The Change in Gaming

Growing up in a pivotal era of technology gave me a swathe of knowledge and experiences that most kids now likely won’t get. While technology is still advancing each and every year, there’s not quite such a shift as the 90s saw into the 2000s and even then into the 2010s. One of those huge changes in technology that made a big impact on my life is video games.

Gaming used to be all about the experience of going to the store, picking out a new game for your console, and bringing it home in excitement with zero expectations as to what you were going to get. It was all a mystery that was sitting there waiting for you to explore it. You didn’t typically read through game reviews online (as there weren’t many back then), ask your friends for their opinions, and then go get it. No, instead you would go in blind and just enjoy unlocking things with no help and really just being amazed at the experience of it all.

It seems that’s shifted big time since then, though. Now, you know exactly what games you want to buy before they even release, because they’ve been hyped up by big gaming expos and the game in question is likely part of a series that you already know you enjoy. Rarely do people decide to try a new game on a whim. They may try new games, sure, but it’s always calculated and researched before hand.

The other big difference is in the packaging, or lack thereof. Digital downloads and mobile gaming are taking the world by force, and while physical copies of games are still quite prevalent, it’s looking more and more like they may be on the way out in just a decade’s time.

The only thing I can really think of regarding this huge shift in the culture of video games is how different the experience must be for kids being introduced to games. I’m sure it’s just as fun and exciting as my experience was growing up, but I can’t help but feel it’s just a lot different and maybe not as “magical”.

So, something I’ve considered now that I’m old enough to be thinking about kids soon is how I’ll introduce gaming to them. It’s undoubtedly a part of my life with my significant other currently, so I know it’ll be a part of my children’s lives too.

Part of me, though, thinks we’ll dig out the old cardboard boxes full of cartridges and CDs and let our kids just play through older games. Because really, how would they know what a new game versus and older one is while still at a young age? Eventually they’d “graduate” into newer and newer games with better and better graphics, but they’d still learn to appreciate the more subtle things in games, such as story and dialogue that a lot of kids don’t see in their games today (because games such as Fortnite and Clash of Clans lack story, dialogue, and other common aspects in adventure games).

So, that gives me all the reason in the world to hold onto those old cardboard boxes full of games I never threw away, and I have no plans on getting rid of them anytime soon.

What’s in a Name: Cardboard

Often if you’re told to picture a general thing, the image you conjure up in your own mind differs wildly from the next person’s imagination. This is common simply because the thing that you were told to picture isn’t one extremely specific concept but rather has multiple variations or can be interpreted differently depending on someone’s culture or experiences.

Think about it for a minute, though. If I told you to imagine a house, you may think of a grand, two-story farmhouse with 5000 square feet if you grew up in a wealthier family located just outside of small farmtown. On the other hand, you may think of a small 1500 square foot house abutting other small similar houses, each with fenced in front yards and toys scattered about, if you grew up in a family with lower income located in the city.

Basically, a lot of the concepts out there differ so much from one person to the next because of our experiences and what we have come to know. If I say to picture a mug, you may think of something which we drink coffee and tea out of or you may picture a beer mug if you’re from a different culture.

One of those things that most people picture the same, however, is cardboard boxes. For the most part, we think of a rectangular brown box composed of corrugated cardboard. There’s not much else that springs to mind when you hear that term.

But did you know that these sorts of boxes can range from round to long and cylindrical to highly specialized for specific purposes? One of those boxes in particular is candy boxes. The last thing you’d think of when I say the word cardboard boxes is a box made for packaging candy, right?

Well, if you’re a baker or own your own confectionary business, candy boxes actually may spring to mind when you hear cardboard box.

This entire article goes to show that there are so many different things out there that one word doesn’t encapsulate what an entire population perceives as that word in particular. It all boils down to your own experiences, culture, and preferences.

And since there are a variety of items and concepts that fit into more general terms like “cardboard boxes” or “houses” or “mug,” it’s no surprise that different people would imagine different things when first hearing these terms.

The Appeal of Vinyl Albums

I’m a big fan of vinyl records ever since my girlfriend’s father gave us his old turntable. I knew that records were popular back in the day and even gained a resurgence as of late with more hip crowds, but I never quite understood why until I owned one and bought my first few albums from the local record store.

If anything, it all takes me back to collecting CDs when I was in high school and early college. There was something real about purchasing one of my favorite bands’ new albums on CD and playing it in my truck while driving around. The whole experience had a meaning to it. It had weight. It became an experience.

Nowadays, if I want to listen to something new by someone, I can hop on Spotify and go to their new album right away to quickly cycle through different tracks until I like what I hear. It’s definitely convenient and faster than anything else out there, but it also doesn’t carry the same sort of weight as making a trip to buy a new album and then listening to it on the way home.

The only problem I seem to have with getting a new album, though, is that my first few were of records I had already known inside and out. Now, is this a bad thing? Well not at all. I wanted my first three or four albums to be of artists I already love, and I wanted those records to be of absolutely complete albums from the first to last track.

What I’m saying is I was predispositioned on the first few albums I got. I wanted what I already liked because I wanted to make those first few records special.

From here on, however, I think I want to do it differently. I want to still purchase records from my favorite artists, but I want to listen to their new music on record first. No more hopping into Spotify immediately to make sure I like the new stuff. If it’s an artist I highly support and follow closely, there’s a reason for that. Their past stuff is already amazing, so there’s no doubt the new stuff would be too.

And if anything, the whole point of records back in the day was to listen to the next great record as soon as it drops and experience that music for yourself. To listen to it before anyone else could and then own that record for good.

To me, that’s what I’m looking forward to. I have such an expansive taste in music lately that anything goes, so all sorts of artists will be dropping new music year in and year out for me to like. While going after new music all the time will likely mean my two cardboard boxes of old albums will grow to four cardboard boxes, it’s all worth it simply because they are timeless so long as turntables are still considered vintage and can be repaired or bought like new.

Valentine’s Day for Single People

It’s officially February, marking the dead center of winter (didn’t mean for that to rhyme) and the onset of heartache, butterflies in the stomach, and all things lovey dovey.

That’s right. It’s the month of the groundhog, Valentine’s Day, and leap days. February is, to put it simply, one weird month. There’s no longer that rejuvenated feeling that January gives you at the beginning of the year, but it’s not quite March, which brings excitement of warmer weather and signs of life. February is kind of just . . . there on the calendar.

So, it comes as no surprise to hear more people commit self harm during February than any other month. This is a sort of depressing statistic, but don’t let the mid-winter blues get you down. February is home to Valentine’s Day, and that’s a day to look forward to even if you’re single. Celebrate the holiday as a reminder of self love even if you don’t have a partner to celebrate it with. The road to finding love begins after you’ve learned to love yourself, after all.

Speaking of V-Day, so many stores and businesses love to welcome it in, because it means extra sales thanks to all the sappy couples who feel the need to overspend on items for their significant other. You should be expecting to see plenty of pink and red, a lot of candy boxes, and tons of stuffed animals the next time you’re walking through the store.

As for what you should do for yourself, though, that’s up to you. A local arcade bar near me is hosting a blind speed dating event for all those people out there who don’t have a partner. I, myself, think it’s a wonderful idea to include those who are typically excluded on Valentine’s Day.

Just as well, a lot of places have meal deals for any couples going out for dinner on the big day. Well, why not seize the moment and take a friend to dinner so that you can both capitalize on savings. (It’s not like the restaurant will know if you’re dating or just friends, no matter your friend’s gender, so what are they gonna do?)

There’s also the prospect of getting a few of those aforementioned candy boxes from the store and chowing down on them with a bottle of wine on the 14th. I mean, what beats chocolate, wine, and Netflix? Nothing, that’s what.

Ultimately, you should do something on Valentine’s Day, whether you’re single or not. If you’re in a relationship, do something with your partner to show you really do care. If you are single, well, hopefully we’ve given you a few ideas on how to enjoy the day with friends or even by yourself!