Deluded illusions of mediocrity, my destiny is to become the ultimate amateur. Critiques no one asked for? I'll be there! Information no one cares about? I'll be there! Bias needing confirmation? I might be there if it's a Thursday afternoon and the traffic is clear.
For you see, Conan the Barbarian was wrong when he uttered what is best in life. The true answer is to play the vidija games, to discuss the vidija games, and to hear the lamentation of the women (while playing the vidija games).
I am frequently rambling in a rather inane manner on my site of web (www.gamertagged.net), so if you are bored and have nothing better to do while waiting for your white collar slave masters to crack the whip and demand you exit the premises, then do me a favor and give my stuff a read.
Because if you don't, I'll go on with life without knowing any better. And how terrible would THAT be?
So I made another video for your enjoyment. At least, I hope for your enjoyment. It is a thing I would like for you to enjoy.
I didn't come around here just to spam and run, though. Life has been a busy thing, and the time to come around and check out blogs has been...well, there has been no such time. I've finally moved and am living on my own. I'm a Pennsylvania resident, and naturally on the day I signed my lease I got into an accident. Fortunately it wasn't severe. For me at least. No one injured, no ticket or court summons issued, and the damage is superficial to my bumper. Still, I look at this as a sign from God that it is Pennsylvania drivers that suck, seeing as I've been driving in and out of the state everyday for over a year now as a New Jersey resident, but once I switch over BAM! First accident of my life.
A lot of spare time is being used for developing these videos, though. I was worried once I got into the nitty gritty I wouldn't enjoy putting them together, but this is not true at all. I really like making these, and when I finished this one I immediately wanted to dive into the next. Unfortunately, writing a script takes time.
Especially when you're busy.
The next one will be focused on Aliens: Colonial Marines, and while I know everyone is sick of hearing about that game by now, I can hopefully approach it from a different angle than most of the complaints being leveled against it.
As for Destructoid, I have a blog in mind and just need the time to sit down and put it together. Rambling is one thing. Rambling is easy. Trying to write something that's supposed to be interesting and including pictures? Very different.
To speed this up and provide something a bit more substantial, some quick impressions of various things.
- I was expecting to want Monster Hunter 3 for 3DS and to wait on Fire Emblem, but after playing both demos I've come to realize Monster Hunter won't be my style of game. Fire Emblem, on the other hand, tempts me.
- It will have to wait, as I just got 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors for the DS. That will also have to wait, though, as I'm playing Crimson Shroud. It makes me want to play D&D again. Also, I want to see ladies cosplay as Frea, because damn.
- Assassin's Creed 4? I haven't even unwrapped Assassin's Creed 3. I think I'm done with this series for a while. I'm just so burnt out on it by this point. Too much of a good thing...
- I'll inevitably get a Playstation 4. The backwards compatibility is upsetting, but not surprising. I'd just like to hear more info on the Cloud Gaming. However, there's nothing special being shown off. We're literally getting prettier versions of games that can already exist on current hardware. Even so, I'll get a PS4 for a new inFamous game.
- I want to be excited for Destiny. I saw them march out four guys from Bungie and was like "Oh man, they're going to show four player co-op gameplay!" But no. They walked on, stood around awkwardly, and walked off. Fucking lame ass shit muddah fuggah.
- That reminds me, Jonathon Blow certainly earns his last name. I don't know what the quality of his games are as I didn't play Braid and have no clue what else to expect, but for someone so "imaginative, original, and better than AAA", he did a great job developing Myst: Aperture Science Edition. I mean, sure, The Witness will probably be fun, but I want to hate it because the creator is clearly a dick.
- March is going to be Indie Month for me. Once I'm done replaying Catherine I'm going to finally get around to stuff like Penny Arcade Ep. 3, Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment, Outland, and possibly grabbing Dishwasher Vampire Smile and a couple others. This is all in preparation for PAX East, where it's all about discovering new interesting titles. That's how I heard about, and became excited for, Mark of the Ninja.
- Speaking of PAX East, what's the news on Destructoid gatherings?
- I do hope Capcom has Remember Me in playable format at PAX East. I'll line up first thing Friday for that. Or Saturday. Or even Sunday. Diablo 3 can choke on cock.
Why do you all start out this way? And Jesus Christ, is that girl even in High School yet?
Dreams are weird, man. They're supposed to communicate all of these ideas of the subconscious, our deepest desires and fears visualized into some crazy experience. There are books on how to interpret your dreams, hyperbolic references to Sigmund Freud translating your dream as a desire to have intercourse with your mother, and people that believe they are communications from God.
Which makes it all the more curious that the only dreams I can remember for the past ten or fifteen years are all tied to video games. A couple months after the E3 demonstration of Halo 2's single player, I had a dream I had played it. Freshman year of College I had a dream I got to playtest a new 2-D Zelda game where Link wore chain mail and a kilt, and the sprite set resembled the original Wild Arms but with larger and more detailed characters.
So, this, only with bigger and better sprites.
Recently I found myself having a dream where it was a bunch of my friends in a real life Capture-the-Flag game on a theme-park style pirate ship against a group of cosplay girls I met at Escapist Expo. The next day I had a dream where I was in an Assault (from Unreal Tournament) game, again in real life, taking place at the bank near my house.
All I dare to interpret from these dreams is that I really, really love video games. What everything else means in my most recent dreams I don't care to interpret, because it doesn't matter to me. I just know that even in my sleep, my mind is on my favorite artistic medium.
Yet there is one dream that still lingers in my mind as a curiosity. Towards the end of my Freshman year in College I had dreamt that I was tasked with leading the design and development of a dating and hentai game. I don't recall who had tasked me with this project. All I know is that, at the time, I was an active member of the College's gaming club and I was sure (in that stupid, naive sense that all Freshman are sure) that I wanted to be a game designer. So when I was given this task in my dream, I took it as a test of my abilities. Anyone can say "I want to make a shooter" or "I want to make an epic RPG like Final Fantasy".
Do you have the mettle to design a dating/hentai game that doesn't suck, though?
Now, my only exposure to this genre was a playthrough in High School of a game called True Love. I found it laughably bad and tedious at first, though after using a FAQ I discovered there was a surprising amount going on behind the scenes of the game. There had been perfect strategies developed in order to romance every girl in the game, and that focusing on building certain statistics early on pays off later. I imagine most players discovered this sort of thing after replaying the game multiple times, kind of like learning the correct pattern to fight the Robot Masters of a Mega Man game in.
There's no way the artist sketched this, said "yeah, that looks good" and started inking. They just don't care anymore.
Even so, the story was still poorly written with unbelievable fantasy archetypes. Not only that, but the sex scenes were rather ridiculous looking. At times it made me cringe, other times it made me laugh, and on occasion it made me raise an eyebrow.
Aside from True Love, the only exposure I had to hentai games was a series of reviews on SomethingAwful.com. Y'know, back when people thought the writing on Something Awful was good. Oh, high school and freshman year at College. What blissfully stupid times.
In any event, this was all the knowledge I had to go off of when I was tasked with making a dating/hentai game. There were two major requirements, though. The first was that, yes, there had to be sex in the game. The second was that it had to take place at the College. In fact, now that I think on it, I believe I was assigned this game design duty by the College itself, which made it all the more confusing.
I always found Final Oxymoron VII to be a tad over-rated in the story department. Final Oxymoron IX is where that franchise really hit its stride in oxidizing morons.
Now, because of the nature of dreams, I remember segments of a false reality, but not a continuous story. Nonetheless, I am surprised at how many ideas I not only had while in the dream, but was able to retain when I had woken up. The first priority on my mind was who the female characters would be (because I was young and couldn't fathom a woman wanting to play a dating/hentai game at the time to provide love interests for). I wanted them to have personality. Sure, I wanted to build off of an archetype, such as what you'd expect a female film major to act like, or a girl in your programming class, or one of the girls that worked for the school magazine. Yet I wanted them to have believable aspirations. I wanted you to believe that you could actually meet that girl on campus.
I also thought of having girls that weren't actual romantic interests. I know I considered having more than one girl that would lead to sexual encounters, potentially multiple, because College is a place where people express their sexuality more freely. I also wanted to make sure more than one girl was willing to have no strings attached sex because I didn't want any of the characters to be viewed as a slut.
I also wanted the possibility of sex with all the characters to be present multiple times depending on personality. It seemed weird to me in True Love that sex was often a pay-off, and interactions with that character reduced once you completed that encounter. I still have this problem with the Bioware method of interactive dating, where it seems like sex is treated as a virtual reward to the player. I don't remember why I felt this way when I was designing a game in my dreams, however. At the time my thoughts on sex were a lot more immature than they are now. It could have been as simple as "hey, why not reward the player multiple times?" as opposed to "in a relationship, sex is not a 'one-and-done' thing".
Whatever my motivations, that was certainly a goal. That meant the game would also have to be long if I was going to give the options that other dating and hentai games provided. For some reason I felt like the player should be given a way to date as many characters as they want, just like in True Love. Looking back, I feel it would have been better to design the game so that, as time progressed, your interactions early on began to lock you out of later options, and if you tried to be a player with the wrong girls then you'd get nothing at all. If you interacted with the girls with a more sexually open personality, on the other hand, you'd remain rewarded. It all depends on what you want, and thus who you approach and how.
What every 30 year old Professor fucking her student aspires to be.
Of course, this is aside from the point. The most interesting thing about this dream is that I remember very little of the actual gameplay. I know I wanted to include a lot of mini-games in there, such as representing certain competitions in clubs or exams with a small little video game challenge. I wanted the player to have more to do than read and click, and those results would have a real effect on the outcome of the game. I wanted to take influence from Harvest Moon, a franchise that works as either a farming simulation with dating gameplay or vice versa.
Yet in the end, I do not recall if there was ever a finalized product. I awoke, I wrote the dream down, and I pondered it curiously for a time. Then, I stopped thinking about it altogether.
Now that I am older and have learned a lot more about sex and sexuality, more than my eighteen year old conservatively raised brain could handle at the time, I find myself pondering the challenges of making a game about dating and sex. I know there are independent games out there designed to explore things like love, but is there anything that is designed to fulfill some level of eroticism without being cheap virtual porn? Even in Japan these dating games don't have much of a budget, suggesting that even in their society there is something degrading about working on a sex oriented product.
Okay, seriously, there cannot be so many busty bosoms in such a small population of characters. This is Japan. People there are tiny, tiny things.
I know games represent sex in an immature manner. This is true of all media. Yet I do ponder what it would mean to create a game focused on dating and sex, allowing for a level of eroticism while still bringing with it a quality of writing and design. Can a game be fun and have meaningful characters while allowing you to get your rocks off, too? Why not have an option to turn such eroticism off, or have a separate version that takes those scenes out? Allow the game to stand on its own, so that people could have fun even if sex wasn't a part of it.
The question is, would our society and culture be ready to accept such a thing as an artistic endeavor? My guess is no, and as a result we probably won't know what it is like to play a dating/hentai game with good writing, design and structure, and as a result won't know what more can be learned from the experience.
Today started out so well. The Nintendo Direct video actually had me feeling eager for the Wii U's upcoming year and has secured my interest in purchasing one. Nintendo is making games! And as usual, the games they are making look tempting and delightful.
Then the THQ fire sale happened. Everything must go! Only, it didn't. One studio was left abandoned, ignored, deserted.
The fact that Vigil Games was not purchased has just...it has made me hate this industry for the time being. Everything. Everything about video games that does not involve playing them. I hate the people that play video games. I hate the people that write about them. Most of all, I hate the men who control the money and decide what is "best" for video games.
See, funny thing. When the Oscars roll around you typically hear from film buffs or Internet film critics about how the Academy really is a bunch of old white guys (hence why the only person to get an acting nomination in Django Unchained was a white guy (I mean, did no one else see Samuel L. Jackson? He reminded everyone that, yes, he can play more than just the Bad Ass Mother Fucker!)). However, even Hollywood seems to understand talent.
Take Christopher Nolan for example. Before he made his mark with Batman Begins he made smaller movies like Memento, Insomnia and Following, which hardly sold a ton of tickets (I'm not even sure when/where Following was released, as I never heard of it until Netflix (by the way, if you dug Memento, check it out). None of his movies suggested he'd be good at your typical Blockbuster shlock.
Yet they allowed him reigns with Batman Begins, and he did so well that he was basically given free reign to make a film like Inception. A film that made summer blockbuster dollars even though it is a "smart" movie.
Or let's take a director like Edgar Wright. He made cult films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but again, no big splash. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World failed to meet expectations. In the video game world, that one failure would cause your studio to collapse. In film, it gets you another movie and then you can direct Marvel's Ant Man. Oh, and writing credits on The Adventures of Tintin as directed by Steven fucking Spielberg.
Then there is Neil Blomkamp, chosen to direct the Halo film even though he had done nothing more than short films before that (and even though Halo fell apart, he was still given a good budget and marketing push for District 9). Same could possibly be said for Guillermo del Toro, where Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth never lit any fires and yet now he's been given free reign and a big budget to put out Pacific Rim, a movie about giant monsters fighting giant robots. That's as risky as risky gets, and in the summer at that.
For as much as people hate on film, good talent is at least acknowledged and given a chance. It's true that Guillermo del Toro hasn't built up enough good will to get At the Mountains of Madness greenlit, but it is still amazing to see him making a live action Kaiju film, especially after films like Skyline failed (and, quite frankly, were crap). It shows that talent means a lot, even if what you create doesn't generate a lot of money.
So now we go to the games industry, and today Vigil Games was passed over. No one bought them. No one. At all.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't merely about Darksiders. I'm used to seeing good games fail to get sequels, such as Star Wars: Republic Commando and Metal Arms: Glitch in the System. But those studios managed to keep their jobs. I could accept the Darksiders IP dying today. It would make me sad, but I can accept it. The problem is that Vigil was clearly a good studio.
Think about it. Darksiders managed to blend excellent ideas from a variety of games into a great package. The first Darksiders was like Zelda, but it also had too great an emphasis on combat. Yet the combat wasn't too much like God of War. Then you had the Prince of Persia explorations, which only became stronger in the sequel. While all of this gameplay was familiar, putting it all together made Darksiders a wholly unique and fresh experience.
More than that, however, the game was incredibly polished. Both of them, in fact. Darksiders 2 wasn't quite as polished as the first, but for as large as the games were there was very little in the way of bugs or glitches. Compare this to the broken state Bethesda and Rockstar get away with and I'd say Vigil has a near perfect record.
Yet Darksiders isn't a high-selling IP. As such, no one is interested. Warhammer 40K, Saint's Row, Metro: Last Light, even Homefront 2. We know these games all have a market, or at least a potential market. That is what sets them apart, and that is also why those studios were sold. After all, it would just cost more to try and teach the code to a new team (you'd end up repeating Starcraft: Ghost all over again). No one was after the studios, though. If they were, Vigil would have been purchased.
No, they were merely looking for IP, and the studios came along as necessity.
I had to drink tonight. I had to get some whiskey in me so I could be less depressed. It didn't work, as I never got drunk and I remain depressed. But I am just so upset to see so many good, talented people lose their jobs.
It is the implication of it all. Good games didn't sell well, and as a result a bunch of talented people that worked well together are now separate and out of a job. That, friends, is a tragedy.
Good-bye, Vigil. I can only hope you all come together some day, somehow.
It's been two months in the making, but I finally got it. Ladies and gentlemen, my very own web series, RamblePak64.
Creating this video has been an interesting experience. I didn't expect it to take as long as it has, and actually has me a bit intimidated for my future projects. It has also opened my eyes to just how many shortcuts I took in this project, and yet it still took me two months to put together. Capturing the game footage, writing the script, recording it, editing the audio and then cutting it all together into a sixteen minute video.
The most amazing aspect of it all is just how flawed it is despite all of that hard work. I had already learned this lesson long ago, but it seems to be a good idea to remind yourself just how much effort it takes to make something, even if it is terrible. It's so easy to look at less-than-perfect games and call the developers lazy, or speak as if they half-assed the project, but the truth of the matter is the people working on those games, or even movies, could have been working their asses off.
Fortunately, all of my flaws can be solved "easily". The technical side especially. I should have had my headset around my head instead of my neck while recording, for example. Or the footage looks sped up because I captured it at 24 FPS and yet rendered it at 30. While Windows Movie Maker has a lot of options, I'll probably create the title cards in Photoshop since the customization for that in Movie Maker is severely lacking.
What bugs me aren't the technical issues, though. It's the fact that you can tell I only wrote one draft of the script. As a result the "RamblePak64" title is appropriate. I have a thesis, but the structure of my argument is cluttered and all over the place. I try to be funny when, more often than not, the jokes fall flat or are poorly executed.
Most of all, however, I just can't stand the conclusion. I can't believe I allowed myself to finish with "those are some delightful feeling hooks". Gah! What the Hell? Was I just sick of recording by then? Did I not think "Man, that sounds awful, let's think of something different"?
Yet worst of all is the statement that "games aren't supposed to be immersive". This is the sort of quote that can easily destroy any credibility. However, it also allowed me to add a new episode idea to the list of ideas I have.
I already have several other episodes I plan on working on. The second one will likely be Silent Tutorials, but I also have Resident Evil 6, a Halo Retrospective, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City and, well, Immersion vs. Engagement coming down the pipes.
This was a good experience. A lot of hard work, and because I cut a few corners I've opened myself up to the criticisms of the Internet even more than usual, but I still can't help but feel proud of the final product.
So Mr. Jim Sterling has already shared his thoughts on the Dead Space 3 demo, but I figured I may as well toss in my own two cents as well. At the very least so that I can organize my own thoughts on it.
I got a Roxio Game Capture HD for Christmas, and decided to make the Dead Space 3 demo my first published capture (I'm slowly working on Resident Evil 6...slowly...for good reason). No commentary at this stage. Basically only truly interesting if you haven't gotten your hands on the demo yet and are looking to see it yourself.
Honestly, the Dead Space 3 demo felt like it was missing... something. I can't really tell you what, though. Something just seemed off from the previous two games. When I played the Dead Space 2 demo it was familiar. The Necromorphs behaved as expected, as did the weapons. I didn't get that here.
Part of it may simply be the difference in setting. You're in more open environments in the demo rather than a confined ship, and the difference between these two environments is the same as your perception of speed in a three-lane highway or a one-way street crammed in a city.
It is also possible there is something different about the weapons. The game drops a default plasma cutter on you, but something about it just seems nerfed. Was it weaker? Or do I just remember things incorrectly? Perhaps the modifications on the plasma cutter provided in the demo are simply weaker than what they could be.
The work bench modifications themselves provide a new feel, as you can basically mix weapons together. Having the capability to fire off an assault rifle or a line gun based on the simple press of a button is a wonderful thing. Yet having each weapon use the same sort of ammunition suddenly makes the decision to use select weapons different than before. In fact, inventory seems much less of an issue altogether, as you can have groups of items in a single slot. Add to this the fact that the demo starts you off with more than enough resources and the ability to buy plenty more.
Will the retail version allow it to be so easy, or inventory to be so cluttered? Doubtful, which is only the more inconvenient that they'd release a demo that would give the wrong impression.
The monsters themselves feel completely changed from previous releases. The typical humanoid Necromorphs, the tentacle babies and the scorpions all follow the same general appearance and style, but their behavior has been recreated from scratch. As a result, that same sense of familiarity is gone.
The best way I can summarize it is that Dead Space 3 is to Dead Space 1 as Halo Reach is to Halo 2 or Halo 3. A lot of it feels the same, a lot of it feels familiar, but so many little things have been adjusted and modified that it's hard to really say what the final verdict should be.
But, here is what I can say. Being able to construct or modify weapons was fun. Shooting limbs is as fun as ever. I wasn't really bothered by the "normal shooty" bits. That first jump scare was a good one. All in all, I liked what I played.
Dead Space 3 will certainly be a good game. How it compares to the previous ones...well, too early to say. But there are enough changes that I wouldn't be surprised if there is a population of gamers that take to the Internet and shout "FUCKING BULLSHIT" and demand a boycott (that inevitably fails because gamers).
I remember graduating College in 2009 and being excited for VGXPO and GameX that year. What's that? Never heard of 'em? Yeah, not surprising. They were both in the Philadelphia region, which is evidently a place that hates video games despite a growing Indie scene. Just not as growthful (growthilicious?) as, say, Boston or North Carolina.
GameX's head guy was evidently not too spiffy a fellow either, and word is there was some financial fallout that really pissed sponsor NBC off. I don't really have much to go off of other than word of mouth, and it is extremely telling that you can't find the website anymore.
I enjoyed attending the events, but it was...depressing. No one wanted to give the Indie games a chance. Everyone wanted to find another E3 and was angry when it turned out to be, well, less. Or rather different, I'd say. I sighed, wishing the East Coast could just light up with more options for gaming conventions and expos.
Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention, but it seems to all have come out of nowhere. First was PAX East, which I got to check out in 2011. It was amazing. I had been to a few anime conventions before, but while my love of the oriental animation has waxed and waned like the phases of the moon over time, video games have always remained my first true passion. So being in a community where you could strike up a conversation with anyone about damn near anything you love was just...
The best way I could describe it when I came home was I got a taste of what Heaven must be like, and it was the Utopia that was PAX East.
Internet famous people! Yay! (PAX East 2011)
Now, I should note that all this time MAGFest had been going on in the D.C. area. I had heard about it when I visited VGXPO, actually, as they had a booth there. However, I'll get into that later as I was never able to visit MAGFest before. The timing was always at an odd time of year for me (first weekend after New Years) and I wasn't very familiar with the D.C. area.
In any event, to me, PAX East seemed like all the East Coast would be getting. Then The Escapist announced their very own Expo down in North Carolina. I gathered what friends I could manage (enough for a hotel room, sweet!) and we made the drive this past September to Durham, what is one of my favorite cities. This is, of course, because it is pretty empty, yet still has all the compact awesomeness of a regular city. Durham is the perfect city for people that don't like other people.
Escapist Expo was, all things told, a completely different experience for me. I wrote about it on my blog, describing it as a "Small Town Expo". This is because it was in a smaller venue than most events I have attended with a rather small population compared to previous years, but that only made it a much stronger social event. Before the Expo even began I made good friends in The D&D Sluggers (check out She's Got a Job, it's an awesome song) and got to frequently hang out with Cory Rydell, artist of Critical Miss. I got a brief moment to even speak to Jim Sterling in the hallway of the hotel, though I was drunk enough that I am not sure I made an ass of myself to a man that was tired and needed a nap. Either way, despite the persona he puts on for The Jimquisition and other such things, he's a nice chap (for all of five or ten minutes I met him). Without even trying I found myself stumbling upon other folks I had met several times before during the show having small snippets of conversation.
It was, on the whole, easier to make friends at Escapist Expo than anywhere else simply due to the confined space and smaller attendance, and that was fantastic to me.
So I left feeling pretty good about two events on the East Coast. Two chances a year to go out, make new friends and to speak again with old ones.
Then I spontaneously took a trip down to MAGFest last weekend as an old College friend of mine was going to be there. He lives in Washington state, which means the chances to see him are rare indeed. I was expecting a smaller Expo like Escapist, a place that would be fine to visit for just a day.
Holy SHIT was I wrong.
MAGFest is absolutely huge and amazing. They really do combine two different loves in a fantastic way, mixing a passion for games with the emotional adrenaline provided only by your favorite genre of music. Chiptune? Metal? Synthpop? Rap? They pretty much have you covered from what I can tell. Some of it covers, some of it original, MAGFest is completely loaded with stuff to see and do. A Leliana (from Dragon Age) cosplayer managed to aggro my drunken ass over to her friends where I got to spend a bunch of time talking about Game of Thrones, fantasy novels, Assassin's Creed and a whole bunch of other stuff, making new friends once more.
People be sellin' shiz all up 'n' down the block. (MAGFest 2013)
This is what the gaming expos are about, and thanks to a few e-mails I barely paid attention to, a streetpass tag and a Google search, I've found that Philadelphia has been getting a second chance with Too Many Games.
It blows my mind. Just a few years ago I felt as if the East Coast had zero gaming presence and looked to the West Coast in envy. Over there they had stuff like E3, CES and San Diego Comic-Con. What did we have over here?
Well, I'd say right now, the East Coast has it better. Even the largest event, PAX East (and man, is it huge) is an emphasis on the experience of the attendee rather than being a trade show. It's not about press releases and trailers and marketing, it's about a love of games and bringing gamers together as a family. Escapist Expo takes this a different direction, focusing more on the press and critic side of things while still offering content for the culture. MAGFest is about combining mediums into a wonderful weekend-long concert. And now, TooManyGames, which looks to be of a similar scope as Escapist Expo.
I officially have an Expo for every season. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter can be packed with events to go to and meet new people or make new friends.
I get to experience Heaven four times a year, and that is awesome.