Tag Archive | gaming

Turning the Corner

I am back at the keyboard again and I am quite thrilled for the New Year. For those that have made some resolutions, I would like to offer my words of encouragement and extend to you all that I am right there with you.  This blog has been added back to my list of projects after a short time where it was on the cutting block.  It had become a voice for my thoughts for the several months.  It was my outlet to make it through some very difficult times with life. I was pleased with the effect.  In the end, I found the strength that I needed and the outlet to express it.  To my followers, it was an honor to have your voice and support.  The year ended with great prospects for the year and new challenges to face.  I know now that I can face them with a straight back because I have already overcome much due to the support here.  My thanks.

Now, let me explain one thing.  I had been tempted to stop this blog due to the fact that I have been invited, and paid, to use some of my artistic skills for a friend of mine.  To begin with, it will be very simple things, but it has the potential to grow into something far more productive that I have had in many years.  I have ached to produce something that will display my talents to the general public.  However, most of the time, I have failed to set aside the right amount of time for it or the energies have faltered.  In the end, I was forced to retreat.  This time, I will not let that happen.  I have a direction and it will come to a completion in the near future.

As much as I want the artwork to succeed, I decided to keep going with my writing and the expression of my thoughts. I moved some time around in my schedule to make it fit.  Now, I am back to my usual hum of productivity and slight agitation at the world’s foolishness.  I will be turning my eyes to the horizon, but this blog is a part of me now.  I can’t just let it go and I need it for the simple fact that I may need to work out some ideas in the coming days.

A last thought for today is a full explanation of the art that I will be working on. As part of an early career option, I once wanted to explore the area of illustration.  I wanted to sketch and create images to help give life to books and others forms of writing.  I had studied with the techniques of pencil, charcoal, pastel, and oil paints.  I tried my hand at other media such as watercolor and acrylic painting.  It allowed me to express a part of my being that was locked away.  I am now getting that chance.

A friend of mine that I have written about in this venue has asked me to join him in a venture where I will be doing cover art for novels which he will be writing.  It will be the eBook format with a print-on-demand option.  My artwork will be part of that package and help to promote and express his written vision. We have worked together on a few projects before, but this will be our first professional venture.  It will be a very exciting year ahead and worthy of the efforts.

I will likely be doing some of the art work through digital tools in order to refine it and prepare it for the final product.  Once the image is ready, I will be sharing some of the sketches with those that read here.  I am very excited about this move and will be happy to share it with you all.

crudus animus

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A Moment of Leadership

I wanted to use this moment to express a few thoughts that have been floating around in my mind. In recent weeks, I have come to realize that I have actually found some good friends who are not just there during the good times. I have been given a great amount of good things in my life, but friends have been limited in number.  The friends that I have held dear have been great and long-lasting. It was their influence on me that helped change some of my unsavory qualities.  I still struggle with tendencies of less-than-positive view and a slight trend toward narcissism.  Of course, I like to think that all of us have a moment or two where we are self-centered and self-serving. All of this is coming into the light as I settle into a new job and new responsibilities.  I am the new guy again.

Confidence in one’s abilities is not always a bad thing in those moments when it must be used to defend a position or offer a suggestion. I am often finding myself pulling back from speaking like a know-it-all. A great talent is not always appreciated and some resent it.  This brought me to realize that perhaps there was a better way to handle such a situation.

As I stated in a previous blog, I was going to begin reading a few books.  A couple did not grab me immediately, so they were put to the side for a time.  To be honest, reading a novel, for me, is something that fits into the right time in life. So, I moved through a few books and found that I was back to reading the Game of Thrones, which I had put off.  At first glance, the writing was skilled with developing great twists of intrigue and characters.  I felt that it was lacking a great amount of description to the world that I was used to.  However, I have found it to be enjoyable, and I continue to read.

Back to my point about handling a situation with some humility and grace so resentment is not borne by others, I found that one particular character in the book to have a similar situation. The bastard Jon Snow, who comes from his father’s house with training and skill with the sword, enters into the service of a fighting troop who protects the realm from the forces beyond the Wall. It is a harsh life and they are sworn off a life of family. As Jon enters the training, it is very clear that he is capable of defending himself and defeating his classmates in large groups.  However, he is isolated by those that he has defeated and embarrassed. It becomes even harder as the trainer brings his own ridicule into the situation.

It is at this moment that Jon is given some advice that perhaps he should remove that haughty nature from his confidence.  It is this quality that the other recruits and instructors are resenting in Jon.  I don’t think that I would have puzzled it out as well as Jon, but he turned from beating his classmates to teaching them with the skills that he has.  He goes from loner to a distinct leader of the recruits to the point that they follow him, even against the wishes of the instructor.

In this, I considered the new position that I was placed in at my new job and remembered the true leadership that is found in being a mentor while being the leader. I have used this technique in the past, but it has been some time since it was on my mind. It has drawn me from the darkness that I often faced during the last few months.

It was inspired by a novel, enhanced by friends, and used by a person seeking to become a better part of this world. I count those here that read and follow me as part of that support. When I was lost, all of you were there for me.  My thanks to all.

By the way, my frequency may not increase entirely as the job levels off and the coming of the great month of November.  November holds a few things that should be excellent. It is the month of NaMoWriMo and I will be making my second attempt to writing a novel of 50,000 words in a month. Last year, I finished the novel in January, so I am trying for a better run this time. I will likely update the blog as I can.

Also, my wedding anniversary comes toward the end of the month and it will be eighteen years, so it will be exciting.  So, for now, I need to catch up on my favorite blogs and enjoy what all of you are writing.

crudus animus

The Gang’s All Here

It has been a few posts since my last conversation about my gaming life.  I feel that I occasionally need to place some of my tales in writing.  It has two effects.  One is that I reveal a deeper perception about the author for the audience.  I have always been fascinated with the biography when I find an author that I truly enjoy.  The experiences of that person begin to appear in their subject matter in a very primal way.  The energies and thoughts permeate the syllables with emotion and philosophy.  The background of the author reflects into the stories and characters as most are writing from their own experiences.

A second effect is the release of my thoughts into my own writing.  Such catharsis clears my mind of gathered thoughts, ideas, and opinions.  As of yet, I have not reached the point when I feel that my writing is enlightened.  I mostly feel that my knowledge is a collection of thoughts and wisdom of others that came before me.  If I have had an original idea or concept, I have filtered it down into the writings of my fictional side.  I would love to share a few of those fictional stories, but I don’t feel that this is a proper forum for them or that they would be protected.  I would only do so if I was asked and for a small party.  At times, I have even felt these original moments appear in the hobby of role playing.  It is this effect that I wish to discuss for the pursuit of self-discovery.

The basics are a place to start.  Most gamers of this generation have come into contact with one form of this hobby.  It is not the mysterious art that geeks learned in the dark rooms of secrecy.  Nor is it the source of great evils.  It is a well-developed art that has had it day of reckoning and revelation to the world.  One of the most popular games that allow the player to take on a role and game in a fantastic setting is the World of Warcraft.  This peak of technology uses the online communities to create an entire culture of gamers.  Through clever marketing and social groups, this form developed into the juggernaut that has pulled in the most casual gamer.  It grew to this level through the evolution of numerous incarnations and has other companies attempting to develop their own version of this successful powerhouse.

For me, the online world of gaming creates a brief temptation, but it is not the game style that I want.  I find the intimate styles of table top gaming to be my true passion.  There is nothing more exciting for me than to sit down with something that I have created and entertain a group of friends.  The interaction is possible in the online environment, but the tactile sensations of the dice, miniatures, or character notes cannot be equaled.  I often consider this a factor in my other need for a hard copy of a book when I am reading.  The feel of the pages and smell of a new book conveys to my memories a marker that is difficult to forget.

I am a part of a slowly fading breed who finds this kind of role playing to be entertaining and intoxicating.  I have found that this activity can bring me to the moments of pure joy.  I relate it to the description that others have given to me. This description is the relaxing state brought by alcohol or marijuana.  It is my drug.  It is a drug to take on the persona of some character and reveal some of your quieter and less expressed traits.  It is a therapy to explore one’s own mind for the deep, dark secrets hiding there.  The understanding of the self expands when you can push yourself into the shell of another personality.

The conflicts of the people at the table are lost.  Everyone enters with baggage, but they never open it.  It is a time for all the players to escape from their lives and embrace the freedom of another life.  The simplest theories of sociology can be tested in these confines.  A few concepts of human nature can be viewed at the table.  As role players, I feel the group participates in a hobby that will draw them together tighter than anything the world can reveal.  Every aspect of life can be confronted.  It is the most amazing experience that I have ever had.

In my early years as a gamer, I brought together a group of friends and introduced them to the hobby.  Some had tried before, but all were learning together for the first time.  For the next five years, that group came together and spread apart with real life pulling at some of us.  Yet, through all those matters, the group of five guys that began held true to each other.  This experience was the most amazing and it has marked my life since.  We are no longer together as our lives moved us to different parts of the country.  However, when I find a group to play with, I look around the table and remember those people.

No other event or activity has ever done that for me to such an extent.  So, when I say that role playing is a journey of self discovery, this is what I refer to.

crudus animus

The Nerd Adventure Begins…

A few posts back, I stepped into a little bit of my past concerning my hometown and my terrible gaming habit.  It was a quite a landmark moment for me.  It produced over two pages of content with little effort as it spilled out of me.  I was amazed by the end of second page that I was still going.  However, I did not want to bore anyone including myself into a stupor.  So, I wrapped up my thoughts and placed it out there for all to read.

It was at this point that I realized just how much my words had opened doors and made connections.  The second part of this landmark was the fact that it doubled my record hits for the day.  I was shocked and I accounted that it was a topic that more people could relate to.  I was quite excited at the potential.  I made note of the topic and put it on my list for future posts.  I have come to a time in my life when I realized that my experiences in this world might interest more than my family or a few friends.

This brought me to a couple of paths for future writing.  One, which I will address in the coming weeks, was the idea that my life has been divided into twenty year blocks.  I am eager to explore and explain what all that entails.  Another was to turn back the clock and reminisce about my gaming experiences.  This will be done in the same sense that I have tried to keep this blog in.  It is a sense that the opinions and experiences in my head need to be expressed.  This helps to release some of the built up energies.

With this idea, I will be adding a new category to my blog for these particular topics.  It is likely that I will add to it when the thoughts strike.  This gives me a chance to break out of the cycle that all I write about is opinions and debates.  Setting all of this in motion, I look forward to hearing thoughts.

To begin, I am a Nerd.  I like to play games for many reasons, but mostly it is my chance of fellowship with those that share my passions for games.  I don’t find the time too often these days, but it is there when I can find it.  I have played numerous board games, dice games, console games, and role-playing games.  Mostly, I lean toward the role-playing games known as RPGs in the gaming community.  It is the source of my desires to read everything that I can get my hands on.  There is always a story behind these activities and a story while these games are played.

We all have found that as a child games were the greatest form of entertainment.  Some may have started with Tic-Tac-Toe or Tiddly-Winks, while others began later and learned to play chess or Risk.  It is a defining moment in our gamer lives.  It is the first question that comes to mind and usually asked during interviews for gamer magazines of celebrities or famed game designers.  Where did you start?  What was the first game that you ever played?  For me, it was a game that my grandmother introduced me to called Wahoo.  It was a game that I would describe as being similar to Trouble! or Sorry!.  Each player had the four pieces to take around the board and into the base area.  I remember playing it for long hours and hearing my grandmother laugh and cackle when she would make a good move or win.

This was my first game, but it was just the tip of the iceberg.  It was board games for a few years until I turned ten.  I was introduced by a neighborhood friend to a new game labeled role-playing.  In this game, which was Dungeons and Dragons, the players created characters with certain skills that allowed them to take on the challenges of the fantasy world created by a selected player who ran the scenarios.  It was a bright red box set with all the rules and dice needed.  We just had to use paper and pencil to write down the appropriate notes.

The experience was mind-boggling even if it was a simple scenario for us.  I was lost most of the session, but when we ended, I was immediately addicted to it.  I needed more, but there was little more after that for another four years.  My family had moved and I was left with the ache of the game.  It still impresses me that such a game could wrap itself around my mind in a few hours and cause me many years of longing.  For the most part, I place the blame on the wellspring of my imagination which needed a release.

So, it was here that I felt the first tastes of something that would come to play a great influence over my life.  I could feel that I was on the edge of something extraordinary.

I will continue this thread in future posts as I attempt to understand some of the events of my life surrounding the gaming culture that was about to enter and have lived in for nearly thirty years.  It should be a remarkable adventure.

crudus animus

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