Video Games are fun again

June 25, 2008 at 8:48 am | Posted in games, life, music, technology | 8 Comments

It’s been long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time!

I used to be into video games hardcore. I was into them at the very beginning. The pizzeria by us had a space invaders machine that was replaced by Pac-man when it first came out, and later, the better Ms. Pacman. My friends had Atari and Colecovision, and I had Intellivision. Before that, we had pong. I also had the Gameboy’s handheld ancestors Merlin and Microvision. My friends and I would play Yar’s Revenge for hours until my hands hurt so much from the sucky controllers that I had to ride my bike home one-handed. And we loved it. I was there when it started. For a fantastic rant about what life was like back in 1987, listen to Ernest Cline’s “When I Was A Kid,” on

When I got a part-time job and a computer in high school, I played video games less and less. I did NOT bring them to college, not because of any intelligent choice on my part, but because computer games were getting better and better and I was playing those instead. Finding out about girls probably played a role in decreasing the video game time, too.

Anyway, I found out about the next great video games to come out, the Nintendo with Super Mario Brothers. Some cousins had it. I didn’t get it, or any of its successors. It didn’t even have a joystick, for crying out loud. It was fun I guess, but I was into other things. Since then, nothing has really grabbed me. Especially since the domination of the so-called first-person shooter games that Doom started. No thanks. My favorite games were Adventure, Utopia, Tetris, Ms. Pac-man, and the like. Puzzle games, not as much the kick the other guy’s ass games. Competition was fine, but the FPS games never grabbed me. I probably would have gotten into Starcraft, but for some reason I didn’t.

Sure, the newer systems had some other games, too. The Playstation 2 had graphics better than we could have dreamed about in the 1980s, but a minority of the games were interesting to me. And they were damn expensive. Probably just as expensive as video games of old when allowing for inflation, but still.

Then, about a year ago, the Wii came out, and as soon as I saw commercials for it, something inside me said, “Video games are fun again.”

I might actually get one.

This past weekend Jenny & I played Rock Band on a friend’s Xbox. Fantastic! We just loved it. So fun. This is a video game? It’s about time. It’s about time video games were fun again.

I read the reviews for Rock Band for the Wii. Apparently it doesn’t have all the features of Rock Band on the other game systems. For one thing, you cannot download songs online. You can only purchase bundles on CDs. Not cool. That’s a huge part of the draw for us is that we can get songs that WE want to play.

I hear that Rock Band 2 is coming out in time for Christmas, and so is a competitor, Guitar Hero: World Tour. To be honest, even though Rockband is the first one I played and I love it, GHWT for the Wii looks like it is going to have the full functionality of the other systems. And the drum set looks better, too. I know that the designers of Rockband are the same folks who developed Guitar Hero in the first place, years ago, but to me it really all depends on how good the Wii version is. I want to be able to play the songs that I want to play. That’s really what it comes down to. That, and I want to have fun with friends. Right now, it looks like GHWT will do that for the Wii, the current Rockband won’t, though Rockband 2 might. So for now, it’s a wait and see.

Besides, I don’t even have a Wii yet.


Here it is!

June 16, 2008 at 7:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

It’s about the size of a ST:TNG comm badge, and it’s in the same position on my left chest. I can scarcely believe I’m such a geek!

It was done my Don Morley at In The Skin Tattoos in Ogdensburg, NY, about a 45 minute drive from us. Don was great. He was friendly and accommodating. And he’s good at what he does. In the rear of his shop, out of view of the front counter, are over a dozen trophies he earned over the past 10 or so years.

Jenny went first, and then me. It only took less than an hour each; they aren’t very big, after all. Of course it hurt, but after the endorphins kicked in about five minutes after he started, it wasn’t so bad.

Not much else to say. I’m positively giddy! How am I supposed to work today?

I’m a trekkie.

June 14, 2008 at 10:02 pm | Posted in art, life, quirky, tattoos | 9 Comments

Ok, how many people do you know who are trekkies?

No, I mean REAL trekkies. Real science-fiction convention attending, episode memorizing, trekkies. Folks with more than just a casual appreciation for the series. Borderline fanatics, you might say.

I suspect I may be among that group.

I have a Star Trek tattoo. How freaky is that?

I watched Star Trek on Saturday afternoons on channel 11 with my Dad in the late seventies when the original series was on reruns. Of course I loved Mr. Spock. I was the logical, math, computer nerd in middle and high schools. I went to a technical college, and when Star Trek: The Next Generation started, my friends and I were glued to the TV set. We had Star Trek parties in the dorm. The first two seasons sucked, but we still watched them, because it was Star Trek. It didn’t start strong, but it had the lineage. And, by some miracle, Paramount didn’t sabotage the series in the third series like it did the original, and the third series was the best yet. They actually started writing continuing storylines and fleshing out and evolving characters. They created Worf’s Klingon heritage and the associated socio-political drama. Wesley stopped being quite so damn annoying. And Picard built up some muscle and got some of the babes instead of Riker. And there were four more awesome seasons after that, including the Borg. And three more whole series. And movies.

Anyway, the point is, I’ve been a trekkie for a long time. I don’t have a star trek uniform. I haven’t gone to a Star Trek convention. I don’t even have any cast member’s autograph.

But I think I’ve finally “joined the club.” I have a Star Trek tattoo.

Here’s the thing. Jenny, my partner/wife, first got hooked on Star Trek: Voyager, the fourth series. [EDIT: Jenny originally got into Next Gen, and followed Voyager from the beginning.] She was way into it. I didn’t like it so much. After all, the first season or two sucked. Oh, wait, but then it got good. She showed me that, and we bonded over Trek. (Among other things.) Add to it all that we have been trying to find a joint tattoo design for years. We tried infinity rings, pi symbols, celtic knotwork … and it just didn’t click. Finally, we came together on Star Trek.

Jenny saw two Star Trek tattoos online. Well, more than just two, but two of them had the insignia on the upper left chest, just where it is on the uniform. One from the original series, and one from one of the later series. Almost a year later, we decided that we would get our matching tattoos, and they would be … wait for it …

Star Trek comm badges!

I got a modified Next Gen comm badge, and J got a modified Voyager comm badge. We’re hoping they can still talk to each other. 24th century comm badges would be advanced enough to have backwards compatibility, wouldn’t they?

I’ll post pics later.

I’m so giddy! (And in a little bit of pain. Tattoos still hurt a bit.)

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