Quick check-in

Just wanted to pop in and let you know I’m still alive. I’ve been going to school full time and working, so the blog has kind of been in the back of my mind. I’d like to get back into it.

In the meantime I’ve been playing a lot of Black Ops 4 and have been having a blast, especially in Blackout mode. I’ve also been enjoying Forza Horizon 4 and Madden 19 quite a bit as well. I hope to write about some of these games in the near future, but right now school is taking up most of my time.

 

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Arena Soccer in Boise (USA vs Brazil)

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US National Arena Soccer Team Boise The teams warm up

Last Friday the U.S. National Arena Soccer Team came to CenturyLink Arena in downtown Boise to play a friendly against the Brazil national team. Until last week, I didn’t even know that arena soccer was a thing, so I was excited to check it out. Soccer is one of my favorite sports to watch, especially in person, although I’ve only ever attended two matches: DC United vs LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers. The energy coming from the crowd at this events has been unmatched by any other sporting event I’ve attended.

It’s exciting to see a soccer event come to Boise, especially with talk of a minor league team coming to a new downtown baseball stadium (expected to begin construction next summer). The match Friday night sold out CenturyLink Arena which hopefully further shows that Boise is indeed interested in soccer.

US National Arena Soccer Team Boise

We arrived…

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Playing Super Mario World for the first time

Super Mario World WiiU

It may come as a shock that as someone who played his first video game on the NES I’ve never played Super Mario World. Not once. Not even on an emulator. The game that is known by many as one of the best games in the Mario series (even still today), never ended up in my hands through the early 90’s. After the NES I became a Genesis gamer, where you could play more mature games such as the unedited Mortal Kombat or Zero Tolerance.

Although I enjoyed Super Mario Bros. on the NES, I was never very good at it (I’m still not). Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3 mostly passed me by as well, but at least I can say I’ve played them. I love the music and look of the third game, however I’ve never been able to make it past the second world. I’d always get frustrated and quit for good, never to pick up the controller again.

My frustrating experiences with the Super Mario Bros. series led me to mostly ignore the series, at least up until the release of Mario 64 (which I also was, and am, terrible at). I’d often hear people express their love for the Super Nintendo’s Super Mario World, but I never really wanted to try it out as I knew I’d just get mad at it. However, I started to get a taste of Mario World via the Wii U’s Super Mario Maker. I rode Yoshi for the first time, and also experienced the game’s joyful music for the first time. My time with Mario Maker got me interested in checking out World, so tonight I bought it on the Wii U.

The $7.99 price tag on the Virtual Console seemed a little steep for a 25 year old game, especially when much newer games sell for less than $5 on Steam, but I decided experiencing it on a Nintendo console would be better than an emulated experience.

Super Mario World virtual console

When I first booted up Super Mario World, I felt already familiar with the world, thanks to Super Mario Maker. In fact, for awhile I kept expecting to see the evil red x’s that mark a player’s death in Mario Maker to pop up on the screen each time I died an embarrassing death.

Yoshis Island

The hour I spent with Mario World so far was filled with numerous frustrating deaths, as always seems to happen when I pick up a Mario game. I’d jump into the same enemy over and over again, or I’d fall to my death trying to avoid an incoming enemy. Once I got a handle on the controls I didn’t have much trouble completing Yoshi’s Island, however Donut Plains was another story.

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Much like level 2-1 in Super Mario Bros. 3, Donut Plains 1 almost made me quit the game for good before I’d ever made much progress. I kept dying over and over again at the hands of the Super Koopas. In fact the very first one you encounter in the level killed me at least 7 times as I tried to get the cape feather. I eventually gave up on getting the cape and tried to storm through the level, only to meet my fate at the hands of Chargin’ Chuck and his obnoxious baseballs. It took a frustrating 30 minutes to finish Donut Plains 1 (and two continues), but eventually I managed it. At this point I had to turn the Wii U off before my frustration and anger at the game got any worse. I’m dreading losing all of my lives and having to play through Donut Plains 1 again at some point.

I’m looking forward to experiencing more of Super Mario World, yet at the same time I’m afraid of the challenges ahead. Hopefully I can make it through Mario World with my Wii U gamepad intact!

 

Happy Thanksgiving from A Video Game Life!

Good morning and happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’re able to enjoy the holiday, food, friends and family throughout the day.

I’m heading to the gym to start my day off with a run and then I’ll probably do some reading while my girlfriend finishes her last minute cooking before we head off to spend the day with her family.

The other day I ordered this chair on Amazon (Urban Shop Dream Chair with memory foam) and I’m quite excited to sit in it and read the New York Times by the window. I really love the fabric of the chair and the fact that it’s incredibly sturdy and rigid, rather than something you sink into. I love chairs that are very supportive when I’m reading (or even playing video games) and I’m glad I made this purchase.

urban shop dream chair

 

I set up my Verismo coffee / espresso maker next to it and I can’t wait to read and enjoy great coffee in the mornings! I also have my record player in the corner so I can enjoy some great vinyl as well.

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Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Checking out Dollar Shave Club

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(Though it may sound like it, this is not an advertisement)

If you’re like me you hate having to buy razors or cartridges. I hate having to spend $20+ on razor cartridges and often just keep buying new razors since they’re cheaper. I had heard about Dollar Shave Club through various ads on podcasts and Facebook but never really looked into it until last week. Looking at their webpage the pricing seems too good to be true. For between one and nine dollars a month you get a razor and at least 4 cartridges. Your first box comes with a razor and cartridges, after that you get cartridge refills every month and you can cancel anytime.

Before joining Dollar Shave Club I’d try to make a pack of cartridges stretch for months which often resulted in shaving with a dull blade. Now for $9 a month I get a 6 blade razor and I can swap out the cartridge every week so I always have a smooth shave. You can also add additional products to your box whenever you want (such as shave butters and after shave lotion) for an additional fee.

dollar shave club box

I chose the Executive razor subscription for $9 a month and added the shave butter to my first box for $8. The prices include shipping so I got the box above for just $17 and my next box with refill cartridges will ship for $9. The razor is great and provides a smooth shave. I normally use a gel but the shave butter feels smooth and clean and I enjoy using it. I’m glad I decided to give Dollar Shave Club a try, you should too as it’ll make your life easier.

Ordered the Samsung Galaxy S5

I’m posting from my phone, so this will be short and to the point. I’m an Apple guy, I love the company, the hardware and the software. I’ll never not own an Apple computer, I absolutely love my MacBook Pro.

I’ve enjoyed the last couple of years with various iPhone’s, but this week I’m upgrading my iPhone 5 to the Galaxy S5. I jumped onto the AT&T Next program and preordered the S5. It should ship Tuesday.

I kind of decided to make the switch on a whim after a coworker posted on Facebook that he had ordered the s5. I started looking at the phone and it just caught my eye and my love for new gadgets took over. I liked the ads, the preview videos of the phone. I liked the way the screen looked and the pictures it takes. I’ve been enjoying my Tab 3 and the way I can use widgets.

So that’s basically it. I’m never going to hate the iPhone. I’m still a fan of the iPhone and believe it’s one of the best phones out there, especially with iOS 7. I just want to try a new gadget.

A fun time at Laser Alleys in York, PA

Last night my cousins and I checked out Laser Alleys in York, Pennsylvania and I have to say it was the coolest bowling alley I’ve had a chance to visit. Every bowling alley I’ve ever been to has had the same old school computer terminals at the lanes (you know, with the colored buttons and all and CRT TV’s). Well Laser Alleys has modern touch screen computer terminals which were quite entertaining and easy to use.

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I love gadgets so I was pretty mesmerized by all of the things you were able to do with the computer. It could take your picture and present it next to your name on the scorecard which was entertaining in itself. You could connect to Facebook to have it post updates on your behalf (I believe each bowler could connect if they wanted. I tried it but I think I logged myself out or something). You could send text messages to other lanes (we sent a few messages to lane 7 just for fun. No reply :p). Overall the experience was great, and we had a fun time bowling from 8-10 for $6 and a good time in the arcade before we started bowling.

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