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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Third and Confused: How to Cope With Your Star Player Being a Horrible Person

In most games, especially in most videogames, the real world and its sordid affairs don’t really matter. Awful things happen every day but Mario doesn’t really give a fuck, nothing’s going to get the way of him trampling winged turtles. I have to admit, it’s a little weird for me to be playing a game that is so reliant on reality.

'Ha, ha, I'm a terrible person.'
Fantasy football wouldn’t exist without the NFL and of course I knew that what happened every Sunday would dictate how well my team would do. But I’m not sure I fully internalized all that could keep a player from playing. I mean, yeah, injuries I anticipated; that’s the whole reason you have players on the bench. A drop in form was also something I expected. I did not expect, however, to lose players due to the fact that they are criminals. I should have known better. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Third and Confused: The First Game

Now this is something I would watch.
Last weekend was my first fantasy football match up, and let me tell you, it was RIVETING. There were comebacks, and tackles and things. There was some other stuff people find exciting but most importantly, there were numbers that slowly ticked up over two days.

Ok, so it wasn’t exactly riveting. It was actually really, really boring. And I have to admit, I’m a little sick of football and I haven’t even watched a full game yet. I live in a very football-centric city and everything sort of shuts down when the season starts. The sport is just unavoidable, especially if you like going out to eat anywhere. That said, by playing fantasy football, I do feel a little more a part of the madness that overcomes the city every Sunday. I've actually been paying attention to football news and stats. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Drowning in the Hype

Once or twice a year, the game industry releases a truly a big, huge game. A game that will revolutionize the industry, change the world, end all wars and finally make your high school crush come to their senses and call you, but you’ve moved on now.  High school was so long ago and you’re not even that same person anymore so your newly enlightened high school crush will just have to deal with that and move on too. 

Let’s face it, most of the ‘big’ game releases are little more than hype. Companies will say they’re releasing a big important game in an effort to turn it into a big important game. And who can blame them; big important games tend to make a lot of money. Every new Call of Duty title gets this treatment. While the franchise has a lot going for it, it’s been awhile since it changed the industry.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Third and Confused: Draft Day

When I first signed on to play in this fantasy football league, I didn't quite know the rules, or well, any of the rules. I knew football was involved. I knew I had to build a team. I knew I wanted to name my team ‘I had Pants Once.’ What I didn't know about was the draft. The league’s commissioner neglected to tell me about it when he convinced me to participate. I just assumed that I would pick whichever players I wanted and other fantasy teams might share them, but you know, who cares, it’s just fantasy football. How wrong I was.
I guess, with his jump skill, Kain would be a wide receiver.
The fantasy draft, as I was to learn, is by far the most important aspect of playing fantasy football. And of course it is, it’s the only bit of the game players actually have any control over.  But I didn’t really know that when this all started. My fantasy league’s commissioner had to go over the whole draft process to me with me as if I were a child.  “You select a player, and click draft on the top of the screen when it’s your turn,” he explained, “You take two running backs, 3 wide receivers, 1 QB, a kicker and a team defense.” Then he ruffled my hair, called me champ and read ‘Goodnight Moon’ to me so I could fall asleep. I won’t go down if I’m not read a story. I’ll throw a tantrum. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Third and Confused: A Diary of a Geek Playing Fantasy Football

Source: Video Game Freedom
I don't really like football. It’s just not interesting to me. Sure, the first play might be exciting, but that’s only seconds long. After that there’s the unintelligible commentary, a four minute commercial break and then there’s weird Xs and Os drawn on the screen. By the time action resumes, my attention is long gone. But even though I can't understand the game's appeal, I can't deny that it has a certain cosmic pop culture pull.

While I resent the assumption that all grown men give a shit about football, I have to admit, that assumption seems to be pretty accurate. During the football season, all my friends abandon me on Sundays to watch the game. I wouldn't really mind, but Sundays are when we're supposed to be playing Dungeons and Dragons. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Horse Racing Game: The greatness of Derby Owners Club

It was almost a decade ago when I discovered it, tucked into the corner of my local Dave and Busters. When I first saw it, I didn't quite know what to make of it, so I kept my distance. The second time I came across the game, a buddy and I made fun of it, the way someone does with something they can't comprehend. But that third time I crossed the game's path, I actually sat down and finally played it. Only then did I learn it's strange and simple beauty. The game was Derby Owners Club, but I will always know it as The Horse Racing Game.


For the uninitiated, it's hard to understand the game's appeal. If you just pass it in the arcade, all you see is a silly game about horses with ridiculously dated graphics. The game's controller is unintelligible, there's a bench and everyone playing is way too excited about digital horses going around a track. But if you sit down, like I did that fateful day, you'll find a game so addicting, so absurdly fun that it will define your arcade experience.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bravely Default- The New Old School

There was a time, long ago in a different era, when Japanese role playing games were king. They had the best stories, the best graphics, the best everything. The times have obviously changed. It's no secret that JRPGs are in something of a decade long rut. Recent additions to beloved franchises like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest  haven't been the smash hits they once were. While there have been a few decent releases over the past few years, nothing quite recaptures the magic of the classics titles from an age long past. Square Enix's new Bravely Default comes closer to recapturing that magic than anything seen for the past ten years.


Bravely Default wouldn't be a JRPG without the genre defining basics. The game has the familiar turned based combat, the random encounters and epic boss battles. Fans of Final Fantasy will be right at home from the first encounter. But what makes Bravely Default fun and interesting is the little things it does different; primarily the brave/default system. In any given fight, each character has BP, or Brave Points. One BP is spent per each action and you gain a point at the start of each turn. You can also choose 'default' which is basically 'guard' and earn extra BP. It's less complicated than it sounds.Say it's the start of the fight, you can choose to have a character attack four times, but then that character will have negative BP and will have to wait a few turns before they can act again. Certain attacks cost more than one BP. A risk reward situation.