Friday, May 28, 2010

Step-by-step Guide to Facebook Privacy Settings

I've been asked a couple of times about Facebook privacy settings since it has been all that the world has talked about for the last couple of weeks. Facebook has announced that they will upgrade the privacy settings and make it easier for the average user to increase their privacy settings. That being said, for those who don't yet know, here is a synopsis of the current system and the step-by-step changes to the settings that I would recommend.

NOTE: I generally will use the term 'Friends Only' or stricter throughout. By stricter, I mean to use 'Customize' and pick your friends that you would like to grant privileges to that particular information.

- Under 'Personal Information and Posts'. Each of these should be set to 'Friends Only' or stricter. Do not forget to click on 'Edit Settings' under 'Photo Albums' and adjust all of them to 'Friends Only'

- Under 'Contact Information'. For the most part I would put each of these to 'Friends Only' or stricter as well. However, I can see why some like having 'Add me as a friend' and 'Send me a message' as 'Everyone' seeing if those are 'Friends Only' you will not be getting any new friend requests outside of people that you request. If that is what you would like, that is completely your prerogative (yeah, that's's Bobby Brown). That being said, my 'Add me as a friend' is set as 'Friends of friends' and 'Send me a message' is 'Friends only' or stricter.

- Under 'Friends, Tags and Connections'. Easy - all should be 'Friends Only' or stricter.

- Under 'Search'. Facebook Search Results should be 'Friends Only' or stricter. 'Public Search Results' should be UNCHECKED next to 'Allow' (no Google searching allowed!)

- Under 'Application and Settings'. You should review the applications and Web sites that you are allowing Facebook to share information and remove any that you don't use.

Further Changes Here:
∙ 'What your friends can share about you' - click 'Edit Settings' and make sure NOTHING is checked.
∙ 'Activity on Applications and Games Dashboards' - 'Friends Only' or stricter'.
∙ 'Instant Personalization Pilot Program' - click 'Edit Settings' and UNCHECK 'Allow select partners to instantly personalize their features with my public information when I first arrive on their websites.'

Upon completion, you will notice two things - Facbeook likes to set the defaults to allow your information to be made available to the public for just about everything and they spell Web site wrong in a whole lot of places.

To be sure that you completed this correctly - go to and follow the instructions. You should be listed as 'Secured' across the board.

And finally, here is the so-so looking trailer to Star Wars: The Old Republic in HD.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Seven Characters that need to be added to Super Mario Bros. Crossover

If you are a fan of the original NES or retrogames in general and haven't heard of Super Mario Bros. Crossover, then you have been living in a cave. Once we pull you out, dust you off, and shave the long beard - Crossover, in a nutshell, is a Flash game played through the browser that allows gamers to play through Super Mario Bros. as some of the NES' most popular characters. Due to its success, just announced Ryu Hayabusa as being one of its newest NES characters brought into the game. I have some ideas for seven others that need to be added...

Existing Characters: Mario, Link, Bill R. (Contra), Simon (Castlevania), Mega Man, Samus (Metroid)
Future Character: Ryu Hayabusa

Rygar He has powers and weapons from the Indora war gods that would do some real damage to those damn flying Cheep Cheeps.

Rash from Battletoads He's gotta craving for Action! Take him to the rumble, newgrounds! If he could tackle Robo-Manus and Big Blag to rescue Pimple and the princess captured by the dark queen he can easily take on the Super Mario Bros. world. The hippest of the main characters, in what could arguably be the hardest game on the NES, deserves a spot head butting Koopas to rescue the princess again (see what I did there - since he rescued the princess and Pimple once, he now rescues another princess...get it...get it...).

Jimmy Lee from Double Dragon II Why Jimmy Lee instead of Billy Lee? Well, for starters - there already is a Bill in Crossover, Bill R. from Contra. Also, Jimmy Lee takes on the DDII baddies to avenge his brother's dead girlfriend. Not his own girlfriend - his brother's. That is a gentleman that should get more than a Luigiesque, side kick title and be brought out into the limelight. Also, imagine what those tornado kicks will do to a group of blocks with hidden coins.

Bub from Bubble Bobble Unlike Rash or Jimmy Lee, Bub is more of a playful soul. They have so many super alpha male types already and Bub brings a little bit more of a gentle side to the Super Mario Bros. world. For no other reason, it would be kind of cool to see what his bubble shooting self will do on the water world.

Bionic Commando He has no name - he is just Bionic Commando. Between the bionic arm and the gun, there are too many opportunities for a character of his depth to not be included. Bionic Commando vs. King Koopa=Win.

Icarus They have both Link and Samus in there so you need to add Icarus to complete Nintendo's mascot group.

Kirby First you draw a circle, Then you dot the eyes, Add a great big smile And presto, it's Kirby! When you talk NES greats, how can you possibly leave out Kirby. With a ton of offensive moves, he would be a great addition. Plus he would fit nicely in between the cutesy Bub and the rest of the alpha males.

And if you are in your cave... is Super Mario Bros. Crossover.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why the ending of Super Mario Bros. 2 really pisses me off

I wrote a few months back about playing the real Super Mario Bros. 2 and discussed all of the Doki Doki Panic info and how the Japanese thought me and my kind (Americans or male...or...both) were not able to handle the intense SMB 2 action and instead gave us a watered down version, i.e. Doki Doki Panic (you can read all about it -

I am happy to say that I did complete the original Super Mario Bros. 2 that was reportedly too difficult for me. After that, I still felt a little empty inside. To fill the void, I decided to fire up the American Super Mario Bros. 2 and work my way through it.

I'm not going to lie. SMB2 is not my favorite of the series. In fact, it probably is near the bottom. But, it is still not a bad game. It is like comparing one beer to another. Yeah, Old Style and Natural Light may not be my first choice at the bar, but if you bought me one, I surely would not turn it down.

I hadn't played it in close to two decades so much of it was new to me with moments of nostalgia. It's a cutesy (is that a word) game with some humorous quirks that make it fun. In hindsight, an absolute breeze when compared to the Japanese original SMB2. Really, couldn't they find a middle ground between the insane Japanese SMB2 and the watered down American SMB2?

It didn't take me long to beat the whole thing and even though the ice world did piss me off at times the real kicker for me was the ending. I slaved over a hot NES for what? For it to be worthless. A dream. I had forgotten all about the ending. Are you kidding me? I would rather hear that the Princess was in another castle. That would be more rewarding. What jack ass pitched this at the staff meeting? "Yeah, let's have the player who just took their time to work through this game, risking the damage of their controllers after they thrown them when they slide off the ice, having to commit suicide because they decided to be Toad in a world that you HAVE to be Luigi to make jumps, and be forced to succumb to being the Princess find out in the end, it was for nothing. Just a dream." Whoever you are, you cold hearted bastard, I hope you can find a way to live with yourself.

To the bar, who's going to buy me a Natty Light?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Retrogamey Links for Guy Who Quit Job to Play Video Games

And they say GameStop Stole my Soul Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be demoed on Sunday at Game Stop starting at 9. []

Speaking of Galaxy 2 Apparently IGN thinks it is the best game ever or something giving it a perfect score, in turn, making 360 and PSIII fanboys lose their minds I'm sure. []

Virtual Console Release for 5/17/2010 A pretty good Super Nintendo game, Kirby Super Star. But a bit pricey at 800 points. If you love you some Kirby, may be worth looking into. []

Retrogame Strikes Back - Sonic 4 Sonic 4 finally has a game trailer that is visible on - wait, a game trailer on - that is blowing my mind. As a fan of the series, I can honestly say I'm looking forward to the little blue bastard running at the lightning speeds of the current consoles. []

CNN Takes On PacMan's 30th The arcade version of PacMan turned 30 and, like everyone else on the net, CNN wrote a piece letting you know everything you ever wanted to know about PacMan. Is it kind of sad that Google is able to put an emulated version on their Web site that plays better than 90% of other versions I've played? []

Cris Collingsworth Gets the Boot Gus Johnson will be doing the play-by-play for Madden 11. I guess being on the cover isn't the only Madden curse. []

After Taking my Innocence - I Don't Care about you Phantasy Star PSP will bring a new version of Phantasy Star Portable this Fall. Not that I care, you took Nei from me and I will never f***ing forgive you for it (see Phantasy Star II: An End Of Innocence ). []

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Keep the Formatting When Doing a Mail-Merge in Word 2007 with Excel 2007 Data

NOTE: This is one of those situations where I am writing this up as a blog post because I searched the Internet high and low and couldn't find this solution. It may not be the only solution - but the only one that worked for me.

If you frequent this blog, you know that I have been forced to succumb to the 2007 version of Microsoft Office. Overall, I actually have enjoyed using and teaching this package but have found some of the elements of it to be a little bit...uh...buggy.

I was hit today with someone telling me that the formatting was dropping out when doing a mail-merge in Word of an Excel spreadsheet. I remember having to deal with this in Office 2003 and that the solution was using Microsoft's Dynamic Data Exchange. The problem was, it wasn't working this time in 2007.

Every time that I would try to open the document (after adjusting the initial Step 1 settings below), I would get the following error:

"This error message can appear if you attempt to insert a database into a Word document [which I wasn't] as an object or attach an Access data source to a Word mail-merge main document.

This error message usually occurs if there is a problem communicating via Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE).

Possible remedies are to reboot the system or attach the data source using an alternate method (ODBC, DAO)."

I did a bunch of Web surfing and a bunch of experimenting and here is the only way that I was able to get it to work.

Step 1: In Word, click the Office button and 'Word Options'. Then click the 'Advanced' tab and scroll down to 'General'. Put a check next to 'Confirm file format conversion on open'. Next, in Excel, click the Office button and 'Excel Options' and then click the 'Advanced' tab. Scroll down to 'General' again and make sure there isn't a check next to 'Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange'.

Step 2: Open the Excel spreadsheet that I will be pulling in as a mail-merge in Excel. Minimize it after opening it.

Step 3: Open Word and click the 'Mailings' tab. Then click 'Select Recipients' and then 'Use Existing List...'. Choose the Excel spreadsheet even though that goes against everything that Office stands for since it usually will consider the document locked when it is open by another program. Because you adjusted your setting in Step 1, you will need to choose the correct program. Put a check in the lower-left-hand corner of the pop-up where it says 'Show all'. Then scroll down and double-click 'MS Excel Worksheets via DDE (.xls)'.

It should load in and keep the formatting. Unless I opened the document first in Excel, it would either give the error or remove any formatting.

Monday, May 17, 2010

6 Old School Nintendo Supporting Characters Who'd Be Cool To Party With

Old Man from 'The Legend of Zelda'. Like a drunken high school football player, the old man from 'The Legend of Zelda' can be both your best friend and your worst enemy. He could give you a sword or a helpful piece of advice. Or, if you catch him in the wrong state, perhaps after a fifth of Jack Daniels, he will make you give him your lunch money or take your life - literally. But, the upside outweighs his mean streak. If anything, you may need him in a bar brawl - when pissed he throws fire balls, and that is pretty cool.

Doc Louis. Ok, while generally worthless, he is just an upbeat, 'just happy to be here', kind of guy. He is like Def Leppard described as "an average ordinary everyday dude." He may be doing something borderline perverted to your shoulder, he may be lazy sitting on his bike while you run behind him, and his conversation is about as interesting as a monotone insurance executive lecturing how a bill becomes a law. But, the smile and the happy-go-lucky spirit make him the guy you call when you just need a pick me up when life kicks you in the ass. Also, he did create the "Star Punch" so he can show you how to take care of yourself when the old man from 'The Legend of Zelda' decides to drunkenly make an inappropriate pass at Linda (and her twin sister) from 'Double Dragon'.

Cherry Grace. Say what you want about an unbelievably easy friend.  If nothing else, they are at least entertaining.  And Cherry Grace embodies it perfectly. Pretty much at any time, all Cherry Grace wants to do is go back to the hotel room. She'll hit you with a cheesy line about the state of the world and the next thing, the hotel lights are fading to black. What else can you ask for?

Meditating 'Faxanadu' Hippie. There is a lot to be said about having a Phish loving hippie-type in your life. The 'Faxanadu' hippie just wants peace, love, and meditation. Whenever you see him, you know that you will have to succumb to an obnoxiously long password that needs to be written exactly as it appears but it's all good brah, a little meditation, the Dead's 'Europe '72', and a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale will make it all better. Plus, couple him and Doc to possibly keep the old man in check.

Error. He isn't too bright but Error has that loveable 'Forrest Gump' thing going for him. It is a simple statement that speaks volumes. "I am Error." Questions? I didn't think so. Think of it this way, he would never rat you out and could keep himself a secret.

Dog from 'Duck Hunt'. We all have that jack ass friend who takes great pleasure in the failure of his friends. The dog from 'Duck Hunt' is one of those but still lovable. And, he must be like Neo with the way he can dodge bullets. I probably shot at him fifty thousand times and not once did I hit him.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Online Privacy Concerns: Are Kids Too Plugged In?

I happened to be reading on CNN an article about Facebook's privacy woes.  Now, I am not going to go into detail about mainstream media and the fact they are always at least a week behind the technological times, hell that was discussed on GeekyClown last week and has been all over the Internet since the 'Like' debacle was announced, but I was appalled at the comments people were leaving about the article.  The famous, "the kids today are too plugged in" bullshit that comes out every time that one of these articles comes out.

Let me start out by saying this, people who think that they are smarter than the younger generations by avoiding current technological trends are absolutely kidding themselves and are prematurely patting themselves on the back.  What the hell does "too plugged in" even mean?  We are too dependent on computers?  Welcome to 2010.  Is the thinking here that computers are a fad?  Do they think like Stoll's 1995 article (which I discuss here - that the whole Internet thing is not really useful?

One commenter said, "if you give your information to a big corporation, what do you think is going to happen?"  It made me think back to 1999 when my dad told me, "I won't give my credit card information over the Internet."  I replied, "why?"  And was given a quick and simple, "hackers."  See, he watched '60 Minutes' or some other news show that tries its hardest to scare the hell out of people who are naive enough to believe that anytime you are on the Web there are a group of hackers waiting around the bend like pissed off villagers on the hunt for Frankenstein.  That being said, my dad would have no problem ordering concert tickets over the phone and giving his credit card number to the pothead, eighteen-year-old on the other end.

Anyone who believes keeping themselves offline isn't risking their personal information either are kidding themselves or has paid cash for every purchase they have ever made, has never been to school, or visited a hospital.  Big business has been mining personal information forever - about as long as their security measures have been breached.  How many times have you received a letter letting you know that a drive had been misplaced, a disgruntled employee took data, or "oops, someone got into our system" and you should keep an eye on your credit report to look for identity thieves?  Facebook may expose a personal detail or two that I would prefer not have out there, but it doesn't let people apply for credit accounts using my information.

It is this holier than thou mentality that makes people feel superior for not being part of the Internet community and help them to compensate for the fact that they refuse to learn anything that may make them just the slightest bit more tech savvy.  The good news for us, hopefully those people will continue to stay off the net.  Keeping them offline will keep a few trolls from posting on boards, a few Facebook stalkers at bay, and a whole lot of spam and forwards from being sent.  

Perhaps we should rewrite the old phrase, "if it's too loud, you're too old" to "if you think I'm too plugged in, you're too old."  Not necessarily old in years but old in thinking.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Zynga, I Highly Encourage You To Leave Facebook

Big rumors began popping up this week about Zynga leaving Facebook and staring their own network, tentatively (and rather not very creatively) titled Zynga Live.  I have to say I applaud this decision and highly encourage Zynga to leave Facebook. 

It isn't because I really care about Zynga (with the exception of my cousin, as a Zynga employee, keeping his job which would make him happy) since I don't play Mafia Wars or Farmville but it would stop the insane amounts of Farmville and Mafia Wars requests I get daily.  I am a selfish bastard that way.  

It really is a win/win situation. 

The first big winner will be Zynga.  Zynga will save a ton of money that they are just handing over to Facebook.  Even losing some of its 80+ million gamers will be a wash with savings of the rather large 30% tax that they have to hand over each time Facebook credits are spent. 

Follow that up with the fact that enough people log into Facebook just to play the games so that will lead to the Zynga Live network's popularity.  Also, with the negative privacy publicity that Facebook has been incurring, they could easily spin that as part of their reasoning for leaving to help their credibility (instead of sounding like they are money hungry which, let's face it, they are a corporation - they are all money hungry).  They can make themselves sound like the founding fathers tired of taxation without representation and decided to revolt.  "The lawyers are coming...the lawyers are coming!"

The other big winner is me.  If I can stop being inundated with Farmville and Mafia Wars requests, I can spend my time on Facebook doing what I do best, stalking those around me.  After all it is the REAL reason for Facebook.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Facebook Privacy: Edit What Applications Can Share

A picture says 1,000 words, to secure your private information from applications and websites (spelled wrong) go ahead and make the following changes.

Start by going to Facebook and then hover over 'Account' and 'Privacy Settings'.  The click on 'Edit Settings' next to 'What your friends can share about you'.

My recommendation, make your page look like this image.  Don't let third-party applications know anything about your private information.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Philosophy of Video Games Pt. 2: The Wii Phenomenon

Following up yesterday's post, Philosophy of Video Games Pt. 1: I of the Player vs. I of the Avatar, I have read the next chapter of 'Philosophy Through Video Games' and, of course, have some thoughts. The chapter, 'The Game Inside the Mind, the Mind Inside the Game (The Nintendo Wii Gaming Cosnsole), looks at the ideas behind realism. It focuses on the Wii and why the Wii outsold the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3, even though it is the weaker console in terms of graphics and sound.

The authors look at how we perceive things and it is those perceptions that made the Wii such a hit.

The first thing they discuss is the theory of phenomenalism.

"According to this philosophical theory, people do not directly perceive the actual world, but instead experience a realm that is a function of their own private sensory manifold."

The book discusses this theory by stating that, "human beings live in a very similar feedback loop with respect to reality itself."

To interject my own theory here, perhaps 'real' life works with the same process that we would use when playing a game and we perceive ourselves and environment we embrace like we would in a game. Your arms and legs act as the controllers of things in your environment. I can couple that with the concept that the mind takes a fraction of a second to process every action that takes place so we never do exist in reality - no more than the Planet Zebes exists in 'real' life.

Phenomenalism is based on things not being interpretted factually but how it is perceived by the individual. So, it can vary from species to species and situation to situation. From feedback I received from part one of this series (Philosophy of Video Games Pt. 1: I of the Player vs. I of the Avatar this is exactly the case. For example, some players like to make their avatar's appearance and existence similar, if not identical, to their own 'real' attributes while other go the exact opposite and look at the entire experience as fantasy.

The book follows this up with the theory of enactivism.

Enactivism basically says that humans do directly perceive the world and use that as means to manipulate ourselves and surroundings - hence playing Wii golf gives a greater enjoyment since you feel you are actually participating in that world.

Their theories behind the reason for the Wii's success rest in the idea that we feel we are a part of the game because we have the ability to perform in the game using our own bodies instead of simply sitting on a couch with a controller. Even though aesthetically more pleasing, the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3 fell short because it could not give the feel of participation and that changes the perception of the player to feel as though they are more closely in tuned with the game.

That being said, I don't know if any of that is really true. The Wii was a hit because, like an iPad or iPhone, it was different and it was fun. It brought out the non-hardcore gamer who had been missing since the NES and brought them back to the table. Hell, my 60-year old aunt has a Wii and you can't convince me it is because of her player-as-homunculus paradigm or because enactivism is true, it is because she played it and thought it was fun. On top of that, it was cheap when compared to the other consoles.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Philosophy of Video Games Pt. 1: I of the Player vs. I of the Avatar

I just picked up Jon Cogburn and Mark Silcox book, 'Philosophy Through Video Games' and read through the first chapter, 'I, Player: The Puzzle of Personal Identity" and thought I would share a few of their thoughts and, of course, sum up my own ideology behind their questions.

The core question of the chapter is based on the I of the player vs. I of the avatar.  When a player finishes a section of a game or completes a task it is common to say, "I just disengaged the bomb" or "I just killed the green monster." 

But, you didn't kill the green monster or disengage the bomb - you wouldn't know how to disengage a bomb and there is no such thing as a green monster (with the exception of the thing that has been hiding under my bed since I was six).

However, we are the ones who are operating the controls of those who did do these actions:

"We will arrive at the metaphysically surprising conclusion that the temporal and spatial boundaries of self are fundamentally vague."

When does the gaming world end and the 'real world' come into play?  In current gaming trends, there are so many concepts and personal adjustments that can be made to characters in games, i.e. you can customize a character's appearance, abilities, etc.  Couple that with the choices and puzzles in the game that require a certain amount of personal decision making, i.e. World of Warcraft and other RPGs.

"They [players] can actually "play" their characters, in the sense that their success in the game can depend upon how good they are at pretending to be the people represented by the statistics that they have recorded on their "character sheets"."

They, more or less, compare several philosophers ideas ranging from the existence of self being based on actual feelings and emotions from a period of time to an extension of the mind that incorporates pretty much all experiences. 

Personally, I don't generally find myself getting that intrinsically involved in games but yet it is difficult not to accept the idea of "I" as the one accomplishing the goals of the game.  When playing Mario Party with three other friends, it is me that is beating them at Pushy Penguins even though on screen it is Luigi.  It is simply a character choice, and a game played by people - no different than if I beat you at poker, both are games where I was the one whose decisions and skills outmatched an opponent.  The question is, because I beat my opponents as Luigi, does it hold the same validity that "I" did it?

The same goes for games like the original Super Mario Bros.  I may have beat King Koopa in 8-4, but it wasn't me that actually jumped over King Koopa but Mario.  Yet, I controlled Mario and figured out the pattern of the game. 

To sum up since this is making my head hurt - yes, it is me that is playing the character and I am better than you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cyberbullying: New Laws+No Tolerance+Education=A Solution?

A coworker hit me up with a problem that she observed in her classroom this past week - cyberbullying. Apparently, she had given an assignment to her class and they were to work on it during class time. As she was wandering the room, she noticed another student making fun of a student sitting right next to her on Facebook. Why was she making fun of her? For doing her assignment.

The student was asked to leave class but now the coworker isn't sure what she should do to combat future issues like this. I guess I never really thought of the concept of cyberbullying in a college atmosphere - perhaps I have given too much credit to students thinking that leaving high school would force them to leave high school behavior.

Grammar schools through high schools I am sure have taken proper measures to make the public computers not be able to access several social networking sites server-side, but colleges and universities give the students a much greater freedom (as it should, let's face it the students are adults even though they may not always act on it).

The Phoebe Prince story has brought cyberbullying into the limelight worldwide (if you don't know the Phoebe Prince story may I introduce you to a friend of mine named Google, you two will hit it off). It has caused several states (44 to be exact) to take on legislature to prevent cyberbullying - most of it focusing on education.

To start with, education for cyberbullying has about the same chances of working as sex education has had on teen pregnancy and health class has had on obesity. Students will be spoon fed ideology on how to treat others and what is proper behavior but anyone who remembers high school knows that will not have much of an impact on a rather large body of the high school population.

Several schools have started a no tolerance policy for both cyberbullying in and out of school. And, local authorities will also take part in prosecution, sort of. If you remember two years ago Victoria Lindsay was beaten by several classmates on YouTube and all they got was a slap on the wrist which showed that the authorities are not taking this seriously. On a side note, how many times has Mercedes Nichols (the one that beat the hell out of Victoria Lindsay) been arrested during her three year probation where she was restricted to not use social networking sites? Just via some search engine searches I saw she violated a restraining order and beat and stabbed an ex-boyfriend.

I am rather curious how the judge planned on monitoring that she is restricted from social networking sites. It doesn't take a master computer sleuth to find public computers and create a new account. And if she has a little computer savvy, she can break out the Tor network and get her cyberbullying on with a network that would be a real pain to monitor.

Grammar through high schools that have a no tolerance rule in place are going to be met with a fight from both students and parents who will say it is a first amendment violation and this is going to not be the last you have heard about that battle.

Personally, to help protect myself and as advice to my coworker, I will be adding a nice long paragraph to my syllabus explaining that use of Facebook, etc. is prohibited in class and any cyberbullying will be met with forced withdrawal from the class. It is a rather weak solution to a tough problem but childish behavior requires childish actions.

What do you think? What tips would you use to help prevent cyberbullying in the classroom for both college aged students and younger? Feel free to use the comments section.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Another time when gaming screwed me...and not in a good way

NOTE: I posted this on 1up and felt that it really needed to have a home here as well.

I have to rewind the clock twenty years, when I was 15 years old.

Back in 1990, gamers were not looked at the same as they are today. In high school, if you told someone you were heavy into gaming, they would look at you like Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds and yell in a deep voice, "nerds!" So, to be a gamer you either kept yourself in the proverbial gaming closet or you stuck with the other geeks and enjoyed your dateless evenings with your Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.

One day, I was playing Dungeon Explorer on TurboGraffix-16 and was just playing around when I walked up after the King left and sat on his throne. Right then, as some of you may know, I was treated with a special alternate ending. I had found a trick that I never read in any of the magazines - us geeks followed them all. I told my friends, they thought it was cool but there was no Internet to share my find so I more or less just forgot about it.

Later that year, I was hired by FCI to be a game counselor and that happened to be the same office as EGM. I became friends with some of the EGM guys and we would talk gaming. In high school, as a geek, this was it - the top tier of nerddom. I shared my trick with them and they said they wanted to print it. I would finally get some gaming cred. My name was going to be printed in EGM. I was going to get the free game. Those who didn't believe that I worked there would see the truth. My name would have been in lights.

I sat down with Martin Alessi and Ed Semrad and we went over exactly what had to be done. All I had to do was wait. One of the best perks of working there was I got copies of EGM way before they went to print. My issue had come out. I found it sitting in the office and turned to the tips section. There was my tip but not my name. WTF! Martin came in later that afternoon and told me that Steve Harris, EGM's publisher at the time who had retaken the reigns this year, said since I worked there I didn't get my game of choice or to have my name printed. I didn't work technically for EGM, I worked for FCI - the cheap bastard just didn't want to give me my game. That was fine, I didn't care much about the game...I wanted the credit. But still, a no go.

In the end, none of my geek friends still believed that I worked at EGM and hopefully lots of TG-16ers got to enjoy my trick that I never got credit for. I moved on. Steve Harris, now that you are back in charge of EGM, you still owe me a game damnit!!!