Honey Bunches of Joe

This be Joe Garcia's blog.

Rejected names for Stealthy Box

You’re not going to believe this, but coming up with a name for something that you’re pinning your livelihood on is hard as hell (I’m building a website, by the way). Not only do you want to come up with something that’s clever and sounds cool, a lot of what you come up with doesn’t have a URL that’s available for purchase. I’d honestly have an easier time naming someone else’s child.

It took several nonstop hours of thinking before we settled on Stealthy Box, and we think it’s great. It’s a reference to one of our favorite game franchises of all time, it’s snappy, and it’s easy to remember and spell.

So what of the names that we passed on? Have a look at a few that I can still bother to remember:

  • GameInk
  • Gaming Kibitzer
  • Gamer Suplex
  • Kibitzer Suplex
  • IGN.net (not really, but it’s an $18,000 URL!)
  • Hide in a Box

We almost settled on Hide in a Box — damn close, actually — but it didn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

I’m building a website, and you’ll get to see it on March 28th.

stealthyvita

Well, not just me. I’m incapable of that. There are other, talented people working on it, but it’s a thing nonetheless. It’s going to be called Stealthy Box, it’s going to be a multiplatform games site, I’m going to be the EIC, and it’ll be up on Thursday, March 28th.

Phew.

We’ve been building this site for the past month or so, and we’ve already got content ready to go on day one. Editorials, interviews, a podcast, and even a couple of giveaways are all on the burner, and we’ll also be working on posting all the latest breaking news about your favorite consoles and handhelds (sorry, no PC or mobile — we’ve only got so much manpower). All the standard social media channels have been set up, too — you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

It’s been a significant investment of both time and money, and I’m nervous as all hell. But I’m also damn proud of what we have brewing, and I think that we’re going to end up with something you’ll want to keep an eye on.

www.stealthybox.com

Guns.

Guns are killing machines.

Their express purpose is to inflict harm on a living thing. They didn’t choose to be used for that, but that’s what they’re for. Gun manufacturers constantly work on making them more accurate and more efficient. Not so Jimothy can hit a target 100 yards away at the firing range, but so that you waste fewer bullets when trying to kill something.

Guns are for cowards.

They’re the easy way out. That’s why criminals use guns. They easily intimidate, they’re easy to use, and they’re alarmingly easy to obtain. When the reaction is “I need a gun to protect myself,” it’s because you’re afraid. You’ve reacted in cowardice against cowards.

Are cops and soldiers cowards? No, since I presume that obtaining a firearm wasn’t their sole purpose for doing so. There are easier ways to get a gun.

Fuck guns.

Here’s a Collection of Assholes Who Hope/Are Glad That Their Fantasy Football Team Wasn’t Affected by a Murder-Suicide

There’s a tragic story coming out of Kansas City this morning in which a Chiefs player allegedly took his life at the team’s practice facility after he’d murdered his girlfriend. This is awful news, and reporters near the situation were careful not to name the player or his girlfriend until the families had been notified.

Twitter being what it is, there were plenty of assholes hoping that the player wasn’t Jamaal Charles or Dwayne Bowe, purely for the sake of their fantasy football teams. Doing a search for “not jamaal charles” or “not dwayne bowe” was pretty much the anal sphincter into Twitter’s colon.

Here are those fuckwits, presented without further comment. Read more of this post

The Mass Effect 3 Ending You Always (read: Never) Wanted

In the four months since the release of Mass Effect 3, pretty much all that could possibly be picked apart, theorized, and said about its controversial ending has been thrown out somewhere for the internet to see. With the Extended Cut endings seeing light in late June, even more so.

But way back in March, while the supposedly terrible ending was still bubbling in the skulls of angry fanboys, I got an idea. Well, Travis Foster of Front Towards Gamer and I had an idea: write as many ludicrous new endings to ME3 as we possibly could. I quickly whipped one up and emailed it to him, and we were off.

…except that PAX East was right around the corner and we both had a lot of planning to do for our respective sites — he for FTG, while I corralled appointments for PlayStation University. We told each other that we’d get together in Boston to hash some of it out, but we just ended up doing a lot of heavy drinking instead. Whoops!

It’s been months now, so it’s probably safe to say that we won’t do it as we’d initially dreamed. However, I’m tired of seeing the document on my hard drive and nothing coming of it, so fuck it — I’ll post the ending I wrote here.

I haven’t edited the story since I wrote it in March (and it’s shit anyway), so sorry in advance. Read more of this post

January 20th, 1931 – June 10th, 2012

At 1:41PM on June 10th, 2012, Jose Garcia passed away at 81-years-old after struggling with lung cancer for over a year. He was a lifelong smoker, a headstrong entrepreneur, a Cubs fan, a womanizer, and — most notably — he was my father.

That last one almost always throws people for a loop when they hear it because of our age difference — he was 55 years and 359 days my elder. He had met my mother shortly after she moved to Chicago from El Salvador in 1983, herself only 28-years-old at the time. I was born four years thereafter, and they were married shortly after that. For my mom it was her first and only marriage; it was my father’s sixth.

Suffice it to say, my old man had as many bad qualities as he had good, just like any other person, although he had a way of pronouncing his a little more than the rest of us. His friends, knew him best as the highly-successful businessman who’d started several businesses — including one of the most highly-rated and successful Mexican restaurants in Chicago, half a block south of Wrigley Field — on a third-grade education. (My mom played a large role in keeping the restaurant as lucrative as it was, but everything before that — a cigarette vending machine business and several real estate properties — were the product of his remarkable ingenuity.)

They didn’t know him as his family did, though, and we knew his many accomplishments hadn’t come easily. Born in San Antonio in 1931, his life was a continuous uphill battle. My grandfather was apparently a hard man to live with, driving my father to leave at a remarkably young age. He wound up in Chicago, and eventually he would pay for his mother Dolores and his sister Otilia to join him once he could afford it. Both would eventually wind up in a nursing home, where my mom apologetically visited far more regularly.

His business didn’t leave us with a lot of quality time together, and in the end we didn’t exactly have the best father-son relationship. I didn’t much care for the way he would hit me over the head with a flashlight after I’d disassembled it before he was done using it, or with his diamond-studded ring. I didn’t care for how he drunkenly yelled at me for procrastinating and pulling an all-nighter on a class project in high school, to the point that we nearly came to blows and causing my mom to cry. I particularly disliked the way my mom found out he’d been fooling around with another woman, forcing her to kick him out for good.

The couple of years following that were tense, with everyone still at home carrying a resentment towards him, especially me. Slowly we all came to forgive him, and the separation seemed to make him realize what he’d squandered. That meant a lot of awkward dinners making forced conversation, and those dinners never really stopped being awkward, but it was better than what we had before.

Eventually, his lifelong habit of going through two or more packs of unfiltered Camels — from his teenage years until he’d finally quit two years ago — caught up to him, and he was diagnosed with lung cancer. That fact didn’t quite hit me until we visited him after he’d gone in for surgery, removing much of one of his lungs. It hit me again when we visited again months later, after he’d suffered a setback and he lied in the hospital bed hopped up on morphine, grabbing at whatever it was that he was hallucinating. It hit me one last time when they’d set up his hospice care at the relative’s place at which he was staying; watching his condition deteriorate with each visit was brutal.

I didn’t say much of anything whenever I visited him those final months. I think that everyone there, including my mom and brother, simply thought that I didn’t feel like saying anything. It was partly because this was more awkward than any dinner we could ever have, with each “How are you feeling?” coming off as absolutely asinine when directed at a man who could barely stand on his own strength. Mostly, though, it had to do with the fact that this man, my father, this symbol of strength my whole life for better and for worse, was crumbling before my very eyes. For the first time in my life, I’d felt sad for him.

It’s been a couple of days since he passed, surrounded by many of those closest to him. I’ve looked through a bunch of old photos in preparation for the wake on Friday, and it’s clear that, deep down, he loved everyone in his life a whole helluva lot, even if he wasn’t always very good at expressing it.

To me, that’s the saddest thing of all.

My Twenty Years with SNES and Super Mario World

Today, as you may well know, the Super Nintendo turned 20 years old in North America. Just as importantly to me, this also means that Super Mario World is 20 years old. This means that the internet will be flooded with lists and features covering every aspect of the machine, and I struggled for about 40 minutes to think of something along those lines that I could contribute to the internet. Everyone else will probably do a better job than anything I could have conjured up, though, so instead I’m just going to write something on a much smaller, but much more personal scale. Read more of this post

Review — The Asskickers (PC/Mac)

Over the past few months, I’ve been digging a little deeper into PC gaming. While I’ll probably never get away from console gaming, it’s easy for me to appreciate everything about the scene: games tend to be cheaper, look better than their console counterparts with even modest hardware, and, most interestingly, there’s an indie sector with wild, imaginative ideas that absolutely thrives where it would otherwise be buried on a service like Xbox Live Arcade.

As a longtime gamer, I’ve got a special place in my heart for side-scrolling beat ’em ups, and the genre simply didn’t take off on PCs the way it did in arcades or in living rooms with 16-bit consoles.  While I was playing Super Double Dragon and Streets of Rage, PC gamers were buried in Monkey Island — that’s just the way it is.

Aside from rereleases of games such as Streets of Rage and Final Fight on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, and the oddball (but magnificent) release of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, the brawler genre has been all but dead since its heyday almost 20 years ago. So when I saw that a small indie developer had released an HD, hand-drawn brawler for PC and Mac, titled The Asskickers, no less, I felt compelled to give it a try.

The Asskickers, unfortunately, does anything but. Read more of this post

Review — The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

I usually get some pretty weird looks from fellow gamers when I tell them that I’ve never played a Zelda game for more than a few hours — you might be arching your eyebrow at the screen right now after reading that. It’s not that I dislike the games for any reason, they’ve just failed to grab me the same way that they’ve grabbed countless others. While I can appreciate the franchise’s legendary status and won’t discount any of it, it simply never clicked for me. Hell, I’ve even tried playing the Nintendo 64 version of Ocarina of Time a few years ago, but I couldn’t get past the mess of blurry textures and pointy polygons passing for graphics; I got as far as beating the Deku Tree dungeon, then abandoned the game forever.

However, in the name of inserting a 3DS game cart into my aqua blue handheld — the DS’s Pokemon White had dominated 90% of my playtime with the system — I plunked down the $5 to preorder The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D at GameStop, hoping that I hadn’t jumped the gun by spending $250 for a 3DS at launch.

Consider my purchase justified. Read more of this post

PS Uni — Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 review

It’s been over a week since I last wrote for PlayStation University, but I’ve corrected that by writing a review for Sonic 4, a game I’ve been waiting to play since I played Sonic 3 16 years ago. Click here to check it out.