The Nintendo Lesson

“Dad, you may know a lot about old games like Space Invaders and Asteroids but in this house I am the Nintendo Master.”

He is right, in this house he is the Nintendo master and all will readily admit his overall skills are superior to the rest of us, but the Nintendo Master forgets his father can be ridiculously competitive.

The conversation started because he was watching me try to fumble through Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions.

The game had been provided for review by the fine folks at Nintendo and I was happily checking it out or at least trying to.

Trying to meaning that the 3DS didn’t want to cooperate with my fingers or so I tried to claim.

It might have worked but the aforementioned Nintendo Master didn’t have similar issues and his hands are about my size.

The Nintendo Lesson

I listened to his laughter and instruction and after a few minutes agreed that it was worth passing the 3DS over to him so I could see how he played.

Don’t tell him I said this, but I enjoyed listening to him explain how, what and why he was doing certain things and was grateful that this teenage boy was happy to spend time with his old man.

He is a hair short of 17 now and while we haven’t reached a place where he is unwilling to hang out with me it happens with less frequency than before.

The boy who was once my shadow doesn’t always feel like being the shadow anymore.

That is normal and natural, but not without a bit of angst for the old man.


Anyhoo,  as I sat there listening to him talk I thought about buying the Wii when he was around 8 and wondering how long Nintendo would hold his attention.

The games seemed to be geared to younger kids and while that wasn’t a big deal then I figured eventually things would change.

Except they haven’t completely, there are some games he has totally given up on but the Mario games aren’t among them.

He still plays some of the Zelda and Pokemon too among others.

That is not to say he won’t get on one of the other systems and play something more grown-up but he still gets lost in the games on that 3DS which I might add we have had since 2011.

That is a pretty good run.

The Nintendo Lesson Part II

At family gatherings, my middle sister sometimes likes to tell all of the children about how Uncle Jack/Dad and grandpa would play this game where I would end up being sent from the dinner table.

I can’t tell you exactly how or why this game started other than when I was a teen I was smarter than my father and I liked to try and prove it.

On more than few occasions, my dad and I would have a disagreement during dinner that led to my being banished from the table.

While I would like to say my dad was primarily responsible for my exile it is not true, I did quite a bit to make it happen.

Yeah, I was ornery back then and I guarantee there were more than a few comments that made my me that made him want to pick me up and throw me.


Fast forward to the present the Nintendo Master does an excellent impression of me as a teenager with one giant exception.

No one ever took my 3DS because I didn’t have one but he does and his mouth led to it being stripped from his possession.

I told him to consider it to be his Nintendo lesson but I don’t know that he took it as that.

Trust me when I say he is lucky I remember how fiery and feisty I was at his age. 🙂


During the time in which he wasn’t allowed to use or play on the 3DS the old competitive fire burned a bit brighter and I tried to take advantage of the time to improve my skills.

If this were a movie I’d tell you I gained a lot of ground and turned into a Mario powerhouse but that is simply not true.

I got better, but not enough to turn around and say I was the Nintendo Master but I did improve enough to get a thumbs up from him.

And that my friends is worth a lot.

I’ll keep playing these games with him for as long as he’ll let me. Sometimes it is the best way to get a teen to talk.

Disclosure: Product was provided by Nintendo but all opinions are mine.

Nintendo Captures Teens & Monsters

It is neither profound nor particularly insightful to say it can be difficult to capture a teenager’s attention, especially when the person asking for it is their father.

That is not to say mine refuse to pay attention or interact with me because they do on a regular basis but it would be dishonest to say they respond like they did when they were five.

Yep, the sad but true story is they no longer see dear old dad as Superman.

Now, I am a just a man who sometimes does super things for them.

Nintendo Captures Teens & Monsters

Nintendo provided a free version of the Monster Hunter Stories for me to review.

You should consider that to be my disclosure but just in case you didn’t get it, here it is again in bold, Product Was Provided By Nintendo.

My initial idea was that I would play it and then give it to my almost 17-year-old son to try and the two of us would write the review together.

But people plan and G-d laughs and so you have a picture of me above filming my son playing the game.


Because he picked up the 3DS and started playing and it captured his attention almost immediately

Every time I told him our plan was for me to play and then him he asked me to wait just a little bit longer.

Eventually, he broke down and gave me my turn but it wasn’t an unencumbered experience and by that I mean the following.

He tried to coach me the whole way through and while that might sound irritating I didn’t take it like that.

Instead, I was grateful because it gave us something to do together and we enjoyed some father/son time that has been simply wonderful.

Don’t misunderstand that to mean that we never do anything together because we do a lot, but this was different.

Different because he was the expert and he was the person teaching and that was fun for both of us.

Kids Grow & People Change

Steiner the minor and I have always had a good relationship but lately it has been a bit more challenging.

As he has gotten older and more independent there have been more of those moments where we bang heads a little bit.

More moments where I find myself quoting poetry to myself or sharing it with him as we dissect parts and pieces of life.

That Whitman quote above has been of significant importance to both of us.

I have told him I don’t want or need him to be exactly like me but that I also need him to not try so hard to prove he is not.

There is a rhythm and balance that you can find if you look for it but it doesn’t come if you push too hard.

This game came at the right time for us and I think that our collective search master of Monster Hunter Stories helped us find it again.

So if you are looking for a walkthrough with cheats, tips and tricks about how to play this game, well that is not what this review is about.

But if you want an idea about a game that young people and teens can play as well as adults, this might be one to think about.

Disclosure: Product was provided by Nintendo but all opinions are mine.

500 Push-Ups


Ask me to share my dreams with you and one of them will be the tale of the castle I wish to own. I don’t mean that in a metaphorical or figurative sense. I want a castle.

Really, who wouldn’t want to own a castle, private island, private jet and all that comes with it. It is not as silly as it may sound because I am interested in it. While money isn’t how I measure happiness it is a tool I can use to gather more experiences under my belt and owning a castle would be quite nice.

I would be good to the serfs and the peasants in the villages on my land. Lord Jack Steiner, the master of all he surveys- may his vision extend a thousand miles.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it.

Back In The World of Things That Are Easier To Obtain

There was a time in my life when I could 500 push-ups in a day without much effort. Hell, I got to a point where I could picture doing 1,000 but I got bored.

Ok, that is not true, my girlfriend got bored and when you are 19 you listen when your girl says she wants to be part of your exercise session. So I was silly and I listened. Doesn’t mean I gave up exercise altogether because I didn’t but things changed.

Didn’t happen overnight but it feels like it and unlike my dreams of owning a castle this is something I can fix in a relatively short period of time.


Retsu06 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I am working my way towards being able to do 500 push-ups a day again. And for those who are curious I doubt I am going to try to hit 500 in a row.

I have done that, but I was still in my twenties the last time I did it and I am more cautious about what sort of strain I place on my body. Yep, I just admitted I am not invulnerable anymore.

Please don’t share that with anyone as my fragile male ego can’t take it. I’ll probably end up hiding under my desk and once the shame wears off I will come find you and kick you right in the butt with my size 12 boot.

Why 500 Push-Ups?

When and if you ask my why my response is going to be why not.  Maybe it is because I consistently work on my motto of Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control and this fits perfectly.

Maybe it is because sometimes the best way to win the war is to pick and choose your battles. Small victories add up over time and they help build confidence.

Maybe it is because I spend far too much time sitting behind a keyboard and I need to do whatever I can to combat the sedentary lifestyle so many of us have fallen into.

Besides we are in the last quarter of the year and I feel the need to make a big push. 2012 hasn’t been terrible but it hasn’t been great. It hasn’t had enough high moments for me to want to look back upon it with a smile.

I intend to continue to do things to change that. The only question is will my good intentions come to fruition or will they stay here as words on a screen.

The Wii U

Last week I got to participate in a Wii U experience along with many of my fellow Nintendo Brand Ambassadors. I think it is a great unit and that it is going to be hell of a lot of fun to play with.

I played a bunch of different games but my favorite by far was the Batman game. It was really cool and I had great fun being the Dark Knight. If you click on the link you’ll see the video and I am sure you’ll be impressed. Trust me, the Wii U is on my list of things to buy.

But when I got home I looked in the mirror again and said, ‘self, you are soft.’

That is not what you want to say or think. Honest and realistic, but still not what you want, or at least not what I want.

Change is coming and 500 push-ups is part of my process. I owe it to myself and I want my kids to see we aren’t ever too old to take care of ourselves or to try to improve things.

Besides, when I own my castle I want all of the guards to know the Lord of the Manor is a badass who can take them all down. 😉

How To Use Video Games To Build Quality Time With The Kids

The best thing about a home office is the worst thing- you work from home. You might not have a long commute or wear a suit a tie but you also find yourself working around the clock.

It is not always because you have to, but because there is always one more thing to do. Even when you take advantage of the flexibility to go to an early morning activity at the kids’ school you find that you are checking your email. You can’t hide it because the children know that when your eyes float downwards you aren’t checking out your shoes.

I try hard to make a point to disconnect from my electronic devices so that I can give my full attention to the kids. It would be false to say that I turn everything off or that I never find this to be challenging, but I have come up with a few tricks that help.

Video Games & The Silent Phone

One of the smartest things I ever did was turn off the sound on my telephone. When it is on I have this crazy Pavlovian response to the beeps, bells and whistles. If I hear it I find myself compelled to look and see who it is, or that is how it used to be.

After many months of using it the majority of the time without the sound turned on I have found that the compulsion to always check it just isn’t there anymore. During business hours I still check it frequently but now I rely upon the flashing green light.

I don’t know if the children have noticed the difference but I feel like it has made a positive change.

So what do video games have to do with quality time? Well the answer is that I play them with my children. It is not the only thing we do by a long shot.  One of the reasons I like coaching soccer and basketball is because it provides a built in excuse to stop working and go play with them.

But video games are also part of the mix. The children and I have had a lot of fun playing on our 3DS and the Wii.


This week we were among a group of Nintendo Brand Ambassadors who were greeted with some cool Nintendo blankets and Mario Party 9.  Look, I am not going to give you a long review of why I like the game because that isn’t what this post is about.

Per FTC requirements I will disclose that I received it as compensation but like I said I am not really writing this solely to promote Nintendo either. I am of an age where I grew up playing Pong, Space Invader, Asteroids and Atari.

I begged my parents to get one of those cool Intellivision units so we could have the baseball game that talked, but we never did get it.

The point of all that is that I still enjoy playing video games but without the kids I probably wouldn’t spend a ton of time playing them. But it would be false to say that I don’t enjoy it because it is fun and it is pretty damn cool to listen to my son talk about my Nintendo connection. Kid makes me sound like a video game dealer.

Anyhoo, this week we have spent a chunk of time checking out Mario Party 9 and had a lot of fun doing it. One of the related benefits is that my son tends to be more willing to provide more specific details about what he is doing in school while he is playing then when he isn’t.

I don’t know if it is because he is distracted but I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I appreciate him giving me the skinny.

Reggie, Help a Brother Out

English: Reggie Fils-Aime at the Game Develope...

English: Reggie Fils-Aime at the Game Developers Conference in 2011 (third day), during the session “Video Games Turn 25: A Historical Perspective and Vision for the Future”. Français : Reggie Fils-Aime à la Game Developers Conference en 2011 (troisième jour). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you not wearing your reading glasses, that caption says Reggie Fils-Aime. Reggie is the big dog at Nintendo America. I have met him twice now, once at the Brand Ambassador trip to Nintendo Corporate in 2011 and once at the LA Auto Show.

That is where that picture was taken. He is sitting in one of the real life models of the cars used in Mario Kart 7. I was there and I can tell you that those cars are pretty damn cool. I can also tell you that my son is dying for me to get one of those cars.

So on the off chance that Reggie reads this I’ll say that if you could hook me up with one of those I would be the coolest dad at the school. I like to think that I am cool without it, but hell that would definitely raise my coolness factor a notch wouldn’t it.

What do you think?

Dear Nintendo I Want This Car

A working version of Mario Kart.

A working version of Mario Kart.

Last month I made a special trip down to the LA Auto Show to see the cars and to hear a special announcement from Nintendo about some new cars that were built for them. I liked the picture that I shared with you but it is not as cool as the video below.

And with Chanukah around the corner I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to ask Nintendo to give me my own Mario Kart.