For most of my life, I’ve had a fear/general distaste about using public restrooms to drop a deuce. I mean, sometimes it’s unavoidable, but if there is any foreseeable way for me to capture home field advantage, I am capable of holding my bowels for long periods of time. My dad and brother will probably never let go of the fact that I once drove 20 minutes to a casino for a bathroom break when we were ice fishing.

Toilet bucket
Yeah, this wasn’t happening.

Sometimes, there’s just nothing you can do. Like when you are on a sailboat and your options are to use the head (boat bathroom, you landlubbers) or chum the waters by hanging over the side. Or you get diarrhea on a work trip to New Orleans.  I mean, who hasn’t had to navigate the intricacies of discretely dashing to the nearest restroom after every meal in a big convention center, am I right?

Wait, you mean that’s not a normal thing? Balls and wiener.

Spider-Man Float
One good thing happened in New Orleans, I got to meet my hero!

That was largely my experience when I went to the Big Easy earlier this month. I spend most of the year working on our annual conference. On site we work 12-plus hour days for four days in a row. It’s always a time of great stress and fatigue, and factor in that all forms of nourishment were racing through me like the opening scene in Ready Player One, and that I got the distinct pleasure of using a public restroom stall for those days, and you could say my trip to one of the greatest culinary cities in the country was pretty crappy.

At least it gave me a few clean hours to play Final Fantasy III when I missed a day of work on-site. As shitty as my trip was, at least Final Fantasy took a big step in the right direction.

As part of a year-long Final Fantasy Challenge, Joey and I are playing a different Final Fantasy every month of the year. (Editor’s note: You can check out Tom’s impressions of FFI, and maybe someday he will get off his ass and write about FFII. We can dream, right?)

Crappy FFIII picture
My photography skills really shine when I’m sick, and when I was feeling better I was too engrossed in the game to take a better picture.

The third installment (played remastered for the PS Vita) was a massive leap forward for the series. It introduced the job system, and for the first time you could really start lobbing spells with your casters. I got about 12 hours in, and I think I made it to a bout the midpoint of the game. Given the time later in the year, I can’t wait to come back and finish this one up.

I love the Final Fantasy Challenge, it’s a lot of fun watching the series unfold, and the innovations they made with each title. I am super excited for FFIV in April.

Overall, March was an excellent month for gaming. My friends and I got together for a 17-hour board gaming session. We played Quarriors, Dark Souls the Card Game, Memoir 44, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate and Scythe. I should probably review some of those games.

I took my daughter to see a history of video games at the “Game Changers” exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota, and started a new Gloomhaven group. (Remember how Gloomhaven works?) I saw Captain Marvel (freaking loved it) and am all jazzed for Avengers: Endgame.

I also got my hands on some video games for the first time, here are some quick impressions:

  • Mega Man 11 – The blue bomber is back, baby. I never really got into the series, but this game is super fun. You choose the robot master you are trying to take down, and scroll through screens to open a can of whoop-ass. I only played a couple times and never actually saw a master, but what I did play was very enjoyable. You are constantly earning bolts which you use to buy new gear and helpers. You can equip two parts at a time. I hear that if you defeat a master you get their weapon. To me, it felt like an homage to the classic franchise while taking advantage of modern assets. If you’ve ever been interested in Capcom’s iconic franchise, I encourage you to check it out.
  • Super Smash Bros. UltimateSo it’s more Smash. It has Nintendo’s usual level of polish and about a billion characters you can unlock. I didn’t get very deep into it, but I am very intrigued by the World of Light, a single-player mode. I am comfortable saying this is a must-own for Smash and/or Nintendo fans.
  • Assassins Creed Odyssey – Technically, my wife played this while I watched and offered constant feedback on the controls. I haven’t played an AC game since the second entry, and I was blown away. Greece looks amazing, and there were approximately eleventy-gajillion things on the map. The next time I am looking to jump into a longer game, Odyssey is at the top of the list.
  • Dark Souls RemasteredIt’s not the first time I’ve played Dark Souls, but I have effectively made it back to where I got hung up on my first playthrough in a fraction of the time. I don’t know how I’m going to take down a giant-ass wolf or a hydra, but I’m confident I will figure it out. I was able to pick off a mini boss with a crapton of arrows before he was aware of my presence. I honestly don’t know if I have the chops to beat this GD game, but I’m going to keep at it for a while. At least this build gives me hope.

For the third month in a row, OiO has a brand new podcast out, with a super catchy name: “To Infinity, and Beyond (The Wall).” We talk about March Madness and sports games; Captain Marvel and Endgame; Burnsy shares his thoughts on “Of Dice and Men”; and we close with all kinds of Game of Thrones chatter.

You know what they say, with April showers come lots of time to play board and video games. Who knows, there might even be a couple new exciting, exclusive interviews up on OiO! Maybe the biggest interview in the history of the site was sabotaged by an audio recording error, and got rescheduled for April…

Until next time, I wish you good bowel health.

-Tom Awesome