Basically Indiana Jones with moar guns

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Author’s note: Sorry this came a week late. I’ve been real busy in college. And let’s be honest, who’s really reading this?

 

I’m a sucker for FPS and open worlds. So what got me to play a story-based third person shooter? BECAUSE NAUGHTY DOG MAKES THE BEST OF THOSE.

 

It’s been many years since I started the Uncharted series. It all begin at GameStop, where Uncharted 2 was in the demo console they had in the store (back when they still put out the full game in their demo consoles, nostalgiaaa). I instantly fell for this game, with it’s adventure, movie-like action sequences. I mean, I was climbing a train that was dangling off the side of a cliff. Naughty Dog seriously knows how to start their games.

 

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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the latest and last installation of the Uncharted series. The story is this: Nathan Drake, our protagonist of the series, has retired from his life of treasure hunting, which for some reason has left him fortuneless (which is ironic, since the first game is literally called “Drake’s Fortune”). He now works for a marine salvage company, where he puts some of his treasure hunting skills to a practical use. Nathan has visibly aged from the last game, now 39, and has settled down with Elena Fisher, his love interest in the first two games, and then his estranged wife in the third. The two lived in New Orleans, trying to lead normal lives. Nathan keeps souvenirs of his past adventures, and while he gave up the treasure hunting life, it’s obvious he still misses his old ways.

 

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Everything changes when his brother Sam shows up at his office at the pier one night. 15 years back, Sam was wounded and presumed dead while hunting for Henry Avery’s, famous pirate king, long lost pirate utopia. Sam convinces Nate that they must continue their search for Henry Avery’s lost city of Libertalia. However, an old partner of theirs, Rafe, is also searching for it as well, and the difference is, he has a private army. Enlisting the help of their old pal Sully, they race against Rafe and time to reach Libertalia. And long story short, [SPOILER] the story ends the same way every Uncharted ends, with Nate barely surviving the adventure, another lost city is destroyed, and he still has no fortune.

 

What makes this Uncharted so much different is the fact that we know this will be Nathan’s last ride. His obvious aging, the fact he retired from adventuring, and the whole plot setup how Elena wanted them to have a normal life signaled that Uncharted was wrapping up. And Naughty Dog couldn’t have delivered a better ending. After the adventure was over, the game shifted to a mini-game of Crash Bandicoot, which was played in the beginning of the game, when Nathan attempted to beat Elena in a glimpse of their new, average, everyday lives. However, when the mini-game was finished, it panned out to not Nathan and Elena, but a young girl with her dog. One who was obviously Nathan’s child.

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To see the offspring of a character you’ve grown so much with is truly an amazing feeling. The Drake legacy, just thrown into your face. It was a lot to take in at once. The epilogue continues to young Cassie Drake exploring her house, a nice beach house that also extended to another house next door (seems like Nathan found his fortune after all). Various things in the environment wrapped up things in the series, such as a letter from Sam and Sully telling their adventures together and their plans to visit the Drakes. The final send-off of the series, however, was when Cassie discovers Nathan’s closet full of items from his adventuring days, including artifacts from the last four games, his signature shoulder holster, and countless pictures of his expeditions. Nathan and Elena suddenly return home, and it was quite shocking to see them. About 15 years have passed, and Nathan and Elena have very visibly aged, both well into their 50s. And while the mortality of our cherished characters is made very clear, the peaceful, tropical beach and the large property comforts us that they have finally found a life that they enjoy.

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Of course, one could only imagine how the rest of the story goes. God save whoever would have the guys to date Cassie. Her parents have literally killed more people than even military special forces.

 

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Gameplay for Uncharted has been very similar to past games, with most mechanics of the series continuing in the new game. Combat is a very essential part of the game, with it being mostly unavoidable. Climbing about still remains the primary way of travel in game, and it’s surprising how much upper body strength the characters posses. However, some new things have been added into the game. Vehicles play a much large role in Uncharted 4, with one level being so expansive that it requires the protagonists to drive around in a jeep. A high speed car chase results in Nathan jumping from car to car, taking out enemies like he’s a damn action hero (oh wait). Some other new features added to Uncharted would be the grappling hook and the piton. The grappling hook, while present in some parts of the older Uncharted games, never had the importance it has in A Thief’s End. Used in several different chapters, it’ll have varying use, from swinging across ravines to latching onto boxes in unaccessable areas. The piton is also a key aspect in exploring the environment, allowing players to latch onto weathered walls. In essence, it’s just another handhold, created to spice up the game slightly. However, one of the most dynamic additions to the game is the introduction of destructible cover. A lot of previously static and solid cover has become permeable, making firefights much  more difficult. No longer can you be able to turn a firefight into a long battle, picking off enemies slowly. Enemies will now destroy the cover you are hiding behind and pick you off easily if you do not keep moving.

 

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True to the franchise, Uncharted 4 based it’s game heavily on exploring your environment to complete a puzzle or take out your enemies. Whether it be a busy Madagascar market or  quiet Scottish ruins, each encounter will leave you on edge, trying to take out your enemies quickly, and sometimes, quietly. Open combat has become a LOT harder in the new Uncharted, with the newly improved enemy AIs able to coordinate attacks on you. Stay in one place too long, and you can be sure a grenade will be sent your way. As a result, going in guns blazing is definitely not the best choice sometimes. The weapon selection in Uncharted is expansive, maybe even overdone. Many tiers of weapons will be found through out the game, starting with cheap, low tier weapons such as small caliber handguns and rudimentary automatics, to high-end mil-spec weaponry. Drake is only human (a very skilled and athletic one, but a human no less), and can carry a primary and a secondary weapon. Much more detail has gone into the weapons, as they are no longer just attached to Drake’s back, but rather slung by a visible sling. These small details, as well as the astounding combat system, is truly what proved that not every multiple installment game is complete trash.

 

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And what’s an artifact-searching adventure game without cryptic messages and puzzles? Just like the other games in the franchise, Uncharted 4 has a plethora of puzzles, each challenging but not mind-boggling. What’s even more impressive is how intricate each one is. Each time you run into a puzzle, it’s almost always more complicated than the last. Not to mention that for half of the puzzles, you’re forced to navigate the environment due to the decay the puzzles over time. It creates a unique experience that allows Uncharted to challenge both your combat skills and intellect.

 

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JUDGEMENT OF HALROLD

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has stolen my heart. By far, it’s one of the best, if not THE best story campaign I have ever played. The character development, the story, the gameplay, the beautiful ending, it’s superseded what I expected of this magnificent game. While the story has it’s holes in it (why didn’t Nate go back later on for the treasure? It wasn’t like vaporized) and had it’s share of bugs and glitches (for the love of God let me climb this wall normally), Naughty Dog has yet again astonished us with a masterpiece, something that should truly be written down in gaming history. Solid 9/10.

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Siege the Day!

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Holy cow, where do I begin with this amazing game.

 

A year ago, I started writing a pre-release thought piece on this game, but I never finished or published. And here I am now, a year later. This game was just…wow.

 

OVERVIEW

“Rainbow Six: Siege” is a tactical team-based multiplayer first person shooter, and arguably one of the best, if not THE best tactical shooter on the market to date. Destructible environments, tight maps, single lives, and instant death from headshots truly creates an immersive environment for the game. Fast gunfights mixed with long periods of uneasy peace leads to an incredibly high tension game.

 

The objective of the game depends on which side you are currently playing on as well as the gamemode. The two teams are the Attackers and the Defenders.

 

Attackers

GOAL: Rescue hostage/Plant Defuser/Secure Area OR Eliminate  Defenders

Main Weaponry: Assault Rifles, DMRs, LMGs

Equipment: Drone cameras, grenades, breaching charges

 

Defenders

GOAL: Defend hostage/Prevent or Disable Defuser/Deny Area OR Eliminate Attackers

Main Weaponry: Shotguns, SMGs

Equipment: Nitro cells, claymores, barbed wire, camera system

 

Both sides are have clearly defined roles and goals. Attackers must breach the Defenders stronghold. Defenders must withstand the Attackers’ assault. And with everyone having only one life, the stakes are high for everyone.

 

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Unlike the Alpha of the game, both Attackers and Defenders  are counterterrorist operators (due to Tom Clancy’s ideals of not allowing people to play as terrorists). Each operator is unique in his/her own way, making them more valuable as a teammate, for if they die, their abilities are lost to the team.

 

There are several CTU (Counter Terrorism Units) available in the game, each providing operators to both the Attackers and the Defenders. The current CTUs are:

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FBI Attacking Operators are mainly breaching operators. They have eqiupment that making breaching a lot easy, and are pivotal to the Attackers.

FBI Defending Operators are active defenders, meaning they are actively working to use their ability. They have no time to rest, as they need to constantly check that they are doing as much as they can.

 

SAS

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SAS Attacking Operators are your essential assault units. They help bolster your attack, and are key aspects of making sure that you will get into the killzone.

SAS Defending Operators are all about access denial. Preventing both enemies and their gadgets from easily entering your stronghold, they will prove to be extremely helpful for keeping enemies out.

 

GIGN

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GIGN Attacking Operators are the supporting operatives. Whether it’s blocking bullets or disabling enemy gadgets, they’re here to help you out.

GIGN Defending Operators help you take a hit, or if you’re down, help you up quickly. Providing medical and tactical advantages, you’ll stay in the fight longer because of them, and you might just survive this fight.

 

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GSG9 Attacking Operators follow the old German style of lighting fast strikes against their enemies. Get in quick, and get the job done.

GSG9 Defending Operators have excellent mobility, as well as drop-and-forget gadgets. They’ll roam the map, ambushing enemies and disappearing before they’re even noticed.

 

Spetsnaz

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Spetsnez Attacking Operators are brutal operators, providing offensive support that can turn the tide of the battle. Whether it’s providing overwatch and blowing a room to bits, these Russians got your back.

Spetsnez Defending Operators believe that simple doesn’t mean worse. They bring unsophisticated but deadly tools to the field. Don’t underestimate them.

 

JTF2

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JTF2 Attacking Operator (Buck) brings breaching to a whole new level. Armed with an underbarrel shotgun attached to his rifle, Buck can open up a new hole in either the wall or the enemy.

JTF2 Defending Operator (Frost) changes the defensive game. Armed with bear traps, she can incapacitate unwary enemies and distract their teammates long enough to get into position and decimate the opposition. Also, she’s Chinese (hypeeeee~)

 

Navy SEALS

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Navy SEAL Attacking Operator (Blackbeard) steps up to the plate with a rifle-mounted ballistic shield. Able to peak into windows behind the relative safety of his bullet-resistant shield, Blackbeard can fire back  without taking fire himself.

Navy SEAL Defending Operator (Valkyrie) brings into play deployable cameras, allowing her team to view the enemy in new angles and not be restricted to the cameras provided on the map. Yes, she’s my bae.

 

BOPE

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BOPE Attacking Operator (Capitão) fires away with a special crossbow that shoots asphyxiating bolts and mini smoke grenades. Providing smoke cover or preventing enemy entry to the room, the Brazilian can do both both from a distance.

BOPE Defending Operator (Caviera) stalks her  prey before pouncing on them. A dual ability of Silent Step, making her almost completely silent, and her interrogation ability, in which she forces an enemy to digress their teammates’ position, Caviera punishes lone wolves by severely disadvantaging their entire team.

 

GAMEPLAY

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Rainbow Six: Siege is all about being smarter, faster, better than your opponent in every way, all built up to the split second where it’s decided who will win and who will die. Gunfights will erupt in tight corridors and small rooms, anything and everything will be used to gain even the slightest edge against the enemy.

 

A core feature in Siege is the extremely destructible maps. Many walls are completely destructible, allowing players to enter, or exit, rooms in many different manners. Some floors and ceilings can be shot through and at some areas even broken completely through. The ability to open up new lines-of-sight allows players completely new angles of gameplay. Defenders can board up windows, doors, and even barricade walls, anything to slow down the Attackers and cut off lines-of-sight. However, Attackers have many tools at their disposal to clear out the Defenders’ stronghold and complete their objective. Each round of Siege begins with Defenders preparing for the siege by barricading strategically while Attackers attempt to observe them via drones, which leads to the next section.

 

Intel is extremely crucial to both teams, and can single-handedly change the outcome of a round. Attackers are given drones, mobile cameras that are used to scout out the area and identify weak points in the defense. Defenders have access to the map’s camera system, and provides them with a remote view of different parts of the map and help identify where the assault will be taking place.

Currently, three multiplayer gamemodes exists.

  • Hostage Rescue: Extract the Hostage/Prevent Hostage extraction
  • Bomb Defusal: Defuse the Bomb using the Defuser/Prevent the Defuser from being planted
  • Secure Area: Secure the Biohazard package/Prevent the securing of the Biohazard package

 

Tactics vary heavily by map and gamemode. In Hostage Rescue maps. the Attackers must be much more careful with collateral damage, as killing the hostage will result in a round loss. Bomb Defusal requires Attackers to essentially become Defenders after the defuser is planted, forcing them to play in a situation completely different from what their equipment is for, and vice versa for Defenders. Secure Area essentially turns into a massive firefight, both teams battling for even an inch of gain to hold the area.

 

An immense amount of teamwork is required to play this game. In a game where every teammate matters, communication, coordination, and comradery  is essential. Each team members must be able to work together. Entering a room may seem like a simple ordeal, but who knows what kind of danger lurks on the other side of that corner? An Attacking team would need to coordinate a shield operator to take point, followed by breachers who allow the team to push onto the objective with from two different angles at a time. Similarly, a Defending team may have a roamer spot the enemies entering from the north, and allow the defense to set up for an attack from the north. Toxicity and selfishness have no place in Rainbow Six: Siege.

 

DEVELOPER INVOLVEMENT

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Not gonna lie, Ubisoft has given us shit before. Assassin’s Creed Unity, The Division not every publisher can be perfect. But oh boy. They nailed it with Rainbow Six: Siege. Not only with releasing an amazing game, but following up with it.

 

What separates Siege from every other FPS on the market right now is that it’s DLCs are COMPLETELY FREE. That’s right, they’re 100% free. Every single DLC map is free, and DLC operators can be unlocked using in-game currency. The way Siege’s new content currently works is that they work in Seasons, with each Season (about 4 months) having a special name (i.e. Operation Black Ice) that also lines up with the map (a Yacht stranded in the Arctic Circle) and CTU (the Canadian JTF2). Season Pass holders have access to the new operators for free and a week early, but after the first week, everyone can purchase the new operators for 25k Renown (in-game currency). The only thing the requires real money to buy are high-tier cosmetic skins. Everything else can be earned via gameplay.

 

Not only is the development side good, the community team is amazing as well. Siege employs very good community managers, such as /u/Its_Epi, Ubisoft Justin, and other characters that help moderate the Rainbow Six community at http://www.reddit.com/r/Rainbow6. Ubisoft actually listens to it’s gamerbase and patches thing due to player feedback. In fact, when hacking/cheating became to rampant, Ubisoft laid down the ban hammer, using a new anti-hack program known as Battleye that decimated hackers. And speaking of the gamers…

 

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Bless this community. It’s mature, funny, and very friendly. Beautiful sight, gamers being friendly towards each other. The reddit is filled with memes, glorious moments in game, and the even original work from talented artists and writers. I’ve been part of the community for over a year now, and I have to say, overall, it’s probably the best gaming community I’ve ever been part of.

 

What’s even better is Siege is still growing. Recently, it’s Reddit community hit 60,000 subscribers, and is only growing larger everyday. What are you waiting for? Join the family!

 

Judgement of Halrold

Honestly speaking, probably the best FPS I have ever played. I love this game with a burning passion. The friendships I’ve forged in the battlefield are priceless, as are the hours of intense battle I’ve fought with my said comrades. Definitely one of the best video games of this generation. And unfortunately for me, I no longer am able to play this game. After I entered college, I have no way to play it since it was my uncle’s game and my friend’s console. I’ve accepted that fact. So while I’m no longer able to play Siege, it lives in my heart.

 

If you wanna know more about Rainbow Six: Siege, head over to a local shop, or head over to the subreddit. Hopefully, you’ll be sieging soon!

I’m Backkkkk~

It’s been too long! I lost my interest in writing gaming reviews, mostly because basically no one reads them, but I now that I’m in college, I’ve find that I have SO MUCH TIME to do pointless crap! So I’m rebooting Halrold’s Party! I’m going to try to do a video game review the second Friday of every month, so be sure to check tomorrow for a new review!

 

I’ll also try to keep posting other video game content, but for now, I’m gonna only promise Friday Reviews! Thanks for whoever still reads this shitty blog!

 

P.S. Also, new logo, thanks to my friend Shmarah~

 

-halrold

Taking a leave

I mean, this blog post is more for me and less an actually post. Reasons I took a break from the blog was because in junior year I fell into a bout of depression and even after getting back on my feet, I didn’t really have a compelling urge to write.

I’ll try to start again, but…it just feels so pointless, with practically a non-existent video game community…

Halo+Black Ops 2=Advanced Warfare

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(Previous draft was lost, I’ll try to recreate it. I might have even post it but can’t find it, or a local draft somewhere else. Screw it.)

I’ve avoided writing about this game for sometime now, I don’t know why. But it’s definitely a genre changing game, so like it or not, here we go.

 

Personally, I don’t like it compared to other COD games, and definitely not when it comes to FPS in general. It feels too much like Halo, with the Exo-Suit and the freaking robots and shit, but it has its own merits.

 

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Obviously, the biggest change that this game has compared to other COD games is the Exo-suit. It’s basically a futuristic suit of armor that consists of only a metal skeleton, yet it pretty much turns you into a demi-god. By default, you can now double jump and survive long falls without damage. Your strength is increased, and a single punch can kill. Suits can be equipped with special powers, such as hovering, cloaking, and a built in expandable riot shield. All grenades are now fired from a launcher built into the right arm of the suit.

 

However the Exo-suit can get annoying to play with. People literally can’t stop jumping around shooting at each other. Call of Duty somehow managed to make their games faster paced than ever. Trying to kill someone in AW is literally like a fight in Dragon Ball Z: You’re flying all over the place.

COD Advanced Warfare

 

There is a lot of good coming from this new fighting style, though. Snipers have become a LOT harder to use. All the previous games allowed snipers to be usable with some practice, and can even be used to assault enemy positions. Now, the only sniper that’s a sure-fire one hit- kill is the MORS, a single round capacity railgun sniper. It’s pretty cumbersome, and much slower than a bolt-action rifle since you reload each shot. There are other snipers, but they are not very reliable, and the MORS is the most popular sniper. Sniping moving targets is difficult, and the game has become more and more focused on reflexes.

 

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Another new thing that is introduced into the Call of Duty franchise is the abundance of energy/laser weapons. Both DLC weapons currently released are “directed energy” weapons, and they are HELLA cheap. One’s a high damage, low firerate, UNLIMITED AMMO with overheat laser assault rifle, another’s a freaking SHOTGUN-LMG COMBO. Come on!

 

Now, I dislike Advanced Warfare for being too different from previous COD installments, but I have become surprisingly good at it, keeping my K/D generally positive. However, its all because of a single god, the gun that I consider that god of Advanced Warfare. But that, however, is for another post.

Quick Post

I haven’t posted in a while, I have a few posts in the making, but I never seem to have the time to actually finish any real posts. The angst in my own life is dying down, yet it’s only starting in the people around me.

 

I’ll just update whoever wants to know about what’s going on in the gaming world.

 

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Hardline came out recently, and it looks freaking SICK. Leaning out of cars, high-speed car chases, new gamemodes, new weapons, new gadgets, oh man this game looks sweet! I have yet to play it, and I’m still crushing newbs in Battlefield 4, but oh boy oh boy do I want to get behind a controller playing this! It seems to be very well received by the community, but some complain about it being a basically a reskining of BT4.

 

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I’m currently writing a post about this super amazing game, and I’ll post it when I’m done. But I’ll touch on it a bit. Revealed at the last E3 game conference, Rainbow Six: Siege may be the most tactical shooter to grace the console world. Arma III is still super scary on PC, and might be a little too tactical. RS:S emphasizes small, multiplier battles between two squads of 5. The game emphasizes communication and tactics, as one slip up might cost your team their lives and the game. The no-respawn rule is sure to keep your adrenaline rushing through out the game.

 

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Thousands of middle school squeakers and 34-year-old men came when the teaser trailer to Black Ops III came out, even though the trailer literally had no in-game footage, cutscenes, actual plot building, or even a single character that had a definite texture, despite the misleading picture I have posted. I don’t know if that’s confirmed. But, regardless, Black Ops has been a good series within Call of Duty, and if Treyarch is in the loop, that means awesome multiplayer and zombies. World reveal is set for next Sunday, so I’m looking forward to that.

 

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Last but no least, Star Wars Battlefront 3 has been confirmed and is set to release November 20th. It’s been a decade since the last Battlefront has been released, and lately, there’s been a surge in Star Wars franchise activity. The relatively recent “Star Wars: Rebels” (A failed attempt, in my view, to replace Clone Wars as a animated Star Wars series) and the new “Star Wars Episode 7” to come out later this year has really paved the hype for this new Battlefront. One of the companies working on Battlefront is DICE, the company who has developed the Battlefield series, and the game will also run on the Frostbite 3 engine, the same engine Battlefield currently runs on. What does this mean? This means I’m going to be fighting the iconic Star Wars battles like I’m playing Battlefield 4.

Let’s ANGST!

I’ve been too wrapped up in the musical this year to really focus on anything else, so I’ve done nothing for a while. So let’s have an angst post!

Whenever I look around, I just see all these new relationships springing around me, and I look at them them, nod, and say, “it’ll work out.” But it’s those moments when I look around is when I feel like I swallowed a knife. All this happiness and love around me just cuts me up in the inside, and I always wonder, why am I still here? How have I survived this long? What keeps me going? I see all this happiness around me, but when I reach out to touch it for myself, it vaporizes in my hand.

And all the sadness and suffering that also surrounds me effects me too. All the pain, the depression, the self-harm, everything around me effects me. Every time I see someone with fresh cuts, I die a little on the inside. Every time someone puts up a suicidal post on social media, I die a little. Every time I spend a mostly sleepless night hoping that don’t wake up with one less friend, I die a little. How do I do it?

Am I here to make others happy? Am I here to save those who are walking along the cliff? What am I here for? Why haven’t I cracked? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, nor does anyone else…

What’s the point of my life?

The most addictive drug

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One night was in the shower, with Spotify blaring over the showerhead, and I’m thinking all philosophical cause it’s the shower, when the song changes to “Hearts Skips a Beat” by Olly Murs. And all of the sudden I come to a realization. It’s been a while since I seriously liked some one. Ok that’s a lie. But right now, I just don’t have anyone that I really want to go after. I just saw so clearly in that second why I was so into the pursue. It’s the high. Sure, I do want to have something with them, but I feel like it’s the high feeling, the adrenaline rush, that sorta purpose that drives you to do stupid things for her, that’s what really made me keep going all those years.

I mean its so clear now. Spending all the time with her just makes me happy, and the rush when it seems like it might work out. Love has been such a weird word for me since middle school, and I don’t understand what it is. But what I do understand is this: Love is a drug. In fact, love is the most addictive drug of all