If you came to look for game talk, this isn’t that post… Yet that’s kind of the point today. If you follow me on Twitter you’ve probably noticed lately a constant unhappiness with my job. Trust me, I’m probably far more annoyed with it dominating my life than you are at this point. My work/life balance has been waning since around last September and it’s taken a serious toll on how I feel about myself lately. It’s pushed me to spending my time to doing whatever and not really caring; going through the motions as they say. That’s become my approach both in work and outside. How’s that any way to live your life though? The reason this has been eating at me is because I feel some guilt for my choices that have lead to this point. My inaction is responsible for my unhappiness. My career has been with the same place since 2004, going through the ranks and climbing that corporate ladder you always hear so much about. I had aspirations to reach a certain point due to what I was capable of and knowing that I had the ability to meet those tasks. I never realized that the cost of success where I’m at came at the price of it becoming your lifestyle instead of a place where you report to daily and leave it at the door when you exit. Recently though I’ve began wondering to what end was I chasing these down for anyways? How am I any better a person or more complete on an emotional or spiritual level by further surrounding myself with people I can’t relate to or want anything to do with outside of collecting a paycheck? It’s not healthy.

Well I’ve decided to take a step down to restore some balance in my life. My ambitions at work have given way to the idea that I could be happier with myself if I redirected energy towards more fulfilling activities.

You never really consider the danger of gaming has created that unrealistic expectation that life is a grand adventure. Personally for me it’s instilled the fear of a life most ordinary. Things are interesting and epic in all the worlds I traverse digitally. Strange journeys, powerful friendships, and memories worth keeping. The meatspace we inhabit doesn’t allow for such fantastical occurrences. In the real world what we cherish most seems to be stability, predictability, and a lack of true adventure. Seriously though – It’s created a level of disinterest in careers that revolve around RoI, bloated tiers of useless management, and a company of men that refuse to talk about anything other than their glory days constantly. It feels like I’m in a retirement home for a generation long forgotten in our creative digital age. Any skill set I have from a hobbyist level goes to waste in an environment where smartphones are still considered “more than enough technology for me.”

Simply put my heart lies elsewhere. Little hints have given way to the fact that I’m ignoring what I want to do because it’s convenient to just do what I’ve always been doing my adult life. A Twitter question of what would you be doing if you didn’t have to work, and then an article about what drives millennials being the most eyebrow raising circumstances as of late. I’ve realized I’m not alone in wanting more. It’s not just me being discontent with my life or feeling immature with that desire to want more. It’s that ol’ chestnut of corporations being soul-sucking blackholes of humanity, that isn’t just hyperbole I’ve learned. I genuinely feel exhausted after ever shift while dreading the next day, versus being energized and excited to come back again. Seeing all the happy’ish people online who chase their passion and are rewarded for it makes me realize that could be me as well. I owe it to myself to at least try.

So this has to be going somewhere. “Legacy” is a strong word, but I want to create things and bring them into our world. My notebook that I keep with me for ideas is packed with at least 15 different projects that I want to see through regardless of their success. Board games, video games, serialized blog dramas, novels, blogs, etc. My wife being a visual artist is a constant reminder that creatives exist and if I wanted to work towards it I could be one of them. How cool is the notion that I could be putting something out there that didn’t exist before I willed it into creation? Inspiring thoughts, perspectives or emotions within others? Connecting with humanity instead of watching it from afar since I’m too exhausted to participate or withdrawn due to concerns of it getting back to the people handing me a paycheck? I feel empty in my current existence. 

Either way, I’m officially changing positions within my company by July to restore a bit of that work/life balance and begin focusing on some creative endeavors. I’m considering it my birthday gift to myself. I mentioned awhile back some goals I’ve set for myself and I fully intend on seeing them through. First being to finish a short story I’ve been working on. A science fiction piece set in space that I intend to have done before 2017 comes to a close. Currently I’m working on the first draft after finalizing all the story beats, characters, settings, etc. I’m excited to complete this and make it available for others.

The second has accelerated a bit as I intended to build an RPG before I’m 40 (giving me 7 years). I plan on learning RPG Maker this year with a small tech demos, and then hopefully began seriously building that game during 2018. I’ve had the story mapped out for a few years now but have left it on the back-burner while dedicating myself to work. Now I have every intent on correcting that mistake I’ve made and plan on diving back into gamedev, something I’ve not done since I left school in 2013. Time to jump back on the horse and ride that code into the sunset.

I’m modest and have no dreams of being rich from any of these. What I do want is to be able to look back at my life and not regret the fact that I let my life be directed by people other than myself. I want to look back at what I’ve accomplished and feel a sense of pride. If that means stepping down from where I stand and potentially derailing my career for the time being? Well, that’s a decision I can live with regardless of how it turns out. Cheers.

Just wanted to put something up so here I go. It’s partially driven by guilt of not committing to something, partially trying to get some practice writing in, and partially trying to pull myself away from playing games. I know writing about them doesn’t seem that far off but it definitely feels more productive. Life has been getting really chaotic from a work standpoint after I agreed to a new position. Constantly assured at work that the carrot dangling in front of me exists as they continue to dump more weight on me to lug. The latest and greatest development includes switching over to six day work weeks starting no later than September, managing a department I’ve not touched in over six years, constantly fluctuating schedule starting anywhere from 3am to as late as 1pm, and being a core element in the opening of a new location in Michigan… which also happens to be the largest in the state as well. In short work blows until at least January. By default in times like this when I get home I just want to veg out and scoff at any idea of being productive. Writing gets pushed to the wayside along with any other creative endeavors I have on my plate. Find myself booting up a game that I may not even be that invested in just because it’s easier than the alternative. I need something to counter that so something’s gotta give.

As this blog originated to keep me mentally well in times of depression, it looks like I’ll be leaning on the keyboard once again to see me through a patch of life that’s overwhelming. To keep myself going I need to layout some sort of schedule to motivate me instead of all the “why does it matter anyways..? no one really cares.” thoughts that creep in. I’ve got a few drafts written up that I want to finish and some that I need to toss as the time has passed on their relevancy. Looking to keep you dear readers abreast in the comings and goings in the times to come.

I’m going to share 2 new posts per month. I’m going to finish all the drafts that I have pending. I am going to start a new 7 part study that will wrap before 2016 has ended. That leaves me with 166 days or 23 weeks, however you want to spin it – To write up 12 new articles. That’s plenty of time so I’m hoping to push that number closer to 18 once I get a groove going. Hopefully once all is said and done I’ll have a few more people interested in stopping by and finding a few moments of distraction on this blog.

So what do I have planned coming up in the next six months? Here are some of the articles that are baked to some degree so far…

  • Dark Souls 3 impression
  • Questionable Value of Game Reviews
  • Always Sometimes Monsters Analysis
  • Resurrecting the Fave5 posts on a monthly basis
  • Final Fantasy series (2 unrelated articles)
  • Cultural reach of games (will have to revisit due to Pokemon GO)
  • The value of Cloud Strife
  • Depression/Anxiety Coping (in the air on posting this or not)
  • Late Console Releases
  • Players and meeting their diverse needs
  • RPG Design (7 part series)

Hopefully one or more of those core ideas will scratch an itch for you. I’m excited to finish them and share them with you.

~Chris, aka PunkrawkBbob

Me. I'm the one with real hair.

Me and Monkey, ready to take on the world.

Fair warning for anyone that hasn’t played, there will be some general spoilers ahead. After all, you can’t discuss something properly without analyzing the whole.

Domestic Drake, longing for adventure

Domestic Drake, longing for adventure

Let me preface this post with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End does a lot of things right. Gun play was dramatically improved for me as they reduced the count of weapons and upped the approaches to resolving an encounter. There’s a lot more power in stealth than previous games as you can mark enemies to better keep track of them as they follow their pathing patterns or hide in bushes. Another nice change is that if you blow your stealth you have the ability to disappear if you lose the attention of the hostiles. New to UC4 is a roping mechanic that lets you Action Jackson all over the place during a gunfight. All-in-all the arenas were a lot more fun to play through for me thanks to those seemingly minor tweaks. Visually it’s set a new standard that I’m sure all following PS4 games will be ranked against. Vistas are stunning, character animations are human, and even water pooled tarp has caused people to stop in awe. Social media was flooded with image after image taken in photo mode. I’ve even seen a few people that have decided they want to try and create a “Postcards from Uncharted” series. Acting performances were on point with Nolan North reprising Nathan Drake’s final outing and Troy Baker running wingman as Samuel Drake. Beyond those two as the leads of the game Sully, Rafe (the new villain), Nadine, and Elena’s actors all killed their roles. So what went wrong?

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A blog. Yes, everyone has them. Including me now.

Why now? I have high hopes to catalog the thoughts that run through my head… Usually regarding video games. Which explains both the title and motive. The explanation of “it’s just a game” is not something I believe in when dismissing the impact of games culturally. I also have a lot of time on my hands that I feel I should be improving myself with in some way. I’d like to improve my writing.

I’m very adamant in my beliefs that video games are a reflection of who we are and our culture at large. It’s more than just entertainment medium meant for consumption. Through personal reflection I can see the choice of games I play and clearly identify why they appeal to me. Why I consider the gaming community a home of sorts. Aspects of me wrapped in code… Systems, visuals, and sounds. Every (good and bad) game I’ve played has had experiences that have left an imprint on me. Games have meaning. Some of the experiences are social and memorable because they were on a couch with some buddies, or others because they left me realizing how alone I was.

So keeping the introduction brief, I hope to eventually build a series of posts that I’m proud of and share with whoever may be reading this why I feel games are more than simply a consumable commodity; what I love about them.

I hope to keep this blog positive and personal. Personal in a way meaning my thoughts unaltered by outside discrimination.

~Punk