The Evolution of My Game Space

Growing up, having one’s own space was not easy to come by. My family wasn’t poor, but it was what one would describe as extended. I lived in a two-family home with my parents, sister, aunt, uncle, and their two children. Occasional my grandparents would be thrown into the mix. That led to some tight confines.

Having so many people around was a blessing and a curse. Every dinner was like a party, holidays were festive, and it always felt like there was company over. With that said, getting some privacy or alone time was a challenge. This was especially the case when trying to get some time to play a video game.

I was a Sega kid growing up, so while my friends had the NES, I was the weird kid with the Master System. Like most kids of my era, my console was plugged into the main TV, which was a pain in the ass, as I always had to battle with people for screen time. In my case, it was with my sister AND my cousins, who wanted to watch 21 Jump Street, or some other shit 1980’s show.

Some of my friends had their NESs hooked up to TVs in their bedrooms which totally blew my mind. I was so jealous of them and longed for one day having my own room with my own gaming setup. My hatred for them knew no bounds.

In Christmas of 1989, I got a Sega Genesis. This felt like a vindication after years of loyalty to the Sega brand. Being the weird Sega kid in a world of Nintendo was no longer such a bad thing, because I now had the hottest console at my fingertips. To accompany the console, I also got this cheap 19-inch CRT television from my aunt and uncle. My Genesis was hooked up to this tiny set in a spare room, which became my space, a refuge, if you will, and it was heaven. I’m sure it was heaven for everyone else too, as it freed up the main television so that everyone can watch MacGyver.

About a year later, my parents, sister, and I moved to another house down the road. This was the first time I had my own room. I had some major plans for this space, which were squashed when my mother pointed out that my ideas would never work. Never the less, what I had now was truly my own space. My bedroom became my gaming nexus and would remain so for nearly eleven years.

After college, my room started to feel cramped as hell. I felt like I had too much stuff, and a big television and all my gaming stuff were not helping. Sitting or lying down on my bed is also an uncomfortable way to play a video game if you’re an adult.

Also during this time, I had a girlfriend that despised video games. She could not stand the sight of them, so moving my consoles out of the bedroom was advantageous, since their mere presence ensured that no one, other than me, was going to be touching my ding dong. What can I say? I was in my early twenties and everything revolved around my ding dong. Come to think of it, nothing much has changed.

It was at this time when the entrepreneur in me hatched a plan. I was going to talk my parents into turning the unfinished basement into a den. Come to think about it, this was a better deal for them than it was for me. I agreed to do most of the work and purchase all the materials. In turn, the value of their home would go up.

For nearly a year, I toiled in this basement with a little help with my dad. The floor was tiled, lighting put in, walls plastered, and painted. I even put in crown fucking molding. I don’t even have crown molding in my own fucking house.

I then furnished the room with a big comfy sectional and put in a big heavy HDTV DLP for my gaming setup. After a year, the ultimate gaming setup was complete. Then, literally a week later, I got an opportunity to move to Italy, an offer too good to pass up. I dumped the video game hating girlfriend, packed my bags, and off I went. After spending a year building the ultimate game room, the only gaming I would be doing, would be on a Nintendo Gameboy Advance. I do not regret the decision.

My time in Italy was an opportunity to grow-up. It was life with a very small safety net. Mom and dad were half way around the world and I couldn’t go to them when things got tough, nor did I want to. But I wasn’t alone, I still had family and friends who watched out for me. I didn’t play a lot of games during this time, but the work I was doing was still game related, so I could stay on top of what was going on. I also had the chance to see how a different culture looks at gaming, which was the entire reason I was there. Eventually, my time in Italy came to an end and I packed up my bags to come home. As for my trusty Gameboy Advance, I gave it to my little cousin.

Returning home to my parent’s house after about a year away was a real shock to the system, but I did not stay long and moved out in less than six months. I simply could not be under my parent’s roof anymore, so I moved in with my best friend in south Florida and found a job in Miami.

That time in Florida was a blast. We built a cool gaming setup in the condo and when we weren’t working, we had some good times gaming, playing mostly sports games. What’s funny was that we didn’t have that much time to play video games. We were both working very hard starting off our careers and if we had any time to relax, playing video games was low on the list of things to do. We were in Miami after all, and there were more interesting things two guys in their early twenties with some disposable income could do in south Florida.

While in Florida, I met the girl that would eventually become my better half and we moved back up north and settled in New York City. We got a small yet ridiculously expensive apartment and furnished it as best we could. My girlfriend, who wasn’t a gamer indulged my gaming habit, unlike my ex. At times, she would sit and watch me play in the tiny living room, which also doubled as a dining room, kitchen, and guest room, because apartments in Manhattan are tiny.

Over the years, we moved up the corporate ladder, started earning more and moved into bigger places. Eventually, we bought a house. It was now that I started building my own dedicated gaming space again, one that would be like the one that I built in parent’s basement.

At the new house, I once again finished the basement and made it comfortable. One section was made into my own gaming sanctuary. I put up a large television, sectional, and shelves to display all my gaming tchotchkes that I collected over the years. It wasn’t as nice as the one in my parent’s basement, but it was damn near close. The difference is that this space was completely mine and mine only… for about two years.

I was in my own gaming space when the girl who indulged my gaming obsession, who became my wife told me that her contractions were getting close to each other. I was playing Mass Effect 3 when she gave me the news. I saved my game, calmly went upstairs, got the prepacked luggage, and calmly drove her to the hospital.

That was just over four years ago. That gaming space, the one in my very own basement, which nearly rivaled the one I built in parent’s basement, is gone. It has been replaced by a pop-up Cinderella castle, trampoline, toy boxes, painting easel, piano, rocking horse, and various assorted toys. It’s reminiscent of the Walmart toy section after a Black Friday sale, but less stabby. It’s not pleasant to look at and I pretend that it doesn’t exist, as it gives me anxiety.

I learned that when you have children, every section of the house becomes theirs. Everywhere you look, there’s evidence of this as toys are in every room. She walks into the house, throws off her jacket, kicks off her shoes, tosses away her socks, demands snacks, and my wife and just deal with it. We live in terror of our four-year-old.

There is no longer a place in my home that I can truly call my own, not even the bathroom. If I go to the bathroom to take one of my patented forty-five-minute-long morning dumps, within thirty seconds my daughter is banging on the door to ask me what I am doing. I now take my dumps at the office.

As for my current “gaming space,” I have a tiny corner in the basement. My consoles and many gaming related paraphernalia are behind closed media cabinet doors. The stuff that doesn’t fit on or in the cabinet are on tall shelves and the TV is mounted high off the ground, away from the reach of greasy, dirty little fingers. My daughter knows very well that she is to never, ever, touch anything in this small corner, as these are daddy’s toys and if she were to touch them, she would have to go live in the attic, with her evil brothers and sisters. Experts say that telling her this could be psychologically harmful, but she hasn’t yet disturbed my gaming space, so I’m just going to roll the dice on this one, for now.

It’s been nearly twelve years since I built that perfect gaming space in my parent’s basement and the quest to replicate it has become my personal white whale. It’s hard to say if I will ever build that perfect space again, but the journey so far has been fun, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Maybe one day, when the kids are married and out of the house, and I’m retired, I’ll build that perfect space, in lieu of buying a stupid sports car, taking up golf, or moving to a horrible condo in a retirement community in Florida. It’s a simple dream, for a simple man.

Marathoning Anything is a Bad Idea

I run a lot. I started running late winter of last year when I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror while getting out of the shower and threw up a little bit in my mouth.

I have always been a little bit of a jock, but I admit that I let myself go. Injuries, a bad job, and a bout with depression caused me to pack on pounds. Then one day I caught a glimpse of myself and did not recognize the person I saw, and like Forest Gump, I decided to become a shrimp boat captain. I also took up running.

The running lead to eating healthier, losing weight, rejoining a gym, and having a better outlook on life. I feel fit again which increased my confidence.

Also, if you’re a guy, losing weight makes your ding dong look bigger, which is an added bonus. Gyms should advertise this and their memberships would increase by 70%. JOIN NOW AND GET A BIGGER DING DONG! ™ I just trademarked that so don’t even think about stealing it or I’ll sue.

In less than a year, I’m back to my normal weight and ran a 5K and a 10K, which are quite the accomplishments for me, as I have never considered myself a runner. I have already started training for a half marathon and I have aspirations, of possibly running a full marathon in a year.

I used to live in Manhattan and every year, I looked forward to the NYC Marathon. It was just fun walking around and seeing the runners and cheering them on. There was an electricity in the air. Now, maybe a year from now, I will be among those runners.

Getting a little ahead of myself, I started looking into what a marathon training program was like, when I came across some of things that can occur to you during and after running a grueling 26.2 miles and HOLY FUCK!

Did you know that “runner’s diarrhea” is a thing? The adrenaline of running such a long distance, and the jostling of your guts, pulls blood from other areas of your body to your insides and can cause you to spontaneously shit your pants.

Long distance runners also have to worry about severe chaffing in their legs and nipples. And when I say severe, I mean bleeding nipples severe.

Speaking of blood, many marathon runners experience something called haematuria, which is fancy talk for PISSING BLOOD, but it’s okay, because that’s totally normal.

So it turns out that running a marathon is not actually a good for you. Also, by the way, the first person to actually run a marathon was a man called Philippides, who was a Greek courier. Back in 490 BC Philippides ran 25 miles from the battlefield in Marathon to the city of Athens, so he can announce the Greek victory over the Persians. He then promptly dropped dead from exhaustion.

Long and short of it, running a marathon has been a bad idea since its inception, and yet people continue to do it, because we’re dumb.

It’s really no surprise. Doing anything for a long amount of time is bad for you, including playing video games. I used to sit all day and night playing games after spending all day either sitting on my ass in a classroom or at my job.

Everyone now knows  that sitting long periods of time is bad for you and it’s the reasons why we’re getting fat. Humans are made to move and we simply don’t move all that much anymore.

What really scared scares the crap out of me though is something called deep vein thrombosis or DVT. Essentially, it’s a blood clot that can form in your legs after long periods of sitting or lying and if that clot breaks loose and it travels to your lungs or your brain you’re in serious trouble. Like pulmonary embolism or stroke kind of trouble.

David Bloom, a journalist at NBC News died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism from DVT while assignment in Iraq. He was sitting for long periods of time while embedded with combat units. I also imagine that as a journalist, he sat for long periods of time at a desk as well. He was only 39 years old.

So this is all scary stuff and it has caused me to change my lifestyle, and I’ll be serious for a minute and say that I hope everyone reading this heeds this advice. Bad habits die hard, and it gets harder the older you get. With all the great games that came out and are coming out this holiday, it’s tempting to sit around and play them all day. I can empathize, just remember to take a break every now and move for a bit. Don’t be like poor Philippides. Be more like Richard Simmons.

5 Creepy Video Game Clowns, Just in Time for Halloween

Have you heard that there’s a creepy clown epidemic going on? It’s true, the media is going crazy reporting scary looking clowns menacing small children and adults alike. As someone who has a fear of clowns, sometimes referred to as “coulrophobia,” this is not a good time for yours truly.

My fear of clowns is something very real. I don’t go around saying that I have a fear of clowns because I’m trying to be cool or different, and yes there are people out there that do that. Clowns are annoying and dumb to most people, but to me, they cause an irrational fight or flight response. Clowns exists to do one thing and that is to fuck with you.  That is their humor and raison d’être. They use you as a prop to make others laugh, and my fear is that I will be the one that is singled out in a crowd to be that prop.

My fear is well known amongst my family and friends. My sister once invited me to an off Broadway show in New York City. I asked what it was about and she said it was like Cirque du Soleil. I reminded her that if there was one thing that I hated more than clowns, it’s artsy, European clowns. She assured me that there would be no clowns. My sister, you should know is a liar. The ENTIRE show consisted of sad, artsy, European clowns.

In between each act, in which there were three, clowns would descend into the audience where they would proceed to fuck with the audience. I sat in my seat, frozen with anxiety, gripping the armrests, praying that they would not approach me. I had visions that one would sneak up on me and have me smell a flower on his lapel, only to get squirted in the face. He would then offer his handkerchief, which would have no end when trying to pull it out of his pocket. He would then drop something, asking me to pick it up for him, only to bend over so that he can kick me in the ass. The audience would laugh and I would have punched him the face. Children would cry and then I’d be the asshole. It’s a lose/lose situation.

Now I find myself in the middle of this creepy clown epidemic. There are clowns standing on street corners in the middle of the night as well as reports of them menacing children. It’s ridiculous and the people who are doing this obviously have nothing better to do. They’re just playing stupid pranks, which is, after all, what clowns do.

I was at the chiropractor for my regular treatment, as I’m old and my body is falling apart, and I was getting a massage, when my masseuse, who loves to talk, brought up the topic of the clown sightings. First off, I wish my masseuse would talk less and massage more. I’m here trying to relax and clowns make me tense. SHE SHOULD KNOW BETTER!

She then asks me when I think the clown sightings will stop and I said nonchalantly that it will end when someone like me severely hurts or worse case, kills one, and then it will stop. She then utters the dumbest thing I have ever heard. She says that she feels bad for the “professional” clowns who are probably seeing a decline in work due to the creepy clown sightings. I could not disagree more. I hope the entire clown industry crashes and never recovers.


  1. Mall Clown – Heavy Rain 

This incarnation of a fever dream is encountered relatively early in Heavy Rain. Ethan, the main protagonist, is asked by his son to purchase a balloon from this mall clown. Jason disappears shortly after. COINCIDENCE? I think not.

  1. Fargus – Pandemonium 1 & 2

I never played these games. I would see the box art in stores and see Fargus’ cold, dead eyes and be instantly turned off.

  1. Sweet Tooth – Twisted Metal Series

I loved the Twisted Metal series and one of the reasons why is because I could dispatch Sweet Tooth and his hoard of clown minions with extreme prejudice. Blowing up his demented ice cream truck had a cathartic quality for me.

  1. Adam McIntyre, aka Adam the Clown – Dead Rising 2 

What is up with mall clowns in video games? Adam the clown is a boss in Dead Rising 2.  Apparently, he went insane when zombies ate his audience. I say he was insane to begin with. One has to be to consider going into clowning as a profession.

Again, I experienced extreme satisfaction after defeating this clown and having him fall on his revving chainsaws. Rest in pieces Bozo.

  1. Nights – Nights into Dreams Series

Nights, I suppose, is a harlequin rather than your typical clown. Harlequins, as you know, originated in Italy in the late 16th century. Therefore, Nights is an artsy European clown and is the worst of the bunch. He’d be right at home at a Cirque du Soleil performance.

I was a Sega devotee growing up and had a Saturn. I picked up this game, despite there being a clown on the cover and against my better judgement. I so wanted to enjoy this game, but could not get into it. To this day I have no idea why people look back fondly at this title and its abomination of a main character.

Also, Nights only comes out at night (GET IT?), and in your dreams, so he’s essentially Freddy Kruger.

I’m sure I neglected to include many of your favorites. If so, let me know in the comments. Also, if you’re a clown, I’m sorry if I offended you. This is all a joke. Please don’t come to my house.

Why You Should Never Trust Someone that Wears a Suit Without a Tie – A Stupid Theory

The 1960s, like today, were very turbulent times. As legend has it, back in 1965, Jack Weinberg, leader of the Free Speech Movement told a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle, that he didn’t trust anyone over the age 30. Well, I’m over 30, and you can trust me, but do you know who shouldn’t trust? People who wear suits without a ties and this is a fact.

I will be level with you and fully admit that I despise the concept of suits. They are uncomfortable and restricting. They serve little purpose and are not practical.

Tuxedos on the other hand are awesome.  Whenever I wear a tux, I feel like a super spy, adept at firearms, martial arts, and seducing female Russian spies with my penis. I’m pretty sure that’s how espionage works.

There are instances when one has to wear a suit. I wear suits on only three occasions; weddings, funerals, and job interviews. I go to so many funerals, that my suit pockets are filled with memorial cards of deceased relatives only to be rediscovered at the weddings of living relatives.

One of the worst thing about suits is the tie. I feel like I’m being strangled whenever I wear one. I curse the man who invented the necktie. According to Wikipedia, the necktie was invented by Croatians (who I am no longer a fan of):

“The modern necktie spread by Europe during the time of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) when Croatian mercenaries from the Croatian Military Frontier in French service, wearing their traditional small, knotted neckerchiefs, aroused the interest of the Parisians. Due to the slight difference between the Croatian word for Croats, Hrvati, and the French word, Croates, the garment gained the name “cravat” (“cravate” in French). The boy-king Louis XIV began wearing a lace cravat about 1646, when he was seven, and set the fashion for French nobility. This new article of clothing started a fashion craze in Europe; both men and women wore pieces of fabric around their necks. From its introduction by the French king, men wore lace cravats, or jabots, that took a large amount of time and effort to arrange.”

And you know what? They still take a long time to arrange, but they are a necessary evil. If you are going to go through the effort of putting on a suit, one should go all out and wear a tie to have a “put together” look. I SUFFER FOR FASHION!

However, we’ve entered an age where more and more men are going around in suits without ties.  There’s something disconcerting about this. World leaders, businessmen, and executives alike have started donning suits without tie. This bothers me to no end.

A man in a suit without a tie looks sloppy and incomplete and should not be trusted.  Perhaps these men do this because they are trying to seem hip and loose. “Hey look at me! Look how cool I am. Sure, I’m wearing a suit,  but I’m cool because I’m not wearing a tie.”

But you’re actually not cool. You know who wore a tie every day of his life? Sinatra, and every member of the Rat Pack. When they told a lady friend that they were going to slip into something more comfortable, then would change out of a suit they were wearing and put on another suit!

See that images above? That’s the Rat Pack at a pajama party.

So where am I’m going with this?

I’ve noticed something disconcerting over the past few years when it comes to Sony’s press conferences. Something that has been occurring for years, and its bothers me to no end. Sony executives never ever wear ties with their suits.

It’s no surprise that Sony has lost a bit of cred with the gaming community. Look at them. They’re completely untrustworthy and they are not getting another penny from me until they either start wearing ties like the corporate shills that they are or embrace being phony casual, like the poser corporate shills at every other tech company.

Whether it’s the release of the over-hyped yet underwhelming No Man’s Sky, or raising the price of PSN, or the uninspired PlayStation 4 Pro, they have not been inspiring me lately and each announcement is made by a man in a suit without a tie.

On the other hand, Microsoft is showing that it truly cares for gamers and has turned over a new leaf.  No Microsoft executive has donned a suit, let alone a suit without a tie for quite some time. No wonder people are getting excited by what they are doing. One just needs to look at Phil Spencer and subconsciously feel like they can be trusted.

Don’t believe me? Think back to the last time an Xbox executive stepped out in a suit without a tie.

Need I say more?

Disclosure: This is my first attempt in fanboy conspiracy theory rabble raising.  Did I do this right?