Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The importance of a video game Bucket List

I love lists. I love creating goals for myself. I love dreaming big. You know what has all these elements and more? A Bucket List! I don't have one written down anywhere expect in my brain, and that's a big mistake. They are as important as your grocery lists. Even more so! We don't know how long we have on this Earth, and we should have something tangible that encourages us to make the most of our time. Shoot, I could die right now as I'm typing this...

...but I didn't! I was kind of scared for a moment, but now those few seconds are gone and I will never get them back. Why live my life in fear of when I might die, or (even worse) live to regret the things I never tried to do? That's why it's important to set goals for yourself, both long term and short. We don't know how much time we have to live, so we should try to make our time here as enjoyable as we possibly can, by pushing ourselves to achieve or pursue our dreams.

Some goals are simple like "I wanna lose 5 pounds" or "save $1000 by the end of the year". These are tangible, realistic goals that with a little planning and dedication, can be achieved. Other goals like, "learn to play the piano" or "beat my best half marathon time" require a more long term investment and cannot be achieved without lots of hard work or practice. These are goals, and they shouldn't be confused with what's on your bucket list. What's on your bucket list should be things you achieve outside your daily routine or something you might only be able to experience once in your lifetime. Visiting Japan, is on my real life bucket list. As is going to Wrestlemania. But what about my video game bucket list? What do I want to experience at least once in my life in the world of video games!?!?

Complete the endless set-list in Rock Band

This will happen, if all goes well, in about two weeks from today. I've always wanted to take the endless set-list challenge, but never had the time to do so. I could have done this by myself, but the way I always wanted to do the endless set-list was with at least three other people. Playing the game solo is fun, but with other people you really get the sensation of living out your rock band fantasy. I used to throw Rock Band party's, but the opportunity never presented itself where I could have a bunch of people in my place playing Rock Band for 6-8 hours.

The challenge was really intimidating in the beginning of the series. They had separate achievements for each difficulty level, and the no fail option couldn't be turned on in the first Rock Band. In RB2, you couldn't pause in between songs, or switch out party members. You had to have everyone connected for the duration of the set-list, and that put a lot of pressure on a group's endurance and wealth of batteries. But Rock Band 3 was more generous, and it doesn't matter what difficulty you play the set-list on to get the achievement. Songs don't start right away, so there isn't any pressure to have everyone stand and play for 6-8 hours straight; you can take breaks to use the bathroom, eat, or switch instruments.

Completing this set-list isn't impossible, but I wanted to achieve it in a party atmosphere. I didn't want it to be too challenging for everyone involved, and I want it to be an experience we all remember fondly, not just me. In a couple of weeks I have a day planned where me and a few of my friends will attempt this. I will try to live stream it too, on my new channel. If I complete this, it'll be a great start on my journey of completing my video game bucket list.

Visit an EVO tournament

I love watching EVO. I don't play many fighting games. I do fancy myself a Super Smash Bros. player, but no where near the competitive level. I have downloaded many a Street Fighter game, but mostly because I love the art direction and presentation of those games. I can barely beat the Arcade mode on medium difficulty, so I live out my fighter fantasy through streams of competitive players like Justin Wong.

EVO has grown exponentially over the years, and the crowds have become electric like at other sporting events or wrestling PPV's. I feel like you don't even have to be good at fighting games to enjoy watching high level players duke it out. Games like Street Fighter, Tekken, and Marvel vs Capcom are beautiful and easy to understand. Two players fight until one wins, that's it! It's easy to get wrapped up into the drama of watching any match between two highly capable players. But when you take that it raised the stakes to a super competitive and international level at EVO, it's hard to not get caught up in the whirlwind of emotions involved.

Some people can go on vacations whenever they want. I unfortunately don't have that luxury (yet). One year, I would love to venture to EVO, and experience first hand the excitement rather than watching it from my computer while I do the dishes or something. I want to cheer and slap hands with people. I want to root for my favorites and see all the different players from around the world competing at their very best. EVO is the closest we have in gaming to events like the SuperBowl or Wrestlemania. These events happen once every year, but the moments at each EVO occur once in a lifetime.

Compete at a regional VGC Pokemon tournament

I wrote about this at great length in a previous blog. This is technically a personal goal, but because life has always prevented me from seriously competing at a VGC, if I ever do it might be a once in a lifetime thing. I want to be able to say I did enter in a regional tournament once in my life. I took that plane or drove ten hours to try and be the very best that no one ever was. Pokemon is a series that I have been with since the beginning, and I feel like I need to one day prove that all those hours I've invested into the games hasn't gone to waste.

I honestly don't care if I win or lose. I just want to be a part of the experience. I want to talk with other players, and compete with the best. I don't want to be a spectator, like I would at EVO. I know I have what it takes to win at least a match or two, and then I can cross this goal off my bucket list. Once I do that, I can then add "Win 1st place at a regional VGC Pokemon tournament" to my bucket list.

Play at an Arcade in Japan

Japan. It's like my personal Mecca. The day I visit will be the day my spirit returns to what was probably it's original birth place. I've always had a strong fascination with the culture of Japan, even outside the world of video games. But Japan is the birthplace of Nintendo, Sony, and nearly most of what made video games possible today. Visiting Japan is on my bucket list, but how do I celebrate my arrival in the motherland of gaming? By playing video games of course!!!

I don't want to be another tourist, snapping pictures of the Kyoto Nintendo headquarters or simply shopping in the Shibuya district. I want to feel what it's like to live as a gamer in Japan. I want to go to the Sega and Namco arcade buildings. I want to visit the small underground arcades and sit next to the intense and competitive Bust-a-Move players. I want to literally bust a move in front of a crowd playing DDR. And then high five the dude who can do Sandstorm on Expert when he jumps on. Arcades are a relic in this country, but they are alive and well in Japan. I want to experience that at least once in my life.

Attend a PAX event

When PAX prime first appeared in 2004, I knew I wanted to attend. It was like comic con, for video games! That statement alone is surreal. But it has grown dramatically since it's inception with PAX East, PAX Dev, PAX Australia, and next year PAX South. These events were created for the fans by fans, and every year more developers come out and show their support for PAX. A lot of big game announcements are made, and a lot of demos for new games are displayed.

If I went to PAX, I would visit a lot of the panels they present. I love hearing experts in gaming come together and talk about various aspects of the game industry; from social issues to game design. PAX also presents a lot fun tournaments you don't see normally done on a large scale. For example, this year at PAX prime they are holding a Mario Kart: Double Dash tournament! I would totally sign up for that.

Despite the controversy over the years, there is a lot to love about PAX, and I would love to venture out to either PAX East or Prime one day.

Host a 24-hour gaming session for charity

I see a lot of these on, usually for charity or other events. I would love to host or be a part of something like this, and stay awake for the full 24 hours. I only remember staying awake for 24 hours about four times in my life, and sadly I wasn't playing video games the whole time. But I love these concepts and especially if it's for a charity, it seems like it would be a fun and rewarding experience. 

I don't know how likely this will be for me now, and hopefully I can achieve it while I'm still young. I have two kids and ever since I became a Dad it's been a lot easier for me to fall asleep due to exhaustion. I would probably have to train for this event, or the stars would have to align for something in my schedule to allow this. I also would need a good group of friends who would rotate shifts and stay up with me. As for the games, I would want the 24 hour session to cover a wide variety as opposed to one game or series.

Plus I can wear that nifty 24 hour gaming badge you get once you complete this. Right!?! 

...What? You don't get a badge? There' badge?

Enter a video game tournament with my kids

I don't know what the future has in store for my life. I do know video games will play a big part of it, as it always has. But lately my passion has been evolving around my girls taking up and playing games. I had a DS in my oldest daughter's hand since she was one and a half, and she hasn't put it down. She's picked up quite a few games since then, and mainly plays with the Wii now and gets better everyday. My youngest, now two, has her own DS that she loves playing and rarely lets go. It's only a matter of time before I start taking them to tournaments and watch them play against other people.

How cool would it be if I enter a regional Pokemon tournament a few years from now, and my daughter enters in the junior division? It wouldn't be the first time that has happened, there are a few well known family competitors that enter the Pokemon tournaments. Or maybe we'll be entering a Smash Bros. or Mario Kart tournament together one day. Whenever that day happens, there is going to a big fat smiley face next to that check mark.

Lose to my kids in video games, without trying to

One day, the student will be the master. When that day comes, I will know my job has been done. It will probably be one of the most defining moments of my life, the day my girls can consistently beat me in video games. I probably will cry. Not because I had my butt whipped, but because I did my job has a parent. All the years playing games, the skills I have developed, will now have been passed on through my girls. And they will be better at games than I could have ever possibly dreamed to be.

What game will it be? When will it be more than one game? What game will they want to beat me in? And will I ever be able to beat them again? These are questions I can't wait to find the answer to, and this is probably the most important item on the list. Next to...

Give my grandchild their first gaming system

I have been gaming all my life. I grew up with a NES in the household, and currently have the Wii U. So much has changed over the years, and I'm amazed with how far we've come. My daughter has it really good right now with the technology and quality of games that are available to her, I can't imagine what's going to be around when my grandchild is born into this world.

Will it be a Nintendo console? Will it be a portable console? Am I going to have to purchase a special chip that needs to be implanted in the baby's brain for them to play games? Wherever we are in the world of gaming by that point, I will be at the hospital #dayone with console in hand. It will be my duty, no, honor to gift such a special token to my grandchild. It will be pretty symbolic, and I can't wait until I can check this off from my list.

So that's my list. I'm sure I will add more to it as time goes on. Having a list like this inspires me to live my life to the fullest, which is something we should all be trying to do. Whatever your passion is, I recommend you create a bucket list for that as well, because it might inspire you to think differently about the way you approach your hobby. I want to live a great normal life, but I also want to live a fantastic life around video games. Hopefully, when my time on this Earth is over, I will have checked off every item on this list.

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