Are You THAT Blind?! A View on Society

OK, so I know by the title this doesn’t seem like it’ll be a very interesting post but trust me true believers, it will be.

As many of us that have “friends” who know that we are gamers, especially table top roleplayers, can attest to, there are people in the world that are bigots when it comes to a segment of society. That segment would be ours, of gamers. Now I know that in the decade or so since I was in grade school people that are gamers have gotten more welcomed and acknowledged (i.e. G4, XBox Live’s Major Nelson & e, etc.) But there are bigots and shortsighted people that still believe most of us live in a basement at Mom’s, alone, obese, poor complexion, and (my favorite) are devil worshippers, especially if you play D&D.

Now, I don’t know about anyone else but quite frankly I’m getting pretty pissed off about it. If you want to live your life thumping a bible and believing that YOUR way of thinking is the right and only way, I think it’ll be best if you go to the mountains, find a nice empty cave, and go have your way with yourself. Otherwise, here’s a suggestion: Get your Borg-Infused oneness out of your ass and get with the 21st Century!

So, my thoughts are a little direct today. It happens. I just think that people, mostly in general but especially for some, need to take their assumptions and throw them right out the window. Now, I’ll admit, that I do tend to assume I know how someone’s sentence will end, jump right in and finish it for them. Bad habit and I’m doing better at correcting it. But I know there are people out there that seem to have maximum strength blinders on 24/7/365. Now I’ve come up with a term for this and its called The One Foot Sphere of Influence. Picture it like this: take a magazine, roll it up, and set that magazine against your body extending outward. Imagine that outer edge of the magazine as the end of a shield, film, veil (whatever term you’d like). Now, these smallminded saps believe that if something happens outside of this barrier, it doesn’t affect them! Prime examples of this effect and these people are the person that walks up to a cash register when the lights are off or red, people that slip right up to the counter (ignoring the very obvious line now behind him or her), and moron drivers. I think if we can start diagnosing people with this ailment and toss them a freaking clue, maybe, just maybe, this might start having an effect on the gaming bigots. Just an idea.

Well, now that I’ve completed class for this week, I’ll be working on a much more enjoyable post for next week, may even do an early one if the spirit moves me. TFCO!


Kickstarter: I’m Becoming Very Fond of You!

OK, so I know that I just did a post about Kickstarter last week and it seems that doing 2 in a row might seem like I either can’t get my mind off of it or that I’m becoming obsessive (or I could be getting paid by them…. yeah, right!). Now I would probably go with obsessed but I really and looking at it more and I’m liking what I am seeing. While I have been away from gaming, especially tabletop gaming, for about a decade, I know that the seas of RPG have changed. Back when I was playing several games in a week, it would be D&D of some flavor, my own RIFTS campaign that I would run, and either Champions, Hero System, or whatever smaller (and probably now dead) RPG that someone wanted to try out. The majority of those games would be ones that would be pressed out and mass produced by some large corp but many of the smaller games and ideas never really had a chance to get their foot in the door and get out to the masses.

Now, since we are out of those archaic days of just having the basic internet to try to share our ideas, we can express ourselves better because we have (said in dramatic, booming voice) SOCIAL MEDIA!! I have been dealing with the internet since old-school bulletin board systems (BBS’s) and Prodigy but honestly I can’t believe that our lives have now taken technology and used it to integrate it into our social selves. Of course I’ve had the MySpace page before and flirted with a Facebook profile (we didn’t get along every well though) but with Twitter, Google+, Skype and other apps, we can really become a greater community of people and gamers than just finding others of like interests in the same town or chat room. Twitter has become one of my more expressive and more frequently visited apps on my phone and I know I look at it probably more often than I should, especially when I am working. I like it that I can feel that I am part of a group that is more than just myself and greater than the sum of it parts.

Sorry, I know that was a bit of a tangent but trust me, it goes along with my thoughts about Kickstarter. While looking over the feeds on Twitter I had heard initially about Kickstarter and looked at it with some mild interest. Now, I’m not sure why I got so attached to this project but the idea interested me, read over the test documents, and really think that this project will go far. The project that I’m talking about is School Daze by Tracy Barnett, aka @Rolling20s on Twitter. The basic premise of the RPG is high school, plain and simply. Ok, so it’s more involved than that but I’m sometimes about describing something in its easiest form. The game is very story driven and narrative. I’ve listened to some of the available playtests that have been done and I think that this game really gets back to one of the cores of why we play games, for the stories and acting.

I am most definitely a supporter of the project and as of this post, the project has already met its funding goal but NOW is still the time to get in on the ground floor of this game. The creator has made some stretch goals since it has been such a success in such a small span of time (there is still almost 30 days left to back the project) and anyone and everyone can still get in on this. It is only $800 away from the first stretch goal and some of the extra rewards sound like they will be awesome, like customized dice and every dice bags made by Dragon Chow Dice Bags. If you haven’t backed this project already or want to know more about School Daze go and follow the link or go to Kickstarter and search for School Daze. If you are a fan of great indie games, take a look, you wont be disappointed!

TFCO and talk to you soon!

Funding from the Masses: Kickstarter

(Marginal Disclaimer: I personally have no financial benefits from any of the people, projects, or sites I mention in this post. It would be nice but I do this for the benefit of all.)

Now, while I can lead a group of people, whether it be at work, gaming, or otherwise, I usually feel more comfortable when being a cog within a working team. Along those same lines, my spirit has much to give in the way of creativity but the body has a slight lacking of the skills to express it properly. Given that diatribe, I do want to say that I have great respect and admiration for those that have the skills, drive, ambition, and funding to be able to make their dreams into a reality. I used to believe in the creativity of people’s projects enough that at the time of the great CCG explosion of the mid-90’s, I would quite regularly buy 2 starters and a few boosters of just about any type of new collectable card game. Now I know that with the economy in the dumps as it has been lately that funding for new ideas is probably very sparse but it seems that the community has an answer for those looking for help with their ideas.

I had first seen this mentioned on Twitter and have since looked it up and I am quite impressed. Kickstarter, for those that don’t know about it already, is a site by which people can place their projects up for show to the world to look for others to back their project financially. Backers will usually receive some type of incentive for backing the project at a certain level as described in the project’s information (not unlike the PBS pledge drives you’d see). Projects need to reach a certain limit of funding from backers otherwise no money will be exchanged. Some projects won’t reach their goals while others will get there, sometimes only in the span of days or in 1 recent case, 24 hours. Double Fine Adventure is a project for a classic point-and-click adventure game that is being developed by Double Fine Productions, which is led by Tim Schafer. Tim had created some of the point-and-click games that I played around the end of the ’90s like Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle (and yes, I remember having to play them using actual floppy discs). Amazingly, this project, which was asking for $400,000 of funding, had accumulated over a million dollars in just under 24 hours! Now that is an impressive amount of support. At this time, it is just short of $2 million and there is still about a month left for people to back the project.

Now I have already seen some projects that I’m soon to be throwing some funding to because I feel that the ideas merit the chance to grow and become what the creator has envisioned. Now all the projects are gaming type projects but I will even look at stuff in other areas that are available, like technology, film, and food. There is one in particular that seems like it has some good merits to it and seems like the people that have been testing it have enjoyed it so far. The name of the project is School Daze and it will be a role-playing game. I hope to do a more in-depth overview of this project soon as I will be trying to contact the creator about it. For now, I say that if you value the games that we play and want to see new ideas and new products become available for gaming of any flavor, check out Kickstarter and look for something that interests you.

GenCon 2012 Registration has Begun!!

Well now, I know that I missed last week’s post (damn illness, don’t they know they aren’t supposed to interrupt blogging day?!) but time to make up for that former post with making sure this week’s gets going good. As many already know, registration for GenCon 2012 has officially begun!! This is the pivotal event to my major recovery and hopefully my reintegration into the collective… er.. community (Damn Borg References!).

I think back to my first (and so far, only) experience at GenCon and I do remember it as an enjoyable voyage. Back in ’99 it was still in Milwaukee and that was a pretty decent drive so the drive there was a trip in itself. While I was there I had seen some interesting people, found out about some demos and upcoming products at the time, and went to an impromptu concert Insane Clown Posse (whom happened to be staying at the hotel just down the road from mine). My gaming experiences while I was there consisted of LARPing Star Trek:1999 (minus the costume), card-playing NetRunner, and participating in a light version of an Alternity game (more roleplaying, less rolling). Most of the remaining portions of time while I was there is a blur nowadays (not from any truly good reasons unfortunately) but with my return I plan to have experiences that will remain with me for years.


Quickly… To the Gaming Cave!

Ok, so my first major attempt to have a weekly entry may be a little lacking but I think this one will have some merit. Thinking back to my previous experiences with gaming, especially Champions and a few unnamed Sci-fi based games that didn’t pan out very well, I remember having many of these experiences in a place we had dubbed The ShallowGrave. The main reason we named it that was because where we were playing was in a little alcove in a underused portion of the student center (now called the Oakland Center) in Oakland University over in Rochester, Michigan. Back then, it was badly in need of renovation and the alcove we were in had minimal lighting but it served our purposes. Now if you were to walk into that area, it would be completely remade, newer, fancier, but still wouldn’t be the same as the wooden seats and slightly wobbly tables that we would set our BK, Pizza Hut Express, or whatever fast food we could cram with our gaming books and characters sheets.

While I probably will never be able to regain that type of place for experiences like I’ve had before, I hope to find a good group and be able to equally make a place as memorable as our original ShallowGrave. I’d be very curious to hear any thoughts, experiences, or memories of places that others have gamed before.  If you have anything, send it along to me here or at my Twitter feed @RDNottingham

Clueless or Ignorant… Which is Worse?

[  Ok, for starters, one programming note. Since I’ve started my posts have been pretty sporadic. In an effort to create some consistency (and possibly grabs some new people) I will be making a minimum of a post a week, that one falling on Thursdays. I think that day will work well with me and how I feel life moves through the week (for my thoughts on the days of the week, it will come up soon).  Now, onto the blog!]

In my job I have to deal with the public on a daily basis and, as anyone can tell you, requires quite a lot if customer service skills. So recently I was at work and was listening to a patient talking to a co-worker and this person just didn’t seem to grasp what the employee was saying. Now, after 3 more attempts at telling this person why we couldn’t give them their prescriptions, they STILL didn’t seem to get it (BTW, if you have a prescription that says X refilled by Y date, if its past Y date you’re S.O.L.)

Now, between that scenario (which seems to happen every day) and the situation I have with my current roommates who can’t seem to keep up their half of the financial bargain (although they seem to get take out and shop plenty well when I’m not around), I really have started to wonder if some people are naturally clueless or irrationally ignorant about the world at large. Besides wondering that I can’t figure out which one is worse (public opinion from my co-workers seem to steer towards ignorant because you can fix clueless).

What I really need to do is get grouped back up again with fellow gamers and be able to feel like I can talk to someone using more than the 1/2% of brain power I currently use between work and home combined. So far my quest continues for intelligence in the forest of life.

Dungeons & Dragons, The One That Started It All!

As many of you have probably heard already, there has been an announcement concerning a new edition of the king of pen and paper RPGs, Dungeons & Dragons. If you haven’t seen the big news, take a look at this article. Like many others, this was one of the first true roleplaying games that I played and enjoyed. Started with AD&D 2nd, moved into 3.0 but then that’s about the time I lost myself to life sans gaming. I can definitely say that some of the greatest times that I’ve had in my past were from gaming, specifically while sitting around the table of a friend’s house or down in the ShallowGrave, a nickname our gaming group had for our gaming space while at university (before it finally got remodeled).

Seeing the news of the way that Wizards of the Coast want to create the new edition makes me think that they either want to A) actually get the opinions and ideas of gamers to make a more well-liked and profitable game or B) make it seem like that and just create a new product. In a way this makes me think of Doctor Who. In its early versions (before the restarted series starting with the 9th Doctor), things lasted for a while, the Doctor didn’t change very often. Nowadays, since the restart, we’ve had 3 Doctors (Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith) in the span of 7 years. This seems to be similar to D&D back in the day. AD&D 2nd Edition, the core system that I played for a solid decade, hadn’t needed a new edition for 11 years (’89-2000). Now since then, we’ve had 3rd in 2000, 3.5 in 2003, and 4th in 2008. Paranoid coincidence.. maybe!

I, as a gamer, don’t necessarily feel poorly about the news of a new edition of D&D. In fact, I may like it more because people can participate in the playtesting and that I will be able to get in on playing this new edition from the start. I am curious about what kind of news there will be around the time of GenCon for this new edition (which has a Twitter following at #dndnext) and I will be keeping an eye out and seeing what develops. Until now and GenCon, let’s see what we can find out!