Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It Gives Minus Two to Health

My zombie marathon began early one Sunday morning. The early sun rises as the clock strikes 7:00am. I put on my head set.  I sit myself down dead center on the couch. Still there seems to be something missing from this early morning gaming marathon? I let the thought go and start my marathon which lasts from 7:00am to 1:00pm. A giant grumble comes from my stomach. Then it hits me, I forgot to have breakfast!

At that point I scramble to the refrigerator looking for anything that I could get my hands on. At first glance everything seems to take too long, as it would require me to stop playing my game in order to eat a decent meal. I went to the freezer, where my options ranged from meat, meat, and did I not mention more meat. At that point I felt I had no choice, so I popped the pepperoni pizza into the microwave. Two minutes later the pizza comes out warm but still slightly cold in the middle. I scarf it down, and return back to my original position. 

My stomach growled again an hour later, but not of hunger. It seemed that my food was fighting back and I had developed a stomach ache. For the rest of the day I laid down in bed moaning and groaning over my poor stomach. What started off as a day of marathon zombie killing ended in  a horrible stomach ache.

Eating can seem like a chore at times to gamers. It is necessary though to eat the right foods before you start your video game marathon. If you don’t have enough good food in you before you start, chances are you lose concentration on the task at hand. Always start off your day with some form of breakfast. A piece of fruit, a protein, or maybe a yogurt can help you get a good start to the day.

If you know you will be stationary for long periods of time I might suggest snacking. Snacking can be beneficial as long as you’re eating the right things. Keep some fruit on the side table, crackers, and quick veggies. These will help keep your stamina up and make sure you focus on killing the zombie hordes.

If you can take a break then do so. Every two hours get up and stretch.  Maybe step outside and get some fresh air. Playing a game non-stop can be tiring on the eyes. If the colors start to blur together maybe it is time take your break.

If you are sweating a lot maybe it is because you have not had enough water. Water keeps everything in the body moving. Water is definitely the first thing that you need.  If you have a water bottle, fill it up at the beginning of your session.  That way you have the water ready and able to drink.

Now, it seems like I am being a little too parental. You might assume the next question I will ask is “Did you brush your teeth this morning?”  I am not here to be preachy but I am here to warn you. I only say this from experience.

Last year PAX East was my first convention ever. Just so many things to see but yet you have very little time. I almost became overwhelmed with the amount of things you could actually do. I didn’t think and ignored my natural body signs. A rumbling stomach didn’t make me flinch at twelve noon. I didn’t have a decent meal till 4:00 pm and even at that point it was too late. After I ate my chicken fingers and fries, my stomach started to hurt. The rest of the day ended with me in bed by 9:00 pm while the convention kept raging on. The same happened to my friend as we lay in opposite beds groaning from chicken finger overload.

I made rash decisions at the convention because of my empty stomach. When you are hungry you usually grab something fast rather than something healthy. These chicken fingers were not cheap either but  full price at seven dollars. Fourteen dollars later you feel like you wasted your money. This money could have been used outside the convention to buy something better. Greasy food is great, but if you plan to walk around all day on a convention floor you need nutrient dense food.

After reading this, hopefully you will come away with a game plan. This is not a diet to change your whole life. Just remember the water and healthy snacks before you plan your next video game marathon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Is This the Golden Age of Consoles?



When most people think of this generation of consoles they might feel like they are being screwed over by publishers. Games at their highest prices, content being left out and sold as DLC, and a casual market that is overtaking the hardcore. It may seem dismal and that there is no way out but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Wii, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360 have each given more to the console community than any consoles prior.  That may seem like an outlandish statement, but there is proof behind it in  this generation of consoles. The simple facts are that high end gaming is more accessible to the masses, and developers of all kinds can make games for both casual and hardcore markets.

If we think back even to the previous generation of Playstation 2, Xbox, and Gamecube they still did not come close to the graphics of PC gaming. Now at the price of about $250 you can have a High Definition (HD) gaming console that will cost you a lot less than buying a comparable PC with the same processing power. HD Televisions are the norm as almost every household has one. Now people can enjoy close to the same quality of gaming that PC users have had but without the high cost. With developers pushing the graphic limitations of the console each year, it seems there is no need to create a more powerful console. Except for Wii which is getting an upgrade next year, the majority of players are already satisfied with today’s console graphics.

Back in the days of Atari individuals developed their own games. The games were small enough that a lot of the programmers were also artists of their own games. All the way up until Super Nintendo and Sega there were titles such as the first Mortal Kombat which was actually made by less then five people. In today’s console market bigger titles require large departments. With the boom in online functionality, smaller development companies can now release games without having to spend money on discs and packaging. Now the independent developers have a greater chance to make more money because they can develop their game on multiple platforms with less funding.

Not only does the indie developer have less money to spend but it saves the consumer money. Now there is a booming market of full games that can be purchased below $20. Developers like Twisted Pixel and Behemoth have taken advantage of this market with their games. Castle Crashers, Alien Hominid HD, Splosion Man, Ms. Splosion Man, Comic Jumper, and The Maw have captivated gamers’ attention. These studios would probably be struggling or not doing as well if it were not for Xbox 360’s online success.

Let us not forget about the casual revolution we had in this generation of consoles. With the invention of the Wii, it allowed people who had never touched a video game to get into video games. Feeling the heat, both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 later added their own motion controller scheme in order to attract more consumers. Now your console has games for both the avid and non-avid gamer. Now console gaming is the center of home entertainment and has evolved beyond a simple gaming machine.

A gaming console has become more than just for games; it’s become the hub for entertainment. Playstation 3 implemented this by putting the HD player Blue Ray into its console. This was a bold move at the time making the Playstation 3 more than just a gaming console but a HD video player as well. With the addition of Netflix and Hulu now content is instantly streamed to your TV.

Will  these consoles go down in history?  That question  is  for a later time. The point is that the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii are consoles that deliver content to everyone. Consoles are more than just for video games.  They deliver content that no one ever thought of  in past generations. If you’re the hardcore gamer or the casual there is something out there for you. Now console gaming has overtaken PCs and developers that were once PC only are now moving their products over to the consoles. This is not to say that PC gaming is dead but is fighting an uphill  battle against the console market.