I doubt I would have played Pokemon if my little sister hadn’t let me borrow her copy of Blue. Our mother had gotten her the game, but my sister was 6 and didn’t really know how to play a grindy RPG. I started up the game and was hooked. The game could be played casually or it can be played intensively. Nintendo knows what fun is and created a world that has been exciting to explore and hardcore if you wanted to put the time in it. It is still one of my favorite franchises. Despite this fact, there has always been a voice inside my head telling me I should be embarrassed for playing such a “kiddie” game. To many, the look of Pokemon is childish and I can’t argue. No matter how much I might tout the depth, most would refer to Jigglypuff, Togepi, and Clefairy as proof that I’m just a thirty-something playing with dolls. As with some of my other hobbies that I’m too old for, I’ve learned to be okay with this voice and ignore it. It doesn’t go away, but it doesn’t affect me directly anymore.
By now, everyone knows of Pokemon GO and most are actively playing it. I’m not normally a fan of free-to-play games, but with Pokemon in the title, I had to give it a chance. As of this post, I’m level 10. I’ve seen 37 unique Pokemon and caught 36 of them over and over again. (I’ll find you again, Haunter!) I’ve evolved some and transferred others. I’ve hatched eggs and started to build a team for gym battles. In less than a week, I consider myself “all-in.”
While I could write about aspects of the game I like or areas of improvement, I really wanted to focus on the community I’ve met in these first days of the game’s launch. The first day I went to a large park, I felt a bit embarrassed walking around with my cell phone out trying to track down a Charmander. My feeling of shame was blinding me to my surroundings. The second day, I started to notice the many other people doing the exact same thing. Plus, they were people like me, men my age. They were people unlike me: kids, mothers, runners, and skateboarders. There isn’t a “type” of player. Everyone is playing. As I walked with my phone out trying to find where Oddish was, I’d walk past someone who would say, “There is an Abra over by the windmill.” I’d exchange knowing nods as I pass others with their phones out. I’ve stopped some people who I’ve passed multiple times to ask them questions about the game. My daughter and I met a little girl and her aunt on a walk/Pokemon hunt. The other little girl immediately wanted to show my daughter the Pokemon she found. Every interaction I’ve had has been kind, fun, and helpful. I’ve taken many walks with and without my daughter. I’ve checked out landmarks around the city I live in, but haven’t noticed until recently. I’ve never played a game that has made me feel more connected to my community.
So, I’m sure to some it might look like I’m solely focused on my phone, but I’m actually walking in and seeing more of my city than I ever have before.
Anything in the Evil Dead franchise has plot holes, inconsistencies, and lacks anything on character development (unless going from housewares retail to chainsaw wielding bad-ass is your idea of growth.) What is does have is blood, dismemberment, blood, demons, blood, and fun. These films are not for everyone, but I feel a kinship with anyone who appreciates this special type of humor.
Evil Dead: The Musical? That is an idea so silly, that it just might work. Sitting in my seat waiting for the curtain to raise, I was noticing the plastic covering the floor in the rows in front of me. I had no idea what to truly expect from the production, but I knew the tour group must have had something right if they had a splatter zone.
I loved it! The musical tapped into the silliness of Evil Dead. It doesn’t take its self seriously, breaks the fourth wall, and pulls in all the great lines we deadites love to quote. It was less of a theater experience and more of a big, over-the-top Evil Dead party.
There are some jokes that fall flat and songs that go on too long, but the production gets so many things right about the franchise that it was hard to hold the flaws against it.
Thankfully, I found that the soundtrack is on Spotify and I recommend anyone who is curious to give it a listen. Silly and even stupid, but fun.
I know Little Mac doesn’t make it to the top-tier of Nintendo characters, but he and the Punch-Out! franchise is one of my favorites. I owned the original NES game when I was a kid and played it a lot. While I was able to defeat Mike Tyson, I had to play that game so many times to reach that point. Over and over, I punched Mr. Sandman, knocked-out Soda Popinski, and counter-punched Bald Bull. I developed enough muscle memory that when in college, I was able to get straight to Super Macho Man without a loss. While I can’t do that anymore, I still play the game from time to time.
I’m not very good at the Smash Brothers games, but I was very happy to finally see Little Mac be added to the roster. He makes perfect sense and I’m also curious if any of the other fighters will make their appearance in the game.