Posts Tagged ‘Evony’

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addictive.

September 1, 2009

(Check out my new single if you haven’t already: Touch Me)

I wrote a blog a while back detailing some of my vices and addictions.  Well, I’m going to add another to the list (well,two if you also want to add writing on this here thing – I am pretty much daily! 😀 ):  Street Fighter IV Championship Mode.  The past week or so, I have been putting in a fair amount of time (while obviously doing other things such as work, socialising and generally having a life – I promise you I am not too geeky!!) on my Playstation 3 playing Street Fighter IV.  Today, after gym, researching for my Careers Guidance course (starting in 3 weeks, aaaaahhhh!!! so excited!), visiting the library and having pizza with Hannah, I bought the game strategy guide.  I haven’t actually read much of it yet, but tonight I spent a couple of hours with Vega and Chun Li (my two favourite characters; Chun Li is my main) kicking some ass (and also getting my ass beat quite a bit! What goes around comes around, as they say…).

both in one picture - how economic!

both in one picture - how economic!

I always maintained that I could not sit at a game for hours on end, but tonight I had to tear myself away!  As an only child, I got pretty used to playing against the computer and nothing else.  Having friends round was a luxury where I could play against a human opponent, but it wasn’t really satisfying because they didn’t know the games that I would play, so there wasn’t much competition.  But now, on my PS3, I have online play. Which means that from the comfort of my own bedroom, I can fight against a plethora of opponents.  Some of them really piss me off because they only do one thing and spam certain attacks (it’s cheap and it’s unsatisfying whether you win or lose), others are really impressive and I don’t mind losing to them, and it’s thrilling when I win (all too occasionally!).  I realised that I am not a bad player, but there are thousands of people who are much better than me!  My response to that is that I have better things to do than practise playing Street Fighter IV 24/7! 😛

It is really addictive because once you find a character or two whom you click with (Chun Li is not ranked badly, but Vega is pretty much one of the least-favoured characters… I like the speedy ones who jump around a lot!), you really want to hone your skills and kick some online ass at the same time!  I feel a lot of respect for those players who are really good, and I don’t mind losing to a genuinely skilled player, because that’s how you improve and sometimes they teach you a little bit of tactics.  I guess that I have always gravitated towards fighting games since I was a kid (although I enjoy puzzler games, platformers and old-school arcade games, because they remind me of my childhood and the Amiga!) because it’s cathartic to beat someone up, even just a person on a screen; the moves are ridiculous and enthralling to watch (people spinning like helicopters, creating fireballs, jumping and teleporting… if only we could really do those things!); and there is something simple, immediate and yet satisfying about going head to head with another character (be it computer controlled or a human opponent) and just going at it.  Sometimes it becomes more of a mental matchup, trying to second-guess the other person and psyche them out.  So maybe it’s a little bit like a relationship!!! 😉

I’m sure I’m just in an “on” phase with the game at the moment; there are weeks which go by without me even touching it, and then suddenly I get hooked into it again.  I think that even though games like this addict me, and I know that there are people who literally wake up and breathe Playstation or Xbox or whatever until they sleep (btw, my father is still into that Evony game!  He’s getting very powerful apparently… I don’t understand it though!), I couldn’t be like that because I have too many commitments and responsibilities, plus my attention span is far too short to sit still all day! 😉 I like to think that there are elements of real life (e.g. my music, my money, my relationships with family and friends) which are much more ‘addictive’ and hold my attention even more than Chun Li et al.  If life is just a game, then a game is just a trifle… you know?  We’re all allowed to have some fun, but at the end of the day you have to go hard and play serious with life because that’s what really matters.

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justify my love.

August 11, 2009

It’s ten minutes to midnight as I write this, and as I am waiting for my dad to finish playing Evony and toddle off to bed, I find myself reflecting on the day. I signed off at the jobcentre, embarked on an unnecessarily slow bus ride to the gym, worked it out hard (Dior 33″ jeans, here we come!), then spent the afternoon at Hannah’s on the internet, watching Doubt and learning useless Friends trivia.  I also had dinner with her sister and mother, who has apparently been feeling that since I left university, I have been “lost” because I haven’t immediately fallen into an appropriate high-flying career.  This dinner ended up representing my opportunity to tell my side of the story to her, and justify my decisions and explain why I’ve chosen to go into careers guidance.

Why did I feel the need to justify myself?  Because a) Hannah’s mum is generally a nice person, and I know she’s always liked me, so I can’t help but feel dismayed that a small voice inside me nags that I have lost her approval somewhat.  Her approval shouldn’t matter to me, and it certainly doesn’t play a role in the choices that I make, but because I like her, I want her to like me and to return to thinking that I have my head screwed on.  And b) inside, there is another small voice that perhaps feels I need to justify to myself why I am where I am.  After all, I dreamed that by 23 I would be well on the way to having a successful career and earning tons of money.

Why hasn’t that happened? Well, there is the recession so the decent jobs are not available at the moment.  I investigated a Bristol translation agency soon after I graduated last summer, and they were pretty blunt in the lack of jobs available.  I didn’t have the funds to move to London, so I ended up staying at the Perfume Shop, ultimately managing them at a reduced wage in return for a boosted CV.  It wasn’t ideal, but it got me through.  Music-wise, I have been working on my Quiet Storm project, which I’m excited to say is 99% complete, and I’m hoping to release it on the internet around my birthday (October 25th, mark it down!) – but I don’t have an easy way into fame so rather than go on reality television (which screams tacky to me, and I’m not ready for my music and image to be so controlled just yet), I’ll hustle in the background crafting songs which I am very proud of.  I am doing little bits of promotion online, and my friends and people seem to like it and are very positive, so that touches me.  I always believed if my music could make a difference even to just a few people, and entertain them, then I must be doing something right.  I have bigger plans, but everything in time.

This year off also gave me time to really think about what I wanted to do.  When I graduated only a year ago, I had no idea.  Reading the novel Push by Sapphire finalised an instinct I’d had, that I wanted to make a difference to young people’s lives, to help them establish their own place in the community and make the most of their lives.  I didn’t want to be a teacher, and I had done Peer Support and counselling at Sixth Form and at university.  My experience as a language assistant in Spain gave me awareness that in most cultures, there are a lot of young people who are getting swept along by the education system without really knowing where they want to go.  I want to be there for them, because I know exactly how they feel.  I want to help people find their own direction, and present all the options available to them, because I think that a lot of people aren’t really aware of all the options at their disposal.  It’s going to be hard, and there will be difficult cases who don’t want to listen.  But again, if I can make a difference to even just a few lives, those people can make their own mark on society, and I will be proud of my work and the fact that I helped somebody.  So I hope that it all goes to plan, because I am finally passionate about my career direction. (And the money’s not bad either, without sacrificing my entire social life and relationships for my work and some extra £)  We all make sacrifices – but I’m 23, and I want to live.  I can work til I drop come 30, 35, 40, once my personal life is more rhythmic and established – but right now, I just want to have fun outside of the 9 to 5.  After all, some levity is vital for a healthy, balanced mind and spirit.

I explained this, more or less, to Hannah’s mother, and she seemed to take it on board.  I hope I changed her mind around, because I want her to understand where I’m coming from and more importantly, where I plan to go.  The reality is that I am less lost now than I was even just a year ago.  I shouldn’t need to justify myself, but I did it all the same, and I like to think it was a compelling explanation, because I believe in it.  I guess that this blog will follow me on my education journey over the coming year, and I hope it all works out well – because I have to do what my heart says.  In this instance, I’m trusting my intuition and my emotions to guide me to what is truly right for me.

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balance of power.

July 28, 2009

Growing up with my parents and their perennially “stormy” relationship (that is one of the most accurate and yet most polite adjectives to describe it), I have always been acutely aware of the balance of power that exists in relationships, friendships and even day-to-day interactions.  For example, many a time have I apologised to my mother after doing something wrong.  But I can count on one hand the amount of times my mother has ever apologised to me after upsetting me.  The reasons for this are simple: although generally, being man enough to apologise when you have done something wrong makes you “the bigger person”, it also means that you cede a massive amount of ground in the balance of power that exists between you and that other person.  Acknowledging your fault equates to acknowledging their lack of fault and thus their superiority (obviously not in reality, but in power-struggle talks, this is fairly accurate).  That is why “sorry seems to be the hardest word” – because it involves swallowing your pride and giving away a small part of it to your opponent.  And when you have to apologise just to clear the air, because you don’t want to fight anymore but you don’t feel you are to blame… well, I don’t bother with that anymore, because I have done enough of that already in my short 23 years of life, and another thing that my mother has taught me is how to hold onto anger.  The silent treatment is a fantastic invention for testing the balance of power, and me and my mother have gone 4 weeks without speaking.  Of course, I am not recommending not apologising, or refusing to speak to somebody for weeks on end, because it is childish and it’s better just to get on with your life.  I am merely explaining the logic that exists in my family of how important it is to maintain a position of strength in the balance of power that exists between you and everyone else.  The moment you are seen as weak or a pushover, that’s the end of you (until you find a devious way to turn the tables.  But no ground lost = no scheming necessary).

So I move onto the situation I have been experiencing recently.  My father has become pathetically obsessed with this online game called Evony (if you want to look it up, more fool you, but you can find info on it on youtube and all the usual places) where you build your own medieval town and then defend it from other people’s armies while trying to make your town more powerful and take over other towns.  And when I say obsessed, I mean it – he spends every waking moment of his time at home on his laptop playing the game, which doesn’t seem to consist of much more than staring at the screen and occasionally clicking on a little house, while reading inane commentary between other users in a chat box in the corner.  He is back at work now (he was off for 3 weeks on holiday) and still stays up until midnight playing the stupid game, despite having to get up at 5:45am the following morning. He drinks cider and shovels crisps in his mouth and does not allow me to sit on the sofa nor watch the tv.  And I am 30 years his junior, so I am DAMNED if I am going to go to bed before him without enjoying even 5 minutes of peace and quiet downstairs in the lounge, watching what I want on tv (the only chance I get to watch what I want is when my parents are not present, which is usually once they have gone to bed) and having a cigarette outside on the patio and listening to my music undisturbed.

This is where the balance of power comes into play.  I don’t know if my father has decided on purpose to stay up until stupidly late to try and annoy me, but it certainly does the trick.  I of course refuse to go to bed, and my advantage is that I do not have to get up stupidly early for work the next day (though I am, as of today, employed again!!! The hospital came through, yayyyy 😀 😀 😀 )… Whether this is, in his view, a struggle for power and supremacy by despatching me from the lounge or whether he is just single-mindedly playing his pathetic little game, I now view it as a competition for control of the television at least 1% of the day, and establishing myself as more than just another piece of furniture around the house who disappears without causing any trouble.  I will not be ousted from my own house by my own father who is 30 years older than me and playing an idiotic little game.  I will not be sent to my room before I am ready to go, and I will not cede control of my bedtime nor of my right to enjoy myself in my home.  I will stay up until he goes to work if necessary… I don’t care.  This is a battle of wills now, and I promise you one thing: Like Rocawear, I will not lose.