Tag Archives: writing

Can You Breathe Life into the Old Machine?

The last generation console was called “Old Faithful” by everyone who knew it.

In days gone by, the machine could run all day long without tiring, without breaking a sweat.

There were signs of overheating, to be sure, but the temperature did not reach a feverish pitch.

Was the problem what the console consumed? No, it was fed a steady diet of simple, old school games known to be easy on the digestive system.

Now dust covers the console that once entertained everyone.

Its formerly black wires have become ashen; these are not the grey whiskers of wisdom.

As we ponder the machine’s future, it lies dormant in its own dust.

Will the old console run again?


Filed under Video Game Technology

I Can’t Quit You, Game

I glued myself to the couch from the moment the images flickered on screen.

Outside night was starting to cover everything across the land. Inside, I felt like someone had locked me in a reinforced concrete bunker with a dying light petering through a crack in the wall. Note: that’s a fun reinforced concrete bunker. Or maybe some accident left me stuck in an elevator with no means of escape. Hmmm wait, no, it couldn’t be that one. That’s no fun.

The fun started after I picked up the controller. When I started playing, the clock “ding donged” three times. Then time flew by so fast that the hands fell off the clock and landed, as I later discovered, on the floor.

Suddenly, the rooster crowed and the light from outside blinded me.  One minute I picked up the controller at night and the next minute the sun pushed through the crack to light up everything around me. The shower and food that I needed yesterday had faded away from my memory. “How could that have happened?” I asked myself.

I guess it was because I wanted more, more of the same. Sure, it sounds like an awfully long time, but awful had nothing to do with it. For I was playing a video game.


Filed under Video Game Misc.

My Friend is a Box

I pressed the button.

You came to life…

or you woke up from a deep sleep…

or a thawing-out from a summer hibernation caused by a lack of play.

Remember how there was nothing for you to do but sleep during those summer doldrums? But now…

Hot air and electricity flow through your veins (read: circuits).

A whirring noise, some clattering and stuttering meant you were getting to work.

It also meant a dust, built up for months while you sat there untouched, filled the room and clogged my nose and eyes.

The dust storm was a small price to pay: an image flickered on screen.

Time was dead.

We must have played for hours and hours without end before we both went to sleep.

Then I said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

And all is well, all is right with the world now that I’ve had time to play.

I’m ready to be who I am, and I am at my best.

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Filed under Video Game Misc.

Time Traveling to Play Video Games

Super Mario Bros is a good game because you get to save a princess.

Mario goes on a journey to save her. He jumps so much and picks up shiny coins. Jumping and collecting coins is fun. Jumping on bad guys is also fun.

Sometimes Mario jumps, falls and disappears. Where did he go? Do you know? I don’t. Tell me. Come on!

Then he comes back and everything is great. I get to play the game again.

It looks so good. There are flying turtles and mushrooms. I wonder if they taste good? Does Mario cook them?

You have to move forward to reach the end of the world. Fireballs burn. Run! Run! I hid in a pipe for a moment to escape them.

Then I found the princess because my big brother helped me. Mario loves her and saves her from a bad guy. Do they get married?

This game is fun if you like to jump.

P.S. Time for my nap.

By Adam age 10?

Anyway, to write this post, I channeled my inner child. When that didn’t work, I traveled back in time with a certain device to write with my childhood self.

Nah, I tried to imagine how the ten-year old me would write a post about video games. You read the result, but I have no memory of how I wrote as a child. It’s a guess.

Have you ever tried to write like your childhood self? Did you ever write anything about video games as a child? Are you willing to share and embarrass — maybe — yourself?


Filed under Silly Video Game Inspired Fiction

The Death of Graphics in Video Games?

If you visit a video game site, you’ll be struck by all the beautiful high-definition videos and photos that capture life-like moments. Turn on the TV and game ads will hit you in the face with their large explosions. Walk down the street and . . . you get the picture.

One might think that these ubiquitous fancy graphics and explosions are what defines video games. But you could be forgiven, if you looked only at advertising, for thinking that.

In case you didn’t know, popular games can have simple graphics.

“But wait,” one might say, “you’re talking about games that were popular. You’re talking about the old school.”

Not quite.

I can think of at least two popular indie games that have simple graphics. By indie game I mean a game not produced by a large studio, without a traditional publisher, and it doesn’t look like its mainstream counterparts.

One example of an indie game with simple “graphics” is Zach and Tarn Adams’ Dwarf Fortress. In Dwarf Fortress, a player controls a group of dwarves who try to build — you guessed it — a fortress and survive.

Better yet, check out the pop cultural heavyweight Minecraft. Will you fight monsters or just hit things with a stick all day? Well, you can do both of those things and more in the pixellated world of Minecraft.

Would you believe that these two games are making plenty of money? Of course, everyone knows Minecraft is a success. Microsoft also seems to love it and paid $2.5 billion for it. In addition, The New York Times says Tarn Adams earned $50, 000 from Dwarf Fortress in 2010. That’s not bad.

The Next Big Game?

So we know indie games with simple graphics can do well.

But I wonder what the next major indie game will do to stand out from the rest. I mean, and I say this somewhat facetiously, can developers keep out-doing each other in simplicity?

This would be like a tech striptease where eventually there will be nothing left to strip. Just a black or white box will remain on the TV screen, and maybe a contemporary art museum will mount it on a wall.

But maybe there’s one way to stand out from other games with simple graphics. A developer could make an old school text adventure. You know, the ones were you see nothing but text on the screen. I mean, you can’t get much simpler than only having text.

Also, it would be nice to see a game that focuses primarily on telling a deep story. We all like a good story.

Now, I like games with gorgeous art work and graphics. You probably do too, and that’s why so many games have stunning graphics. But who knows for sure what the next major indie game will look — or read — like?


Filed under Video Game Technology

Can Video Games Help Writers?

I think playing video games can benefit writers and help them learn discipline.

Writers who enjoy video games get to practice self-control. They do not need self-control because video games are an “addictive” drug. Instead they practice their self-control to balance their time spent playing with their time spent writing. They will have to put the controller down and pick up a quill, or a mouse, at some point. But the chance to practice discipline, by itself, is not a great reason for anyone to play games.

Perhaps a more persuasive reason is that video games can inspire writers to start writing. A person who plays video games can draft previews, reviews, news and anything related to games. These writers already know their audience: it is other video game players.

In addition, video game stories could inspire a person to write fiction. The fiction could be a novel based on a game. Or one could pen an original novel with influences from the story or themes of a game.

Working on video games could give writers a chance to do what they love. An established fiction author might pen the story for a blockbuster video game. Or maybe this author could offer some advice to a development team. So video games can inspire and even get writers paid. Is that it?

Video games offer everyone—not only writers—a chance to relax after a hard day with a fun hobby. Whenever you finish a post or piece of fiction, go for a walk and play a game. Use that time to clear your mind, and then tackle a fresh piece of paper or a blank computer page that taunts you.

Of course, writers still need to read and practice their craft. After all, you can’t finish a post when you are fending off waves of zombies with a machine gun. Or perhaps you have superhuman multitasking skills and a gift for writing without thinking. I did not think so.

I cannot guarantee video games will make you a better writer. However, they can inspire you. They can get you paid. They can help you relax, but don’t forget your discipline.


Filed under Video Game Blog

Berenstain Bears Inspired This Post

writing is one of my favourite hobbiesMama and Papa Bear inspired me to write this post.

See, when I was a kid, my dad read the Berenstain Bears to me before bedtime. I loved that series. Sometimes he would add funny words to the story to see if I was following along. I would always call him out on these added words, and we would laugh.

On occasion, after he had a long day, my dad would fall asleep while reading to me. My mom would check on us after my dad had already shut his eyes. “Shhh,” I’d tell her, “Don’t wake him. He’s sleeping.” Then I’d continue reading until we all had to go to bed.

Not too long after these bedtime stories, I decided to pen my own tale. I remember a book called “Colour Your World,” about a cat, inspired me to write. After scribbling the last word and showing my mom the triumphant masterpiece, I realized I had a lot more to learn about spelling.

Cue years of learning and writing. But most of that writing was dryer than 2 week old stale bread. Yes, it was fun to write at all, but I wanted to try different styles of writing and be more creative.

So I started this blog and decided to write with flavour. I wanted to leave behind the bland writing of my past, to experiment with words, and to make something that excited me.

Video games became my subject because I love to play them and know a little about them. So many of you love them as well, which meant I could talk to you on my blog.

But when it comes to hobbies, writing is near the top. Thanks Mom and Dad.

I wanted to reflect on why I write this blog. Why did l choose video games as a topic? What experiences in my life made me fall in love with writing and then start this blog? As I reflected, I recalled something beautiful about life that mirrors my favourite hobby. My life is a story with a history, a present and a future I look forward to writing.


Filed under Video Game Blog