Monthly Archives: April 2015

Defined my childhood: console video games

Defined My Childhood: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

I was born in the early ‘80s, so the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was a HUGE deal. It permeated American culture. There were toll numbers to call for gaming tips, which of course died off after emergence of the internet. There was the famous NES specific troubleshooting technique if your cartridge wouldn’t load: blow on the cartridge opening, insert into NES & push down, then slightly slide cartridge to the left & then right, finally turn on NES. Nintendo Entertainment System NEW controller drawingOf course, there were other tricks of the trade, such as control combinations during the loading screen. I have many memories of playing for hours on end, mostly because we didn’t have the luxury of save points. But some of my fondest memories came from swarming around a small TV with friends as we played in multiplayer co-op or against each other, or even working together as a team by taking turns to beat a single player game.

This console, much more than the ATARI, really became a thing I had in common with other kids, creating a sense of instant community. It was right up there with the latest cartoon episodes as far as go-to conversation starters. Be it in the spirit of sharing the latest cheat code or boasting that you had defeated a certain level boss, you were all of the sudden in a very intense conversation with someone who a second ago was probably a perfect stranger.nintendo heart

I LOVED my NES. I played it for hours for years, even after I got other console systems! I was lucky enough to have had a couple accessories: the NES Zapper (light gun) & the Power Pad. I discovered I am a sharp-shooter with the Zapper, as I am sure many of my generation also learned. However, the Power Pad was the precursor to the foot pad controller of games such as Dance Dance Revolution & then onto Kinect for the Xbox 360 & the Wii’s Balance Board. I’ll go into more detail regarding the game that my brother & I played obsessively using this Power Pad in a later post. The fact is that my brother, who does not like video games, loved playing with this controller is a testament to how it reached new players. It helped bring kids who would not normally want to play, into the fold. This controller didn’t convert my brother, but he still lights up whenever I remind him of the game we used to play with it. (Spoilers.)

My NES allowed me to enter new worlds & become immersed in each’s story & history. It etched sights & sounds into my being. It helped me live epic tales of heroism, while honing my eye-hand coordination & learning to cope with my dyslexia through thousands of hours of practice.  I am indebted to my mom for buying me this machine, especially since we were on a tight budget.

Radar image of Hurricane Andrew 24 August 1992

via wikimedia.org

There is another way this console system defined my childhood. I grew up in Miami, FL & so I lived through the unimaginable destruction caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. My family & I had to evacuate our house & I could only take the essentials. I had to make the hard choice of leaving my NES behind. I can personally vouch for how amazingly well that machine was built: not only did it survive the eye of the Category 4 hurricane (which would have been the equivalent of a Category 5 today), but after I found my NES stuffed with pink insulation in the rubble under the fallen staircase of what used to be my house, my NES worked! It started right up & continued working for many years!  It may seem silly to most, but having lost everything so jarringly, this small bit of normalcy helped me cope with the unimaginable shock of the destruction and mayhem left in the wake of Andrew.

Did you have an NES growing up?  What is your fondest NES moment?

Check out other posts in this series!

Crafty Geek Corner blog series

Crafty Geek Corner: Doctor Who’s TARDIS DIY

In this new blog series, Crafty Geek Corner, I will highlight my favorite pins each Monday.  This will hopefully accomplish two of my goals: 1) continue time management & blog consistency, & 2) share more ways to geek out over fandoms with all of you!

Okay, last week I was on a much needed vacation; hence, the lack of Crafty Geek Corner goodness. Fear not, we are back on track. This week’s installment is all about Doctor Who‘s TARDIS! Doo wee oooooh!


DIY Doctor Who‘s TARDIS

Crafty Geek Corner: Doctor Who TARDIS DIY edition

I’ve already talked about this in a previous post, but it bears repeating: I started watching Doctor Who (the reboot) simply because of the sheer magnitude of pins related to it in the “Geekdom” category on Pinterest. I have seen every episode of the reboot series (or seasons for non-Brits), but haven’t ventured into classic Doctor Who out of already meager time management when it comes to keeping up with my current TV/cable/streaming shows. I’ll get to it eventually. As you can tell from my blog’s header, one of the things I geek out over the most is Doctor Who. In fact, that is my hand-drawn sketch of the TARDIS in flux.

So, what has caught my eye as far as Doctor Who‘s TARDIS-related DIY crafts on Pinterest:

TARDIS key

When I originally saw this pin, I was instantly intrigued by the sheer genius of it. It is fun & cheeky, plus you will never again forget which key is the one to your front door.

TARDIS Sharpie lamp

As you can tell from my blog’s header, one of the things I geek out over the most is Doctor Who. In fact, that is my hand-drawn sketch of the TARDIS in flux. This craft seems like it would be something I could knock out in not that much time. Once you have the outlines drawn, it is mostly filling in with the blue. This would look great on my desk in the petite home office I am planning on creating.

TARDIS Murphy Bed

For when you need to maximize the space in a room, a Murphy bed is always a great idea: it’s bigger on the inside! Yup, I’m still thinking of my upcoming home office/guest room. This would be great in that setting, albeit as a strong focal point in the room.

TARDIS flats/sneakers

DIY Doctor Who inspired flats.

via pinterest.com

While the shoes in the pin are TOMS, I could definitely see this idea being tweaked & looking great on a pair of white Chucks, which would also be very Ten! I love comfy shoes, so this could be modified to various different shoe types.

TARDIS nail polish art

I would most definitely need to put the TARDIS on my left hand, as I am a righty.  I like this subtle nod to the Doctor Who fandom.  Whenever I can fly my geek flag & still be work appropriate, I am a happy geek.


Well, that is all for today!  In the meantime, feel free to share links to your own Doctor Who inspired DIY posts in the comments.  I’ll gladly pin them to my Crafty Geek Pinterest board!

Join me next week for a look at Nintendo related crafts!

Defined my childhood: console video games

Defined my Childhood: Pac-Man (ATARI 2600)

Continuing my exploration into the home console video games that Defined My Childhood, starting in chronological order with my ATARI 800 & 2600, I dedicate this post to Pac-Man on the ATARI 2600.

Pac-Man (ATARI 2600)

Who born post-1980 hasn’t been fascinated with Pac-Man at one point or another?  Hell, who born post-1970?  Granted the Pac-Man port to the ATARI 2600 was pretty much not a good idea on a plethora of levels given that ATARI completely overestimated demand by a 7 million & the 2600 didn’t have enough memory to support the game, causing the distinctive flicker of the ghosts (seen in the video above).  But as a child, I didn’t know the difference nor did it make much to me. I remember falling in love with Pac-Man & playing innumerable times.  How I managed to do that without it going into an epileptic seizure from the flickering (see video inserted above), I have no idea.

Pac-Man definitely faired better on other platforms & continues to find success in version after version, no matter the platform.  The arcade version remains one of the most memorable & still relevant games of all time.  Two years ago, I came across Pac-Man Battle Royale in a Hong Kong arcade.    Pac-Man Battle Royale four player arcade game

This past week, Google even placed a playable version of Pac-Man superimposed on actual roads in Google Maps.  Pac-Man is burned into our society’s core, especially Western society.


Do you have any memorable Pac-Man experiences?

Crafty Geek Corner blog series

Crafty Geek Corner: DIY Covertly Geeky T-shirts/Jackets/Sweaters

In this new blog series, Crafty Geek Corner, I will highlight my favorite pins each Monday.  This will hopefully accomplish two of my goals: 1) continue time management & blog consistency, & 2) share more ways to geek out over fandoms with all of you!

As you can easily tell from the sidebar of my blog, I am a wee bit obsessed with Pinterest. One of my favorite new boards is Crafty Geek. I don’t really have the time to get around and try these out, but I am enamored with the ideas & geeky focus. If I ever do get around to crafting, I would definitely begin with these projects.


DIY Covertly Geeky T-shirts, Jackets, & Sweaters oh my!

For this first post, I wanted to start with something I could definitely tackle over the weekend … once my time management skills are better honed. I love t-shirts, much to my mom’s objections of them making me age down. I own a couple of geekdom tees, mostly Zelda & Rogue, & I must admit that these types of shirts can skew teenager if I am not consciously trying to dress them up a bit. So, the thought of creating my own t-shirt that could be a bit more “adult” is very tempting. Also, in preparation for this post, it occurred to me that I could also modify light outerwear to also covertly display my fandoms, but in a more sophisticated manner.

Star Wars Rebel Jacket

 

As you can tell from my blog’s header, one of the things I geek out over the most is Star Wars & with the upcoming movie by J.J. Abrams, I am definitely in the mood for trying this DIY out from geek with curves.  Granted, I don’t live anywhere jackets are truly that necessary, but I’m sure this could easily be applicable to a DIY t-shirt or tank.  Oooh, lightbulb! I am definitely going to do this in a racer back tank top!  I would use the following symbols as reference though, pin courtesy of www.psd-dude.com:

Row 1: Alliance For The Republic(Rebel Alliance), Jedi Order, Galactic Empire, Galactic Senate
Row 2: Jedi order with ring, New Jedi Order, New Republic Department of Research and Development, Black Sun
Row 3: Mandalorians, Galactic Federation of Free Alliances, Confederacy of Independent Systems, Sith Empire
Row 4: Two X-Wing Pilot helmet markings

DIY Galaxy TARDIS T-shirt

An example of when getting bleach on your dark clothes is actually a good thing! This pin comes from the blog, 3 Chic Geeks. While the blog instructs you to use fabric paint, I’m sure bleach could also work in a pinch.  I love the subtle depth this tee has & that it looks more grown up than just a bold outlined TARDIS. Plus, this is a sneaky & subversive way to flag my geek flag, much like the Doctor Who Van Gogh leggings I already own & love.

DIY Assassin’s Creed Ottoman Empire crest

I love this idea because I think it would look great done in fabric paint or with bleach. This pin comes from Theatreorchid‘s post on Craftster.org.  The Ottoman Assassin’s Creed (AC) crest is ornate enough that it isn’t as obvious as the other AC crests, but is at once recognizable to a fellow fan.  I think this would look really great on a sweater or cardigan, especially on the front-right lapel area


Well, that is all for today!  I’m sure that I will come across more great DIY t-shirt pins to share in the future.  In the meantime, feel free to share links to your own DIY geek-inspired t-shirt posts in the comments.  I’ll gladly pin them to my Crafty Geek board!

Join me next week for a look at Doctor Who related crafts!

Defined my childhood: console video games

Defined my Childhood: Space Invaders (ATARI 2600)

Space Invaders retro video gameContinuing my exploration into the home console video games that Defined My Childhood, starting in chronological order with my ATARI 800 & 2600, I dedicate this post to Space Invaders on the ATARI 2600.

Space Invaders (ATARI 2600)

In preparation for this series, I asked my mom what games she remembered me playing often as a child, & one of the first games she mentioned was Space Invaders.  I remember Space Invaders fondly, but she emphatically stated I played it almost every single day for hours at a time as a very young child.  The game came out for the ATARI 2600 in 1980, but I’m not sure if we got it right away.  My mom says she remembers me playing this game at a very early age.

I’m sure that many of you have seen this game in an arcade at some point, but my first exposure was in my home on the ATARI 2600.  This is probably where my fondness for Galaga and shooters originated.  But funnily enough, I don’t think I played Galaga on our ATARIs at home nor did I play Space Invaders at the arcade.  I’m just weird like that, I guess.  This game laid the groundwork for my taste in, & definitely for my love for, video games.  Looking back at this game, it was also probably extremely helpful in mastering my left/right dyslexia, honing my eye-hand coordination, as well as timing in general.  Hours of fun, over countless days of my childhood.


Do you have any ATARI memories?  Or any Space Invaders memories?  Which home console video games helped define your childhood?