If you have an hour to spare.

Please head over to https://www.reddit.com/r/SuicideWatch/new/

This suicide support board gets 150 new submissions a day. These people are in immense emotional pain, and are at varying levels of dedication. Some just want to vent. Others are at the end of their rope.

A number of posts never get a single response. This is unacceptable. I have had posters tell me how happy it made them to get a response. They told me they were heartbroken after pouring their heart out and receiving no comments for hours.

So here is where you come in. Please go to the board and search for any post with no comments. Then simply respond with a supportive message. There are rules and guidelines to follow. Your response doesn’t have to epic and life changing. Most people just want validation.

There is an epidemic of suicide in this country and I will do whatever it takes to stem the tide. Consider helping save lives in your spare time.

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So NOW what do I do with my time?

Making the decision to stop playing video games is the easy part. Its simple to uninstall all your games. Its quick and painless. But the hardest thing is keeping them uninstalled.

Because video-gaming is a impulsive habit, and high speed internet makes downloads instant, relapse is quicker than any other addiction.

To begin getting sober after drinking, you should pour all your liqueur down the drain. Now if you get the impulse to drink again, you are limited by your access to alcohol. If its the middle of the night, you will have to wait till the next day to relapse.

So its much harder to quit video games for good. Another reason is, after you quit gaming you have a vast amount of time on your hands.

Gamers play for 4+ hours a day minimum. So when you quit, you often find yourself with nothing to do. Building a schedule of fulfilling activities takes time. And the impulsive gamer will often relapse if he has numerous hours of idle time and a high speed internet connection.

So before you think about quitting video games, please begin researching activities to fill your day. You will need at least an activity a day. Preferably an activity close to home and one that takes up a good chuck of time. Bonus points if it is social as well.

Lastly your replacement activities ideally would be something you can be proud of and show measurable progress from. Rock climbing is a great activity that you can measure your progress. Or start running and run a little bit further every time.

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Whatever you do, stop playing games.

Quitting video-games has been harder for me than any other addiction, and it has made quitting other habbits vastly easier.

I have a long history of playing video-games. I have fond memories of playing and learning. Enjoying the music and the visual styles. And it’s sad to leave such a large part of my life behind.

But after a month of absolutely zero playtime, I can see a great improvement in my quality of life. Most notably I have been able to cut my mobile use down. I have stopped drinking all together. And my last addiction, dipping shredded tobacco will be done with soon.

I am turning over a new chapter in my life. I feel motivated and positive in mood. Also if you don’t believe me. I have chatted with a number of people who have recovered from depression and a common theme in their life is an addiction to video-games.

So please take a cold turkey approach to quitting video-games. Uninstall them all. Stop watching let’s plays on YouTube. And don’t visit any gaming forums. Comment below if you have done this or have an opinion on the subject.

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Every Game I Ever Played #12

Spore

 

This was Will Wright’s dream. He created dozens of successful simulation games that made millions. He wanted to combine every simulation game into one massive game.

The concept would be to follow an organism from cellular evolution to, galactic expansion and colonization. As the player you would get to experience all the things that made other MAXIS titles great in one game.

So does expectation meet reality? Kind of.

You start as a single cell and eat smaller organisms to grow and evolve. You emerge from the ocean on two legs. Then you have the choice to eat other animals or be a herbivore. You evolve again and form a primitive tribe. As a tribal culture you have the same option as before. Wage war on neighboring tribes or become friends and succeed together.

Your tribe founds a city and you focus on building, upgrading, and satisfying the needs of your citizens. This leads to your city growing into a nation.

As a Nation you must conquer the world through war, culture, or trade. This phase culminates after you subdue the last country on the planet and launch the first spacecraft.

The remainder of the game is spent in space exploring new planets, meeting aliens, and colonizing planets.

Now that all sounds like an epic masterpiece of a game. In reality it plays like six mediocre separate games. And the big lesson here is, if you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one.

Stellaris

 

You start this game by designing your custom alien race. Racial traits include industrious which grants a boost to production, fast breeders for a bonus to population growth rate, or venerable extending the lifespan of your leaders.

Next is choosing the society your species will be organizes into. Examples include materialist, egalitarian, xenophile, and pacifist. The ethics you chose will give modifiers and prevent actions. Like Egalitarians cannot enslave conquered enemies.

Last step in species creation is selecting the habitat you prefer. When you colonize new worlds they should be similar to the habitat of your home world.

Managing your colony is easy and plays like a tiled puzzle. Land is represented by tiles and they provide resources, buildings improve resource output. And there are tons of buildings that grant adjacency bonuses.

Research is performed by leaders aboard a science ship. Science can be produced at orbital stations or on your planets. Your research ships are also used to explore the galaxy, survey planets for colonization, and investigate anomalies.

There is a vast number of anomalies and associated events that you will have to discover. They can grant rewards or trigger dangerous events.

Combat is simple. Better technology, better weapons, and more ships will win any battle. Large fleet combat and waging wars should only be resorted to when the galaxy runs out of unclaimed space.

There is an in-depth diplomacy system, which I wont get into.

Sins Of A Solar Empire

 

This games strength is its simplicity. You colonize planets, research new weapons, and build fleets. The fleet combat is what makes all the colony management and research worth it.

Once a fleet is built, you send it to neighboring star systems looking for an enemy fleet to decimate. Once battle begins, you watch and laugh as the technologically backwards opponent sends wave after wave of cheap slow ships at you. Its a sight of pure beauty to watch your capital ship laser turrets vaporize the enemy at long range.

Lastly the game has a Star Wars mod that is defiantly work playing.

I have no clue what I am talking about.

A year ago I had this grand idea to write a guide to life. It would be cliff-notes for living a fulfilling life. But after writing enough, I have decided to cease writing.

Even if i had a wealth of fulfilling life experiences to draw from, I might not be able to articulate those into helpful advice.

I have a number of unpublished drafts, which I might release. But who knows. I am going to focus on going outside and forget the dream of building a large platform and attempting to change the world.

Every Game I Ever Played #11

SuperPower 2

 

The point of this game is to of course take over the world 🙂 But seriously, you take control of any nation and manage everything from taxes, to their tactical nuclear weapons.

The last picture illustrates how in-depth the economic simulation is. You adjust tax rates for each sector of the economy. You can subsidies industries. And if you run massive trade deficits, your citizens will become impoverished.

You use surplus funds to purchase or build tanks, ships, and planes for your military. Research is a huge deal. Having the most advanced military hardware is key to winning battles.

Politics is another way to steer the direction of your nation. You can legalize drugs, ban same sex marriage, or outlaw abortion. You can fund covert operations in other countries and attempt to stage a coup.

Finally the crown jewel of any major nation is a fully stocked nuclear arsenal. If you ever dare to launch them, the entire world will rise up against you. So be careful.

 

Total War (Medival, Atilla)

 

What makes the Total War series fun is the variety of play experiences. Its almost 2 separate games. One being a civilization like nation builder, and the other being a real time pitched battle simulator.

The nation building aspect is complex yet intuitive. You control provinces, set tax rates, and use surplus funds to build improvements. Farms feed the citizens and grow the population, which in turn grows the economy. But if you don’t expand the walls the people will fee cramped and unhappy.

You also spend money to train all kinds of units from pitchfork wielding peasants, to royal knights clad in shining armor. These units form armies, lead by your generals, who are chosen from your sons and brothers.

Your armies march toward the enemy and engage in a pitched battle. This brings you to generated arena based on where your armies were on the map. So if your armies meet by a river, the arena will be a river defense map.

Now you take personal control of the units you trained in the city. You tell your spear men to hold the line, and when the enemy Calvary comes crashing into your line, you order your swordsmen to come out from behind the spear men and counter attack the horsemen.

The enemy cavalry take so many casualties it depletes their morale causing them to break and flee. You then order your melee troops to disengage and set your archers to rain arrows on the fleeing horsemen.

Once the battle is over you ransom captured soldiers and set out towards the enemy castle. This generates a siege battle. You bring your catapults in range of the walls, and smash a hole in the defenses.

You send your Calvary to pour through the hole and order your spear-men to hold the gap open. You fight from battlement to street, finally fighting for the town square.

The enemy general is commanding a crack unit of gunpowder infantry. You keep out of range and slowly surround them. When the time is right you order a full Calvary charge into a hail of gunfire and kill the enemy general.

The town is yours, you decide to loot it. The death of the enemy general was a grievous blow to the enemy nation as he was the heir to the throne. Now a less experienced member of that family takes the title.

Now that is simply the single player experience. Multiplayer is much harder. Check out the above video of my favorite commentator.

Every Game I Ever Played #10

Stronghold

 

This game is a real time strategy with a heavy emphasis on castle building and siege warfare. If you don’t think you need walls and a moat, there is a specific tactic of the enemy to run cheap fast units into your base and torch all your buildings.

The pre-rendered isometric graphics are timeless. And I loved playing this game and imagining I was a feudal serf living in my thatched roof hut. I would harvest wheat in the mild European spring and carry bushel of wheat to the towering grist mill.

The medieval period is one of my favorite. The game has a interesting combat system that utilize ground units, siege units, and fixed defenses. To train units you will need gold, unemployed peasants, and weapons/armor in the stockpile.

To support your castle and army, you will need a healthy economy. You will have to manufacture weapons and armor. Farms grow food, mills ground the flour, and bakers finally drop off loaves to your pantry.
Star Craft

 

This is a basic RTS, with a great story and iconic cinematic videos. The game-play is like every RTS. Collect resources, construct buildings, and those buildings produce units.

My friends played this game often, but I wasn’t that into it. You should check out the sequel which is free to play. Link

Heroes of the Storm

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So this game is based of a Mod of Warcraft 3. You control a single unit, called a hero. Which has specific abilities that you use in concert with your allies to capture control points on the map.

This is another free to play game. I only played this for a couple weeks. It was to hard for me because it requires quick reflexes. And the play experience is just not that fun. Not a lot of strategy involved.

The only strategy is to memorize the weaknesses of the other heroes and exploit that. Basically a complicated rock paper scissors match.