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This Game is the Real Deal

When I obsess over something, it’s usually a big deal. At least that’s what I’d like people to think.

This past week, my life was seriously affected by a video game. I was emotionally impacted, I was sleep deprived, my focus at work and other priorities suffered. I am still digesting and recovering from my experience, and the game isn’t even over yet.

I wrote a review of Life Is Strange: Episode One, months back. Last week, I finally decided to purchase the rest of the season, even though I meant to wait for all five episodes to come out. It was intriguing enough that I knew I was going to buy them, eventually. With just one more episode on its way to release, I decided to jump back into the quaint, fishing town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon.

I thought that Bioshock Infinite blew my mind; I thought that it really made me care for its characters. Life is Strange packs that punch with nearly every episode. With each new episode, this game gets better and better, and in a way that will make you sit there, mouth wide open, eyes watering, punching your thighs repeatedly for the stupid decisions you’ve made.

I desperately want to see how this all wraps up. This series has one more episode to go; its grand finale. If it goes along the same trajectory as the previous episodes, this will be one my favorite and most impactful games I’ve ever played, ever.

If there is only one game you could play for the rest of your life, you should make it this one. If you were born a human being, you should play this game.

Play it, play it, play it.

And don’t watch the trailers! Don’t spoil anything until you play it. Play it blind, then go back and see what others did and thought.

Seriously, this game is worth way more than its measly $20 season bundle.

Please, please, play it.

I’m begging you!

/faints

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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in Gaming

 

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Progress Report: Fitness, Gaming, and Design

I finish my workout challenge, and I get sick. Ugh.

I think it’s time to start up another one. Looking through Darebee’s workout library, this one looks the most interesting and fun for me. It’s a martial arts-based 30-day exercise program. Having practiced some martial arts in the past, this would be a great way to bring back the muscle memory in my limbs while staying in shape. I’ll get on it as soon as I finish writing this.

In gaming news. I’ve been switching between a few games since reinstalling Windows 10 on my new SSD. The main one was Psychonauts. It’s a 3D platformer that reminds me of the classic console games from the days of Mario 64. The gameplay is just pure fun. The writing and dialogue is hilarious. It has one of the best (if not the best) expositional intros I’ve ever seen in a video game. I love it. My only gripe is that I’m having a hard time sharing it over Forge. It was crashing left and right, but when I solved the issue by running it under Windows 95 compatibility mode, it no longer streams on Forge. Since my social interactions online have been dwindling these days, I wanted to play a game that I could share with you folks. Oh well.

The other game I’ve been playing, as of two days ago, is Dragon Nest. It’s a F2P Nexon game. Yes, they prod you to spend money every time you blink. But it’s fun. It’s an anime-style action-RPG with dungeons/instances you can clear in 5-10 minutes. Not sure how long I’ll stay, but it’s a very low stress MMO. At least for now. I’m still level 19. Level cap is…70? 80? Not sure.

Anyone want to hop on with me?

As for my music challenge, I may switch over to a writing/design one for a couple weeks. My friends and I have been working on a game. The basic movement mechanics are working out fine so far. The basic story-concept is in place. Now we need to flesh out the mechanics more and work on the level/story designs. Art assets are another issue, but we’re not really at that stage yet. I think I need to spend a little time each day on this project if we want to move it along any further.

I will report as I make progress.

Over and out.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in Fitness, Gaming

 

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Celebrating Small Victories (and a Music Challenge recap)

It’s been a while!

Last night concluded the Hero’s Journey 60-day workout challenge. Along with Blaugust, which ended less than two weeks ago, I now have two challenges under my belt. And I feel happy. Unlike those arbitrary gaming achievements, these are achievements that mean something. I wanted to do better at the things I was challenging and the challenges were the stepping stones.

They also helped to exemplify two things I’ve known, yet have had difficulty acting on:

1. Action is king.

Preparation can be important, but doing is how we learn best. Riding a bike, learning an instrument, learning sports or a video game, cooking, painting, computing; anything we become good at, we become good at because we do them a lot. The fundamental actions become second nature to us, and we can focus on the grander scale of the project at hand.

If I want to become better at writing, I need to write more. If I want to compose great music, I need to compose more. Will I make crap along the way? Yes! But, I won’t get to the goal without getting up and putting one foot in front of the other. So, I just have to pretend that I’m in ARK, and just my crap behind. 😉 Maybe I can compost them to make them into something useful.

2. You can’t have it all.

During these two months, I had to make choices. Do I spend these two hours gaming, or do I spend them blogging, exercising, and writing music? I made a commitment to the latter, and my gaming time suffered. My TV time suffered. My reading time suffered. But I am now at peace with the reality. I can’t do everything I want to do, but I can make a choice on what I will do, and try to do it well. And by doing it a lot, I will do it better. The other things will be there for me for the rest of my life.

To celebrate this victory, I am going to spend tonight logging back into WildStar, a game I’ve sacrificed for the past few months. Will I continue to have time to invest back into an MMO? I don’t know. But tonight, I’m just going to have fun!



I am taking tonight off from my self-imposed Music Composition Challenge as well. I never set an end date, and I may never. It’s a habit I need to keep if I intend to make anything of the skill. I would never have been able to keep this up without the help of these other two challenges, so a big Thank You to Belghast and Chestnut! 🙂

Here are my personal top 5 tracks from the 26 I’ve made so far (in the order they were made):

I thought the interlocking guitar parts were pretty cool on this one.

This one is different, and I love how it creates a specific mood.

Piano, Guitar, Bass and Drums. All the parts compliment one another.

My foray into writing orchestral strings. It sounds pretty legit. I impressed myself.

Compositionally, this one is my favorite. The melody switches over from the cello in the first part to the violins and violas in the second, but the cello line is still flavorful throughout.

Do any of these evoke a certain scene in your mind? What sort of game situations or scenario would these work with, do you think?

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2015 in Life, Music

 

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Two Habits for Stimulating Creativity

I didn’t post yesterday, and it was awkward. What have you done to me, Blaugust??

I’ve been working a lot of my creative muscles lately, and I’ve been having a blast. There were two habits that I’ve taken on lately that have helped greatly in keeping the process flowing, and I thought I’d share them with you.

  • Don’t eat a big dinner if you want to work on something afterward. I have been either waiting to eat dinner until later, or eating a light dinner with less carbs so my stomach will have less to digest. Sleepiness kills motivation and creativity.
  • Work standing up. Sitting can also kill creativity. Standing and moving keeps the blood flowing, and ideas flow more easily as well. Sitting can also lead to sleepiness.
Workspace

My standing music workspace.

In the past, I’ve sat down after a long day at work and dinner, intending to work on something, only to have my creativity drained out of me within five minutes of sitting down. Day after day. Frustrating.

Changing just these two things have helped me a lot.

I’m curious. Have any of you had similar experiences?


Here are my latest two entries for my Track-a-day Music Challenge.

I’ve been working on my string section chops lately. It’s making progress.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Music

 

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Day 31: Onward!

Blaugust Entry, Day 31 

Ah, the final day of the Blaugust challenge.

My life has gone through many ups and downs this past month. It has certainly been an interesting one. I have ten more days for my Hero’s Journey Workout Challenge, and I need to make a plan for my Track-a-day Music Challenge. I am certainly feeling a lot more in control of my life habits than before (except for when I visit B&N… then I’m screwed).

The only downside is that my free time is even more sparse than when I started. The upside is that I am more focused. I am more clear about where I am and what I need to do to move forward. I am more comfortable with taking my time and enjoying games at my own pace. I have come to a realization that there is so much to do and so much to learn that I will never be bored or run out of things to do. These months of alone time may have been good for me, who knows.

Where will this blog go from here? This month has been more like a repository of diary entries than it has been a communicative blog. I never had a specific goal or agenda besides being an avenue for putting my emotions into words, but nevertheless, I want to give value back to the reader. I guess that is what I will focus on going forward. Will it be about gaming? Will it be about music? Will it be about life challenges?

Well, it’s about time to wrap it up. Time for my workout. Maybe I’ll get to play some Metal Gear Solid 2 before bed.

It’s done! This is the last entry for the month-long blogging challenge! Congratulations to all of the challengers who participated! For more info and more bloggers to follow, check out the official Blaugust page.


Music Challenge #18

A Track-a-day Challenge as an exercise in establishing efficient creative-workflow.

I think this is my best orchestral track to date. There was more room to develop it, but I didn’t want to spend too much time on it.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2015 in General

 

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Day 30: Sizzle

Blaugust Entry, Day 30

Today was a good day.

I just came back from downtown Chicago, where a friend hosted an informal classical flute concert at his sake bar. Are we allowed to have informal classical concerts? It was refreshing to hear something like this in a live environment — there’s an energy and emotion that you just can’t catch through a sound system.

I often feel the same way about jazz music. There’s a monumental difference between hearing a jazz recording through your home stereo system and being there in person, watching the musicians’ intricate movements, hearing the sizzle of the cymbals and the murmuring of the audience, the pure silence during the moments where the entire room’s breath is stolen away. There are those uplifting, healing moments when you hear a beautifully executed phrase that pierces your soul and forces you to smile. I had a few of those tonight. Those are certainly moments worth living for.

Onward, to Day 31!!!!

This month-long blogging challenge is almost over! For more info and more bloggers, check out the official Blaugust page.


Music Challenge #17

A Track-a-day Challenge as an exercise in establishing efficient creative-workflow.

Today’s track is a little orchestral. I love French horns.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Music

 

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Day 29: Focis

Blaugust Entry, Day 29

*yawn*

Geeze. Today’s music track took forever. Not being proficient in piano made it even harder. I do like the chord progression, and the melody almost came together nicely. A bit more polish, and it could be a solid piece of its own.

I guess today’s post is gonna be a little reflection on how my music challenge is going so far.

It’s going as I expected. I’m starting to gain a familiarity with the process. The quality is nowhere near what I would expect from a professional, but that is not the focus of this current challenge. Speed of creation and finding interesting musical ideas: those are my two focuses (foci?) and I think I’m making good progress. If I make a thousand musical pieces, I should be able to make a few great ones. Not only that, the better ones should come quicker and quicker the more I do it. What I am gaining from this challenge is the ability to be self-critical while not letting it paralyze me from moving forward.

We have just two more days for this blogging challenge, too. I wonder how my life will have changed the next month compared to last.

Thank you to those of you who have bothered to stick around and read my blathering.

 

Onward, to Day 30!

This month-long blogging challenge is almost over! For more info and more bloggers, check out the official Blaugust page.


Music Challenge #16

A Track-a-day Challenge as an exercise in establishing efficient creative-workflow.

This was taking too long, so I called it a day. A little bit of FF at the end?

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2015 in Music

 

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