Life is Strange

This post is about the video game “Life is Strange” and its prequel “Life is Strange: Before the Storm.” Spoilers ahead if you care about ever playing either game.

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Conventions

“Chimichanga!” rings out from some corner of the expo hall. Others echo it, and soon there’s a conga line snaking its way through the attendees buying books, action figures; collectables of all kinds. I’m surround by other-worldly creatures and people.

This might seem like chaos with all the caped heroes dashing about.

Actually, its a finely tuned machine.

My first convention was Sakura-Con when I was fourteen or fifteen, back when it was still split between two hotels. The convention has grown so much since then, now the largest anime convention in the Pacific Northwest.

As I got older, I started to attend PAX, back before there were four, back when it was the Hunger Games to get a three-day pass. If I’m realistic, its still quite the challenge to get a three or four-day pass because of how fast the convention has grown.

I started to work at Sakura-Con after high school, when I ran into a few friends. And that changed my enjoyment of Sakura-Con even more because I got to spend it with friends and helping people with their experience. I still got to be involved in the community without necessarily just being there to attend – which I had grown bored doing.

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Photo credit: Me. Rogue and Gambit at Sakura-Con 2011 or 2013?

With my experience at Sakura-Con, I was able to become an Enforcer for PAX West. Working at a convention was more enjoyable than being an attendee.

My interests were waning. I watched less anime, played more video games and read more comics. I checked out Emerald City Comic-Con, and then moved to the East Coast for school.

After a one year hiatus from attending any nerdy conventions, I dove back into being an Enforcer, only now for PAX East.

After all of the setup was done, and the following morning the crowds were lined up across the bridge, I realized I had missed this. I missed the excitement of fans, fandom, and the community. They say you don’t miss something until its gone, and while my hiatus was voluntary, I missed the nerdy community.

Being surrounded by strangers who were all there to celebrate fandom, and a hobby that had shaped their life is a comfort. Its easy to fall in conversation with strangers while standing in line because you already have a common denominator. Much of that anxiety can be swept aside because you can talk about the fandom you’re passionate about.

My friend Katie and I attended Boston Comic-Con (BCC) last year, and we weren’t disappointed with all the fun we had. We’ve talked about attending conventions together because we enjoyed talking about our love of comics, fanfiction, and nerd culture. Not to mention using this weekend to get nerdy tattoos.

And here I am on the eve of year two of BCC stoked to dive into the community.

Pokemon Go: Gaming is Social

If you haven’t heard, Pokemon Go came out late Thursday night. And in the 12 hours following, the game shot from nothing, to #1 in both the app stores in the United States.

This is entirely unsurprising given the hype this game has received.

Now I’m sure with the hype, some are probably worried that this means people aren’t going to talk to each other even more because they’ll be too busy on their phones.

Well, naysayers, I’ve got some news for you. This is probably one of the best apps for gamers, and anyone really.

If you’re like me, you grew up with Pokemon. It was a staple in my childhood, and has created a deep love of collecting, adventure, and community. Yes, community.

Pokemon has always been something to talk about with my friends and family. No matter the age, or starter, we’ve all been able to talk about our starters, our favorites, playing styles, and strategies for gyms. New games have always garnered more conversation. Although many of us don’t collect cards anymore, or watch the anime as much as we did the first few seasons (is Ash older than 10 yet?), Pokemon has been as important to us as Harry Potter.

For years the gaming community has been seen as antisocial. But maybe people aren’t aware of PAX West, East or South, or E3, or any number of large conventions based entirely around gaming.

Gamers are some of the most social people I know. And Pokemon Go just means we’re able to expand our community even more.

pokemongo3While walking around with my friends on our college campus that first night, we ran into one of the Public Safety officers. He just started playing. So we got to talking with him, shared our tips and tricks, and bid him farewell as he went about his rounds. Usually, PS just drives by us, and we wave if we know the officer (for those of us that are Resident Assistants). But it was so rewarding to be able to talk to him, and help along a burgeoning Pokemon trainer.

While driving through town – don’t worry I’m not playing at the same time, my passengers are – I can pick out the groups of people playing. They’re easy to figure out. And it makes me smile that there are so many people that are walking around in groups with their friends.

My Facebook feed has been full of people sharing their daily catches. And I’ve found several stories about the most unexpected people wandering around catching Pokemon because their grandchild wanted to play with them. It’s heartwarming.

Pokemon go isn’t only going to grow our community. Its going to save a lot of lives (and possibly endanger others because people aren’t paying attention!). There was one person on the Pokemon subreddit write about how the game was going to save his life. And there were many people that came to the agreement and support of this redditor.

This app is giving many people purpose again. For those that have deep anxiety about being outside around others, this app gives them something to do. And now they don’t have to feel like there isn’t a reason they are out and about.

Maybe it was always Game Freak & Pokemon creator Satoshi Tajiri‘s goal to get us outside again. His idea was based off of his love of bug collecting as a child.

Whether you’re a new trainer to Pokemon, or a veteran to the franchise, I’ll see you out there. Be sure to look up and say hello.

Free Time

Ever since I started college, I spent a considerable amount of my spare time doing homework, or hanging out with friends, or maybe both.

When summer rolls around, one of those disappears for four months, and suddenly I’m left with a lot of spare time that needs to be filled. But how should I fill it?

I spent all day Saturday doing a major paper due on Tuesday during finals week. That’s fine and dandy, and really, between me and summer stands one more minor project. Saturday night rolled around, and as I turned in the project and looked at my to-do list, I realized I was way ahead of schedule.

On Sunday, I rested.

I enjoyed breakfast with my RA staff for the 2015-16 school year. And immediately afterwards, I left the school for GameStop.

With three games purchased, I could dedicate several hours to vegging out and getting rid of some stress killing aliens. Playing video games was how I destressed in Seattle. My best friend and I would sit for endless hours on a Saturday and play through entire campaigns in a first person shooter.

And I missed it.

All of my usual stress relievers had been in Seattle until last winter break when I brought my PS3 back. That was probably the best decision I have made in a while – at least in terms of stress relief.

So now, I have several games to spend time on – among the other ways I’ve already decided to dedicate my summer to.

Here’s to an interesting summer!