You Know Nerds Have Hit Mainstream When…

…they have their own reality show (the good),

Which I’m actually looking forward to since I did enjoy watching WCG Ultimate Gamer. This one will, obviously, go beyond video games to the nerd universe in general. Check out the long trailer below.

I’m sharing this because at least two of the contestants reference Halo in some way. One of them, which I already plan to cheer for, is Celeste (aka BiiTTERSWEET on XBL and missceleste on Youtube). I followed her YouTube channel years back when I flirted with the idea of competitive gaming and wanted to learn more from various players in the pro circuit. I particularly enjoyed how prepubescent newbs troll and challenge her online only to get slaughtered in 1v1 Slayer.

And speaking of sexism in online gaming, this is actually the perfect segue into a blog topic I’ve been meaning to post for sometime now.

…their online behavior conforms to society rather than rebels against it (the bad),

We, as gamers, experience derogatory language and vulgarity all the time when we’re playing online. Just because we accept it as “normal” behavior doesn’t mean it’s the “right” form of behavior. There’s a huge difference between trash-talking amongst friends and/or competitive colleagues and being straight-up asinine. The old adage “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” doesn’t quite cut it these days. The version I prefer is, “If you can’t say it in front of your mom, don’t say it at all.” Feel free to substitute “your mom” with whoever you admire if that’s a better example for you, but you get my point.

And seriously, since when did it become OK for prepubescent brats to cuss at total strangers for no reason? A few weeks ago I got a nasty voice message on XBL that was mostly incoherent except for a few high-pitched squeals of expletives. Did I do anything to deserve it? Not that I can think of. It was a game of Spartan Ops Matchmaking, for crying out loud. The point of that mode is to work cooperatively, not to throw tantrums over little things.

While I’m not out to tell people how they should live their lives, it would behoove others to consider the following:

If you are a heterosexual male who is single: Casually using terms that refer to female body parts, female animals, or the forcing of one’s will onto someone does not score you brownie points in a female’s eyes. In fact, it just makes you look like a sexist a-hole. And guess what, gents, more and more ladies game online now but you don’t know that because you’re too busy bragging about your K/D ratio.

If you are a heterosexual male who is in a relationship: If you still talk like the previous example, your girlfriend/spouse should kick you to the curb. Some women still think of video games as a childish pastime, so don’t let your behavior further perpetuate the stereotype. Even cougars want men, not boys (again, generally speaking).

Before anyone starts thinking that I’m trying to kiss up to the ladies, I will also like to mention that women are just as prone to vulgarity as men.

…when picking on other other people becomes the “cool” thing to do (the ugly).

Homophobia sets me off just a bit more than sexism does because it is present in both sexes when it comes to multiplayer. I recently left a gaming group and refused an invitation from another gaming group because of the overuse of the words “fag”, “faggot”, and “gay”. I’m confused as to why being gay was ever and is still considered a bad thing. I’m so comfortable with my heterosexuality that being called gay would actually be considered a compliment. Why? Because gay guys know how to get to a girl’s heart without getting into their pants, a skill every straight guy should learn.

Again, I don’t claim to be an expert of any kind. I just hope these words encourage more gamers to think about how society and culture affects their behavior and vice versa. We don’t need to wait for a reality show to put nerd culture in the spotlight. We can represent it positively in the way we interact with others both offline and online.

Don’t Stop Believin’

Last night I had the honor of playing Halo 4 with a couple of well-known community members, DayandKnightly (from Reactive Bias) and Sal (from HaloFanForLife). I’ve been a fan of their work ever since I started my dive back into Halo so playing some rounds of Team Regicide with them was an absolute treat. The second biggest highlight of the night was when Knightly told me that he’s a fan of my work. As silly as this sounds, a small part of me really did go, “OMGROCKSTAR!” even though the rest of me knew better. It’s not often that someone I admire acknowledges me out of a crowd./end fanboy moment

And now that I am emotionally sober, I find myself thinking, “Holy cow, people are starting to notice me. I better keep this thing going somehow.” LOL

With that said, I am going to endeavor to post once a day unless I have nothing to say (Announcer voice, “RhymeTacular!”)

Reaction to VGAs (Video Game Awards): Congrats to all the winning games! I’m happy Halo 4 won in the categories it did (Best Xbox 360 Exclusive Game and Best Graphics), but at the same time it felt like those were complete shoo-ins (apparently it’s not “shoe-in“) anyway. The only other game I played on the list was Assassin’s Creed III, which remains idle on my shelf while I’m questing for SR-130. My other thoughts about the VGAs were “Did Jessica Alba really play Super Mario Bros or was that script handed to her?” and “Journey’s soundtrack got nominated for a Grammy? Sweet! It’s about time video games get that kind of recognition. Nobuo Uematsu would’ve had a string of those awards by now.” In case you didn’t know, Uematsu is the musical genius behind the Final Fantasy series. Americans may know him best for “One-Winged Angel” from FFVII.

Spartan Ops hiatus: So they’re taking a mid-season break are they? For some reason I’m not worried about players losing interest because of it. I’m hoping it’ll give people time to discuss and digest what they’re seeing and playing (if they’re not playing in the Infinity Challenge, anyway). I’ve read the books so I understand what’s going on, but I still have questions that I know will get answered eventually.

My one bit of social commentary is that technology has made us impatient and downright spoiled in some ways. With the way that information goes around at crazy speeds, I think we’re starting to forget the value of delayed gratification. Yes, I am bummed that Theater mode is not available for Spartan Ops and Campaign, but this too shall pass. I’ll be getting a capture card at some point anyway so it’s not that big of a deal to me.
Personal Halo Moment: First time in 1st place in a War Games matchmaking game! I think it was Team Regicide on Abandon (slowly becoming one of my favorite maps).

And finally, on a more personal note, I will probably not be working at my current job much longer. As early as the 15th or as late as the 30th. It has come to my attention that I don’t have the kind of aggression required for a sales position. As sad for the loss and worried for the future as I am, a part of me is okay with moving on to wherever life takes me next. I just hope that it’s kinder to me this time around.

(Edit: Kudos to anyone who catches any reference between post’s title to what’s been discussed)

Spartan Alone

There was a time in my life where I was really invested in the card game Magic: the Gathering. Hell, there was a time where I managed to juggle being invested in a few games all at once. As the circumstances of my life have affected what I choose to do with my free time, sacrifices were made. So one by one I did less of one thing to do more with something else.
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I had many hopes during my Magic career. I thought about being a judge, card trader, and even write my own Magic-theme screenplay. The latter is still more likely to happen than the others, but the thing that broke me away from Magic is the cost to stay relevant in the game. New sets come out every 3 months or so, formats change, and the meta-game shifts even for casual players. Sure, you can stop buying new cards and work with the ones you have or figure out ways to trade or acquire cards for free from others, but there is always going to be the realization that money will need to be spent in order to keep up with this game.

Halo, on the other hand, requires less financial commitment. At the very least, you can buy the game and that’s all you’ll ever need. One game case takes up less space than most card binders, and limited space was also a huge concern of mine. Any additional effort into the game can be done at your own pace. I certainly wasn’t forced into buying all the stuff that I’ve got over the last month or so (pics are forthcoming), but I did because I love the Halo universe that much. And sure, multiplayer may force you to keep up with DLCs in order to play the latest maps/playlists, but you still have some choice in that matter. I guess you can say that I like Halo better because you can choose your level of immersion.

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Crimson Alone

I knew, however, that my love for Halo would be a love shared alone. Amongst the friends/acquaintances from my various social circles, I only know one other person besides myself who has read any of the Halo fiction. And I’m pretty sure he hasn’t read any of the new ones yet. Any time I mention to a fellow gamer that I’ve been playing Halo, the almost immediate response is, “I like/play [insert any other FPS game here].” It still startles me how multiplayer is what immediately jumps to people’s minds when they think of an FPS game. Guess you can say that I’ve been living under a rock in that sense, which is fine considering that I live on a rock.

Well, this past Wednesday night was a regular Magic hangout with several players. Even though I played a couple of games, I felt so very out of place. I enjoyed what I could of the card-slinging, but my heart longed for the same camaraderie and spirit to exist on Requiem or aboard the Infinity. I have had no luck thus far in finding local kindred Spartans.

[Campaign SPOILER ALERT!]

I didn’t want to this post to come off as, “Boo-hoo, woe is me” so I took a couple of days to center my thoughts. Ironically, my thoughts go to the loneliness that John-117 must be feeling now that Cortana is gone. How is he going to handle it in Halo 5? He’s had many lone wolf runs in the past, but this time he’s without the one thing that he cherished most. I know the feeling all too well and it makes me wonder what the future holds for us both.