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DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for tantrumming toddlers, broken screens, games or/and controllers, angry partners that are not my own after reading this blog. If you decide to try video games out with your toddler, on your head be it.

 

I don't get much time to play games these days. Mostly because i'm too busy writing and because playing games whilst you have a toddler on your hands is just a stupid idea. I mean, what games are there out there that a three year old can a) Understand and b) not have a tantrum over? Not worth it.


Or so I thought. My son is old enough to link up that if the dvd box has Olaf on the front, the disc inside will magically play one of his favourite movies. But obviously, being too young to have played a game before, he doesn't understand the difference between a dvd box and a video game box. So when he saw the box for Mario Kart, you can understqan his confusion when I told him that this Mario (that he also watches the terrible 90's gravely new-yorkian Mario cartoon of) doesn't play a film. Sometimes, I am a terrible parent and wil give in to avoid tantrums. So I put on Mario Kart to show him what I meant.

This is how I accidently got my 3 year old addicted to mario kart.

 

Mario Kart: Double Dash

mario_kart_double_dash [mario_kart_double_dash.jpg]

 

I'd like to emphasise how much Double Dash is probably the safest Mario Kart game to test out. After much persistance that my son wanted to have the controller rather than watch me, he was dissapointed that we suddenly never won any of the different trophys/cups. There's no non-patronising way of telling your child that driving into a wall for half an hour doesn't win you trophies. In games and real life.

However, the beauty of Double Dash is the co-operative play. I drove the kart through the tracks whilst my son sat on the back of the kart- usually as Yoshi- and all he has to do is press one button every time I encouraged him to. That is of course, when we get an item to throw.

This was really nice because it was a super simple, stress free way of playing a video game together. and not to brag, but we usually come 1st place and the joy on my son's face is just amazing. He loves the award ceromony. Even if he doesn't come first. To be honest, he's more bothered about wether or not he can write his name on the leaderboard at the end. It's also funny to see how kids wil try and interact with anything as long as it has a face, which of course in most Mario games, pretty much everthing has a face.

It's cool to see how only after a few weeks of playing, he now throws weapons on his own accord. I love watching him learn through trial and error how to time it right each time and surpisingly, not stropp when he fails. See? I'm doing good parenting! through video games! Who knew? Also, the honk/taunt button will never not stop beig funny to him. Ever.

 

Minecraft

Of course, with any game that involvs a winning or losing outcome, my son might get a little upset if he doesn't get to write his name on the leaderboard after a Grand Prix on Mario Kart. The level of upsetness depending on what day he had at school, how tired he is, etc. You probably know the drill.
The majority of Minecrafts players are kids. Usually a fair bit older than three years old, though. He's too young to be able to work the controls out, but I knew for a fact he'd find the bright, child friendly lego-like game interesting. So I've been trying out a thing recently where he tells me what to build and I build it.

The outcomes have been..interesting. Being a typical boy, he wants to place Dragon Heads everywhere. On the front of your house? Of course. Above your bed? Naturally. But it's amazing to see the sort of things kids too young to play games coud create if they could play games. Like having a 'kitchen' with no cooking apliances or food- just a room full of water and squids. But it's still a kitchen, okay? God have mercy on you if you question it not being a kitchen.

And you think it's sweet when he asks you to build his grandmothers house in the game. Until you sart to realise his understanding of Grandma's house is yet again, a room full of squid pools and a dog stuck on a boat in another very tiny pool. That, and the trainstation of prisoners she keeps on a floating concrete slab that are left to starve or fall to their drowning death below shown in the above video... This got very weird, very fast, kid.

 

Portal 2

via GIPHY

 

Warning: Spoilers! Okay, so this one's a bit debateable. It has to be the second Portal simply because of Wheatley. Do you have any idea how cool it is to have a robot talking to you and asking you to do certain things and when you actually do those certain things he responds acordingly? Very fucking cool. Especially as akid. Until your adorable child's face goes from joy to pure horror as he watches Glad0s crush Wheatley like a grape. (I forgot about that part...) If you don't want to answer to "NOOOO!! IS HE DEAD? DADDY IS HE DEAD? IS MY ROBOT FRIEND DEAD?!" Then I suggest you learn how to speed-run this game as fast as bloody possible to where you find him again. DO NOT quit the game until you find him again.

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Recent Posts

Drifting

| 21st August 2017 | Echo Valley

And now folks, it's time for a little backstory...   *Vision fades into blurry waves to reveal a small, coffee and man scented flat in Paignton, Devon.*   We're talking a good 5-nearly-6 years ago now, before I had any inclination to write, before I had any real idea of what I wanted to do in life other than a small handful of things. One of those things was going for a jam every Thursday evening with my brother-in-law-to-be.   We'd write songs. I'd bring my knock-off Fender Squire imposter (God knows how that thing still worked; it was £30 off ebay and held together with electric tape and a bottle opener i'd stolen from Travelodge) and Lee would sing or join in on his acoustic.   I'd record the sessions with an old Sony cassette player and we'd forever talk about how good this song and that song would sound when we eventually start a band (turns out you need friends to make a full band- who knew?)   This may seem insignificant, but (prepare for cheese!) I ended up asking Lee to be my best man for my wedding. I'd only really “known” him for about 5 minutes. But the guy who was originally best man, someone I'd known for a good 10 years I ended up falling out with big time. And the other friends who I asked instead for some reason or another couldn't make it to my wedding. So i'd asked my fiance's brother as a last resort- not that I thought in any way he was a bad guy, quite the opposite. I just imagined the best man for my wedding being someone i'd known a little longer.   Anyway, the year leading up to the wedding that followed turned out to be one of the best. We had an amazing friendship form and he became one of my best friends (except for the stag due. I've still not forgiven him for that.)   It's these reasons that I included 'Drifting' as the song I wanted to be in Echo Valley. When I was writing it, it was originally going to be a better known jazz song, but then half way through the chapter something happened where it was like it had to be Drifting; A song me and Lee wrote together and recorded back in those days in the man and coffee scented flat.   The song isn't an amazing song. It will never hit charts or be on every car advert, but it means a lot to me and it felt perfect for the scene in Echo Valley. I've managed to dig out the old recording on tape and transfer into digital. Lee's voice sounds like he's wearing trousers that are slightly too tight, but that's merely the tape's quality. In celebration of my dear Outlaw-inlaws birthday, you can listen to it here or download it for free.       *Blurry waves return, returning you to present day*   We jammed together for a good 4 years . We practiced in an old spare room with an obscene amount of dead flys landing on our equipment. We eventually found friends and they joined with drums, guitars and basses. I had went on to have 2 kids, the band didn't.If you want to hear what Lee's voice sounds like now in non-tight-pants tape quality, you can check out his band Deadfly's EP. And you should do, really. Because it's his birthday. They also released their first music video for their new single Demockary, which I'll link you to as well because people do nice things when there are birthdays. Happy Birthday, babe xoxoxox     Photo Credit to our lovely wedding photographer Holly  (Link version incase the embed fails)  Happy Birthday, babe xoxoxox     Photo Credit to our lovely wedding photographer Holly   ...

Happy Birthday H.P. Lovecraft

| 20th August 2017 | Echo Valley

Today marks the birthday of one of my favourite writers, Howard Phillips Lovecraft.   But he's not one of my favourite writers for the typical reasons that come with loving a writers work. Lovecraft is one of my favourite writers because his work genuinely scares the shit out of me. I like horror, but I find I get bored of it quite fast when it's just pure gore and “jumpy bits” for the sake of being violent. I don't find that scary. Lovecraft's strange, haunting ideas and captivating atmosphere are what terrifies me as well as draws me closer to his work.   Arguably the writer who defined the Weird Fiction genre, HPL isn't just known for his own works such as The Call of Cthulu, The whisper in the Darkness, The Necronomicon and so many more, but the term Lovecraftian has become a word used to describe and inspire so many works.   A few years back, I stumbled across what would become my favourite graphic novel series – Joe Hill's Locke & Key. With a lot of Lovecraftian themes and tones, the story explores a family and it's house, or more importantly its keys. Each one performing a different strange spell. From time traveling, to gender bending. The first book even having the subtitle of “Welcome to Lovecraft”.   Not long after I discovered one of my favourite works of ongoing fiction- Welcome to Nightvale. A fictional podcast based solely on a radio station broadcasted from a strange and eerie town. Also heavy in it's Lovecraftian ideas.   The show's writer, Joeseph Fink, wrote a book (sadly no longer in print) called The untold stories of H.P Lovecraft and What it Means to be a Grownup. It turns out, Lovecraft had a lot of ideas he'd never followed through beyond a sentence or two. 221 one them, in fact. The list is amazing and I highly recommend them as writing prompts for writers everywhere. The ideas go from beautifully dark, to incredibly simple and to just plain morbid. It was one of the simpler ideas in the list, 15 “Bridge and Slimy Black Waters” that contributed to the inspiration for my first book, Echo Valley.   The saddest thing of all, is that HPL was a sensitive soul and received a lot of criticism as well as praise for his work back in the day. And the smallest criticism to his work put him off from publishing a lot of his arguably brilliant stories and ideas. If only he could see how much his work has continued to inspire artists and writers today. So if you're an aspiring writer or creative and want to take one thing to learn from Lovecraft, then let it be to have the guts to finish and share your work. Have that confidence in your own creations that only you can make.   To celebrate HPL's birthday, I've created a promo code to knock 50% off of Echo Valley Paperbacks for today only. Just head here and use 'HAPPYBIRTHDAYHPL' on the checkout.   Here's to you Howard. Thank you for inspiring our art and haunting our dreams. Happy Birthday old chap....

Bristol Horror Con 2017

| 15th August 2017 | Events & Appearances

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Echo Valley now on Amazon!

| 08th August 2017 | Echo Valley

For those of you who prefer reading light, electronic and cheap, you can now purchase Echo Valley on Amazon for epub and Kindle! Of course, if you would like to support me even more, then you can purchase a paperback copy off myself, complete with childish doodles and handwritten packaging. (p.s Paperback > Digital)   That's all for now. In the meantime, if you're dying to read Echo Valley but are otherwise broke then go forth and add it to your to-read list on Goodreads and/or your wish-list on Amazon. And whilst you're there, feel free to leave an honest review. It would help me out a ton. More thrilling stuff to be announced soon so do feel free to stalk me up on Facebook. Until then, stay weird and excited for your favourite time of year. ~ Jon...