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Random Notes on Places I've Visited Recently

I haven't been writing travel stories recently, but since I've been through so many different cities in the past month, I figure I should share a few little notes on each, just in case you're heading through one of them soon.

Beijing

I just can't get into Beijing. It's not a bad city, but it's sprawling, smoggy, and a little bit faceless. This time I stayed in the hutongs (alleys), which was pretty interesting. Forbidden city is really neat, but the park right behind it is at least as interesting. Climb to the top for a great view. The only reasonably healthy restaurant we found was Saveurs de Coree, a Korean restaurant. Everything was pretty pricey, except for the bibimbap set meal that comes with little Korean appetizers, fried tofu with onions, bibimbap, and cinnamon tea. Not perfectly healthy, but the best I came across.

Shanghai

Video Games and 3 Things I Learned Playing Them

On Ideas

I used to play a ton of video games. Not like “a lot”of video games, I’m talking a shit ton of video games. Most of the times I played RPGs, (role-playing games, or games where you level up your character and otherwise make choices about their “development”) some, but not many, RTS’s (real time strategy, games where everything happens in real time and actions have to be constantly inputted and strategies revised on the fly. Command and Conquer anyone?) and a handful of just action/adventure games.

Note: This post is divided into two sections, first my story regarding video games and then what I learned from them, feel free to skip.

First I want to break some misconceptions about video games and gamers in general. For one they aren’t all fat, nerdy and awkward. In fact some of the coolest, chillest people I know play video games. A lot of them just do it to relax and escape, others just love to pour hours upon hours watching their characters advance. Some are “achievement whores” or gamers that spend all their time chasing numbers. Some are min-maxers, or people who through excel spreadsheets, repetitive testing and brainstorming determine what the “most effective” way to play the game is (something usually the developers only know unless they divulge a lot of information). Regardless in all these sub types I’ve met tons of people who are genuinely cool, laid-back individuals.

In almost all games I’ve played of every genre I’ve met people interested in different facets of the game. Some people like to focus more on the economy of the game and the ways the markets work. Some spend hours trying to make their character perfect, detailing every relevant piece of information and plugging it into various spreadsheets. Some focus almost solely on player-versus-player aspects and spend their time practicing in teams in order to outcompete. There is something for everybody.

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