Author

About the Author
Nate Perkins is a freelance writer living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with his wife and two children. He is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Marketing and New Media from Southern New Hampshire University. When he is not working, he enjoys playing guitars and videogames loudly and poorly. Read more of his writing at www.gameanddad.com and make sure to like the Facebook group Game and Dad.

Oh Great Now I Have To Worry About Being Crushed By Large Mammals

Nine years ago I moved to South Dakota. I survived allergies, ridiculously cold weather, ridiculously hot weather, and the ultra-annoying drone of cicadas. I have taken on these challenges with good humor and grace but now I have another concern: being attacked by large mammals. That fact comes via The Tribunist Blog.

C.D.C. chart: Ways to Die

What Kind of Beast Hides on These Plains?

I am a native New Englander, so I am used to coexisting cows, white tail deer, and the occasional moose or bear. Interestingly the all of New England has insufficient data on animal destruction. South Dakota is a completely different story. It seems that the plains are ripe with sinister beasts. What kind of atrocities are the people of South Dakota hiding from me? I can only assume that it is some type of wild-super-gorilla that hides in the hills of Great Bear at night. Or maybe it’s just a really pissed off bison…

Bison?

Not gonna lie, I don’t know what a bison looks like. I think this looks right. Image credit Yoky via wikimedia.org

I Don’t Really Like These Odds

According to the article, I have a 1 in 814,179 chances of meeting my end at the hands (or hooves) of a beast. South Dakota ranks third in the nation for animal deaths behind Montana and West Virginia. The entire population of South Dakota according to the 2016 census is only 865,454 people compared to an estimated 3.5 million head of cattle. That’s only cows! How many other types of large mammals are waiting to crush the life out of me?

 

If there is a bright side, here it is

The article does identify some other animals that kill. If I had to find a bright side, it is that South Dakotans will be able to see their attackers coming. For example, Texans are most likely to die from venomous arthropods (spiders and scorpions). And Illinois and Missouri have the highest chance of being killed by a large reptile (I didn’t even know they had large reptiles in Illinois). If I had to pick an attacker, I guess death by large mammal is better than by alligator, scorpions, or a swarm of angry bees.

Turns out the culprit fairly average

As usual, when looking into the actual numbers the story is not nearly as exciting. The menace is not a super mutant bison thirsting for my Yankee blood, most of the deaths are due to car accidents caused by deer. The second most deadly creatures are flying insects like bees, wasps, and hornets. I guess the real lesson here is to drive safely and watch out for those dumb-as-hell deer.

I Ain’t Scared Tho

As stated previously, I have survived everything that the great state of South Dakota has thrown at me. I will not let some giant hell-bison or car crushing deer scare me out of this state. The real culprit might be deer, but I still wonder what kind of beasts out there on the prairie.

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Was There a Giant Sioux Serpent in 1887? The Sioux Empire Investigates.

Did a big serpent call the Big Sioux home? A recent article on the KSOO webpage seems to think so. The Sioux Serpent was reportedly sighted in the summer of 1887 by a group of men fishing on the river.

Serpent

The Sioux Serpent Probably Looked Like This (Source: Creative Commons : Coryn Wolk

 

According to the green historical sign posted on East 41st street, the monster was 20 feet long and a foot wide. After its initial sighting, the creature submerged and was never seen again.

This disappearing act does make a convenient story for the eye witnesses, but what if they did see something that defies explanation? In fact, the monster described sounds a lot like another famous lake monster in the US.

Sioux Serpent, Close Cousin to Champy?

The Lake Champagne Monster or “Champy” has been sighted numerous times over the years in upstate New York and Vermont. There is even a sign posted on the lake marking all of the dates of the sightings.

In 2006 two veteran fishermen submitted a video to ABC news. The fishermen in this story describe a creature similar to Sioux Serpent. The video is hard to see since it’s ten years old and the resolution is terrible.

One fact I found about Champy links it directly to the Sioux Serpent: in 1887 PT Barnum announced a 50,000-dollar reward to anyone who captures Champy. No doubt the news of this sensational story made its way to Sioux Falls and might have influenced the story.

Could the fishermen have been trying to gain some media attention (and possible reward) for the tale? It seems that the news from the reward, and similar descriptions of the beasts implies the Sioux Serpent could be a fake.

Champy Sign

The sign of all the Champy Sightings (Source http://www.lakechamplainregion.com )

So, What Did Those Fishermen See?

It’s hard to say exactly what, if anything, those fishermen saw on the Big Sioux. If there was something, it was probably just a big catfish or muskie. The a combination of choppy water and the dreams of winning 50,000 dollars turns a two foot catfish into a twenty foot serpent.

Stories of monsters are not new to any region. If you type in any big lake or river in the US it will most likely return a foggy picture of a monster. It would be nice if someone caught a picture of a monster with half decent camera or smartphone. Do you think there was a serpent living in the Big Sioux? Or do you think that the fishermen made up the story to get some attention? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 Game Demos to Try

This week my son and I tried out a couple of free demos for some games that are near or recently released. Demos are a great way to try some new games, and get some free entertainment at the same time.

Splatoon 2 Test Fire

As I mentioned in a previous posting we recently got a Nintendo Switch and we are enjoying it. Splatoon 2 is a game for the Switch that we are have been interested in trying out. Fortunately, last Saturday we had a chance to go hands on with the game in the first “test fire”

Splatoon is a multiplayer game where the object of the game is to cover the world in your team’s paint color. We did not play the first Splatoon because my son was too young to play the game. Now that he is 7 he can handle the more complex control schemes. The game is bright, colorful, and great for all ages.

My son and I found Splatoon 2 to be a fun experience. I always thought Splatoon was an easy “kids” game but there is actually some pretty deep mechanics and fun team play. Note this game does have online interactions so monitor your kid’s playtime if they are competing online.

Unfortunately, this demo does not seem to be available anymore. But if you are a Switch owner keep an eye out because there might be more free demos on the way.

Destiny 2 Beta

Destiny is a game for grown-ups, but its rated T so kids are ok to watch (it’s as violent as a Marvel Movie). This is a first-person space shootout adventure. If you haven’t played the first game it’s okay, everyone is getting a fresh start with this release. The setup for the game is that you are the a member of the last city on the planet, bad guys come to your town and steal your space powers and you need to fight to get them back.

The online beta will be open to everyone on XboxOne and PS4 this weekend. It contains two story missions and an online player vs player game mode. I have only played the missions so far and I would recommend checking it out. If you played the first Destiny this game feels very similar but it has some much-needed improvements to the story and gameplay.

Mass Effect Andromeda

Mass Effect released a few months ago to a lot of criticism for buggy controls and bad animation. The developers have addresses many of these concerns and are offering a free 10-hour demo to everyone on Xbox One and PS4. This is a mature rated title that is for after the kids go to sleep.

Mass Effect Andromeda is the fourth game in the franchise but this is a new story. The game is about exploring the Andromeda Galaxy, fighting bad space guys, and building relationships with crew mates on your ship.  I have only just started playing this game but I am having fun with it.  I am glad to see that the developers fixed the issues with the game and are giving away so much game time for free.

That about does it for me. We have a blast playing some free game demos this week. Are there any other games I missed? Let me know in the comments!

 

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What a Terrible Night to Have a Curse: Playing Castlevania 3 after watching the series

Castlevania

After watching the excellent Castlevania Netflix series I started playing Castlevania 3. The Netflix series is a prequel for Castlevania 3 and while the series is adult only, feel free to enjoy the game with the kids as the game does not have the level of violence.

 This is a game of patience

Castlevania 3 is breaks a few conventions of the franchise: you can switch between the protagonist Trevor Belmont and three other companions. Castlevania 3 offers different paths which means that at the end of certain levels the player picks which level to play next. These elements mix with the classic play scheme that the original is known for: fight through a level, kill a boss, etc.

Castlevania 3 is one of the most unforgiving games that I have ever played. Trevor Belmont controls like a stone and most of the companions have some pretty big drawbacks. There is no good way to attack oncoming enemies while climbing stairs. The game compounds this frustration by throwing enemies and projectiles while the character is traversing stairs. Another key frustration is the jumping is incredibly unforgiving. The game might be kid friendly, but the words that come out of your mouth after the 20th cheap death won’t be.

Its hard to play…literary

Another difficult thing about  Castlevania 3 is finding a way to play it. The only way to play this on a modern console is to download it on the Wii U and 3ds for 5 bucks. An original cartridge can be tricky because it has technology in it that makes it hard to play on modern clone consoles. Original carts go for about 40 bucks which pretty expensive. I would not go to great lengths to try this game unless you have some nostalgia for the game.

So what’s good about it?

The game has an impenetrable difficulty. If you do fight through you will find a game full of amazing pixel art and soundtrack.  It might sound crazy but these elements almost make the difficulty worth it. Despite my seemingly negative review, I do find parts of this game to be enjoyable. I do not think that most people will enjoy the game unless they are really into difficult NES games.

 The Netflix Series is amazing, the game is hard to recommend

The Netflix series takes the story from Castlevania 3 and modernizes it in a really cool way. Unfortunately, the source material does not hold up as well. I think that Castlevania 3 has some neat ideas but it gets bogged down with unforgiving controls, frustrating enemy placement, and bad platforming. If you want to play some retro Castlevania I recommend the first and fourth entries into the series.

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Nintendo Switch Recommendations

Nintendo Switch

Image from Nintendo

It’s a very exciting week at my house: after a few months of saving up money we have ordered a Nintendo Switch and it’s going to be here by Friday. The kids and I are definitely excited to play some Nintendo games like Mario Kart and Arms and I wanted to take a minute to recommend some other games that I am adding to my Switch library:

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe:

This is a port of the Mario Kart game for the Wii U but it includes extra characters and new game modes. What makes Mario Kart 8 on Switch so unique is a mode for younger kids that assists them with steering and controls. The addition of this mode really helps people who want to play Mario Kart but aren’t great at the basics of modern video games.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove:

Shovel Knight is a cross between a bunch of classic NES games. It’s a retro-styled adventure full of platforming challenges and quirky characters. The Treasure Trove contains three separate Shovel Knight adventures with different protagonists and stories. Plus, the developer has promised more expansions coming free of charge.

Snake Pass:

Snake pass is a physics based platformer that has no enemies, the goal is to move a snake around a fun and colorful obstacle that has a similar style to Banjo-Kazooie. It’s non-violent and colorful but it has a steep learning curve. Younger players might struggle a bit, but the older kids should be fine for elementary aged kids.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst:

This is a 10-dollar budget friendly download that is similar to old Mega Man games. The difference with Mighty Gunvolt Burst is that all of the guns are fully customizable.  For 10 bucks, it’s a neat little platformer that scratches the itch for old school platforming.

ARMS:

This is a silly beat’em up that is similar to the boxing game on the original Wii Sports. Arms is bright and colorful and easy to pick up and play. My son has been really looking forward to playing this game (actually he won’t stop talking about it).

There are plenty of games to check out for the system and I will update the blog with more games as I discover them. Two quick notes: if you are purchasing a Switch bundle from GameStop make sure to get one with extra controllers because these damn things are really hard to find in stores right now. If you are looking to purchase extra controllers at a lower cost I recommend looking at the 8Bitdo NES 30 pro controller on Amazon. These controllers cost about 40 bucks and are getting pretty good reviews. I have one coming in the mail and I will post my impressions of the product once I get it.

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SNES Classic Announced and if you want one you better be quick:

Nintendo announced the SNES classic this week: it’s got 21 games, two controllers, and as much buzz as last year’s NES Classic. Re-sellers are guaranteeing preorders for up to 500 dollars (which has to be a scam). If you want one plan on camping outside of a store or two (good luck). Here are a few reasons why:

Almost all of Nintendo products seem to be critically oversold (right now).

Walk into any store and try to find any Nintendo products. The Switch, 3DS, and a bunch of the accessories seem to be in short supply. Nintendo is working to address these issues but so far it seems that stock is limited. I would expect this shortage to continue over the next few months.

Scalpers are all already planning to buy as many as they can.

As I stated before, there are already eBay listings for “guaranteed” preorders placed going for a lot of money. Nintendo has stated there will be more consoles released, but it will only be available until the end of 2017. This certainly means that the SNES classic will be bought up and sold by second party buyers. If you don’t find one by black Friday I would consider it a lost cause.

The SNES classic is bundled with an unreleased game.

Every collector will be after this console thanks to the addition of Star Fox 2. If you don’t know, Star Fox 2 is an unreleased game for the SNES that has achieved a legendary reputation among die-hard Nintendo collectors. The SNES classic is the only way to play the finished official version of this game. This means that in addition to scalpers, expect collectors to be hunting these down.

That’s just a few reasons the SNES classic will probably be as difficult to find as the NES classic. I remain optimistic that the mini system will be available to everyone that wants one, but honestly, I don’t think that will be the case. On a positive note, these titles are on other Nintendo platforms via their downloadable services. This might be a better option in the long run as it saves some space in the living room and you might already own one of the other systems.

If you plan on buying one, good luck! You will need it.

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From NPR: Yeah, this guy gets it!

I came across and article today on NPR written by Adam Frank that I wanted to share and talk. Adam Frank is a professor, scientist, blogger, and most importantly a gamer. Okay, most important is a bit of a stretch but for the purpose of this article it is the most important. His article discusses how much he loves the recently release Horizon Zero Dawn and why more adults should be gaming. The article can be viewed here.

For the Love of the Game

Adam describes his love of role playing games, a genre that is known for such hits as Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy, the hallmarks of a RPG include grand stories and character development. Clearly Adam James loves this style of game and Horizon has captured his attention. I agree with him…mostly.

Adam states that everyone should game, but holds other genres of games to some level of contempt. He calls platformers boring and repetitive and bemoans the difficult curve of playing shooters online. I am sure that these observations are in jest, but I don’t think casting these games negatively to mainstream audience that might not “get” games.

Play everything and anything

I did not touch an online shooter until I was in my 30’s. I was annoyed by online video game culture and I didn’t like losing every game I played. When I decided to try give online gaming I found a great group of people to share games with. I now feel silly for avoiding and entire style of game for real reason.  I play platformers, RPG’s, and racing games equally now. I am an omnivore of games media and I excel at none of them and love all of them. I have just as many small independent games as I do multi-million dollar epics. So, I say don’t just play what you know, play everything you can. It’s been a great experience for me to give new genres a try.

There has never been a better time for games. You can download games on your phone, computer, tablet for a few bucks or you can spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to play the best looking 300-hour epic fantasy adventure. Most important to me, play games with your friends and family share the old games you played as a kid with your kids (if you have them). Escapism in a game is as great as watching a movie or reading a book.

Wrapping it up (I swear)

Adam Frank’s article was fun and lively. I am glad to see that a 54-year-old intellectual standing up for the medium that I love and encouraging others to explore the world of gaming. The call of action should include a more inclusive message because he is defending his love of games but also making fun of the genres of games that he does not like. If you are interested in gaming for the first time, or if you are interested in picking up a controller for the first time in years I recommend jumping in head first and trying just about everything.

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Game and Dad Recommends: Dragon Quest Builders (PS 4, Vita)

 

          One of my favorite games of the past year is Dragon Quest Builders for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. The game combines elements of classic Dragon Quest games and crafting from modern favorites like Minecraft and Terraria. This combination makes a colorful adventure that is really fun to share with the kids. I would recommend this game for all ages, younger kids probably won’t be able to handle some of the complex crafting and combat. Read More

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Attack of the Clone (Console)

Clone Consoles

I have spent the last week jumping down a rabbit hole that I feel like sharing with you all. I spend way too long shopping around for clone systems.  I looked at YouTube videos, Reddit posts, and written reviews. Since I spent so much of my time on this I decided to write an article about it to justify the time wasted. Read More

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Videogame Content and Parental Controls

Polygon’s Colin Campbell posted a story on Tuesday the has peaked my interest. In the article “Are Video Games Harming You Kids?” Campbell talks about his thoughts on the subject and recommends some reading by Dr. Rachael Kowert, a research psychologist that written a few books on the subject. The article is worth a read and can be accessed here.

I am interested in reading up on this topic as I am concerned about what games my kids are playing and even I can’t keep up on everything that releases. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject I do encourage everyone to read up on the content in the media that kids are watching. This week I decided to include some sources for parents that are looking for resources to educate themselves on videogame content.

Entertainment Software Ratings Board https://www.esrb.org/   This is the industry group that is in charge of disclosing what kind of content there is in each game. It’s a good resource to research the content and see if it’s appropriate for your kids. Since this is an industry group it is pretty representative of what is in most games

Parental Controls on console. Did you know that most modern consoles have parental controls built in? You can set what features and content you want the kids to (see the individual webpages for more information)

For PlayStation 4

For Xbox One

For Nintendo 3ds

For Nintendo Switch  

 Commonsense Media  https://www.commonsensemedia.org. This website is a good tool to learn about the content in video games and movies.

This is not a complete list of the resources on the web, but it is a great start to educate yourself on the content that is in most of the popular media. There are a number of resources for academic, non-profit, and religious sources and I encourage every parent to take a look further into what their kids are playing.

 

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