It’s been a little quiet around here lately. My apologies for that. My time away was necessitated by a change in my employment. The transition from old to new office space ended up taking many more “spoons” then I had planned. Then, the following two months were pretty hectic and tiring in the new job as I had transitioned during the busiest and, some would say, worst time to do so. However, they say still waters run deep. Although things were quiet here they were NOT quiet inside my head and with my thoughts about my goals for what I wanted to have happen here.
The time away gave me chance to think and re-assess a few things. I managed to begin putting some creative pieces together and those pieces were part of a project which, at one point, had been planned for this space . I just thought they would be further “down the road.” Suddenly, I realized that “further down the road” was actually much more possible then I had, at first, realized. The universe, always conspiring to prove me wrong in my hesitations, saw fit to gift me with some much needed equipment to confirm things. This sealed the deal and made me more excited, adding fuel to my scheming.
Long story short? Yes, I’ve been pretty busy over the last few months but I’ll be having an announcement next week. The blog will be here and I have every intention in moving forward with the random map, the occasional advice/commentary post, etc. If anything, this space will be getting a nice level up.
I’m excited to introduce the next phase on Tuesday evening, July 16th. It will be here and on Twitter. Thanks for coming along with me this far and I’m hoping that you will continue to join me in the next leg of the journey!
This isn’t an easy post to write but in order to jump start my writing on this blog again, I feel it’s important. The new year has been tough for me and this blog. No posts and, even worse, little inspiration to write them. I’ve been struggling with something and I finally thought it would be best to just get it out in the open in hopes that exposing the blockage will remove it.
I’ve been involved in the hobby since the early 1980’s. I’ve talked about it in past posts and have a bit more to say in the future as well. I started the blog because I feel I have some knowledge from my experiences and wanted to share. I followed my instincts and thought I had a good plan.
Just a quick announcement and then I promise we will get back to the gaming.
For my birthday this year I will be celebrating by running a 24 hour Extra Life marathon of gaming. I was unable to make the main event on November 3rd but I decided, at the time, I would figure out a date before the end of the year. What I’ve decided is it will be this weekend (a few days before my birthday to be exact) on Saturday/Sunday, December 8th/9th. My start time for the 8th is scheduled for 9:00AM EST.
What is this all about?
Extra Life is a wonderful charity which allows gamers to do what they do best while supporting children’s hospitals all over the country. This takes the form of a 24 hour fundraising gaming marathon. It’s simple, really. Like a dance marathon for charity or a charity race, I play games and try not to fall asleep while you cheer me on and show your support by donating at my charity page.
This will be my 3rd year doing the event and this time, barring any tech issues, I’ll be streaming the entire, embarrassing day on Twitch. I’ll be taking breaks for food (maybe) and, due to health reasons, taking a few hours for sleep. However, don’t worry, any time taken will be made up to equal a full 24 hours! I’ll be playing a mix of video games including Skyrim, Kynnseed, X-Com and whatever I can get to work for the stream. I’m even considering doing a bit of RP on the channel as well but I’m not sure how well that will work.
If you have a second this Saturday/Sunday and want to say hello stop over at the Twitch stream anytime during the marathon. I will also be posting on Twitter throughout the event so feel free to reply there and be sure to retweet me to get the word out. If you’d like to help me celebrate my birthday and have a few dollars to spare, please head over to the charity page and donate what you can.
I recently recorded this blog post on Episode 1 of the podcast. Instead of reading it, you can listen to it here.
The late 70’s were big for me. I had my brain explode twice before 1980. I had grown up with Star Trek episodes, Godzilla movies, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Daniel Boone and a little known science fiction show called Space 1999. During the summer of 1977 I had my eleven year old brain blown by watching Star Wars on the big screen and spent most every weekend afterwards figuring out ways to see it again and again and again and again.
At the end of 1979 I went to visit a friend I had not seen in a while. When we lived next to each other we had spent idyllic summer days in the yard behind his house chasing frogs and damning up the nearby creek. We played war with little green plastic men. We played cowboys and indians. We played daring knights and fought off monsters. My parents had moved from the city and now lived two hours away in a much smaller town. I’d not seen him for a long time and was excited to hang out with him again.
It was a Christmas-time visit during the holiday break. The weather was cold and somewhat nasty so we played inside and caught up with each other. For Christmas, his parents had given him some sort of weird new game he was excited about but which I had never seen. The box for the game was very colorful and featured a wizard and a knight confronting a dragon sitting on a mound of gold. It was called “Dungeons and Dragons.”
Sitting on the floor together, my friend tried to explain the game to me and wanted to know if I wanted to make a “Character.” He showed me a handful of very oddly shaped plastic dice.
“It’ll make more sense if we just play,” he said.
I didn’t understand but I agreed. He took me through the steps to make a wizard and we began to play. I entered into a creepy old dungeon and fought two rats and, later, some goblins. I fired off a magic missile for the first time. I found a treasure chest with some coins and a magic wand. Once I realized it was a game of make-believe I got excited.
My brain exploded for the second time.
Then my parents were coming to get me and it was time to go. He hurried me out of the dungeon, wrapping up my first adventure. I asked him where he found the game as I rushed to get my coat and shoes on. I needed to find a copy! I needed to know more, to play more! What about my wizard? What would happen next?
“I’ll use him as a character in the game I play with my older brother. When you come back you can play him again.”
My parents were pulling into the driveway.
“Where can I find this game? Where did you get it?”
“I don’t know where my parents got it. I really wanted it and told everyone about it.”
“But, where did they FIND IT?”
My parents were coming to the door. There were greetings and hellos. I would have to leave very soon.
“I don’t know but…” and my friend suddenly ran back into his room. He came back carrying a Dungeons and Dragons box set still in its shrink wrap . “Look, I asked for this so much I actually got two copies. We were going to take this one back but here… I want you to have it.”
I couldn’t believe it. “Really? Are you sure?”
My parents were calling me and it was time to go. It was the holidays. Family to visit. Meals to eat.
He smiled and pressed it into my hands, “Yes. This way when you come back to play again you’ll know what you’re doing.” He laughed.
I thanked him profusely and left with my parents back out into the cold December air. He waved to me. I waved to him. “Look what he gave me, Mom! It’s really cool. It’s a new kind of game!” As we drove away, I had the box open and was looking over the items inside, flipping through the book.
It was the last time I would see my friend.
Time passed. We didn’t make the two hour trip as often. People change. Kids don’t really have firm control of their destiny, let alone long drives. Things shift. Life takes you on different turns and then, before you know it, you have lost touch with someone. That was before the internet and easy communication.
I went home and poured over the book. I made a dungeon. I made several characters. It was the holiday break and at the first opportunity I had a friend or two over and we started to play. We played very badly but we played. I discovered that a local hobby store in my small Indiana town carried some modules and books. Over the next few years, I moved on to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and became a poster child for the Stranger Things cast. I ran a game. My buddy ran a game. Then another buddy was running a game. We talked about the game during lunch breaks at school.
You know how it goes, right?
And that’s how it all started. From a simple, generous gift came a lifetime of creativity, stories, drawings, maps, friends, adventure, laughter and fun. A simple act of generosity followed by infinite ripples of effect after effect flowing outward over the decades.
That’s how I want it to continue.
It’s the most important part. It’s the bottom line behind this entire project and all that I have planned here.