All posts by Becca

Games from my Childhood

I was never a big gamer, whether it was computer games or video games. My two brothers on the other hand played everything they could get their hands on. There were a few games though that I loved to play, and have been reminiscing a lot about lately. They bring good memories – playing with my brothers, playing against my brothers, playing with my grandpa. All good memories :)

Roller Coaster Tycoon

This game is simple in conception, but still somehow so, so addicting to me. I remember I would come home to school and run to my computer, and play for hours and hours on end. Or on Sundays, if I got ready and still had time to play before my family left for church, I’d stick the game in and play for as long as I could. I loved this game and played it well into high school.

The gameplay is very simple. The objective is slightly different for each theme park, but it usually is along the lines of “Have two thousand guests by the end of year three,” or “Have a park value of at least $35,000 by the end of year three.” Most of them were fairly easy to beat, too, which made me like the game too because I am such a lazy gamer! If it’s too hard I quit, haha.

In the game, there are pre-made roller coasters or you could also build your own. My brothers liked to build them with half a track, then get people on the ride and kill them all. -__- I, on the other hand, was very concerned about the safety of my guests and always tested rides out multiple times before opening to ensure that they were safe.

Another thing you had to do was keep the guests happy. If they were unhappy, they would leave the park and you wouldn’t earn any money. If the pathways were filled with puke, then you needed to hire more janitors! If your guests were hungry or thirsty, you needed to build more restaurants and vending machines. Guests were very stupid sometimes, too. They would get lost and you would have to carry them to the park exit. If I was feeling very vindictive, I would just drown them to get ride of them.  D:<

It’s a pretty typical tycoon game if you’ve ever played one, and each different theme park kept the game interesting, as were the ability to customize each park you played exactly how you wanted. Writing this post makes me want to play it again!

Harvest Moon: Back to Nature

I’ve blogged about this gem before, but it was such a big part from my childhood I think it’s only fair that it gets mentioned once more. :) I played this on the PS1. It’s an RPG game about a boy whose grandfather dies and in order to inherit the farm, he must win over the villagers of Mineral Town.

Being an RPG, I always felt like there was something to do in this game which always kept it interesting for me (and why I still play it on occasion today). As expected, a good portion of the game is actually farming. Each season provides different crops that you can plant, water, and harvest.

I think the villagers in the game and all the cut-scenes that they come with are what makes the game so rich. You can pick a girl (or multiple girls if you were my brothers) to give gifts to in order to make her like you, and eventually, marry you. All of the girls had guys that like them, too, so you also have to compete with him and marry your girl first!

You also can raise livestock: chickens, cows, sheeps, and you also have a horse and a dog. You can also go fishing, chop wood, find things to sell in the forest, upgrade your tools, and upgrade the buildings on the farm. Sometimes when you give gifts to the villagers, they will give you recipes to cook with – and TV shopping is always fun!

It’s a game with a lot to offer, and a lot of different ways to play. I remember in third grade I would sit in class and plan out which crops I was going to plant, in which formation, and how much I would make by planting x amount. Then I would run home after school and put all my plans into action. What a nerd :P

Donkey Kong 

This game is impossible to not associate with my grandpa. My siblings and I loved going to grandpa’s house – we essentially got to do everything there that we couldn’t at home. Grandpa had cable TV (which we couldn’t afford at the time growing up) so he would let us stay up late and watch cartoons. But he also had a Super Nintendo which was so cool at the time. My brothers really liked Mario, but my favorite was Donkey Kong Country.

I never beat the whole game. I really only played the first three or so areas because they were the easiest to play and I could collect a bunch of bananas! I always wanted to be Diddy Kong because he was so much lighter and easier to jump with, so my grandpa would always be Donkey Kong, but he never seemed to mind. We would work together to find all the secret levels and get as many balloons and bananas as we could. And when we failed miserably, we would laugh until our stomachs ached. We would also eat tootsie rolls and skittles until our stomachs ached.

In later years I would play the Donkey Kong games on the GameBoy and even the PC, but they were never as much fun as the one for the Super Nintendo with my grandpa.

Do you have any games from your childhood that you played all the time?

How I Make Time to Read

My goal this year is to read 52 books, equating to one book a week. I have been asked by Jamie and a couple of others how I find so much time to read between school, working, and wedding planning, so I thought I would share with you how I make time for something that I love to do when I don’t always have a lot of time.

At any given time, I am reading at least three books. I know that a lot of people hate doing that, but I’ve found that if I want to reach my goal, I have to read in at least three forms: an eBook on my iPhone or Kindle, an audiobook, and a hardback or paperback book.

eBooks

I will tell you any day that I much prefer a physical copy of a book than an eBook, but you can’t beat the convenience. It’s not very easy to carry an 800 page novel around with me. I also don’t always know that I will have some downtime and have time to read. So if I find myself waiting on people or just out in public and have some free time with not much else to do, I pull out my phone and read.

I also read on my lunch break at work. I get an hour break at the job I currently have, which is a good amount of time to read a chunk of any book!  It’s convenient for me to just pull my eBook up on my phone and start reading.

I usually read classics in eBook form. I don’t like paying money for eBooks – I can’t justify the fact that I’m not getting something I can hold in my hands and display on my bookshelf – and I can always find classics for free to download from the Kindle store or from public domain websites. I also use my public library’s eBooks. I can check them out without even having to go to the library. It works like checking out a regular book: you get two to three weeks to finish it and digitally return it. I love it because I get sick of classics sometimes and want to read something newer but don’t want to pay for it either. Win win!

AudioBooks

I’ll admit, I used to think audiobooks were incredibly lame. I hated having someone read to me when I was fully capable of reading at my own pace on my own. I really got into audiobooks a few summers ago when I had a job that allowed me to listen to music while I worked. I got tired of listening to my music and listening to the radio and I knew that Andrew’s mom really liked audiobooks. So I thought I would give it a try.

And I loved it. So now, I listen to audiobooks when I exercise, when I’m in the car driving, or when I’m getting ready in the morning. Half the time I can’t settle on a radio station in the car, so I’ll just plug my phone in and listen to my audiobook. I usually finish an audiobook every three weeks.

I get my audiobooks from my public library as well. They’re free (!!) and usually there isn’t a long hold time for those either since they are not as popular as eBooks or hard copies. I listen to classics frequently if I can’t find something that sounds interesting without having to wait for it. LibriVox is a great place to download classics from as well.

For my eBooks and my audiobooks, I use an app called OverDrive. That is the platform I use to check out eBooks/audiobooks from the library and it’s very easy to use. Your public library may use a different platform or app. I also use the Kindle App on my iPhone to read eBooks that I’ve downloaded from Amazon.

Hard Copies

My favorite way to read, snuggled up under the covers with just the light before I go to bed. I don’t really have a schedule of when I read at home because my schedule is so crazy, but I try to read at least for half an hour before I go to bed. In reality, I probably only do that a couple of times a week. So there are some nights I will read for three or four hours and others just fifteen minutes or not at all. When I have a night that I know I don’t have any plans or anything to do, I always set a portion of that time aside to read. If I plan in my head that I’m going to read tonight, I find it much easier to do so.

So this is how I find time to read and to read often. If I stay on course, I should read over 52 books this year. :) You can see what books I’ve read so far here. Do you read a lot? If so, what do you do to find time to read in your busy life?