How I realized my obsessive computer habits were turning me into a monster

I didn’t really realize it before, but I had some pretty obsessive tendencies when it came to my laptop and its setup. In my life, I’m a complete neat freak or anything, but things have their places and that’s sort of where they belong. And as I sort of relaxed a little on that, apparently I went way far the other way with my computer. Things had their place and they could not change.

really dislike letting people borrow my laptop because I just know my browser tabs are going to get messed up. Heck. I don’t even really like turning off my computer completely because it means I’ve got to set everything back up the way I need it to be — and lord help me if Chrome forgets all the tabs I need open. What if it loses that article I’ve had open for 6 weeks but have yet to read because I’ll get to it soon, you know? Or the three other articles like it just sitting and waiting to be read. Seriously. It was a problem.

It really came to my attention during all this new time at home. I was watching TV and I just looked down, Do I really need my laptop open right now? Of course inner me starts thinking about all the stuff on social media I’m going to miss if I do not keep everything open all the time. The political and social climate is to dire and important to be uninformed! Or what about the emails?! How will I keep up if I can’t constantly check it? Those 47 sale alert emails for stores I never shop at won’t just sigh and delete themselves! It’s ridiculous, right?

I’ve generally always made use of Apple’s Spaces or Mission Control or whatever it’s called now. The multiple desktop thing. On Desktop 1, I’d have a Chrome window with my gmail, Facebook, Feedly, and my blog’s dashboard. On Desktop 2, it was basically TweetDeck (and all it’s many columns) and whatever else I’d kept open for weeks/months. Recently, I’d started keeping my twitch following dashboard open there, too. Those thing? Could not ever change. A third desktop was kept for pretty much all programs not Chrome: Steam was open all the time, recently Discord’s been open. It’s where I’d do all my writing or design work. I absolutely did not realize just how much stress all of this obsessive order was causing. It would sometimes be 10 minutes of internal debating before I’d close a tab, especially one like TweetDeck or Twitch or Facebook. That FOMO thing? Kind of real.

So about a week ago, I made some big changes. I’ll admit, yes, this was all largely motivated because Chrome and it’s little Chrome Helper things were absolutely destroying my CPU. But, I also knew I just had a problem letting go, and it was getting kind of bad.

My Mission Control now looks like this:

Just two desktops. One for Chrome, one for not-Chrome. And if you notice, there’s not really much opened on Chrome right now. I’ve got a stream I’m listening to in the background, and I’d just opened TweetDeck to check in but also find someone I’d previously been interested in to date but is now in Europe and worked on one of my favorite new games ever (like, whoa that was weird to realize this morning). Anyway. Point: I’m reducing my Chrome footprint, too.

Rather than keep 5000 tabs open all the time… I’m making use of the bookmarks bar. I’ve got all my essentials right there. (And to save space, I’ve just deleted the text and am going with the favicons.)

Honestly, since I check my phone still a decent amount, I don’t need to have my gmail or twitter or twitch open all day long. It’ll let me know if there’s something new. To actually close all of my tabs and not even really have Chrome open outside of in the dashboard… It’s kind of nice. Very weird, too. But there’s not really anything so pressing that I’ve got to keep it on and open and in my face. And of course, with everything going on, it’s nice to feel control over at least one thing in my life right now. But maybe at least now I can cross “FOMO Tab Monster” off my list of personality traits.

What about you? Do you have any obsessive or near-obsessive quirks about your computer setup?

4 things on the internet that I hate

We all have internet pet peeves, things that make us cringe or even just rage quit the page. I’m not just talking trolls and 4chan. I like to think I’m a pretty tolerant person. But these few things here just drive me crazy and I beyond strongly dislike them.

» Listicles with multiple pages. Listicles are extremely clickbait-y. I get that and I’m ok with it. But when you make us click through page after page, or it’s one of those image galleries you have to keep clicking through. Unless it’s a list of 101 and you have paragraphs with each entry, put it all on one page. And if it is 101 with long paragraphs for each, maybe do some editing. But when it’s extremely clickbait-y, like 11 words people on the internet keep misspelling (aka a lot of it is autocorrect issues), it should all be on one page. ONE.

» Autoplaying video ads. I think everyone hates these. Autoplay is the absolute worst. I do not want it unless I’ve given the option upfront to specifically choose it. (Because, hey, sometimes I do want it on netflix and hulu, but that’s it.) The absolute worst are the ones that take forever to load, and then start playing after you’ve been on the page for a few minutes. (Or the ads, video or not, who cause the whole page to lag in loading.)

» Video articles without transcripts. This is mostly for news articles. I’ll see a headline on facebook, click to read an article, and discover it’s only a video. Now I get some people just love videos — it’s why we have YouTube. I’m not really one of those people. I’m the type that likes to have something on in the background, like netflix/hulu or twitch, and then read various things. Please just let me skim your articles rather than forcing me to sit through however long your video is.

» RSS excerpts. I’ve ranted on this for years. Years. I will unfollow blogs, no matter how much I like the person, because they only allow excerpts of their posts for RSS readers. I’m the type that wants to read everything in my reader of choice (Feedly) and then if I want to comment, or just to give page views, I’ll click through. More often than not I skim blogs first, and then when I find it’s interesting, I read them straight through. (Of course, a few bloggers I always read completely, which is why I sometimes get a backlog of anywhere from 2-6 posts of theirs in my RSS and I just read them all at once when I can finally give them the time they deserve.) Anyway. Go into your blog settings and pick “full posts” please!

Ok. So unload. What do you hate on the internet?

UncommonGoods, Uncommonly Good: Birthday Gift List edition

This post is sponsored by Find the best ideas for men, women and kids at UncommonGoods. They carry thousands of unique and unusual gifts, from fun jewelry and cool accessories to creative home decor and kitchen items.

I use to be the best wish list maker. No joke. And it wasn’t always those stereotypical what-every-kid-asks-for lists like puppies or ponies or rocket ships. (Though I totally had a puppy on my list until I was 14. And that’s because that was when I finally got one.) I always had the coolest, but within reason, toys and games. As I got older, my lists got better. I could actually fine tune my list based on which relative I was sending it to according to the likelihood they’d buy it for me. In my twenties, as adulthood kicked in and I got fewer and fewer gifts, I knew to ask for somewhat practical yet fun gifts. That’s how I ended up with a deep fryer one year.

This year, though, as I ready myself for 32… I’ve got nothing. Sure there are things I’d like, but nothing really “birthday wish list” worthy. Fitbit is a bit too on the expensive side. Roomba is on the beyond the expensive side. And the new tervis tumbler is just kind of meh. Plus, I can’t put those on a list and be like “oh hey, yet another tervis” because it’s the only affordable item I asked for.

Thankfully, though, through this partnership with UncommonGoods, I’m finding a lot of stuff that I might not have necessarily thought to get or ask for. UncommonGoods is a company that works to connect you, the shopper, with unique and fun goods from a variety of craftsmakers and artisans. (Coolest thing of all is that the whole shop was inspired by a Smithsonian Museum craft show!) They have a wide variety of items, in a vast price range. I was actually really shocked at how much stuff they have on their site. I wasn’t sure I was actually going to see everything! However, to help you guys navigate through it all, I’m going to highlight some items from their super helpful lists. And since my birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, why not look through their birthday gift guide? Now. They also have this broken down into birthday gifts for her and birthday gift for him — if splitting things up help like that helps you out at all.

It was really hard to pick my top favorites, but here are 9 items I really love!

UncommonGoods Birthday Gift Lists

  1. Elwood the Rainbow Unicorn Mug – I mean, who doesn’t want a giant rainbow unicorn for their coffee/tea/cocoa? It would just make mornings magical.
  2. Scratch Map – I’ve had my eye on this map for over a year now. Not even for myself, but for a couple of my younger sisters. It’s a super fun way to document your travels!
  3. Literary Candles – Let’s be honest, while all of these are fun, I most definitely want my home smelling of 221B Baker Street (which is a combination of Black currant tea and leather books)! Also cool and related: they have those amazing Literary Scarves! Something I also love.
  4. City Map Glasses – I am absolutely in love with the Chicago glass. I would likely even order extras just in case I accidentally broke this–heaven forbid!
  5. Foodie Dice – I. Love. These. I am actually 100% most definitely getting a set of these for myself for my cooking streams. It has a cooking method, a protein (animal and non), veggie/sides, spices, and carb/grains. I think it’d add a fun crazy element to my streams — the unpredictability of it all and having to come up with a recipe on the spot. I just love this idea.
  6. Flavors of America Salt Collection – There’s 11 different salts in this collection that span across the country. From Maine to California to even Hawaii. I’m a sucker for spices, especially salts. And I would love to explore these on various meals. (Or, ok, yes, I would my cross-country season fries.) This is just one of many spice collections from UncommonGoods I’d like to get.
  7. Scotch Infused Toothpick Gift Set – I love scotch. Scotchy scotch scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly. (For real, though, there were a lot of boozy gifts. Like a lot. I had a hard time narrowing it down so it wouldn’t look like I was some terrible alcoholic.)
  8. Homemade Gin Kit – Speaking of boozy… They actually have a lot of cool brew-it-yourself kits. Everything from different types of beers to kombucha to liquors. I’ve not had a huge amount of exposure to gin, but it’s something I’d like to try more of. In moderation, and stuff, of course.
  9. Novel Teas – Again another literary gift. There’s 25 tea bags, each with a quote from an author. It’s English Breakfast tea — aka caffeinated, so I can’t have it — but again, this is one that’s been on my eye as gifts for others.

Like I said, I had a super hard time narrowing things down. There’s just a huge wide variety of items on UncommonGoods. Yes, I’ll admit, something are out of my price range… but they do indeed have a lot of affordable items as well. And definitely a lot of items I’ll be (not-so) secretly wishing for this year!

Have you checked out UncommonGoods before? What’s your favorite item?

It’s really here. 1000 posts.

999. I’ve been staring at that number for a while now. Watching slowly as the numbers slowly creep up, ever closer. And now, with this post, I’ve reach that long awaited goal: 1000 posts. It’s kind of intimidating, to be honest. 1000 posts. I feel like I should use it on something exciting, something worth while. It’s probably why I’ve been so hesitant to reach this milestone.

I’ve been blogging here since 2008 — but blogging in general on either livejournal or xanga or some crappy geocities/angelfire site since at least 2001. To say I’m a different person from when I first started is a bit of an understatement. In 15 years or 8 years, that was bound to happen. I think it’s with that, that I was kind of hoping I could have some meaningful post. But, honestly, those big, giant epic posts? Those just are me. And though my posts have changed over the years, I feel pretty confident in saying this site in many ways does represent me. Or at least one side of me. While it may not have always been the full picture, I don’t believe I’ve ever tried to misrepresent myself on this blog.

That’s not to say that I haven’t gotten blog envy. I have. And still do. I have and do struggle with finding my blog community. I haven’t found anything like 20SB, and I don’t know if I ever will. Blogging, and the internet community, has changed a lot. However, rather than finding this set community with a nicely branded named and all that… I have indeed found a community — a hodge-podge collection of amazing people on the internet that I definitely value.

Over the course of this blog you’ve seen me attempt careers, attempt writing programs, attempt relationships… You’ve seen me run off with a crazy circus punk rock marching band. Seen me deal with endometriosis. Seen me struggle to try to figure out who I am and what my path is. Through this blog, you’ve been a witness to various parts of my life. And that — witnessing — is a powerful thing.

I do want to be a better blogger. Write about adventures. Take better pictures. To share more. However, I battle with also wanting to simply be present in the moment. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get that balance truly figured out. Especially with more and headier academic work coming my way. But I’m going to try. Because despite things not being perfected and wrapped up in a nice bow, I am happy. It feels strange to have that sort of peace, when other things are so uncertain and I still get feelings of failure. But at least this one aspect of my life — this path, this direction I’m heading — I’ve not had anything feel so right in my life. I’m excited about it. And I want to share it.

So thank you, so very very much for being here. I don’t care whether this is your first post with me, or you’ve been with me for years. Thank you. Here’s to 1000 more!

That time I tried Watermelon PopTarts…

Ok, first, let me say this is not a sponsored post. I bought these with my own money, because I was genuinely curious about these. I am in no way affiliated with Kellogg’s or PopTart, received no compensation from anyone, and all these opinions are my own.

I love watermelon. It’s my absolute favorite flavor in so many situations. Watermelon sorbet? YES. Watermelon cupcakes? YES. Watermelon lemonade? YES. I love all these things. They’re amazing and I could consume my weight in them. I also just love eating watermelon, too. Of course.

So while out shopping with my brother one weekend, we saw some new limited edition PopTart flavors. Chocolate caramel, Maple Bacon, and Watermelon. My only prior experience with limited edition PopTarts, that I can remember, are the pumpkin pie seasonal ones. They aren’t bad, definitely need toasted. It’s not pumpkin spice, for sure, which was great. But it was like a little pocket pumpkin pie — which was what I wanted. Anyway, when I was shopping recently at my local discount grocery store, I noticed they had actual Kellogg’s PopTarts (not just their own store brand). And low and behold they had the Watermelon ones. (And also the chocolate caramel, but I wasn’t as interested in those. Sadly no maple bacon.) So I bought a box.

PopTarts Watermelon flavor

I figure, if I’m going to try these, why not document it. (And apparently document it early morning without make up and some crazy hair I attempted to hide behind a headband… because yolo?)

PopTarts Watermelon

I mean, these ones look fun. Ignore the brokenness of them, because I may have dropped the box at least once while trying to put my groceries away. But anyway. Bright pink and green. Almost like the 90s painted themselves all over my breakfast. And it’s a lot more vibrant and 90s looking in person, don’t let the lighting in the photo fool you. They’re pretty much on par for the color on the box.

Anyway. Frankly, as much as I love watermelon, I was super nervous. I don’t like fruit-flavored PopTarts. I never have. Give me s’mores or chocolate fudge or my all-time favorite: frosted brown sugar cinnamon. But any of the fruity ones? Gag. No. I cannot stand them.

Watermelon PopTart taste test

Preparing for that first bite… what did I get myself into? Is this going to be terrible? Is this going to be my absolute favorite thing ever?

Watermelon PopTart first bite

As you can see, I’m still not sure what I just put in my mouth.

Watermelon PopTart taste test

Is this really bad? Is it ok? It kind of tastes like watermelon. Maybe I need a bigger bite…

Watermelon PopTart taste test

What did I do? Why did I take such a big bite?!

Watermelon PopTart Taste Test

Overall, yeah, they kind of taste like watermelon. And for sure they leave a watermelon aftertaste. But… I don’t know. Something is just off. Almost like it’s too sweet for watermelon. Which, I mean, I like watermelon lemonade which is also sweet. But it’s sour. There’s a balance. With the PopTarts… I don’t know. I think it’s still just I hate fruit-flavored PopTarts and that’s just never going to change. Maybe if they make a fig one. Because it’ll essentially be a giant newton.

The thing is though. Even though I wasn’t really a fan of the watermelon PopTarts… I kind of want to keep eating them. And I have no idea why.

Let me know if you try this and what your reaction is. Also, if you’d like me to try the Maple Bacon and review it online — would you want more awkward photos in a blog review, a short instagram video review, or an actual youtube review? Or should I just enjoy my poptarts in the privacy of my own home?

Dear Brands: how to work with bloggers

I’ve been blogging for a long while — at least since 2000 or 2001. In that time I’ve gotten the opportunity to interact with a lot of brands. Some awesome and amazing, some… not so much.

If you’ve got a blog, you’ve probably received those emails… The ones asking you to write a post about or including their product. Often they want you to make a list of cool gifts or awesome snacks, and make sure you include their product. When I get these, I reply with the same response: if I feel like this brand is a good fit for me and my community, I let them know, and then I also let them know my rate for sponsored posts. Or I offer to do a product review if they’d be willing to send something to me.

I love working with brands, I won’t lie. My time as a Nintendo Brand Ambassador has been absolutely wonderful. Through this opportunity, I not only got to share a company I love, but I have made some amazing friendship which I treasure dearly. Did I get free stuff? Yeah. That was awesome. It was part of the deal. However, it made no difference in my love for Nintendo as a brand and company. It was Nintendo’s way of saying thank you, as well as Nintendo saying “I value you, as a fan and blogger.”

Am I entitled to free stuff just because I’m a blogger? Absolutely not. That was a big issue a few years ago. Bloggers trying to get all sorts of shit for free just because they were a blogger. That’s not how this works. BUT, the thing is, as a blogger my brand and my community are indeed valuable. If they weren’t, these brands wouldn’t be reaching out to me in the first place. Asking me, or any other blogger, to promote your brand without anything in return is rude and offensive.

I’m not saying bloggers should always get paid to promote brands. I will gladly share brands I love and purchase myself with you guys if I feel strongly about them or that it’s relevant or of interest to you guys. I have no problem with that at all. And frankly, bloggers can choose to promote brands for free all they want. You do you on your blog. But when brands come back with “oh, well, we don’t have any budget, but we’ll gladly promote your blog on twitter!” or some other lame excuse … Yeah, that doesn’t sit well with me.

Brands, you need to understand that if you truly valued us as bloggers, you wouldn’t be asking us to do your work for free. Show us that you are actually invested in us — especially if we have no previous connection with your brand. How are my readers, these amazing people of my internet community that trust me, going to respond if out of the blue I’m all like “OMG I love Brand X! Brand X is amazing! You should buy Brand X!” if I have no experience with Brand X whatsoever. It’s dishonest.

Out of respect for my readers, I don’t accept sponsored posts from brands I don’t personally support. If I wouldn’t spend my own money on it, I won’t try to influence you to spend yours. It’s as simple as that. And the one or two times in my long blogging career I did take advertising solely for the money, I’ve let you guys know in advance what was going on.

Which brings me to another thing, dear brands who are so interested in my blog… Disclosure is non-negotiable. When you ask me not to disclose that this is a sponsored post or that you’ve asked me to talk about your product, it’s amazingly shady and completely breaks the trust I have with my community. It’s also against the FTC guidelines — and there’s no way I’m going to risk breaking these laws for your brand, let alone risk losing the trust of my community. Whether it’s my blog, my facebook, my twitter — anything: discloser must happen. You can read up all about it on the FTC’s website regarding disclosure, endorsement, and deceptive commercial speech.

So when you’re making your advertising budgets or talking about how to promote your brand, don’t just throw out “let’s reach out to some bloggers for coverage” without actually thinking about building a relationship and working with these bloggers. You reaching out to us isn’t some gift that we’re going to fall over ourselves and be so immensely grateful because OMG some brand noticed me! No. That’s not how it works.

Like I said, I will gladly promote brands I love without compensation — but that’s my prerogative and of my own initiative. When I do these things, that’s my choice. But when you reach out to me, that’s you initiating a business dealing between two brands — yours and mine. You wouldn’t ask a local radio or television station, or magazine or newspaper, to promote your brand just because it’ll be a great experience for them. Why would you expect us to do the same?

In case you’re wondering why, I’ll let The Oatmeal sum it up nicely with their comic

3 Great Games for the Book Club

This is a guest post by Reese Collins and contains affiliate links.

Being part of a book club is a great way to motivate yourself to finish books, and discussing the merits of each book you read is a pretty fun way to dissect a good book. Sometimes, however, you just want to shake things up and start doing things differently – forget the usual set up, and discuss a book or break the ice in a different way. Here are some book-themed games you may be able to enjoy with your book club!

via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia

1. Extreme Makeover
One of the main points discussed by a book club is always the strength of the characterization of a novel. Many novels fall short of creating dynamic characters and end up with flat, one-dimensional characters, but when characterization is pulled off correctly, you get to see characters that can be thrown into any situation and still thrive. To test this out, you can play a game called Extreme Makeover to transpose characters from your favorite books into different settings. You can try to bring characters from the classics into the modern era, or put characters from modern books into the settings of classics.

2. Bad Book Bingo
If you’re tired of finding the same bad elements in books, a game of bingo may be just what you need. The game is similar to B Movie Bingo, which puts the worst elements of B movies into a bingo card so viewers can cross them out as they encounter them. Bingo operators have often seen book clubs as a potential market, with Gala Bingo regularly hosting online book discussions through their bingo games as well. Simply brainstorm with your book club to try and determine the worst clichés you’ve encountered in bad books, then create a bingo card and hand them out to the members of the book club as you assign the next book to read. As you read through the book, cross out all the elements you encounter, and when you meet up once again, compare bingo cards to see if anyone was able to get a BINGO!

3. Book Jeopardy
A game that tests general knowledge of books and literature, the only real rules to Book Jeopardy are: First, a person gives an answer, and the next person in the circle must ask a question that the answer provided by the first person would work for. Here are some examples from Good Reads:

Person 1 gives- Answer: Dumbledore, Merlin, Gandalf?
Then Person 2 gives- Question: What are wizards?
Person 1- A: Moby Dick
Person 2- Q: What is a book by Herman Melville? or Q:What is another name for The White Whale?
A: Silver
Q: What is a poison for werewolves? or Q: What is the name of The Lone Ranger’s horse?

Do you have any other games you like to play with your book club?

Just a heads up

Hey guys. So I’m a little short on cash, what with having some medical things come up along with all the repairs on my car… Doesn’t help that I’m not employed any longer… Anyway. Just wanted to give you the heads up that you may see a sponsored post or two coming up here on my blog. I don’t want you to think I sold out or don’t value your time or you as the super awesome people who read my blog — because I totally do appreciate each and every one of you. It’s just I need the money. And this is one of the few avenues in front of me.*

This is just me saying please don’t hate/leave me. It won’t be some deluge of click bate. I’m not selling out my blog. Just doing one or two posts solely for the money because I need it right now. And yes. Each post will disclose that it’s been either written by someone else, has “affiliate” (aka sponsored) links, or what ever the case may be for that post.  You’ll know by the disclaimer at the very beginning that it’s a post I’m being paid for. This is something I take very seriously on my blog and will not stoop to accepting any money without acknowledging the nature of the post.

Anyway. Sorry.

* I had thought about opening up my greeting card shop again on etsy, but it feels late in the season to do such and have any chance at being successful. And I don’t know if there’s a market for digital downloads of holiday cards.

And because I need more to do, how about a blog project

For the past couple weeks I’ve had things I’ve wanted to share with you guys. However, I didn’t know how to incorporate it into this blog. Should I make it a feature? Or just go for it? Or start something new?

Or all of the above?

Well, that’s sort of what I did. Rather than pull away focus on this blog — which given that this is a personal blog feels super narcissistic to actually say — I decided to build a new home for this project within my current domain.

So, what in the world am I talking about?

A Seat with a View

A Seat with a View is my space to talk about current events, social issues, and all sorts of things that don’t really fit here. A pseudo-academic blog, maybe? I won’t feel bad if you follow one blog versus the other. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while and I finally feel like I’ve found some direction with this. I don’t plan on neglecting my space here, but hoping it will push me to keep it fresh and relevant.

There’s not much at SWAV right now, but I didn’t really feel like waiting until I built up any sort of backlog of content before announcing it.

Hold on to your butts! – LEGO Jurassic World review

If you’ll remember, LEGO City: Undercover holds a special place in my heart. It’s also one of the few games I’ve ever 100%-ed. Though, yeah, the 3DS version isn’t as good because you loose the witty banter. And the script really makes the game. Anyway. LCU is what sold me on the LEGO video games. I tried LEGO Lord of the Rings, and was really excited about it… but… well, it’s a Wii game and not a Wii U game and yes there is a difference. I’m not so fond of the Wii menu interface on the Wii U. So, well, I sort of gave up on the game pretty early into it.

There have been a number of LEGO games that have come out since LCU, ones that have definitely caught my eye… but I never budgeted for them. But when I heard that TT Games & LEGO were putting out a Jurassic World game? I knew I had to find a way to get my hands on it. I mean, just check out the trailer!

(Also, for an actual gameplay trailer, you should watch this one.)

Anyway. I’ve had the game for over a week, logged roughly 19.5 hours, and completed the entire storyline mode. I spent 11 hours just on the story — which covers all 4 Jurassic movies. And after completing all of them, I was just over 34% done with the game. My guess is that if you don’t accidentally miss stuff, you might be about 35-36% done after the storyline… but yeah. The scripted part following the plot of the movies is only a small part of the game.

Lego Jurassic World Storyline Complete

Now, after LCU, this was not surprising to me. I think after you finished the story in that you were only about 40% done with the game, so this was par for the course.

Ok. So the rest of this review will have spoilers. So if you want any sort of surprise with the game, just move along and come back when you finish. I won’t mind, I promise.

The games follow fairly well with the movies. Some things were cut for time, and others were changed for various other reasons. One of the things that had me curious was how to deal with this whole obvious “dinosaurs eat man” issue. If you’ve seen the movies — even just one — you know that the dinos chow down on a couple of people. LEGO games, however, are the opposite of this. There is no blood or death, really, in the LEGO world. Sure, things bust apart, but it’s a very kid-friendly universe. I think, if memory serves, there’s only once or twice in this game that it’s hinted that people are eaten. For the most part, they’ve reworked this so it still remains a very kid-friendly game. So maybe your kid or younger sibling isn’t ready for the big screen dinos, but still interested in playing around as one, this game would be a perfect fit.

While knowing the movies’ plots does help some — it mostly just lets you know what to sort of expect. However, I will say that I have actually not yet seen Jurassic World… I’ve been lazy when it comes to getting out to the theater. Rather than wait until I could finally see it, I decided to go ahead and play through that part of the game. It spoiled maybe a couple things for me, but by this point the internet’s done enough of that anyway.

Since you’re playing through 4 movies, there’s a pretty big cast of characters that you’re going to interact with. One thing that I was pleasantly surprised with was that a good number of the actors from the movies voiced their characters in the game. Some stuff was definitely taken directly from the movies, but in general it was a nice touch. As is typical with the LEGO games, the different characters have different skills. Only certain people can deal with bones, only certain others can do the acrobatics (which, omg gender stereotypes), and only certain ones can shoot or throw things. One nice thing, once you’re in the free play, you can take any character from any movie and play any level. So if you want Jurassic World’s Owen Grady with Jurassic Park’s Ian Malcolm (in his torn shirt “survivor” mode), then you can have it.

Lego Jurassic World Owen & Ian

If you noticed, there’s a hexagon up in the top right — local 2-player option. So you can play with a friend or just switch between the two on your own. I haven’t tried the 2-player mode, but apparently it does a split screen. Otherwise, what’s on the screen can be mirrored on the gamepad, which is typically how I prefer to play. Which also means a single player can do off-tv play and let someone else watch something on the tv while they’re playing — or you know, marathon the movies while you’re playing. If you want to double up on your dinosaur mania.

Lego Jurassic World TRex and Jeff Goldblum

And one thing that I found out… since some characters have different variations, you can make your playable characters all different variations of that one character. So, I mean, how could you not just make everyone Jeff Goldblum? Also, if you notice in that picture… you can play as dinosaurs. And like the people, each dinosaur has their own special traits. Like other LEGO games, you can customize your minifig people and also the dinosaurs. I’ve yet to reach this part of the game but I am super excited to play Henry Wu and make my own dinosaurs. Some of the dinosaur play in built into the storyline, the rest can be done whenever you want in free play — or almost whenever you want. Some dinosaurs can’t go into certain areas. That’s just how it is.

Anyway. I’m completely sold on this game. I can definitely tell that I’ll want to 100% this game. It’s just too much fun and I’ll be sad when it’s done. But that’s what other safe files are for, right?

Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

(Maybe having too much fun making Firefly references…)

*Yes, the links to Amazon are affiliate links. Though I have (had?) an affiliation with Nintendo, I purchased this game myself and of course all view points are my own.