Administrative Professionals’ Day

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I dread Administrative Professionals’ Day.

Every year, without fail, my office forgets Administrative Professionals’ Day. Then, two days later, I suddenly have a gathering of co-workers outside my office. My boss then:

  • Apologizes
  • Gives me a card
  • Thanks me for my service

Which is all great and grand, I appreciate it. But I dislike how awkward it all becomes, all because greeting card companies have declared the day as special.

Greeting card companies, ya’ll need to let go of this one. Please, for me?

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Don’t Pull That!

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For those of you who do not know, I am a games director, at church, for a Bible verse memorization program (Awana) we have. Over two 30 minute sessions, I get to play all sorts of crazy games with the kids.

My Goal: Tire the kids out while having fun.

Last night, our schedule was a bit different. The kids are singing during the worship service on Sunday. Which means they needed time to practice:

  • Song cues
  • Hand motions
  • And becoming acclimated to standing on stage

Due to the practice time, game time was going to be reduced for the evening. The kids were scheduled to head out to the outdoor playground after worship practice. My wife, who runs the Awana program at church, told me I had the night off.

I ended up driving out to church anyways. Figured I could help corral kids and be there just in case it rained (we had a 40% chance) to run game time.

All was going well, I arrived early and ate dinner with Tabitha. We were sitting there talking when the fire alarm suddenly went off. A prerecorded voice told us that there was an emergency and that we needed to evacuate the building.

Turns out, a little kid pulled the fire alarm that is conveniently located on the indoor kids playground; the fire alarm that is right at kid height. With strobe lights going off in tandem with the alarm, I found myself Googling how to shut off a pull alarm. Turns out you need a special key.

In the midst of all of this, my pastor, who was supposed to be teaching, was having to deal with the alarm company. I ended up taking over for him in talking to the alarm company so that he could return to teaching. The gentleman on the phone guided me to a closet, where the fire alarm’s central panel was located. There I found two wires that were not connected to the battery that powers the fire alarm system. The alarm company told me that in the process of the system trying to reboot, that it tried to reboot/use power from the battery, somehow unplugging the wires. Plugging the wires back into the battery, I restored the system, and thus saved Jurassic Park.

Did I mention that the volunteer fire department sent a member over to check on things? Apparently he lives across the street. He was telling dispatch that he didn’t see any smoke coming from the church and that there were lots of cars in the parking lot. I’m thankful that he came over to check things out… and cancel the fire trucks that were about to be dispatched.

Once the alarm was shut off, I walked into the Worship Center to listen to the kids sing. On the way over, I noted that it was now raining outside. Great.

We ended up having a shortened game time. Lots of running around and screaming inside our kids worship area. It was crazy but helped the kids burn off energy as the barometer fell.

I’m thankful that none of this happened on a Sunday morning. While the lighting effects from the strobes might have been cool, the overall alarm would have killed the worship vibe.

Zelda and the Art of Distraction

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Wyatt wanted to play RollerCoaster Tycoon last night. So I got him set up on the computer, pulled up a chair alongside him, and grabbed the Nintendo Switch along with Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Figured that I could make some progress in Zelda while letting the boy learn how to control/use the RollerCoaster Tycoon toolset. Win/win, right?

For awhile now, Wyatt has been dumping hours into Zelda, slowly beating each divine beast before me. Then, when I’ve sat down to play on Sunday afternoons, he’ll sit there and guide me. Later on, never failing, to remind me that he helped me.

“You didn’t beat that by yourself, I helped you.”

Deep in my 36 year old heart, I knew that I could not allow such a thing to continue. A 9 year old boy would not best me in a game, not yet anyways. I had just beaten the Zora and Ruto divine beasts, with Wyatt’s help. In his game, Wyatt was off chasing the beast out in the desert. So I decided to tackle the only beast he hadn’t gone after yet, the beast of Death Mountain, Vah Rudania.

A combination of wanting to play smart mixed with a smidgen of desperation to get ahead of the boy, led me to consult a walkthrough. I wanted to know exactly where Vah Rudania lay. The quick consult made me decide to plot a course to Goron City and set up a basecamp there. The walkthrough mentioned fire armor and a guy needing me to collect lizards for him. I warped into a tower, took a flying leap, and glided towards the lizard man. 10 lizards collected later, I had me some fire armor for protection against the volcanic environment.

All the while I’m navigating Death Mountain, Wyatt is engrossed in RollerCoaster Tycoon. He had no clue that I was pushing further into Zelda than he is currently. The only problem I face now is maintaining the momentum. Face it, I’m competing against a 9 year old who plays video games much more than me. He’ll probably get ahead of me in the long run, but I’m not giving up. I have a beast to slay!

An Evening With RollerCoaster Tycoon

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“So, is this a game I have to play with you or can I play it by myself?”

Our first park.

Wyatt and I had just completed our first RollerCoaster Tycoon scenario when he asked me if this was a with-dad or without-dad game. I told him that once he was more familiar with how to run the game’s toolset, he’d be allowed to play by himself.

Already today, I’ve been asked if we can play more tonight. Guess my evening dance card is partially filled.

I would like to thank the RavingLuhn for his article “The Definitive RollerCoaster Tycoon Experience“. His easy to follow guide helped me bring RollerCoaster Tycoon into 2018. Check it out if you are looking to relive the glory days of RollerCoaster Tycoon and it’s expansions. The game is still a lot of fun to play.

From Across the Net – “Video games studied in new theological framework”

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Via the Baptist Press:

So what’s the point? Millsap is not saying that mashing buttons is a path to a deeper understanding of God or defeating the next game’s challenge is a discipleship tool. The idea is just that it’s worth considering the stories and scenarios that gamers encounter from a theological perspective.

“But because so many video games now go in a narrative direction and tell a story, it makes sense that we would want to consider them from that perspective. I need to ask myself important questions, and think about whether I believe what it’s saying is true. If a video game is intending to tell a serious narrative and I don’t approach it seriously, thoughtfully and from a Christian perspective, then I’m not doing it justice.”

You can read more here

Kirby Star Allies

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Wyatt and I recently finished playing Kirby Star Allies on the Nintendo Switch. Per standard Kirby game mechanics, Kirby has the ability to steal enemies powers. In Star Allies, Kirby goes a step further and becomes a thrower of hearts. Throw a pink heart at an enemy and they become your friend/party member, for life.

So here are Wyatt and I, adventuring across the HD candy-coated world of Kirby. We are the buddies of co-op. The ultimate father and son duo to take on the evils of Dreamland.

“Wyatt, slow down.”

“Wyatt, we just missed a puzzle piece.”

“Wyatt, why did you just die? How could you have done that?”

A chunk of our playtime consisted of Wyatt mixing powers, trying to see what Kirby powers he could create. This power mixing killed the flow of gameplay and DROVE ME NUTS!
How Kirby Power Mixing Works:

Let’s say Kirby steals the powers of a warrior. Now the pink puffball has a sword. If you have a party member that has ice, fire, or lightning powers, you can call them over to buff your sword. Your standard sword is now the Ice Sword of Doom or the Fire Ball Slicer from Heaven. In Kirby Star Allies, friendship is all about the perks.

Kirby Star Allies must be about driving your dad crazy.

It wasn’t until I started listening to myself speak to my son that I noticed I was freaking out.

So I adjusted my tone.

I listened to myself get upset over missing secret doors and passing up on puzzle pieces.

So I changed my expectations.

We started having fun.

Snow levels became a chance to sing terrible Frozen “Let It Go” parodies.

Running past puzzle pieces were a moment to become super silly and let things go.

Kirby Star Allies was a $60 reminder of what co-op gaming with my son looks like. A reminder that I need to chill, play, and allow myself to have fun.

Thank you, Kirby, for the gentle reminder.

4/5 – A perfect game to co-op with someone you love.

Title: Kirby Star Allies
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Reviews on: Nintendo Switch
MSRP: $59.99