10 Games to Play Instead of Monopoly

More fun, less capitalism.

I could unload a tirade of why I don’t like Monopoly, but I’ll cut straight to the point: it’s dated, and no matter what kind of spin you put on it (yes, even Nintendo or Pokemon Monopoly) the mechanics are repetitive, unfair and it takes too freaking long.

In recent years there’s been a surge of new and exciting tabletop games. They allow you to play as doctor’s working to cure deadly diseases around the world, treasure seekers looking for treasure on a sinking island, monsters fighting for reign over a city, survivors of a zombie apocalypse, werewolves, galactic empires and even trees. Yes, trees (and it’s awesome).

Table top games can range from simple to incredibly complex. I usually pick games that are somewhere in the middle. These games have specific rules to follow, but you can usually grasp them within a couple turns of playing the game. The games I list below will mostly be in this category, and are perfect for a family or group of friends who’ve played Monopoly a few too many times. Continue reading “10 Games to Play Instead of Monopoly”

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Part of Me: “Celeste” and Facing Mental Illness

Spoilers for Celeste below

Celeste1

Muhammad Ali once said, “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

The game Celeste, is filled with these pebbles: a mis-timed jump, a boost used too early, a ledge you held onto for too long until Madeline, the game’s protagonist, falls to her doom. She hits the spikes—boom—and you start over try again. And again. And again.

Obviously, in real life a fall into a spike pit is a bit more permanent. But that feeling of trying to cross an impossible gap or climb an impossible mountain is all to familiar to people who live with mental illness. It’s very fitting, then, that Celeste is a game about climbing that mountain, and despite all the slips and missteps and mistakes, picking yourself up and trying again. More than that, however, is that Celeste is about accepting parts of yourself that may seem negative, rather than fighting them. Continue reading “Part of Me: “Celeste” and Facing Mental Illness”

Lessons from Link

Several depictions of Link in various Zelda games

A while back I did an article called “Lessons from Luigi” where I examined some of the traits of my favourite Mario-universe character, the green-capped scaredy-cat Luigi. This time around, I’m shifting to Nintendo’s second most popular franchise, the Legend of Zelda.

Despite a shared love for the colour green, Link is almost the polar opposite of Luigi. He’s a hero who is often thrust into adventures without a second thought (not that he would complain much about it anyway, given his vocabulary consists of shouts and grunts). And just like Luigi, there’s a lot we can learn from this fictional hero that we can implement in our own lives. Continue reading “Lessons from Link”

Lessons from Luigi

Super Blast Luigi

Yes that’s right. Player 2. Mario’s shadow. The Green Thunder.

Luigi has always been my favourite character in the Mario series. Out of a princess who refuses to invest in castle security, an evil doppelganger who attacks via farts and a clearly nearsighted dinosaur that runs off cliffs, Luigi is the most genuine character among Mario’s forte. Also, Mario is a bit of a sociopath. Continue reading “Lessons from Luigi”

16 Bit Minds: How Video Games Influenced My Writing

SNES Controller

Despite being a writer, I’ve never been much of a reader.

I know my credibility (or ethos; remember that for a later post) just crashed through roof, but allow me to defend myself. While I wasn’t much of a reader, I did read big. I skipped right past teen fiction and went straight for Stephen King (The Green Mile), John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany), Yan Martel (Life of Pi), and Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes)—most of those before I was even in high school.

I wasn’t much of a reader because I was a gamer. In fact, most of my life I preferred a controller in my hands than a book. And yet, at the heart of it, it was through video games that I became a storyteller. Continue reading “16 Bit Minds: How Video Games Influenced My Writing”