I've been back doing this blogging thing for two months almost. Two months and over thirty blogs, and it's tiring! Life has been all over the place and I tried to keep up the momentum of "one post per day" for some obscure self imposed reason. But you know what, I'd rather focus on quality. And in my experience it is almost impossible keep up that pace and have the quality of my writing stay high, if only by virtue of the fact that any big ideas I might have I don't have time to flesh out in a half hour flurry of typing. So I have probably missed opportunities to work out bigger articles in favor of the quick and dirty.
That's why today I'm doing a Mangasm. Just a general thought dump and journal of what has been going on in the daily life of the Manchild. And it has mostly been concerned with world building.
Since I was young I've always been fascinated by the concept of creation. My favorite games were in the Sim genres, Sim City, Populous and Civilization. I've just always loved the idea of playing god and making your own little world. But in no game does a world come to life like in Dungeons and Dragons, and the campaign setting I've been building for my players has been time consuming and absorbing in every sense.
We have played two sessions and it has been a lot of fun so far. A pretty typical party of adventurers, it wasn't long before I realized, as a Dungeon Master, that I was indeed dealing with a sorry crew of cutpurses and bumbling, wreckless morons. I think a lot of RPG's sort of go this direction, and it's a hell of a lot of fun. I've had to think on my feet constantly to deal with various situations the players have put themselves into, and they have done some creative things I wasn't expecting which directly went against what I as the referee were perhaps HOPING they would do in order to make my session easier to direct. But that is one of the beautiful parts of the game; the world you are creating and the story you are weaving is interrupted by outside forces and ends up taking on a life of its own. You could spend hours or weeks constructing a finely crafted town for your game world, only to have a character toss a fireball into town square and burn the whole thing down to the ground. This was the appeal of random disasters in Sim City; the risk that your creations can be dismantled without a moments notice, forcing you to rebuild. But the way the players create their own story brings a real feeling of life to the world; and how you react to that as a DM and create new situations or perhaps consequences for their actions that further enrich the story...well, it can be really addicting. And most of my week has been consumed sitting in front of a notebook and sketching things out for my game.
It's a form of escapism for sure. The last few months have not been kind. And while we are not out of the woods yet, exactly, the chaotic storm of events that have transpired seem to be calming, for sure. My new job pays more than the old one. I haven't quite determined if it is quite enough yet, and we may very well have to switch roles once again. But now that the daily, consuming anxiety and stress seem to be over, we can focus on living again for the time being and enjoy what little time we do have as a couple and a family. But in the mean time, we are both where we want to be. So if we can maintain the lifestyle, all is well for now.
I've been reading a lot of other Cblogs here also. I usually try to comment with encouraging things, but I just haven't made the time. But there are lots of good writers here. I don't really go anywhere else at this point for my gaming opinions. But I have been brought back on to one of my old haunts, a website called Gaming Rebellion, to write articles for them. Like everything else in life so far it is pro bono, but I like the site and the people. And I really like having an editor as well. Cblogs are nice because you can pump out whatever, but I question the motivation of some people. Everyone wants to be seen, and many people want to have their names recognized. So I suppose the best way to go about that is to pump out as much material as you can. But I just can't stand garbage material; I can't stand reading or writing it. The top ten list, the arbitrary "review". I got started writing about games with my own gaming review blog and realized just how redundant it was. You can't take a piss anymore without seeing a thousand reviews for everything. And when I see the arbitrary score at the bottom of the page I just say to myself "Okay, fuck it, I'm done."
It's HARD to be original. It's hard to find a voice. I guess that's why I appreciate folks like Jim Sterling so much. His reviews are Jim Sterling reviews. Even some people, like the universally hated Arthur Gies from Polygon, are at least consistent enough in tone and content that you always know who is behind the piece you are reading, and I appreciate that. But it's hard to come by, and it's hard to decide who you want to alienate. Because no matter your style, or opinion, you are going to leave someone out. But the effort to have your own original voice and content is worth it. I remember blogs by people like Zetta, Occams, and Pixie because they have their own sense of style. Style is tremendously important. And while the strict essay format works for a reason, it's OKAY to deviate from that template.
Also, a four paragraph blog about some well addressed issue that offers no actual OPINION on said issue, and then the call to action at the end suggesting readers to "post in the comments to tell me what you think!" come off as real hokey and ingenuine. If people want to comment and interact, they are going to; you don't need to suggest it. Sometimes I feel bad because I have no response to offer someone when they leave me a comment, so I usually "like" their comment instead. It doesn't mean I didn't appreciate the fact that they shared their opinion, just that I have nothing to add to the conversation. As anyone reading my work knows, I like the conversation and interaction that comes as a result of writing. It's the reason I write; maybe the only reason. I feel like a lot of writers out their, professional are not, just want a sounding board to project their egos upon. They aren't interested in interaction unless it comes in the form of positive reinforcement. But I digress.
I'm still around, still alive. Still being creative every day. But the well for the daily blog has run dry. While this is my community and home, it is still a video game blog ultimately so I doubt people want to hear about pen and paper shit all day long. But that's what I've been doing. And it's been a hell of a lot of fun!