A History Of Games

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I know with certainty that I have most definitely written my personal gaming history down on this blog somewhere, but can’t seem to find it. I was going to link to that and then tell you all to peruse my archives for my more recent history. Seeing as how I can’t find that definitive gaming history post, here’s the TLDR version:

I was born in the 80s. Early memories of Nintendo, Atari, Colecovision, and the Atari ST. I owned a Sega Genesis, Game Gear, and Saturn before jumping ship to Sony’s Playstation and have owned all 4. Have owned a PC since the late 90’s. I’m not a Master Race-r, and enjoy consoles as much as I do my $1500 computer. I just happen to be able to do a bunch more with my PC, and I recognize the pitfalls and advantages of both. Either way, I’m a gamer through and through, and an opinionated one at that. Both of these things will likely continue until I’m old and grey.

This week’s writing prompt had to do with favorite gaming memories, our gaming histories, and all of that. Rather than sounding like a broken record, you got my gaming history above. Below, is going to be a sort of mash up with the writing prompt and the screenshot challenge, because the following picture brings so many things to the foreground in my mind.

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Those of you not familiar with the game pictured above might mistake it for an old PC/Atari/Amiga classic, but it actually released this year. Despite that fact, this screenshot makes me feel like I’m looking at something from the late 80’s era of computer games, due to the pixellated graphics and limited color palette. For some, graphics are the thing that will interest them in a game more than anything else. Some would refuse to play a game from the 80’s because of this art style, though in the 80’s it was the best you could hope for, whereas today it is more of a stylistic choice to make a game with pixel art. To me this picture and the game in question, melds the best of both worlds. There is simultaneous nostalgia and hype. There are modern mechanics and frame rates mixed with the styling of old.

The game is Hyper Light Drifter.

It’s on Steam. It’s an indie game. It’s inexpensive. It’s easy to learn and hard to master. And it’s beautiful. It plays like we wished King’s Quest would have played. As a matter of fact, I’d take a new pixel art version of King’s Quest that had a little more focus on action combat and a little less focus on puzzles. But that’s me. Your mileage may vary. Still, I feel like we must remember the past as fondly as we enjoy the here and now. Yes, games like Uncharted 4 or DOOM are a hell of a lot better looking, and more immersive to boot. But damn it if games don’t have roots, and damn it if you haven’t played some of the incredible titles from the 80’s and 90’s you should really do yourself a favor. Get over the graphical snobbery, and appreciate what was done with limited capabilities. You might come to discover that games have always been good, despite sometimes looking like shit.

In other words, know your history.

At least, I feel better about making generalized or blanket statements and having opinions, because I’ve been there, and I’ve done that.

Blaugust: The Gamer To-Do List

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As a participant last year, I personally found out how challenging it can be to write each and every day during the Blaugust event. Belghast of Tales From the Aggronaut fame, started this event as a way to give people a taste of his madness, but to also just encourage our community of bloggers to keep doing what they love: writing. In his own words:

A few years ago I started down this path of madness that I have referred to as my Grand Experiment, where I started blogging every single day.  It has been a grueling experience at times, but also something I would not trade for the world.  I learned a lot of things about myself because when you are writing that many posts… something interesting happens.  At some point in the process you break down the walls you are holding up between you and your readers and start being completely and often brutally honest with them.  I sit down at the keyboard each morning and share a chunk of myself, and this bond I have developed with my readers is something pretty special.  Last year I wanted to channel just a little bit of this with the rest of the blogosphere and started the Blaugust challenge.  The idea is simple… during the month of August blog something every single day.  If you succeed in thirty one days of posts… you are a Blaugust winner.

I am a certified winner, you can check  my sidebar for the badge of honor (which will be updated after I win again 😉 ) Here are the rules, in case you haven’t heard of the event, which returns in just a few days:

  • Write a new blog post of no less than ten sentences in length.  This is essentially two large paragraphs and is a good solid minimum size.  If you are doing a screenshot/photo blog just make sure your description explaining what the image is all about fits this constraint.
  • Include a link back to the 2015 Blaugust Initiative Page.  My hope is that this will allow other people to join in the challenge and play catch up.
  • Advertise the post on the Blaugust Nook.  When you join the nook I will be elevating everyone to “Blogger” access to do this.  This is extremely key this year, because this is going to be how I log all posts, and if you do not do this you are not going to get proper credit.
  • Either in the title of your post or the first heading inside of your actual post.. please denote which day this post is for.  Something like “Blaugust Day 21” just to make sure that I am giving everyone credit for the correct day, and this should help to stop the oddities of folks in vastly different time zones getting dumped into the wrong slot.
  • If you advertise the post on social media, please include the #Blaugust hashtag.  Again we are trying to help spread the word and get folks to join in process… and at very least get folks reading the posts.
  • Over the course of the month, write 31 posts.
  • ????
  • Profit!

For the full rules, head to the official announcement. Also, check out how Anook is participating this year.

Now, for my part in this madness. Last year during the event, I found that most people started out writing about whatever they were doing in games. Those who have more established writing habits and/or regular columns would utilize those posts to eliminate some of the work load of writing a post a day. Others would write a bunch of posts ahead of time. One theme emerged though: People were reading each other’s blogs and taking inspiration from others’ original ideas. Chain letters of sorts started up. It was a neat phenomena to watch.

So this year, I wanted to put out a writing prompt before the event even gets started. This is something that I came up with just to add a bit of organization to my thoughts; a way that playing can feed writing and writing can feed playing. I don’t remember who first said something along those lines, but I whole-heartedly agree. Games blogging can only exist if you play the games you write about, and vice versa. Not only can this help you to meet gaming goals, but it will also fuel your blog posts during the Blaugust event, and everyone can always use a little help when it comes to writing. When you boil it down, I came up with this plan to help myself write every day next month, but I thought I’d share the concept with you all as well:

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Introducing “The Gamer To-Do List.” Yeah, it’s not a fancy name, but it delivers the necessary meaning. We’ve all written a to-do list. Be it for chores, errands, or in-game goals. If you’re like me, the amount of information stored in your brain sometimes gets jumbled or lost altogether. It’s amazing the sheer volume of ideas and thoughts that are stored within our minds, but sometimes all of that information bouncing around leads to a lack of focus. Making your own personal gaming goal to-do list can help you to stay on track, clear your backlog, finally level that damn alt, or whatever else the case may be. The benefits are two-fold:

1. Get things done.

2. Have things to write about.

Blaugust seems like the perfect time to debut this concept, as each item on the list can become its own blog post, and you’ll feel better knowing you got something done, rather than aimlessly piddling around in the huge library of games you own. Or is that just me? Well, I did say I came up with the concept for myself. Your mileage may vary.

Some Guidelines:

  • Don’t add new items to the list until a previous item is removed.
  • Try to write about something that gets checked off the list as soon as you complete it so details are fresh in your mind.
  • Make your to-do list a reasonable size. I found a list around ten items in length is a nice round number. It also keeps you focused on core games.
  • Keep your entries semi-specific. “Leveling to 80” is a long term goal (unless you’re close). “Clearing this zone” is more reasonable, and completable within the month (though this concept can carry on beyond Blaugust).

To give you guys an example of what my To-Do list looks like:

  • Diablo III – check out new content when patch drops – Preview
  • ESO – level my templar to 15 and try out pvp again (overall goal, determine main)
  • Hearthstone – maybe play again to open adventures and other cards to prepare for next expack
  • League of Legends – get Silver in ranked. Finish Bilgewater activities.
  • EQ2 – work through expansion Chains of Eternity (immediate goal, long term is to see level cap + all current content)
  • GW2 – determine main, then level to 80.
  • Skyforge – determine status (do I want to play it or not?)
  • Early Access – continue to watch and expriment with titles like H1Z1, Darkest Dungeon, Ark, Nuclear Throne, Basement, The Forest
  • Dirty Bomb/Counter Strike Source – continue to level account
  • Zombies Monsters Robots – check out new content – latest update
  • Crusader Kings II – learn the game
  • Borderlands The Pre-Sequel – play this game already

Some of this might get done during Blaugust. Some of it might not. Either way, from here on out my “Gamer To-Do List” series will have the above image header and will be tracked on the “ongoing series” page. Feel free to utilize the concept for your Blaugust Challenge entries.

#blaugust #blaugust2015 #writingprompt #writingtips