Boys Club

Standard

Wyatt and I were alone Saturday afternoon. Tabitha went to a pre-wedding event (her brother is getting married next month), so we made a special time of it. Welcome to Boys Club.

Boys Club: A time when father and son get to hang out together, away from momma; a time where all topics are on the table, including poo-poo. Butt face.

Ever since Wyatt began to talk, I have tried to schedule special times together. Time away from momma. A set time were we could talk all we wanted about potty humor. A safe place where I could build trust with my son. I want him to be able to talk to me about anything. I figure if we can joke around and talk about bodily functions, we can talk about the deeper things in life later on. But fart jokes never get old. Ever.

Our Saturday Boys Club consisted of:

  • Playing the Star Wars Battlefront beta together
  • Happy hour drinks at Sonic
  • Starting/beating the LEGO Jurassic Park demo. Best part of the game was controlling the raptors.
  • Running around the backyard with Nerf guns and swords.
  • Watching at least two hours of Transformers Prime. Optimus Prime was at his end…or was he?

transformers-prime-images-26

Best part of our day was in the backyard. Wyatt wanted to go outside and play Transformers. So we each picked a weapon. I grabbed a foam sword, he grabbed a Nerf gun. Somehow we never got around to playing. Wyatt was too concerned with making up rules, structure, to our play. I got bored. So I grabbed his gun and took off. There were tears over my dual wielding weapons.

“You can’t have two!”

(Right, I’m the parent. Take the higher path. Give the kid a weapon.)

What did giving him a weapon bring about? Me losing both arms and legs to a foam sword. It hurt. A lot. I told him I had had enough. Wyatt then created something to regrow my limbs. All forgiven. Until our play continued and I broke out my Nerf shotgun. Which then snapped in half as I cocked it. Hulk smash!

My son and I are a lot alike. We can drive each other crazy in a moment. Boys Club on Saturday was a success. Optimus Prime lived.

I want to encourage dads out there to set up special times with your kids. This time doesn’t have to be expensive or involve going anywhere. A drive in the car, a battle in the backyard, a conversation before bed. Build a solid foundation today with your kids. They’ll remember the time they spent with you. Good time with dad.

Game on.

Confessions of an MMO Tourist

Standard

My vacation into the virtual lands of MMO’s began with Asheron’s Call in 1999. Playing with friends in a persistent world had a certain novelty to it. Granted, the release of Diablo II the following year quickly put my stay in Dereth on hold. Not one to limit myself to one game, I “toured” multiple MMO’s up until World of Warcraft’s (WoW) launch in 2004. Multiple MMO’s huh? Take a look at this virtual itinerary:

  • Ultima Online (1 month)
  • Everquest (1 month)
  • Final Fantasy XI (1 month)
  • The Sims Online Beta (a few days)
  • Asheron’s Call 2 (a few months)

The release of Asheron’s Call 2, in 2002, marked the first time I had set up a base camp in an MMO since the original Asheron’s Call in 1999. My stay in AC 2 did not last long, however, the group of friends that I was playing with ended up quitting the game. For the first time in years, I was no longer traversing the virtual landscapes. A whole year would go by before I would once again venture forth.

  • Saga of Ryzom Beta
  • World of Warcraft

In 2004, the perfect storm came together in the form of the Warcraft universe becoming an MMO.

Blizzard + Warcraft + MMO = WIN!

Blizzard games have been a staple of my PC gaming diet for years. Warcraft II, Starcraft, Diablo, and Diablo II were go-to games for me and my friends.

Sidenote: How many of you remember playing the original Diablo with a modem? I remember many late nights, on my Macintosh, spent listening to the pinging/ ponging modem language as I hooked up to battle.net. Good times. Haunting music. No option to run!

World of Warcraft came out the year that I went away to college. The game quickly became a way to communicate/ game with friends three states away. WoW had a darkside, however, one that almost cost me my love in the summer of 2005.

Guild Wars launched the following year (2005). Though technically not an MMO, Guild Wars provided a few alternative to WoW. Unfortunately, the beta period for this game all but killed the game for me (there are only so many times you can create a character, level, and then have it deleted). So I went back to WoW until things came to a head with my real life. Decisions had to be made.

Girlfriend or WoW?

Girlfriend of course! She won.

Girlfriend now wife.

I have played many MMO’s since WoW.

  • Dungeon Runners.
  • Lord of the Rings Online
  • Warhammer Online
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online

So many hours poured into games I never plan on returning to again. Reminds me of books left half read, tossed under a bed. In the end, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed the different worlds that I have explored. Each has offered a different experience that the game previous could not provide.

2009 marked the year I returned to Azeroth with my wife’s blessing. In playing, I have found that World of Warcraft does not have the same pull it once did. So I left the game once more to try:

  • Maple Story
  • Guild Wars (again!)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (again!)

As you can see, I am an MMO tourist with a passport full of stamps. If 2009 has been any indication as to my less than monogamous gaming habits, 2010 is sure to be a busy year.

(Used as a resource for this article http://biobreak.wordpress.com/mmo-timeline/)

(1/26/16 Update: Reader Kevin Woodberry emailed me and asked that I link to his guide as a further resource. Check it out: Guide to Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games.)