The struggle of the adult gamer

Finding time for anything can seem like a chore when you’re adulting.

Work, relationships, social relevance in general – these are things that are very important and contribute to the lessening of hobby time. Plenty of people find time for their favorite TV shows, but what about movies? Reading? Video games??

Being a grown gamer can be tough, but it’s worth it to do what you love. I wrote my thoughts about it here: Check it out!

Quick blog update!

Wil, you seem to have really slowed down on you blog content. Are you giving up on your dreams? Fading into obscurity?

I appreciate your concern, dedicated fan. Fear not! I have certainly not given up on my dreams and am still making efforts to remain as far from obscurity as possible. Many of these efforts are just not seen here on my personal blog.

As I have mentioned previously, I have become a contributor for Thunderous Intentions and Grown Gaming. Since I was already only writing a few posts a week, a lot of my posts are now going through those avenues.

One of the primary goals of this blog is for me to establish varied writing samples. I am interested in both sports and entertainment writing, so it makes sense for me to put a lot of that style of content on the more trafficked and professional web pages. I appreciate you noticing me, but I would like for others to notice me as well!

I have been learning a lot about formatting and search engine optimization. I’m not necessarily going to make all of these posts super SEO friendly, because I still just want for this to be a place where I can jot down thoughts and write what I want and how I want.

There will still be a flow of content here, but for anything video game or Thunder related, you know where to go. I love you.

So This is Christmas

Christmas – it’s the most wonderful time of the year, so they say. By “they” I am mostly referring to my wife. We all know someone who takes holiday cheer very seriously. You may even be that person. I’m not here to knock that. In fact, I think that those are the people that make the Christmas season as great as it is.

December almost entirely revolves around Christmas (sorry, winter birthday folks). For many, this is the busiest time of the year. Work year-ends are needing to be closed out, everyone’s kid has a dreaded Christmas special at church or school (even though they usually wind up being adorable/hilarious), and you have to buy presents for what feels like everyone you know on a first-name basis. Though all that makes the season stressful, it is also a time for people to be thankful, generous, and cheerful. Those are good things. I like those things.

If you are like me, you accumulate presents for friends and family slowly. My wife and I do most shopping simultaneously, but the gifts I get for her or any others I’m responsible for, I buy one at a time for about a month leading up to Christmas. Some buy their Christmas gifts at Walgreens late on Christmas Eve. I have a coworker that I am fairly sure was done shopping by Halloween. The holidays aren’t all about the presents, but giving and getting makes for a pretty good time. Let’s not pretend the presents aren’t one of the most fun parts of Christmas.


I talk a big game about there being no Christmas trees in our house prior to Thanksgiving. I do have to be honest though that every year, our house really does look its best when we have our Christmas stuff up in all its glory. Well played, wife. The fake tree is nice and easy, but real trees are one of my favorite Christmas memories as a kid.

Like a lot of memories, I appreciate cutting down a tree with my Dad more now than I did at the time. Freezing my toes and taking turns dragging a tree across the field wasn’t the first thing I looked forward to at Christmas. However, bundling up and marching towards the woods with my Dad, our dog Oliver happily bounding ahead, and maybe even a cat or two joining us on our journey was a pretty darn good time. Pops did most of the cutting since all we had was a rusty handsaw. He wasn’t quite Clark Griswold, but it was a joyous occasion that brought a sense of accomplishment when we hoisted up the tree in the house.

Uncle Shae (always in shorts), me (not helping), and Dad (head in a tree)

Having Christmas Eve at my grandparent’s house and Christmas morning at my parents is a tradition that has never left my life. My wife’s family has been very accommodating in having Christmas brunch/lunch and allowing this ritual to continue. Even though I touted the fun of the presents, it really is family and loved ones that make this a special time of year.

I want to thank all of the Christmas fanatics out there for making this season go. The rest of us may roll our eyes at the Christmas music, tree decorating, and silly traditions, but we need all of that in our lives. The magic doesn’t have to stop when you aren’t a kid anymore. Use the opportunities that Christmas provides to let your family and friends know you love and appreciate them. Long live all of the goofy traditions and may all your Christmases be merry and illuminated! Or something.

Thunderous Intentions: The Intriguing Steven Adams

Photo from clutchpoints.com

I have recently become a contributor for thunderousintentions.com! It is a website dedicated to bringing just the news that Oklahoma City Thunder fans want to hear. There are breaking news stories, game previews, postgame analysis, and much more.

I wrote an opinion piece for them explaining that Steven Adams is not only their most interesting player, but possibly one of the most interesting players in the NBA. Read it here:

https://thunderousintentions.com/2017/12/10/steven-adams-most-interesting-man-on-okc-thunder/

Pokémon: Forever Fan

As children, you can let just about anything anything fly; toilet humor, streaking, you name it, it’s all fair game to kids. The real world eventually beats us down though and as adults, we learn to keep some things to ourselves. Most people have guilty pleasures, but some are worse than others. Sometimes you smoke? That’s gross! I suppose it’s your choice though. You have a foot fetish? Super weird! But everyone has their thing. You still think Pokemon are cool? Immature! You’re just like me though. Pocket monsters never stopped being entertaining, so I have chosen to just keep rolling with it.

Pokémon is definitely my guilty pleasure. It is a global phenomenon that made its rise while I was still in grade school. I bought a Pokédex book at a book fair and studied the original 151 monsters in that book like crazy. From there, I started collecting the cards and accumulating the handheld games, both new and old. Yes, I also put in my fair share of time into Pokémon Go on my phone when it was at its peak popularity. I never got too into the TV series, but Pokémon Silver on the Gameboy Color was one of my earliest video games and it hooked me. Apparently for life.


The adventure aspect of being a young trainer set out to explore the world with just one little Pokémon at your side was exciting and engrossing, especially to a kid. On the virtual adventure, your partner becomes stronger and evolves into a more fierce competitor all while adding new Pokémon to your team also. Balancing your team with different types (fire, water, electric, etc.) makes for a surprisingly deep strategy element. You could choose a diverse team, use the strongest, or just be sure to incorporate your favorites. The games are what continue to keep me invested in the Pokémon world. While the games do appeal to kids with brightly colored and worlds and creatures with a young protagonist, the strategy elements deepen with every new entry in the series. Of course, nostalgia is also a driving factor. The feels wouldn’t mean much without solid gameplay and a steady stream of new content, however.

Another big aspect of the Pokémon universe is the card game. I was wild for Pokémon cards in grade school. My friends and I never actually played the card game as it was meant to be played, we just loved them for the collection aspect. Kids from earlier generations collected stamps and rocks, so I guess I shouldn’t be too ashamed of this aspect. Hey, I had a healthy collection of baseball cards too. Anyway, I still have my collection stored at the house. I have looked into the worth of some of them, but it is tough to balance out the price of memories of a simple, ridiculously fun time in life. I still buy some a couple times a year just to relive the sensation of ripping open a new pack and seeing how lucky you were in what you drew.

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Photo from digitalspy.com

Recently, Pokémon was all the rage because it finally came to mobile devices in the form of Pokémon Go. The game originally only included those original 151 monsters that I grew up with (there are over 800 now), which appealed to older fans, which I thought was pretty cool. The game makes you move around in real life, using your phone to track down those familiar little blasts from the past, collecting them all over again.

The staying power demonstrated by Pokémon is crazy. To be this big for this long not only shows how dedicated old fans like myself are, but also its ability to bring in new customers year after year. The games are a blast to play, so I don’t anticipate stopping anytime soon. I have not missed a major installment on the Gameboy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, or Nintendo 3DS. The series appears to have wrapped up its time on the 3DS, now looking towards the Switch. If anything can convince me to take the plunge on a new console, it’s this series. That’s a conversation with the wife for another day though. Pokémon is not going anywhere and I hope that more (formerly) closeted fans like me get to unabashedly enjoy them for years and years to come.

A Case for Xbox

Photo from Xbox.com

I’ve had Nintendo consoles, PC games, PlayStations, handheld consoles, mobile games, and of course, each generation of Xbox (aside from the new Xbox One X iteration – donations will be accepted via cash or PayPal). I’ve had some many of my best gaming experiences on Xbox and most of my gaming friends have one.

The console has taken a lot of heat recently for not having many console-exclusive titles to steer people away from PlayStation. I believe that the Xbox still holds down an important space in the gaming world and then some. Read my thoughts in my opinion piece for GrownGaming.com at http://www.growngaming.com/feature/in-support-of-xbox/

Hunting Season

I was hoping to have a really cool picture to post with this of me proudly holding a buck three times my size, but alas, the above picture is from last year. That was my first deer, though I have been hunting for four years or so. Deer season is still in full swing, though opening weekend came and went without me pulling the trigger. I may not be done yet – I’ll have time to go out again during the coming weekend, but opening weekend certainly seems like the ideal time to drop a deer. Even so, good times were had and I am already looking forward to next year – in the stand or otherwise.

Like I’ve done the last several years, I took a half-day of work last Friday to gather my things and make sure I was stocked up on everything for deer camp. My wife had been preparing for a week long work trip, so I was trying to take the planning and inventory into my own hands. Despite my misplaced confidence, I did a predictably terrible job. I married a planner, something that I did not do by mistake. On my own, I forgot a pillow and blanket, boots, ibuprofen (a morning necessity), long underwear top, orange hat, and Hot Hands hand warmers. I did manage to bring women’s gloves, beer, snacks, and almost enough warm clothes. I even stopped to get someone else’ forgotten boots. I am an imbecile. I borrowed some goods from my father in law and my busy wife even made a special trip down with stuff before she left. They were both very impressed with my beer-remembering skills.

I hunt with the fellas on my wife’s side of the family. We have a “cabin” planted on some farm land owned by her brother-in-law. Despite it’s shed-like appearance, we’ve whipped it into shape over the last few years with a wood-burning stove, bunks, an outhouse, and now a porch. It is a lovely little place where the Busch Light flows like a river and signal is just good enough to get the occasional text from my wife reminding me about the highlights of basic gun safety. Each night we heat up deer chili or something similar, throw back some brews, and play cards. This year was only my second time playing poker, so I was very happy to have only lost $15 on the weekend. I’m sure I would have won if I wore sunglasses like the pros on TV. Even if I had thought of that, I probably would’ve forgotten the shades at home anyway.

Perfect for six grown men (pre-porch)

We all stay in the cabin at night and then fan out early in the morning. Some stay in tree stands right around the cabin while others have to do a little traveling. I had to drive about 20 minutes to my stand set up out behind my grandpa’s house. I was pretty pumped to get to hunt on my family’s land this year. As I mentioned earlier, opening morning seems like the perfect time to shoot a deer. There is a sense of excitement and adrenaline, though I haven’t had any luck on that morning so far. Plus, I was underdressed and had a self-induced headache this year, so it seemed a little less magical. I went out a few more times over the weekend, seeing an undersized six-point buck, 17 doe, two owls, and some field mice. I had a good shot on the buck, but was more interested in an impressive rack than just more meat for the freezer.


Hunting is fun. Being outdoors and having to stay alert with your head on a swivel for something to shoot is a pretty awesome departure from daily routines. If you shoot something though, you have to cut it’s guts out, which isn’t my favorite thing. What is my favorite thing is the comradery, cards, and memories made with good people. I’m not going to trade in my Xbox for a new tree stand any time soon, but no matter what happens this weekend I’ll be out there again next year and the one after that.

Metroid: Samus Returns Review (3DS)

It will shock you to learn that I have reviewed a video game. If you are a Nintendo or handheld gaming fan, check out my new review of Metroid: Samus Returns for the 3DS at http://www.growngaming.com/review/metroid-samus-returns-review-3ds. You can also check it out if you’re a Wil Harrington fan that just wants to see what I’m up to. I’ll love you either way.

I am excited about the prospect of contributing material for http://www.growngaming.com/ and will be posting my video game related articles there moving forward. Thank you everybody for your support! Game on!

The Thunder: So Far, So Promising

We are now nearly three weeks into the 2017-18 NBA season. How soon should we begin to assess all of the offseason maneuvers taken by each team? Avery Bradley has had a hot and cold start in Detroit, Paul Millsap has started to look like he’s figuring things out in Denver, and Brook Lopez is only playing 25 minutes per game for the Lakers. There is a lot to dissect if you’re into doing it so soon, but I suppose that’s why you’ve clicked this article. The Thunder are 4-4 as I write this, good for 10th in the West so far (only a win or two from moving up multiple spots). The Cavaliers are 10th in the East and the Spurs are on the outside looking in as well in the West, so you can certainly see that things are bound to change. I don’t care. I want to assess the Thunder anyway.

So far, the big three for the Thunder look pretty good. Carmelo Anthony is leading the team in points per game, which despite his history of studly basket-making skills, is surprising. The general consensus was that Westbrook would remain the alpha dog, Paul George would be the clear-cut number two guy, and Melo would be a catch and shoot stretch big man, taking a bit of a backseat. Taking a backseat has never been Melo’s style, as he demonstrated by fending off emerging star Kristaps Porzingis in New York for scoring looks the last couple of seasons. The pre-season idea was that we would see “Team USA Melo”, meaning efficient scoring mixed with solid defense and an emphasis on rebounding. Hoodie Melo has displayed solid defense, but his rebounding is a bit down while still scoring at a clip we’ve seen from him the last couple of years. Paul George is right where most expected him to be statistically. He has (so far) seen a slight decline in his points, rebounds, and assists, while getting a bump in steals. So where does that leave last year’s NBA MVP?

Photo from news-cdn.wagertalk.com

Westbrook led the NBA in points per game last year at 31.6. He averaged 24 field goal attempts per contest to get there. So far this season, he is averaging 19.5 points and 16 field goal attempts per game. 12 points per game less is a very steep decline no-matter what a player averaged the previous year. The decline in field goal attempts was expected, but is also a pretty staggering difference. Another surprising figure that stands out is a 64% free throw percentage despite still getting almost six attempts per game. This percentage as well as his scoring average are likely to raise and settle into the numbers we have come to expect from one of the association’s top players, but this is a very early assessment after all (which I will likely continue to point out because it really is SO EARLY). The Brodie’s assists are up and he is still nearly averaging a triple-double, so he is getting along in historic fashion despite the uncharacteristic numbers. He is technically on pace to have more trip-dub outings this season than last, if you can believe it.

The Thunder are one of the most defensively efficient teams in the NBA, which is a pleasant surprise. A lot of people like myself said that the key to OKC’s success this year would be a defensive focus and team-oriented mindset. We knew that the offense would be solid between Russ, Melo, and PG-13. There are a lot of capable defenders on the roster – we know that Westbrook and George are tenacious and Andre Roberson is bordering on elite as a wing defender. Steven Adams has never been a top-tier rim protector, but he is solid in the post and has improved his steal and block numbers per game. In fact, Adams has improved across the board much the way people expected he would before last season began, following a strong 2016 postseason campaign. Plus, he is essentially a pirate.

Photo from si.com

As I had mentioned, the new players were expected to bring a healthy punch on offense while playing solid D. With all of the pre-season expectations though came concerns as well. One worry was depth. The starting five looked great, but the bench was a little underwhelming for a team looking to challenge the Warriors’ reign in the West. So far, so good from what I’ve seen off the bench for the Thunder. With Westbrook, you need a backup point guard that can give you a couple of minutes without mental errors while Russ catches his breath before coming back in to breathe more fire – Veteran Raymond Felton fills that role nicely. Alex Abrines has been off to a bit of a slow start, but is a capable shooter that the Thunder need. Jerami Grant has been a bright spot off of the bench playing very good defense and providing his usual energy.


With an intimidating starting lineup, a serviceable backup crew, and one of the NBA’s top defenses, the Oklahoma City Thunder are looking good out of the gate to start the 2017-18 NBA season. Westbrook will only improve as he figures out how to lead his new cast, which is a wild thing to say about a player that is already nearly averaging a triple-double (again). Paul George and Carmelo Anthony already seem surprisingly comfortable and Steven Adams is showing marked improvement, which is important. If you picked the Thunder to be one of the top teams in the NBA, don’t fear, you are looking smart at this point. We still need to see them play some of the league’s best squads, but there have already been more than a few flashes of their potential brilliance. Thunder up.

Missouri State – Why not be a fan?

I know quite a few people – dozens even. Many of them are sports fans, be it professional or collegiate. Some even follow high school sports teams despite not being in high school or having any kids who are either. Why would people do that? It isn’t for me personally because high schoolers are comparatively terrible at sports, covered in acne, and well… mostly children. However, a lot of people though just love to cheer for their hometown team or old high school team, which makes sense.

The aforementioned college sports fans that I know have varied preferences when it comes to the colleges or universities they root for. Living in Missouri, I know fans of Mizzou, Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas as well as the classics like Duke, North Carolina, and many more. When people ask me who my favorite college team is, be it basketball, football, or whatever, the answer is the same: the Missouri State Bears. For some reason, people often just snicker and ask for my actual favorite team. My response is always the same: the Missouri State Bears. I don’t necessarily understand why that is so strange.

Now, it should be noted that I’m not the biggest follower of college sports. As I’ve pointed out in the past, I strongly prefer professional sports over all else because it is the game being played at the highest level. That being said, you can’t be a big pro sports fan without being relatively familiar with the college sports scene – that’s where all of the pro prospects come from after all. Getting back to the question of my favorite college team… My answer really confuses people. The reason is of course that MSU isn’t a well-known sports school. They have all the major sports teams and are division I in each. They don’t play in a power conference and haven’t seen a substantial amount of national success. Why be a fan?

I am a fan of Missouri State athletics for much the same reason that many people spend their Friday nights at their old high school. I went to Missouri State and feel a strong sense of school pride. No, I didn’t play collegiate sports or even always do my part in filling the seats for every game. I still spent four (maybe four and a half) years there walking the campus, taking courses, and wearing a lot of maroon and white. We  Really, it would be strange for me to claim any other school than Missouri State when asked who my favorite college team is.

I know a lot of diehard Mizzou fans that have only been to the campus for a few football games, nothing else. I know some OU fans who have most likely never even left the state of Missouri before. People can be fans of teams for random reasons, I get that. I probably only prefer the Cardinals to the Royals because my Dad did. I am a Thunder fan because not long after I became an NBA fan, they relocated to OKC from Seattle, becoming the closest NBA team to me. I also understand that not everyone goes to college, but many are still college sports fans for the fanfare and run-through- a-brick- wall mentality that isn’t always as apparent in pro sports. The point I’m trying to make here is that everyone is entitled to their favorite, so I am justified in having Missouri State as my favorite college team for sports. I may not get to see them on ESPN very often and the football team doesn’t always come out on top, but those are my teams.

The highs and the lows might not include phrases like “national championship” or “one-and- done”, but you just have to adjust your expectations. You don’t expect your hometown class 1 high school team to compete with a class 5 high school team. I don’t expect MSU to beat Alabama in football. Missouri State is clearly too focused on things like the College of Business and academics in general. My alma mater is still my favorite sports school and always will be. Go Bears!