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Frontpaged blogs
Teh Bias: Big Heroes
Freedom: A Closer Look at Enslaved
Motion Control: Show me what you've got

Welcome, wanderer.

I am old beyond time.
(Not actually true, but I ain't young. I still get carded every single time I go to the liquor store or buy cigarettes, and they always make a big deal about it when they read my birthdate off the ID, so I guess that's good.)

I am omnipresent.
(Okay, not true either. But I've lived in a lot of places. Currently adjusting to living in a smaller town after coming from a huge one.)

I have watched your kind over the years, learning.
(Well, I can be a little antisocial; I'm an introvert. Social situations exhaust me. But I'm actually pretty friendly and have learned, with painstaking practice, to hold up my end of a conversation.)

I have watched you evolve.
(I like all sorts of games. I have some over-analytical tendencies, and when no one's looking, you might actually catch me playing with a notebook and pen at my side, taking notes. I love to see games do new things, create new systems and new ways of playing. Games like Catherine, Journey, or Child of Eden - or even little indie strangenesses like Passage and One Chance - always get my imagination fired up.)

I have participated in your rituals.
(Music - Electronica, darkwave, ambient, 80s, chillout, punk, rock, conscious hip-hop, some folk and indie. See last.fm for things I tend to listen to; the profile's out of date, and of course doesn't account for any non-digital music I own.)

I have absorbed your literature.
(Books - Stephen R. Donaldson, Michael Moorcock, Gene Wolfe, Warren Ellis, Stephen King, Chuck Palaniuk, Hunter Thompson, Richard Morgan, Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, Lovecraft, Haruki Murakami, Jeff Lindsay, Mervyn Peake, Borges, Harlan Ellison, Emma Bull, Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Banana Yoshimoto, bros Hernandez, Nancy Collins, Jessica Abel, Brian Wood, Mary Roach, Mary Karr, Jane McGonigal - and many more.)

I have aided your heroes.
(Fondly remembered games - Final Fantasy series and FFT, Persona series, SMT and DDS, Portal, Bioshock, Batman Arkham Asylum, Fallout, Silent Hill, Valkyria Chronicles, Culdcept, Baroque, Katamari Damacy, Odin Sphere, The Red Star, Rez, The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, Soul Calibur, Panzer Dragoon, Oblivion, Planescape Torment, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Civilization, Limbo, Puzzle Quest, Demon's Souls, Okami, Parappa the Rapper, any and all co-op beat 'em ups, PixelJunk Monsters, and I'm probably forgetting tons worthy of mention).

I have chosen you to hear my words and bear them to all who will listen.
(Kind of!)

Welcome, wanderer. Make yourself at home.
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This puppy needs you to just pick up the ball so it can play some more and finally move on with its life. I know the feeling.

I just finished my 3rd†SolForge victory of the day. Yes, SolForge. Iím the only tablet card gamer in the world not playing Hearthstone. Iím just one of those assholes that has to be different, I guess.† And my Zombies deck is pretty damn competitive.

I kind of want to play another round Ė but the third victory payout, a couple grand worth of silver, is the last one for the day. If I play again, Iíll get maybe 50 silver, which is worth precisely nothing. And there are other things I could be doing with my time, so I quit. For today. Unless, if Iím really fiending, I can stay up until midnight, at which point the clock rolls over and I can fight for another three victories. More games this evening, at the expense of my ability to play during the day tomorrow.

The game, like the puppy's owner, is forcing me to experience delay.

Delay in this kind of electronic game is artificial. Itís not a loading screen getting in my way, itís not that it takes long to find a match. There is no performance-based obstruction to playing more. Yet the game is saying ďGo home buddy, youíve had enoughĒ at this specific point because that is how the game designers set it up. It is not dissimilar to the kinds of ďenergyĒ required to advance in other mobile games.


Why would a game designer set up walls to stop me from playing their game? There are a variety of reasons, and many of them are covered in Zoya Streetís latest short work, Delay: Paying Attention to Energy Mechanics.

Delay is a collection of interviews, musings, and incisive analysis of this specific facet of casual mobile games, and the way in which many of them intentionally attempt to gate your play experience in a way that may or may not be to your preference. It's written with academic crispness and clarity - Zoya is a self-described game historian working on a PhD - but the language is approachable and more layman-friendly than your average textbook, the kind of thing you might find on Gamasutra and dig into over your morning coffee.

For less than the price of that coffee, this is an excellent little meditation on a mechanic that has become nearly omnipresent in mobile entertainment, and I would recommend it if that were all it was. Even if you're not the sort to enjoy thinking about game design for its own sake, you still will likely find something in here that will impact the way you experience and think about your own favorite time-wasters. But there's more to it than that.



Delay isn't just a critical analysis of how to optimally soak the average tablet owner for an extra few dollars now and then. Zoya reaches past that, weaving threads of gender studies and self-examination into the mix. At the heart of it, he is looking at the system of Delay as a system of control - an external force that tries to regulate how you play your games. He is comparing that system to other forces of control in our lives - the forces that might tell us how to spend our time "correctly." The societal forces that tell us how to act, and how to think, and how to love. He is examining the ways in which the games we play reflect the ways in which we as individuals manage our needs and our drives. That's worth thinking about, whether you're a professional designer or whether you're just trying to unlock your fish pond in Hay Day.

You may agree or disagree with any number of the assertions he makes, but Delay will absolutely give you something to think about, and for that I cannot laud it enough. Academics have a habit of locking off serious studies, papers and critical theory behind a university library paywall. I am always happy to see someone bucking that trend. If you find that you enjoy this sort of thing enough to want to expand your personal library, head on over and learn a bit more.


I guess I just I really love the notion that a game historian is actually something that you can be these days. How can you not? It's like a kind of job that would only exist in a novel, but in this economy you gotta invent these jobs, no one's inventing them for you. I love that games actually have history worth recording, I love that people want to celebrate that history, I love thinking about the whys and wherefores of games as much as I like playing them. I used to have to wait to get into conversations about them, back before I lived in a world filled with fans, devs, and academics all finding and showcasing their favorite aspects of this hobby. Now, I can have that conversation almost any time I want. There's hardly any delay at all.
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So, raise your hand if any of the following terms remind you of a time in your life:
* Play by Post
* Chat RP
* MUD
* MUSH

Okay, I count a few hands upÖ and a few blank staresÖ and a bit of droolÖ right, then. Those of you who kind of glazed over are welcome to just go ahead and take a nap, or exit out the back, and have a lovely, practical, socially well-adjusted day.



Those of you who are still with me, hi! How you been? We have some stuff in common, probably.

Back when I was a Jr. High rugrat, my few friends and I spent all this time creating character ideas. Like, not for a game, not even with a plan in mind at first. Just for its own sake, because we liked inventing awesome heroes, mostly based on the format of those Marvel Universe superhero encyclopedias. In addition to the universes full of teams we created, we'd each base one character on ourselves. But when we had a field trip bus ride to kill, or it was a slow day at lunch or in study hall, then we'd have our GM "run us on an adventure."


fulldamage possesses the normal strength level for a creature his height, age, and build who engages in reluctant regular exercise

There were not really any rules to this thing, you understand. The character sheets were in our heads, and there weren't any dungeon maps. This was pure freeform. The GM came up with something to throw at us, we'd come up with a way to handle it. You'd think a bunch of kids would be just power-gaming - and we did, a little. But we also quickly learned to work with the GM to create actual drama, which was much more interesting. It got good. People's characters got killed, formed alliances, and underwent permanent changes and transfigurations in the course of these adventures. After the dust settled we'd write the results down in their character histories.

Eventually we started playing tabletop games. Years later I would get into online RP, which made me friends that have become a major part of my life in the real world. Bottom line, at the end of the day I have always been all about Making Some Shit Up with friends, and seeing where that might take us.

So maybe you could see why something like Storium would appeal.



In a way, having the freedom to come up with anything you want can indeed be a daunting limitation for a player. What if a good idea doesn't happen? What if you put something out there, and it sounds stupid and its embarrassing? What if everyone else sucks and makes it awkward? What if you get stuck?

Rules are what make a game, and near-total freedom can be paralyzing. It's not for everyone.

But if you like to write or even just like stories a lot, and if you've never tried collaborative writing before - I think you should give Storium a shot, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it works different muscles than you're used to. This is improv or freestyle, it requires you to just let go of the need to make a perfect masterpiece, and just riff with everyone else, as the spirit moves you. Sometimes it won't be great. And sometimes it will surprise you by being better than anything you would ever come up with on your own.


You can absolutely be as cool as this guy. I wouldn't shit you.

Secondly, it's good practice. Especially if you get a group going that works well together, because you'll want to dazzle them just as much as you want to BE dazzled by their ability, and each post is another opportunity to make that happen. Over time, you can get a lot of writing done this way, and the more you write, the better you get.

Thirdly - it's fun. That's the main thing.† Probably should have led with that. Cut me some slack. This is jazz, man.

You probably want to know a little more about how it works. Well, the mechanics are simple enough. You have a narrator, who runs the story, and a bunch of players. The narrator sets up scenes.† In each scene is one or more obstacles to overcome.†

Players take turns writing parts of the scene to describe what is happening with a focus on their character. There's no turn structure - you go whenever you feel moved to do so. Each character has a set of cards representing a set of character attributes - Strengths, Weaknesses, Nature, and Subplots among them. In order to actually overcome obstacles, a character has to play a card.† The cards form a limit on the amount of effective things that you can do to overcome the obstacle.

To be clear, there are no dice or randomness involved. The cards are there to represent plot devices; they can be anything. Maybe the obstacle you are trying to overcome is a Wall of Thorns, or maybe it is an Awkward Silence that has occurred after a moment of high drama. Maybe your best tool for the job is actually a personal weakness like Indigestion or Kleptomania. You can accumulate tools and strengths in a way that simulates leveling up, or maybe you're creating the tale of someone spinning increasingly out of control into failure. What you do and how you do it is entirely up to you and the narrator.



On a pure craft level, this is an elegant system in that it mimics the recipe for keeping a story on the rails. You need to have a character with a goal or desire, they need to face obstacles and overcome those obstacles with the tools at their disposal in order to resolve their need or their goal, and come away from the experience changed. That is the core of any story, and the fact that the mechanics require each player to focus on these things makes it harder to wander off on a tangent, and easier to end a scene in a way that actually feels solid.

It's not without weaknesses, and it's still in beta. For writers that already enjoy collaborating together, the rules may feel almost needless - it's possible to ignore quite a number of game mechanics if you're comfortable just writing together and trust each other's instincts. (The narrator is allowed to call for a revision of any submitted piece anyway, and everyone can discuss things in the Comments section that lives on every page; comments will send out an email alert to all players involved.) On the other hand, there seems to be some room for more competitive play - if you have a group that prefers to be a bit at odds with one another, creating gain for one player character at the expense of another player character, then you may want to take the rules and outcomes more seriously. But really it's all down to what the narrator decides to let you get away with - there's no automated system in place that can possibly prevent anyone from being hammy, or mean, or typing too much, or a hundred other annoying things.† It's up to you to make the magic work.

If you'd told me this sort of thing would ever be a popular concept, I would have given you my best skeptical face. But Storium has done really well for itself so far. The game is evolving, and there are a bunch of new features and preset worlds still coming online. Go investigate, and let me know what you think.
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fulldamage
7:21 PM on 07.27.2014


After about an hour, a bed flew out of space and crashed into the mountain.

There wasn't really anything I could do about it. †I rotated the mountain back and forth, and clicked on the bed to no particular avail. †It's still just kind of sitting there, embedded into the mountainside at a weird angle, and seems like it will be there forever. †

There isn't much you can do about anything in Mountain. †It begins by asking you a series of questions about yourself, to which you must respond by drawing in answers (look, all that messing around in MS Paint is finally going to help you after all!). †No one knows what the game does with the answers. †Maybe nothing.



I'm calling it a game. I mean, you can argue about whether or not it is one. I like to think we've outgrown that discussion finally. Like, nothing says "insecure about my hobbies" like the need to formulate a thesis to justify them. Maybe we should call it an interactive meditation, or a digital snowglobe? Whatever revs your motor.†

Mountain is sort of like like an old bottle that someone discovered in a trunk in the attic, and you've bought it at a garage sale for a dollar, and you take it home and you discover that the top is permanently sealed on. †So you rattle it around a little bit, and you're sure you can see something in there but the glass is too scratched and tinted for you to be sure what it is, no matter which way you turn it. So you just end up putting it on a shelf, and every once in a while someone asks about it so you take it down and puzzle over it with them for a few minutes at a time. Otherwise it just sits there on the shelf, inviting you to think about it every once in a while.†

Have I just described a game? I suppose I haven't. But it's sold in the same places that you find games, and I use the same portion of my day to play with it that I would otherwise spend on games, and it shares some features with games, like being on a computer and responding to your keyboard and mouse inputs, and having sounds and graphics and whatnot, so let's call it a game and be done thinking about that part for now, eh?†



Every once in a while the mountain has a thought.†

These thoughts occur with little chiming sounds. Sometimes they repeat, as your own thoughts do. They're pensive thoughts, and sometimes even a little dark. The mountain sounds like it is trying to figure itself out by studying its surroundings, with minimal success. There may be a lesson in there for you. I don't know.

Word on the (virtual) street says it was made by the same person that made another not-a-game that is featured in the movie†Her, which is apparently about a man dating an OS that lives in his smartphone. If you like this sort of thing, thing being solitary mountains drifting alone while time passes, pondering the nature of existence, then you may also like that sort of thing, which is Spike Jonze.†



Some of the buttons on your computer will make something happen in the world of the Mountain's world, but not all of them, and the range of interaction feels pretty narrow after a few minutes, but who knows how many surprises are lurking in there? I don't want to spoil too much. Anyway, I'm not telling you how to spend your money. I thought it was worth a dollar, so that I can fire it up every once in a while and think about being a mountain. Maybe that's dumb. But what else are you going to spend a dollar on? Go on, try and come up with something. I'll wait. I'm pretty patient.

Maybe that's why I like†Mountain.









So, Jackie Chan is retiring from action movies. It makes me a little sad, but at the same time - maybe itís about that time? I would certainly rather be hearing this news than finding out that heís gotten himself killed on a movie set during some incredible but ill-advised stunt involving a backflip off of a motorcycle in mid-air between two skyscrapers to deliver a flying kick to some other guy on a motorcycle while on fire.



Itís honestly perplexing to me that there has never really been a Jackie Chan game worthy of the name, to my knowledge. I wanted to do a bit of research on his impact in games and all the places that Jackie look-alikes show up, but I found out that Hardcore Gaming 101 is all over that already. Their article is like 8 pages long, and probably you should be reading that instead of this if you really want to learn something!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lomugUihsDk
Close your eyes and pretend that this is an embedded video! Well, don't CLOSE them, but...

I first learned about Jackie Chan back in 1993 or so - I think Armour of God and Twin Dragons were big at the time. Back in the days when videotapes existed, I used to help sell bootlegs at the monthly L.A. comic convention. It wasn't so easy to find japanese animation and HK flicks back then, especially subtitled. There were no torrents, no Toonami. People hadn't heard of Akira. There were anime clubs you could go to, to get introduced to things like Ranma films or Project A-ko, because there was nowhere local for a strapped college student to get ahold of that stuff.


Nowadays it is possible kids are actually a little bit TOO exposed to anime.

We'd get tapes that had clearly been recorded from public television, wavy lines, mediocre reception and all. Then someone would subtitle them (or in shadier instances, almost certainly snagged from a commercial laserdisc or someone's fansub - I won't lie, there was some hustle involved) - and then we'd copy manually on VCRs and hawk them at the con. It was my friend's deal, I just went for free lunch, free day at the con, and maybe 40 bucks for my time if business was solid. It was a bit of a time commitment, but I somehow managed to squeeze it in between all the Drunken Mastering, failing to have sex, and skipping class to play Mario Kart or Panzer Dragoon that otherwise kept me busy.


It was better quality than this. Usually.

We had this one copy of just Jackie Chan cuts of all the best stunts from all of his work - 2 hours of heads getting kicked in, in between ludicrous backflips and handsprings and wall runs, set mostly to a bunch of White Zombie and hardcore jams. This was some of my first exposure to the latest HK cinema, and it blew my mind. It was always one of the best sellers; I don't know how many times I watched that thing.

It's not an exaggeration to say that his influence changed the way our culture perceives and understands action. When you see an action sequence that doesn't make quick cuts, but actually just puts the camera at medium distance and lets you clearly observe the actors in motion, a lot of that came from the hundred-odd films this man put together. When you catch any reference to drunken master kung-fu, it comes back to Jackie's Drunken Master. And he never needed to be some kind of MMA hardass to do his thing - in any given situation, he'd rather make you laugh than make you bleed.



I will forever be in awe of Jackie Chan, who through training, dedication, and an unkillable sense of humor, has used the humble tools of his fists and a movie camera to elevate the level of wonder in the world by showing us things we would not have imagined were possible. The man moves through our waking world as though it were a video game - every surface available for him to navigate, every jump the precursor to a double jump. I feel like thereís more to say here, but this wonít be a timely post if I sit on it too long, and so Iíll make like the actor himself - drop it here, and move on to other things.
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Would it be weird if I said I donít go to games sites for gaming news coverage? Or does that just make me dumb? Basically, Iím trying to explain to you before I mention them, that I donít often visit Kotaku other than to read Kirk Hamiltonís game music articles and the occasional Ashcraft ďLife in JapanĒ piece.

That was such a terrible explanation. Seriously, so bad! I'm sorry for wasting your time, everyone!



Okay, thing is, somebody sent me the link to this one about JRPGs. And I found myself realizing I had a lot to say about them, because I wrote down what was intended to be just a brief little comment on my G+, but ended up going on for just forever. I get like that about JRPGs.

So, this is the article, for reference.

In a nutshell, itís a defense against a criticism that JRPGs are ďdead,Ē that theyíre all too repetitive or stagnant or whatever people say about games that donít get as much media attention.

The first thing that sprang to mind for me was, "repetitive" isn't itself a flaw if the core gameplay is fun. All kinds of fun stuff is repetitive. Swinging on a swingset is repetitive. Dancing is repetitive. Television is repetitive. Checkers is repetitive. Peggle is repetitive. Triple Town and Tetris are repetitive. Shooters are repetitive. But they're also addictive. When people say that a formula of gameplay is repetitive as a criticism, what are actually perceiving is the game's failure to keep them locked in a satisfactory engagement loop.


Sometimes repetition is awesome.

If the story payoffs are not getting the player emotionally invested, or the combat systems lack tactical nuance and opportunities for decision making, or the leveling system does not continuously feed the character fun new things to learn, or the game's camerawork, effects, and presentation fail to evolve in eye-catching ways over the course of the game, or - well, any number of potential problems! - then the gameplay is perceived as repetitive rather than addictive, because the player feels that they are receiving less and less reward while growing more and more adept. But these are design problems - not problems with the genre as a whole!

As a form, it has a lot of limits. The D&D roots are clear, jutting out from the surface of the genre at odd joints. It's mostly about using numbers to make bigger numbers, dressed up with swords and spells. There's not much more to it. But limits can be enabling; Final Fantasy IV and VI, along with Chrono Trigger, are examples of some of the magic that happened when Square developers mastered the available tech and then pushed its' limits - dueling airships, playing through opera sequences, multiple character POVs, stories spanning lifetimes, branching storylines, time travel, and so much more.


It seems intrinsically Japanese to me, this honing and polishing of a small and brilliant form of gamespace, re-iterating and recycling to seek perfection within well-defined limits. Contrast it with the West - sprawling, open-ended game vistas - stay in one form of gameplay just long enough to plant your flag, consider it conquered, and move on to new pastures and new ideas quickly, or consider yourself "stagnant."

If JRPGs have an primary weakness, to me, it is in the narrative - and a lot of people play these for the story! But to me, there's a point at which I just cannot take the constant retelling of the journey to adulthood - the immature young hero learning to be mature through strife and sacrifice, learning about love, learning about defeat, learning about firsts. It is actually perfect for the model of linear leveling progression that RPGs in general have at their heart - start weak, strive, get strong, overcome. As gamers themselves age, it becomes harder for them to identify with these themes. The adult world contains more nuance. What a lot of gamers reaching their 20s and 30s aren't realizing that it's not the games that are "stagnant," it's they who are growing up and seeking deeper understanding.

But the form is capable of that. Costume Quest and Penny Arcade Adventures are fully approachable, witty, and charming games built on those exact mechanics, but telling their own unique little stories. Parasite Eve takes you through a fight against your own mitochondria, who have shaped the human being since the dawn of time. SMT: Nocturne asks you to adopt an ethos - that of the solitary Ascetic, or the arbiter of Law, or the Chaotic force of growth and change - and to harness the demons and thoughtforms that align with your ethos, to prove out that thesis in demonic combat. The linked article contains many similar examples.


Also, this.

Geez, my examples are really dated, actually. Iím not even that expert on all of whatís out there. But 1) That still supports my point - even decades-old JRPGs showed some fairly astonishing and innovative concepts. And 2) Thatís actually why Iím going to quit yammering on like that guy on the night bus who insists on involving strangers in his largely monologic ongoing conversation about how heís constantly receiving mental messages via satellite from Mars telling him not to bite strangers, and ask people to educate me instead.

What is the real hotness in JRPGs? For all my defense of them, itís been a long time since I found one that I really enjoyed. I think itís fair to say Iím over the usual pastoral-green-adventure-land, kids-with-swords-fighting-dragons, good-triumphs-over-evil nonsense. Iím curious about whatís on the fringes of the genre now - the stranger, the more bizarre, the more unusual for a game, the better. I tend to prefer stuff I can find on PS3 or PC, and tend to prefer turn-based or ATB to ĎAction RPGs,í but I still want to know about JRPGs that really made you stop and think or impressed you, no matter what platform theyíre on. Anybody want to school me?
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Well, itís been a super-long time since I wrote anything here, right? But I love all of these 10 things blogs - kudos to bbain for getting that going! My subconscious firmly believes that you guys actually all resemble your avatar pictures, and that you spend most of your time fighting for space justice on the internet while piloting a hundred thousand tiny space vehicles that assemble into a gigantic Mr. Destructoid wardroid every time I visit this site.

And yet somehow, even after catching these glimpses into your real lives and the things that make you, well, YOU - my subconscious only feels even more justified in this belief. I was never able to win an argument with my subconscious, so let me dust off and clean up my space vehicle and get up in this mother.


1. I have been laser-enhanced.

I spent a good bit of my childhood with my nose buried in a book. This might be why no one noticed I was nearsighted until, like, 5th grade or so. Then I spent the rest of my jr. high and high school years wearing thick-rimmed glasses that, yes, were frequently held together by tape. I didnít get contacts until college, and from then on, the process of worrying about them, taking them out and re-inserting them, getting eyelashes caught in them, and all the other wonderful joys of contact lens wearers were mine to enjoy (by which I mean hate) for many, many years.

I eventually saved up to get PRK, which is like LASIK but hurts worse and can take days to recover from. I cannot shoot optic blasts, which I specifically requested, but I can now enjoy the privilege of being able to close my eyes whenever I want, for as long as I want, and not having to undergo some elaborate cleansing ritual when I decide to open them again. It sounds like a little thing, but itís amazing.

This is the type of thing that makes me want a good universal health care system. Everyone should be able to do things like, you know, SEE, regardless of their income level. Iíll pay taxes for it, whatever.


2. I'm of mixed race.

My momís Filipino, my Dadís black from Louisiana (with a good dash of spanish, french, and other stuff, probably). Itís not something I talk about much, but neither will you catch me ignoring issues of race. Regardless of whether theyíre aware of it or understand it, perception of race is something that affects everyone, all the time, in ways that are both subtle and obvious. Just because I donít say much about it, doesnít mean I donít think about it. But I'd way rather be talking about stuff that's actually, like, fun.

3. I'm trying to write more often.

I always want to get better at writing. Itís the one thing that I can claim to have above-average ability in; in all other areas, I try not to suck but neither am I exceptional.
I rant about all kinds of crap on G+: fulldamage

I am working on an experimental fiction project, here: Ehaema

On the latter, Iíll be writing one little piece every single weekday, for the next year. I just started it, and am a little over a month into the effort. Itís sort of a story, but also sort of not? I honestly donít know whether itís the kind of thing anyone would care to read, but itís mainly a practice thing for me to do daily, like working out - gets me into the habit of writing regularly, without getting hung up on details. So far, so good.


4. I have a cat.

Alley is a weird little cat that shuns most people in favor of hiding in corners and staring like a creepy witchís familiar. But she seems to adore me and we get along just fine. I have a piece that I keep meaning to write, about how she went to the hospital and almost died last year due to kidney complications. I was playing the Binding of Isaac at the time, and kept seeing parallels - about what itís like to be a little creature, trapped in a scary environment, at the mercy of forces beyond your control or comprehension. Maybe Iíll get around to it. Mostly Iím just happy she pulled through.

5. I am a lurker in all walks of life.

I like a lot of things that spawn subcultures - comics, books, games, sci fi and fantasy, punk rock, hip hop, gothic / electronic music - but I tend to drift along the outer periphery of all these scenes, rather than settling comfortably into one the way so many friend groups seem to do. Iím a little anti-social, so I donít make friends real easily - Iíve always kind of done my own thing, and Iím totally a space cadet who spends most of his time in his head - but life is in the connections you make, right? Maybe I should get ďde-lurkĒ tattooed on my forearm as a personal reminder to engage more often. Is that overkill?


6. I canít swim.

Dunno. Iím half Pacific Islander and half from a southern culture that historically relied heavily on fishing and sea trading - so Iíve got the genes of all kinds of water-loving people, but it doesnít help. I canít really tread water - I just go down. I even took swimming lessons as a kid, but all I ever got out of it was a mouthful of baby pool pee water and a sense of general inadequacy.

Every once in a while Iíll sneak into a pool and try to doggie paddle across the shallow end while no oneís looking, but to little avail. Itís fine. When the dolphins finally rise up to slaughter us all and dominate the planet, you swimmers are going to be the first victims, while I hide in my landlocked bunker and prepare a statement of fealty to our new aquatic overlords, so the jokeís on you, suckers.

7. I like karaoke.

Not the open mike onstage kind (though I have done some spoken word in my time), but I will totally rock out in a japanese style karaoke booth with whomever wants to go! I tend to pick old New Wave or gothy tracks because I can mostly hit the baritone range their male vocalists tend to be in, but my range isnít that good.

8. I wish I could support comic books better.

Man, comics are awesome. But in my advanced age, I really just canít hang with the monthlies any more - I follow my favorite writers/artists and pick up the trades instead. Retailers are suffering because of this, but I canít justify dropping 3 or 4 dollars on something Iíll have read in 5 minutes, and be stuck waiting until the next month for a little crumb of plot advancement. Iíd rather wait until a story is collected, and order it from Amazon or something, the way I do with books.

So comics retailers and publishers need to adapt to the increasing amount of people who are going to do it that way, but a lot of them are trying to figure out how to incentivize people to get single issues by adding content to them. I get why they want that, but I think itís a losing battle.


9. As a child, I profaned the blessed Sacrament at church

Iím not a churchgoer. I think about consciousness and spirituality a lot, mostly under the wing of philosophy (which was my major in school). And I love mythology, because I love stories. But my folks are Catholic, so I went to catholic school in 5th grade. I never paid attention when my mom brought me to church, so I didnít know why everyone was lining up to go the front to get some weird little paper cookie.

On my turn, I snatched one out of the priestís hand and carried it around nonchalantly for a long time before cautiously snacking on it later on. Protip: Catholics are weird about you doing this unless youíve participated in their whole First Communion rigamarole. I had to go talk to a nun with my parents later because eating Christ Cookies when youíre not supposed to apparently ruins EVERYTHING for EVERYONE.

Man, those things taste awful anyway. I distinctly remember some kid telling me they tasted like chocolate. They do no such thing. Catholics are messed up.

10. You cats rock my socks.
I actually hope this was something you knew already, but in case you didnít, there it is. I am always scarce around here, but I love knowing that Dtoid is here, full of awesome people and fans of all kinds of games, waiting for me to pull up a browser window and read all about not JUST games - but the life, culture, and people that love games too, and how theyíre affected by those games, and then go out to change the world just a little bit, by writing things or getting together or gaming together or just doing their thing - shit, all of it. It makes me happy even just to think about it, while Iím stuck in the middle of some onerous task or other. Seriously, thank you for that.


Hitler puppy commands you to enjoy this post, and the rest of your weekend.
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