5 Games to Play During the School Year

The school year is in full swing! Parents are rejoicing because their shitty kids are back in school, and teachers are complaining about having to deal with another batch of shitty kids. And of course, those shitty kids are upset they will have to deal with shitty teachers. It’s really a lose-lose situation for everyone but parents. So, as you all are buying new books, preparing your red pens, and crying first thing in the morning, I’ve gathered a few games I think everyone could enjoy during the school year!

1.     Viridi

Everyone can enjoy shouting at some virtual plants.

Everyone can enjoy shouting at some virtual plants.

Whether you’re a student or teacher, you’re probably stressed out. Gardening is one of the best ways to relax; in fact, gardening can scientifically make you happier. But why deal with real plants that will die (because let’s face it you don’t even have time to tend to a garden when there’s homework to do, or homework to grade) when you can grow virtual plants! Viridi is a great game for those who want to join the YouTube planting community but don’t have the money or time to actually garden. Rather than scream at a student, maybe scream right at your screen. Your digital plants won’t care.


2.     Art Sqool

Why grade your students’ work when you can get a computer to do it? ( Art Sqool )

Why grade your students’ work when you can get a computer to do it? (Art Sqool)

This one’s for the students out there who need to get some energy out. Even if you aren’t an art major, Art Sqool is a great way to doodle, scribble, and fiddle around without disrupting class. And teachers, don’t worry, because there’s an AI that will grade your students on their work. If they fail a drawing in Art Sqool, they fail an assignment in real life. It’s only fair.


3.     Reader Rabbit Kindergarten

Reader Rabbit looks on in horror as a bear and an…animal annihilate a slice of pie.

Reader Rabbit looks on in horror as a bear and an…animal annihilate a slice of pie.

I don’t care what grade you’re in, how far you are in your teaching career, you should probably learn how to read. And Reader Rabbit Kindergarten slaps. There’s a game about pie, and using a grid, and telling a beaver how many steps to take before getting to her boat. I don’t know if there’s actually anything about reading in this game, but I do know I played this game even when I was in middle school because it was FUN. And when the school year sucks, sometimes you just have to go back to wearing Velcro shoes and play a game meant for babies.


4.     Mario is Missing

If your student is as clueless as Luigi then they should definitely play this game.

If your student is as clueless as Luigi then they should definitely play this game.

   Mario is Missing is a great educational game about different parts of the world. If you’re a world history teacher, this game is an absolute must-add to your curriculum. Follow Luigi and he travels all around the world through a futuristic pipe system to find out where Bowser is hiding. Assign this game as homework! If students can’t find Mario then they fail the class. Easy!


5.     Danganronpa

This joke will probably land as poorly as Danganronpa’s minigames.

This joke will probably land as poorly as Danganronpa’s minigames.

Now, for those of you who have played this game, I’m sure you already see where I’m going here. A game about students trapped in a school that is being monitored by an evil teddy bear that is forcing them to either kill each other or stay trapped in school forever? What could students learn from this? Easy…debate! This game is GREAT at teaching students the power of rhetorical analysis! By the end of the semester, students will be able to cut through the words of their peers, and loudly shout that everyone is wrong. This is the equivalent of buying a Playboy magazine and only reading the articles.

Now, I cannot condone using this game in the curriculum because of its graphic nature of the game, so maybe use it as extra credit for those who are willing to play it. You know what, maybe this is a bad idea, maybe play—


Actual 5. Ace Attorney

A murder mystery game…but wholesome.

A murder mystery game…but wholesome.


—instead. It’s much lighter in tone despite also being a murder mystery game. And students will come out screaming “Objection!” making them perfectly ready to become a lawyer almost immediately.

Now you’re all set up to take the school year by storm! Play all 5 of these games and you’ll probably 1.) fail your class because you didn’t do any of your homework or 2.) get fired because you didn’t teach all year. You’re welcome!



A Thank You to my Patrons

I was thinking of a way to properly thank you all for supporting my Patreon. The fact that three people pledged money to me almost immediately after I published my page astounds me, and I could not be more appreciative. I truly hope that this patreon is up to everyone's standards. I hope I've been keeping my promise to update you all on my articles, on my podcast, and so on. I know with time, persistence, and good articles, my patrons will grow, but for now I want to honor my three patrons by writing a very silly poem about you all. 

The Patrons Three

The Patrons three, a powerful group

A boisterous band, and colorful troupe

And when they come to town they know

That crowds will follow where they go

Christopher, the meltiest of them all

Can melt buildings that are three stories tall (nothing taller than 3, otherwise that’s a felony)

Sam can change poisonous food

Into a dish for any dude (it’ll still be poisonous)

And Alice speaks to wild beasts

And turns them into allies—neat (not neat for the non-allies though!)!

And while these powers are strange together

The patrons three are best together

 As long they are powerful so

I’d follow The Patrons Three wherever they go


As Father’s Day is winding down here, I’d just like to say that my dad sucks. I haven’t talked to him in years, and to be honest, I can’t help but laugh at the absent-fatherness of it all. Father’s Day for me is a mixture of sadness and apathy. I accept that my dad is not a good dad. I’m an adult, I can pay my own bills, and I do not need him or his support. If I need to vent about something from my childhood, I’ll just go to therapy. But what I will do right now is use his dumbassery as an excuse to give you my TOP FIVE VIDEO GAME DADS THAT FUCKING SUCK

 1.       Cranky Kong

Someone needs to take this monkey’s stick away

Someone needs to take this monkey’s stick away

This asshole beats people with his cane. I don’t care if Cranky is literally his name, that is no excuse to be a goddamn curmudgeon. Also, who gave this animal a science degree? As much as I believe you can go back to school at any age to fulfill your dreams, his science looks real suspect. He’s turning gorillas into rhinos, making little chimps fly…something is not right here. Donkey Kong (who is Cranky’s grandson, or son, or maybe his father I have no clue anymore) picks Cranky up and carries him to the banana horde at the end of Donkey Kong 64. I did not once hear the prick say thank you.


2.       King Rhoam Bosphoramus Hyrule

You know this man demanded the biggest piece of chicken at dinner

You know this man demanded the biggest piece of chicken at dinner

Go to Hyrule and read this dude’s library. He’s scolding children for liking science! He’s yelling at his teenage daughter because she likes artifacts and because she can’t get some weird magic to unleash inside of her! This is a controlling father who doesn’t understand that being a teenager means you think you’re an adult when you’re still the furthest from it. This dude got a big head from being king and tried to pressure Zelda into doing whatever he said. And right before this jerk can even apologize to Zelda for his controlling ways, he dies. I’ve only got one thing to say to that:

3.       Tom Nook

Don’t ask for an allowance from this one

Don’t ask for an allowance from this one

Tom Nook the type of dad to ask you, the child with no job, for money. I know Tom Nook isn’t actually a father (as far as we know), but he does ask for a lot of money from someone who just gets off of a train, and he’s got his two nephews helping out with his sales. My theory is that Nook is so awful to work with that he could only get his young nephews to do it (which means they couldn’t say no). This isn’t one of those dads trying to make as much money to make the family’s life better. You know as soon as you give this tanuki some money he’s going out and buying himself a new t.v. that no one else can use.


4.        Ness’ Dad

When the sprite for a grown man is an old, black telephone, then you know this father ain’t shit.

When the sprite for a grown man is an old, black telephone, then you know this father ain’t shit.

Father? More like Farther, because we have no clue where the hell this dad is. We got bonafied absentee father who thinks a few phone calls a month is equivalent to growing up with a dad. The worst part is that Ness can’t even get a word in on the conversation. There’s some theory that Ninten might by Ness’ old man. Well I don’t give a shit. Where the hell is he and why is he not taking care of his kids when he knows Giygas and Porky are out here bullying his son?


5.       Octodad

This woman has no clue what she’s gotten herself into

This woman has no clue what she’s gotten herself into

Those “are you a squid? Are you a kid?” jokes may be cute, but nothing is more serious than an octopus lying to his family for years about his species. This family is built off lies. Octodad is playing the long con here, pretending to be a human. This is beyond catfishing. This is Octopusing (that sounds filthy). If this man truly loved his family, he would tell his wife and kids straight up that he’s an octopus. And honestly, I think a paternity test is in order here. (Note: This may be the only father on my very short list where the father actually admits his faults and the family forgives him, but because it is father’s day, I am not going to forgive him for lying in the first place.)

So as the day is ending, and we’re seeing all these Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts about great fathers out there, let’s make fun of these asshole dads who are at least fictional and are not hurting any real kid’s childhood.

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My Loves: January 2018

Hey there,

It's a beautifully chilly Tuesday afternoon, and I'm writing you with a laptop sitting on another, older laptop. My desk is cluttered with mugs, cups, wires, books, and more wires.

The year has officially begun. January 1st is a fake day. It takes at least twenty days for my brain (and my hand) to fully accept that we are no longer in 2017. It's 2018! It's here! We are here, together. I hope your year is going well, but if it isn't, please know that I am sorry. I don't know if I can help, but the least I can do is share a few things I've loved this month. Maybe you will love them too.


I've made it my goal for the year to play a new game a week. If possible, I'd like to finish the game in that week, but some games are much larger than others, so I'm not stressing if I can't finish a game that's supposed to take hundreds of hours to complete. So far, I've kept my promise to myself, and then some! According to my list, I've played about 35 games! That's like, a game a day!

I've actually written about quite a few games that I've enjoyed over at Paste, but here are some games I've played (some released this month, some not) that I haven't talked about before:

Shu: Shu is a platformer about the eponymous character's quest to save his village from encroaching doom. With help from different villagers, Shu can possess different abilities to help the trek across the world. I really loved the emphasis on community, and saving the world together. While the controls were a little frustrating at times, the game still had moments where I landed a jump or ran fast enough to evade death, and those moments felt very, very good.

Pan-Pan: Pan-Pan is frustratingly cute. Solving a puzzle felt so good, but getting stuck on one felt stressful. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. I'm fine with a game that isn't always happy-go-lucky or carefree. The small world in the game was so pretty and peaceful, that I didn't really worry about traversing over and over. There was a puzzle I had to look up, and honestly I don't feel bad about it. 

Everything Dies: I can't describe this work better than how it's described on its Itch.io page: "'Everything Dies' is a 3-minute-long thing about the end of a world, because everything dies, even if it's made of 0s and 1s." One of my favorite games as a kid was a JumpStart 3rd Grade. It was a computer game where you played as Botley, a robot who's tasked with the ridiculous job of fixing history after a professor's daughter named Polly decides to change history to reflect the silly answers she placed on a test. I loved it, and I can't play it, because it's so old that none of my computers are compatible with it.* The computer I'm writing with right now doesn't even have a CD holder. Everything Dies really reminded me of the feeling I got when I finally found my copy of the game, tried to boot it up only to realize not only have I outgrown it, but technology has, too.

Little Legs: Bitsy games are my favorite. I love how different they are, how large or small they can be, how traditional or nontraditional they are. This Bitsy piece is a story about a snow-loving dog. When I play it, I feel like I'm listening to a friend while taking a little walk in the snow. It feels personal and friendly. It's a short breather away from the rustle and bustle of life. 

Rain: Rain has a coziness to it that is offset by how lonely it is. Even the title avoids the reality of what's happening in this tiny space. I don't want to say too much because I'd prefer you play it than hear me talk about, but know that it's a game I've replayed many times. It's a short look at a sad situation, and I kept returning, hoping I could make something right.  



I write poetry, but I haven't lately because of an unfortunate rut I've been in for a few months. I used to be able to write a poem a week, and now I can't even write a poem a month. I know one of my issues is that when I stopped writing, I stopped reading. Reading is so incredibly important when you write. Not only does reading poetry help my own poems, but it helps my prose. I start to experiment with my language and diction. It makes me a better writer. So, just like games, I'm reading a book a week. These are the books I've read this month:

The Book of Endings by Leslie Harrison

I borrowed this book from the library back in December, and it is now weeks late. I finished it early this month and I haven't had the heart to let it go. I really enjoyed this collection, and I plan on buying my own copy so I do not need to part with it.

What It Done To Us by Essy Stone

The language in these poems is so vibrant, so distinct. The narrative is tense and feels like a short quip. It's a collection I knew I would read again as soon as I finished it.

Electric Arches by Eve Ewing

So, I do this thing where I keep a book in the bathroom. While I'm going, I sit there and read a few poems. Electric Arches was my bathroom book, and every time I went in there I wound up sitting in there for way longer than I needed, just because I was reading this book. This book had me dreaming about my own childhood, the ways black girlhood can be so similar and also so different

Point Blank by Alan King

I went to a poetry reading in Baltimore and heard Alan perform a few of his poems, and I enjoyed his simple stories turned into large, complex narratives. I feel a kinship in how he writes about ordinary life. This isn't a perfect collection, but there are some poems in there that have inspired me to inspect my own writing, and play around with how I address the ordinary.



When I was a teen, my life revolved around the music I listened to. I had plenty of CD's, ITunes playlists, Limewire, Winamp, anything that could get me more music. Then, as I grew older, I somehow fell out of my love for sounds. I don't know why, or what happened, but I just stopped listening to music. Occasionally I'd pop in an old CD, or watch an old music video, but I wasn't listening to anything new. I worked hard not to fall into that mindset of "music has changed! There's no good music!" because that is absolutely false. I couldn't find my type of music because I wasn't looking. Thankfully, the music came looking for me.

Paramore's After Laughter

I've known of Paramore since their first hit "Misery Business". Boy, did I love and then loathe that song once it was played over and over. I always followed their career from a distance; I liked the little hits I'd hear, but never bought their albums. And then I heard "Hard Times," and I couldn't stop listening to it. The song was released when I, too, was stuck in a hard time. And it's upbeat musicality with its low lyrics really grabbed me. And then I heard "Told You So" and I instantly bought the album. I loved it. I'm sad they haven't really won any accolades for it, but I'm still so glad and thankful that they made it.

Superfruit's Future Friends

Superfruit is comprised by Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi, two singers from the popular A Capella group, Pentatonix. This debut album is delicious. It's gorgeous. It's poppy and fun and low and dark. The first song I heard was "Guy. EXE" which is so fun and funky. My favorite song, "Bad 4 Us" is another one of those upbeat tempos with down lyrics that I seem to adore nowadays.


Well, that's it. It's a long list, and I'm happy about that. I want my loves to be miles long, and my year to be filled with happiness. I want to remember the end of each month as a good month. That doesn't mean I won't come across any hardships. I know something or someone will upset me, and I'll deal with those emotions. I'll "feel my feelings", as my partner says. But I also won't dwell on them longer than I have to. I hope my list of loves gives you a few things to listen, read, or play. I hope you find a few of your own loves, and feel free to share them with me!


* So, JumpStart 3rd Grade has a newer version that is compatible with Windows 8. I'm very happy about that. I might even go buy it and play (some of) it. But look at the new design for the case. The original is the left, new one on the right.

Botley, are you okay? Polly, how old are you?

Botley, are you okay? Polly, how old are you?

Times, people, games, books, music, changes, or in this case ADVANCES.  





My Extremely Serious Game of The Year List

I wanted to take a stab at a Game of the Year list this year. I think gaming categories are a little too boring though, so I spiced up the categories for the people who don't particularly care about best sound design or best indie game. Maybe you're more interested in the best game to regret playing, or the best game to play while procrastinating. Well, if so, here ya go.

Best Game to Drain Your BatteryAnimal Crossing: Pocket Camp

This is wonderful game that will absolutely drain your battery quick so please bring a charger with you before you leave your home. Pocket Camp came out at a time where I felt emotionally drained, so it only makes sense that I’d fall in love with a game that drains batteries. It’s a bit of a simplified version of the main titles, and I’m completely okay with that. Having fewer bugs and fish to collect doesn’t bother me. And I actually enjoy building furniture for my camp. I like to think my mayor from New Leaf decided to take a camping trip and never came back, and when the animals finally discovered her hiding in the wilderness, they decided to tag along.

Best Game to Stress You Out: Bury Me, My Love

This game is stressful in a great way. Through text messages, you watch as your wife Nour travels from Syria to Europe in hopes of finding a better life for her and her husband. The game is moves in real time, so sometimes Nour will do something and not text back for hours. HOURS, I said. I checked my phone as if I were waiting for a text from a real person. Every decision you make is bad. Not necessarily game over bad, but bad to the point where it’s hard to pick an option that feels right. It took me a lot of playthroughs before finding a winning path. Unfortunately, when you start over you can’t skip what you’ve already seen, so it gets a bit repetitive. But it’s still a powerful game and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to turn your hair gray.

Best Game That Burns Me - ARMS

"What a dumb name," I thought, as I played my 300th hour of the game I so desperately love and hate. I can only play this game for about an hour or two before I get so pissed that I need to take a break. It's a fighting game, and sometimes the players you face simply want to win. They don't care about strategy or tact. They want an easy win, and that's infuriating! Getting punched in a corner over and over is not fun! Having a character regenerate their health while you can't get a punch in is maddening! I hate this game! I've played ARMS for three hundred and fifteen hours and counting! 

Best Game I Want to Stop Hearing AboutOverwatch

Listen, I’m sure Overwatch is great, but I really can’t be bothered with this game. I don’t care about the characters, their shorts, their shirts, their shoes, or their service. I'm happy to see some people really connect with some of the characters. But, I don't know, I just don't see the appeal in the game to be honest. What's the point in all the story when the game is just to beat each other up? 

Best Game I Keep Meaning to Play - Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

I really enjoyed the first Dishonored. I thought the story was actually good! It fell into a few tropes, but honestly I was okay with it because of the gameplay. Yet, despite my love for the first title, I still haven’t played Dishonored 2, or Death of the Outsider. Sometimes there are games you can’t quite find a time to play, even if you’re excited for them. That’s what happened with me and the Dishonored franchise. Oops.

Best Game to Play and Then Regret Playing - Yooka-Laylee

Listen, I want more 3D platformers. I don’t think the form should be bound to the past  with games like Banjo-Kazooie or Spyro the Dragon. In fact, they’re not dead. I know I’m supposed to be talking about Yooka-Laylee, but let me just tell you that Skylanders is actually a fun 3D platforming collect-a-thon. It would have gotten more attention if it didn’t require expensive figures to collect everything. But anyway, Yooka-Laylee is a bad game. I do know that the developers have made some upgrades to fix the things that really made the game bad, like extremely slow text speed and unskippable cutscenes, but even then, I just don’t think the game is that fun as a whole. It relies so heavily on nostalgia that it forgets it's not the 90's anymore.   

Best Game to Read - Seedship

Seedship is SO good. I know I’ve mentioned it once or twice on Twitter, but please go play it. It’s a great look at the ways Twine can do some really cool things with a simple text-based design. Seedship is all about finding a habitable planet for the few humans who survived after Earth was destroyed. You control their ship, an AI meant to think like a human, to find a new planet for the humans to call home. There's a lot to maintain while looking for a new planets, like making sure the humans don't die, or that your scientific data isn't destroyed. There's a lot to it that my own text cannot adequately explain, so play Seedship instead of reading this. It’s a great Twine game that really proves the power of text is a real thing.

Best Game to Play While Procrastinating - Tiny Heist

Tiny Heist is the game I played when my brain needed some downtime from thinking. I pop in a CD to listen to while playing and bam I’m zoning out and forgetting about all the things I’m supposed to be doing. In the game, you play as a little thief bent on collecting as much as possible in a 15-floor building. Each floor has more challenges you must avoid to get to the next floor. The interesting thing is that no one moves until you move. If you’re still, the enemies are still, even if they spot you. So you can strategize as to where you’re going or how you’ll attack each enemy. I played a lot of it, and while it doesn’t have a counter to show how many players I put into it, I’m sure it’s somewhere in the hundreds.

To be honest, I didn’t play a lot of games this year. There are so many games I bookmarked that I meant to return to but never did. My year had a lot of self-doubt and lack of motivation. I still don’t think I’m a good writer, though I’m working to change that. Writing about games is very stressful. Who knew? Twitter doesn’t help. The U.S. is in shambles. I got married this week. This is how my life has been this year. It was a roller-coaster with no straight track, a sandwich that tasted great but had a horrible aftertaste. I played a lot of games that I already knew I loved as a way to stay in my comfort zone. But I’m happy that there were a few games that I did decide to try, because there really were some absolutely wonderful games this year. Hopefully I’ll play more next year, and I can continue to make this Extremely Serious GOTY list next time.