The call for a good surf video game (SKATE will do).

(This is an old piece from my minor in writing and rhetoric at Chapman University. Since most of my writing is pretty loose on here, I figured it would be cool to post something that had more structure. I wish I could find the prompt, alas I cannot. I also could not find the grade.)

When posed with the task of writing about a video game culture surrounding the genre of this blog (if you haven’t figured out that its surfing, you should probably stop reading now and go scope the previous blog posts) I was a little concerned. Historically, there have been few surfing video games on consoles and a couple on websites. For a core surf enthusiast, there are only two that stayed relevant for a period of time and were dubbed as “good enough.” These two were Kelly slater pro surfer (2002) and Transworld Surf (2001). Sunny Garcia’s pro surfer is positioned as third relevant, but the point is none of them were extremely successful or complex in gameplay. So, I decided to stay in the sphere of action sports. Now many of the readers of this blog (or just about anyone) would be familiar with the Tony hawk video game series depicting the world of skateboarding. Similar and derived from surfing, I chose to pick a game from this extreme sport, but not the critically acclaimed Tony hawk series.

The tony hawk franchise appealed to almost everybody, in comparison to the more core skateboarding videogames. The main problem with the tony hawk series was the unrealistic aspects of the gameplay. In Tony hawk you can jump off just about anything and stick the landing, grind for thousands of feet, and do many more incredibly unrealistic skateboard stunts. I tie this similarity to the surfing games that came out on consoles. In Kelly slate pro surfer for example, a surfer can kick flip as an aerial. This is out of the realm of normalcy for even the most experienced professional surfers. Just enough aspects of the game gave it the Tony Hawk syndrome, making it appeal to a lot less surfers. On top of this, Kelly slater was before my time, so if I wanted to play it I had to hunt for a PlayStation 2 or an OG Xbox. The amount of people (especially kids) playing video games when it came out was probably far less than current day trends.

So you may be asking, what game will we be dissecting? If you have ever skateboarded for more than a month you would be familiar with the game SKATE 1 2 and 3. A game for core skateboarders, doing tricks required you to simulate foot position or “flick” (for example, a kickflip required you to push the right stick down then up, just as the front foot does in real life when performing a kickflip) and had realistic ceilings to what you could do in the game. I think the “flick” aspect is one of the things that catches people’s attention and makes them enjoy the game even more. If you play the game enough, you still will be able to do things a real skater could dream of, but it still required some skill. On crazy skateboarding video parts on YouTube (like this recent Nyjah Huston part) you see people in the comments comparing his skateboarding to that of SKATE, referencing the crazy tricks he put down in his part.

The flick aspect and overall execution of tricks strikes home for skateboarders, as someone who knows how to skateboard but has never played the game could probably figure out the tricks if they applied it in a way as if they were outside skateboarding and not tapping buttons the controller. This simulated a realism not many action sports video games of the time had been able to accomplish, and that is pulling the strings of someone who practices the sport enough to know the mechanics behind certain tricks. While this is the most basic aspect of the game that allows the person participating to feel like they are skating, there are also plenty of other aspects of the game that alter the reality for better or worse.

The SKATE series depict also what a typical professional athlete life would be like outside of just skating. This includes things like endorsements and sponsorships. Finally a skater can get sponsored by the dream company they have daydreamed about in their high school history class. Whether it’s NikeSB for shoes and Baker skateboard decks, you can have your ideal pick of equipment down to the bearings. Endorsements are when you perform a public event or skate demo to make a company that might not be your sponsor happy. Finally, as far as professional achievement, you can compete and win real contests like the Maloof Money Cup and Xgames. While it is really fun to do all of this, some things in the game I don’t necessarily agree with how they are portrayed.

One big thing is the security aspect involved at certain famous skate spots or in places you wouldn’t particularly skate but have ideal setups for in game movies. An icon is illuminated on the map telling the player they are in a spot with security, and starts blinking when a guard starts chasing you. When the cop catches up to you, you get tackled; reenacting the viral videos of security guards harassing skaters. This reinforces the negative light cops and security guards are painted in the skaters’ eyes.

You can also film your tricks and post them to an online community. This is similar to making a video part or even just a home video to put up on YouTube or show your friends. Players can “work for a trick” like a real pro, and harder tricks require more time and effort. When you finally land the trick, you can pick your angles and edit together footage to post. Some dedicated skate fans recreate their favorite skate video parts.

Overall, the videogame can cast the shroud that you are maybe a successful or at least a better skater than you are in real life. These games make the player feel happy and apart of the experience in becoming their avatar or character. When you pick the shirt your character wears, it makes you feel like them. And when you do tricks the same way, it makes the bond even closer.

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover: How the Dr. Can Help People

(This is an old piece from my minor in writing and rhetoric at Chapman University. Since most of my writing is pretty loose on here, I figured it would be cool to post something that had more structure. I wish I could find the prompt, alas I cannot. If you were wondering, I got a B on this guy.)

Horton Hears a Who. Fox in Socks. Hop on Pop. The Lorax. At least one of these books has to ring a bell. All of these books have a common author, and this man is one of the most well known authors for young readers. His name is Theodore Seuss Geisel, more commonly referred to as, Dr. Seuss. Ah, now you know who I am talking about. Arguably one of the most well- known authors overall and definitely in the category of young readers, Dr. Seuss burned a legacy into literature by writing some of the most quirky and colorful books at the time. With crazy creatures like the Sneetches and Yertle the turtle, all his books had uniqueness about them. They all were extremely different and contained different stories and lessons.  

Dr. Seuss taught us a valuable lesson in his books (specifically Sneetches and Horton Hears a Who) we learn that being different is not a bad thing. The Sneetches all have different belly marks, and Horton, a giant elephant, befriends a little human to being a good friend. All his books make the most unlikely of people friends and makes sure difference is embraced. It is good to see this in a book designed for young readers, mainly because it teaches the lesson of never judging a book by its cover (pun intended).

Theodore Seuss Geisel was born on March 2nd, 1904 (today, he would be one hundred and thirteen years old). He grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, with his father’s occupation being a successful brewer. He would attend college at Dartmouth at age eighteen. He would pick up an editor position at the college for one of its magazines. Later in his college life he would violate the alcohol rules and be kicked off his position of editor. He decided to continue to contribute under the name Seuss. Upon his graduation from Dartmouth, he would move onto Oxford and meet his future wife. They would eventually marry in 1927.

As for the Doctor’s career as a writer, he would publish his first book in 1957. We all know this wonderful book as The Cat in the Hat. Inspired by Theodore’s response to an article about children’s reading levels, this would flourish into probably his most well known work. Today, it has sold more than 10.5 million copies. After this it was off to the races. Other notable books by Seuss include Green Eggs and Ham and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Dr. Seuss appeals to all audiences, not just young readers. Movies have been made about his books and in the audience you see all sorts of people. Young or old, male or female, everyone loves a good story from the doctor. Back to the idea of judgment told by Seuss, his books make everyone smile based on the relationships between characters and how kooky they tend to look. As a kid, someone who looks different can be a reason to be made fun of or judged. After reading some Seuss books, and seeing that the most strange- looking characters tend to be the heroes or the “cool guys,” I think America and most adults should sit back and read a book by Seuss and rethink some of the things they say or do. After all, it’s recommended by the doctor.

A Journey of Some Sorts (an intro)

Graduation was quite a surreal feeling. The whole ceremony flew by in the blink of an eye, and just like that I was no longer a student, I was a full on grown up. Of course the celebration afterwards was more of one of a student rather than an “adult”, and that is definitely how it should be. I was trying to hold onto that “student” as long as I could, because my 4 years at Chapman University will be hard to top. Deep down, I knew post-grad life can be just as fun, and making money will fund the fun that will try to compete with the college years. Graduation was on a Sunday, and Monday morning I had to officially let go of the title “student”.

Sure, I could have elected to do graduate school, but 4 years of school was almost too much for me already. So I found myself finishing one of my biggest accomplishments in life and wondering what was next? As I would try to get myself to apply to jobs, I was too lost in the allure of trying to get the perfect gig. This led me to have a very fun month of May, filled with surfing and friends (and minimal job searching efforts). June hit and it was definitely time to get some funds rolling in, but as I know now finding a job is no easy task. I applied to plenty of positions, but no corporate opportunity would come my way. I started to worry. I would eventually luck into an awesome job mid June, traveling around Southern California merchandising sunglasses 2–3 days a week in surf shops. What a dream! I got to pick the days I work and also the time, so you can bet your bottom dollar I was surfing every day and having a blast traveling around seeing friends in between shop stops. Summer would deal Southern California many swells, and I would score some pristine conditions while others were at work. I would cling onto this position until Labor day, and this leads to where I am at now.

I started applying to jobs since September and have little success with only doing a couple interviews and lots of being left in the cold with no follow up responses to at least half of my applications. This was a tough pill to swallow any way you look at it. I started to worry again. In my experience in the job search, I realized most positions required experience. While I have worked since age 13, I have no corporate experience, which would harm my application every time. In interviews, I would explain how retail experience and directly serving the customer have taught me things no corporate experience could. While it might be biting me in the ass a little bit at the moment, I wouldn’t trade my work history for anything else.

So, as an effort to build some homemade “experience”, this idea was hatched. While my business experience must be done at a company, writing experience can be flexed through organic pieces and past works. I have been writing all throughout my schooling, and eventually would declare it my minor at Chapman. At first glance, I picked it because no other major really spoke to me and I knew I always had a little knack for writing, so I knew I could breeze through assignments and overall use it as a buffer to help out my GPA, as the Chapman Business School was not easy for me in any way. When I had taken my last class and completed my requirements for the writing and rhetoric minor, I had a newfound love for writing. The self expression and overall euphoric feeling of putting pen to paper (or in this day and age fingers to keys) is comparable to what I get when surfing or hitting the gym or hanging out with really enjoyable company. I was very happy I reluctantly chose it as my minor and also learned a ton and expanded my writing ability. I would like to thank all my teachers for this, as my writing professors were some of the most passionate instructors I had came across in my schooling.

So where is this all going? Essentially, this was a brief (maybe not depending on how much you are accustomed to reading at once) introduction as to what this blogs inception was all about. It will include new piece I will write to overall further my small writing portfolio and create a brand behind my writing technique. While I don’t have too much work from school I really regard highly, my senior year I got to enroll in a class where I got to guide the topic of what I would write about. If you have seen my profile photo or caught onto what I do with most of my spare time, I decided to write about surfing. I will conclude this post with a small chunk from a piece I wrote on how social media has severely effected surfing in a negative tone. While it may be difficult to pick up on all the slang in the writing, I think it has a clear tone on how social media has made surfing less personal than in the past.

“As well as a fragmented reality of we never really know if the waves are pumping unless we are there or know of some one in the area, we see a breaching of the private space involved in the sport of surfing. Surfing has always been an activity that in practice is somewhat private and just involves you and the ocean. Besides the people you tend to surf with and a couple people you can recognize by their face, it’s overall what seems to be a private space. However, we see increased posts of waves here and sandbars there that more and more people begin invading the private space. Now, when I surf I expect to have to interact with a stranger, which I don’t mind but sometimes just aren’t in the mood for.

With more people’s spaces being invaded, we see more people who do mind interacting with people they aren’t familiar with. We can refer to these people as “salty loc dogs.” These are older people and even some younger guys who just can’t stand new people surfing their spot. They typically tend to be loud and vocal about their dissatisfaction, and tend to act like they own the place. Here is a comical example featuring the late great Andy Irons being heckled for surfing a spot he wasn’t native to in a skit for a surf movie. (The irony is that usually the people who claim local status aren’t that good of surfers, and telling Andy not to surf a spot would be like telling Kobe you can’t shot on my court.)

Everyone needs to brag about how good of waves they scored. As a surfer, getting a good swell to surf is the ultimate challenge, and when you achieve this it is hard not to let others know. It wouldn’t be uncommon to see someone’s Instagram story perfect empty waves, and I am guilty of this as well. At first it seemed harmless, until the effects of the app really started changing the lineup.”

You can read the rest of it on HERE followed by clicking “The blog” off of the title bar. See you next time.