Tuesday, 5 December 2017

My opinion on The Mail on Line complaining about child abuse in the game Detroit.

The Mail Online has recently republished a story from the Mail on Sunday newspaper that takes aim at Detroit: Beyond Human, the upcoming game from Quantic Dream helmed by David Cage. I read the article and then I made sure to watch the games trailer and to watch as many interviews and pieces on it as I could because I wanted to comment on the game and the news story.

Unfortunatly the media can seldom look at a video game without going into controversy mode. The paper claimed that ''Abusers will get off on this stuff''' that the game was ''repulsive'' because it shows a girl aged 10 being beaten to death by her father. The founder of ChildLine Esther Rantzen has also urged the publisher to either remove the scene or withdraw the game and as both a gamer and a former volunter for two childrens charitys which unfortunatly no longer exist I think she is completly wrong and I will now try to explain why.

Basically as far as I believe the Mail Online's article is  presenting Detroit the game as something that is using child abuse for the purposes of amusement. To be honest I think its an old fashioned idea the concept that all games are is amusment. Video Gaming is one of the most popular forms of media at present and  before you judge it too harshly for featuring something you need to first stop and ask if you would judge another form of media the same way if it used the same subject matter and then you have to try to ask what kind of feelings is it trying to evoke, what kind of message is it trying to get across. I also think you have to ask if the event is avoidable in the game, are you taking part in the abuse, are you trying to stop it or are you an observer.

Ok so lets handle the easiest answer first and thats the fact that this abuse scenario is also unlikely to occur in most playthroughs, because it is the outcome of the player's complete inaction and is therfore avoidable. You get to see the way things are headed and can cut this off at the pass so to speak

Ok I think I need to stop and say that Detroit's trailer, first shown at the Playstation Experience at Paris Games Week, was proberbly made knowing it would achieve some backlash, its even possible that they are eating up any controversy generated as lets face it controvery sells, if people are talking about something then its gaining it attention.

Ok continuing on the player is not participating in the domestic violence scene but is in fact an observer, an android named Kara. I think its important to note your note the abuser, this game is not presenting the abuse as titilation, it is holding the scene up like a mirror that is reflecting something horrid and uncomfortable that actually happens in real life.

So the scene in question features a young girl and her abusive father. The fartheris in  a rage and at one point gets out his belt to beat the girl. Kara a home-help android observes this. One of Detroit's themes is self-determination, the ability to make choices, and this scene centres around whether the player in the role of Kara decides to break her programming and try to help the girl. The trailer goes to great lengths to show the amount of possible intervention points, and the way the story can branch off  including the above route where things go badly wrong as well as several other possible outcomes. The Paper and those who it has interviewed seem to be under the impression that the players character is the one commiting the violence. Now while I am not saying that you cant have an oppinion unless you have played the game (Obviously I wouldnt say that as I am talking about it and I havent played it) I do think its unfair to judge the game when you clearly dont really know enough about it, its just not fair to do and I am sure the paper nor these individuals would want me making a snap judgment about them without a full set of facts and a large degree of fact checking and recchecking and I think thats the kind of curtosy they should have extended to this game and its developers and publisher.  I am not judging the game yet, I am merly talking about it and about if certain areas should be taboo for games or for any form of media or not.

OK so I want to deal with what a few people have said about this game. I will start with the Conservative MP Damian Collins, Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, who said the following: ''It is completely wrong for domestic violence to be part of a video game regardless of what the motivation is. Domestic violence is not a game and this simply trivialises it. I worry that people who play this who themselves have suffered abuse will use this game to shape the way in which they deal with abusers. It’s dangerous to plant the seed in people’s minds that the way to deal with abusers is to use violence against them. It’s counter-productive and could put them in even more danger'. Ok so basically he says its wrong to have domestic violence in a game fullstop, and then worries that abusers might get attacked as a result of this game. I have a two fold answer to this. One, many forms of Media have dealt with difficult and distastful aspects of human life on multiple occasions, this is not something new at all. Games are a relativly new medium compared to books or even films and they originally started as something very basic, as a toy for children and those who liked to experiance new and diffrent forms of entertainment, but they are progressing and as they progress much like the other forms of media they will start expanding into new areas. Least we forget that Lee Harpers To Kill a MockingBird was once considerd incredably controversial for its tackling of racial injustice, for the fact it held a light up to the fact that we as people could judge people for the colour of there skin, that we could be taken in by a mob mentality. Some of To Kill A Mocking Bird feels kind of akward to read for many people but it is an absolute classic and it is a classic because it holds this mirror up which reflects some of the worse mankind has to offer. I would argue that this is exactly what this game appears to be doing, it is showing the player child abuse, confronting him or her with it and asking them how they feel about it, but more than this it is asking them do they really want to stand there and watch this or do they want to or even need to get involved? It is questions like these that need asking in order for society to change, for it to move forward and for us to tackle some of the darker issues. A whole wide range of people play games now, some of who would not dream of picking up a book, so why is it wrong to reach out to them and put these ideas in front of them, to confront them with them?

The journalist and presenter Esther Rantzen offered her perspective ''But I’ve never heard of little girls being beaten with a belt as part of a game. That, in my view, is not just savage, it’s seriously damaging. Who would play such a game for fun? People who are impervious to the suffering of children.We never want anyone to believe that beating a child to death with a belt is the stuff of entertainment. It should never be trivialised or turned into a game. I call upon Sony Interactive Entertainment to think again and withdraw this game, or at least remove this scene where a virtual child is put in life-threatening danger. If you don’t, real children may suffer.''

Again, Rantzen is mistakenly under the impression that the player is an active participant in the domestic abuse. Clearly she doesn't know much about Detroit beyond what the journalists interviewing her have told her and you need to remember they will have told her only what they know and more than that they will have told her what they want in the way they want in order to try to get some quoatable lines from her which will allow them to write the kind of report they want to write. Rantzen's suggestion that anyone interested in this game is "impervious to the suffering of children" isjust plainly wrong. Rantzen's position basically seems to be that child abuse should be a taboo topic for the most important entertainment medium of our age Video Games. Does she not realise that a lot of people simply want to deny that child abuse happens and that this game could not only confront them with it but it could do so in a way where they dont feel they are being preached at and it could actually make them stop and think about the situation. If she had shown a little more thought and looked into this in more detail I would like to hope she would have a morre balance opinion.

So here we have a game tackling a hot button topic, something which I think needs raising, needs debating, that we should no longer be silent about and people are trying to silence it. The game is not trying to turn a profit through abuse it is trying to produce a piece of entertainment which will make money, bring people enjoyment and hopefully make people stop and think. What is the newspaper trying to do? In my humble opinion it is grabbing hold of half truths and running with them to produce a story which feeds into a set idea, they are feeding a largly media created panic in order to sell papers so who is the real one exploiting abuse here?

Monday, 4 December 2017

My thoughts on the fall in school children who have part-time jobs.

There has been a recent newspaper article about how the number of school children who have part-time jobs has fallen by a fifth in the past five years. This has gotten people talking about how having a Saturday job used to be a rite of passage for many children and about how this might affect there future.

Now I am not saying that when I was a kid everyone had a part time job but I certainly had my fair share. While I was growing up I had all kinds of jobs, I guess it started when I was really young with one of my older brothers giving me some of his paper round pay if I would help him, I had no idea what he was paid but if I helped him for a bit then he gave me enough for some sweets or a comic book. In all honesty it was kind of neat, I got to spend time with my brother and then could go home to watch Transformers. Years latter when I was about 15 I worked for an auction, I held things up, I took money on the door, I then made money by using an industrial carpet cleaning machine to clean shop carpets as my sort of own mini business on the side. I went from this to being a cleaner for Safeways, then I was a cleaner for an old peoples home and finally I was a cashier at a CO-OP, All of these jobs were before I finished my A levels.

So why are less kids getting part time jobs? Well according to Dr Angus Holford from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex young people in compulsory education are fearful that a part-time job could hinder their performance at school he said that "Teens are being told evermore that you need to get good GCSEs and A-levels to get a good job in the long term," Now having a 15 year old daughter who is currently sitting a second bunch of mock GCSE's and has brought home what must be the 47th progress review. She seems to constantly be being reviewed in some way shape or form and being told how important her grades are, having each and every teacher try to tell both her and me how there lesson is the very most important lesson and how my daughter should do her very hardest to try and make sure that this is the lesson she truly excells in and gets the very best grade in. On top of this there is so much home work compared to when I was young, she proberbly gets the homework in a week that I would have gotten in a month. School also seems to have become obsessessed with both credits and demerits. You can get demerits and detentions for the stupidest of things, one PE teacher wanted to give my daughter a dention because she had forgoten a PE sock, one singular sock. When I was a kid you basically had to do something serious like tell a teacher to fuck off or be continuously disruptive in order to get a detention. Is it any wonder that lots of kids dont feel that they can or want to work part time on top of all of this? Also one of the major types of employment for youngsters used to be paper rounds and with the availability of news online paper sales are down so theres a lot lower need for delivery boys/girls.

Are kids missing out by not having a part time job? Well apparently research has shown that not taking on a Saturday or holiday job could be detrimental to a person later on in life. A 2015 study by the UK Commission on Employment and Skills found that not participating in part-time work at school age had been blamed by employers' organisations for young adults being ill-prepared for full-time employment. It also said this had negative implications for workforce productivity. I think the truth of the matter is that there are certain skills you learn in the world of work that cant be learned in a class room or from a book. I ended up being a supervisor when I was quiet young, but I had worked my way up from the ground, despite getting a degree I also became a manager off the strength of my work not from my studies and I think this made the people under me have a lot more respect for me. We got a lot of graduate managers come into the business and in all honesty they were often cringe worthingly bad because despite having one set of knowldge book smarts they didnt have a whole bunch of other skills.

So am I worried about my daughter? Not in the slightest as she took it upon herself to go and get a job working for a charity shop. Not only does this mean that she is working with diffrent people and learning skills she otherwise wouldnt the nature of the business and her volunteer status also means that they dont put undue pressure on her or try to get her to increase her work scedule. She gains the same skills she would from a paid job but is also free to say she wont be coming in around exam periods and on top of this she has the satisfaction of knowing that she is making a positive impact on the world around her while managing to maintain her studies.

I have to admit that I think more kids should get involved in charity work for the above reasons. So many people are focused on work for pay but the skills you can learn can be worth far more in the long run, charitys need volunteers to survive and kids need the experiance to develop its a symbiotic relationship in which everyone benefits. Not all kids are going to see the value in this but that proberbly says more for the bad shape society is in than anything.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

What I have been playing recently: One. Trials Fusion Awesome Max, Trackmania Turbo, and Ducati 90th Anniversary The Official VideoGame

So I thought it was about time to do a bit of a What I have been playing recently post. It has been awhile since I have done a post like this so I felt like it was about time. I have actually been playing a lot of different things so I am going to split this across a few posts.

I have spent a little bit of time here and there on Trials Fusion, well on its Awesome Max Levels Expansion to be precise. I basically tried to go through all of the Awesome Max levels expansion and get a medal on every track. For a set chunk of this you are a machine gun holding cat riding a Unicorn. Yes it is as crazy and as awesome as it sounds, its a thrilling ride as everything seems to shift around you in seconds, you will be in a lab and then in a spaceport then in a temple quicker than you can blink. It could be argued by some that this is a distraction which makes the tracks a little tougher than they otherwise would be but then Trials Fusion is at its very best when your screaming at it one second and then pumping your fist in the air in triumph the next. If I have one big complaint it is that your not allowed to use the cat and the unicorn anywhere other than their dedicated stages, you also cant use a bike on these Unicorn based levels, for me that would have been the ideal unlockable reward, finish all the levels as the Cat and Unicorn and then you can try them with a dirt bike and can take the cat and unicorn combo out onto the rest of the tracks the game has to offer. There are not actually that many levels with the unicorn but this piece of DLC also has 22  other tracks half of which was  created by the studio itself and the other half by the ''best members'' of the player community.I managed to get a medal on all of the Unicorn levels but found myself struggling on a few of the harder ones amongst the other 22.

I also tried my hand at Trackmania Turbo, it had been one of the free Xbox Gold games and to be honest at first I didn't much like the look of it but after trying it I can see that its actually not a bad game at all, it actually kind of has quiet a bit in common with Trials Fusion in that its a game where your using a vehicle to complete tracks and win medals. The faster you can finish the track the better a medal you get unlike Trials your racing in cars not on bikes or unicorns but its actually not a bad game at all. It has that same one more go sort of feel to it that Trials does but the difference is I don't think the controls are quiet as tight, this means that when things go wrong I don't always blame myself sometimes I find myself blaming the game where as every time I fail in Trials I am sure it is my fault and that's what has made me keep going back to Trials.

I guess I have been doing a fair bit of racing of one kind or another because I have also been playing Ducati 90th Anniversary The Official VideoGame a motorbike racing game apparently based on the engine from the game Ride but with only one brand of bike in it. In all honesty its not a bad game it was £5 during a sale and I figured I would get it to sort of test the waters, I thought that if I enjoyed it enough then I might actually get Ride. In all honesty though while the games a good enough game I think its scratched enough of an inch in the bike racing department that I will probably continue to ignore Ride and just return my attention to Forza and other various car racers.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Retro Game purchases: November 2017

I started Novembers retro game purchasing by getting Warlock for the SNES cart only for £5 (American), this was ordered just before Halloween with free postage but this is the date it arrived and I never count a retro game until its in my hands.

On the 3rd I went in to a pawn store and picked up the following games Super Monkey Ball Deluxe complete for XBOX for 50pence, 50 Cent Bulletproof complete for XBOX for 50pence, Sonic Heroes (classics version) complete for XBOX for 50pence, Project Gotham Racing (Classics version) complete for XBOX for 50pence, and LMA Manager 2002 complete for PS1 for 50pence. They also threw in a just the disc version of Sega GT2002/ Jet Set Radio Future (both games on one disc) for free. Ironically it was probably the freebie I was most happy about but overall I would call it a good day.

On the 9th I went into a charity shop and got Outlaw Tennis for xbox complete for £1 and Championship Manager season 01/02 for xbox complete for £1. I had played a lot of Championship manager back in the day so it was cool to grab hold of it again.

On the 10th I went to a shop which sold retro collectibles, most of it was old fashioned plates and various shop signage such as metal Coke and Pepsi signs but I did managed to grab Blast corps for N64 cart only for £3 and Wetrix for N64 cart only for £4. It was nice to go to a different place and I have my girlfriend to thank for finding it. I might not have got much and there might not actually have been a lot of console or computer stuff there but it was just a really neat place to visit. It also helped that it had a great coffee shop on the same plot of land.

On the 11th I grabbed Dance stage party edition complete for PS1 for £1 and Destroy all humans complete for Xbox for £1

On the 16th I received rugrats the movie for gameboy colour cartridge only £1.50, this was from ebay and the price includes postage so I cant grumble about it at all.

On the 17th I went to a charity shop where I picked up Killzone complete for PS2 for 30pence

On the 20th I got Ferrari Grand Prix Challenge for megadrive complete for £3 this was from an online seller and includes postage.

Then on the 25th I went into Granger Games and I got Free running complete for psp for £1. I noticed it was by Rebellion games and as I have really enjoyed some of there work I thought I would grab it. I also went into Game where I got Final fantasy tactics A2 grimoire of the rift complete for DS for £15. This Final Fantasy was my most expensive purchase this month but I don't regret it even the slightest bit as the PSP Final Fantasy Tactics game gave me 180 hours worth of playtime. I think this is quiet possibly my favourite purchase of the month.

On the 26th I nipped into an indy store where I got Street Showdown for PSP complete for 75p, WarioLand 4 GBA cart only for £5, and Sonic 2 for megadrive cart only for £1

I ended the months purchases on the 27th by buying Toy Story Racer gameboy colour cart only £1 from a charity shop.

If I have added up all of my purchases correctly then I spent £47.55 on retro games this month which is an all time low for me, but its been a busy month. I got engaged so obviously I had spent a lot of time and money on looking for the right ring for my wonderful lady, and I had also been spending time and money on getting ready for Christmas.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Tennis for Two, probably the first real Video Game.

So what was the first ever Video Game? Well that depends upon exactly how you define the term Video Games but there is a very big case to say that the first game was something called Tennis For Two which was made in October 1958 by the Physicist William Higinbotham. It was a very simple tennis game which a lot of people have proberbly never heard of. Every time I ask someone what they think the first game is I often hear Pong but that didnt come about until the 1970s, other will claim Space War which although it came before Pong was a full 3 years after Tennis for Two.

So the creator of Tennis for Two Higinbotham was born on October the 25th in 1910, the point where he becomes more intresting to gamers would proberbly be after he had graduated from Williams College (in 1932), and then went on to graduate school in physics at Cornell University. It was at Cornell as a graduate student he worked as an electronics technician. In 1941, he joined the MIT Radiation Lab, where he worked on cathode ray tube displays for radar systems. In 1943 he moved to Los Alamos to work on electronics for a timing system for the atomic bomb.

It was in 1948 he joined Brookhaven National Laboratory’s instrumentation group and he served as head of that group from 1951 to 1968. It was during this time that Brookhaven held annual visitors’ days, during which thousands of people would come to tour the lab. Higinbotham was responsible for creating an exhibit to show off the instrumentation division’s work. Higinbotham had felt that most of the exhibits were pretty dull and he thought that he could provide something which would better capture visitors’ attention.I have to admit that I love the fact that this guy was smart enough to be working on things such as radar and atomic bomb timing systems and yet didnt basically go sod people either there smart enough to want to come see and understand this stuff or there not, he actually stopped to think about how he could grab ahold of peoples attention in a new and intresting way. For me this is an excample of an idea of what I think should be at the very center of  both every lesson a teacher provides and every game idea a stuido comes up with ''how can I engage with my audience, how can I grab them and pull them in.''

In order to do this he created an interactive demonstration, what he created was the video game Tennis for Two . He later recalled in a magazine interview that he had thought “it might liven up the place to have a game that people could play, and which would convey the message that our scientific endeavors have relevance for society.”

The instrumentation group had a small analog computer that could display various curves, one of the things he realised he could do with this was to display what would appear like the path of a bouncing ball, on an oscilloscope. Apparently it took Higinbotham only a couple of hours to dream up the idea of a tennis game, and only a few days (with help) to actually put everything togther and get it up and working. Higinbotham made some drawings showing what he wanted, and blueprints were drawn up from these. Technician Robert Dvorak spent about two weeks building the device and after a little debugging,Tennis for Two was ready for its debut.

Players could turn a knob to adjust the angle of the ball, and push a button to hit the ball towards the other player. As long as they pressed the button when the ball was in their court, players couldn’t actually miss the ball, but if they hit it at the wrong time or hit it at the wrong angle, the ball wouldn’t make it over the net. Balls that hit the ground would bounce like a real tennis ball. When the ball went off the court or into the net, players hit a reset button to start the next round.

OK so Tennis for Two might not have been the most sophisticated games but look at the fact that the guy didnt have anything to copy when coming up with this idea well other than the actual sports game called tennis. It also had none of the fancy graphics video games have today, no soundtrack or achievments but it was a start and at the time it must have seemed like absolutly magic. The cathode ray tube display simply showed a side view of a tennis court represented by just two lines, one representing the ground and  one representing the net. The ball was just a dot that bounced back and forth.The game didnt even keep score, that was totally up to the players to do. The game circuitry was fairly simple, using mostly resistors, capacitors and relays, though it did use transistors for the fast switching needed when the ball was in play.

I know that there are proberbly people who hearing all of this would think that Tennis for Two sounds super lame butVisitors loved it. It quickly became the most popular exhibit, with people standing in long lines just to get a chance to play it.

The first version, used in the 1958 visitor’s day, had an oscilloscope with a tiny display, only five inches in diameter. The next year, Higinbotham improved it by putting in a larger display screen. He also added something to the game, he added the ability for the game to simulate stronger or weaker gravity, so visitors could play tennis on the moon, Earth or Jupiter. I guess if you wanted to you could say that this was the first ever expansion pass or DLC.

After two years, Tennis for Two was retired. The oscilloscope and computer were taken for other uses, and Higinbotham designed a new visitor’s day display that showed cosmic rays passing through a spark chamber.

So did Higinbotham make millions from this game, did it ever go into homes or set the world alight? The truth is that Higinbotham had already patented 20 inventions, and he didn’t actually think that his tennis game was particularly innovative. Sure he had seen that the Brookhaven visitors liked the game, but he had no idea how popular video games would later become. Even had he had the foresight to patent the game, since he worked at a government lab, the federal government would have owned the patent, so he wouldn’t have made any money from it. “It never occurred to me that I was doing anything very exciting. The long line of people I though was not because this was so great but because all the rest of the things were so dull,” he once said.

Higinbotham only became well known as the inventor of the video game after an article appeared in Creative Computing magazine in 1982, yet I would argue that he is a very important figure in the history of Video Games. He also helped found the Federation of American Scientists and served as its first chairman and executive secretary. Higinbotham died in November 1994 and unfortunatly I think there are a great many gamers who have never even heard his name. That is why I choose to talk about him today in Novermber and to say Thank you Mr Higinbotham, thank you for your contribution to one of the hobbies closest to my heart may you rest in peace.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

The things I dont buy retro Video Game wise and why.

Now I always talk about what I buy retro game wise and sometimes I can grab a lot of stuff, sometimes to the extent that people believe I simply buy every single old thing I see, and this is not the case at all.  I am very focused on price for me to buy something I have to see it as being sold for a good price, now obviosly price depends on the object but it also depends upon its condition, where it is being sold and all manner of other factors. Just recently I saw a Commodore64 for sale it was in  a charity shop for £195, it was the machine, its wires, its tape deck and about 30 boxed games some of them being the cassette sized ones some being the larger premium box ones. Now I love and support many charities , I buy from them, donate to them (both cash and items to sell) I even used to be a volunteer but I have to admit some of them at times can take the piss with over pricing and selling stuff in poor condition (stained clothes, very badly scratched DVD's). Now I am not saying that no one will buy the Commadore64 for that kind of cash but it is more than I would pay for the machine for a great many reasons, 1 its not a machine I have much history with other than playing it at friends houses when I was young, 2 no one has unlimited house space and thats something I will take into account when buying machines and such sure if the price is a teasingly cheap one I will throw caution to the wind, 3 Mainly I just dont think the machine and these games are worth that kind of money to me. I already have a sizable collection of home computers including a Boxed Sinclair Spectrum +2 , a boxed Dragon32, a boxed Vic20 and then some loose machines. In honesty I knew that if I had grabbed it then I would have taken photos of it, looked at it a little bit and then just put it away in a cupboard, buying it would have proberbly given me a huge rush for a day or two but there are just so many other things I could and should spend the money on, after all Christmas is fast approaching. I do hope that someone does get the machine, someone who it has far more emotional ties to, someone who will appreciate it, who will use it, and who will gain a lot more from it for a lot longer time than I would have done.

So some of the time there are issues which prevent me from purhasing certain items, one would be cost but in all honesty one of the simple issues is that so much of the stuff out there really is not suitable for anyones collection, you dont have to go far to find several badly batterd super scratched copies of various old Fifa games with cases coverd with a mix of cracks and stains and discs that dont look even playable. At the very least these games would need a resurface in order to play and resurfacing games is a risky busines, if you dont know when they resurface discs basically they skim layers off them in the hop of loosing the scratches along with the layer, take to many layers though and they are no longer playable. A lot of these games with extensive scrathes are not worth the cost of a resurface as it basically amounts to a gamble where at best you have a working copy of a worthless game and at best you have paid a small sum of money and still have a useless disc out the end of it, so its hardly a gamble worth taking. Sure if you saw a rare game with a high value going for a pound or two and it was badly scratched then it might very well be worth buying and taking the risk as yes you could resurface it and it still not work but at least there is a gamble there with a very positive outcome as one of the possibilities. I recently got a very badly scrathed disc only copy of Crash Team Racing for the original Playstation for 30p, and copies of this even disc only ones sit on Amazon with asking prices in the range of £30.

I would like to say I have exact hard and fast rules on what I do and dont buy but I suffer from a lot of stress and anxiety and what I buy fluctuates, obviously I never buy absolutly batterd in crap for loads of money, but sometimes I will grab a cheap game I dont even need, sometimes I will grab a second copy of a game I own just because its cheap I am feeling low and I need the little pick me up purchasing it will provide. I never pay over the odds for anything and I always figure that I can always sell a little bit of stuff if money is ever tight. Recently I have started trying to be harsher with myself trying to hold the purchasing desires in check and I think I have been doing a decent job of it, sure you will still see that I buy quiet a bit every month but its the things I dont buy that have increased, I try as much as I can to fight the urges to spend so that I control the hobby and the hobby doesnt control me.

I do have a lot of hard and fast rules that I am not trying to complete any set of games largly because I dont want to feel forced into a corner where I have to pay a crazy amount for something that is basically regarded as being a great big turd. I grudgingly admit I already have enough stuff sat in cupboards seldom even looked at without adding to the pile by adding stuff I dont even really want to look at.

A lot of people will note that I seldom sell or even trade games and this is still true, mostly because a lot of the businesses which operate in game trading operate by really ripping people off but I have at times been very generous. I gave a coworker a megadrive, a master system 2 and a playstation and a few games for free because I could see someone who had a simmilar sort of drive and intrest in the hobby as I did but had not really started collecting. I lost heart in this though as I had given him a fair few N64 carts, nothing that great or valuable but just a few things to get him going and then he ended up spending a lot of money on drinking and found himself short of his rent and food money and he sold the N64 with the games I had given him as well because of this. This is after I had lent him little bits of cash here and there in order to make it to his next rent day without having to miss meals or face too much hardship.  This had a pretty bad effect on me and has made me less likly to give people stuff in the future. Although I did recently get given a great game for free by someone from a new forum I am on and that does make me want to see if I have any bits and pieces I can offer up to others on there to sort of keep the spirit going

Monday, 13 November 2017

Antibullying week

So it's antibullying week and I felt compelled to post about it as it's a topic very close to my heart. I was bullied a fair bit as a kid and this has always made me want to reach out and help others, to try and make it better for them. To this end I took on two voluntary jobs as a mentor for young people who were bullied and/or who sufferd from mental health issues. I donated both my time and money to the cause. I talked to a lot of young bullied kids and did my best to try to help them both to feel better and also to better there situation, it was some of the most rewarding, worthwhile and challenging work I have ever done in my life. The thing is though not only did I make other people's lives better but through doing this I helped myself.

I can remember the first ever time I was actually aware that someone  was being bullied, I'm sure it had proberbly happend before then but I had been too young and too self absorbed to notice it. The first time I saw someone being bullied and knew enough to know they were being bullied and that it was wrong I would have been around 6. It was a girl and I think her name was Ruth. She was in my class at school and she had epilepsy (something I have) she had seizures during the day and she had sufferd some at school and other kids were basically calling her a spastic and a mongaloid and various other hurtful things and while I knew this was wrong and knew enough to realise that I shouldnt do this I basically stood by and ignored it. I ignored it because I was epileptic but at the time was fortunate enough to only have fits from a sleeping state at least as far as anyone knew and I didnt want to be treated in the same way as this girl. This deeply effected me not only did it cause me to hide my epilepsy from people as much as I could for years but I also felt a lot of guilt for letting someone else be mistreated when I could have stood up for them.

I was scared that just like the girl I had seen being bullied that I would be bullied for being diffrent and the honest truth is a few years later I was badly bullied for being diffrent for a completely seperate reason. The thing I have learned the most as an adult which I try to take forwards and teach to other people is that there is no shame in being diffrent, the very fact that so many of us are so diffrent in so many fantastic ways is one of the things that makes the world a bright and intresting place. So much of the time people are told to knuckle down, to fly straight and to live up to expectations essentially to be normal and to fit into a mould but the real truth is that those who really go far are those who fly without limits those who chase there dreams who soar and plummet and twist and barrel role and I think the key to this is in excepting your diffrences and in ignoring those who want to pin you down to hold you back to stop you from gliding amongst the clouds.

So how did helping others who had been bullied help me? It helped me to better love myself, to forgive myself for past wrongs (such as not stepping in to help the girl being bullied when I was 6) it made me feel like a better, stronger person, it gave me an improved sense of self worth and it helped me to see a better side of life, a side where if we all stopped and helped each other just a little bit we could make things better for everyone. My charity work also had the very pleasent effect of helping to round out my CV and helped me get new paid employment, which certainly helps me to have the time and resources to keep posting on here.

I am talking about this during Antibullying week as I want to try and inspire my fellow man/woman to try to do the same, no you dont have to run out and work for a charity or even donate to a charity just stop and think about those around you, throw out a compliment or a kind word, pass on some good will and tell others to keep passing it on. If you have children in your life though be you a mum or dad or grandma or auntie or uncle or god parent just take a moment to talk to the young people in your life and get the message out to them, treat others as you would wish to be treated and dont be scared of diffrences, try to be kind and in this way through small good deeds, kindness and acceptance help to make the world a better place for all of us.