The Halls Head West – Part One

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Had a good visit with my parents last week. Hadn’t seen them in two years! Was nice to visit them in Southern California, enjoy the weather, and tour some of the local sites.

Our plane flight, out of Gregg County, was a bit bumpy. Our pilot had to dodge thunderstorms while flying into Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).

View outside the plane as we took off from Longview, Texas.

Nothing like a little turbulence as we flew around thunderstorms.

We eventually landed at DFW and made our way to our second flight. The flight boarded but we had to sit in the plane as a second wave of thunderstorms made its way into the area. Tab and I caught up on much needed sleep (we were so excited that we hadn’t slept the night before).

Fun Fact: When lightening hits near the airport, a clock starts a countdown to an all clear (so much time has to go by). Apparently airport workers cannot work out on the tarmac when lightening has struck nearby. Safety first!

Landed in San Diego without incident. Loved flying on what appeared to be a new Airbus! Tab and I watched Netflix’s The Highwaymen, with Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson, on the flight. Super good movie about two former Texas Rangers hunting down Bonnie and Clyde. We had about 30 minutes till the end of the movie when our plane landed. Can’t wait to finish this film.

My parents picked us up in San Diego. The weather was cool, cloudy, and drizzling. Such a relief from the 80 degree humid weather we’ve been having in East Texas.

We made our way over to Old Town San Diego, ate lunch, and toured around.

I can’t imagine traveling in a wagon like this. Talk about back issues!

While there, we walked into Seeley Stables (which was pretty amazing and free). Came across some old gaming machines… something that one rarely sees in a museum. I was impressed.

THE JUDGE!

THE OWL!

Rolling history.

After a bit of walking around, we braved the traffic and headed to my parents house.

The next day, we woke up and headed to Anaheim. Spent the day at Disneyland. Wyatt loved it (his first trip) and we all walked quite a bit.

I do not have a ton of pictures from Disneyland. We spent the day being in the moment and absorbing the magic of Walt’s original park.

Highlight of our day was Wyatt getting to meet Darth Vader. Wyatt tried to pledge allegiance to him… and Lord Vader seemed pleased. He told Wyatt that when he was of age that Wyatt would make a great recruit for the Imperial Army. I’m taking this as a parenting win!

Click here for Part Two

Refresh My Muscle Memory, Please

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I played Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for a couple of hours the first week. The second week, life got in the way, and I didn’t get a chance to play. By the time I picked up a controller the third week, I couldn’t remember how the game controlled.

I’m not sure about you, but I come across this problem quite a bit. Modern AAA games feature complex controls that require the memorization of many buttons. Which works out fine as long as you play consistently. As an adult though, I go through periods where I’ll start a game and then come back to it weeks to a month later. This is a game killer for me.

My Odyssey boat has been dead in the water for a few weeks now. I’m stuck on a mission where I have to sink some Athenian vessels blocking a harbor. I’m good with the boat controls but things go south once I try boarding. I can’t remember how to block, my muscle memory draws a blank when it comes to the rhythm of combat.

Duh, I’m not sure what to do.

Sure, I could look up the controller button layout diagram and try and figure out how to parry/block. In fact, I did! Last night, I tried the boarding party portion of the mission again and failed. FAILED! At this point, I’m frustrated with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey just as I was with Batman: Arkham Knight (another game with complex controls that doesn’t look kindly on players taking a break from it).

Game developers need to include some sort of quick gameplay tutorial. A five minute run down that helps the player re-acclimate to controls and remind muscle memory of a games particular rhythms. I wonder if player retention and player percentage of completion would go up with a refresher tutorial feature?

As my gaming time stands, I find myself gravitating towards games with simpler controls. Controls that I can pick up quickly and get into the game faster with. Unlike a good book, which is easy to drop in and out of, most modern AAA games are a pain to take a break from. I want that pain to be eased, and I’m sure game developers would like that too. So I’m asking developers for a simple feature, refresh my muscle memory, please.

That Dragon, Cancer – Official Release Trailer My Friend Josh Made

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My friend M. Joshua Cauller makes video game trailers. Today, his trailer for That Dragon, Cancer was released. I’m very proud of Josh. Trailer made me cry.

My favorite scene was the telling of the story of Jesus and his disciples on the boat. A storm rises up, everything thinks they are going to die. Where do you think Jesus is? Asleep. The waiting room imagery, of being overwhelmed, contrasted with this story is remarkable. Our stresses, our worries, Christ in control the whole time. Love it.