I started running three weeks ago, and in that time I’ve already gone from stopping every 15 seconds before I die to running a full kilometre, or about 10 minutes. Hey, it’s a start!
(Here is where I give mad props to the Zombies Run version of Couch to 5k. The app is well designed, interesting, and makes it simple to train via sprints.)
I originally tried listening to podcasts while I run because part of my problem with exercise is that I’m really easily bored and I HATE being bored. But while the podcasts give my brain something to chew on, they also don’t really help pump me up for that next step. The fact is that I run faster and further with a little music.
So, I tried game soundtracks. No, not the sweeping orchestral sounds of most MMOs, although those are fine in their place. (And if you enjoy them, check out the Battle Bards podcast!) What I need are upbeat tunes with a slow but steady beat.
Below are 3 of my favorite tracks. Hopefully they help keep you moving through whatever you’re doing, and have a great weekend!
Jet Grind Radio / Jet Set Radio – That’s Enough
If you don’t start grooving to this, you may have no soul.
WipEout – Cold Comfort
WipEout (the 1997 original) was one of the first games ever to have an electronica soundtrack. It has some great tracks by established artists like Chemical Brothers, but most of the soundtrack including this track was created by a lesser known dude named Cold Storage. It’s awesome.
The Binding of Isaac – Sacrificial
Every track of Danny Baranowsky’s Binding of Isaac soundtrack is amazing, and overall this is the album I listen to the most while running. The official 8-bit version of Sacrificial is super fun, as is The Clubbing of Isaac, the offical dance remix of the game’s main theme. The classic Sacrificial wins out for me though because what it might lack in speed or thump it makes up in drama. When you are out being grimly determined and running off a bad day in the rain, this is absolutely the track to listen to.
Over the mere five days that I’ve owned a PlayStation Vita it has already incorporated itself into my daily routine.
That is high praise from me! A few years back I was gifted a tablet, and while it was a very fun gadget I never used it after the first couple of days. I have an e-reader that I ignore because it turns out I really love the visceral experience of paper pages. There’s a now very old “gaming laptop” that sits in a cupboard.
The Vita feels good in my hands. It has two little thumbsticks, a d-pad, and the usual four shape buttons. There are left and right top buttons, which for some reason are made from clear plastic and look a little funky. The screen is quite big and bright, and the OS is really intuitive if a little relentlessly cheerful. (Stop jiggling, app buttons!)
The last time I bought a handheld console was so long ago that digital distribution didn’t exist, so I was legitimately excited to browse the PS Store and it did not disappoint. Of particular relevance to old people like me is the vast selection of PS One and old PSP titles. WipEout, Parasite Eve, Parappa the Rappa, every classic JRPG — it’s like my college years all over again.
The prices for these old titles is $6-$10 each, which is entirely reasonable. I’m not so interested in new titles (at least not yet), but the PS Store also has a whole big indie section also with reasonable prices that I’m looking forward to exploring.
Lying in bed playing Chrono Trigger is a real treat, and if you’re a fan of the PS library from over the years you’ll find a ton of games. However, and I feel dirty saying this, the Vita is also a solid media device.
I watch a lot of YouTube videos — at the gym, while going to sleep, while stirring things on the stove — and the Vita makes for a pretty sweet video machine. The screen is bigger than my phone, and for whatever reason the YouTube app has many more features and is much easier to use for browsing. Battery life is vastly superior over playing videos on my phone, which makes sense as I assume the Vita was designed to have the screen lit for extended periods of time. (It also doesn’t get hot when in use.)
The big negative for the Vita that I can see is the proprietary SD card slot. You need the storage to hold game files, saved games, downloaded videos, etc., but the official Sony cards are vastly overpriced compared to other more generic micro-SD options.
I honestly got this thing as a bit of retail therapy, but it’s turned into a legit daily gadget. If you’re considering a new handheld gaming device and miss the glory days of the PS One, thus far I would definitely recommend a Vita.
PS: My PSN name is ShoppingWeevil, and we should be friends.
Last week my partnership of 18 years .. unpartnered.
I miss blogging and creative output, but I haven’t played any games in a week and honestly I don’t feel like writing about games right now. I’m supposed to be starting a Saint’s Row IV video let’s play tomorrow, so game content will appear again soon. In the meantime, please accept Liore’s five point guide to surviving the first week of the rest of your life, for any major trouble:
Okay, maybe I should clarify that. Don’t drink if you don’t like drinking, or you have a problem with drinking, or whatever. I’m not saying force yourself to drink. But if you are so inclined, know that it’s okay to dull your senses for a couple of days.
2) Hug animals.
No matter what has gone wrong in your life, animals don’t give a shit. Are you lying in bed wearing a stupid hat, crying unattractively and eating raw cookie dough? That’s cool, the cat still likes you and will accept your pets.
3) Call your friends.
Yes, on a phone. I know, I was shocked too! But hearing the voice (or even better, seeing the face) of people who love you and believe in you can make all the difference.
4) Be sad.
Be sad?! ON IT. But seriously, give yourself permission to be sad, and angry, and numb — possibly all in the space of 5 minutes! I think people often feel as though they should suck it up and be over things already, but if you feel grief you need time to grieve. It’s okay.
5) Be healthy.
Be nice to yourself. Keep going to the gym, go to bed early, make sure what little you eat is nutritious. You are your own best ally at the moment, so be the friend to yourself that you need, not the friend you think you deserve.
The old saying is “one day at a time” but in times of extreme duress I find it helps to think smaller. Things are going to get better every minute of your life that goes by. You will be able to cope better, you will be able to plan better, the pain will be less fresh. It’s going to be okay — you just have to get through the next 60 seconds.
Everquest Next was revealed at SOE Live last week, and we’re talking about sandboxes, our crafting hopes, and of course voxels.
We talk about the announcement, including gameplay footage, the big technological promises, and .. fingerpainting? Some of us are still unimpressed, while others are Everquest fans who can’t wait to see what the latest edition holds.
Also, PAX Prime is coming up and as frequent attendees we look back at some of our favorite convention memories. What panels do we miss we hadn’t missed? What game demos were the best? Who is the most famous person we’ve seen? Will the PAX Prime show floor be the same without the perennial Bioshock: Infinite booth?
Arolaide is taking a break for baby-having reasons, but Liore is joined by usual co-host Ellyndrial and special guest Vajra!
Note: Liore’s mic is pretty borked for the first 10 minutes of the podcast. Sorry for the bad sound. Those responsible have been sacked.
It would be downright awesome if you gave us a vote on iTunes. :) This episode was originally livestreamed as a Hangout on Air!
(Don’t forget to leave 5 stars!)
I started up a Twitter account for Cat Context this week — did I also mention that we’re on Facebook too? Huh? Plug Plug! — and it inspired me to go searching for other MMO podcasts that don’t focus on a specific game. It turns out that there aren’t a whole lot of them, or at least I didn’t find a lot.
If you enjoy this kind of thing, below is a list of the podcasts I know of along with my general impressions. (Just my opinion, yours may vary, etc etc.) If I missed your favorite general MMO podcast let me know! I’m always on the prowl for more things to listen to.
The Three MMOsketeers – My favorite show of the bunch! Maybe it’s the fact that all three hosts are European, but I like their fine balance between being cynical and upbeat. This is one podcast that I always catch.
Game On: Epic Slant Press Edition – The official podcast of MMORPG.com, hosts Chris and Adam are genuinely nice people who also know their stuff. A good mix of industry guests and bloggers (including me).
Massively Speaking – This is the official podcast of Massively.com. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the site, but host Justin (aka Syp) is one of the most charismatic people in the MMO media scene, and other host Bree always has interesting, thoughtful things to say even if I don’t always agree with her fervent championing of casual players.
Keeping it Massive - This is a new podcast with experienced hosts. I’ve only had a chance to listen to one episode, but my initial impression is good and it’s the newest addition to my subscription list!
MMO Reporter – These guys have podcasts that focus on specific games, as well as one general MMO show. They seem super nice, and super successful, but a little mellow for my tastes.
Massive Failure – Don’t be fooled by the episode number! The MMO Troll has actually completed almost 200 episodes of podcasts in different formats. I’m not big on podcasts with only one host, but that’s just a personal style thing and otherwise the content here seems just fine.
Horde House - So okay, I really wanted to like this show! The hosts have good chemistry, they don’t get too far off-topic, and they have interesting things to say. However, it’s also pretty heavily laced with “ironic” sexism to the point where I was completely turned off.