Sunday Wrap-Up May 21st, 2017.
The Great Memphis Roadtrip of 2K17.
After weeks of build-up, planning, and lots of hype, I finally climbed into my car in southwest Missouri and began the nearly five hour journey to Memphis.
As the beautiful hills and farms of Missouri faded into the rocky and cloud filled Arkansas landscape which then in turn slowly dissolved into the vibrant greens of Tennessee my mind started to wander, as it so often does.
This weekend marks the start of an insane four week stretch of frantic activities for me. Starting with my trip to Memphis the following few weeks included one of my best friends Bachelor party, a week long trip to San Fran for KFL3, and said friends wedding.
A lot is happening these next few weeks. A lot. Yet, it all begins with a fun, goofy weekend trip to Memphis.
One of the guys gave a description of Memphis that I love. The entire city has a chip on it's shoulder, he added that everyone looks at Nashville and all the attention that it gets and just scoffs. That the city almost as one collective force simply chalks that up as another insult and uses that as fuel. Uses that to do even better things, uses that to go even harder. I think this chip on the shoulder attitude of the city is a big part of what helped me fall in love with Memphis.
But anyway. I finally made it to the area and after briefly getting lost in Sean's subdivision I had arrived.
Fancy Grilled Cheese, Switches, and the King of Mario Kart.
After dropping off my stuff and meeting Sean and his fiancee Brittany, we quickly drove over to Kev's place to pick him up and than made our way to dinner.
Said dinner was at a very fancy(certainly for me) restaurant. We all got grilled cheese. This was the moment I knew this trip was going to be awesome. The grilled cheese was lit to quote the kids.
Over dinner we discussed lots of games, I talked about some of my experiences from Pax, and finally I tried my first ever Old Fashioned, which spoilers is fantastic.
Then it was time for Rec Room. The stuff of childhood dreams. Let me paint a picture for you.
Rec Room is huge. One of its walls is just covered in 20 ft TV screens. Opposite of that is a bar. There are tables and benches and an outdoor area that included the largest game of Jenga I've ever seen. The highlight though is the living room areas.
The living rooms which each house one of the mammoth TV's all are centered around a classic video game console. Each comes packed with a silly number of games. Want to grab the NES and play some Ballon Fight, more power to you. Maybe your more of an SNES person, Super Metrioid is more your style. For me though there was no way I couldn't pick the N64. 1080 Snowboarding, Star Wars Podracing, Mario Kart 64, and Mortal Kombat. The entire thing was my craziest, most off the wall dreams from back when I was a kid. I couldn't believe a place like this existed. Yet, here it was, the games, the consoles, the drinks, the whole thing.
But first we had to play some Mario Kart Deluxe on Sean's Switch.
I think I believe now.
It just felt right, played perfectly, and worked to a degree I really couldn't believe. It made me realize that my initial statements that I am not going to get a Switch until Mario comes out is very very off. I get it. I finally and totally get it.
That said Sean obliterated everybody in Mario Kart. Like, I've never seen anything like it. He has to be constantly playing that game or something. I mean...man those were some skills.
I beat him in Mortal Kombat later on though. So I've got that at least.
Beale Street, BBQ, Podcasts, and French Toast.
After waking up the next morning I was treated to what I can only describe as the best and by far largest French Toast I've ever had in my life. It was silly how good it all was and I am still full and very happy more than a day after eating it. So huge shoutout to Brittany for that.
After me and Sean spent a few hours just talking and discussing games and the larger industry, which by the way were some of my favorite moments of the trip, we finally left to go pick up Kev and head to Beale Street.
So, like Beale Street is weirdly fantastic guys. The crowds of people, the drinks, the dudes doing twenty fast paced cartwheels down the street, the live and incredible music. There's just something sorta frantic and frenzied about the whole thing, yet it also sorta feels like time slows down and everything else stops while you're there.
I mean me, Kev, and Sean all walked over to a band getting set up in this tiny pocket of Beale Street. The band started playing and it was incredible, this intoxicating feeling just surrounded and filled up the entire area you couldn't help but be riveted by the comedy act and brilliant music all happening at once by the various band members. I have no idea how long we were there for. It felt like a very very long time, it also felt like it might have only been ten minutes, regardless I loved it.
Also, real talk I maybe had the best BBQ of my entire life this day and that stuff shouldn't be legal man. Like, I don't know what they did, but that was a pulled pork sandwich that took me to another dimension or something. A/10.
Also there's something called Beale Street Flippers who are just a bunch of dudes who do cartwheels down the entire street. I have no words to describe how weird and astounding and daunting the whole thing was. I may be able to do two cartwheels. Maybe.
Eventually, after a brief stop at Memphis's local Bass Pro Shops, which to be clear is inside of a giant, massive Pyramid and also houses a hotel...which is a little different than Missouri's stores, we finally made our way back to Kevin's house for the cookout and podcast.
The cookout was awesome and I'm super happy the weather stayed good enough for it to happen because man that food was real good y'all. Also Kevin has a waterfall thing attached to his pool and it might be the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life. Like, I didn't even know that was a thing. A Waterfall guys!!
After a couple hours of just hanging out and talking it was finally time to record an episode of the guys podcast. It was sorta surreal to see the set get put together, to actually sit behind the table, see the camera and look to my life and right and see Kevin and Sean. How professional, how good everything looked reminded me yet again how talented these sons of guns are.
The guys got a new table and it feels really cool. Which I guess is a weird thing to say. But it does.
And than we talked for two hours.
It was great.
We also all agreed that Batman Vs. Superman is a good movie...so that might burn the internet down in a few days. Oh well.
It's weird. I first discovered Kevin, Sean, and 2 Player Co-Op after they posted one of their episodes on the Kinda Funny Forums.
The thing is, I'm never really on the Kinda Funny Forums. I try to be, but more often than not I go weeks at a time without showing up on the Forums. The sheer fact that I just happened to be somewhat active on the Forums almost exactly a year ago was good timing. The fact that I just so happened to pop over to the community section when they posted on it, a rare and odd touch of fate. The fact that the guys just happened to have posted their Gone Home Spoilercast thoughts, was a perfect way to grab me. The fact that the two were actually articulate, witty, funny, and genuine dudes was the perfect cocktail to hook me beyond this initial episode.
I talk somewhat often about how seemingly random and fortuitous my decision to click on that random episode of Podcast Beyond all those years ago was. That random decision almost instantly changed my life. Set me on this crazy, weird, and wandering adventure of mine. I talk less about how random me going to write for Irrational Passions was. Alex sent out the tweet that he was looking for writers at the exact perfect time, I ignored my doubts and thoughts that I was severely under-qualifed and probably not good enough and went for it anyway, you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don't take right?
I still get giddy over writing for IP, over doing this crazy, silly writing thing. Another AMAZING thing in my life that I could have very easily let fly past me. That I could very easily have missed. Sometimes it's nice to be waaaay more confident in myself than I probably should be.
In the same way clicking on that very early episode of 2 Player Co-Op was a unwittingly big moment for me. Kevin and Sean are fantastic. Staying at Sean's place this weekend, getting AMAZING BBQ with the guys, getting drinks on Beale Street, going to Rec Room, or simply recording the podcast with the boys and having an absolute laughter filled blast, cemented my already strong belief that Kev and Sean are two of the very best guys I know. They are great friends in every single sense of the word.
The two hour long podcast(out later this week) was fun. Yet, it was getting to see the passion, hard work, and thought the two put into what they do firsthand that was so inspiring and that served as an awesome bolt of energy to help push me even harder. These boys really are doing some great work.
One of my favorite quotes from Greg Miller is that he writes and talks about video games as if he was just back home on his old couch talking and telling stories with his childhood best friends. It's a style I've tried to master as best I can and it's a style that Kev and Sean have very much nailed.
So shoutout to Kevin and Sean. I'd also like to give a shoutout to Sean's finance Brittany because she had to put up with me for the weekend too. Also, again she made spectacular French Toast and was just a great person in general.
Honestly though, I'm beyond grateful and thankful for Kev and Sean for putting me up and showing me around Memphis for the entire weekend. I'm just some crazy excitable twenty-something kid from the midwest who for some reason they(and so many others) enjoy spending time with. I'm blown away EVERY single day by how great, kind, funny, and absurdly talented my friends are and this weekend was yet another insane reminder of just how lucky I am. I may not know why all these people are drawn to me, but I am endlessly grateful for them and try every day to earn all this kindness thrown my way.
So, anyway you should go check out 2 Player Co-Op on youtube and subscribe if you haven't yet. My episode with the boys is going to be going up throughout the week and it's great if I may humbly say so. Easily some of the fastest and funniest two hours of my life. I will be tweeting it out all week, so you can't miss it.
The guys are also doing a special live stream broadcast for their 75th episode this weekend that you should absolutely drop in on as well. They are going to be naming their 75 favorite games of all-time, so I'm sure there will be something to yell about, it will be a good ol time.
They are on a quest to get as many subs as possible before than and I think we can absolutely lift them up a little higher y'all. Again, subscribe to the boys and also give them a follow on twitter over @2Player_CoOp and also give Kevin and Sean a follow @KevinWhite24 and @realseanwhite.
So thanks for the good times Memphis, I can absolutely assure you it's not the last time you'll see me. Thanks for being so great boys <3
And that extends to everyone, thank you all so much for being such an awesome and fantastic group of friends, I treasure all y'all everyday and am motivated and inspired to do more every second due to all of your talent and creative energies. Until next time, have a great week and thank you.
P.S. Oh. Also Kevin gave me his 3DS and a copy of Ocarina of Time, so I've been playing that.
I've got some thoughts. ;)