“Highlight Reel” – 6/17/19

This past week was E3 and a live letter for Final Fantasy XIV Online. Unfortunately, the majority of the chatting we did about those two things was in person and not on Twitch or in Discord. Still, here are a few conversations and a pretty funny video from the last week or so.


Honestly, I love that Nico and I can give each other shit. 🙂


One of our community members posted an innocuous comment about Phantasy Star Online 2 from Microsoft’s press conference and I completely freaked out. You can see the point in my replies where I did a quick internet search and found out that we’re getting PSO2 in March. I was SO EXCITED. Can you blame me, though??? This announcement came out of NOWHERE!


When Nico asked me about this, I thought he was talking about the Switch version of the game. Apparently, Japan is getting a Dragon Quest themed Switch and I had NO IDEA. Somehow I doubt they’re going to release it stateside, so my wallet is breathing a sigh of relief!


This is pretty self explanatory. I bought a Dust Daddy and this is what happened when I used it to vacuum my keyboard. Yes, I could have deleted the messages, but honestly, it’s more funny this way… Side note: I found that it works really well, so I’m not sure why its reviews are so bad everywhere. I guess it depends on what you’re using it for.


And that’s it for this episode of “Highlight Reel.” Maybe I can come up with a better title, but for now, that’s what you’re stuck with! Come hang out with us on Twitch and Discord for more banter!

“Highlight Reel” – 6/10/19

Although we live in the same house, the majority of our banter exists either in Discord chat or on stream. Sometimes it’s lighthearted. Sometimes it’s serious. Either way, we thought we should share some of it with you!


We live in an old ass house. Like REALLY old. The original part of the house, which is the upstairs and where we live, was built around 1907-1908 by my grandfather’s father. I don’t know the exact date, to be honest. It’s made of wood. In 1947, it was raised and the downstairs was built underneath it using concrete. My calabash uncle lives down there. When my husband and I first moved in, I couldn’t sleep because there were so many creepy noises when the wood moves. In addition, the walls are thin so you can hear a television, computer, radio…

Recently, Nico and his girlfriend have been falling asleep while watching Netflix, YouTube, or whatever. And the volume is turned up so high that I can HEAR the Discord notifications he’s getting through the damned wall!


That video pretty much speaks for itself… I said something really ditsy… LOL


Not everything between us is a joke or frustration. 😉 Nico is great at cheering me up and making me feel better about stressful situations like work. I can only hope that I do the same for him.


I went to two tasting events last week. One for sake and the other for wine. I got drunk both times. I feel like a lot of people can relate to their mom just coming into their room rambling on about something or another while they’re just trying to beat a boss in a really hard game…


That’s it for this episode of “Highlight Reel.” Maybe I can come up with a better title, but for now, that’s what you’re stuck with! Come hang out with us on Twitch and Discord for more banter!

Why Spawn/Respawn, btw?

Hey all! Mom/Hatsumi here!

This hasn’t come up very often, but someone (off-stream) asked me recently why our Twitch channel is called Spawn/Respawn. We had a hell of a time trying to come up with a name for our channel that was representative of the fact that we’re a mother and son team that plays video games together, but was also catchy. Or at the very least, easy to remember. So here’s the explanation:

spawn: (transitive verb) to give rise to; to give birth to

respawn: (intransitive verb) to reappear at a fixed point in an existing video game environment after dying

So Nico is my offspring (what I spawned) or the Spawn. And I die a LOT in games, so I’m the Respawn.

Mystery solved!

 

Why I Stream

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It seems like everyone and his uncle streams on Twitch, Mixer, or YouTube these days and I often wonder why. As a middle aged woman who’s seen her share of life’s ups and downs, it really looks to me like the majority of people who stream are a bunch of young people hoping to gain fame a la Ninja or something. Young people have an absolutely amazing capacity for dreaming and optimism, which is my nice way of saying that young people are stupid. While luck is certainly a part of it, fame and success are tied to hard work more than anything else. Today’s gaming youths seem to have this notion that since they’re good at video games, they can become rich and famous just by playing them. That’s not how it works.

Do I want to become rich and famous by playing video games? Of course I do! Who doesn’t want to get paid for doing something they love doing? But on the other hand, I DON’T want video games to lose their fun factor. First and foremost, I stream because I enjoy it. I love chatting with random people who are into the same things I am. Prior to streaming, it was difficult for me to find people who loved video games as much as I do. Most of the people I regularly interface with IRL are not into video games AT ALL. If they DO have any experience with games, they consider it some weird thing that they don’t understand, but their kids are REALLY into it. (I’ve tried encouraging them to play with their kids, but that’s a topic for another day…)

Several years ago, I was out having coffee with a high school classmate and she spent the entire time complaining to me about the fact that her husband played video games. According to her, video games are for children and as a grown man, he should have grown out of them by now. She was ranting and raving about how immature gamers are and I sat there thinking, “Are you REALLY saying these things to ME of all people?” She knew I loved games. I never hung out with her again. Now I certainly don’t expect all my friends to like games. (I have quite a few non-gamer friends.) But I DO expect my friends to be respectful of me and my interests. I don’t judge my friends who are obsessed with sports, for example, even though I don’t understand at all why someone would care so much about whether or not a certain team wins a championship.

So streaming gives me a place to hang out with like-minded people and talk about games. 🙂

Another reason I stream is to hold myself accountable for working on my video game backlog. Even when no one is watching, I feel obligated to stream my progress because I SAID I WOULD. What kind of person would I be if my actions didn’t back up my words? Integrity is important to me. You can scoff at my desire to actually finish video games, but integrity isn’t really integrity if you cherry-pick the situations in which you exhibit it.

And I’m actually making progress! Prior to committing to streaming my backlog, I would start games and never finish them. If I was lucky, I’d actually FINISH maybe one game a year. That’s ridiculous. Since April, I have completed SIX GAMES and I am making progress every week. Not gonna lie, that feels REALLY GOOD.

The final major reason I stream is to hang out with my son. Maintaining a relationship with an adult child is challenging. Not necessarily because it’s inherently more difficult, but because there simply isn’t any guidance. There are books, websites, videos, and all sorts of media on how to parent babies, small children, teenagers, etc. but no one ever talks about how to relate to your kids once they’re out of the house. I think the rationale for that is that the grown child should be able to take care of themselves and don’t really NEED their parents anymore. That’s complete bullshit. Having some kind of meaningful relationship with your parents is important for your ENTIRE LIFE. Sure, it’s going to change and be very different than when you were a kid, but it’s still necessary and extremely valuable.

Nico loves games as much as I do, so playing together gives us common ground. This creates a space where we are comfortable talking to each other about other things, too. Not just games. That’s the best part. It’s really important to me that he feels that he can talk to me about anything. I don’t want to be one of those parents that has no idea what’s going on with their kid. On the flip side, I always try to respect Nico’s independence, as well. He’s too WAY too old to be coddled and cared for, but I DO want him to know that he is loved and that I have his back.

So why do I stream? When it comes down to it, I stream for me: my social interactions, my game backlog, my relationship with my son. And I love it. It’s fun and it energizes me. Sure, it can be exhausting and it certainly isn’t for everyone, but that’s okay. So come hang out! I always enjoy the company. 🙂

  • Mom

Gamer Mom

I did not consciously plan to become a parent when I did. I was 19 years old when I discovered that I was pregnant and being both gifted and cocky, I was quite certain that I could totally handle it. I was, after all, smarter than almost everyone I knew. How hard could it be?

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As I’m sure you can glean from that previous paragraph, young people are AMAZINGLY stupid. Because of MY choices when I was younger, I put nothing past the stupidity of a young adult. NOTHING.

Anyway…

At 19, with the exception of being completely obsessed with the Magnavox Odyssey 2 in the late 1970’s as a small child, I had virtually no experience with video games. No one in my friend group really played them and they simply weren’t a part of my world. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose. Not to mention, the idea that “girls don’t play games” was totally still a thing. 😛

At some point, working at my retail job while pregnant became too difficult, so I was home a lot. My now ex-husband really wanted a Super Nintendo, but I told him that it was a waste of money. So he bought one anyway and said that it was for me so that I’d have something to do while I was bored at home. Pretty sure the first words out of my mouth were something along the lines of, “What the hell am I going to do with a Super Nintendo? I don’t play video games!” I was pretty pissed off about it, but the money was spent, so I wasn’t about to let his purchase go to waste. And it WAS true that I was bored at home a lot. It came bundled with a copy of Super Mario World, so I popped that in and tried video games again for the first time since I was probably 7 or 8 years old.

I completely fell in love. Head over heels, madly, deeply, and utterly in love.

Honestly, I’m not really sure what it was about that game that hooked me the way it did. I soon started regularly visiting Blockbuster Video and renting Super Nintendo games. I rented anything that looked interesting or was based on an existing IP that I enjoyed. So I played many different genres including platforming, fighting, racing, and action. That was how I discovered Final Fantasy and Japanese role-playing games. The box of Final Fantasy III (actually VI) looked interesting. I lost it. I had to pay a lost item fee, but it was worth it. That game still resides in my list of top 3 games of all time.

Playing role-playing games was easy while Nico was a baby. However, once he got a little older, he definitely wanted to do what Mommy was doing. At some point, I picked up an original Sony PlayStation, which was another truly excellent console in terms of JRPG’s. Think Wild ARMs, Final Fantasy VII, Legend of Dragoon… But I digress… Toddler Nico was now big enough and coordinated enough to hold a controller on his own. So I picked up games like Crash Bandicoot, Glover, and Spyro the Dragon. At around the same time, I started flirting with the manager of the game store. So when I’d score a free demo or something, Nico thought I was SO COOL because I knew the man in the game store. (Don’t worry, I wasn’t trying to use my feminine wiles to get free shit. We’ve now been married for over 13 years!)

Even though these games I bought were single player experiences, Nico always had to have me around. “Mom, did you see that? Did you see what I did? Mom! Mom!” He still does this to me today. He also needed me to read the text so he’d always know what was going on. Of course, sometimes he’d exclaim exasperatedly, “Oh my god, Mom, so much talking!” He still complains about that today, too, but he reads everything himself. 😛

Our first multi-player experiences involved a fighting game and racing/platforming. I am NOT a competitive gamer. I hate fighting people. I much prefer working together toward a common goal, but in the 1990’s, there weren’t a lot of cooperative games for consoles, so if I wanted to actually play something with Nico, it was going to be competitive. First we played Killer Instinct on the Super NES. This is the only fighting game I ever got any good at and I consistently kicked his ass. He hated that. So we didn’t play it much. I suppose I should have let him win once in awhile, but that’s just not in my nature. I bought a Sega Dreamcast and picked up Sonic Adventure. The multiplayer in the Sonic Adventure games is a combination of racing and platforming. Nico proceeded to consistently kick MY ass, but at least we had something we BOTH enjoyed playing. (I didn’t mind losing. Especially to him.)

The Dreamcast would prove to be a great place for us to game together. Sonic Adventure 2 was even better than the first one and there was even a level that I could beat him once in awhile! Green Forest! And then came Phantasy Star Online. This game (along with Diablo II) is probably what began my slow descent into the world of MMO’s, since it was like an MMO lite. (I started playing EverQuest not long after this.)

When the first Kingdom Hearts game released on the Sony PlayStation 2 in Japan, I bought an import copy and we played the game together. He did most of the gameplay stuff while I read and tried to translate the text. Considering that I had almost no Japanese knowledge at the time, I’m surprised that we actually managed to beat it. Too bad there were no achievements back then, though! We never changed out our original keyblade! We had no idea you could… XD

Nico and I continued to play games separately and together. When he was around 10 or 11, we taught him how to play EverQuest and got him his own computer, account, and everything. Unlike me, he didn’t jump into every MMO that released, but when World of Warcraft came out, we all jumped into that. Now we all play Final Fantasy XIV.

As a teenager, Nico continued to play just about any game I put in front of him. Since even his solo gaming involved me as a spectator, I pretty much let him play any game he was interested in. I always enjoyed watching him play games like Assassin’s Creed or Metal Gear Solid because I could just enjoy what was going on in the game without getting frustrated about making some kind of bullshit perfect jump or something.

I did have a couple of rules besides the obvious make-sure-your-homework-is-done rule. Rule #1: No Grand Theft Auto games. Rule #2: If you’re going to play a FPS game like Halo or something online, no voice chat. He was, after all, still a child. And while I was okay with him playing M-Rated games because he and I would actually talk about the games, I couldn’t control the multitudes of man-children who like to shout racial and gender slurs over XBOX Live. I also didn’t want him exposed to games that were specifically about being bad. Not yet, anyway. I knew he’d encounter that stuff eventually, but it was important to me that he not encounter it until he was old enough to really process the ramifications of, say, picking up a hooker in your car, paying her for sex, then running her over and stealing her money.

I finally relented on Grand Theft Auto games when GTA IV came out. As a high school teenager, I felt that he was old enough to play it and understand why I DIDN’T want him playing these games when he was younger. It’s no secret that I’m a feminist and I raised my son to be one, as well. I think the no voice chat rule just kinda phased out eventually. I don’t remember ever making a decision about it. He eventually just became an adult and he could do/play whatever he wanted.

There’s a College Humor skit called “N00b Boyfriend” that I find hilariously funny because although I’m not THAT bad, I imagine I would be somewhat like the parents in that skit. I’m not nearly as douche-y, but I guarantee that I’d be grilling any of Nico’s dates about Horde vs. Alliance or whether or not they invert the Y-axis on a controller. Horde and yes, in case you’re wondering, but as long as his date was actually able to answer my questions, I’d be happy.

As a gamer mom, I’ve tried my best to make sure he always has all the gear he needs to be a gamer son. Within reason, of course! I don’t just buy him everything. He’s a college graduate and a grown man now, after all. But with student loans and all that, sometimes it’s hard to keep up with this hobby. So I help when I can. Besides… Who else can I talk to about video games? He and I share a bond and a history that partially developed through gaming. I honestly hope that we can keep playing games together until I’m dead and gone. Eventually, it may be that I’ll be playing with HIS kids instead of him. I’m cool with that. As long as I can keep playing…