Grateful for … the little things

I am grateful, very grateful indeed, for some of the little things in my life. My phone, my tablet – they both bring me great joy.

I’ve always been something of a bookwyrm – a dragon guarding his hoard of treasures of paper and ink. Unfortunately, the lair I hoarded them in was not watertight, and I ended up losing most of them.


When one door closes ...

Still, one door closes, one door opens – or you check the windows to see if one was left unlocked, check the chimney, check to see if you can tunnel under and come up in… There’s pretty much always a way.


Jamey's current way

And that way is the tiny little devices that store thousands of books, while letting me carry them in my hand or pocket, and select from any of them at any time. And they connect to that vast storehouse of knowledge, the new linkage that is turning Humanity into the Mind of the Planet – the Internet. There, I find Amazon’s Free Books list, or Project Gutenberg’s selection of works remembered through the ages. Baen Publishing has their Free Library, TOR occasionally releases a freebie – and of course I buy books that I really enjoy, often even if I’ve already gotten them for free.

And it’s not just books on my phone and tablet – music, games (I’m a big fan of the old RPG style games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior. There’s a lot of them out there, plenty to keep me playing for a long, long time yet!)

Jamey's treasure hoarding dragon side is grateful for his collection of e-books, video games and music on his cell phone and tablet.
Jamey’s treasure hoarding dragon side is grateful for his collection of e-books, video games and music on his cell phone and tablet.


So I’m grateful for these little modern miracles of mental stimulation that I would never have dreamed of having back when I started growing my original hoard. Now, my hoard is glowing letters on little screens – but it’s just as valuable, because it was always the thoughts behind the words that meant the most to me.


Old Video Games Part 2 (Alpha Centauri)

Yesterday I wrote about my favorite older video game (Sims 2 from 2004).    This post is dedicated to Jamey’s favorite older video game: Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (SMAC) (1999).

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (SMAC) (1999) screenshot
Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (SMAC) (1999) is Jamey’s favorite older video game


What is Alpha Centauri (the game)?

Alpha Centauri is a 4x game created in 1999.  This means that you explore, expand, exploit and exterminate.  The idea of the game is that a mission to Alpha Centauri had problems along the way and the colonists split into 7 factions.   You take control of one of the factions and your job is to win the game.

There are several ways to win the game as suggested by the 4x.

  • You can expand until you dominate everybody else
  • you can exterminate everyone else
  • you can explore and make discoveries until you make the ultimate discovery and win the game

Jamey usually plays the faction called the Gaians, who believe that the human colonists should try to work with the native life forms of the planet and not despoil the planet completely.


What does Jamey enjoy about the game?

One of the things he loves most about the game is that each of the factions has good and bad points.  These are revealed by quotes that come up during various points in the game.

  • as you make new discoveries,
  • build new wonders and
  • run into new situations.


We are grateful for the pleasure that both we and our cats get from the games

We are grateful that we still get so much pleasure out of our older video games and that the cats enjoy the games too, either directly – watching what is going on on the screen as we play or indirectly by watching us as we play.  


How about you?

Have you ever played Alpha Centauri?   Do you still enjoy it?   What is your favorite older video game?




Old Video Games part 1 (Sims 2)

Jamey and I both have favorite video games that have been around for years.   Mine is the Sims 2 (2004) and Jamey’s is Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (SMAC) (1999).

To give each game their due, I am going to break this post into two parts.   I will write about the Sims 2 today and Alpha Centauri tomorrow.


Why Sims 2?

From time to time I consider Sims 3 or Sims 4 and then I read about all the people who have them who end up going back to play their tried and true Sims 2 and wonder why update?

Sims 2 in hot tub (Apartment Life)
Sims 2 neighbors enjoying hot tub in Apartment Life

I played and enjoyed the original Sims for several years before deciding to upgrade to Sims 2.   I will confess there are some parts of the original Sims that I still miss but I do like the fact that the Sims 2 have better AI.

There is so much replayability in the Sims 2 also.  Sometimes I try out some of the challenges created by the Sims 2 community.

Most of the time though I play what I enjoy most – my own random number challenge where I start a sim out with nothing except a refrigerator (can’t have them starving) and then each day allow them one more item chosen by a random number generator.    That never gets old for me as the random factor always keeps the game challenging – try keeping your Sim happy when they desperately want a toilet and instead are given a painting or sculpture.


If you thought the Sims 2 was only for humans ...

I am grateful both for the fact that I still get so much pleasure out of a game that I have had for so many years and that the cats can enjoy the game too.   Since when do cats enjoy the Sims?   Keep reading.

The story behind the following picture is that one day when she was 5 months old (January of 2017), Johnny grew fascinated by a cat in the Sims 2.   She watched the cat play, eat and use her kitty litter.   When the Sims 2 cat went to sleep, Johnny put her head down on the warm portable computer keyboard and took her own nap.

5 month old kitten napping on warm portable computer keyboard
5 month old kitten, Johnny 5, napping after avidly watching a Sims 2 cat play


How about you?

Have you played the Sims 2?  Do you still play it?   Have you tried any of the challenges created by the Sims community (such as Legacy)?    Or have you played / do you still play another Sims game?