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Michelle Obama took time out of her blissful vacation with Barack to send him a Happy Father’s Day message that had everyone on the internet weeping — happy tears, of course. «Happy #FathersDay @BarackObama. Our daughters may be older and taller now, but they’ll always be your little girls. We love you,» the former First Lady wrote on Instagram along with a throwback photo of Barack and their daughters, Sasha and Malia.
I don’t have very much time for video games anymore. It’s one of the main gnawing annoyances of my life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing terminal. I don’t live under a black cloud of ‘Woe is me; why have I abandoned you, video games?!’ But nevertheless, sometimes I’ll catch myself taking stock of all the activities that I have time for—that I make time for—and I’ll notice that where once they were a huge, looming presence in my psyche, video games now occupy barely any of that sacred, limited space. It’s quite the drop-off. I was part raised by video games. The NES; the Amiga; like, so many Game Boys; the bloody Game Gear; and my beloved PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3—the memories and swirling emotions of countless hours spent playing games on these devices will be forever woven into my being. The agonising struggles and the euphoric victories inherent in mastering a game’s mechanics—there are probably levels of Mega Man 2 that I could play blindfolded. The power of experiencing the expansive and immersive stories that games learned to tell as the nascent medium matured alongside me—just thinking of Meryl Silverburgh getting shot by an unseen Sniper Wolf in Metal Gear Solid makes my fists ball up in helpless rage to this day. Video games have had me in one hell of powerful hold for the vast majority of my existence.
But something has happened in the last half decade. Well, let’s not be coy about it: Life happened. The riptide of adulthood pulls hard, and it takes a great deal of effort and time management to keep all of one’s hobbies close to you. Responsibilities, stresses, and a mind less capable of switching off from both conspire to slowly, inexorably drain some things away. I have managed to keep a tight desperate grip on most things, but video games? They’re rapidly receding into the horizon. Whilst I haven’t shied away from PC gaming, I have been a console owner and player most of my life, and this generation is the first that I have not bought a new iteration of the PlayStation since the console’s first. This saddens me a little bit. But what saddens me even more is the fact that that saddens me only a little bit! What have I become, that I should abandon a beloved passion with barely a shrug of the shoulder and just the fraction of a longing glance?!
What can I say? I have seen and tried new entries from two of my most sacred games franchises—Metal Gear Solid and Hitman—and though I have enjoyed them both I still have not felt compelled to pick up a PlayStation 4. I had been all but ready to call time of death on my hobby; to kick away the last few glowing embers of a passion that once burned as bright as day.
Until last night.
Last night Sony dropped a trailer at E3 (the biggest video games trade show of the year). I used to keep up with E3 coverage almost religiously, these days I give it barely a look. But Reddit delivered this thing unto me, and because of the title I clicked through to the YouTube link attached. I was lounging on a sofa at the time, half horizontal, and within the first few frames of this video I was sat bolt upright, mouth agape, a solitary tear running down my cheek.
For those people unfortunate to have never played the 2005 game Shadow of the Colossus, the resonance of the following clip will be minimal.
For those of us who have played it…
I wrote about Shadow of the Colossusbefore so I will quote myself here:
Shadow of the Colossus is an adventure game, and broadly speaking it follows the standard adventuring template of plopping your player character into an unknown land, and then pointing you in the vague direction that you must go in order to complete some task. But to describe it as such would be like saying that The Sistine Chapel is some bloke’s ceiling graffiti. Shadow of the Colossus is a game like no other, transcending so many of the medium’s limitations and leaving a permanent mark on your soul.
As much as the contrary might so often appear to be case, I choose my words very carefully. Shadow of the Colossus did leave a huge mark on me when I played and devoured it over a decade ago. I still think of it often to this day. In a time in my life where I play essentially no video games I still catch myself reminiscing, hearing thundering footfalls in the distance. The vast open plains, the mournful, terrifying beasts, the moral labyrinth its narrative strands you in. The game really is something quite special; one of the towering achievements of its medium. And to see it now, looking like that? The funny thing is, had I heard of this version’s development, I would have expected to hate it. One of the original’s charms is its stylised look. It was never gunning for photorealism, instead opting to tell its story through a more impressionistic, dream-like lens. But I think this remake will do that justice. This does not look like an ignorant mob sacking the temple. This looks like a labor of love, updating the technology to create the same effect for a new generation. This looks like a restoration of the temple.
This looks like my nostalgia-burnished memories of the game.
This looks like something that I will need to play, life be dammed.
If there’s one thing we know about Lady Gaga, it’s that she has a big heart. On Friday, the singer paid tribute to her best friend, Sonja Durham, who sadly lost her battle to cancer earlier this week. Along with a heartwarming black and white Instagram photo of Sonja and her husband Andre Dubois, Gaga penned a beautiful note about her late pal. Her message reads as follows:
«Watching one of my best friends in the world show unfathomable courage, strength, and positivity while battling cancer has really changed my life. Thank you Sonja for inspiring me and all of us everyday with your joy. I love you so much it brings tears to my eyes just to think of all the years we’ve spent together backstage running the show, taking care of each other. You are one of a kind. I’m so proud of you. And you and Andre, your unbreakable beautiful love is what life is all about. You can see it in this photo. Wanted to share this with the world and show them what true beauty looks like. ❤#grigiogirls #sonjadurham @sonjad7777 I love you girl. I love you so much.»
Bill Paxton died at age 61 on Feb. 25 after complications related to surgery, but his 23-year-old son James is keeping his memory alive. On Friday, the actor posted a throwback photo of him and his dad at a basketball game, writing, «Forever smiling with you.» Just last week, he shared a heartbreaking snap of himself being pushed on a toy train by his dad when he was a baby, and captioned it, «I’ll love you forever, Dad. Could never possibly put into words how I feel about you.» In the wake of Bill’s death, tributes from his peers came flooding in, and one of the first people to speak out was director James Cameron, who worked with him on a number of films, including Titanic, Aliens, and Apollo 13. Bill is survived by his two children, James and Lydia, and his wife, Louise Newbury.
Feeling down lately? Dwayne Johnson has the perfect cure: a video featuring him and a bunch of French Bulldog puppies. The actor was filming a commercial for Ford (naturally) when a bunch of puppies were brought in. The video is part of Seven Bucks Digital Studios, the YouTube division of Johnson’s production company. Johnson made an announcement about the company in January, but honestly, this video is a lot more fun. You had to know Johnson would melt over these dogs, seeing as he is obsessed with his own French Bulldog, Hobbs. Take a look, and if you have a YouTube account, simply pressing the «like» button will help raise funds for the Best Friends Animal Society!
The Obamas just sent out their last Christmas card from the White House, and just like everything else they do, it’s flawless. Malia, Barack, Michelle, and Sasha have on bright smiles in the family photo, which was taken when the president’s daughters attended their first state dinner in March. The inside is almost as adorable as the front, with two paw-print signatures from First Dogs Bo and Sunny. Receiving a Christmas card from the White House is an exclusive honor that only a select few receive (usually members of the press and political donors), and one of the lucky recipients tweeted a video of the card on Thursday, which you can see above. Naturally, everyone who is having a hard time with the thought of the Obamas leaving the White House started losing their minds after seeing the gorgeous card:
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS THAT OBAMA FAMILY CHRISTMAS CARD
If there’s one thing we know about Aaron Paul, it’s that he has a heart of gold. On Monday, the 37-year-old actor posted a heartwarming black and white Instagram photo of him sitting at his grandmother’s hospital bedside to express his love and admiration for her. In a lengthy message, Aaron writes that his grandmother just turned 94, and goes on to tell a story about how strong she is. His message reads as follows:
«It’s amazing what your heart does when it is jolted. When news floods in and panic takes over. Emotions run wild. The beautiful woman I am looking at is my grandmother (my moms mom) and she is turning 94 today. She is easily the strongest woman I have ever met. Example, she got kicked by a bull once and broke her hip (which she had to replace) and never complained about any sort of pain. The other day she was walking to let her dog out and next thing she knew she was on the ground. Her back splintered in 6 places. Right before this photo was taken she had her daughter Darla (my mom) call each of her grandchildren so she could say goodbye. She said that it was time for her to sleep and go see grandpa. She would always tell us «I love you all the same. No favorites.» After she said goodbye to me I packed a bag and went straight to the airport. She is now recovering back at home telling jokes and resting a lot. She is a fighter. A beautiful fighter. Thank you grandma for everything. Anyone who is reading this and are lucky enough to have grandparents in their life…call them. Let them know how much you love them. Also, please send warm thoughts out towards my beautiful grandmother. She’s the best. Love to you all.»
Superstar singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has been keeping a low profile ever since telling fans he’d be taking a break from social media in December 2015, but he happily answered the call of young superfan Melody Driscoll. The 9-year-old, who suffers from Rett syndrome, has spent 80 percent of her life in the hospital due to her condition. Since she’s obsessed with the «Thinking Out Loud» singer, her parents decided to create a Facebook campaign to get Ed’s attention, in hopes that he might come meet Melody and cheer her up. Luckily Ed, a veritable master of surprising his fans, delivered. The 25-year-old chart topper visited the children’s ward of Epsom Hospital in early November, where he joked around with Melody and serenaded her with one of his more emotional songs, «Photograph.» According to Melody’s parents, she’s apparently «still on cloud nine» and «can’t stop smiling.» Coincidentally, neither can we.