Friday, December 14, 2012

While we're on the subject...

I realize we're already halfway through December and I've only written three posts for the month. (Well, four, now that this one is here). What's been going on, you may wonder?

- I am excitedly gearing up for an all-day Mega Man marathon on Monday, December 17 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my favorite video game franchise. Similar to my 2010 marathon, I'll be playing through Mega Man 1-10, though if I'm making good time I may toss in Mega Man & Bass for an added dose of why am I doing this I must be insane.
There is a possibility that I might be able to broadcast the event over a live video feed on; if that happens, you'll be sure to hear about it here. Joining me will be two of my best friends, one of whom also happens to be my wife, so whether the livestream is successful or not, this promises to be a good time.

- On the subject of Mega Man, I've been thinking more about Street Fighter X Mega Man, and it occurs to me that there might be a classic Mega Man-style plot twist in which Dr. Wily, much to everyone's astonishment, is actually the bad guy...and these aren't really Street Fighter characters, but robots made to look like them. In which case I am totally on board with this game.

- On the subject of video games, I've been putting a lot of time into Mr. Robot, a Steam game that's a delightful mixture of The Adventures of Lolo, Portal, Metroid, Mega Man Battle Network, and Final Fantasy. Unconventional, but it works incredibly well—push some blocks around, defeat a psychotic computer, search for secret passageways, and hack into the robotic enemies you can't dodge, fighting a series of virtual battles in cyberspace to destroy them from the inside. The RPG elements are somewhat repetitive and clunky, but that's the only real complaint I have about this little gem.
I've also discovered "social gaming" while playing on Steam; that is to say, I people while playing video games. Mr. Robot affords you plenty of chances to pause and ponder your next move, so it's been easy to pull up the text chat window when there's a lull in the action.

- On the subject of "social gaming," I started playing Scribblenauts a few days ago, let my wife borrow it on a car trip, and since then we've been trading off the DS and regaling each other with stories of our hilarious successes and failures in this cartoony world where we solve puzzles by summoning almost anything our imaginations can conceive, which mostly involves dropping school buses on everything.
Despite the game's outrageously unacceptable flaws (which this article by Nikola Suprak sums up rather entertainingly, albeit more harshly than I would), it's been a blast to let my creativity run wild and see what ridiculous things happen, for better or for worse, when I use a black hole to clean up the garbage littering a public park. Comparing notes with my wife, and having one of us occasionally watch over the other's shoulder, has been a great couple-building activity; I think there's something to be said about playing adventure and puzzle games as a team, too.

- On the subject of couple-building activities, that trip to IKEA was only the beginning of our joint venture to transform our home into a home, identifying and addressing ways that we can take better ownership of our living space. This includes purchasing more shelving to accommodate our combined geek stuff, and unpacking the boxes that have been cluttering the guest bedroom's floor for over a year. I'm almost embarrassed about how excited we were to go pick out a new vacuum cleaner yesterday.

- On the subject of putting things on a shelf, I've been mulling over what might happen if I were to start phasing myself off the Internet in 2013...or, perhaps better stated, if I were to take ownership of my presence on the Internet the way my wife and I have started taking ownership of our living space.

I have this habit of being gung-ho about contributing something to the digital realm—be it a review, a video, or even a Facebook status update—and then discovering halfway through that it's taking far longer than it should to complete. And I am surprised by this every time. Every time. I need to learn to pick and choose my projects, and commit to a certain time frame for completion. "Sure, that sounds like fun" and "Whenever it's ready" are the two phrases that have continually sabotaged my ability to complete as many side projects as I'd like when I actually have the time to complete them.

I'm also starting to weigh the pros and cons of keeping my Facebook account active—my expanding Internet presence has made me aware of privacy issues in ways I'd never needed to think about before, and Facebook is probably selling my credit card info to some wombat trainer in Uzbekistan as we speak.

It seems to me that I've reached the same point as I was at the end of high school and the end of college—so overwhelmed by the things I've signed myself up for and have let myself get roped into that I need a break. A total purge. Give myself a chance to breathe again, and reexamine what I truly want to be doing with my free time. Which, more than likely, is everything I'm already doing. If you can step away from something, shake it up, tear it apart, and still want to come back to it, then you know it's worth coming back to.

For now, it's business as usual. In the next few weeks I'll be aiming to finish off as many outstanding GameCola projects and YouTube videos as I can. Depending on how that goes, "purge everything" might not need to be one of my New Year's resolutions after all.

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