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Blake Dowling: Game on!

We all need a break from politics, so get out there and play some games.

The election is over — at least as far as the endless ads. Thank goodness. The Loranne Ausley vs. Marva Preston ads for Florida Senate District 3 were the worst on both sides; I must have seen thousands of them.

While I liked both candidates, the ads were so over the top. That said, congrats to Loranne and kudos to Marva on an excellent fight on the local level.

As for the national stage, while we might not see an announcement for the White House crown, it might be time for many of us to get on with our lives. Put down the device, turn off the voting data, and get a new hobby.

My friend Jason has been relentless in this election: chatter, data, trends, predictions, opinions, etc. It’s been entertaining, but I’m also glad it’s over. Since it was such a heated race, I’ll leave his last name out of this.

So, what shall we do now?

There is college football — that is crucial — but we need more.

A new exercise routine, perhaps? Pass.

Collect stamps? Nope.

QVC marathon? Maybe.

The other night, I binged on Antique Roadshow. Amazing show, seriously.

Is it time for some video games, campers? When the pandemic started, I rolled through Best Buy and picked up an Xbox and Diablo 3. Wow.

I consumed hundreds of hours and days. Cool game. I had not played games in years, besides, of course, some apps like Zombie Highway and Jet Pack Joy Ride on the iPad. It brought me back to those first game experiences as a youth. River Raid on the Atari, Pitfall. Playing Ultima, Castle Wolfenstein or Old Ironsides on the PC with my cousins Dale and Alex in Texas. Kid Icarus and Zelda with my pal Quinn Borland on the Nintendo.

Or even Resident Evil (or endless hockey battles, or always winning at Star Control) with my buddy Foley in college.

We played Resident Evil straight for two days. I believe Foley’s girlfriend dumped him on Day 2. He shrugged it off.

It was that good of a game.

More recently, who can forget our family version of Ratt’s “Round and Round” on Rock Band. Wow. That was something else. Those games — and memories of playing them — are pretty special. If I am a game nerd, so be it.

The almost full-size arcade at Aegis. Image via Mrs. Dowling.

Did you know there are several game development companies right here in the Sunshine State?

One of the coolest of those is a small outfit in Orlando called Metal Pop; they have it all, cool name, slick logo, and some cool looking games all right in Florida.

On the larger side of the studios, EA also has a massive Orlando office, which has worked on titles we all know — like Madden NFL and NBA Live. It is a super-hip space (maybe even cooler than my Joust game in the conference room), with a ball pit conference room, and a 365,00 square foot fitness center. (Yes, you read that right. Huge.)

Take that, Silicon Valley hipsters.

You can see the ball pit meeting room here. Question, how do you clean those anyway?

Throughout Florida and the world, game sales are surging in 2020. In fact, they hit a 10-year high over the summer, according to various reports.

What is the biggest seller, you may ask? Call of Duty, Modern Warfare has the No. 1 spot, with Animal Crossings: New Horizons, The Last of Us: Part 2, and Madden NFL 2021 rounding off the Top 4.

I do not know these people, but one morning in 1980, I was one of them.

If you feel retro and want an actual arcade-style game, check out Sun Coast Arcade in Largo for a video game unit for your home or office.

I could not help myself earlier this year and bought a stand-up, full-sized video game unit that includes, Rampage, Joust, Defender and Gauntlet. It is fantastic!

Too bad clients don’t come to the office anymore; they could say how “Silicon Valley hipster office cool” we are in midtown Tallahassee.

It is also a terrific way to blow off steam. I played Joust last night before I left, feeling super calm after flying my jousting ostrich around. Get one for yourself. You will see.

Florida is also a hotbed of training programs for the world of gaming; the University of Miami and schools like Full Sail University have excellent programs to train the next generation of game makers.

There are some great success stories of their grads working on cutting edge titles like Borderland and (OMG!) the sequel to my nemesis, Diablo 4!

To be honest, I still haven’t finished 3; it is brutal. Like trying to climb Everest. Or clean out my office.

We all need a break from politics, so get out there and play some games; support these incredible organizations in Florida — if you need a new hobby. Game on!

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

Written By

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com or at www.aegisbiztech.com

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