June 20, 2017

The Journal (Entry 3) Leadership and Godly Principles

Leadership is a sensitive subject for someone like myself. I've always been the kind of person who asserts himself and likes to take charge in a situation, yet in the same vein wants to include others in his decision-making process.

As young as I am, I disqualified myself from having any kind of leadership skills due to how others mocked me for my age and inexperience in many fields. Insecurity abounds, so I believed what they said in order to be a people-pleaser.

I thought any disagreement with what people said of me and my lack of skill was true, and I should just accept that I wouldn't ever be mature enough to be a leader until I was older, had a place of my own, wife, kids, mortgage, zzzzzzzz.

Clearly I didn't realise what leadership actually was. Leadership is not about being a manager, boss of a company, or expert in any given field. Leadership is not about age, marital status, gender, or race. Leadership is not even about whether you're an elder at a church or physical leader in ministry.

Leadership is about taking up your responsibility as a Christian and living a Godly life, setting an example for the world and the people around you. In this regard, ANY person can be a leader. In fact, all of us are called to be leaders in our respective paths, all having a plan and a purpose ordained by our Creator through His son Jesus.

It's comfortable to live under the mantle of "I'm not old enough" or "I'm not qualified", or "I don't lead at a church" as excuses not to live out spiritual leadership, but none of them yield. It's all about glorifying God; not one of us is actually qualified to do that, as we are all inherently sinful. Rather it's a responsibility given to us Christians, washed clean by the blood of Jesus, to carry out daily.

1. Submit to God. 
2. Repent daily. 
3. Exercise your faith. 
4. Lead others to Christ. 
5. Rinse and repeat. 

Those who've been doing this longer than I have will point how difficult this really is. Nevertheless, it's a lifestyle all of us Christians need to pursue. I trust that this message finds you well, and inspires you to do the same in your life, as God has been pressing on my heart as of recent.

It's not easy, but necessary. Yet through Christ, all things are possible.

June 12, 2017

The Journal (Entry 2) - THE NEW COLOSSUS!

"Count to four, inhale...count to four, exhale..."
"I've been struggling with quite a bit of burnout in recent months, mostly due to my desire to post every week, yet there's not really good material to actually post. Most of the games these days don't really interest me and don't really seem all that exciting. Maybe it's just me."
I wrote this two days ago. As I didn't know what to say further, I left this post in draft mode, and then went on with my life. Next thing you know, E3 rolls around and...the sequel to one of my favourite games is announced! Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a thing! Woot! :D

Blog readers will know that I gave high marks to The New Order back in 2014, praising it's story and meaningful characters. The trailer for The New Colossus seems to indicate that the characters will be even deeper (and more comical) this time around, with a lot of funny little setpieces.

I won't link to the trailer here, as it contains a bit of strong language, but check it out. If you were a fan of the original back in 2014, there's no reason why this one will disappoint you. I know, it has happened, but I'm pretty sure it will satisfy us just as much as the original did.

And with that, I have something good to review later this year. Go team!

June 07, 2017

The Journal REDUX: Entry 1

Hi everyone. I hope you all enjoyed my Civilization V review on Sunday. A little bit on the short side, but I wanted to hammer it out for you so that it could be of use to someone, somewhere down the line.

Due to burnout, I've made the preemptive decision not to follow through with the schedule I set for myself. It's not realistic due to possible work expectations from the technology career I'm currently pursuing. Instead, I'm going to be taking this site back to what it was: A blog. While the reviews are useful from an objective standpoint, ultimately the entire site is about my viewpoints on select games.

As my opinions are formed by taking a whole subject, breaking it into chunks, and reassembling it to form a specific verdict, the formula of the Content Guide took shape. I lost this outlook in recent years, due to the demand of having to make a living taking over, and as such, I tried to reshape the blog to appeal to search engines and generate revenue through ads.

At the time, Google refused to monetise my site due to supposed content issues. However, as you can probably tell, they've lifted this refusal and I now have ads on the site. With that said, I want to emphatically say the money was never the focus of the blog, nor was popularity. The focus of the site was always to have a place to express my personal views on a subject, and at the time of the site's inception, video games were the absolute centre of my world.

Having become an adult in recent years, my focus has shifted. While I previously played video games to emulate the experience of having an adventure beyond the familiar, becoming a member of the working class has fulfilled that need in unexpected ways. Sure, work has it's definite downsides, not the least of which was waking up 05:30 each morning in the freezing cold to prepare for the day ahead, but the experience of being in a team of people working for a cause was exhilarating.

Does this mean games are not my thing anymore? Absolutely not. I still very much love pop culture, albeit for different reasons. Instead of using them to have adventures I thought wouldn't be possible for me, I now play them to stimulate my need to solve problems. I want to play games in order to analyse things, whether real or fictional, be they frustrating problems one has to overcome in order to advance, or the dilemmas facing the characters as they traverse the narrative laid before them.

It is also for this reason, starting end of July, that my site will have another URL change, and a wider focus. Instead of just video games, we will look at whatever else piques my interest. Be it moral discussions about the content of pop culture, views on the internet and security (a field I've recently delved into), the censorship of free speech, or my deep views on Christianity, there's plenty one can talk about once the site goes through another cycle of it's "guided evolution".

One of these things, is a daily Journal post. It's a necessity for someone like me, who has an overactive mind always pondering things. Whereas I previously used Facebook for some of my thoughts, I'll instead use this site. What will I talk about? I don't know. Video games perhaps. Or maybe the events of the day, a discovery I made about life, the universe, and everything. Heck, even turkeys are now a viable topic. I mean, what's with them?

Part of the fun of running this site is that it's equally as unpredictable for me as it is for you. While this would be a recipe for disaster if I was actually trying to run a major tabloid site like IGN, a blog is much more open for experimentation. Hopefully this experimentation will evolve into something concrete for a big site, but even if it doesn't, it's not the biggest deal. At least it will be fun, and that's something it hasn't been in quite some time.

So enough blabbering, let's get to it!

June 04, 2017

Civilization V Christian Review

Not Pictured: Gandhi firing his nukes at you. Because "world peace"! :)

Violence: Soldiers are depicted akin to chess pieces; by moving into the space occupied by an enemy to capture (kill) them: Combat is shown, with swords and spears slashing and jabbing at enemies, who fall over and die bloodlessly. Arrows kill enemies at a distance, and much later in the game, rifles. Said rifles are depicted firing weapons with bangs and muzzle fire, with enemies merely collapsing upon being shot.

Sex/Nudity: One of the leaders in the game, Catherine the Great, has a dress showing cleavage.

Language: According to the ESRB, a few instances of mild language. During my time with this game, I did not encounter such content.

Spiritual Content: When researching new technologies, excerpts and from religious texts and quotes of religious leaders are read, often referring to God, philosophy, or morality. Quotes from the Bible are common, with references to the Quran, Bhagavad Gita, Buddhism, and more. These quotes are objective and don’t place one religion ahead of another, only serving to add to the game’s sense of cultural awareness.

Drug Content: Reference to an opium drug trade.

Morality: Depends purely on the player. One can either massacre every single civilization in existence, or attempt to live in harmony with everyone. There’s no right or wrong way to play the game; only the way you choose to play.

Review: 8.0

Conquer the World, Go to Space, Bring About World Peace, or Fade into History…

A brilliant game in many respects, Civilization V falters a tad bit compared the previous instalment in the simple regard of keeping your attention through to the end.

Gameplay: Taking the 4X style of gameplay (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) and putting a new yet rather simplistic twist on it, Civ V nevertheless manages to be highly addictive in its fast-paced style of gameplay. The late game falters a little, especially due to the fact that it can get repetitive. Upgrade this, research that, avoid getting annihilated by Gandhi again, etc, etc, oh the game's done. Wow, third place. Good thing there's only three Civilizations.

It should be noted that the expansion Brave New World, which I haven't played, addresses this late game's dullness. As we are reviewing the base game, however, this is a definite negative point.

Audiovisual: Civ V has an interesting visual style a la Atlas Shrugged. The game’s voiceovers are adequate and non-invasive, adding flavour to the culture-based gameplay. Graphically, the game is still quite stunning, even if it is questionably demanding on your hardware once world leaders are introduced.

Replay Value: This is why you buy the game in the first place. Highly addictive, chaotic, intense, and sometimes hilarious, Civ V will have you coming back for more in no time.

Conclusion: Having only a few areas of concern for parents, Civ V is educational and family friendly for the most part. The violence is not graphic, and while some of the game’s historical references might be unsettling for younger gamers, it is not done in an overtly graphic way.


For Violence and Thematic Elements