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Column: Game Time With Mr Raroo

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos: 2011 Edition (Collecting Our Final Thoughts)

July 25, 2011 3:00 PM |

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos

[GameSetWatch columnists The Raroos wrap up their San Diego Comic-Con coverage with Missus Raroo's thoughts on the "Catch 'em all" mentality. In case you missed the Raroos' other Comic-Con write-ups, be sure to check out their account of Preview Night, The First Day and The Second Day, and The Third Day, not to mention their photo gallery of Sega Arcade.]

Attending Comic-Con has been a family tradition for Mister Raroo and me that goes back to when we first started dating. This year, we were able to share the experience with our two children, and it stood out as the first time that our four-year-old son truly anticipated the convention. I was impressed that he actually remembered going last year, but of course, his main memory of it is just as a place where he got new toys.

Thus, besides passing along the tradition of Comic-Con to our kids, this year's experience at the convention made me take some time to reflect on how Mister Raroo and I have already managed to unintentionally pass along the drive to "collect." I started to think about the compulsion to collect while at the LEGO booth, where my son and I simultaneously lit up upon spotting some boxes of little orange Minifigures packages at the sales counter.

Sega Arcade Opens in San Diego (But Only During Comic-Con)

July 24, 2011 2:00 PM |

Sega Arcade

Each year more and more San Diego Comic-Con-related happenings and attractions seem to be taking place off site. This year, for instance, I happened across something a few blocks from the convention center that caused me to do a double take.

Sega Arcade? In downtown San Diego? Whaaaaat? Had I suddenly been transported to Akihabara?!

Sadly, as I came closer, I realized this was not actually a new arcade, but rather just an exhibition for Sega to show off their upcoming game releases. Still, to their credit, Sega did it with style. They rented a storefront and transformed it into what is essentially the ultimate Sega mancave.

The Sega Arcade was open to anyone, so it drew not only Comic-Con attendees, but members of the general public as well.

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos: 2011 Edition (Part 4)

July 24, 2011 10:00 AM |

Raroos: More Than Meets the Eye

[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo and his family continue their report on San Diego Comic-Con International with a chronicle of the third full day of the convention. If you missed them, be sure to check out their account of Preview Night, The First Day and The Second Day.]

There's a certain look that enters the eyes of many Comic-Con attendees when they see families heading their way. Missus Raroo and I are all too familiar with it and we get the message loud and clear: "Oh dear god, here come kids."

The last couple of days Missus Raroo and I attended Comic-Con by ourselves while our little ones were at daycare. Today, however, Kaz and Yoshie came along to join in the adventure. And, not surprisingly, I noticed quite a few Comic-Con attendees give us "the look" as our family walked in their direction.

It's much more difficult to traverse through the crowds of attendees with our kids in tow, and fatigue set on much quicker than it did the previous two days. We also weren't able to really do what we wanted to do, with most of our activity centering around looking for toys and other spots of interest for our children.

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos: 2011 Edition (Part 3)

July 23, 2011 11:00 AM |

The Worst Saxophone Player Ever

[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo and his family continue their report on San Diego Comic-Con International with a chronicle of the third full day of the convention. If you missed them, be sure to check out their account of Preview Night and The First Day.]

On the walk to the convention center this morning, we were serenaded by the worst saxophone "player" ever. I'm using quotes because that was definitely not music we heard.

I felt bad for the guy. When I stopped to snap his photo, he must have thought I was going to give him a tip, because he posed for the camera. But his rendition of "Happy Birthday" or whatever the heck that squawking was supposed to be was not the least bit worthy of even a penny. Sorry, sax guy.

Thankfully, the saxophone "music" we were "treated" to was not at all representative of how the day would turn out. In fact, it may have been the best day of the convention yet for us!

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos: 2011 Edition (Part 2)

July 22, 2011 12:00 PM |

Street Fighter X Tekken X Raroo

[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo and his family continue their report on San Diego Comic-Con International with a chronicle of the first full day of the convention. If you missed it, be sure to check out their account of Preview Night. Look for more updates from the Raroos in the coming days.]

We don't usually bother standing in line to get autographs because, well, standing in line is pretty boring and there are much better things to go. But in the case of having a chance to meet Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada and Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono, we lucked out in timing because the line was short, and it only took a couple minutes to get to the front.

It was cute to see that Ono had his little Blanka figure with him, which seems to travel along with Ono wherever he goes. Ono seems like a pretty happy guy. I bet it would be fun to party with him. And by "party" I mean enjoy my famous baked-from-scratch cookies while we play video games together. That's pretty much my idea of partying.

Comic-Con Time With the Raroos: 2011 Edition (Part 1)

July 21, 2011 11:00 AM |

Eff You, Hot Dog

[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo and his family are representing GameSetWatch at San Diego Comic-Con International once again. We plan to run daily updates from the Raroos, beginning with this account of their adventures on Preview Night.]

We love San Diego Comic-Con! Sure, it's ridiculously crowded and your feet will be throbbing at the end of the day from all the walking you'll do. And yes, the convention center is packed to the rafters with people, many of whom don't necessarily put personal hygiene at the top of their to-do lists. But it's an amazing spectacle no matter how you look at it, and whatever your interests may be, you'll most likely find something that suits your fancy amidst the endless rows of booths or in the countless meetings and panels. Comic-Con has something for everyone.

The San Diego Comic-Con staff really seem to have their act together this year. We made it through the extraordinarily long Press and Professional Registration line in but minutes, giving us a couple hours to spare before the show floor opened. We decided to kill time by filling our bellies with an early dinner.

So, here we have our son enjoying a not-so-healthy feast of French fries and a hot dog. Notice the middle finger. We're pretty sure Kaz doesn't understand what that means yet, but you never know. He was acting all tough the whole time he ate his meal, for some reason. All that was missing was for him to say something like, "Eff you, hot dog, get in my stomach."

Mister Raroo at E3 2011: I Need a Cup of Coffee

June 10, 2011 9:00 AM |

Bang Your Head[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo wraps up his E3 coverage and reports on the third day at the convention. Included in the write-up are mentions of Power Rangers, booth babes, coffee, and other such pressing topics. Make sure you take a look at Mister Raroo's first and second day reports, too!]

This statue that caught my attention. I noticed it while walking to the convention center in the morning. On first glance I thought it was a businessman slamming his head against a wall, but it turns out it’s supposed to be some type of artistic metaphor representing something about success in business. However, since I don’t often “get” art, I’m going to just pretend my initial impression is accurate. I was beginning to feel a bit like that statue.

I can see how so many people in the video games media and industry become jaded about attending E3. It takes a major toll on your mind and body. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed when my DSi’s alarm started its attempts to awaken me at 7:30 am.

All my limbs felt heavy and my eyelids were refusing to open. However, the end of E3 was in sight, and in spite of my fatigue I was still enthusiastic to see more at the show. I forced myself to get up and prepare for one final day. Once out of bed, I actually felt pretty good.

However, I was feeling rather guilty about being away from my family because my toddler daughter Yoshie had been sick the last couple of days. So, while I was fretting over trying to find a chance to play the Wii U, my sweet little girl was back home feeling miserable. It made me blue that I wasn’t home to snuggle with her and help her feel better.

Mister Raroo at E3 2011: An Overload of StreetPasses (And Everything Else)

June 9, 2011 7:00 AM |

[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo continues his E3 coverage with another report of the day's adventures. Unlike other media outlets, only Mister Raroo's write up delivers such hard-hitting content like eating sugary cereal, watching the gaming media go into a food frenzy, and talking to others with food on one's face. Be sure to read Mister Raroo's day one write-up if you haven't already, and look for his E3 finale soon!]

Breakfast of Champions

My son would be proud of me because I had his favorite cereal for breakfast: Froot Loops. I snagged the last bagel at the free continental breakfast my motel offers, too, much to the chagrin of other guests who came in just a minute or two too late to wolf down some carbs for breakfast.

It’s usually difficult for me to sleep well when I’m away from home, but after a long first day at E3, I had no trouble zonking out last night. This is especially good because the walls in the motel are paper thin, and I could hear someone in the next room snoring. That’s not nearly as entertaining as the time I heard a couple having extremely loud sex while staying in a hotel in Chicago.

It was a refreshing walk over to E3 this morning. The sky was overcast, the air was cool, and I listened to an episode of the Player One Podcast. When I got close to the convention center I noticed Leigh Alexander and stopped briefly to say hello. She does indeed possess what may very well be the best hair in the video game industry. So curly!

I also had an opportunity to briefly chat with Tim Rogers before the convention doors opened. I was quite amused by the fact that he was wearing a blue track suit and red sneakers in honor of going to some Sonic the Hedgehog party in the evening. There was a guy talking to Tim that I think was a huge fan, and it was heartwarming to see him struggle to strike up random bits of conversation with his hero. I know how it is to feel awkward like that.

Mister Raroo at E3 2011: First Day Jitters

June 8, 2011 11:00 AM |

Mister Raroo Being Silly at E3[We sent regular GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo to E3 to report on the experiences of being there. For this first day he details his travel to Los Angeles, the games he saw, the people he met, and even the food he ate, all with his usual intimate style. Look forward to Mister Raroo’s updates over the next couple days as well.]

I stayed up until almost 2:00 am Monday night, haphazardly preparing for my short drive up the California coast to attend E3. This is only the second year I’ve taken part in the conference, with 2006 (the year Nintendo unveiled the Wii) being the other time. That year I was able to enjoy E3 with Missus Raroo by my side, but this time she stayed home with our kids.

I definitely feel funny about being away from my family. This is the first time I’ve taken a trip by myself, and I feel more than a little lost. Whenever we travel, Missus Raroo always takes on the role of our family’s navigator and coordinator. She is so reliable and prepared! I never take this fact for granted, but I also have come to rely on it a bit too much. Without her, I’m kind of a mess.

And yet, I still made it. Amazingly!

Game Time With Mister Raroo: "Safe Travels, My Little Pokémon Trainer"

May 3, 2011 12:00 AM |

Maré's Game Time Logo[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo follows up his report of Nintendo's Pokémon Black & White Tour with a sweet, touching reflection on being a parent and watching your children grow up. Special guest artwork supplied by Maré Odomo.]

I Wanna Be the Very Best

If you were kind enough to read my write-up of the Pokémon Black & White mall tour, you’d know that my family loves Pokémon in all shapes and forms. In fact, my son Kazuo even sees our family structure as if it were straight out of the Pokémon animated series. He has decided that he is Ash, his sister Yoshie is Pikachu, Missus Raroo is Misty, and I’m Brock.

Kaz recently celebrated his fourth birthday. He is now at the age where he has the attention span to focus on video games, and we have been enjoying Pokémon Black together, usually playing a little bit before bed every night.

It’s a very sweet bonding experience. We brush our teeth and change into our pajamas, then climb into bed and snuggle next to one another, hoping to encounter some new Pokémon that we’ve never seen before. Often he gets to stay up past his bedtime because his enthusiasm and excitement are just too adorable for me to resist.

The Raroos According to Kaz

Sometimes as I lay there next to Kaz a thought will pop into my head: Being a parent is kind of like being a Pokémon trainer. Children’s development hinges in large part upon the time and effort their parents are willing to put in, which parallels Pokémon and their trainers.

There are some parents and Pokémon trainers alike that pour countless amount of attention on their favorite little monsters, while others would rather just drop them off at daycare as long as possible and let someone else do the work. As with Pokémon, children excel in different areas, and parents need to recognize and appreciate the unique strengths of their children and help foster their development accordingly.

Though training Pokémon can be tiring, raising children can be downright exhausting. Parenting is a job that doesn’t ever stop—at least, it is if you actually care about being a parent. I can’t simply put Kaz away into a Pokéball and forget about him when I’m feeling burnt out. The closest thing I can do is hope he’ll entertain himself for a little while with his toys (or, when I’m really lazy, his favorite television shows). Being a parent is hard work, and I know I’m far from perfect.

I make a lot of mistakes as a parent. Sometimes I raise my voice at my kids, and on rare occasions I even throw in the towel and let my son and daughter get away with being naughty because I’m too tired to put up a fight. I’ve been a parent for a little over four years now, yet there are times I still feel like an absolute beginner. Each day is a learning experience, and the most I can do is try not to repeat my blunders.
I Wanna Be the Very Best!
But, despite my shortcomings, I take my role as a dad to heart and I’m very involved in my kids’ development, and that counts for a lot. And, thankfully I’m not alone. My wife is a great teammate, and together we pick up each other’s slack. If Kaz and Yoshie are our little Pokémon, we’re doing our best to get them ready to take on the top challenges that await them as they journey forward in their lives. I know I’m not a perfect parent, but that’s not going to stop me to keep striving to be. I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was!