RPGs, simulations, and strategy games are my preferred genres, but I've played and enjoyed several shooters that prioritized story over gameplay (BioShock Infinite), explored the moral gray areas of violence as a solution (Spec-Ops: The Line), or whose sci-fi settings simply put things in a less problematic context (Halo). The timing of Hardline's switch from military fantasy to militarized police fantasy couldn't possibly be worse, either, in light of the ongoing problems in Ferguson, MO, one of the more egregious examples of a systemic cultural problem in this country that most video games either completely ignore or cynically tap into.
That desire for community, to connect with others who share your interests, is what drives the best and worst of what, as a whole, makes the internet so invaluable -- from the early days of Usenet to Tumblr and whatever comes next -- and for some (including business execs who don't get it), so dangerous. I'm sure there are plenty of business lessons to be learned from all of this, and I'm sure there will be plenty of think pieces and hot takes addressing those, but I'm far more interested in grappling with the human element.
I've never been a fan of podcasts, preferring reading or listening to music on my daily commutes, but in my search for as many ways as possible to engage with soccer, I've come across several that are now in regular rotation, adding yet another formidable contender in the battle for the downtime that used to go to pleasure reading.
Even the pre-game experience was impressive, from the fun side events on the Bull-evard to the notably pleasant and friendly stadium staff, including the beer vendor who recognized me at our second match three weeks later. That one was vs. Toronto, the Red Bulls won 3-1, and the next week I bought two season tickets for 2015. Because ALL IN.
By the time the US bowed out in an agonizing loss to Belgium in the Round of 16, I took it as hard as any Mets or Jets playoff defeat, as if I'd been following them for years rather than weeks. I had truly come to believe that we could win! By the time Argentina lost its nail-biter to Germany, I was questioning what I ever saw in American football's three-and-outs and relentless commercial breaks. Some of this feeling was definitely thanks to ESPN's slick marketing and broadcasting packages, and some of it was thanks to sharing the experience via social media, with friends and strangers alike.