A Lack of Faith

1024px-ScarletLetterI am an Atheist.

This is no secret. I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but I rarely delve into religious (or anti-religious) conversation here. The only time I really delved deep into the topic was on a Couch Podtatoes episode from over a year ago. In that show, my goal was to discuss religion in the gaming sphere, but also share personal experiences with religion. I wanted a balanced panel of guests, but the ones I managed to get onto the show were mostly non-religious or didn’t really practice much of anything. This means the discussion wasn’t as balanced as it could have been, but quite frankly I probably enjoyed the conversation more as a result.

I’m writing this post as a response of sorts, to a fellow blogger who wrote about his own feelings regarding gaming and religion. Not necessarily how the two correlate as we discussed on the aforementioned podcast, but rather about how his time spent gaming might be better spent worshiping God. His is a very nuanced post and I encourage you to read it, regardless of your feelings on the subject matter. Braxwolf is someone I consider a good guy, and I respect him and his feelings about religion, despite the fact that I wholly disagree with them. Let’s start with some back story.

My father went to a Baptist school. He was raised in a religious household to some extent. I’m sure my mother was exposed to it as well, but she doesn’t talk much about her childhood and it seems that she wasn’t particularly religious until later in life. Either way, I wasn’t exposed to church, the bible or religion in general at an extremely young age as most people are. I was probably nearing 10 years old the first time I stepped into a church. I remember Sunday school feeling fun and exciting. I remember sitting in “adult church” as being rather boring, but the songs were alright. I remember reading the bible from cover to cover, but not much of it sticking. Indoctrination still tends to work at these early ages though, and my doubts seemed to crumble when surrounded by like-minded individuals. Fast forward a few years, where surging hormones dictate many of your actions, and I was soon cursing the existence of the bible, Jesus, et al.

Sure it sounds like an extremely selfish reason to forsake my eternal soul, but this young man had needs, and his first real girlfriend was “saving herself for marriage” and was further pressured by a mother that worked at a church full time to wait. That was the beginning of the end of religion for me. If a book can dictate the way I’m going to live my life, then I’m throwing out the book. If a ticket to an eternity in hell is being punched for me due to having some fun in my youth, then so be it. I seriously doubt if a hell truly existed, that it would be all fire and brimstone, nay I’m sure it would be filled to the brim with down to earth, awesome people who just so happened to say the lord’s name in vain, hurt someone vengefully, or happened to enjoy drugs a little too much while dining on bacon wrapped shellfish and performing consensual sodomy on their loving partner. It was made clear to me that most of the things I enjoyed, “pleasures of the flesh” if you will, are considered sins and that was enough for me to question everything about this religion I was supposed to follow.

Over the years, between music, popular media, my own research and life experiences I’ve grown further from that child that innocently accepted what everyone was telling me to be true. I cannot accept things that cannot be proven by the scientific method. No, I don’t worship science. I don’t worship the god of tech or the god of tits and wine. I would be more likely to worship the latter two than the Christian God though. Unfortunately, this religion has been a part of western culture for so long that it’s impossible to keep myself from saying phrases like “Oh my God” or “Jesus H Christ!” Like Braxwolf, I do notice religious connotation all around us, and have even seen things that many would say was “God’s way of showing himself to me.” However, I can’t buy anything on blind faith. I’m sorry, but that’s not how the world works. Some would have you believe that heaven lies somewhere between the earth’s crust and the sky, but we’ve been to space and know what’s really up there. Hell is supposed to be below, but all that lie there is molten rock at the core of our planet. There is little (misconstrued) to no evidence of any of the events in the bible even happening. I don’t even think that Jesus was a real man no, more of a Herculean figure used to inspire. Men have told tall tales for millenia, why is Jesus anything different?

It’s not just Christianity that turned me off though. No, I’ve done research into many other religions and they’re all simply too hard to swallow. But let’s be clear now: I don’t judge anyone for having made a choice to stick with their chosen faith. It’s your right to do so just as much as it’s my right to not participate. With that said, I’d like to circle back around to some of the commentary Braxwolf made when considering gaming’s compatibility with his faith. From what I gather from the article, his most difficult issue to deal with is the fact that gaming is such a time consuming hobby, and he feels like he should be spending more time being pious. To that, I only have one answer, and it’s not one many will like. Simply put, don’t worry about it.

If my understanding of the Christian faith is correct, it seems to me that you are already walking the righteous path. You have already chosen to live your life by the golden rule and do your best to be a good person each day. You wake up, you work to support your family, you seem like an amazing father, and you do your best to take the lemons life gives you by turning them into lemonade. If Jesus/God really exist, I’m sure you’re on the good list and have your eternity in heaven waiting for you, regardless of if you cut out gaming in favor of religious pursuits. Really, I’d say you could throw religion out of the window, because I feel like I do the same sorts of things in my daily life, and I’m not waiting for that heavenly reward. You don’t need religion to be a good person. Just be one.

So instead of stressing yourself out on the little things you aren’t doing to increase your faith levels, focus on the good things you did today, and maybe reward yourself with a little gaming. It’s not going to hurt anyone.

Couch Podtatoes Episode 86: Consequences


Welcome back y’all! We had a supergroup episode planned for this week, where Eri and myself would not only be joined by Doone, but also Tacktix. Unfortunately Eri’s Internet has been out for a while, so she was unable to join us. As a result we changed the topic up a bit because the show we had planned was her brainchild. Still, we settled on talking about consequences in gaming, relating it to both in-game communities but also real life. There were some recent news stories that coincided well with the topic as well, so they were peppered among the discussion. We also had some issues with the recording software, which is nothing new for podcasters, so we ended up splicing a couple different takes together into one cohesive package. We tried out the Zencastr software which was rather reliable and may be what we use in the future, provided it continues to impress. Anyway, take a listen and as always thanks for your support!


Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 86: Consequences (runtime: 1:27:26)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:53)
Discussion: Consequences (starts at 13:29)

Host Contact information:

Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Blog: XP Chronicles
Twitter: @doone_buggy

Blog: Tough Love Critic
Twitter: @TaCktiX

Music Credits:
“Bit Rush” by Riot Games
“Starseed” by Mimosa (from the album Sancturary)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Libsyn.com. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

You can also find the show in video format at The Gaming And Entertainment Network YouTube page. Or, view it here:

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

We Don’t Talk About Video Games Around Here

Have you ever made a political statement on Twitter?

It’s likely that if you did, you would immediately experience vitriol from holders of opposing view points. Ever make a religious, or worse still – anti-religious statement on <insert social media of your choice>? I’m willing to wager you experienced some sort of negativity in this scenario as well. In case you were wondering, there is indeed wisdom in that widely held idea that you don’t talk about politics or religion during social engagements. It seems that gaming as a topic is beginning to hold similar weight, in that you cannot have an opinion about something without immediately experiencing feedback – for better or worse.

Those of us who are part of the gaming sphere of social media, be it by blogging, streaming, vlogging or otherwise interacting with complete strangers via whatever-app-happens-to-be-the-flavor-of-the-month will be no strangers to this phenomenon. It was primarily amplified during the whole Gamer Gate scandal from a couple of years ago, but it persists from the dank, dark corners of official forums, to the bright white pages of Twitter. If you have an opinion it will be scrutinized, dissected and though sometimes objective conversations can be had with the denizens of the Internet, it’s likely to devolve into name calling and subtweeting. This is particularly true if you happen to shit on something that is generally loved – and that’s going to be the case no matter what form of media you might be criticizing — though I think people get more defensive over video games, and it’s a curious situation.

Admittedly, I’ve been shitting on Blizzard for a long time. Despite loving their original output, I haven’t cared too much for their more recent catalog additions. I also find them responsible for single-handedly ruining a great genre that I once loved, which tends to color my lenses a bit when it comes to them encroaching on other genres — ones I have loved even longer than MMOs. If you’ve been listening to my podcast lately, or have been a reader of my blog for a couple of years, you’ll probably recall some of my positive and negative commentary about Blizzard and its IPs. I stand behind my opinions and critiques – I have a distinct taste and it has little to nothing to do with trying to piss anyone else off, though putting your opinion out there tends to get these sorts of responses. What started off as a troll post quickly turned into something that I didn’t intend for it to, but my stubborn and opinionated self was unable to just let the further commentary go without making my own further commentary and soon the train had left the station. Here’s the post for posterity:

So clearly, I’m being a dick. Overwatch, which I have lovingly called “Overhype” for a while now, has been all the rage while in open beta. I played it back in Closed Alpha or Beta.. something. I didn’t find it entertaining, rewarding or even innovative. It’s been compared to TF2 and a bunch of other things already, so I don’t need to reiterate this stuff. I’ve explained my position on the game itself already in prior posts/episodes. My concern now, is similar to my concern when Heroes of the Storm was all the rage not that long ago. Thankfully I was right when I said:

“It was no secret that I had been anticipating this day as a MOBA enthusiast, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that this game is not going to dethrone either of the other “big ones,” but will probably be popular with people who haven’t touched other MOBAs. The main reason for this separation into “camps,” comes down to one word: Depth.” 

It’s true, HotS took a little sliver of what we could consider the MOBA market, and likely only persists because of people who play it and no other MOBA (LoL/DOTA2 quitters, or MOBA virgins). Unlike it’s new-genre predecessors (Hearthstone and WoW) it didn’t capitalize at the right time and wasn’t the whirlwind success I’m sure Blizzard was hoping for. You can’t always take existing ideas and dumb them down and then expect to become filthy rich; they hit their lotto numbers once already. Sounding bitter aside, Overwatch ends up being the same sort of situation, where an existing idea was “polished” and is now ready for public consumption, resulting in a hype train of ridiculous proportions that doesn’t feel warranted to this humble writer. No, I think Overhype is just that… and I think it will be forgotten soon enough. At least, I hope I’m right about this one just like I was right about HotS.

My concern isn’t that people are enjoying a new game in a sort-of new genre that is emerging (competitors such as Battleborn, Paladins and Paragon come to mind). My concern is that “perfect storm” effect that happened with World of Warcraft. Where a game that I (and I absolutely know I’m not alone) felt was inferior to many of its competitors yet Joe Public ate it up like it was the finest cut of meat. If Overwatch (or had HotS performed better) ends up being the next coming, and ends up being the model by which all new FPS or MOBA -like games are copied for the next ten years, then two of my favorite genres won’t see better iteration. It happened with WoW, and people who feel like I do had to suffer (yes Roger, SUFFER) through ten years of mediocre MMOs. I don’t want to see that again, and I think most reasonable people would agree that stagnation is what has caused the evolution of the MMO genre we have seen as of late.

Should you feel bad for buying and enjoying Overwatch? Absolutely not. You have your opinions, and you should stick to them. Should you attack this argument with tooth and nail? Sure, if you feel so inclined, there’s the comments section below; I don’t really moderate them. But there’s a valid argument here, despite the fact that it’s difficult to articulate the way I’d like. Do I think that the games industry would benefit from more original ideas rather than polished iterations? Yes. Do I hate you for buying something that isn’t anything but? No, but I’d also like for you to think a little, rather than just jumping on the next hype train. We’re throwing our money at things just because a company name is attached to them, and not offering any sort of critique. Everything has its flaws, including this argument. Nonetheless, both still exist, and will persist despite my pointing them out. My opinion isn’t any better than yours, but it’s my feeling that an expressed opinion is better than a silenced one.

Couch Podtatoes Episode 85: Hot Podtatoe Headlines


Welcome back to weekly shows! As I mentioned the other day on Twitter, we are going back to a weekly schedule after a couple of months of biweekly shows.

“So, it’s been a couple of months that @couchpodtatoes has been operating on a bi-weekly schedule. This was due in part to busy schedules. It’s also hard coming up with something fresh to discuss every week. I know I was feeling a bit of fatigue when it came to being creative. We had an answer… we went biweekly and took on another co-host. But now we’re feeling re-energized. I personally was missing doing it every week. I love talking with my co-hosts. We also had some positive feedback recently and want to keep things going strong for our fans. So I’m happy to announce that Couch Podtatoes is going back to a weekly schedule. We’ll have something new for you this weekend, so keep an eye out for that. Our biweekly shows will remain the same with our other hosts. Thanks for dealing with our shit while we figured things out! And sorry for the spam!”

With that said, this is our first news/current events show, and we talk about everything and the kitchen sink. We also brought “Idiots on the Internet” back from the dead, and talk about a particularly infamous League of Legends streamer who was recently banned by Riot. Otherwise, it’s our usual rants and rambles. Let us know what you guys think about the new format ideas!


Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 85: Hot Podtatoe Headlines (runtime: 59:10)

What are we playing? (starts at 2:08)
Discussion: HPH (starts at 11:10)
Idiots on the Internet: Banhammer (starts at 50:57)

Host Contact information:

Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Music Credits:
“Bit Rush” by Riot Games
“Wanting Moves” by Pantyraid (from the album After Glow)
“Nights” by Pantyraid (from the album After Glow)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Libsyn.com. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

You can also find the show in video format at The Gaming And Entertainment Network YouTube page. Or view it here:

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

Life and Games Progress Report

It’s been a while since I did a catch-all post, and today, while I sit at work at it’s slow as all hell, I figured it was a good time to write one up. I’ve been working, I’ve been dating, I’ve been playing games. I’ve been busy. I have ideas for posts or podcasts or videos but finding the time is difficult some days. Today is not that day. Today I rant about what I’ve been up to, in little snippets.

I wrote about a couple of the games I’ve been playing of late in older posts, but I have progress to discuss. I also have some personal stuff to share, but I’ll save that til towards the end. So what have I been playing?

Stories: The Path of Destinies – I fell in love with this game from the moment I started playing it. However, it does get frustrating after a while when you start opening endings that aren’t the “true” ending, and have to play through similar stuff over and over again. That’s part of the appeal of the game — the choose your own adventure part, but it’s also one of the game’s shortcomings. After having gone through similar areas, having all of the swords crafted and opening up all the branching paths, you literally have nothing left to do. I can still level up through combat and there are a few points left that I would need to earn to max out the character sheet, and there are plenty of endings I haven’t found just yet, but that doesn’t affect all that much. If I wanted the platinum trophy for the game, I’d need to max out the character and find all of the endings, but I don’t think I’m going to go that far. I think at this point once I find the “true ending” I’m going to be done with it. It was a fun title while it lasted though.

Banner Saga 2 – Still playing this one too, and still loving it. They took everything the first game did well, and polished that up, and then added new layers and units and variety that was sorely missing from the first game. I’m nearing the end, as both of my caravans (there is a part just like in the first game where part of your force splits off and you bounce between the two) are nearing the final city where we’ve been headed for the majority of the game. I’m curious to see the conclusion and if they leave things open for another title in the series. There isn’t much else to say there without spoiling anything. But seriously, play this game it’s awesome.

Diablo 3 – Season 6 kicked off a couple days ago, and of course I had to start a new character. I rolled a new Demon Hunter, which is the final class I would need to get to 70 to have leveled them all to cap at some point. My last DH died around level 60, otherwise I would have finished that goal off already. I’ve been enjoying the DH again, just like I have in the past, but I’m hoping this one makes it to cap. I’m sitting at around level 20 currently, and have nearly finished the first chapter of the new season journey. It seems to be about the same but I think they changed when you get Haedrig’s Gift this time around. On top of the set gear and pet, this time they are providing a pennant as well if you complete the season journey. I managed to do just that in season 5, so I don’t see why I won’t be able to do so again in season 6. I’m sure I’ll have a full post about this later in the week, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

League of Legends – I’m still playing League of course. They started doing the time-limited game modes every weekend now, and it’s a rotation. So instead of getting a week + of URF, we got a weekend. The weekend before was something else, this weekend has been Hexakill on the Twisted Treeline map, which was a blast last year, and has been a lot of fun this time around as well. I managed to get some games in with Tacktix as well, who basically hadn’t touched the game since BDO came out. I’ll have some videos edited from these past weekends soon. Also, I played 3 of the ranked placement matches to this point, and have a 2/1 record so far. I’m hoping to finish up my placements by next weekend so I can know how much of a hill I need to climb. More on this later.

I Subscribed to Humble Monthly – I’ve been eyeballing it for a while, and almost went for it a couple of months back. Each time a new month starts, they tease you with a title that will be accessible immediately, and then you get a bundle of mystery games at the beginning of that next month. This month’s early title was Mad Max, and it’s a game I thought about buying a couple of times. Getting that plus several other games for $12 feels like a much better deal than buying MM for $60. Also, I’ll get some extra games, hopefully ones I don’t already own. Looking back at the past monthly bundles, I’ve owned 1-2 games and have been not interested in some of them. Either way, getting a game I was interested in for $12 plus some extras is definitely worth it. Depending on how happy I am with the bundle will determine if I stay subscribed. I know when I did the Loot Crate thing I wasn’t that into it… we’ll see how this goes.

Life Stuff – I bought a new bed. I needed one pretty desperately. The last time I bought a new bed, the ex I had been living with ended up taking it (I didn’t fight her for it). I ended up getting a bed 2nd hand off of a friend who only had it for a year, so it was halfway decent at the time. Nearly ten years later, I was hating it. So I found a place locally that allowed me to put some money down and finance the rest over 6 months. The overall total was around $700 and the financing is only going to cost me $50 in interest, but in return I’ll get a good mark on my credit. Sleeping on it has been wonderful, though I think it’s going to be even better once the bed and I adjust to one another.

The other day Riot was running a promotion for their newest figurine, URF. If you bought him, you’d get another figure from the collection for free. Considering they’re normally $20 by themselves (which is what I paid for my Nautilus a couple months back) it was a steal to get 2 for 1. I ended up getting Zed randomly, and even though he’s not a character I play, I rather like the way he looks. So my collection is growing, and on top of that, I’ve rearranged my room and busted out a bunch of my old decor (in conjunction with getting the new bed) so my room is getting back to normal. Nice and nerdy, just how I like it.

In other personal news, I’ve been dating again. There was a girl I had been seeing for about a year, but that ended albeit amicably. We’ve remained friendly and have gone out to eat and such but the romantic part seemed to be over. So I got back on the horse and have been on a few dates. For the most part it’s been a wash, but there have been some candidates that I have found interesting. I’ve also been hanging out with a couple of the guys from my work, and that was fun as well. Overall my social circle is starting to grow again, and comparing my life now to my life a year ago feels like night and day. I’m loving all of the improvements!

That’s all for me today. I’ll be back later in the week with something else. Also, potential big news for the podcast again. Stay tuned.