The Days Are Just Packed, Part 1

Hey folks,

Well, summer is in full swing now, and July has already snuck up on me!  It’s been too long since my last post, so I’ve got a lot of details for you readers to get caught up on:

First off, if you remember my last post, I told you I would make sure I started the summer off right by taking a few weeks off.  Fortunately, with nothing major on my plate, I got a chance to do just that:

Besides enjoying some hard earned game time, I took a day with some friends to head over to Seattle and visit the Asian Art Museum, part of the SAM (Seattle Art Museum).  I unfortunately didn’t take any photos from inside the museum, but I did get a nice picture of the view from outside:









Besides being situated in a nice park on a gorgeous day, the museum wasn’t too shabby either!  Because its focus was on a region, instead of a style, there was some really interesting and varied art on display, both ancient and modern.  Featuring ancient statues, ceramics (including a really cool collection of tiny handmade snuff bottles), and paintings, there was plenty to consider.  But arguably the most unique piece was an animated painting from Chiho Aoshima, a Japanese artist who, after viewing her work, I can’t say if I like her style or not!  Its very unique to say the least, with bright colors, and some interesting concepts.












Half of me really likes the simplicity, color, and well, ‘pop’, of her drawings.  Part of me just thinks its all very weird.  I think it’s a perpetual writer/programmer conflict for me!  Still, it was worth the visit, and I recommend the art museums to anyone visiting Seattle with an interest in some unique works.  As for us, we concluded the day with some real Chinese food, including some delicious dim sum.

But I’ve obviously done more than just visit museums in the past month!  Some of the things were silly, some of them were hard work, but all of them were fun.

Ironically, now that I’m what could be called “an older generation of gamer”, who readily states how, back in my day, a) games were harder (they were, actually), and b) some games are so good they deserve to be played even today, I have a responsibility to the younger generation to instruct them how they are, a) always wrong, and b) don’t know what ‘good’ is.  In that vein, another ‘ancient’ gamer, my friend Mickey, and myself, took it upon ourselves to educate the ‘young whippersnappers’ about how games should be.

Since some of our friends up at school are up to ten years younger than us, and came of age when 3D graphics were already established, we’ve spent a couple weekends ‘powergaming’ and educating them.  DigiPen has a really cool library with old consoles and video games available for students to check out.  With our mission in mind, we grabbed an old Super Nintendo and had our friends play through a classic: Chrono Trigger.

For those who don’t know, Chrono Trigger is universally regarded as one of the best games ever made, even today.  It was one of my favorite games growing up, and holds up remarkably well.  Because it was made at the tail end of the last 2D generation of consoles, it has art and music that still stands up to time.  And because it’s mechanics are so solid and refined, it is still very fun to play.  But the best part of Chrono Trigger is undeniably the characters.  Though it is absolutely a game made for kids, it has one of those stories that appeals to adults as well.










Or at least, that was the hope!  All too often, fond memories from our childhood don’t hold up to scrutiny today – Dad, I’m so sorry for making you watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze so many times.  At the time, I really felt like the turtles deserved an Oscar for their stunning acrobatic performance!

So it was both fun and terrifying to watch some of our younger teammates play the game.  Teammates who have grown up with 3D games being a fact of life.  Teammates who really started to play games when I was playing Halo my freshman year of college.

Part of the fun came from the fact that Chrono Trigger is not exactly a linear game,  with the choices presented throughout the story  impacting how the game plays out.  With the availability of choices, the ultimate ending to the game can be very different for each person who plays.  So with that in mind, Mickey and I took great delight in making every choice as agonizing as possible for our friends, even if some choices really weren’t that big a deal.  Fortunately, our teammates kept moving forward with good humor, and ultimately, came back with the verdict:  It really was an outstanding game, even after all this time!  For once, the memories and the hype hold up – huzzah!

Whew, well this post is already going a bit long – but I’ve still got plenty of stuff to talk about!  I haven’t even touched on my trip to California, some of crazy math I’m learning for 3D physics, or a few other stories, as well.  And I’ve still got the 4th coming up, plus a weekend lake trip right after that.  Stay tuned for Summer Slam, Part 2, coming up in a few weeks!


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