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Twenty-Seventeen: The Gaming Worker Rises (‘N’ Fixes To DualShock The World)! 🎮

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Frohes Neues Jahr Gaming Workers!

That’s Happy New Year in German. I was born in Montreal, but grew up in Kitchener – my southern city in Ontario (Canada), with oodles of German heritage. It was once the Town of Berlin (1854), then changed to the City of Berlin (1912), because of the major German immigration initiated back in the early 1800’s. The name was later changed to Kitchener, after Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener, a British Army Field Marshall, in 1916 because of the German and British conflicts that arose during the First World War.

So, for this reason, from time to time, you may find snippets of German verbiage – and sometimes French, because, again, I was born in Montreal – because of my home town’s deep, Germanic, roots. But enough of the history lesson and on to the good stuff that gaming dreams are made of!

It’s a brand new year and I thought that I would share with you my plans for The Gaming Worker. I can’t believe that I’ve been doing this for two solid years already. Time certainly flies when your gaming, and working, and blogging! It seems just like yesterday when I decided that this was going to be my path, and let me tell you, this path hasn’t been easy. All of the technical difficulties of setting up equipment, all of the late nights and weekends recording (and editing), all of the late nights writing (and copy editing), and all of the other personal sacrifices (that I won’t get into) that I had to make to turn this idea of mine into a reality. Easy is definitely not the word I’d use to describe how I got from A, to B, and finally to C; but here I am, and there you are; waiting to hear what I have to tell you about my love affair with games. I sincerely thank you for coming along this journey with me. I hope and pray that this next year doesn’t disappoint (you and me both) – Now let’s get it started!

Greatness Awaits

This PlayStation ad campaign (Greatness Awaits) is much more than just over-the-top commercials for the, everyday, PlayStation enthusiast. It’s my mantra for 2017! This year is going to be special – I just know it! I have a shit-ton of new games – thanks to the abundance of PSN Flash Sales (in 2016), and the four week Holiday Sale that just took place in December – to bust wide open; all of my “inexpensively challenged” PlayStation subscriptions have been faithfully renewed (PlayStation Plus, and my newfound favourite, PlayStation Now); and I’m still buzzing from the excellent year end I just had! Even though I didn’t publish as many posts (like I did in the previous year), The Gaming Worker finished strong in 2016; thanks to my family, friends, and all of you, who supported my efforts in raising money for my local Sick Kids Hospital via my Extra Life 24 Hour Game-a-thon.

My good people of the internet, Greatness Awaits us in 2017 – just keep saying it, over and over! Let it sink in, whether you’re a gamer or not, this is your year (and mine too)! The evangelist in me is starting to come out – I am my father’s son. “Dagnabbit!” Now take heed for this is what I have in store for this year:

A Resurgence Of PlayStation 3

Remember that funny, old, console that launched a decade ago? The ridiculously priced one that had a lack of quality games, and developers hated programming for (in the beginning)? Yup – that’s the one! Well, I’m going to be putting more focus on my library of PS3 titles, as well as some other exclusives and classics via PlayStation Now.

This blog started because I wanted to finish (and showcase) my PS3 backlog, but the dangerously sweet seduction of it’s successor, the PS4, derailed my attention repeatedly, with its one-point-eight-something TFLOPS (teraflops) of pure processing power. It is the devil in the black dress!

I have been able to squeeze a few PS3 let’s plays in, but I have not even begun to showcase the last gen games that I deem truly special. So while other gaming websites and YouTubers – God bless ’em – put the focus on gaming’s future (namely PS4 Pro and PlayStation VR), I’m going to take you back in the other direction. “Now where did I put my DualShock3 controller”?

There’s Still Plenty More PS4

And rightfully so! If I’ve learned anything it’s that the games industry is still going to shit out games galore, year after year, after year! It doesn’t care if you can’t keep up, and it will bury you in a landslide of green (for Xbox) and blue (for PlayStation) plastic packaging if you’re not careful. I wish that I could play every game that comes out, but that’s just not the reality. So I have to pick and choose only a few new titles that speak to me every year, and let the rest fall to the wayside. A few of those titles are Horizon: Zero Dawn and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands.

I would love to dip into Mass Effect: Andromeda as well, but, let’s face it, I doubt I’ll be able to dedicate the time needed to explore such a game. I may have to leave that to the rest of my YouTubing brothers and sisters out there.

What’s The Deal With PS4 Pro and PlayStation VR?

Well, it breaks my heart to tell you this, but unfortunately I will not be adopting any of this “latest and greatest” gaming technology. I’m a believer in PlayStation VR – especially after demoing it just before it launched back in October – but, I have to be stringent with my money, and as cool as VR may be, I have no pressing need to play games in this new way.

As for PS4 Pro, I’m still debating it’s need for existence. I just don’t know if console gaming needs to adopt this mid-cycle way of doing things (like mobile phones). Plus I’ve only had my PS4 for two and a half years, so I’m not ready to trade in just yet. There’s no 4K TV in my house; and I’m happy with the way games look and run on my PS4. I don’t need, or want, a simulated PC experience.

It’s much smarter for me to wait out the entire life cycle of the PS4 and then upgrade to the PS5, but if the unthinkable happens and my PS4 breaks, then I guess I’ll be forced to get the Pro. Then I’ll be able to live stream in 1080p, at 60fps, instead of just 720p…hmm, maybe I should rethink this 😶

Livin’ La “Vita” Loca!

Yes friends, I know that I’m a little bit behind, but I finally got a PS Vita! I can’t believe it took me this long – I haven’t retired my PSP just yet; I’m still playing around with Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters – but I can now try to infiltrate Vita Island (I’ll explain this in a later post)!

Now, I have no ideal way of creating truly native PS Vita let’s plays. The only way is if the game is a PS4/PS Vita cross-buy game (meaning that when you purchase either version you get the other one for free). So I can definitely play the PS4 version of the game, but then that categorizes it as a PS4 let’s play, not a PS Vita let’s play…this is where it gets tricky, when it comes to categorizing for the blog. So I still need to figure this part out, but as it stands right now, PS Vita is now a part of my PlayStation ecosystem.

Annual Extra Life 24 Hour Live Stream

This is a no-brainer. My family, friends and I had so much fun doing this in December and, more importantly, it’s for a great cause. So every November or December, on YouTube or Twitch (stay tuned for where and when), Team Gaming Worker will be participating in this charitable event to raise money for Sick Kids. What’s also ideal is this is a great way to showcase the games that don’t make it onto the blog because, well, that’s just how it goes sometimes. Games that I originally plan to showcase don’t always make it on here. Extra life is my contingency plan for this. I now get one full day to cram in all of the games that get put on the back burner.

More Content

I don’t know how – it’s going to be a challenge – but I want to dish out much more content. I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but if I could do this full-time, I would…but I can’t so my promise is that I’ll do my very best to keep the posts and let’s plays coming.

I even have another side project that I’m working on which, if all goes well, could equate to even more fun content to add to the rest. But I’m going to keep this close to the vest for now until I gain some traction with it…so stay tuned!

The GW Buddy List!

Last, but not least, you can now subscribe to The Gaming Worker by opting to join, what I’m calling, The GW Buddy List! As a subscribed member you will receive an email informing you of my latest and greatest post. I know, it’s not earth shattering – I’m not trying to light the world on fire here – but at least you’ll be reminded to check back to see what shamrocks and shenanigans I’m up to next.

That’s all folks. Until next time!

All Rise For The Notable And Notorious S.H.I.E.L.D. (Can You Dig it?)

What does SHIELD Stand for Agent Ward?

“Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.”
“And what does that mean to you?”
“It means that someone really wanted our initials to spell out SHIELD!”
– Agents Maria Hill and Grant Ward – S01E01 – Pilot

If You Don’t Know / Now You Know / Agents of SHIELD

This is a bit of a strange comparison, but bare with me on this one. The Notorious B.I.G. (aka Biggie Smalls) was, and arguably still is, my favourite hip hop artist of all time. Life After Death, the follow up double LP to Ready To Die, was an incredible offering to the hip hop music culture in the late 90’s, and was always within reach when I wanted to get into work mode back in my college years. When I wanted to get into the zone I would pop the first disc into my Sony Discman (remember those nifty things?) and immerse myself into the musical styling of Bed-Stuy’s Biggie, bobbing my head from one track to the next. I would take disc one out, right after the last track [I Got A Story To Tell], and then insert disc two so that I could continue the experience starting with the next track [Notorious Thugs]. Biggie was boss. But guess what? In the beginning I did not really like him. The late and great B.I.G. and I were not always friends.

My affinity towards Biggie was a slow progression. Do you see where I’m going with this? When I saw his first video, Juicy, on Rap City (boy do I feel old) I wasn’t that impressed. “It was aiight.” were the under zealous words that came out of my mouth. Little did I know that Biggie was about to blow my mind with Ready To Die. I wasn’t able to love and appreciate his music until I heard the entire album in all of it’s remarkable glory. I had to get past the first song to uncover the sheer brilliance that Biggie bestowed upon us, which is a lesson that is relevant when it comes to certain prime time television shows like the show that I’m about to focus on right now. And this is where I segue.

Too Hot For TV 🔥📺

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is the best action, sci-fi, drama on television right now and some of you out there don’t even know it because you’re not able to get past the first half of season one. Well I’m here to tell all of you to get over yourselves! There, I said it. It had to be said and I had to be the one to say it. Sorry, but it’s true. Not only is Agents of SHIELD the best ActSciDrama [that’s my new word] on TV; it’s the best show on TV period! You’re thinking to yourself, Ok, now he’s lost it. What the hell is this guy talking about? Not only does he suck at playing video games, he has bad taste in TV as well! Think what you will, but I stand by my words. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is the best show on television and possibly one of the best spin-offs to air in decades.

There Is Abundant Life After Death

It was inevitable. The show was going to pick up…and voila, it did. All you had to do was wait for it. Just like those of us who desperately wanted to see how Marvel was going to bring Coulson back to life for this debut TV series, we had to wait for it. I thought that all of the questions would be answered in the series premiere, but that was asking way too much. And, to be honest, I knew better. I had to wait for those answers just like everyone else. But I knew that the answers were coming, much like I knew that the show would come back with a vengeance after it slowed down to an unfortunate crawl. Which, and let’s face it, can happen more often then not with a lot of the shows on television these days. The trick however is to not let that deter you. You have to be steadfast and have faith that the show you hold with such high regard will bounce back. And just like Jessica Rabbit’s breasts on a bright and shiny day in Toon Town, Agent’s of SHIELD bounced back. Little did I know that the events that transpired in Captain America: The Winter Soldier had to cross over first in order for the momentum to pick back up, but nevertheless it has been an epic thrill ride ever since.

🎤 Your reign on the top was short like leprechauns…

…as I crush so-called willies, thugs, and rapper-dons / Get in that ass, quick fast, like Ramadan / It’s that rap phenomenon Don Dada, fuck Poppa / You got to call me Francis M.H. White / Intake light tokes, tote iron / Was told in shootouts, stay low and keep firin’ / Keep extra clips for extra shit / Who’s next to flip on that cat with that grip on rap / The most shady, (Tell Em!) Frankie baby / Ain’t no telling where I may be / May see me in D.C. at Howard Homecoming / With my man Capone, gumming, fucking something / You should know my steelo / Went from ten G’s for blow to thirty G’s a show / To orgies with hoes I never seen before / So, Jesus, get off the Notorious / Penis before I squeeze and bust / If the beef between us, we can settle it / With the chrome and metal shit / I make it hot like a kettle get / You’re delicate, you better get – who sent ya? / You still pedal shit, I got more rides than Great Adventure / Biggie (How are you gonna do it?)
The Notorious B.I.G. – Kick In The Door 🎶

Kick In The Door Wavin’ The Four-Four

If I had to choose an album that captured all of the action, emotion and narrative of Agents of SHIELD, Biggie’s Life After Death would be it. It’s like pairing a great cabernet blend with a juicy grilled steak or in this case, pairing a .44 caliber handgun with…whatever the hell you would pair a magnum with. My point is that I think Shield took everyone by surprise. Especially after Winter Soldier. I mean – I knew it was going to be good, but not this damn good. I’ll miss church on a Sunday before I miss the opening sequence for Shield on a Tuesday. That’s how good this [show] is. It trumps religion. The last two shows that had me by the balls like this were Buffy and Angel which last aired in 2004. Two brilliant pop culture phenomenons with one thing in common to Agents of SHIELD. They are all products, and creative strokes of genius, by the amazing writing ensemble known as the Whedons: Joss, Jed and wife Maurissa.

Truth be told I always thought that Angel was the better show compared to Buffy. Not by much, but what made the Angel spin-off truly great was that it was gritty and dark. Buffy toyed with some dark episodes – well a dark season really – but over all it was Angel that depicted the darker side of the Buffy universe. There’s no denying it; it’s our attraction to the dark side that keeps us tuned in and coming back for more. When TV shows walk on that fine line of doing what’s right versus doing what’s wrong; listening to that little devil on your shoulder because you feel you have no other choice. There is so much injustice and evil in these fictional worlds and it’s very infectious to see our, once on the straight and narrow, protagonists slip and transition into much grittier versions of themselves. This is the type of storytelling that I’m a huge sucker for and Agents of SHIELD (now in it’s third season and prepping for a spin-off) has started to dive into this territory.

But there’s so much more to what makes Agents of SHIELD an incredible show. First and foremost is the great writing. It’s clever and funny – not Buffy-funny – but it’s up there and can hold it’s own. Yes, season one did start to drag, but for good reason. The writers can’t take full responsibility for this because the decision to have events from the movies cross over wasn’t theirs. So send your nasty letters to the Marvel studio executives. Next, there’s a good variety of characters (both good and evil) and a fair amount of character development. Not to mention the fact that the world is constantly expanding. Almost every episode has the team travelling to different parts of the globe (and one spooky hell dimension so far) as they try to thwart evil and eliminate the threat. Shield does follow the typical monster-of-the-week formula, but the pay off is always great at the end because the A-story is so compelling. Then you have things like special effects (which are quite phenomenal if you ask me) and fight sequences. Some of the best, if not the best, I’ve seen on prime time TV. Marvel is sparing no expense on Shield and it shows, each and every week. If you have not been tuning in then I truly believe that you owe it to yourself to take a gander at Marvel’s made-for-TV team.

Meet The Dream Team

As the old saying goes: There’s no I in team. So no matter how good the visuals and the story are, it’s the super talented actors and actresses who shine and bring life to every episode. If there is one thing that I can absolutely say for sure, it’s that the show’s creators know how to bring a perfect cast together. Joss Whedon has been doing this for years and has a handful of incredible TV shows (not to mention movies) under his belt. Buffy [The Vampire Slayer], Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse – each show has their own remarkable cast that know how to act extremely well, and jell with one another perfectly. The Whedon crew know how to create these magical dream teams so it comes as no surprise that Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is so damn good. Are you ready to meet a few of the notables? Good, but be warned because things are about to get spoilery!

Note: Spoilers Ahead 😮

Director Phil Coulson Played By Clark Gregg 1️⃣

Pronounced dead after being impaled by Loki’s scepter (in the first Avengers movie), Agent Phil Coulson was mysteriously brought back to life and put back into the field. Only a select few knew about the measures taken to bring him back. Even Phil himself had no memory of what had happened, but he had an inkling that something wasn’t right. After some inexplicable side effects Phil had to take matters into his own hands and get some answers which ultimately leads to him facing some demons that no one should ever have to face. That’s all I’ll say about this. After events unfold [Captain America: Winter Soldier] Phil is appointed the new director of SHIELD by Nick Fury (who was also pronounced dead) and is inundated with the task to rebuild SHIELD. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Agent Melinda May Played By Ming-Na Wen 2️⃣

She’s always very calm and collected, but don’t let that fool you because Agent Melinda May is a lethal weapon [There’s a reason she’s referred to as the Cavalry] and is deadly as they come. May and Phil have history working in the field together – she always has his back – which has earned her the privilege of becoming his right hand. When Phil needs a second opinion she’s usually his go to because May is the voice of pragmatism. Her opinion counts and when it comes time to get the job done May is always there for Phil and the rest of the team. But there’s more to her than meets the eye. May is not without her hang-ups; she’s emotionally scarred, can hold a grudge like nobody’s business, and as intelligent as she is, she doesn’t always make the right decision.

Daisy Johnson aka Quake Played By Chloe Bennet 3️⃣

Daisy, formerly known as Skye, is your typical – the truth is out there – genius-level “hacktivist” turned super hero. She’s the first SHIELD agent (so far that we know of) to possess super powers which manifested after being exposed to the Terrigen Mist. Daisy is an Inhuman – just like her mother Jiaying who she never knew growing up, and believed to be dead all of this time – and has the ability to generate powerful waves of vibration which can produce effects resembling earthquakes (hence the name Quake). She is definitely the glue that holds the team together, and wears her heart on her sleeve; which is why the team loves and values her as much as they do, especially Phil. Before Phil became the director (and before Daisy got her powers) he was very protective of Daisy and formed a father/daughter kinship with her, which was very much frowned upon by Daisy’s estranged, “Jekyll and Hyde” monster of a father, Cal. But no matter what Daisy knows how to stay focused and grows stronger every day with her new found abilities.

Agent Jemma Simmons Played By Elizabeth Henstridge 4️⃣

One of the youngest, and arguably the smartest on the team, Jemma Simmons is the British girl next door with more than two PhDs. Her best friend and SHIELD colleague, Fitz, once claimed that she’s so smart because she loves homework more than life itself. That’s Jemma in a nut shell; a super bright bio-chemist who graduated three years early from the SHIELD academy, and well on her way to becoming a rising star in SHIELD’s research division. Her close connection with Fitz has earned them both the nickname Fitz-Simmons, and rightfully so seeing how the two lab geeks are inseparable. But no matter how many specialized weapons (like the Night-Night Gun) they craft together these two star-crossed agents just can’t seem to take their relationship to the next level. After Fitz finally mustered up the courage to ask Jemma out, she was unexpectedly swallowed up into an alien dimension where she spent the next six months with two unknowns. A NASA astronaut named Will – long story – and an evil parasitic Inhuman with incredible power – an even longer story.

Agent Leo Fitz Played By Iain De Caestecker 5️⃣

SHIELD’s genius-level engineer has much in common with his brilliant lab partner, and love interest, Jemma. They both graduated from the academy early, they both dress alike, and they both were hand-picked to be on Phil Coulson’s team. But the one thing about Fitz is that he’s always eager to help, even if it means stepping into the field and into harms way. This Scottish native is not afraid to take one for the team, and when it comes to Jemma, no force on earth (or off) will keep him away from her. Next to Jemma, the only other relationship that Fitz holds dear is his friendship with Agent Grant Ward. That is until the events of Winter Soldier came to pass and the truth about Ward was uncovered. The fall of SHIELD took everyone by surprise, but none more than Fitz who found it impossible to believe that his trusted friend, and SHIELD agent, Ward could have anything to do with HYDRA’s uprising. The final nail in that coffin was when Ward trapped both Fitz and Simmons in a pod and dropped them into the Atlantic Ocean.

Honourable Mentions: Hunter And Bobbi 👏

Agent Bobbi Morse Played By Adrianne Palicki 6️⃣

One of the most elite agents by far, Barbara “Bobbi” Morse – aka Mockingbird – is an expert biologist who can take down just about any foe with her trusted battle staves. She was first introduced as HYDRA’s Chief of Security, but little did the enemy organization know that Bobbi was an undercover agent sent by SHIELD as a security measure to protect Jemma Simmons – who was on a undercover mission of her own. Bobbi’s loyalty to SHIELD is unwavering: she’s a remarkable soldier (she can take a bullet and won’t crack under pressure – even when being tortured) and a team player. But as good as her track record is, there’s one teammate [her ex-husband Hunter] who thinks of her as a “demonic hell-beast”. Certain agency secrets kept by Bobbi put the two at odds and ultimately lead to their divorce, but fate brought the two back together – this time to help SHIELD turn the tide against HYDRA – giving Hunter and Bobbi a second chance at their relationship.

Agent Lance Hunter Played By Nick Blood 7️⃣

The very brash and British – quick-to-go-rogue – Lance Hunter is a force to be reckoned with. The former British soldier, turned mercenary, joined SHIELD based on the recommendation of his ex-wife Bobbi. Things were looking pretty good for Hunter up until the moment Bobbi walked into SHIELD’s new base of operations, revealing to Hunter that she has been a part of his new-found team this whole time. This came as a huge surprise for Hunter and his knee-jerk reaction wasn’t the warmest it could have been. As awkward as the situation was Hunter and Bobbi assured Coulson and the rest of the team that working together wouldn’t be an issue – and it wasn’t…not really. Missions were never jeopardized, but the team had to suffer through countless arguments and witness the fallout of their on again/ off again love life. But for better or for worse, Hunter and Bobbi pull through [with their relationship and everything that HYDRA throws at them] proving that they still actually love each other and that they are in it for the long haul.

In fact this dynamic duo is so compelling that the studio [ABC] has ordered a pilot for their very own spin-off series titled Marvel’s Most Wanted. Actors Nick Blood and Adrianne Palicki are no longer full-time members of the Agents of SHIELD cast, but will be reprising their roles as Hunter and Bobbi in their new, anticipated spin-off. Congratulations Nick and Ade! I hope that the network puts together an amazing cast and crew for the both of you to work with, and I hope that the show runs for a TV lifetime.

Last, But Certainly Not Least…

Grant Ward Played By Brett Dalton 8️⃣

Former agent Grant Ward is easily the most villainous antagonist that SHIELD has ever encountered. He was recruited and trained by The Clairvoyant – an enemy of SHIELD who was believed to have psychic abilities, but it was later revealed that he was just a high-level SHIELD agent named John Garrett with a huge chip on his shoulder. John was like a father figure to Ward and used this to manipulate him. Under the leadership of John, Ward took up the creed of HYDRA and later infiltrated SHIELD, going deep undercover as a highly-skilled agent for several years. He eventually got assigned to Phil Coulson’s team and quickly became an incredible asset and trusted friend. But the uprising of HYDRA eventually led to the capture of John Garrett who escaped later with the help of Ward, thus revealing where his true loyalty lies. Many innocent agents died at the hands of Ward which quickly catapulted him to the top of SHIELD’s most wanted list. Coulson, Skye and Fitz took his betrayal the hardest, especially Skye since Ward was her Supervising Officer and potential love interest. After SHIELD fell Ward still had a deep admiration and fondness for Skye, but it was too late. The damage was already done and the situation escalated very quickly, making it impossible for any kind of reconciliation. After more collateral damage, and with nothing left to lose, Ward takes it upon himself to rebuild HYDRA, but is met with hostility from HYDRA’s last remaining leaders: Gideon Malick. The two eventually form an alliance which ultimately leads to an outcome for Ward that both SHIELD and HYDRA could have never predicted.

So…

Are you still here? Go watch Agents of SHIELD already. Seriously…stop surfing the net and get going. There’s three seasons – roughly 22 episodes per – so you better get started. I haven’t given all of the juicy details away. SHIELD has lots for you to discover! 😎

PS I Kinda Love You Too! XOXO 💙 🎮

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I Had A Dream That I Left IGN To Start Kinda Funny…

It’s one of the best dreams that I’ve ever had. There I was along side Greg Miller 1️⃣, Colin Moriarty, Tim Gettys 2️⃣, Nick Scarpino and Kevin 3️⃣. The Furious Six, taking the gaming industry by storm by dishing out the best gaming and pop culture content the internet has ever witnessed. Together we would podcast and conduct interviews, host let’s plays, go on much needed road trips while eating the best fast food money could buy; and we were doing it all in the name of geek culture. But then I awoke to find that what was a short, but sweet, dream for me is still a vivid reality for my five white brothers. God speed boys. I couldn’t be any happier for you awesome nerds.

It Feels Just Like Yesterday

The Kinda Funny YouTube network has been my guilty pleasure for well over 365 days. The kind of funny co-founders don’t know it, but I have been watching and enjoying their form of geek culture entertainment since their launch back in January 2015. Coincidentally this just so happens to be the same time that I launched this blog. What are the odds?

Press X To Exit

I’ll never forget the Monday morning that I read the shocking headline. Greg Miller and Colin Moriarty Have Quit IGN. It was literally plastered in every nook and cranny on the internet. I think every video game news outlet posted the story. Well the sites that I visited on a daily basis did. The news took me completely by surprise. I almost had to take a sick day because I was so devastated. Who the hell would leave an entertainment and geek culture utopia like IGN? What ever else happened in the world that day was not nearly as important as this. I read the story from multiple sites just so that I could get all of the information. But it wasn’t until I watched episode 57 of the Game Over Greggy Show, one of their many podcasts on YouTube, later that morning that I realized that this was not a hoax. These four best friends sat down (AROUND THIS TABLE! [Greg Miller says that a lot]) to explain to their “ride or die, mother-fucking” audience that together they were moving on to focus on their, now full-time, endeavor Kinda Funny.

1) From IGN To Kinda Funny

So why am I writing about this? What does their venture have to do with me or my blog? Well the short and realistic answer is nothing. But you’re not interested in short answers so allow me to give you my “rigmarole”. I felt compelled to write this because IGN has been a huge resource in my video game life. IGN has been, and still is, my go to for everything to do with video games, comic books, TV and movies. Greg and Colin 4️⃣ have provided so much valuable insight in the past on many of my favorite games, and as a result, have gained my appreciation and trust. They know their shit! So it’s only natural that I would follow them – without any hesitation or question – as they continue on their exciting, yet unexpected, journey. BEYOND! 5️⃣

2) The Road Less Traveled

Second to this, I felt compelled to write this because I believe I’m on a very similar path of creative freedom. I think I finally found my true calling when I made the decision to launch this blog which (again) happened to coincide with the launch of Kinda Funny. I can’t help but shake the feeling that this means something. I’m no video game journalist, by any stretch of the imagination, but my love and affinity for gaming is on the level. Now have I been gaming for as long as the boys from Kinda Funny? No. Do I have a deep knowledge and understanding of this industry like they do? Not one bit. Can I speak authoritatively about RPGs, side scrollers, platformers and everything else to do with gaming? Only in my dreams. But that’s ok because my content is for a slightly different audience. The Gaming Worker is for all of the newbs and filthy casuals of the world looking for a place to drop in and check out some reckless video game action. But I too need a community to be engaged in and when I’m not getting my “Daily Fix” from the team at IGN; you can be damn sure that I’m getting it from my best friends at Kinda Funny.

The Cock Of The Walk

Greg, Colin, Tim, Nick 6️⃣ and Kevin, keep up the awesome work. I marvel at what all of you have started together and I hope that one day both of our flaming garbage trucks collide one day, giving us the opportunity to collaborate on something funky and special.

As for the rest of you gaming workers out there, you can check out the every day high jinx of Kinda Funny and Kinda Funny Games on YouTube or at their new and improved website. All of the content is great, but I especially want to give praise to Greg and Colin’s weekly PlayStation podcast, PS I Love You XOXO 7️⃣, where the boys talk about all things PlayStation each and every Tuesday. If you have been a faithful listener of Greg and Colin’s podcast, Beyond, when they were back at IGN then you already know that PS I Love You stays true to their previous schtick. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; right fellas 😉

The Gaming And Blogging Postmortem, But First Some More Destiny

⚠️ Don’t forget to watch the feature Let’s Play video above!

Expansion 3 – Destiny The Taken King – And It’s All Good

Where does the time go? Here I am – at the critically acclaimed third expansion of my favourite shooter – and I still haven’t completed the first two expansions [The Dark Below 1️⃣ and House of Wolves 2️⃣]. Not to mention I still haven’t finished the main story of Destiny, but we’ll get into the crux of that matter later.

It is with great pleasure that I come before you now, with my final post for 2015, regaling you with my tall tale as a light wielding Guardian. This is no coincidence – Destiny was my very first blog post so it only makes sense that it be my last. Especially since my first Destiny let’s play video had lots of live commentary audio issues. Boy, have I learned a lot since then. I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours it took for me to finally get my video capture setup just right. All of the testing and troubleshooting that I did was enough to make a gamer throw in the towel, but I powered through and figured it all out. Failure was not an option so I persevered, and lo and behold, I have been producing better quality let’s plays for your enjoyment. But that’s neither here nor there [as far as you’re concerned]. You want to hear about Destiny and The Taken King so let’s do this.

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The Darkness Has Consumed Me

Destiny is, and always will be, a special game in my mind. It’s the first limited edition IP that I’ve ever purchased and the first game that I’ve truly invested countless hours in. I have the Destiny app on my phone that keeps track of the hours (amongst other important in-game data) that I put in so this should tell you that I’m all the way in on this game. I was an alpha and beta test “virgin” – until the summer of 2014 when I opted to participate in both legendary activities – and (needless to say) the addictive gameplay, and shooting mechanics, have hooked me ever since. Did year one of Destiny have some problems? Sure, what game doesn’t? It was very grindy and repetitive, the story was too vague, the progression and reward system had room for improvement, and some of the voice acting (sorry Peter Dinklage) was stiff. The Taken King aimed to fix all of this and it succeeded with flying colours.

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Destiny (2.0) The Taken King

The one thing Destiny has always gotten right was it’s spooky and ominous tone, and The Taken King is no different. Exploring seemingly empty bases and facilities in the dark is as haunting as ever. There are strange and eerie echoes all around making your itchy trigger finger all the more twitchier. I feel like this shooter was made just for me, but it doesn’t stop there. There are also a lot of little tweaks and changes that Bungie made to make year two of Destiny a much better experience.

First and foremost I have to give props for the action packed, Star Wars-esque, opening cinematic cut scene. Good job Bungie because you truly grabbed my attention. The opening still has the main issue of glossing over details about The Traveller, The Golden Age, The Darkness and The Collapse, which (if you ask me) helps expand the world and explain what the hell is actually happening in the game. There’s important back story here – but if gamers just want to ignore all of the story missions from year one – and dive right into year two’s The Taken King, they can choose to do so. The cost, however, is that you forego the beginning of the some-what vaguely explained story. But no matter how vague a story is; can you imagine taking up a story from the third act, not knowing what happened in the first two? This is why I suggest that if you buy Destiny The Legendary Edition 3️⃣; that you play through all of content and not just the latest installment. Get the whole story even if you choose to play The Taken King first and then go back to the previous content after. If you get through all of the content then you’ll be sure to find that The Taken King is much more story driven than it’s predecessors.

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The other improvements that I’d like to call out might seem smaller in scale, but sometimes it’s the little things that go a long way. For instance, to better indicate who’s actually talking to you during your mission, you can now see your quest giver’s name in the upper right corner; just as you would when you hear from your Ghost. Speaking of your floating friend, it’s voice (previously performed by Peter Dinklage 4️⃣) has been replaced by the soothing sounds of Nolan North 5️⃣. Nathan Drake himself is in Destiny and you’ll get no argument from me. Just chalk it up to another move in the right direction for Bungie’s improved Alienbuster. And with your little companion sounding a million times better; you can take him on your numerous quests for bounties, which you now can access from the Quests page. No more hauling ass back to the Tower every time for your rewards. It’s almost like the developers at Bungie care. Not to mention the XP change that had every guardian in the galaxy in celebration. This 2.0 update has made leveling up so much easier than it was before. No more tedious grinding for armour with light attached. Now everything that you do in Destiny increases your experience – which is how it should have been all along. But I guess these are the ebbs and flows of getting a Triple-A title to as close to perfection as a developer can.

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Is The Taken King perfect? I’d say it’s perfect enough, especially for a gaming worker such as myself. Like I said before, this is a special game and it deserves a round of applause for being the ambitious first person shooter that it is. The only real issue [of mine] is finding the time to get through all of the fabulous content, but what else is new? Too many games and not enough time. This seems to be the ongoing theme of this blog; finding adequate time to play The Taken King [or any other game for that matter]. But fear not fellow guardians for I will “Be on my guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; and be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13 6️⃣

And now…

The Gaming Worker Epilogue

So we have now come to the postmortem portion of this article. It’s always a good idea to take stock in any project, especially a passion project such as this blog, so I plan to make this a yearly (maybe even quarterly) tradition. Some people may see The Gaming Worker as nothing more than a fun, little hobby for me to pass the time – and there’s some truth to that assessment – but that’s not all. It’s much bigger than that. This is my brand and hopefully one day the gaming community will get to know it well. I want my blue and orange face logo to be up there [in the spot light] with Twitch and/or PlayStation because these world renown brands are synonymous with the word fun. That’s what The Gaming Worker stands for – injecting fun back into a person’s life.

We all have that one thing that we used to love doing, but for some reason or another we had to pump the breaks on that thing. It was put on the back burner never to be touched again. For me there were a couple of hobbies that fell to the wayside, like playing the bass guitar and drawing comic books, but gaming is the one true pastime that kept on coming back. So I finally embraced what the Universe was trying to tell me and before I knew it, The Gaming Worker was born. You see, as much as I loved playing video games, playing just wasn’t enough. Something inside me was telling me to write about gaming as well, but I needed a hook. I didn’t want to arbitrarily write about any given game. So I meditated (like Don Draper in the series finale of Mad Men 7️⃣) and then it hit me like a duffle bag full of video game controllers. Write about getting through your video game backlog. It seemed like the perfect idea because every gamer on this ever rotating green planet has a daunting backlog of games to cross off of their list, but no one’s really talking about it. Well now I’m talking for as long as the internet will let me.

So have I been firing on all cylinders and producing content consistently? No, but it isn’t for the lack of trying. Creating gaming content (or any content for that matter), in the amount that I want to do it, is a full-time job. Well guess what? I already have one of those which means that time is a valuable luxury that is in short supply. I’m not one who usually gives excuses, but I’m giving them today. I have no other choice because as much as I love to game, and as much as I am committed to this blog, I have other obligations that tend to get in the way. Just like 80% of the world’s population I have to uphold my humanly duty and participate in this amazing rat race of ours – which (as you all know) can leave a person with little to no time for gaming and/or blogging. But we all have bills to pay (right?) and websites to maintain [monetarily] so what can you do?

Finding time isn’t the only challenge I have when it comes to doing a blog like this – although time is a major factor. After twelve months of doing this I’ve come to realize that getting through your backlog isn’t as easy as it sounds. For instance you can’t pick up every game after a long period of not playing it and expect to be as skilled as you were before. There are some games out there that you have to re-learn because after three, six or twelve months of not playing you lose the momentum and dexterity that you once had. At least I do anyway. Another obstacle that comes up from time to time is writer’s block. And I use the term writer very loosely because (and I’ve said this before) I’m not a good writer; I just pretend to be one. I can barely put together a good sentence or paragraph and there are probably spelling and/or grammar mistakes all over this site. Hey, I’m just a graphic designer for Pete’s sake, but I do the best that I can and I sometimes do struggle with getting the words onto the page…I mean screen.

Unfortunately I’m a one man show, and as much as I’m ok with that, it means that I have to wear many hats. I’m the writer, I’m the editor, I record the let’s plays, communicate on social media, Photoshop the images for the blog…you name it. It’s the devil’s work and right now I’m the only handsome devil here to do it. My hope is for this to evolve into something much bigger one day – I’m not exactly sure what – but I want The Gaming Worker to make a dent in this industry. If any like-minded funky homosapiens should cross my path [who are down with this program] then I would happily consider recruiting additional gaming workers for my cause. I want to create a pyramid of gaming workers and together we shall rule the internet! [Insert maniacal laugh] 😆

The game/work balance can also be an issue. Performing a game and doing let’s plays are always fun, but it’s also work. I have to get the marbles out of my mouth and be voice-over ready which is not as easy as it may seem. Speaking clearly, recording clean takes and editing video can be a chore so there are times when I have to step away from the “work” and remember to just game for fun. It may sound silly, but it’s true and very important. As much as we live in a world today where people enjoy watching other people play video games, I have to resist that record button and remember to play (and enjoy) the game the way it was intended. Without the world always watching, just like when I was a kid. There are some gaming sessions that I have to reserve for myself and that’s just the way it has to be. There’s offline gaming and then there’s OFFLINE gaming…capisce.

Question. Have you ever arrived home from work to then eat the warm dinner that your wonderful spouse has prepared for you; then get cozy together on the couch to watch TV, or a couple of shows on Netflix, or a movie; and after all of that quality time you then kiss her goodnight and get ready to get some much anticipated video gaming (or blogging) out of the way; but instead what happens is you sit on the couch staring at the TV, eyelids heavy, not moving a muscle because you’re body is dead tired; so you just end up going to sleep because you have to wake up and go to work the next morning? No? Ok, I guess it’s just me then.

Wait, I have one more flimsy excuse and then I can wrap this up. The number of games in my backlog list keeps increasing. It’s the darnedest thing. You’d think that the industry would stop releasing new games and wait for me to finish the ones I have, but no. Sony and all of the first, second, and third-party studios (and publishers) have to crank out their new IPs to keep the market thriving, thus leaving me always having to play catch up because I don’t have enough time to play their awesome games. So grudgingly new games get added to the backlog – it’s a vicious cycle [that can take your eye off of the prize – but a fun one nevertheless].

The point of this [postmortem] was to shed some light (bitch and complain) on some of the challenges that I’ve faced in my first year of doing this, and at the same time give you a verbal peek behind the curtain. It’s all fun and games being The Gaming Worker, but it’s not easy trying to stay on top of all of this content creation. The one thing that has helped me put more time into this is cutting back on the amount of my over-time hours at my job. That’s how serious and committed I am to gaming and this form of game reporting. Unfortunately there’s only so much time that I can steal away from my job and/or family, so until situations change, this will have to do. But I can tell you one thing for sure; I know exactly what I want to do when I retire as an old man. If video games are still booming twenty years from now (and I think they will – hello PlayStation 7 or 8) I’m going to game – and blog – but mostly game until my thumbs fall off. And when they do [fall off] I will get robotic thumbs surgically attached because by that time (I’m pretty sure) that robotic thumb replacement will be a thing.

Ladies and germs, it’s been a pleasure entertaining you – and for making it this far [down the blog post] I’m going to reward you with one last Destiny let’s play for 2015. Please click on the image below. Enjoy 👍

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Why The Gaming Controller Is The Bane Of My Existence

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Grab Gaming By The Controller ✊🎮

Hello Gaming Worker Devotees! I hope you don’t mind an interruption of the usual (awesome) narrative from the original Gaming Worker 1️⃣, for a guest post from a truly novice, but enthusiastic 2️⃣ (this counts for something) PC gamer and her struggle with…switching to a gaming controller.

First, A Brief History

I was introduced to gaming by my little brother way back when I was in high school. He was (and still is) a huge PC gamer. Our parents were super strict about games and “their highly addictive qualities”…so the way around being banned from Sega, Nintendo and the like was through computer games. I mean, come on dad, we NEED a computer! For school work!

Rob, the aforementioned little brother, would game until the wee hours of the morning (as true gamers must) and slink up to bed far too late. Of course I was curious. What could be so fun to keep him up this late? So I ended up watching him game…and boy did it look fun. Eventually I was allowed into his gaming world when he wanted to play Worms Armageddon 3️⃣ or another game that required two people (and had relatively easy gameplay for this newbie). And my love of gaming has continued ever since.

Now Let’s Fast Forward Quite A Few Years

Despite “growing up” and moving out on my own, I stayed true to the PC gaming format. Rob dove into PlayStation, but not me! The keyboard/mouse combo was one I could handle and had become used to. And there are still such a plethora of games that use this format so it was never an issue. Until now.

I recently discovered Steam (yes I know, I’m a bit slow on the uptake…cut me some slack) because a game I was looking forward to was only available for PC via this portal. So I promptly signed up, only to be faced with something I have so artfully avoided all these years. PC gaming using a controller. Yikes!

Now I HAVE held a controller…and gone a few rounds in various games with it (both on Xbox and PlayStation). It feels great, and it’s MUCH more responsive than the keyboard/mouse combo but let’s face it – I’m pretty shitty at using it. It’s BECAUSE it’s so responsive that it hinders me. Where my “goof ups” are hidden on a less responsive device, every little movement and misstep is caught with a controller.  My fingers don’t co-operate, I forget which button does what and I look like a fool using it. My whole body moves along with the controller. Lol. It’s like an intense aerobic exercise. And yes, I know that moving my whole body upwards won’t make my character jump any higher. I got it Sherlock. It’s just my physical response. Not logic.

I hear from many of my gaming cohorts, including our own beloved Gaming Worker, that it just takes practice. Just take the dive, buy it and you’ll master it in time. Like driving standard. Or marriage. Double Yikes!

But seeing as how the Steam controller was literally just released, and is being subjected to some not so decent reviews, I may need to expose myself to someone’s DualShock 4 controller…hmmm….

Sean, I’m coming over. Let’s game! 😄

To Be Continued…Most Definitely!

An Astonishing Tale From Your Friendly Back To The Futurist

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Wednesday October 21, 2015

Happy Back To The Future Day friends. It’s too bad that I have to leave you. The time has come for me to bum-slide across the hood of my silver and shiny DeLorean, Marty McFly style, and head back to my time. You see, I’m from the future. I traveled back here to the year 2015 in a time machine, which I won in a gritty, underground, Fight Club-esque world series euchre tournament (yes euchre is the de facto card game of the future), to start this blog. My conscience has been weighing in on me this whole time so I decided to be open and honest about the Gaming Worker’s origin. Seeing as how it is the 30th anniversary of one of Hollywood’s most beloved movies about time travel it only seemed right. So yes, time travel will be possible and yes, you’ll get you’re turn. Just be patient.

Now before I go I want you to know a couple of things. One, this blog will still continue spit out great content! How you ask? Well the Gaming Worker, aka Sean Berry, of this current time will take over all of the blog content responsibilities from this point onward. The look, feel and voice of the blog will not change so you can put your worries to rest. I have taken the necessary precautions to ensure that this transition runs smoothly and free of error. The 2015 Sean Berry has been safe and sound and in cryosleep since January of this year. Yes, cryogenic sleep chambers are real just like time traveling cars. And no, writers in your time are not clairvoyant. The ideas that they get for the books and movies in your time are actually implanted into their brains from the future via a time shifting, neuro-tech frequency that’s far too advanced for you and I to comprehend. But I digress. Sean Berry is in cryosleep, but soon will be awakened to take over where I left off.

Again, everything here, as you know it, should remain the the same and continue uninterrupted. While Sean was asleep I was using the aforementioned neuro technology, but slightly modified, to implant everything that he missed this year deep into his subconscious including all of the work that has gone into this blog. When he comes to it will be like no time has passed and he’ll continue to live out the rest of his life.

Two, to all of my gaming cohorts, stop feeding into the great debate of gaming! It comes in many forms. Console vs. mobile. Console vs. PC. PlayStation vs. Xbox. You need to stop fueling this unnecessary fire because (I’ll tell you a tiny little secret) in the future none of this matters. Just pick up your controller, or smart device for that matter, and play! Gaming is a monolith that reigns supreme in the future. It is a way of life and all of these silly, inane competitions are counterproductive. How you choose to immerse yourself and by what means is of no consequence. What’s important is that you’re happy with your gaming lot in life and that you have fun, period.

That’s the ideology of the future where I’m from and that’s where you should be headed. But remember, your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one. All of you.

P.S. Now please don’t make me have to travel back in time to tell you this again. Gas is just too damn expensive in the future, but more importantly traveling back to the same time more than once could create a time paradox. The result of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe! But that’s the worst case scenario. The destruction could in fact be very localized, limited to merely our own galaxy 😉

Living In A Marvelous Disney Universe And Loving Every Minute Of It

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🇺🇸 America’s 😍 Favourite 😈 Superheroes

Now you might argue that Justice League America would actually be America’s favourite superhero team. I mean they have the word “America” in their name. That’s patriotism right there. And I must admit that I’m currently getting a kick out of watching Justice League America Unlimited the animated series on Netflix. I had a conversation with wifey just the other night on why Wonder Woman would be interested in dating Batman. I am only a few episodes into the first season, but so far she’s making it blatantly obvious that she wants to date him. And just like the douche that Batman is he keeps stopping her dead in her tracks. He said it best in the fifth episode, and I quote “You’re a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I’m a rich kid with issues.” LMAO. It totally amuses me. He’s basically telling Diana to go bark up Superman’s tree. And maybe she does, which makes way more sense to me, but I’ve gone off on a tangent. Justice League is a fabulous team, but I’m here to show respect to another team. My favourite superhero team lead by non other than Captain America himself. Wait, I mean Iron Man. No, wait…is it Cap? Whoever the bloody leader is I am dedicating this post to Marvel’s Avengers. Or should I say Disney’s Avengers? Ok, Disney’s and Marvel’s Avengers! So there. Great. That should keep both conglomerates happy 😁

To Disney Infinity And Beyond

Fact. I’m just a tiny (tiny) bit obsessed with The Avengers. For my birthday, which happens to be today, my lovely wife Michelle bought me eight Disney Infinity figurines. Six of The Avengers from the 2.0 Edition and two Star Wars from the 3.0 Edition. It was a wonderful surprise. So wonderful in fact I almost made her return all of them because they’re not cheap. And what’s funny is I almost bought myself the Captain America figurine a few nights before my birthday, but I decided against it and opted to buy her the Merida figure from the Infinity 1.0 Edition. She likes the movie Brave, but let’s get back to my Avenger obsession because that’s what you’re dying to hear about.

So now I have these funky new toys to add to my geek collection. This is all well and good, but you should know that my evil plan is to only display them like trophies. This Toy-To-Life video game experience, which is the primary focus for these tiny heroes, actually doesn’t appeal to me all that much. I just love the super well crafted toys. Shout out to the talented art directors and designers at Avalanche Software who did an outstanding job creating these miniature masterpieces. Disney Infinity is a work of art, just like everything that Disney touches, and I am very happy that they have Marvel (and now Star Wars) in their roster. It makes for some interesting gaming mash ups, that’s for sure. Who knew that there would be an experience this crazy where you could play as Marvel, Star Wars and traditional Disney characters, all in one game? You know what? On second thought, maybe I will play this game after all 😃

Avengers Assemble

I finally finished watching Phase 2 of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Michelle and I went to the movies and finally saw Ant-Man! I wasn’t sure how it would “measure” up to the previous films from Phase 2, but I was pleasantly surprised. Earlier this summer I saw…no scratch that…I experienced Avengers: Age of Ultron! Twice! In two weeks I’ll be picking up the Blu-ray! Actually let me back things up a bit to truly make you understand. Prior to watching Avengers: Age of Ultron on opening weekend I had an Avengers party at my house! There was no cosplay, well, just an Iron Man mask, but that was it. That and all of the Avengers decorations that you could think of. Lol. I bought this decorative kit that came with Avenger swirly decals to hang from the ceiling, big and small pop-out center pieces for the table, and one inch round Avenger confetti to scatter all over! Are you still paying attention? Because it didn’t stop there! I created a tattoo station and had Avengers tattoos for all of my guests! And finally, if that wasn’t enough, I bought every flavour of Doritos that had an Avenger on the packaging! What did I tell you? Obsessed. With all of that in place the idea was to re-watch the first Avengers movie on the Saturday and continue this ultimate Avenger weekend by going to watch Age of Ultron the very next day. Talk about an amazing weekend! The cinematic adventures that is The Avengers are second to none and it’s all due to this ragtag Marvel team/amazing cast lead by the uber talented director Joss “Once More With Feeling” Whedon! Grr Argh! (For my Whedonites out there 😉)

Marvel Cinematic Universe

I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if I know what the people at Marvel Studios are drinking, but Jiminy Cricket, whatever is in the water over there is doing the trick. Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, silver screen undertaking in Hollywood history. From now until 2019, if you’re a Marvel fan, all of your summers will consist of lining up at the box office, at one point or another, to see what Marvel has in store for Phase 3. And guess what? I’m all in! All of these movies are just damn good. Yes, there have been weaker films. I’m not a big fan of the first Thor and I had to watch Iron Man 2 a few times before it started to grow on me. But over all both Phase 1 and 2 were successes in my book. And the fact that all of these solo projects connect and bleed into one another just adds to the excitement of it all. When the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier crossed over into Marvel’s Agents of Shield TV series, I nearly lost my shit! Not only are these big budget movies connected to one another, but they’re trickling over into the small screen TV shows as well! Tell me, who do I send my MCU love letter to because they are hitting all the right notes for me. Don’t even get me started on the Daredevil Netflix series!

Now who knows how much longer these movies are going to be popular with the mainstream. But ten or twenty years from now we are going to look back at this time and say that this was the heyday of comic book movies. And rightfully so because when you look back to when these kinds of movies originated you can clearly see the progression that has been made. There’s no doubt that Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins/Dark Knight trilogy raised the bar very high, but let’s save the DC movie discussion for another post. Marvel wants the next five years of your life. Maybe ten if there is a Phase 4. Whatever their evil plan is Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has me by the gonads and I’m not even the slightest bit upset over it. If I could give them my movie ticket money for the next five years in advance I would because I know that I won’t be disappointed. Marvel’s track record so far has proven this to me. Are they capable of producing a weak film? Of course. But at most that is what it will be. Just a weaker film. Marvel will never bomb at the box office, but if it so happens that they do, I think I’ll allow it 😏

🎬 Marvel Phase 2 Recap (Spoilers)

Here’s a recap of what happened in all of the movies in Phase 2

📅 Marvel Phase 3 Calendar

Here’s the movie calendar for Phase 3, not including the Spider-Man reboot slated for 2017

MarvelPhase3

Top Employee Perks And Benefits In Toronto’s Tech Bubble

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Featured Image: Street Dance by Pascal Campion

What do you want to be when you grow up?

That was the million dollar question back when I was a dreamy eyed rascal. The answer usually derived from whatever job seemed cool at the time or from whatever semi-interests I had. The best answers were the ones I got creative with because I combined real jobs with not so real ones. This one time I told my grade school teacher that I wanted to be a swashbuckling astronaut. Another time I wanted to be a fire breathing submarine driver. I had quite the imagination. Alas, as I grew older, and somewhat wiser, my neurological pendulum swung and my answers started to make actual sense. Professions like comic book artist and graphic designer entered the fray as I wavered back and forth in my very own, personal and ongoing, high school musical. Not really knowing how to break into the sequential arts, which was once believed to be my true calling, I opted to choose the latter. Graphic design. And so the story continued, yada (x3), press fast forward and here we are today. Fifteen years later I wake up and find myself living in this brave new world filled with brave new employers.

Canada is getting very creative with Toronto’s very own tech bubble being at the forefront trying to attract the best and brightest talent. The tech industry is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to employee benefits and, if you ask me, the rest of the business world needs to fall in line. Many old school employers still have limited and outdated company benefit plans. Now please don’t get me wrong. Health insurance, maternity leave and vacation days are still very important, but it’s a different time. Nowadays these key benefits just barely mark the starting point of a much more interesting list. If companies want to attract top talent and truly keep employees happy, whether they’re in the tech industry or not, they’ll need to step their game up. Employers, if you don’t know how then let this article be your reference. I’ve taken it upon myself to put together a list of the top employee perks and benefits from Toronto’s most notable tech companies. Here they are in alphabetical order.

Big Viking Games

Big Viking Games is not shy when it comes to their perks and company benefits. All you have to do is check out their Twitter and/or Facebook page and you’ll see a plethora of tweets and/or posts about their amazing company culture. #BVGLife. After sixty seconds of viewing their social media content it’s easy to see why they’ve been selected as one of Canada’s top employers for young people in 2015. An award that they’ve won twice. Their blog is also geared towards attracting top talent with more posts about what it’s like to be a “viking.” But it’s not all fun and games at BVG. There’s hard work to be done as this notable company develops free-to-play social and mobile games. Working here gets you the following.

  • Hot catered breakfast and lunches daily
  • Endless snacks
  • On site massage therapy
  • Paid time off and money towards conferences, including travel
  • Paid parental leave
  • Paid outings to Canada’s Wonderland, paint ball, bowling etc.
  • Stock options
  • Health coverage, personal/sick days and competitive salary

Google

This company needs no introduction. And it’s no question why Google jobs are some of the sought after positions in the entire tech industry. Have you seen their office spaces? I mean Hollywood just had to make a movie about it. The Toronto office is nothing to sneeze at either. Needless to say, the big G takes the benefit package that they offer very seriously. As a matter of fact you can tell that many of the other tech companies take their perk and benefit cues from Google because they set the benchmark. Their entire benefit package revolves around improving the happiness and health of their Googlers. And it’s working. You won’t find one negative remark about the life at Google and rightfully so. Here are some of their note worthy benefits and perks. Please note that they vary by location.

  • Healthy gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinners
  • Organic homegrown produce
  • Endless snacks
  • Testing new tech before public release
  • On site oil change, car wash, massage therapy and dry cleaning
  • On site hair stylist, fitness…let’s just say lots of on site stuff
  • Shuttle bus (with WiFi) to and from work
  • Extended time off for passion projects
  • Extended time off new parents, including spending money
  • Reimbursement for approved extra schooling
  • Free and/or discounted legal aid
  • Health care coverage (on site)
  • Indoor slide

Shopify

If you want to launch a web store it’s no question that Shopify is the place you go. They have a brilliant, easy to use platform with all of the support that a person would need to dive right into the ecommerce swimming pool. Those of you who are familiar with Shopify already know about the great Canadian service that they provide. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why the service is so great? Take a closer look at the company and their culture. Very similar to Google, Shopify’s objective as an employer is to keep their employees happy and healthy. The mighty powers that be realize that this equals and sustains productivity. It’s truly a no brainer. Take care of your people and they will take care of your business. And there’s plenty of candidates that want the opportunity to take care of this business. If you are lucky enough to work at Shopify this is what you would get.

  • Latest Apple gear (27″ iMac and Macbook Pro)
  • Breakfast, lunch and snacks
  • Flexible work hours
  • Full health coverage
  • Paid parental leave
  • 85% paid maternity leave
  • All expenses paid towards conferences, including travel
  • Child care bonuses up until your child turns 5 years old
  • Free house cleaning services every two weeks
  • $250 allowance towards staying active and healthy
  • Stock options
  • Plus much more!

Ubisoft

Last, but certainly not least are the creators of the many games I love to play! From the annually produced Assassin’s Creed to Far Cry and Watch Dogs we have Ubisoft Entertainment. This French multinational video game behemoth has been developing games for almost thirty years and is arguably the third largest independent publisher of video games worldwide. Ubisoft has a mixed bag of games to satisfy a number of different tastes and this shows that they truly love what they do. They know what business they’re in and they’re not afraid to take risks. The very first Ubisoft game that I played was Prince of Persia: Sands of Time on the original Xbox, if I’m not mistaken. What an awesome third-person, action-adventure, puzzle-platformer that was! But I digress. The Ubisoft Toronto office opened it’s doors in 2010 and has assembled a diverse team of some of the most talented game creators around. Keeping this talented team engaged, happy and motivated needs to be the number one priority and I think Ubisoft gets the job done. Most game developers automatically do this because they’re in the entertainment business in the first place. If they know how to keep gamers happy then they should know how to keep their own people happy. Their benefits and perks are as follows.

  • On site massage
  • Yoga classes
  • Fitness bootcamp
  • Gym discount
  • Chili cook off
  • Summer Barbecue
  • Monthly parties (UbiBash)
  • Halloween party and contest
  • Office relocation specialists
  • Subsidized public transport
  • Christmas party for kids
  • Video game room…obviously!

Now scroll up and take another look at the sub-headline. What do you want to be when you grow up? Think about the answer carefully. If you weren’t thinking about a career in the tech industry before, you’re definitely thinking about it now. Start ups, tech companies and video game developers are doing things right when it comes to awesome perks, benefits and company culture. In my opinion this is where you need to get in. If you’re tech savvy that is. This sector isn’t for everybody, but it definitely deserves praise because, let’s face it, who wouldn’t want this new world order of scintillating, healthy and/or fun package of benefits? I can’t think of anyone. Can you?

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