Monday, January 12, 2015


I was browsing my game library to figure out what I wanted to play, when I started downloading the most recent version of a roguelike that I've poured about a hundred or so hours into already. This got me thinking: What is it about this game that keeps me coming back to it when I get tired of everything else?

A roguelike, for those of you who only use their internet for Facebook, is a game inspired by an old game called Rogue, a turn based game made before my parents even knew each other. The game focused around delving into an increasingly dangerous dungeon in search of not dying horrendously. You often failed in your quest.

In fact, failure was a routine part of Rogue, and if your character died they were gone for good. I'd argue that Rogue inspired a whole theory of game design for that reason alone. Its brutally unforgiving gameplay forced you to take every step with the utmost caution. You had to ration your special items out as thinly as possible and knowing when to use a potion or a wand was a show of skill. Failure to do anything else was enough to send you right to the start with nothing but your hard won knowledge and bruised ego to show for it.

From a modern perspective the most striking feature of Rogue was its interface. It was built entire from ASCII symbols on a grid.

Rogue is the first game to feature the smiley face as a main character.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My Year in Review

It's been a crazy year. I got my first job that paid enough for me to rent a place and eat at the same time, I've been fiddling with a dozen hobbies I've been meaning to start with, I'm taking classes again, and most of all I'm really, really tired. All the time.

All these stupid distractions, and I really just want some sleep!

I've always joked that I'm getting older because X, but yesterday I realized how far I've come since the days I used to joke about it. I bought a bunch of books and read until I got tired and went to sleep. It's not a joke any more. Getting older is actually a thing for me now.

Before someone comes in and yells at me for not really being all that old, I'm making this post in the context of my own experience. I realize stuff will change, I realize I'm still young by most folks' standards, but I'm older than I've ever been before and that's scary to me.

I mean, I can take naps now. I used to never be able to take naps, I was too full of energy. Drinking a Coke before bed meant that I was destined to stay up until four in the morning before crashing and sleeping until noon. Now I can chug a soda before a two hour nap and still be able to sleep for eight hours that night. I'm not going through the life changes most guys go through around my age - No kids, no pets, no girls. It's not that my circumstance is changing, I'm actually changing.

I'm starting to think that looking back at your younger self and shaking your head at the mistakes you made is just human nature. If I were to take an honest look at where I was and where I'm at, I'd say the position I'm in is better. I've got a job, an apartment, a healthy diet, and I'm on my way to getting my bachelor's degree. Am I really any smarter than I was, though? I still make the same dumb mistakes. I still stress about inconsequential stuff.  I wonder if my newly gained wisdom for past-me is actually just hindsight. I'm certainly not making decisions that would impress past-me enough to have him listen to me.

I started this blog with the intention of posting videos about reviewing and playing games, and expanding a bit in text where I couldn't fit stuff in with the video. Neither of those have happened, and instead the blog's kind of become a bi-weekly thing where I muse or rant about random things. I may be getting ahead of myself with this post being number five, it's interesting to see where I'd like my interests to be and where they actually are. I'm more opinionated on books than games, and more interested in sleeping than sitting down and reading a book. I can't help but be okay with this.

Maybe I'll just make some posts about books and sleeping. It'll be a smash hit!

Next year's going to be interesting. I don't imagine it'll be too different from this year, just busier once I officially start college again and more tiring as I try to balance work, school, play and socializing, while trying to stick my hobbies somewhere into the whole mess. In order to focus on one thing another has to get less attention. I've come to see time as a valuable resource.

Is it getting older that makes me think the best use of my time is sleeping it away?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

RIP Barnes and Noble

Warning: Frustrated vent post. Read at own risk.

Barnes and Noble used to be the king of my book buying world. I've got their little nook reader, a healthy library of books (Digital and physical), and they've been the only place I've bought books for the past decade or so. I've used them for years, visiting their stores, downloading their books, and supporting them because I liked them. I like their stores and the atmosphere there (Even though the bastards got rid of most of the comfy chairs), I like supporting one of the few dedicated book sellers, and I've already invested quite a bit into my library with them. It's not a massive library by any means, I have no pretensions of being well-read, but it's been growing steadily over the past few years. I never had any reason to go anywhere else for my books.

That is, until they gave me a reason.

A few weeks ago I discovered a speed reading app (Balto Speed Reader on Android) and have been cracking the DRM my books so I could read them with it. Purely personal use, so I didn't have any qualms about figuring out how and downloading the necessary software. Never had a problem with it.

I was overjoyed to receive a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas since I had a number of books I've been itching to buy and read. I suppose it's important to note, I haven't bought a book in months. I went through a phase where I was rereading a bunch of my favorite books from ten years ago, so I didn't really have any need for something new. The opportunity to read something new made me feel like a little kid.

I sat down, bought a book to read at work the next day, and made a series of discoveries that made me hate Barnes and Noble.

Like, forever.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Google Drive

I do a lot of writing. Anything from doing homework, checking shopping lists, working on a pet book project, writing stuff for my blog, or even taking notes on random ideas. If I'm not reading a book, drawing, or playing a game, chances are I'm tapping away at a keyboard.

Which is one of the reasons I jumped for joy when Google Drive finally came out on mobile devices.

You get what you pay for, so long as you don't upgrade. Then you get the same thing, just more of it.
Simple, Useful, and Usually Broken

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Unending Steam Library

I've been shuffling through my Steam library wondering what happened.

Ten years ago I would have been ecstatic to have such a huge variety of involved, long running games. Those were the days before Steam gathered its momentum, where it was still more common to buy a game at a brick and mortar store than buy one online. I'm pretty sure I still had dial-up ten years ago, too, so even those sloppy flash games were uncommon. If you bought a game back then, especially with the limited budget of a teenager, you'd better play that thing to death.

Now I look at my list of 200+ games on Steam, most of them from sales and Humble Bundles, and wonder whether or not it's possible to have too many games.

Games, games, everywhere, and not a drop to drink.
So many games,
So little time.
Young Me scoffs at the idea. Too many games? Impossible!