Thursday, February 26, 2009

Paradigm Shift

I have been a gamer for half my life, literally. For 22 years I have been a fan of role-playing games, computer games, and board games. I met my wife while playing an online role-playing game, so it's been very important to me.

Something has changed in me. After years of sedentary living, I have not-so-suddenly become an outdoorsman again. Last year, we went camping and I bought a bicycle. I buy my clothes at Cabela's. I yearn to get back outside and enjoy nature. But it's not just a sudden interest in doing things outdoors that has made me feel this way. The feeling came over me yesterday when my friend Rob was asking me when the gaming convention Gen Con was being held. I quickly replied with the dates because I am planning on going camping while attending. I've been to Gen Con many times and enjoyed myself every time. But suddenly I was thinking that all in all, I don't even know what I would do at the convention. I really don't plan on participating in any games while there. There may be a few interesting products to read, like the Wild Cards books that Mutants & Masterminds have begun to publish. But other than that, I have no plans at all beyond camping and going out to lunch with my friends at the various high quality restaurants in Indianapolis. What would I do for four days of a convention? I'll still go, because I want to be with my friends and do stuff with them, but the gaming part just holds no interest for me.

My last face-to-face gaming experience was really weird. We played a Mutants & Masterminds campaign that I thought went really well for an inital 12-run campaign, which got extended by circumstance to 13 runs, and then...nothing. No word, no hint at when or even if we'd ever play it again. I sent the gamemaster an email complimenting him on the game and received no reply. I guess that chapter in my life is closed. No one seems to want to run a game that I play in, so maybe it's me. So it goes.

I've been playing City of Heroes for almost five years now, and last night I unregistered my account. I went in to play for an hour with my buddies, and I just could not take the monotony of the game itself. Chatting was fun, but when the conversation turned to what the game developers have been doing to improve the game, my eyes glassed over and I tuned most of it out. I'd rather talk about just about anything than the game itself. To me it has just become a vehicle to maintain contact with my friends, which I don't want to lose, but I don't see the game as any fun at all any longer.

I was really excited about the new Champions Online game coming out this spring, but now I just can't see myself spending time on that when there is so little time available to me to spend with my family and on the big project I've been working on. Time is at such a premium that I'd rather spend it actually making something. I've been relearning some of my artistic skills so that I can be a more direct contributor to the art on my book. One of my colleagues, who has published a book series, told me that a publisher will hire an artist for me if they like the idea. I really don't want to do that. I want to have more control than that. Even if I have to self-publish, I want the book to look better than the other, similarly formatted books from the educational publishers out there. My niece has been doing some art for me, but she's very busy with her college education and I don't want to add to her already full plate right now. This is something I want to pursue during retirement anyway, and there's no reason to hold off on it now. Hey, that's what I'll do during Gen Con. I'll hang out in Artists' Alley and pick up some pointers on art technique!

1 comment:

KC Ryan said...

I feel for you, Jim.

I too find most of this stuff just a reason to hook up with my friends (not that there's anything wrong with that!). I don't really have any interest in Champions Online since I've got to make time with Maggie. Funny how that happens, you know?