Tag: Gaming

A Word on Temple Run, Vision and Hope

Temple Run 2

Temple Run app shows we have the power to make things better in life

Published Friday, February 1, 2013
in “The Island Packet” Bluffton ed.


Last year a young person borrowed my phone and when she returned it, I noticed I had a new app.It was called Temple Run. This game came to mind because recently its sequel came out, and it has the same premise. You take a precious artifact, Indiana Jones style, and a giant apelike creature chases you through all sorts of traps from fire to holes. If you trip, you’re caught, and you must try again, and again … and again. I found it addicting, and as I played, I pondered the premise a bit.In the game, I am holding something that is precious. I cradle it to protect it and I have to exert all my mental and physical attributes to bring it into society for anthropology, for admiration, for the arts or for the common good.

It seems to fit into the old Protestant ethos: “If I work hard enough, good things will happen.”

With 6 million downloads in the first 24 hours of this game’s release, it seems to have struck something within us. Perhaps it is a need to have a purpose, to have an adventure, to do something good.

Do you remember in social studies class, when the class talked about the great voyages that circumnavigated the globe and the people who had to contemplate the cost of these voyages? The risk takers often had to convince the wealthy that the risks of adventure would pay off the debts the adventure would incur. Lives may be lost, great ships may be sunk, and fortunes lost.

To grow, eventually one has to take a leap of faith that goes beyond reason — because there are always reasons for and against all good things. Imagine if we had not made it to the moon, or if no one were willing to try out the first vaccinations.

So what risks are we supposed to take now? How cautious must we be as we look around the corner of the future? How big are we going to dream? How hard are we going to work to achieve these goals?

I want to see a cure for AIDS and the odd possibility of space colonies. I’d also like to see more understanding and nurturing for special needs people, as well as more cooperation among the peoples of various nations. I’d like to see children born into a world that wants them, and that gives all of them a chance for success and the support they need to achieve their own dreams. What are you reaching for?

True happiness and contentment does not come from more leisure and new games and gadgets. Even the pursuit of knowledge and all the work we do to earn a living — while these are good things — they ultimately do not fill us with hope.

Only by experiencing something bigger than ourselves, and accomplishing something that we once thought was impossible, are we going to shout with the joy we desire. I like to step outside of myself and seek the perspective of someone greater to guide me. I pray for a future that does not stagnate in what could have been, what isn’t or what can’t happen. I struggle but remember the words of the Apostle Paul, when he said: “I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the one who makes me who I am.”

Sometimes we get tired. It is good to rest for a while, but eventually we have to get up and do new things. With the confidence of knowing we are put in motion by the one who created each of us with purpose; start something new or continue to work toward the possible impossibility that good things still happen because we were made to make them so.

Columnist Daniel Griswold is the director of youth at St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church. Follow him at twitter.com/dannonhill. Read his blog at http://www.danielgriswold.wordpress.com.
Temple Run 2
Read more (Here

Mirror’s Edge Iphone Game/App (Review)

A new app came out on the Iphone recently based on the console game “Mirror’s Edge”.  The former being a first person cell shaded game, or so I’ve heard.  People raved about it being unique and fun to play.

I just downloaded the Iphone version, because it was (1) featured and (2) had good reviews as far as an app goes.  I’ll confirm the reviews the game is amazing.

Why?  A few reasons:

(1) its epic like star wars.  From the anti-institutional storyline about “runners” passing info that isn’t governent approved to the actual scrolling into the distance text that moves while the levels load, this game feels like its bigger than it is.

(2) It does something most games dont (k.i.s.s.) Keep it Simple Stupid.  The game controls are a series of dashes.  Nothing too complicated.  You dash forward with a finger, and she slides, you dash up with your finger and she jumps, all the while if you are touching the ground, she runs faster until hitting an object.

(3) For an Iphone app, the Graphics are great.  The feel of cell shaded graphics do well on the iphone, and since this is a side scroller, it doesn’t ever get too complicated.  It reminds me of the new 3d sidescrollers harking back to Mario and Sonic Days of Glory on SNES and Genesis.  Hits me in a real retro spot.

Overall, this is a great download.  The challenge does get harder as the levels progress and will remind you of the mega man days of trying to memorize a level and doing it over and over til you get it right.  Highly worth the download my friends.  Out.

Civilization Revolution Iphone App (Thoughts on the Game)

Recently played through an entire game of Civilization Revolution, which is an incredibly addicting game, and just wanted to mention a few strange things about the game that show up regularly:

(1) It’s 1940, and I’m still using a Catapult.

(2) Ghandi is the most warlike leader everytime I play.  His armies are purple, and I’m scared of him.

(3) I am Russian, and I win culturally, first by building Hollywood, and then by buiding the United Nations.

(4) The Chinese and Japanese send out space missions before I do.

(5) Rifleman can beat tanks.

I love it.  I always start slow because I build lots of cities and focus on growth.  The other nations think that I’m weak and so they start war talk.  I keep them at bay as I build units from my cities.  Half military, and half building temples and cathedrals for culture.  As I begin to beat them to a pulp I’m winning a cultural victory, and this time I almost won economically as well by getting to 20000 gold, and was about to build the bank (if you didn’t know you can win militarily – controlling the world and taking every city; technologically – by building and launching a ship to another world; economically – by collecting 20k gold and building the world bank; or culturally – by having 20 cultural acheivements and great people and then building the United Nations).

In the past I have held out the cultural victory to win militarily, but the Japanese and Chinese were about to launch their spaceship!

I love the sureality of it all! 😉 Great App – check it out.

Nintendo 3DS Looks Awesome

I own an Iphone 3g, which has pretty much been my portable gaming device of choice thanks to a MMOG called Kingdoms Live where I lead a clan of 170 people.  Previous, I owned a Nintendo DS, which I bought the day it came out.  It was the old silver clam shell version, and there were 5 games available at launch. The only one really worth mentioning was Super Mario 64 DS.  Oh, it was swell, to have an N64 in my hands with two screens.

Well, I stopped using that clunker of a video brick, and started downloading apps – which is how I prefer to have games now – on a hard drive.  Nintendo basically dropped off my radar until just now.  Articles have begun to spring up about the 3DS.  It is a 3D (without glasses) portable gaming device, with more power than the iphone and psp – and with double the amount of pixels on a larger screen.  Sounded enticing, so I investigated.

It’s going to cost about $200, but seeing that this really does look like the beast of a gaming set (3D, megavisual, download store, two screens) – its going to be worth it.  Google it and see all the buzz.  I’m excited. (PS – the 6 yr and under warning doesn’t affect us adults, but parents take heed.)

Battle Strategies for Kingdoms Live (Iphone)

When you first start playing Kingdoms Live, its like jumping into a soup and you can make some bad decisions and build a bad rep.  In order to avoid this, read some of these easy battle suggestions that will not only make you stronger, it will help you keep more gold, and stress less on the battlefield.

Before all the tips – make sure that you are ready for battle, which means top weapons, armor, and spells for your level.  Then continue:

(1) Keep health low (hit players on the bounty list until your health is low or ask a benevolent higher level player to lose health against) Why? – this limits how many times a farmer can hit you and take gold.  Even if you lose to

(2) Keep money in the Vault for healing – When you get on, heal and attack your farmers/enemies.  This keeps the battle on your terms.  Often you can return fire and get several hits taking back or getting more gold and annoying the other player.  If you are on – you can get in a firefight.  Make sure you have enough Spirit and keep healing going back and forth to show the other player your dominance as you square off.

(3) Don’t feed the trolls – there are players who can’t beat you well, but like to run their mouths.  Their main aim is to make you look bad and get a chuckle from you losing it.  Keep your head.  Don’t respond to ridiculous banter, and change the tone of the conversation when it suits you.  You can gain respect and allies if you play the situation right.

(4) For those in clans – Don’t link your enemy unless its necessary or you are strong enough.  Remember to warn anyone on your wall that is farming that you are going into battle, so they can either arm up, or ask you to clear their links off your wall.  Fighting strong as an individual is still the strongest way to make your clan strong, so don’t necessarily wait until everyone can join the fray.  Often bigger wars will keep that form happening.  Take care to yourself and your profile, and a clear head will make your clan stronger and better able to present itself as a great clan.

(5) Bounty list only when you have someone who can make the Kill – it is worthless to BL someone if you are feeding them to the wolves.  Especially if they are armed.  Lower levels often have quick thumbs and will give them wins.  Instead, find a stronger player who can hit hard and fast to steal the gold and wins for them self.  If you are not in a clan, offer to help them out when they have an enemy that they want tossed or killed.  Its a good way to build bonds with other players.  Our clan calls it Pitch and Kill – insinuating that Killing is our intention.

(6) Remember that you are Immortal (Tao of Boo, See Bugaboo in clan Integrity) in this game.  If you take high losses today, you will have a chance to make it up later when you are stronger.  There is no reason to whine in this game.  Great leaders can have great losses in their profile.  The enemy may taunt you, but they will make fun of anything to get you to run away.  They win with stress.  If you disregard their idiocy, you will win every time.  They will bore and move on.

Summary of My Kingdoms Live Helps:

Leadership in Kingdoms Live

Kingdoms Live Basics (Gold and other things)

Gold, Politics, and Power (A Personal Plan for Dominant Playing)

An early plan for Growing a Profile

My First Ever Blog on KL (Simple Gloating 😉

If there is anything I missed feel free to add it below.

Real Life Leadership Lessons I learned from Kingdoms Live (MMOG)

I will give backgrounds in the Introduction, if you don’t like to read alot, skip to the middle where I outline the leadership lessons (below).

Introduction: Backgrounds – How I became a God of War
About a year and two months ago I started playing a game called “Kingdoms Live” for the Iphone. It is a stat based game where you build a character and a profile, and you begin buying land and getting gold from the land to support your army and weapons. It is a social multiplayer online game because about 200k people are duking it out at any given time through the battle lists. If your stats are good and you have the right weapons, armor, and spells, you win a fight. Pretty simple, so simple in fact that I almost quit playing.

Then I was asked to join a clan. GOW, or Gods of War, a very strong clan across four of Storm 8’s various MMO’s (Imobsters, World War, Ninjas, and Kingdoms Live), had a leader named Bugaboo who asked me if I would like to join. I figured I would give it a shot, since I was about to quit anyway, this might add aspect to the game. Straight up – the organization of GOW and its sheer ability to mobilize against an enemy impressed me. I looked to the leadership of the two Coleaders (the clan is very hierarchical), Bugaboo and Ella, and watched the warlords and dons of war Jinx, Dr. Sleep, and Gotti – seeing them with high stats and the ability to maneuver diplomatically – and I was inspired to lead myself.

I worked my way from Knight to Lieutenant, added recruiter to my name as I brought people in, became a captain, then sr. capt, and very quickly afterward for my ability to talk down an enemy, I was made Ambassador by Bugaboo. Simultaneously I had begun playing as GOW in WW, so I became a colead there and was building up teams and waging a war. Kingdoms Live and World War were the two games that took my time. I lead up three teams in WW, and spent alot of time negotiating and helping team mates under Bugaboos lead.

Eventually there was a split between our clans CEO and Bugaboo, and Bugaboo left with many in Kingdoms Live to start his own clan. It was a messy time, and someone needed to lead so I requested that I be able to leave WW as colead and become a coleader in Kingdoms live in Bugaboo’s place. I love the game, and I love our clan mates, and despite almost all top leadership leaving to form Integrity with Bugaboo over the split I decided to stay and rebuild. It was awesome. For six months we went from basically no activity and being demoralized as we split, to being a dominant active clan ready to fight with ferocity. We went from 70 people inactive (actives had left) to 150 people, with 80 active players, and we were growing.

Currently I am taking a break (partly to catch up on real life, and partly to give my thumbs a break from typing so frequently with so many people across the globe). I would log in and have 100 messages to respond to, and it was beginning to consume me a bit too much. Success became a bit of a bane to me, since I have a very busy regular life, so I had break away to rebalance and focus. I’ll be back after a month or two, however. Remember the name Muad’Dib 😉 Code: 2ps1r

All the principles I learned leading the clan have actually transferred to leading in real life.  There was a huge benefit to leading the clan for 6 months and being part of it for a year.  Here are some of those benefits:

So What Have I Learned Leading the Clan:

(1) To grow a team, you need to be a good recruiter – Being a good recruiter means communicating effectively, being able to show the benefits of being a group together, and showing the purpose of banding together as a clan.  Like with any group, you need to be willing to walk with the new recruits in a slow process of integration, allowing them to ask questions, feel awkward, and take initial baby steps in the new culture.

(2) Group Culture and Activity is Important – if you don’t have active players who care about contributing, you might as well just go it alone.  The benefit of being in a group is that you get to meet new people, fight with people who eventually become friends, and you can strategize together with differing points of view, creating something more whole than an individual can put together on their own.  As you move forward, you either have a GOOD culture, or a BAD culture.  If you greet new members warmly, spend time in the chats, treat other players with respect, and fight with honor and good team skills I believe you have a good culture.  Do the opposite of that and you develop a sarcastic and mean spirited group – and the leaders need to constantly be keeping negativity in check, always inserting positive points of view so that people treat each other right.

(3) Spending time with your group with no agenda grows group consciousness – No one wants to be in a group that is always asking you to do something but doesn’t spend time just getting to know you.  Since all games online are essentially fun because they are social, you need to spend times shooting the breeze with your troops.  You can learn how each other think, solidify relationships, learn about other countries and their cultures, and be better able to deploy the right people in a fight with another clan based on a persons personal nature.  I knew everyone who came into the clan for the full six months.

(4) You need to have a plan – communicating your plan early, often, and well means that your clan will be able to make decisions in the field that represent your clan well.  If your plan is not well known, you will end up with a group of individuals who do as they please with no parameters or accountability.  If you want to grow large, your plan needs to involve getting everyone involved in recruiting with guidelines on how to recruit and you need to show them how.  If you want to grow warriors who are strong, spend time instructing people how to grow their profiles in such ways that they will be prepared in war to face their current level players.  If you want to fight a war, get as much info on the opposing clan as possible and begin assigning people to specific roles such as scouts, target hitters, throwers, wall talkers (trash talkers if you will), diplomats, and intelligence/leadership – rev up the teams to go with a message of impending victory, and remind them they are immortal in this game, and the army erupts in awesomeness.

(5) As leader, you do everything at some point, so everyone can see what is possible – though you can’t do all things all the time, the leader needs to shift around what they are doing.  Sometimes recruiting, sometimes warring, sometimes putting together discipline councils, sometimes talking it up in the chat room, sometimes restructuring the group, sometimes doing diplomacy, sometimes encouraging others, sometimes…  And on and on.  I literally did everything at some point, and I hope that my message was that if the Coleader isn’t too good to do something, then everyone should be able to take up different responsibilities if no one is picking them up.  We all fight together, and we all do everything together.  I do believe that even the knight (first rank) can be a leader of the others.  Basic principle is this: If you want to rise in a group, lead and act as if you are already the rank you wish to be.  Whether you get recognition or not is negligible. Your contributions speak for themself, and you will eventually be respected regardless of position.  A mature leader does things not to be recognized, but because things need to be done.

(6) Someone has to make decisions – any player who defers leadership decisions to others doesn’t deserve a leadership position.  Deferring decisions means the person isn’t willing to accept failure (or victory) and they won’t be able to handle blame if a plan goes awry.  As a leader I made good and bad decisions.  I learned from both, and it grew me as a leader.  In real life and in game, we have to be willing to make tough calls for the sake of the group.  That involves getting as much reliable information as possible, seeking wisdom in understanding the data from others, talking with a few top leaders you trust who can give you their opinions, and making a decision and going with it.  And you need to follow through on your decisions unless you find out that you are wrong.  Someone has to be willing to take the knocks for good and bad decisions – it might as well be you.

(7) Having a Chain of command and Code of Conduct are important and can make or break a clan. New players need to know who they can turn to for reliable information and who can help them get integrated.  In war, each ranked person needs to know what they are allowed to do.  It would be bad if all people were individually negotiating a truce, because then you would have 150 different terms of conditions.  Eventually the lower ranks need to give way to the higher ranks to know who is in charge and who can ultimately call the shots.  And this is something to be taken with great weight.  Leadership needs to know that gaining a rank is something with much honor, but higher leaders are given trust and play a vital role.  Their activity and ability to lead makes or breaks a clan.  So we let the Ambassador make treaties, let the Coleads and Dons of War plan the wars, let the Captains discipline and order the Lts and Knights, and let the Head Captains and Recruiters work out the teams.  This helps the group work well.

Possible Pitfalls of Successful Leadership:

I’m going to be honest, leading up 150 people from varying countries across the globe is a hard job.  Even harder after you win a few wars, and people seek you out in game to seek your help or wisdom for their own clan.  Like I mentioned earlier, I would come on to see 100 messages or so requesting a decision and that meant alot of typing.

My thumbs were seriously getting messed up – its too bad that Storm 8 doesn’t let you play on a PC/Mac.

The more successful you are the more people will seek you out, and you have to decide when you are doing too much. I hit that wall two weeks ago, and had to realistically put the game down.  I felt bad at first, but it slowly gave way to relief.  When I do come back in about a month, most new recruits won’t know me, and I can slowly reintegrate.  I won’t have to put out orders to 150 people every week, and others hopefully will have taken some of the responsibilities that I championed.

Ultimately, I hope my leadership doesn’t vanish into the ether.  I love my clan, and I will return to it.  Here’s to the God’s of War and any clan that is well ordered, fights hard, and has good principles. I salute you.



Add me, though I am in a short break from the game.

Reality is Closing in on the Virtual World

Reality is Closing in on the Virtual World

by Daniel Griswold

Originally Run in “The Island Packet” Newspaper on Aug 10, 2010

I knew the world had officially changed when I clicked to add my grandma as a friend on the social-networking site Facebook.

I’m proud to say my mom joined as well, but I distinctly remember how hard it was to teach my sweet mother how to use a mouse without the expression of fear.

Perhaps the world is changing too fast.

More people now create their own image in the electronic mirror. On this mirror, we play out all our hopes and dreams, and the brokenness of our humanity with the friends we have found online.

How easily we forget that behind each profile is a real person.

A war game for the iPhone, with several hundreds of thousands of players, recently had an event that went largely unnoticed: One player committed suicide. It was quietly announced among the player’s army mates, and the account profile that once had been a bastion of warlike activity, suddenly went silent.

Pictures of virtual tears flowed, but no one really knew how to grieve the loss online. Because the people in the player’s army were from all over the world, no one would be able to attend a funeral. And without a connection to anyone who actually knew the player, there would be no one to talk to who actually had met this friend.

As if trapped in the portion of Scripture stating, “I have forgotten happiness” (Lamentations 3:17), the fun stopped for a little while, as the players had to grapple with a real life that existed on the other end of the WiFi. A human soul is missing from among us. He hadn’t just disconnected for the night; no, he was never going to reconnect again. The players had to feel some very human emotions, and eventually we all had to talk.

“I called on your name, O Lord, out of the lowest pit. You have heard my voice, ‘Do not hide your ear from my prayer for relief, from my cry for help.’ You drew near when I called on: you said, ‘Do not fear!'” (Lamentations 3:55-57).

In the game, players began to offer prayers of support for their fallen friend. In a game where every player is artificially immortal, we all remembered how truly mortal we are. Somehow in the virtual world a very real world thing had happened. We mourned and supported one another.

I’ve heard of this happening more and more as we connect to one another in the electronic world. On Facebook, people leave comments on the pages of their lost friends; in the games, a player’s profile becomes a memorial for thoughts, prayers and grief. And clips of this activity are now included in the evening news.

Though none of this will ever replace the warmth of a real hand and a hug, experiencing a new form of community has opened my eyes. The virtual world is no longer a separated space, but rather, part of reality.

And the world continues to change.

Daniel Griswold is director of youth at St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church. Twitter Name: dannonhill

Read more: http://www.islandpacket.com/2010/08/10/1334504/reality-is-closing-in-on-the-virtual.html#ixzz0zoWzRgxC