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You probably don’t understand gamers. A short rant about my life as a gamer.


Are you a gamer? Rather, do you consider yourself a gamer? What types of games do you find yourself playing the most? Recently, I have been thinking about all of the different games I play/have played throughout my life and how they affect my interactions of daily life. I’m not some guy who goes out and parties like my life will end tomorrow. No, instead, I enjoy a good game with my friends or the thought of meeting someone new. In today’s gaming culture, we find ourselves surrounded more with games which connect us to other people whether it be directly or indirectly. Now, think back to some of the games you play. Think about the games you played recently! How many of those games in the past month were with other people?

I tend to play video games for the escape, for the relaxing feeling I get when distracted from the real world. There was a time in my life when I threw away games as I focused on my health and my college work (ironically, game design). During that time, I went “outside” more, I met new people, I connected with others. What I think of now is…where are those people now? Who were they? In my nomadic lifestyle, I have re-located away from all of those people I met and no longer interact with ANY of them on a regular basis. Now that I think about it, I talk to one person from those days, and one person from my childhood. Is this my fault? Maybe.

We tend to run into those people who shame gamers for what they love doing, playing games. Now, earlier I asked you what games you have played. When you think of games, did you go straight to video games? Did Call of Duty come to mind? Halo? World of Warcraft? If those were the only types of “games” you thought of, then you need to expand your field of view and remember that games include other things such as: pool, table tennis (ping pong), boxing, football, wall ball, tennis, soccer, volleyball, monopoly, Adapt, Risk. Oh, you forgot about those things being “games” huh?

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“Games prevent you from being social.”

We are surrounded by games, even “non-gamers” play games. I found myself in a recent conversation where the other person said they were worried about me because I don’t live my life like I did 3 years ago (partying, going out to meet people, etc.). Needless to say, I was 19 then. I moved out of my parent’s house, attended ONLINE college, worked a full time job, and never really found time to play games because my money was going to social events. Looking at this in retrospect, I still play games online with the same people now for more than 5+ years. I have yet to even have a conversation with any of the people I used to “socialize” with a few years back. How could this person be worried about me more now than when I was out-and-about going to parties and doing bad things (adult things with women, drinking things I shouldn’t have, and even smoking)? I have no understanding to this.

social“You never go out, you’re going to lose the ability to be social.”

I was told I am not social enough, I will lose the ability to be social, I’m just gaining weight (many contributions to this, to be honest, I can’t deny this obviously), not seeing my family enough, I don’t have any friends, and I’m a bad person. Wait…so I’m a bad person for working a full-time job, paying off student loan debts, keeping to myself, working out regularly, not doing drugs, not partying, not drinking excessively, playing games, developing games, meeting new people all around the world, and not being completely social? The only thing I can think of is there might be some limiting, closed-minded view of my external reality that this person conceives. You know, people around us only know what they are told and what they experience in direct relation to us as an individual.

Before going out and consuming someone’s time with “concerned thoughts,” make sure you know what’s actually going on. Stop for a second, really understand the person’s situation, then help with your knowledge and wisdom rather than putting hurtful words into their mind and making things worse. Personally, I love the people I have met online playing video games. We share similar interests, we connect on an unbiased field of conversation, we adapt and open up to each other, and all around, we enjoy the company (virtual or in-person) we provide for each other. It’s not always about the face-to-face communication when we are isolated from our friends, it’s about staying connected and keeping an open mind to the new technologies that allow us to understand more of the world outside of our hometowns.

PS. I’m also not against being around people in social environments…I just prefer to pick my battles.

Cheers,

Joshua Long
www.north-suns.com
www.twitter.com/radethdart

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Holy Steam Summer Sales! – Purchasing the right game for you


Release The Steam Sales

So Steam is having another sale this summer. You are sure to enjoy your daily specials, flash deals, and games that you couldn’t find any cheaper! You may be asking yourself, “Which games do I buy?! There are so many different games that I could find myself playing! That one is only $5, that one is $20, but originally $60!” The choices are limitless during the Steam Summer Sale, and I am here to help you limit yourself to games you will love; forget the pricing!

I know that the summer sale is almost over, but who’s to say this information couldn’t help you in the future when you are deciding which $60 game to buy if you can only buy one.

1. Compare and Contrast Feelings

You might be asking yourself, “Is this going to be a fun game? Should I buy this game, or should I buy this game?” The answer is not as simple as one might think. Your first reaction usually comes from the cover art of the game, or the trailer that you are presented with when loading the game’s page. These are pretty harsh ways to judge a game (you know, don’t judge a book by its cover). So, what should you do with this option presented?

Go with your gut.

If you sit there second-guessing yourself about a game purchase before you get the game, then is it really worth your time? Is this the game you truly wanted to spend $20 on? If you are picking the game that brings up emotions, you will find the one you can at least spend 6+ hours playing. The second-guessed game will leave you asking Steam for a refund.

2. $5 is $5 is $5 – Don’t waste your money

With each great sale comes hundreds of GREAT deals that ask you to spend $5 (or less) on a $20 game. Your initial reaction is to pick up quantity over quality at this moment. This is the time to spend $5 on those games that you second-guessed the first time around!…or is it? Let’s say you pick up 5 games for the whopping $5 a piece. $25 goes right to buying 5 games you may never play through or even install! So, 2/5 games get played and installed. This leaves you with the remaining $15 that could have gone towards getting that heart-throbbing, EPIC RPG game you always wanted!

Only buy what you’re going to play.

3. Read the Reviews

If you are anything like me, you NEVER read the reviews. I don’t care what other people have to say about a game that I THINK looks awesome! Why should I let their opinions ruin my thoughts on the game? This is a terrible way to see the reviews. Yes, some people will be trolls and tell you how crappy the game is based on their first 5 minutes of gameplay. You can usually sift through those reviews and find the truly passionate people. Read the good, read the bad. If you are having a hard time picking out a game (the art is beautiful, the story is gripping, and the characters are 3-dimensional, but it’s a short game), make sure to read what passionate people have to say about the game. Like it or not, the reviews can give you a quick insight to the core mechanics of a game.

Sift the crap, read the good and the bad.

Conclusion

If you are still weary about picking out a game with all of the pressure of sales going on, maybe you should step back away from Steam and do some research. Find the next game you want to play. Maybe your library is full of games already; pick a game and force yourself to play one of your past decisions! If there are games you haven’t installed yet after the last sale you splurged on, go install them and see if that impulsive buying gets you the game you REALLY want to play.

Happy Gaming. Play Smart. Buy Smart.

www.north-suns.com

 

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My Newfound Addiction to an alpha release…


So, Josh, what’s wrong?

So, remember that last article talking about how I hated alpha development games? Yeah, I still do, except now I am addicted to one and it’s a vicious cycle of destruction and rebuilding. This is the second game that I started playing that had hunting/gathering/building/fighting in it where every major update includes a complete server wipe. Although it is very irritating, I finally figured out why I am slowly becoming addicted. How do I know it’s an addiction? 50 hours in 2 weeks. That’s how.

Why am I addicted?

First off, I want to say straight up, I am addicted to Rust. Rust is only in its early development alpha stages with so many updates to fuel it’s ever-changing world. Basically, the game is about survival, friendships, alliances, enemies, fighting, hunting, raiding, and building. As a creative (a term used in the game industry as someone who loves to create using various mediums of art), I feel the need to build amazing bases within Rust. I LOVE to create gigantic creations, but every…single…time I create something amazing, someone always comes by and destroys my beauty. After spending 20 hours building up my first base, I wanted to quit. I gave up for nearly a week after the server never came back online. Therefore, I lost my trust in lasting servers.

It doesn’t stop there. I feel like if I build something in-game, it’s just going to be destroyed and all my time was a complete waste. In reality, yes, all my time spent on that game is a complete waste. I have nothing to show for my 50 hours of gameplay, and that’s pretty sad! Then, I realized, I don’t play Rust to show off my achievements and the beautiful structures I build from the ground up. I play Rust because I have created an amazing community of people who share the same interests. We vary from the builders to the gatherers to the raiders, and everyone is different within our clan. I LOVE IT! I love seeing everyone working together as a unit to make our community grow together.

Conclusion

Wake up, hit some trees, build a base, kill some people, die, rinse and repeat. That’s the development cycle of my addiction to Rust. Even though I know I’m addicted, I still love to play the game, hours at a time! I can thank League of Legends for that ability…but that’s a different story.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Share, like, love, and respond all you want 🙂

Cheers,

Joshua Long

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Gaming: Improving your eyesight


Overview and Backstory

We all know that as a gamer in this age, our vision is constantly decreasing due to the length of time spent looking at objects very close to our face. Let me be the first to tell you that I have been looking at screens inches from my face since I was 3 years old! My vision has always been pretty bad..but I never knew that! I thought everyone saw the world the same way I did… That is, until the day I started wearing glasses when I was 16. I felt like my eyes have been lying to me my whole life as the world opened up in a new, clear view. Ever since that day, I assumed I had to wear glasses, so I did. I wore my glasses at the computer, in class, while driving, and even at night reading a book. What I didn’t know, is this was making my vision even worse, one activity at a time.

Solution

Ever since I started realizing how bad my vision was every time I took off my glasses, I looked (no pun intended) for ways to improve my vision. Finally, I came upon an amazing article (confirmed by other articles on the MD website) that helped me improve my vision. It’s simple, really:

20/20/20 Rule:

Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

This might sound crazy, or a bit off to you, but it WORKS. In just the past 3 days, I have been applying this rule while sitting in front of a computer 16 hours a day, and I no longer require glasses to sit back in my chair and write code. I can play games, write code, and enjoy movies now on my screen without wearing my glasses 10 inches from the monitor. That of course depends on the monitor itself – there are quite some goods ones on GamingBuff.com.

Stretch:

Again, a very weird way to put this…you need to stretch your eyes.

Just like any other muscle, your eyes need to be stretched periodically. You can do this by looking side-to-side, up and down. Make sure you stretch them though, but not toooooo much! This will help improve their flexibility and expand their range outside of the small little box that you look at all day.

Keep Hydrated:

Your eyes need to be hydrated (or have some moisture) in order to function at their fullest.

You know when your head starts to hurt after being at the computer so long? Yeah, that’s because you need to stretch and hydrate those eyes! It WILL help. Keeping them hydrated will also allow for your vision to stay much more clear.

Conclusion

You may be skeptical about this information, and if you are, don’t follow it. I just wanted to share with you something that worked for me. In just the past 4 days, I have gone from needing glasses at my monitor 10 inches away from my face to lounging back and coding 2-3 feet from my screen.

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