Tied to Screens
At least once a week I see a report in the news talking about how we have become too tied to our screens and we have lost social interaction. While I agree that as a culture we are pretty damned addicted to technology, this view point that not interacting face to face is aberrant or strange seems to be a pretty extrovert centric. For the introverts the era of instant non-face to face communication allows us to leave far richer lives than if we were left up to our natural curmudgeon tendencies. I am not one of those people that goes out seeking face to face interactions, and while I can handle it in short doses… it completely drains me and causes me to retreat inside my shell. Whereas digital interaction, doesn’t really cause much stress at all as I can interact when I feel like it, but withdraw just as easily as closing down a chat window.
Dealing with people simply causes a lot of anxiety for me. We have various friends that we will go out with semi-regularly… but even then I struggle. When we make the initial plans it sounds like a great idea, then as it creeps ever closer to the time of the event… I start looking for ways out of it. It goes from something extremely fun, to something I am dreading. Then finally when I force myself to go through with it I have a good time in spite of myself, but this whole rollercoaster I put myself on is something I would rather simply avoid entirely. It takes a lot out of me to go through it each time. So when I see someone complaining that we are losing social interaction, I feel they simply are not taking me into account. Sure there are fewer people for the extroverts to get their warm fuzzies from, but for us extroverts it means we are forced into a lot less awkward interaction as a result. I feel like thanks to the internet I live a far richer and involved life than I ever would have on my own.
Electronic Gaming Monthly
While on an oddly introspective tear this morning, I thought I would talk a bit about a little back and forth I had yesterday about something I miss. In my travels I stumbled onto the Podcast A Life Well Wasted again… which tragically only ever released seven episodes. It is this great This American Life for Video Games feel, and I would love to have more of it. I re-listened to the first episode talking about the death of EGM magazine and was struck with waves of nostalgia for that time in video gaming. Electronic Gaming Monthly at the time was this inch think omnibus devoted to all things video gaming covering arcade, consoles, hand held and even on rare occasion PC gaming. I read the magazine pretty religiously from roughly 1990 to around 1996. It and White Dwarf were the magazines that I waited each month to arrive, and before I actually subscribed I would anxiously watch the news stand at my local grocery store for the next copy.
Back then a lot of my fervor for the magazine centered around them giving me the dirt on the next arcade fighting game. I remember it was the first magazine to post full moves lists for Street Fighter 2, and I memorized them like some arcane text. The arcades were this crazy place where people speculated about potential moves, and by the time Mortal Kombat 2 arrived there were all these unofficial moves sheets floating around the arcades with half of the attacks speculative or complete and total bullshit. EGM was the voice of authority, only publishing things that they had verified as working. At the same time they had this irreverent review style that appealed to me greatly at the time. Gaming was still very much an insider thing, and an excluded subculture… so it just felt awesome to have a magazine talking about the things I actually cared about.
I really don’t know why I stopped reading the magazine, other than maybe the internet got better at reporting the news I cared about… or simply that I got busy and poor in college and could not long shell out the then $7.00 price tag for a magazine each month. Before this episode I was acutely aware that Electronic Gaming Monthly no longer existed, but I never really knew when exactly it happened. In fact the last time I went to a news stand I didn’t see any magazines devoted to video games, so I am guessing that is entirely a bygone era. Once upon a time I used to think that working for EGM would have been the coolest job in the world. There were times I day dreamed about becoming a “video game journalist”. I guess in some way with my blog I have been, or I am at least as legitimate as that term ever really was. I do miss an era when the magazines did not feel beholden to the manufacturers to make sure they got at least a 6 out of 10 score. The aspect of the scoring system that I appreciated the most was that you usually got three different reviewers points of view, instead of just one.
Quite honestly I think a lot of what made that time in gaming history so magical is the actual lack of information we had about anything. Right now we know everything about the games that are being made before they even exist. Hell we obsessed over Titan and all we really knew about it was a name, but still folks managed to dig up little nuggets of information about it. EGM worked, because we were starved for information on our hobby. They were one of the few sources of this information, and while they might only give us 100 words on a single game… that was far more than we were getting anywhere else. The wild speculation, the misinformation, the rampant rumors all got laid low by a single issue of this magazine giving fertile ground for the next crop to spring up until it arrived to quell them again. I miss that era… and I think in a way that’s why the 16-bit games are so important to me… because they are wrapped up in that shroud of mystique. I miss Electronic Gaming Monthly.
Beginning the Real Grind
Last night I accomplished one of the goals I had set out to do Sunday and finally pushed through to level 20 in Destiny. At this point I feel like the real leveling curve begins as I start searching for gear with +light on it. Right now I have managed to find a blue chest piece with 5 light, so I am barely if at all moving in the right direction. Similarly I started working on the Queens Bounty and managed to knock one of them out for killing Fallen Ultras. I am roughly halfway through the 200 headshots one, so hoping I can grind that out in the next couple of days. I am really not sure how many of these I can complete before I actually get to take my swing at the loot piñata. I could really use an upgraded hand cannon as the level 18 green one I have been using feels not quite so epic any longer. I have to say I am really digging Mars so far. I find the Cabal extremely satisfying to kill, like even the relatively weak Legionaires.
At some point around level 18 I got sent to the shipwright again, and she let me pick a new design. I have to say I am digging this one a lot more than I did the collectors edition version. The paint job is okayish, but I am really loving the design of this ship. This is the first design I would have likely picked on my own. I absolutely hate the style of the first ship, and the collectors edition ship still has enough elements that it annoys me. This however is finally a good looking star ship. I think mostly I extremely dislike asymmetrical designs, so as a kid I loved the X-Wing and A-Wing… but the B-Wing and Millennium Falcon frustrated me. I could forgive the Millennium Falcon however since it was essentially cobbled together out of a bunch of other ships… but that B-Wing… man no mercy for that. In any case I am still digging destiny, and it is beginning to remind me more and more of Phantasy Star Online. That was really my first venture into online gaming, so there is a large bit of nostalgia there as well.