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LONG BLOG

10 Things You Didn't Know About Altum Videtur

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So yesterday, bbain decided to try and start a super-neat list-off, reviving a 10-things-you-didn't-know-about-X trend that expired before my brief time here. The following is my attempt to blow a little harder on the rolling beach ball - I'd encourage you to pick it up and keep it going!

The following things are listed in no particular order; most of them are non-gaming related, chiefly because my habits and tastes are fairly pedestrian, so I hope that doesn't disqualify this from being interesting or anything



1. I learned an entire foreign language, and then forgot it.
When I was ~6 years old, my dad got a job offer way above his current pay grade. The catch? We were in the USA, and it was in Germany. So, he dragged us along to Deutschland for 2.5 years, and I had the distinct privilege of trying to integrate myself into a small-city German school, the inhabitants of which had no sympathy or patience for a kid that didn't understand a word anybody was saying. Despite what seemed like their best efforts to stop me, I managed to worm my way through a couple of grades, and shortly before we forced my father to find another job back in the States, I was able to speak the language as fluently as a native of my age. One German-free summer later, though, and I couldn't remember a thing. Even when I took German classes in high school as my foreign language, the only area in which I seemed to have an advantage was the accent - funny how that works.

2. Once upon a time, I was a die-hard, rabid Nintendo fanboy.
Even as early as the SNES, Nintendo was largely thought of as the one who made the "kiddie consoles;" my parents' consequent refusal to buy me anything else meant that while the other children were gawking at exploding zombie heads in Resident Evil and sniping each other's brains all over the walls in Halo, I was replaying Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario Sunshine again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and
Not that they're bad games, of course, but I had to stave off the jealousy and isolated despair somehow - and did so by convincing myself that everything anyone else has ever played is just bad, you know, and I've got the Nintendo console, which has all the real games and not your exploitative Grand Theft Autos and Devil May Crys. Soon, the acquisition of a gaming-capable PC introduced me to all the awesome I was missing, and an Xbox followed shortly afterwards - but those were some dark days.

3. Until quite recently, the only things in my entire (voluntary) literary history that were written after the 19th century were Harry Potter and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
My dear mother, being an English major herself, was one of the most instrumental forces driving me towards my present word-based inclinations. The downside: her primary interest is in 18th & 19th century British literature, so as soon as I was capable, I was getting nothing but large doses of Dickens, Austen, Bronte (& Bronte), etc. - the observant reader can see how the era's crippling fear of periods has seeped its way into my own writing style. Only after the acquisition of my shiny new Android smartphone and its handy-dandy Kindle app did I have the means and the inclination to branch out into more modern works, discovering super-fun modern writers like Terry Pratchett and David Foster Wallace.

4. I was diagnosed from an early age with a social disorder.
Like, for-real professionals ushering me through a bunch of tests and speaking solemnly to my parents when they think I'm out of earshot diagnosis, not "well an online survey said" diagnosis. I admittedly feel a bit hesitant about including this, but it's been such a major influence on virtually every aspect of my life that I feel mentioning it is unavoidable. They call it PDD-NOS, which from what I understand is the medical term for "look, man, we got nothin'." What it essentially means is that I'm unable to grasp a number of "intuitive" social things that the neurotypical person finds second nature. Example: You know the "awkward" feeling? Where someone says or does something that makes you bite your lower lip, glance upwards, and go silent? I don't. I've had to "memorize" how each thing I or another person could possibly say or do provokes a certain response as if it were another page in my mathematics textbook, and either restrain myself or fake the appropriate reaction as is necessary. This becomes particularly troublesome with nonverbal language - a major reason why I've gravitated toward the written word as my preferred form of expression and communication.

5. My username is deriding a dead language about which I know almost nothing.
Speaking of languages: "Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur" is a Latin phrase that roughly translates to "Anything said in Latin seems profound." When I was thinking about what to call myself, I wanted something that was 1. meaningful 2. not "tied" to any one product (i.e. not from a game or movie) 3. not too self-important and pretentious. The above fits #2 straight-on, contains meaning (as opposed to "[MLG] xXx_420SnYp3rTyL3R420_xXx"), and attacks its own self-important and pretentious connotation in a playfully ironic way. That, of course, is probably self-important and pretentious in and of itself, but since I literally don't know a single other thing in Latin (beyond a few English roots), I think it balances out.

6. I have an irrational discomfort toward providing information about myself.
Yeah, it's an odd thing to say in the middle of a blog post dedicated to doing precisely that - but due to #4, another two of the things I was unable to comprehend were bragging (I couldn't distinguish it from simply informing) and knowing when to stop giving and start taking in a conversation. To compensate, I ceased doing either; a countermeasure which prevented me from being ridiculed and derided, but made approaching and communicating meaningfully with others that much more difficult. It's why I passed on doing an introductory blog when I started posting here - I felt (and still feel) that things like my name, face, and so on are irrelevant toward my purpose of stringing words about games together at least once a week. Hell, unless I'm forgetting something, I don't even think I've mentioned my gender yet (the gentleman in my avatar is not me, clearly.) This kind of article is good practice toward overcoming that, though - and being careful with my personal information online has arguably done more good than harm.

7. I do some amateur music composition in my spare time.
And by amateur, I mean baby-level half-assed I-sure-hope-nobody-ever-sees-this amateur. Nothing I'm working on is finished and even less of it is good, but it's a fun little hobby - if I'm enjoying myself, it's worth it, right? Having been closely attached to an excellent band program throughout grade school, I please-oh-please-I-want-it-so-bad-please-please-d my parents into buying a composition program called Finale several years ago, and to this day, I still use it to dick around with things that I guess fall into the "classical" genre (orchestra, big band, woodwind quintet, piano, etc.), although in the crazy rules-and-standards-are-for-jerks modern sense. With virtually no knowledge of theory beyond basic basic chord structure, I'm unable to do anything but translate whatever pops into my head on paper (which happens about twice a season) - but maybe one day I'll finally wrap something up and post it on the Cblogs!

8. Despite this, I very rarely find myself listening to music.
Outside of using the radio for longer car-trips, I never really have the desire to listen to anything - one reason, I believe, is because I can "play back" any songs on my mind that I want in my own head; something I had initially assumed everyone could do, but later found out was apparently something of an acquired skill. More strongly and somewhat more interestingly, though, simply listening to music either bores me or distracts me - either the piece is too repetitive and simple to engage me, or (if it's not) I'm too busy trying to hear every individual note and color, identify every new incarnation of the melody, and so on; I have a very difficult time just putting music in the background. Unless I specifically plan and dedicate time to examine something closely, the vast majority of my days go by without me coming into contact with a single external source of music - not including whatever's going on with a game I might be playing, of course.

9. I don't use any kind of social media.
Seeing a pattern here? I signed up on Facebook several months ago under immense pressure from a couple of friends, and within a week, I'd completely forgotten about it. I already had other ways of keeping up with anybody who I felt was worth keeping up with, and every other aspect of the experience seemed to consist of people I've never spoken to trying to add me as a friend and lots of passive-aggressive drama I wanted no part in. I closed the account about a month after I'd opened it - again, the name and the face and the etc. lying about in the open internet caused me much more discomfort than the few paltry conveniences were worth. I have been thinking about hopping on Twitter some day in the future under this alias, but with precious few people to follow me, it doesn't seem like the right time.

10. I want to work for video games too !! !
There are a couple of reasons for me deciding to latch onto Dtoid as my next community, but quite honestly, this is the "real" one. The only thing I like more than words is video gaming, and the possibility of fusing the two into some manner of career, whether it's writing for or about the medium, is the very definition of "dream job." Will it happen? Who knows - but the Cblogs keep me writing and keep me reading, challenging me to not only find interesting sub-topics but present them in an entertaining fashion. That, and they provide a portal into a really-neat group of really-neat people - something which continues to become more valuable every day.
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About Altum Videturone of us since 11:44 PM on 11.04.2011

My earilest memory is of playing a PC port of Pac-Man on my dad's computer. My next earliest memory is of playing a PC port of Tetris on my mom's computer. I've been happily and hopelessly into video games and everything to do with them since, and while I have my favorites - pretty much the entire Metroid series (except, you know, that one) - there are very few good games I haven't played and enjoyed.

Now that I've been here for a few months I guess something else should go here, so: I've set upon myself a personal goal to write and post a blog at least once per week. Sometimes, meeting this deadline means that those articles are not up to the standards I would like, and I'll simply shove them away unpublished and try again next week. More rarely, they turn out great, and up they go. Even more rarely, I'll actually feel very satisfied and accomplished, and will get all excited for the loads of attention I won't be receiving. The following blog entries are ones that I believe fit into the latter category, preserved here in order of appearance for my (but quite possibly also your!) amusement and enrichement:

Battlefield 3: On Scale, Freedom, and Wookies
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - David Sarif
Bigger, Longer, also Harder - A Counter-Case for Longer Games
Location: Darkest Africa
How About a Mass Effect 3 Article with No Ending Controversy (Spoiler-free!)
Quest for Blood: How Seeking Ultraviolence Showed Me the Best Side of Videogames

Also, I mantain the monthly Cblog Analytics series, which tallies up a bunch of statistics and presents them in a simple and organized format. The results are always interesting and often surprising - all the math is done on my end, so no matter how number-phobic you might be, it's worth checking out! This year's entries are listed here:

February
March
April
May
June
July
August