Tag Archives: video games

Positive Cynicism EP. 79: Realism vs. Escapism

Part of the appeal of pop culture is ability to suspend disbelief and escape reality. In this episode of Positive Cynicism, @chadsmart and Eric Bennett discuss falling in love with film due to the escapist nature of the blockbuster film vs. the realism of adult aimed films (no, not those adult films).

As the 2019 Oscars get closer, Chad tried to watch nominated movies and realized he was bored by the serious nature of the majority of the films. This realization opened up the pathway to explore other topics regarding the nature of present day films.

www.jitterymonkey.com, @chadsmart, @thehooch37, @kevinhunsperger @NerdsUnitedShow, @my123cents

Fresh Content Day 23: Dream with Me

I have weird dreams.


I should write them down first thing in the morning so that I can share them with you here.

Now, they aren’t all winners. They aren’t all memorable. And many are mundane. When I was a youngster, I had dreams that I was sitting in class and the teacher was coming around collecting homework and I didn’t have mine completed. I DIDN’T HAVE MY HOMEWORK COMPLETED!!!

Probably not the best gif, but…no, you’re right. There’s no excuse for it.

Now I have mundane dreams of answering phone calls and responding to e-mails. But every once in awhile, a dream will occur that raises eyebrows about what the hell is going on in my brain.

When I was in college, I had a dream that I was in a downtown office building, skyscraper style. The building was under attack. I’m running around the halls grabbing guns. I shotgun a dude through his chest. Then I grab a sniper rifle and get to the window. With the zoom feature, I look at the roof of the building over, and as I squeeze the trigger to take out an enemy, I see the RPG that they fired a second earlier. Explosion. Vision goes red. When my vision clears, I am a few floors down, running through the hallways again upping my arsenal. My thought at the time was “what the – I’ve already been here before!” That’s right, my dream was a first-person shooter video game.

I have three “nightmares” from my childhood that I remember vividly. One was me hanging on the ledge of a skyscraper (I must like city architecture) while Slimer was just inside the glass laughing at me. I was in my single-digits. I had another where Jason fired up a chainsaw (oddly not his weapon of choice) at the foot of my bed. The third was when I opened the door to the garage and saw my dad, which alone isn’t bad. But there was a two-car garage full of my dad. There had to be a hundred of him. I don’t know why, but it caused some sort of dad-overload. I was young for all of these dreams.

Take this morning for instance. Now granted, I don’t remember every detail. But I can recall the high points.

It’s the end of the world…in a Marvel movie. I know this because at one point I’m on a roof with my wife, a few other family members, and some random people. There’s an atmospheric…event, I suppose. It’s storming. There’s debris in the air. At one point, I remark that all will eventually be well, as Thor will likely save the day. What, you don’t dream of Thor? Actually, he didn’t make an appearance. As I said, it’s the end of the world. And no one brought any damn food! No one but me…because I’m a fatty, and I had my lunch with me from that day. Two turkey sandwiches. The problem? It was a Friday – in Lent – so I couldn’t have the turkey sandwiches.

And then I woke up.

Dreams are weird. I don’t know what inspires them and I don’t know how to interpret them. For me, they’re just sleepy-time entertainment. And honestly, that’s all I really need them to be. Maybe I’m swimming in the shallow end of the pool, but I am not looking for the deeper meaning in any of these. They are what they are. I occasionally dream, and sometimes I remember bits and pieces of said dreams. And for me, that’s good enough.

Have any weird dream or moment in a dream that has stuck with you through the years? Leave it in the comments.

Fresh Content Day 17: These are a Few of my Favorite Video Games

And if you didn’t sing that to the tune of the Rodgers & Hammerstein tune from the 1959 Broadway Musical (and 1965 feature film) Sound of Music

I essentially grew up with video games. I was among the first generations who have known them in some form almost my whole life.

And as it turns out, I erroneously credited the wrong family member with my introduction to them.

For years, I thought that my tech-savvy aunt and uncle gave my sister and me and Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It wasn’t until recently that, when the topic came up in conversation between me and my mom, she corrected me by stating that my dad waited in line at the store to get one for us.


That will make you feel like crap to hear that you’ve been falsely attributing something as epic as that (in the minds of a youngster) for roughly 25 years.

Among the games we had on that original console were the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt combo, a version of Jeopardy, a 7Up game with Spot, the 7Up Mascot. Spot was the red dot (or in the game, blue, green, or yellow) on the can, and the game had a very Othello/Reversi feel to it. You wanted your color to dominate the board. Of course, Spot was there before these shirts were popular:


I’m trying to think of other games I had on the NES, but the one that really stands out was Dragon Warrior, a single-player game where you roamed a massive kingdom on the ultimate quest to hunt a (or THE) dragon. I don’t know…I never beat the game, sadly…one of my many video game failures.


When I was 13 or 14, I finally saved up enough money to buy a Super Nintendo. I don’t remember how much it cost, but I do remember my dad saying to me “do you really want to spend your money on that?” And, obviously…I did.

It came with the full Super Mario Bros. All Stars collection as well as Super Mario World. Eventually I added a sports game or two, Super Mario Kart, and other games I don’t really remember. Because why would I remember games I had and played for an extended period of time? One of those stand-out games on that console was College Slam, exactly like NBA Jam, except college.

I eventually added an N64. Mom sold the NES and the ten or so games at a garage sale for $10 (that’s a steal, even in 199x). In 2002, I sold the Super Nintendo and the N64, and with that and some extra money I had, I bought an XBox. I eventually added and would later sell a PS2. But I got a couple years out of it.

I would have an XBox 360, but that was replaced by a PS3, and the 360 now has a home outside of Dallas, TX. The PS3 is in my bedroom (for dvd/bluray/Netflix) and a PS4 resides in my living room. In fact, I’m streaming Netflix on it right now…the new Disney’s Pete’s Dragon.

That’s my history with gaming consoles. But since this post is supposed to be about the games, I should probably name at least a few titles I enjoyed over the years. The problem is I’ve never been very good at video games. Most of my friends would agree, especially if they were stuck with me as a teammate for online gameplay. I was marginally decent at Halo. I was junk at Gears of War. God of War, however, was an enjoyable game/franchise. I remember seeing a little bit of the gameplay on G4 (or Tech TV, I don’t remember when they made the change), and seeing Ares terrorizing Athens, with his fiery beard. I’ve always had a soft spot for ancient mythologies, so that caught my attention.

I have also really enjoyed most of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and the Batman Arkham series.

Historically, I’m a Mario Kart kid at heart. Also, throw back to when EA Sports had NCAA Football, and sprinkle in some Madden.

Those are a few of my favorite games.

Fresh Content Day 15: The Importance of Reading

Books are good and reading is good.

As a fan of reading, and dare I say, a lifelong reader myself, I really hope that our son picks up the habit.

I call it a habit and not a hobby because if you’re dedicated, wow, it can get pricey. But what I love about books, novels in particular, is that they demand that you pay attention and immerse yourself in the story. It can build your imagination, more so than a comic book, and certainly more than a video game. A video game takes the nest step by allowing you to live out the character.

He’s not yet 15 months old and our son has a shelf full of books. It’s great. Yes, some of them are the obligatory big books with big letters mad out of some cardboard-type material, but it’s a start. I go to the store and I look for books for him as much as toys. I’ve been able to get some children’s Batman books and Star Wars books. I’ve even tried doing some live videos as I read him a book at bedtime, but holding him, holding a phone, and holding the book…it didn’t go well.

Some of my favorite books that he will have when he’s older are the “Ordinary People Change the World” series, written by one of my favorite writers and people, Brad Meltzer, with art by Chris Eliopoulos. It’s a great series written and drawn for kids, telling the true stories of tremendous people in easy-to-digest ways for kids.

Meltzer even signed this copy of I Am Abraham Lincoln.

I’d rather build a library for our boy than just about anything else. I want him to choose his own path and do what makes him happy, pursuing his dreams. I just hope he has a book in his hands while he does it.

Tim from Twilight Comics shared this picture a week or so ago and I shared it on the Nerds United Facebook page but I want to share it here as well.

Start ’em young and they;’ll love reading their whole life. That’s my goal.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this post or any of the Fresh Content series, please share them on your social media. And if you have an idea for a future post, drop it in the comments.

#ToughCallTuesday 10 – Supporting the Little Guy

This week’s #ToughCallTuesday is a very special article, as I reached out to a past guest (something I look forward to doing more in the future…or you’ll get a lot of “Flintstones vs Jetsons” posts in the future).

Ten days into a month-long Kickstarter campaign, I sought out newlywed and soon-to-be father Kino Beeler (my guest in Episode 48) to tell us all about Grand Arc Designs’ “Memories of Aeldaria.”

On the day that massive mega-hit Fallout 4 was released, I implore you to consider Memories of Aeldaria as a David in an industry controlled by Goliaths.

– GM


Like any story worth telling this one is full of passion, adventure, trials, & hope. Memories of Aeldaria is a 3D, third person, action-adventure / role-playing game being developed by our staff here at Grand Arc Designs.

All of what exists today was merely a dream two and a half years ago. Countless hours were spent pouring over statistics, building conceptual designs, developing our first Game Design Document, and searching for the right talent to join our ranks. After months planning we established Grand Arc with a goal to create games we love based on solid standards and fair principals to be a force for good in this industry.

If there is one word that could describe our project, it would be ambitious. We have lofty dreams for Aeldaria and have put a lot of time into developing our partnerships to try and set us apart from an increasingly saturated Indie market. Too far from the path have a lot of companies strayed led by greed and sacrificing meaningful content for a bottom line. At least, that’s how we perceive the state of things. We truly care about making a quality product and delivering what we promise when we promise it. We will distinguish ourselves not just by the stories we tell and the worlds that we create, but also leading by example, delivering a completely realized product at fair market prices.

Trust is missing between many consumers with the publishers they once followed to what they swore would be the end and it is a shame how many of those loyal consumers are now treated. Die-hard gamers feel betrayed investing so much of their hard-earned cash into often disappointing and unrealized potential. This has to stop and both developers and publishers really need to focus on what their consumers want, and the answer is not having to spend often nearly $100 USD for a game, a season pass, possibly unreasonably long delays with little interaction between fans and developers, far less content than promised, broken or unplayable elements on day 1, and often much more.

When we see this problem and can really open our eyes to it, hopefully then understanding why change needs to happen is so important. And this is where we come in!

The Game:


We are developing potentially a 30~50+ hour experience with familiar elements from classic titles that are simply meant to be polished. While we want to introduce some new ideas to the mix we feel there are enough companies trying to find new ways to re-invent the wheel. We think the wheel works just fine and we understand how the wheel works. Instead the most unique part of Aeldaria is how we intend to bring these elements together.

The Story:

The player will journey as a young heroine who has temporarily lost her memory upon being thrust through space and time to crash land in the mysterious and surreal land of Aeldaria. The world and its mysteries will unfold to the player just as it unravels to her; allowing a touching glance at the once mighty Kingdom of Aeldaria as both learn together. Powerful allies and terrifying foes will be lying in wait as decisions you make alter the intricate strings of the web, ultimately leading to your chosen fate.

Why should you care?

If all of this simply isn’t enough to convince you, let’s take a look at some awesome facts about the project, about us, and about what we can accomplish together:

  • We will be building a game with tons of content that you can essentially pre-order today for only $25.00
  • Your contributions via liking, sharing, and donating to our campaign will increase our visibility and our chances of being funded. No matter how large or small your contribution is; we will be truly grateful.
  • Your contribution will support not just this project becoming a reality, but you will also be helping to create jobs for nearly 20 individuals and their families.
  • We have worked for the last year and a half diligently on a working budget of $0.00. While development will continue to churn, it will do so at a much slower pace if we cannot obtain necessary funding to enter a full production schedule.

We are dedicated to our goals and will continue moving forward with strong resolve despite learning curves or hurdles we may encounter.

Review our campaign here. 

Review the previous SE Collective campaign here.

Our website: http://www.grandarcdesigns.com/

E3 Week trailer:

Kickstarter Trailer (developed to be more like an immersive slow-build traditional cut-scene):


Greg here – I’m excited to see this project reach its goal. That’s why I’m backing this campaign. I urge you to do the same.

My 1-2-3 Cents Episode 49: Game On – 2K16 Review

Created by Jared Smith
Created by Jared Smith

2K Sports and WWE have teamed up again for another game to keep wrestling fans busy for the next several months.  WWE 2K16 recently hit store shelves.  This year’s game features “Stone Cold” Steve Austin on the cover and is available now on XOne, X360, PS 3 and PS 4.

Video game enthusiast and wrestling fan, Jared Smith, joins the show to discuss this latest version and share some of the cool new features.  You will soon be able to put your own face on the body of a Superstar you create for a more realistic make-a-Superstar experience.

Kevin and Jared talk about the evolution of the wrestling video game starting with the old Nintendo “Pro Wrestling” game and working up to today’s products.

Be sure to check out the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages as well as My 1-2-3 Cents the blog.