№12: Clyde Drexler Player Spotlight | My decision to stop playing The Walking Dead: Road to Survival mobile game | + More!

March 30, 2021

Welcome to the tedi.substack.com weekly newsletter! At the beginning of each week*, this newsletter will touch on any number of entertaining, informative, or (possibly) useful topics.

The highlight for this week is my second player spotlight entry: Former Blazer and Rocket Clyde “The Glide” Drexler. I also go in-depth on my decision to stop playing a mobile game that has been a part of my life for the better part of four years. More on this on the section below.

As we move further into 2021, your comments and feedback will also be of immense help in shaping the direction of the newsletter.

Thank you in advance for your time and constructive feedback. Read away!

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* - Unless something exciting comes up that necessitates an additional entry.


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My new weekly segment! Player Spotlight! Inspired by the writings of the late Zander Hollander (Sportswriter, archivist, and author of the ever informative The Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball), I decided to put my 30 years of basketball knowledge to some use and come up with a short, free flowing, and non-linear/viewpoint narrative on the featured player. 

Clyde Drexler

Born Clyde Austin Drexler (June 22, 1962). Known universally to sports aficionados as "Clyde the Glide" due to his effortless aerial maneuvers to the basket. While in college with the Houston Cougars, Drexler (along with shooting guard Michael Young, forward Larry “Mr. Mean” Micheaux, and [future Houston Rockets teammate] center Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon) was part of the famed Phi Slamma jamma, a popular moniker that was coined to the describe the Cougars fast paced slam dunking style of play.

Drexler was selected 14th overall in the 1983 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers. His promising development during his rookie season was a likely one of the factors why the Blazers did not draft Michael Jefferey Jordan with the second overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft.

Clyde Drexler would come into his own by his sophomore season. He was named an All-Star in his third season (the first of what would ultimately be 10 selections to the mid-season classic) and led Portland to two NBA Finals appearances in 1990 (against the eventual champion Detroit Pistons) and 1992 (where they fell in six games to the Chicago Bulls).

On May 1992, “The Glide” was one of the final two additions to the 1992 USA Olympic basketball team (the other being collegian Christian Laettner). “The Dream Team” dominated the competition in Barcelona and retuned with the gold.

In 1995, Drexler was traded to the Houston Rockets wherein he was reunited with former Phi Slamma jamma teammate Hakeem Olajuwon. The retooled Rockets finished the regular season as the 6th seed but managed to reach the NBA Finals for the second straight season. Up against the up-and-coming Orlando Magic, the Rockets pulled out possibly one to the greatest Game 1 upsets in league history. This win served as the catalyst for what would be an eventually sweep enroute to Drexler’s first championship.

After a 15-year career, “The Glide” retired at the end 1997-1998 NBA season. He is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (2004 [Player] | 2010 [As a member of the 1992 USA Olympic Team]) and was recognized as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players during the halftime break of the 1997 NBA All-Star Game.

Personal Notes

As part of the NBA Madness Philippines 2011 event, Clyde Drexler along with the Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers dance teams were slated to appear at the SM Southmall in the City of Las Pinas, Philippines on October 1, 2011 for a basketball clinic and interactive fan event. I remember this day well because there was a typhoon and the event still pushed through.

Looking back, I remember being firmly on the fence on whether I should brave the storm for the remote possibility that I would get a chance to meet Clyde “The Glide” in person. But with the weather the way it was that day, I ultimately decided against it.

Sometimes…that’s the way things go.

To close, here is some footage of the aforementioned event.


My decision to stop playing The Walking Dead: Road to Survival

Initially released by Scopely and IUGO Mobile in 2015, it wasn’t until (sometime in) 2017 that I decided to try my hand with this Walking Dead inspired free role-playing video game. At that time, the game had many things going for it. For starters, it was officially licensed and the idea of interacting (in a way) with characters that I had grown familiar with from the comic books and television series greatly appealed to me.

The next logical step to take in my Walking Dead fandom. Or at least that is what I thought at that time.

By now, most mobile games had transitioned from what I refer to as the “one-time payment and you get all of the future updates for free” model to a free “but it actually isn’t” in-game microtransactions model.[i] The Walking Dead: Road to Survival was no different and for awhile it was actually a lot of fun.

I started out by building up familiar 3-star/4-star characters like Rick Grimes, his son Carl Grimes, Maggie Greene, and Glen Rhee with the intention of navigating them through a choose-your-own-adventure type storyline mode. There were also occasional side events that I participated in such as Raid, Horde (which I enjoyed very much until the developers stopped offering it), and Level Up (which I did religiously until the end of my Road to Survival stint).

But at the end of the day, the proverbial goal posts kept on moving. 3-star/4-star characters gave way to 5-star and not long after 6-star characters (which essentially made their predecessors—the 2-stars, 3-stars, and 4-stars characters—only good for level up fodder). Over time, I didn’t even recognize my core team characters anymore as the game had evolved beyond the comic book and television show.

But I played on. Went into autopilot actually. Following my same one- to two-hour game routine without even giving it a second thought. Why, you ask? Well, a lot of it had to do with the amount of time that I had invested in the game. Two stretches of at least 300 consecutive log-in days. In the entire time that I’ve played this game, I only skipped (to the best of my recollection) three days.

Three!

I’ve been ready… Well, meaning to stop for quite some time now but whenever I would work myself up to the point of stopping, I would immediately go back into autopilot mode. It has, for a lack of a better term, been a vicious cycle.

But two weeks ago, that all changed when I asked my young son—who was seated across me from the dinner table—one simple question.

“Do you think I should already stop playing The Walking Dead: Road to Survival?”

To which he immediately replied, “Yes! You should!”

Paraphrasing what he said when I asked him for the reasons why I should stop, my son said “Well, because you always do the same thing over-and-over. Every single day its the same thing. Nothing changes.” And what was to be the final nail in the coffin, “You are acting like a bot!”

Now if that doesn’t make one’s paradigm shift—nothing will.

Postscript: It has been exactly two weeks since I’ve had that rather unexpected yet impactful conversation and I am happy to share that the desire to play The Walking Dead: Road to Survival has yet to return.

Maybe I was truly ready to stop playing. I just needed a big push for the unlikeliest of sources.

[i] With the one-time payment model, gaming companies only generated income from their initial sales. Now with the microtransactions model, the aforementioned gaming companies are now able to tap into a potentially unending revenue stream. They will give the consumer the base product for “free” BUT regularly offer in-game purchases.

To be fair, they are not forcing you to buy any of their product but at the same time, they also do not make it hard to see their on-going, time-limited offers.

Now, if you are a serious gamer with no self-control, the temptation to accelerate the in-game performance of your character may be too great to pass up and in the process be even more costly than the one-time payment model.


Can you name all of the NBA Finals Most Valuable Players?

Aced this one but it took some time to recall the first recipient of the Finals MVP award. Let me know how you did and leave a comment at the end of this newsletter.

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Till next week!

Have a blessed Holy Week ■


About

Tedi Gustilo Villasor, Ph.D. is a former columnist for Baby Magazine (Philippines) as well as a past contributor to NBA.com/Philippines. His other works include the indie comic books Lindol and OBIsessions.

Click here for more information on his work as a psychologist.

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