Summer Gaming, and Travel

As my fingers glide over the keys of my IBM Model M keyboard, producing that oh-so familiar clack-clack thanks to the buckling spring, I can’t help but feel at home with my humble writing setup. My desktop computer has finally made it to Belfast, along with my old BenQ monitor. The kitchen table has become my desk, and surrounded by chaos, I can once again get down to the job of writing. Writing on a laptop is perfectly fine, and has served me well over the years since I started Ordinary Decent Gamer. Hell, I started writing on my laptop in a tent in Germany, so I can hardly deny their usefulness, but there’s something about a desktop that is just better. From a productivity standpoint, they’re hard to beat. A full size keyboard with proper feedback, and a good old wired mouse – the traditional way. I’ve never checked to see how my typing speed on my Model M compares to the laptop’s keyboard, but it feels so much better.

IBM Model M
My trusty Model M

I keep meaning to get round to writing, and then don’t. There is always something else to do, and the blog has suffered as a result. This summer was meant to be filled with filmmaking, gaming, and making the most of the time before I become shackled to a full-time job. I have never been formally employed in my entire life, though I have spent plenty of time working. I’ve fixed computers, organised networks, fixed Xbox 360 consoles (for a very short time), made rings, maintained gardens (a more sophisticated way of saying watered some plants), and most recently, managed a bed & breakfast. Lismaine Cottage, our recent family endeavour, has taken the best part of several months to sort out, but it has been worth it. We have had plenty of business since launching on, and that’s before we had any reviews.

Relaxation hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind recently, though I did manage to get away to the Lake District in early June, and on a spa break last weekend. I have had a seemingly never-ending to-do list, and every time I tick something off, another two tasks take its place. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes, it’s stressful at times, but looking back over the last few months, I have learned loads, and had a tonne of fun. Work starts at the end of July, but the summer fun has only just begun.

Travel time!

I’m graduating on Friday, and in the early hours of Saturday morning we’re bound for Asia – Cambodia, Laos, and Malaysia this time. I really wanted to revisit Japan, but I would prefer to go when money was less of an issue. Southeast Asia is incredibly cheap to travel around once you’ve gotten out there, and three weeks of accommodation in decent hotels comes in at around £210 each for two people sharing. Try doing that at home! The Etap hotel in Belfast would cost £1600 for the same period.

Southeast Asia is steeped in culture, with endless temples, fantastic food, and friendly people. Yes, there’s plenty to do, but it’s hard to beat sitting back and relaxing in a tropical paradise. And two dollar cocktails…heaven.

Hmmm…Belfast or Laos? Tough call

Oblivion and Pokémon FireRed

Aside from playing games for the Ordinary Decent Gamer YouTube channel, I have barely touched a console. Maybe that’s a little bit of a lie, but I have only been getting back into the swing of things recently. Oblivion made a comeback after a friend mentioned the “Where Spirits Have Lease” quest which I had never finished. I found the portal in the basement of the house in Anvil, but when I couldn’t interact with it I wrongly assumed it was part of downloadable content and dismissed it. It turned out to be a fairly enjoyable quest, though I ran into difficulty at one point after forgetting to pick up a journal/diary entry. Google to the rescue! The game itself wasn’t helping me at all – the character I needed to talk to refused to progress the quest, and wouldn’t explain what I needed to do. Skyrim refined a lot of the little quirks in Oblivion, but it’s still a really enjoyable game. I love the noble Orcish Lord Rugdumph, master of the malapropism.

“I fear that whilst our rock-picking, she was apprehensive. Stolen-away! My suspension is that orgres have abjected her…I am most gracious and truly woeful”

It’s wrong on so many levels that you can’t help but smile. It may be a huge generalisation, but Oblivion has a lot more personality and unique experiences than Skyrim. They’re both great games, and definitely worth picking up if you’ve never played them.

For reasons I can neither explain nor remember, my interest in Pokémon has been reignited. How apt, then, that the game I’ve been playing is Pokémon FireRed, the Gameboy Advance reboot of the original Pokémon Red. It’s hugely enjoyable, and rather addictive. I’m even more impressed that the first Pokémon games were released twenty years ago, Pokémon Red and Green in Japan. The majority of my Pokémon experience was with the original two games, and the sequels, Pokémon Gold and Silver. Games keep evolving, and becoming more and more sophisticated, but I can always go back to Pokémon and have a great gaming experience.


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