The following is the true story of my daughter, Freya Rose. She passed away on January 21, 2016 and was born a day later.

Part 3: The Instructions

I find a pamphlet that was hiding under the changing station I had built for her. In it are the directions on how to take the two boxes of scrambled parts we were given by my mother-in-law and turn them into a crib. Everything is simple: pictures, not words. As I flip through it for the second time in the span of a few months, I remember how complicated it seemed to put together despite the man in the instructions showing me plainly what to do. 

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The following is the true story of my daughter, Freya Rose. She passed away on January 21, 2016 and was born a day later.

Part 2: The Mattress

I wrap the mattress tighter than I do the wooden slats. I know that if I could just put enough pressure on the mattress, if I can squeeze it tight enough, it might just take up less room in our crawlspace. Maybe then I’ll have room for something other than this crib.
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The following is the true story of my daughter, Freya Rose. She passed away on January 21, 2016 and was born a day later.

Part 1: The Screws

The screws are hard to take out. I’ve assembled and disassembled a lot of furniture in my time but I’ve never encountered any screws that were this hard to take out. Were they this hard to get in when I put it together? I can’t remember now. 
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I haven’t written anything for a while. In fact, it’s been over a year. It’s always been normal for me to take long breaks from this platform, whether that’s a few weeks or even a few months. This is the first time I’ve had a good reason.

Over the next little while, I’m going to be sharing the story of my daughter’s birth as well as her death. It isn’t an easy story to tell but I feel that, on some deeper level, its telling will be therapeutic for me. I’ve told my story to many people in my circle of family and friends but some of you, including you internet strangers, haven’t heard it before. Maybe that’s what I’m trying to accomplish in writing this all out: dealing with the death of a child is a strange and uncomfortable experience because no one talks about it. The death of a child is so unnerving to some that they would rather ignore it altogether than acknowledge the deep impact it has on a family. I hope that by sharing my story I can change that, even just a little.

This is the story of how I had to take my daughter’s crib apart before I ever got the chance to lay her down to sleep.

When I moved in with my girlfriend, I warned her that I was hooking my PS3 up to our TV. She said “that’s fine as long as you don’t mind me hogging it!” I soon realized that she was joking and that the last console she’d played on was the Sega GameGear. Still, that statement stuck with me.

Last winter, I started gushing about how great this game Don’t Starve was.  Because I often played on my Vita.while we were watching TV, she had plenty of opportunities to glance over to see what was so great about these little 2D sprites waddling through forests and cobblestone paths. I eventually convinced her to chop down a few trees herself, guiding her through the process by looking over her shoulder. Within minutes, she was hooked.

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I recently set a challenge for myself: start reading again. Don’t get me wrong, I read things all the time. I read street signs, news articles, forum threads, work reports, even receipts. But not novels for some reason. I used to read fiction all the time as a youngster. I consumed so many books I was often told to go play outside “for once.”

But as I went through university and was forced to read “their” books and as the internet became more of a thing for me, my reading habits died down. A lot. As someone who writes a lot, this is a bad thing. If you want to be a professional basketball player, you don’t just practice your layups all day; you have to watch pro games and analyze what you’re seeing. So, with that analogy in mind, I started a bookclub.

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sportsfriends splash

I recently had the chance to sit down with my girlfriend and my brother to play a local multiplayer game that’s been sitting on my PS3 for ages: Sportsfriends. The game consists of four “minigames” that center around the physicality of the console experience.

What do I mean by “physicality”? Well, I’ve always been a big fan of finding new ways to use controllers, and Sportsfriends scratches that itch in a big way. Most of the games find creative ways to involve you in managing the space that you’re playing in (the literal space, not the virtual space) which is something I can definitely get behind.

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Cthulhu Gloom

A friend of mine got me a card game called Cthulu Gloom for my birthday a few months ago. I didn’t really get a chance to play it until recently, partly because it’s so much easier to pick up a new video game and learn the rules in a virtual environment than it is to actually read a pamphlet full of foreign-looking text and try to suss out how to play something you’ve never seen before.

Still, I took the time to play a few practice rounds on my own before sitting my co-worker down on our lunch break and forcing him to have fun with me. Having now taught the game to two more people, I’m beginning to realize what a huge advantage table top/card games can be when thinking about designing video games.

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wario ware diy

For those who read my blog way back in the day, you’ll know that I’ve tried my hand at making games. Even if I haven’t done much on that front in the past little while, my desire to make games hasn’t faded in the slightest. So when I saw that there was a way to gamify learning how to make games, I pounced on it right away.

Wario Ware D.I.Y. for Nintendo DS was exactly what I needed. It’s based off the main series in that the games you make are simple minigames, with only one type of input and maybe one or two goals to achieve in a few seconds before the time runs out. The minigames might not look like much, but that’s part of the reason why D.I.Y. is such an effective teaching tool.

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rogue legacyI’m starting to like roguelikes more and more (see my Spelunky post), but Rogue Legacy has me confused. At first, it seemed like any other Binding of Isaac-esque game where you dungeon crawl procedurally-generated levels while the action amps up, but then there’s this weird currency system, too.

As it turns out, the currency system flips the roguelike genre on its head, changing each dungeon crawl from a “virgin” run (i.e. you start out at the same strength level every time) to more of an RPG-rooted dungeon crawl where each run you take makes you–potentially–stronger. Thankfully, it’s the “potentially” part of that statement that makes the game worth playing.

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