Blog Archives

Push the Button

I had an unexpected moment in a police station that got me thinking about my life. Or rather, my character did.

A little while ago, Emily Reese of Top Score interviewed Normand Corbeil, the guy who composed the soundtrack to Heavy Rain. I was terribly intrigued about the music and the game. So, when Pastor Shep — our most experienced pastor and resident unexpected gamer — let me borrow his old, busted PlayStation 3 in a bid to convince me to join him in White Knight Chronicles, I also borrowed his copy of Heavy Rain to try it out.

Heavy Rain European cover art

Now, I dislike quick time events as much as the next guy. I found myself shaking the controller up and down, watching Ethan shake a carton of orange juice, thinking to myself, really? Our hero proceeded to help set the table and play with his kids. Hardly a fast-paced intro.

But it definitely picked up, and I got engrossed. Then came that unexpected moment.

My character was in a police station, being questioned, and his possible responses were floating around his head, each assigned to a button. I took a moment to pick a response; a moment too long, apparently, because my character gave a response without me pressing a button.

Dialogue options in Heavy Rain

Given the unusual game design of Heavy Rain, I was only a little surprised. Then, I found myself wondering how much the game would do by itself if I just set down the controller. Maybe I could get through large sections of the game without doing anything.

I remember living like that.

There was a period of my life where I just coasted. My basic physical needs were taken care of: I was living with one of my parents. Life was comfortable enough: I had my Game Boy and my laptop, and a few hours of work to do each week for spending money. Frankly, I didn’t do much.

Opportunities came and went. I wasn’t ready for them. I wasn’t in the right place to act on them.

Life is like some of those scenes in Heavy Rain. If you just sit there, life will move around you. Someone else will make decisions for you. Your circumstances will slide out of control.

The problem is, that’s seldom how we see it. When we sit still, we imagine our lives in stasis. We get comfortable, and ride it out as long as we can. But we always think we have longer than we actually do.

Then comes the day when we run out of money, or a relationship crumbles, or we get kicked out of the house. When we realize we have no goals and no forward momentum. When we realize we’ve been drifting more than living.

It took me a while to realize that I needed to change. My comfortable little world started to seem awfully small compared to what God was offering me. So, I found a regular, decent-paying job, saved up, and found my own place for the first time. I had to stop sleeping in until ten. I had to keep a tight budget. I had to be a little more conservative with my money and a lot more adventurous with my life.

God was calling me to push the button, and I’m glad I did.

Are you stuck? I’d be glad to pray for you. Have you followed God’s call out of complacency? I wanna celebrate with you. Let me know in the comments, or via the contact page.

Heroism

I’m very pleased. City of Heroes is now free-to-play, and it runs on my wife’s computer. This is good news because it runs very poorly on my aging laptop. Looks like I’ll be making my way back to Paragon City and the Rogue Isles once again. Woot! I’ve updated the “Game With Me!” page with the servers I play on.

My main character is a fire blaster called Godslave. I don’t roleplay on CoH, but I do like to write backstories for my characters. Here’s his:

You can't see the Hellion tattoos when I wear the armor. One day, we hit a store in Atlas. It was five of us against one old guy. We were't worried. So we rush in, and the guy pulls a shotgun. Next thing I know, the shotgun's sliding across the floor, and he's on the floor, bleeding from the mouth. I didn't know I'd jumped the counter and kicked him until I saw the security footage later. So I'm standing over the old guy with my hand pointed at his face, and my friend Malcom's screaming at me to blast him. And I was about to do it. I was gonna kill him. But out of nowhere, this Scripture hit me. Like a voice, but... I can't even describe it. "Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground." From the Book of Genesis. God talking to Cain after he'd killed Abel. It stopped me in my tracks. And it got me thinking. I've been bought at a price, twice now. Once when Jesus took my sin on His shoulders, and again on that day in Atlas. I owe God everything. It's time I acted like it.

Appropriately, the next XLM Bible Study will be entitled Holiness is a Superpower. We talked about the power of the cross this month; next month, we’ll talk about the power of the Holy Spirit to make us new. Access to divine wisdom. Superhuman endurance. Hellfire immunity.

We’ll also talk about what steals our power.  Superheroes have weaknesses, and we’re no different.

If you’re on City of Heroes, feel free to chat! And if you’d like to attend the Bible Study, keep an eye on the Facebook page. We’d be glad to have you.

Blasting Bad Guys

I’m just now playing through Fallout 3, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I love post-apocalyptic fiction. It’s also been a while since I played through an RPG, so it’s a nice change of pace from my usual shooters.

When I play video games, I get pretty immersed; that’s doubly true with roleplaying games. I try to keep a healthy distance from my characters, but I find myself getting into them all the same. Most often, I play characters somewhat similarly to the way I think I would act in their situation.

For example, when I found myself in the first subway area in Fallout, I was reluctant to open fire on the first raider I saw. I had put a lot of points into the Speech skill so I could talk my way out of problems, and I hoped I could do so with the leather-clad gentlemen with the handgun. Yeah. Not so much.

In RPGs like this one, you gotta have stuff to kill for experience. Enemies. And you can often tell they’re enemies because they’re marked as such: in Fallout 3, their names appear in red. It makes things simple. If someone has an actual name and it appears in green, chat ’em up. If they have a generic title that appears in red? Apply shotgun. Reload. Repeat until dead.

Neatly-labeled enemies are great for video games.

If we treat real people like that, we have a problem. Read the rest of this entry

The XLM LAN-tacular!

The Extra Life Ministries LAN-tacular will be at my place on September 17, starting at 2 pm.

First, we’ll have a massive game of Call of Duty: Black Ops! There’s nothing quite like being in the same room with a bunch of other people you’re playing Nuketown with.

Then, throughout the afternoon, will be the first ever Extra Life Ministries Worms 2: Armageddon Tournament! Show off your ninja rope skills and compete for the awesome, spectacular (to be determined) prize!

RSVP on the Facebook event! And if you wanna compete in the Worms 2 tournament, leave a comment on the event with the name of your team and the names of your 4 worms.

So, come hang out with cool people. Then blow them up.

Razorclown Roundup: August ’11

I recently beat Portal 2 co-op with my brother-in-law. Great story, great gameplay, great for bonding. I also learned something valuable: it’s easy to get snippy with someone when you’re playing a collaborative puzzle game past midnight, when you’re both mentally dulled. For the sake of your friendship — and science — call it a night and come at it fresh later.

I’m planning on running a couple roleplaying games. I have a couple interested friends I’d like to initiate. I also want to run a Pathfinder game for our usual DMs; it’s rare that they get to be players together. Ideas are beginning to percolate for both games. Now, to get my notes together and schedule some sessions (aka the tricky part).

I’ve been playing Team Fortress 2 and Black Ops. You can find me on Xbox Live or Steam on Thursday evenings and during the weekend.

Speaking of video games, the Extra Life Ministries LAN-tacular is coming soon. More details shortly.

In the meantime, check out my new Tumblr page for occasional randomness. That’s where I’ll post pictures I take with Instagram, cool dystopian stuff from my friend Cody’s feed, and what have you.

My Tumblr page

Final Boss Syndrome

It’s a staple of the Final Fantasy series. It’s happened in several pen-and-paper roleplaying games I’ve played with friends. And I’ve seen it in several movies, most egregiously in Equilibrium and Resident Evil: Afterlife.

The hero walks into a big, impressive room, where the main villain awaits. They exchange dramatic dialogue, then fight to the death.

Final Boss Syndrome.

Think about it for a second. While the protagonist is beating up henchmen, the bad guy is staring at a closed door. Where does an archvillain find the time to wait around until the good guy shows up? For that matter, why not use the time to, I dunno, leave a booby trap and sneak off?

Maybe they use the time to stretch out before the big showdown. That might be it.

I guess it bothers me so much because I don’t see real evil act like that. The boss battle format is too honorable for real evil.

Temptation, for example, is insidious. It sneaks up when you’re most vulnerable and attacks your weakest point. When you’re doing well, it bolsters unhealthy pride. When you’ve made a big mistake, it attacks your self-esteem. It doesn’t let up. It doesn’t fight fair.

Evil prefers assassination plots to duels. It’s more ninja than samurai.

…which brings up another point. Why, in fiction, are so many villainous CEOs so skilled in hand-to-hand combat? Don’t they have evil companies to run?

Shoot the Clown

My typical Friday night? Hang out with wife and baby until they go to bed, then park myself in front of the Xbox.

I’m currently playing a lot of Black Ops, with a little Halo: Reach here and there. That and the occasional bout of Rock Band 3. Most often, I’m just playing to relax. I don’t mind making new friends, though.

If you wanna shoot at me, send me a friend request! If you mention Razorclown Ministries in your request, I will add you. As you can see in my right sidebar, my gamertag is Razorclown.

I’d say something very Bruce Willis-y like “Come on. I dare you,” but the fact is, you’re probably better than I am. Come find out!

Add to Friends List

I got the chance to play some Halo: Reach online yesterday. I do love me some shooty action, but playing online is always a mixed bag. There are some not-fun types out there that love nothing more than to cuss you out or – perhaps worse – scream nonsense into the mic until your ears bleed.*

Yesterday, though, I had the pleasure of playing with several people that just made my day.

The icecreamKi Gamertag A hilarious South-African-turned-Aussie.

Cruzon63 GamertagCruzona63 Gamertag

A brother and sister who play together.

Son of Attack Gamertag

killawat55 Gamertag And several other fun chaps.

In a world of griefers and sore losers, you guys stood out. Thank you for a good time. Stay awesome.

And a special thanks to Cruzona63 for the shoutout! That warmed my heart.

 

*I try to give people a chance before I mute them. I think I’m too generous, sometimes.

Nazi Zombies: The Pumpkin

 

 

Carved by Kyle Cronin

Unlockables!

This little spoof goes out to my churchgoing friends.  Up your Christian cred with these achievements!

And if you like this kinda thing, you should play with teamfortress.fr’s achievement generator, too.

Sing an entire worship set with your eyes closed

Usher, run PowerPoint, and work in the nursery in the same month

Quote Leviticus from memory

Come to Sunday School on time for a month

Eat 5 or more hot dogs at a church event

Work steadily through an entire church workday without complaining

Recommend a Christian rock band to a friend

And, on a more serious note…

Live like Jesus on a day other than Sunday