Sunday, April 6, 2014

Honey! Where are my PANTS??

I'm splitting it up again. Hold me back! I'm a wild man!!!

The only gaming I've been doing is Diablo 3. Gaming has always been a large part of my life and I believe it will continue to be in the future. I started Halo: Reach with the intent of taking a while to play through all of the Halo titles. Even after I've played them a billion times each, I still enjoy them. Better yet, I still discover little nuances in each one that I didn't see the first go-around...or the 15th.

So...the Xbox One and PS4. Yeah. I have no intention of buying a PS4. I've nothing against it--I think it is a solid platform. But it's not had a library of games that I've felt compelled to play. Sure, I'd like to give God of War a spin and I'd definitely like to play through the two Infamous games. But I'm not going to get a whole new console for that. Anyway, the old games aren't compatible with the PS4. So maybe I'll just buy a PS3 on the cheap some day. But I doubt it. But maybe...

As far as the Xbone goes, I'm not really in a hurry to buy one of those, either. I've heard mixed reviews of the system. Some people have had massive problems with it while others have had none. The fact of the matter is, even now, there are no games out for it that I need to play. If I want Titanfall, I'll play it on my PC.

Sure, Halo 5 is being thrown around, and Destiny is coming out in November. Destiny isn't available on PC so it might convince me to eventually pick up an Xbox One...maybe. But I don't buy a lot of console games and, truth be told, Microsoft keeps throwing free Xbox 360 games at me. And since I haven't even been gaming much, I've got a backlog on the 360 that rivals my Steam library.

As far as the writing goes, it is the reason I am not gaming much. And I am thoroughly letting it monopolize my time. And the reward I am reaping from it is amazing. I have completed 22 chapters of the book thus far and I'm still going strong.

I do, however, admit to one anxiety. Whilest I write within a chapter everything is all awesome and stuff. And finishing a chapter feels amazing. It's nice to sit back and feel the sense of accomplishment. But it also brings on a bit of worry in me. I have this fear that my brain is suddenly not going to be able to come up with material to write. If ever I get stuck in a writer's block state of mind, it is between chapters.

It's happened. It's happened a lot. Luckily, it eventually subsides. But I can't force myself to overcome it. I either write on another work or, well, play a video game. Sometimes sleep helps--though I almost never wake up with ideas. A lot of inspiration comes while in the shower, believe it or not. Sometimes an idea reveals itself at work or in the car.

I used to come up with a plethora of ideas while running. This doesn't happen much anymore. I am notorious for zoning out completely while I run. Much of that used to be because I was lost in thought. But, now, I just let go of most everything and simply run.

As of late I have been camping out at Starbucks on Sundays and I write. It is actually less distracting than being at home because, while I'm surrounded by people, I am not surrounded by pets, video games, and televisions. And I get a lot written. And it is amazing.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Obligatory Title

Writing!

I'm waist deep into Chapter 14 and loving it! But I have to be honest. While I have written plenty of original material over the years, this book is not entirely original. And, by that, I mean that I wrote it once before--after college. Only, back then, it really sucked. But I was proud of it! Until I wasn't.

See, when I first started out on the "I want to write stuff and get published!" expedition. the Internet was a baby. And, if that was true, The World Wide Web was essentially a zygote. A cute, addictive zygote that would quickly grow to love porn and cat videos. Warped, right?

So, to get published, one bought a book, trolled through agent listings and then sent said agents proposals. Then you got rejected over and over again. Things are much different, much more pleasant, and much tastier now.

I'd given up for a long time. Sure, I still wrote some tasty nuggets but they were mostly for my own satisfaction. See, I'm one of those wusses who will play guitar only when nobody is around and who will write a bunch of stuff but is too embarrassed to share it with anyone. But, also, I realize that this stuff isn't going to publish itself.

Well, it might...or at least come close. You see, the Interwebz now offer many more things besides cat videos. It offers all kinds of ways to get discovered and self-publish. Which got me thinking, which got me writing, which got...well, here we are.

So this book--I am writing it from the ground up. There are elements from the original--characters, ideas, plot points etc.--that are still in the book. But it's much different now. It flows, it makes sense and, most importantly, it doesn't take up a billion pages. It is, indeed, a work that I am so far very proud of. And I am excited every day to write it. Anyway, this is why I haven't blogged in a while. In fact, I haven't gamed nearly as much as I normally do. And I'm okay with this.

Speaking of gaming

Back to gaming! Well, until we're not.

Let's get real for a moment and talk Diablo 3. A recent patch just came out for it that, well, changes the game entirely! It now feels 90% like Diablo again! And we have Jay Wilson...'s absence to thank for that! Seriously, that guy worked really hard to mess up one of the best franchises in gaming. I think he's in Siberia or Detroit or somewhere he can't do any harm.

Of course, Blizzard really had to release a patch that completely reworked the game if they wanted to sell their upcoming expansion. Too many people dropped out of playing Diablo 3 because, well, it just didn't have replayability. Heck, to a lot of people, it didn't have first time playability. I had plenty of problems with the game (and still have a few) and gave up after a while. Fundamentally, it was flawed.

However, it is now a much different game and I am looking forward to the expansion!

Anyway, that's all. I figured I'd put something up to confirm that I am still alive. I will, no doubt, have more later!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Let's Switch Gears

I tend to cover a wide range of subjects here but gaming tends to take center stage more than anything else. I am going to banish gaming to the side stage for a moment--you know, the stage off to the left and rear that usually has some act you've never heard of, but that involves a tank of water, peanut butter, and some kind of monkey.  Yeah, that stage. But I'll bring it back and it'll smell only slightly worse. Promise.

I have always been a writer. I used to enjoy writing fiction and, one day, dream about publishing it. The goal was never to become famous and rich because I'm much more realistic. A lot of people write things but few ever really make it big. I have no illusions.

Back when I started, the process was rather archaic. You fished around for an agent and they fished around for a publisher for you. It was a rather terrible experience. I did actually make an attempt. I sent off probably a dozen letters to agents and got rather nonchalant, uninterested responses. So I eventually shelved it because I had bigger fish to fry. Tasty, tasty fish...to fry.

But, recently, the bug has hit me again and I have embraced it 100%. Getting published by a major publisher still is not easy. About that I have no illusions. But, since it was never actually my goal to be published by a big publishing house (don't get me wrong, it'd be awesome if that happened), then I can now follow a much easier route--self-publishing.

E-readers have made it much easier for writers to get their works out. Sure, we don't make money hand over fist but a true writer simply wants to entertain--to have someone read his or her work and enjoy it. And that is what I want to do. If I can make a living off of it, then so be it.

This week I started a novel. I intend to finish it, edit it, and get it published both in e-book format as well as publish it in a physical book. And I am having SO MUCH FUN doing it! Thanks to "the cloud", I can write pretty much anywhere on any device at any time. This is very handy when an idea strikes or I just want to get out some material.

So I am pretty psyched. Hopefully the momentum not dwindle and I will produce something that both I can be proud of and also that people will not only want to read but enjoy!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

See the Grazing Mule Before Us

Fa la la la la, la la la LA!

Christmas music. Some people hate it, some people love it. But have you ever stopped to listen to the lyrics and actually know the true meaning of each song? No? Well, you're in luck. I am such a good Samaritan...and I will help you understand some of your favorite Christmas songs.

Ahem.

"Silent Night": This is the song where the parents wish their children would hush up and go to sleep so that Santa can visit.

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer": Geeks start out as outcasts and grow up to be awesome. Also, they have red noses, but nobody knows why.

"Feliz Navidad": Merry Christmas...over and over and over and over and over again. And then some more.

"Santa Claus is Coming to Town": Santa Claus had to pick up some milk at the grocery store.

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus": [redacted].

"Santa Baby": Give me lots of stuff and I'll [redacted].

"It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas": "It's only August and already stores are selling Christmas ornaments. Ugh."

"White Christmas": "I hope it snows really hard so that we don't have to drive all over the place on Christmas."

"Blue Christmas": That snow...doesn't look right at all.

"Do You Hear What I Hear?": Voices...voices everywhere. This lamb is telling me that the wind told it something.

"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas": I want a hippopotamus for Christmas. Absolutely NO rhinoceruses.

"All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth": Most people think this song is about a little kid who lost his teeth. It's actually about a 100-year-old man who misplaced his dentures.

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas": Merry Christmas!!!

You're welcome.

Friday, November 8, 2013

You Can Thank Us Later

Dear Children,

This is an open letter to all of you who like to ask this ridiculous question:

"You're XX years old and you still play games? Don't you have a life?"

I hear this a lot. Because, for some reason, kids these days think that there is an age limit on playing games (video games mostly, but sometimes tabletop as well). You know, once you reach a certain age, you suddenly get a walking cane, pull your pants up to your chin, go to bed at 7:00 pm, AND STOP PLAYING GAMES!!! Actually, that "go to bed  at 7:00 pm" thing doesn't sound half bad some nights. But that cuts down on time for activities! Mainly, playing games.

No, I no longer have 20 hours a day to sit at home and play games--I have a family and a job and I like to do other things. But I used to, and I did. But my time was spent playing games like Bard's Tale, Might and Magic, and StarCraft...yes, the first one. That was probably before your time.

I started on an Atari 2600, moved on to the Colecovision, NES, then the SNES. I had a PC that didn't even have a proper video card. Why? Because they didn't exist yet! I had a Hercules Graphics Adapter (HGA). With it, I could emulate (through software) EGA and, again, through software, emulate VGA. Yep. I did that so that I could play games. In fact, I got into computers TO PLAY GAMES. I am betting you probably have no idea what "EGA" or maybe even "VGA" is. I do. Because I routinely disassembled my PC and tinkered with it. I was the only one I knew who was knowledgeable, and there was no Internet. Our 3D cards (once they came to be) were completely separate, add-on cards that you bridged to your main card. Mine had 12 megabytes of RAM. And IT USED GLIDE!!!

I found the first official easter egg hidden in the Atari 2600 game "Adventure" and glitched into invulnerability in the game "Dragonfire" on the same system. And I did this all, again, without the help of that handy tool we call the Internet. Back then, even strategy guides for pretty much anything were years away. If you wanted answers, you found them yourself. Save points? Continues? Pfft. If you lost, you started over. Old school. So you made sure you were really good at the game...and didn't lose.

The first game I played "multiplayer" with a friend remotely? "Populace"...over a 2400 baud modem. And it was awesome. I think I lost, but that wasn't the point. And, no, there was no voice chat. I'm guessing you've never heard of "Populace". You could say it was the precursor to "Black and White". You may not have heard of that game, either.

I hung out in arcades. Random adults I didn't know would bet their friends that I could beat them at games. I almost always did. It was worth a laugh...and a free game. I found the perfect kick return in Cyberball against most opponents that would never fail, I was unbeatable at Pigskin, and I sucked horribly at Gauntlet. Once, in college, I had a line of frat boys out the door just waiting to get their shot at beating me at Super Street Fighter II Turbo. They all failed and I got hundreds of dirty looks. In fact, I played for nearly two hours before I finally had to go to class (I was late). I did all of that on 50 cents. I also competed at the local arcade in Street Fighter tournaments and won almost every time. When I didn't, a friend did.

I did all of this and, yet, still found a way to spend a majority of my time playing outside, with friends, rain or shine.

Until the Colecovision came along, I could not play accurate re-creations of arcade games, and it killed me inside. Atari tried its best but it just couldn't even come close, and it was sad. Technology eventually caught up and arcades began to vanish. Why go to an arcade when you could play on a console that was just as good and, most often, better?

When video games were introduced, they met with skepticism--they were seen as a fad that would quickly pass. They had a rough time and nearly disappeared from existence (maybe the E.T. game had something to do with that). But you can thank my generation for keeping them alive. And you can thank the generation before mine for providing them in the first place, and continually trying to improve them.

So before you go and ask an adult "Wow, you're XX years old and you STILL play games?" Remember that we're essentially just like you, only older and much wiser. Sure, we hold jobs and our manners are usually much better than yours, but we like to have fun just like you. And we've been playing games probably longer than you've even been alive. I'm not planning on stopping anytime soon and I would guess that you're the same way. The good news? At some point you'll hopefully get a steady job and be able to pay for your own games like me. No more asking Mommy and Daddy for Christmas! ;)