I was (am) a NERD! In high school Susie was busy getting voted to homecoming courts, going to parties, and joining social fraternities. I had no time for all that?!? I was busy in the jazz band, show choir, select chorus, Robertson County Players, marching band (trombone), student council (Class Treasurer), and paper staff. Sure, all those activities might not seem like the coolest things but don’t let all that sway your opinion. I was also very athletic and part of the coolest team in school…cross country! If you can’t do anything remotely athletic just run! It worked for Forrest Gump and he is super popular?!? I also had a sweet ride…I purchased my grandmother’s brown Buick Skylark (2 doors…basically a sports coupe…)! I’d spend all day every Sunday washing it, dressing the tires, and detailing the inside. Every other Sunday I’d wax it (yep, I waxed it every couple of weeks)! Every sweet ride needed bass so mine had it. Countless hours went into designing the perfect system for optimal bass to speaker size/trunk space ratio.
Then there was gaming! To relax I’d spend hours playing my mini handheld Coleco Pac Man game. I got to where I’d memorized the pattern to win the game and didn’t even need to look at the screen. Sure, all that time could have been used to find a girlfriend but who needs that…there’s always Ms. Pac Man I guess?!? When I went over to my friend’s houses who had an Atari or Commodore game system I’d get lost for hours. All my friends would give up the ghost after several hours and move on to different tasks…fools! The aliens are attacking! The ghosts are going to get Ms. Pac Man!?!? My Mom wouldn’t let me have a video game system in the house for fear that I might never move out. Of course, she doesn’t come right out and say it that way. Publicly she states it was for my ‘own good’, but I thought one time I even heard her call me a ‘nerd’ under her breath.
True Story: The only thing I ever wanted in my life growing up…literally the only thing (never anything else, promise)…one quarter ($.25) every time we went to Winn Dixie for groceries. I would stand in line at the checkout while Mom was wasting her money on silly stuff like food and beg for one quarter to play Ms. Pac-Man (the hottest game that had ever hit a cathode ray tube). That’s it! That’s all I wanted. I literally had never asked for anything in my entire life (truly…you believe me right). 1 quarter…25 pennies in a different form…the most perfect form…one that would unlock a virtual world. Is that too much to ask?!?! Evidently…YES! “Joey, we don’t have an extra quarter!” Umph! I bring this up at least monthly to my mother to this day 30+ years later. It is what has driven me to be the man I am today. Not really, but it is a good story to use to torment my Mom. I know what was really going on. She didn’t want me rotting my brain. I’ll show her though! I’ll spend the greater part of my adult life shirking responsibility and rotting this little pea brain! Mwaha haha!!!
I have few regrets in life. BUT…if I could have one thing that I don’t have it would be to be better at video games. I’m horrible at them. I have zero coordination. I lack motor skills. I’m abysmal. What a curse for someone who just wants to sit in front of the warm glow of a computer monitor and zone out for hours, days, even weeks at a time. It is sad really! In reality, it probably saved me from a life of mediocrity living in my Mom’s basement playing video games. Or alternately, ruined my life and kept me from a life of perfection living in my Mom’s basement playing video games.
Regardless, my ineptness does not stop me from trying. With every respawn I have the eternal optimism that “this time will be different”. With this life (given to me by the great video game gods), I will go out and destroy my opponent! This time I won’t die almost immediately like I did the last 1,598,876 times!?!? Whoever said I wasn’t an optimist!?!
DeanoRolls Best Games To Be Bad At (A Chronological Timeline Of Sucking At Gaming)
- Oregon Trail (originally released in 1971 I played it about 1983) – We played the original “pre-graphical version” of this game on DOS clone computers in middle school. You’d pull out the huge floppy disk (literally floppy) and load it into the computer. You’d then have basically a choose your own adventure book at your disposal. I loved choose your own adventure books and having one attached a to a computer that did my bidding was pretty awesome! It was way more fun than the program where we had to make drawings with the computer by punching in different coordinates…DUMB!
- Pac-Man Coleco Tabletop (1981) – Handheld LCD game technology at its absolute finest. I had my own little miniature Pac-Man arcade game (the absolute most popular game to date) in my hand, at my house! I think Mom watched what happened with this scenario and immediately swore off me ever having another gaming console/system in her house ever again. There was some time logged on this bad boy!
- Atari 2600 (1979-1982) – I lump all these together onto one of the initial gaming consoles I was ever exposed to. If I could find somebody with an Atari 2600 who’d let me play these games, I would wear out my welcome. Asteroids, Centipede, Ms. Pac-Man, Q*bert, Pong, Frogger, Pole Position, Dig Dug, Space Invaders, Combat, Pitfall! All Awesome! Worst game ever (but that I really wanted to be great)…E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. What in the heck was that all about?!?!
- NES – Nintendo Entertainment System (1985) – By the time the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) game system arrived games had evolved a bit and looked more like real live video games from the arcade. I didn’t spend a ton of time on these games (because I had no system and life happened) but Super Mario Brothers, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, and Tetris sucked up a decent amount of my attention.
- Super NES (1990) – In college, my roommate, Brent, had a Super NES and we (me and my roommates) got fairly hooked on SimCity, Monopoly (?!?), and more Tetris. This could have been described as a dark period, one where my life nearly slipped into the abyss. I had never had access to a game system in the exact place where I had lived. When this little stint was completed, I understood why my mother had never allowed this to happen. The main culprit was SimCity. We built our cities, we kept them going, we skipped class(es), we ordered pizza in, we skipped more class(es). We basically became full-time Mayors of our SimCity towns. My roommates and I would run shifts at times keeping watch over it. Why? Because if we ever left and that darn dinosaur attacked our city it would be a serious setback! Must keep playing!!! Eventually we all graduated successfully…from college…not SimCity.
- PlayStation 2 (2000) – Emily made a huge mistake on Christmas 2003. Huge! YUGE! The PlayStation 2 had been out for about 2 years. I’m not even sure why I wanted one or why she thought I needed one. But she would live to regret the decision. For the first time in my life I had a gaming console 1) that was mine and 2) in my house 24/7. Life was a blur from this point forward and I don’t remember what kind of strain this put on my marriage (because I was gaming too hard). Ha! The games that soaked up my time where: Gran Turismo 3, Grand Theft Auto 3, Tom Clancy’s: Splinter Cell, Ratchet & Clank, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Need For Speed: Underground, and God of War. By the time the PS2 era came to an end the final game I played on this console, God of War, was pushing the boundaries of what that particular console could handle. It was my favorite game on the console and was a shadow of what was coming on the next-generation console the PS3.
- Wii (2006) – By year-end 2006, a new Nintendo system came out that had controllers that were teetering on the edge of virtual reality. The kids were all about this system and Santa Claus delivered. I only played a couple of games on this system mainly the Wii Play and Wii Sports games that were built for the system (and made excellent use of the new controllers). Most games I just played on the PlayStation (which I thought worked better). The exception was Resident Evil 4. Walking around with my guns out (Wii controller) and shooting monsters was pretty lifelike and a fun time! There was also quite a bit of Mario Kart Wii time logged with the kids (and our cool Wii controller steering wheels).
- PlayStation 3 (2006) – My birthday was the week the PlayStation 3 came out in 2006. Emily would surely repeat her act of great kindness and generosity. I’d have the brand new, much-heralded PlayStation 3 before Christmas! Boom! Wait?!?! What?!?! Nothing!?!? It’s okay! Christmas was coming! No way Santa AND Emily will let me down! Boom! Wait?!?! What had I done to deserve this?!? I was a good husband. I was a good father. I kept food on the table and a roof over the head. Where had my life taken such a drastically wrong turn? Why was I being forsaken like this!?! Why must I endure this most very 1st world problem!?!? Aargh [gnashes teeth and rips clothes]. A friend of mine had Call of Duty 3 for his new X-Box 360. Now history will tell us that Call of Duty 3 was not anything special (just another game in the Call of Duty series for a new console with nothing much new). I played it a few times at his house and for the first time was introduced to the online/multiplayer format. You could play online with random people and then talk trash back and forth (depending on your results). I had never played any shooter games and it was fascinating. My birthday was fast approaching in November 2007 and the new Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was coming out the week of my birthday. I still did not have a PlayStation 3 which was going to be needed to play either game. I began laying the groundwork (with Emily) for what would be my greatest birthday to date (and possibly ever)! For months, I dropped hint after hint about how much I wish my wife/family would show their appreciation for me by making my life complete with a PlayStation 3 for my birthday. My wife (probably reluctantly) delivered! A year of waiting and I had the most awesome gaming system that had ever been released. I didn’t know it at the time but I also had the most awesome video game that had ever been released. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare released on November 5th, 2007 and was the most amazing game I had ever in my existence played. I played it near constantly for months. This game system is where my gamertag was born “DeanoROLLS”. In order to play online in multiplayer games you had to have an account and a gamertag. I chose mine because I was going to ‘roll’ over the competition. That didn’t happen at all but I like the name so I kept it over the years. Then next birthday Call of Duty: World At War came out. I played it for a little bit and then went right back to playing Modern Warfare (because it was no comparison…at all). I did this until Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 came out in 2009 and then I played that almost constantly. Then Call of Duty: Black Ops came out in 2010. It was great and pretty different than what had been out before so I played it constantly. Every year around my birthday the new Call of Duty would come out and every year I’d get the new one and play it. Modern Warfare 3 arrived in 2011 and Black Ops 2 in 2012. Black Ops 2 had music by Trent Reznor (which was awesome) and it was the last Call of Duty I spent significant time with. After several years, Call of Duty had run its course and had provided me hundreds and hundreds of hours of fun! I played so much that I actually burned up my first PlayStation 3. I turned it on one day and it puffed a dust cloud out and croaked. I quickly replaced it. BUT…what’s this…all my game’s progress had been lost?!? I was going to have to start over on whatever Call of Duty I was playing at the time…from the start?!? Huh?!? About this time, I realized just how many hours I had “invested” in these games. Also, about this time I slowed down…a lot! I played other games on the PlayStation 3 but none nearly as much as the Call of Duty series. It was almost like my PlayStation 3 was a dedicated gaming device for Call of Duty much like the Coleco Pac-Man machine I once had.
- Xbox (2001) – I know this is out of order but let me explain. I was a PlayStation guy and missed the entire Halo revolution. I never really liked all the weird alien/futuristic guns (still don’t too much). I worked in a company with a bunch of developers so when the Xbox 360 came out (in 2005) someone brought their old Xbox into one of the conference rooms (The Cave I think it was called) and set it up on the projector screen. Somewhere around 2007/2008 (pre-financial crisis) I entered what I still consider to be a ‘workplace unicorn’ to this day. A few of us would go in and play 4 vs 4 Halo 2 deathmatches on the big screen. Long story short the entire setup had to be dismantled—at the express direction of the company’s executive team. The conference room became almost like a speakeasy. You’d walk up, knock and you might be allowed to come in and join the next round. Or maybe you’d be allowed to watch. The room was pitch black dark, there was lots of trash talk, I swear some people were smoking, and the competition was intense. We were being paid very good salaries to basically play video games for a good part of the day. You’d sit at your desk for 5 minutes then, of course, you’d need “a break”. “A break” could last hours on a “good” day. I’ve never experienced anything like this ever again in the workplace (and likely never will). But I’m glad that this magical time occurred. Ha! A true workplace unicorn.
- PlayStation 4 (2013) – When the PlayStation 4 came out I made the upgrade quickly. Done were the days of waiting around waiting on it to be gifted to me. I had serious gaming to do and needed the top equipment for it. Call of Duty: Ghosts was the initial release on this console. Meh. Then came Advanced Warfare (in 2014). Exit DeanoRolls! What a horrible game. Some other games had evidently leapfrogged the Call of Duty franchise so their response was to evidently become the other games. All the flying around, booster packs, super jumps and running on walls was just too much for me. This was mainly because I had enough trouble just running around on flat ground and keeping my gun barrel aimed appropriately. I was way out of my league. I had already started spending my gaming time on apps on my phone by this point. I think I missed 2015’s Black Ops 3 completely. Then I heard the next one was going to be Infinite Warfare in 2016 (and it would be more of everything I didn’t like). BUT…and this is a huge BUT…they were going to release a remastered version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare!!! Now we are talking! When it was released, I was back in 2007 and it was so freaking fun playing that game again. Then I heard the next year’s release would return the series to World War 2 and get rid of basically every bit of everything I didn’t like about the game. I got it as soon as it came out and played it a ton. These kids today are way better than back in the day and I feel much older and slower…probably because I am. These two games (Modern Warfare Remastered and WW2) were great fun, however. It was good to have my old Call of Duty back!
- iOS (2008) – Apple entered the scene with an App Store in 2008. There were now gaming apps that you could download on your phone. Most of these were stupid and I tried many of them. Fruit Ninja…meh. Angry Birds…meh. Temple Run…meh. Cut The Rope…pretty fun (for a while). Pokemon Go!…pretty fun (until I ran out of balls). Words With Friends…okay. Candy Crush was decent but got boring quick. As my interest in the console games waned, however, I became mildly obsessed with Tiny Towers in 2012. It hearkened back to the dorm room’s SimCity days. Then in 2013, my brother-in-law introduced me to a similar game, Clash of Clans. It had come out less than a year before that in 2012. I developed a not so healthy obsession with this game. When they came out with Clan Wars, I created a faction and spun off from my original clan to war non-stop! 24/7 warring, 365 days a year! We have done that since then. We recently crossed our 600th war win. This is the perfect game for me! You don’t have to be super coordinated, but you do have to use your noggin’. It was a marathon and not a sprint. You also didn’t have to park in front of a console for hours to play it. I could play it whenever I had a spare minute in life (of which I didn’t have many with a career and 4 teenagers) wherever I was. This was all perfect for me. I continued to try other games (Boom Beach, Hearthstone, Clash Royale, Brave Frontier, Call of Duty: Heroes, Star Wars: Commander) but nothing has stuck like Clash of Clans.
- All Systems / All The Time (2017) – In mid-2017 I came up with a project to wire up all my gaming systems onto a switch system so that I could flip a couple of switches and be able to play any system in seconds. I’d be able to play multiple decades of games in seconds. I did it too! It took tons of research. Then it took weeks to get all the right cables/adapters/etc. to make the design work. I get on eBay and found a couple of the systems that I was missing as well. It was awesome and all linked to my home theater system. I had six systems online and ready (PS4, PS3, PS2 (which would play PS1 games too), Xbox 360, Xbox, and the Wii). Max and I pulled out the PlayStation 2’s steering wheel and raced around on Gran Turismo 3. It was even more fun than when we played it the first time! This time it was on a 65-inch television with a home theater sound system thundering away. Best. Idea. I’ve. Ever. Had! Then I came up with the wild idea to downsize from our house to a condo. Then Emily came up with the wild idea to downsize my little video game contraption?!? Huh?!? No fair! Don’t worry once I empty this condo out of all these kids, I’ll be turning a bedroom into All Systems / All The Time 2.0! I plan to go back to the Atari 2600 days this time!!! Nerd Cave! Come over and play!
Deano’s Top Games Ever
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) – The greatest video game of all time! No question! Hands down winner! When it released again as a remastered version in November 2016 (with Infinite Warfare…ugh) it was still the best game ever. It was so much fun to play it again (and with better graphics)! There is no telling how many hours of my life have been spent on this game.
- Clash of Clans (2012) – The perfect game on the perfect platform for a busy Dad (and uncoordinated one) who wants to play a game but can’t sit in front of a console all the time to do it. I’ve played this game for years and have chatted with great people who I have never met in real life from the Clan I run. This game was extremely popular (downloaded over 500 million times) at one point and is less so now. It does still have around a million people playing it actively (and I’m one).
- Call of Duty: WWII (2017) – I love World War 2 history and really was excited about the return of the series to 1) World War 2 roots, and 2) no more jumping/boosting/flying crap. I was so excited I even joined the pre-release beta. I wasn’t disappointed with the campaign or with multiplayer. It felt like the old days of Call of Duty (remember Call of Duty 3) except with major graphics/audio improvements. This is the game I wanted Call of Duty 3 to be. I’ve spent more time playing this game on the PlayStation 4 than any other on that console.
I’m obviously a PlayStation console user. My PlayStation gamertag is DeanoROLLS. If you are a PlayStation console user as well and want to play games with a pretty bad player (but with a good attitude and tries hard) I’m your guy! Let’s Party! I don’t really know how the party stuff works but I do have a headset now, so I’ll try to figure it out. If you want to be in an awesome Clash Of Clans clan join us at Libertarian War (just look for the clan with 600+ war wins).