Time Killers

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The age of the Internet is slowly changing the way we consume media. Over at Confessions of  Tech Addict, @jacobingalls has come to the realization that brick and mortar stores are quickly becoming places to kill time (for more, check out his post: In Order of Obsolescence). What is sad about this realization is that I think he may be right.

Last year, I purchased a Barnes & Noble Nook as a birthday present to myself. I had been hearing a lot about e-readers and so I decided it was time to get into the game. The Nook was priced cheaper than the Kindle, which isn’t the case now, so I went with the cheaper option. After learning how to navigate the Nook, I was soon purchasing my first e-book. Touch. Bought. Downloaded. The ease of use, instant access to content, and pricing has sold me on the Nook and e-books in general. No longer do I have to take a special trip to the store to purchase a book. On rainy days now I can simply relax and read.

The days of the brick and mortar bookstore may be numbered…but I doubt it. Stores provide a place to physically interact with whatever it is your planning on purchasing, as Jacob pointed out. They also provide a place to congregate and immerse ourselves amongst people and community. The Internet brings with it a price, instant content and lower prices made possible by the lack of a physical place and actual human interaction. While I enjoy reading on my Nook, I also enjoy browsing a good bookstore…even if it is essentially a place to kill time.

Enter the Standing Man

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One of my good friends recently dove into the world of Tai Chi. Today he sent this video me, as an example, of one of the moves he is working on.

Note: The gentleman at the end of the video being able to withstand multiple guys pushing on him. Pretty awesome!

Captain America

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Director Joe Johnson’s The Rocketeer & October Sky are two of my most favorite films.

As an eleven year old boy, my fondness for The Rocketeer was unparalleled. Watching the movie a grand total of six times in theater, I was enamored with the world and life of pilot Cliff Secord. For those of you who haven’t seen the film– shame on you!–, The Rocketeer is akin to strapping a jet pack to Indiana Jones. In other words, you’re in for one heck of a ride!

Growing up, I always wanted to escape the town I grew up in. Those that stayed and didn’t commute elsewhere were destined to work at the local pharmaceutical factory. In other words, I could totally relate to October Sky’s Homer Hickam and his desire to leave the mining town of Coalwood. Homer’s tale of pursuing his dream of joining Wernher Von Braun, set against the backdrop of his dad struggling to understand him, make October Sky a must see. I love this film.

The newest trailer for Joe Johnson’s next film, Captain America: The First Avenger, came out a day or two ago. I am excited to see how this film turns out based on the director’s past work. Are you?

Office Thoughts

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Working in the world of an ————- office has led me to experience some extreme highs and deep lows professionally. As a front office manager, I have been placed in the unique position to fully observe almost all events in the office. In thinking through the different situations I have observed/experienced, both the good and the bad, I have come to conclude that:

  • Education Should Never Cease – This is as simple as providing constructive feedback to employees without belittling them. No one ever learns by being verbally assaulted over an issue. Instead, taking time to work through/ explain a potential problem helps an employee when they tackle the same issue again in the future.
  • Management Needs to Lead by Example – Yelling at employees, slamming the phone down on the desk in anger, and demanding unrealistic expectations are the actions of an office diva/ dictator. Don’t do these things! Instead, treat others as you want to be treated. A manager who believes that he has “earned” the right to treat employees in this manner, due to time spent working for the firm, is a manager leading his employees into a personal (daily) Hell. Don’t be this person.

Lazy Sunday

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Sunday afternoons always seem to drag on into infinity…

Lately, the weather has been rather warm for spring time in East Texas. The 80 degree days have started reminding me of our blazing hot/humid summers. All in all, it is far too early for weather like this.

Yesterday, in an attempt to stave off the cabin fever Sunday’s induce, my wife, son, and I piled into the family sedan and headed off to Target. Our mission: To spend some giftcards we had recently received.

Walking through the store, my wife and I looked at dinner plates, blenders, and solar powered lanterns–I love these things!–. Eventually we made our way to the boardgame aisle. It was then that my wife spotted this:

Now, I have found that boardgames can really be a huge hit or a miss. Usually, I won’t buy a new boardgame unless we have had a chance to test-drive it, per se. But, having giftcards to spend, we decided that perhaps it was time to Pass the Popcorn. Now, for those of you who haven’t played, Pass the Popcorn is a movie trivia game.

To play, one player reads out the top of the card (“1980 Comedy”), and then the other player asks a question depending on what tile they have selected (Tiles range from Quotes, Story, Cast, Characters, etc.). If you guess the movie title right, you win!

Long after the Target trip and soon after my son had been put to bed for the night, my wife and I tried the game out. We had a really good time!

Sometimes its nice to just turn off the TV and enjoy spending time with those around you.

Prayer

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A good Sunday morning to you all!

Something I realized after writing last was that I have failed to pray over JBG as a ministry and have instead been relying on my own gifts and strengths. So, I want to take this Sunday and pray over JBG, it’s future, and discover what God’s will is for having a video game site that shares His light. If you’d join me today in prayer, I’d appreciate it!

Need

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When I first started this site back in 2003, I started JBG to fill a perceived need. The lack of a Christian voice, in the gaming media, was deafening to me. Almost 9 years later, that lack of a Christian voice is still deafening. If anything, the gaming media has only grown more perverse…more bold in it’s love of sin and sometimes hatred for Christianity.

Starting out, I had wanted Johnny B Gamer to become a becon of sorts; a light against this growing darkness. This hasn’t happened to the extent I thought it would. I feel like I have failed…

So right now I am trying to figure out what it means to be salt and light online. How to create something that is competitive with the big boys.

You may laugh at me…but I still think the need to provide a safe place online to read about video games exists. I’m just unsure what that looks like and I am tired of being alone in this endeavour. Looking for encouragement…

Off with a Bang!

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The opening to Uncharted 2 is simply breathtaking. Our hero awakes to find himself covered in blood, a victim of a terrible train wreck. As you guide Nathan Drake up through a train hanging off a cliff, there are several moments where you wonder if he is going to make it. Now of course he is going to make it because he is the main protagonist of the series…but still! I wish more games started off with such a fantastic opening scene to get things going. I guess though all games can’t be that way, after awhile such a thing would come across as contrived. Anywho, I am really enjoying Uncharted 2. Have a good Saturday everyone!

Funded by the Mob

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The Climber :.

A mysterious mountain climber makes his way up the mountain. His goal, to make it safely back home before dusk. Trudging his way up the mountain, the climber navigates between crumbing precipices of doom. Will he make it home?

A friend recently asked me what type of game I would make if I was going to create a game. So, I described to him something very close to the above scenario. What if I wanted to proceed with developing this game? Where would I go to get the funding for such a mountainous endeavor?

8-Bit Funding might be a good place to start. Here I can go present my idea, and if it is deemed worthy by the “mob”, I will be added to the 8-Bit site to start receiving donations. A very interesting idea. I could even entice potential donors with the honor of being added to the games credits. Not a bad exchange if you ask me. Gamers supporting fellow gamers, welcome to the new digital frontier.

Completion Times

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As a gamer with minimal time to invest in gaming, I want to make sure that I am getting the most bang for my buck. I also want to know if I am potentially going to waste 200 hours of my life on one game (something I like to avoid). So behold, below is a general list of completion times*. Use it to educate, amuse, and compete with your friends…if you have any. 🙂

Oh yeah, if you have any times to add to this list please comment away!

A

  • Alpha Protocol – 15 hours
  • Assassin’s Creed 2 – 19 hours

B

  • Banjo-Tooie – 15 hours
  • Batman Arkham Asylum – 11 hours
  • Bionic Commando 4 hours
  • Braid – 6 hours
  • Bully – 16 hours

C

D

  • Darksiders – 17 hours
  • Dead Rising 2 – 14 hours
  • Dead Space – 10 hours
  • Dead space 2 – 10 hours
  • Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga – 49 hours
  • Dragon Age: Origins – 41 hours

E

F

  • Fallout – 47 hours
  • Fallout: New Vegas – 38 hours
  • Final Fantasy X – 31 hours
  • Final Fantasy XIII – 60 hours.

G

  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn – 22 hours

H

  • Heavy Rain – 7 hours

I

J

K

L

M

  • Machinarium – 5 hours
  • Mafia 2 – 11 hours
  • Mass Effect 2 – 32 hours
  • Metroid: Other M – 12 hours
  • Metroid Prime – 20 hours
  • Metroid Prime 2 – 22 hours
  • Metroid Prime 3 – 18 hours
  • Mirror’s Edge – 6 hours

N

O

P

Q

R

S

  • Sonic Colors – 7 hours
  • Splinter Cell: Conviction – 7 hours
  • Starcraft II – 14 hours

T

  • Trine – 6 hours

U

  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – 12 hours

V

  • Vanquish – 4 hours
  • VVVVVV – 4 hours

W

  • World of Goo – 4 hour

X

Y

Z

  • Zeno Clash – 3 hours

*Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and completion times may vary.

Chrono Triggered

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Chrono Trigger is a game that has become something of an enigma to me. Over the years, I have unsuccessfully attempted to dive into this masterpiece. Each attempt has been oddly foiled as you will soon see.

Back in the days when Chrono Trigger was hard to obtain, which wasn’t long ago, I entered the shady world of emulation to get my fix—I did this back in high school…a decade ago.—. Serving me right, for not spending $100 on a physical SNES Chrono Trigger cartridge, I played the game up until the world of the grim future. It was then that I quickly discovered that the emulator I was using was busted! No matter how hard I tried to adjust the emulator settings, the world of the future was blurred by an unintentional fog. I was blind. With no way to go forward, my game was tragically over.

I only wish the emulator had displayed things as clear as the image above.

Fast forward through the Y2k “crisis”, well into the year of 2008, when Nintendo released Chrono Trigger on the Nintendo DS. My second attempt at completing the game was soon to begin. Armed with a charged DS, I spent Christmas of 2008 immersed in the world of Crono, Marle, and Frog. Unlike my earlier foggy attempt at completing the world of the future, I actually got passed it this time. Only to have the DS controls freak out on me unexpectedly. I still do not know what happened but suddenly I had no control over Crono (who was my lead party character). At a total loss and getting my butt beat over and over in battles, I decided enough was enough. So I put the tiny cartridge back in its case and closed it for two solid years.

Recently, I decided that there had to have been a setting changed or something. Suddenly loosing control of my main party member made absolutely no sense to me. Newly empowered, I restarted my earlier game only to be greeted by the game’s amazing soundtrack and setting.

(Take a listen here!)

Chrono Trigger represents what is perhaps the pinnacle of Japanese role playing games. The fusion of story, characters, and sound leave one with a truly memorable experience. Knowing all of this, I refuse to let Chrono Trigger be that game that got away from me.

For the Love of Nook

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Reviled by many gamers due to his slumlord-ish ways, Animal Crossing’s Tom Nook is a character I will forever be thankful for. Tom Nook, you see, is single-handedly responsible for easing my wife into the world of video games.

Back in 2004, I met my now wife at a Halloween event hosted at the college we both attended. We literally bumped into each other in the darkness of night. From that moment on, we dated and got to know one another as all couples do. As things began to grow more serious, I knew that I needed to share my love of video games with her. So, I went out and bought her a Nintendo DS and two copies of Animal Crossing. Two copies? One copy for her; one copy for me.

Soon we were enveloped in the chatty world of talking animals and weed pulling. Random bouts of letter writing, fishing, and strange conversations consumed our gaming time. Every once in awhile, we would visit the other’s town and exchange items—it is because of these visits that I was able to obtain a wide variety of fruit trees—. We were both enjoying the time spent playing the game and hanging out with each other.

Our love of Animal Crossing lasted almost a year. I don’t think that I have ever played a game for such a duration of time. One of our final gaming sessions in the game revolved around checking out the New Years celebration. Fireworks exploded in the sky with great bursts of volume and intensity. A sign, situated in the town square, proudly proclaimed, “Happy New Year”. We were surrounded by virtual buddies we had spend countless hours with. It was a happy new year indeed.

Looking back, we both fondly talk about our New Year’s Eve spent in Animal Crossing. If it wasn’t for Tom Nook and his gateway drug game, I’m not sure that my wife would still be playing games like she does today. A big thank you Tom. Your evil squirrel ways will not be forgotten.