Song of the Deep – Lost in the current with my son

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The search begins.

As Song of the Deep’s protagonist Merryn built a submarine to search for her lost father, Wyatt looked at me:

“If anything were to ever happen to you, I’d build a submarine and come find you too.”

Preparing to dive.

Into the oceanic abyss we dove, deeper and deeper. The couch, our submarine. Wyatt deftly piloted the helm. Until controller dexterity issues arose when we encountered electrified jellyfish. Fighting with the sub’s mechanical arm while steering was just too complicated for him. So I took over. He watched.

In the abyss.

We journeyed through a sunken city, wondering what had happened to this lost civilization. Wyatt grew bored. He didn’t ask to pilot the sub again. Song of the Deep frustrated him. This coming from the kid who can hold his own in Guacamelee and PixelJunk Shooter.

End of Watch.

Insomniac’s Song of the Deep is a “passion project” influenced by Brian Hastings, chief creative officer at Insomniac Games. Brian said that he wanted to create a heroic character to share with his 10-year-old daughter. I applaud him for that.

This game is pretty.

I had hoped that the underwater beauty and awe inspiring moments were something I could actually share with Wyatt. The movement of the submarine proved to be too much of a barrier. Dated puzzle mechanics, such as adjusting light mirrors (ugh), further threatened to sink our voyage.

I wanted Song of the Deep to be more confident in itself to be different and new. Game mechanics resurrected from the era of Ecco the Dolphin come across as hazardous underwater currents. Currents I want to avoid.

Ecco lives!

Ecco lives!

Bottom Line: Song of the Deep is challenging and entrancing in it’s beauty. I like that I can play the game in front of Wyatt. I just wish co-piloting was a tiny bit easier. But skills will improve. Difficulty will be overcome. 

wavesplinter3/5 – Great game to play with your kids. Co-piloting may prove challenging depending on your child’s skill level. 

Wave SplinterTitle: Song of the Deep
Developer: Insomniac Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviews on: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $14.99

*Song of the Deep was reviewed using codes provided by Insomniac Games.

2015 – A Year In Review

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2015 has been a roller coaster year.

We’ve Explored

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Should Men Put Video Games Away As “Childish Things” For Their Wives / Girlfriends?

I have known countless guys who have given up their favorite hobby due to a spouse or girlfriend disapproving– I am sure that this is true for the female species as well. Once upon a time, these guys enjoyed playing video games. They used them to drop stress levels, rest, and relax. For some reason though, chemistry, the alignment of the stars, who knows, they end up coupling with someone who disapproves/looks down upon their hobby. So they have to quit, have to walk away from something they love to be in love.

Read more here

We’ve Been Real With One Another

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Longing For That Missing Person

Social media is filled with photos of babies. Beautiful children who are all snugly and cute. While I am excited for my friends and family who are pregnant, there is always this void that gnaws at my soul.

Read more here

We’ve Shared In The Joys Of Parenting

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Boys Club

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!”

Read more here

We’ve Read Some Great Books

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Scary Close – Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy

I first discovered Donald Miller in college. I was at a point in my life where I wasn’t sure about my Christian faith anymore. There was a disconnect between the Christians I read about in the Bible and the Christians I met everyday. Tired of the hypocrisy, I found honesty in Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. Someone was finally writing from a perspective that felt authentic. God used Miller’s words to remind me of the freedom we have in Christ; He used Donald Miller to bring me back to Him.

Read more here

We’ve Called Each Other To More

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A Call: Moving Beyond Artificial Relationships

Surface level relationships will never go beyond the surface. Diving equipment, time invested in person, allows us to get to know one another better. Being purposeful in our pursuit, this is key. We have to make time to have time to spend with others; We have to get over ourselves, move beyond technology.

An invitation to go for a walk, time set aside to enjoy nature and listen. Spending the lunch hour eating with a friend. Time invested. Physical time. We need more of this. We need to do this.

Read more here

I’m not sure of the places we’ll go in 2016. But we can explore, share, and be real together. Here is to another great year. Happy New Year!

Paperbound – Giggle Fest

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I have been playing videogames with my son since he was three years old. We have grown from sharing a single controller, with him pushing a limited range of buttons, to full blown sessions of coop goodness. At the age of six now, he recently completed Skylanders Trap Team without my help. Still not sure how I feel about that. But I love sharing my hobby with him.

headerThe other night we fired up Dissident Logic’s Paperbound on the PlayStation 4.

Devious giggles ensued as my son and I slashed at each other and hopped all over the stage, swapping gravity at will. The little dude had trouble differing the jump button from the gravity button, but did a good job overall. His giggling is what got me though. He only does it when he feels like he is getting away with something. Makes me grin.

A few rounds in, my son started wanting to swap his character after each round. I call this the Skylanders-effect. (Side Note: For those of you who do not have kids or haven’t played Skylanders, the game allows you to swap characters on the fly.) Paperbound‘s minimal menu setup allows for kid-friendly character swapping. This kept our menu time brief and our game time at the forefront.

Paperbound is a solid couch coop that would be an absolute blast with four real life players (the game does offer an AI option). For my son and I, Paperbound scratches the brawler itch with a cool aesthetic and non-gory gameplay. There is nothing like hearing my son giggle as he slices through my character or pegs me with a pair of scissors. Little does he know that I’m holding back on him. The boy is going down. Hi-ya!

DEFCON 5wavesplinter5/5 – Just buy it already!

Wave SplinterTitle: Paperbound
Developer: Dissident Logic
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
Reviews on: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $9.99

The Fulton Incident

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Note: I came into contact with Jordan Ekeroth sometime last year when he started his Follow and Engage blog. A blog that was very near and dear to the mission I set out to accomplish with JBG. Since then, I’ve managed to keep up with him via Facebook and follow his exploits as a new writer for GameChurch. Via twitter the other day, I noticed that he was launching a book, “The Fulton Incident”, and so I thought I’d take it for a whirl.

The Fulton Incident

Jordan Ekeroth’s debut novel, “The Fulton Incident”, opens with a man who is barely getting by. Drowning in business and student loan debts, Josh Fulton, Ekeroth’s protagonist, is living out the new American dream. When not running an auto repair shop or pining away for the girl that got away, Fulton bravely goes on mission trips into the city to feed the homeless. Josh is a typical American leading what many would call a normal life, when he happens to notice a political figure at a local hotel. Armed with a camera, Fulton captures this figure with a woman who is not his wife. The lift hill of the roller coaster is about over at this point of the novel. The rest of of “The Fulton Incident” is a steep decent down a course filled with intrigue, suspense, and motorcycle-driven action. But is any of what Josh Fulton experiences real?

.: The Good :.

One of the subtle themes of the book is that of creating idols. In Josh Fulton’s case, her name was Angelica:

“They stood smiling at each other for a few moments and despite the cacophony of distractions surrounding them, neither was willing to break eye contact. Josh felt as though in those few moments, this girl he’d just met somehow saw deeper into his soul than anyone, possibly even himself, had ever seen.”

Angelica ends up going away. Josh never sees her again. He constantly wonders what and why all the while building her, in his mind, into something she could never have been. I’ve seen a lot of guys do this with women who have broken their hearts. I like how Jordan plays with this theme.

.: The Bad :.

“He told me that he had been so tired of the world that day. He had seen so clearly that he had been living for nothing but his own comfort. Everything that was his life: his job, his friendships, his hobbies, his religion, existed only as a system for him to avoid any real pain, and thus avoid really living.”

What does this mean? Are we relegating different pain levels?

When we first meet Josh Fulton, he is in a world of real pain. Lost relationships (Angelica, his parents), ticking time bomb finances (he could lose his auto repair shop), these are real pains.

How is Josh not living? He owns his own business, he is active in ministry, the guy clearly has a life. What about Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 –

18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. (NIV)

There is a quiet undercurrent in this book that attacks the Christian norm. This is good. However, there is also the message that we can only find purity in life when we lay down our possessions and go live in the slums. Not sure about that.

Overall the book is a page turner, I couldn’t wait to see where the story was going to go next. By the time the story rounded into the station, I found my curiosity satisfied. “The Fulton Incident” is one heck of a ride well worth the $2.99 admission fee.