In the end, I think we can all thank Asheron’s Call and developer Turbine for helping to blaze the trail to bigger, better, and more forgiving online experiences.

Happy 10 Years Asheron’s Call!

May ye die eventually and honorably.


Have a memory from Asheron’s Call you’d like to share? Post in the comments.