Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Comment Culture

*Upon reflection, I edited out some of the profanity and verbal tweaks….I’m sorry, I can’t abide leaving a rough draft on the web. It’s just too beyond my nature.*

Time to try another one of these things. I drank too much coffee and now I’m having some wine to induce a nerved out sleep. The travesty of law school’s affect on a person cannot be understated. I technically don’t like this form of writing. It leads to bad habits, indulgent rhetoric, and inevitably devolves into asinine commentary on a society that stopped caring before it ever began to. The more I plough into Lester Bangs, the more I realize he was at his best when he was talking about someone else and he was just a side character. But for me…a part of this is to fight back at the awful effects law school is having on my mental process and writing. It’s just…they don’t just teach you to be neutral, they train you like dogs to do it. They make you spend weeks developing an argument for a mock case then duke it out in court. Afterwards? They switch and make you approach it from the opposing side. That’s another couple of weeks of grunt work. Nothing comes out of my mouth that hasn’t been assessed from both angles. I don’t post a single word on Popmatters that I haven’t weighed out, gauged how much of it is right and how much is bullshit, and then submit. And Christ, the abomination that is legal writing. 75% of a case document is stuff every lawyer, clerk, and judge already knows. 20% is the current situation in front of the court (which we already know, but precedent ya’ll). 4% is what part of the 75% we already all know applies. 1% is the creative application of that part. And sometimes, most of the time, you don’t even need the 1%. All I do all day is sit around with a bunch of people who can tango like Jesus tapdancing Christ but only to one song and it drives me nuts.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m damn proud of everything I post. I remember someone was asking Nabokov if Lolita was his best book and he said no, it wasn’t. But it was the one that was always on, flickering in the basement keeping him warm and staying alive. The Zarathustran Analytics are like that for me. It’s not my peak…it’s mostly just a treatise that acts like a peace agreement between a bunch of dueling ideologies in video games. I think my editor in a column aptly pointed out that after reading it the whole thing just seems obvious. And it is. All of it, everything I write, is staggeringly obvious to me. If you just think about the issue differently for a minute, pause and take a breath and reflect, I’m not doing anything except codifying common sense. The best comment I ever read about my work was on Kotaku (of all places) and someone said, “All that guy does is take crap we all talk about and just put them into clever essays with photo comics”. I could not put it better myself. But is that always a good thing? Sometimes I admire the blogs that just post crazy stuff. Take MTV Multiplayer. The few folks who run it are decent in terms of ability. A bit young, not used to writing about video games, experimenting a lot, but what I like is they aren’t afraid of being wrong. They aren’t afraid of saying some crazy shit and getting defensive as Hell about it. I’m not in the habit of commenting on a blog post I directly disagree with just because I consider it bad manners. I also think corrections are rude but God knows that’s not a sentiment shared. But a while ago I posted a response to an MTV Multiplayer blog and the damn author himself called me out by name guns blazing. He made good points and I didn’t bat an eye at firing back…but what I admired was that he was taking the underdog. The post was about whether numerous sequels were hurting the industry and he essentially argued that plenty of sequels were still good games. It’s easy to bemoan the lack of creativity and blah blah blah, but goddamned if he didn’t…Tolito I think it was, stand up and say screw that noise. Plenty of sequels are better than the original.

Not that MTV Multiplayer isn’t a weird commenting environment. I’m definitely a member of the generation that feels raped and repulsed by MTV so hanging out on their videogame blog has the bizarre sensation of selling out when I don’t actually have anything to sell. Still…I keep going back. I dunno what it is about Kotaku, it’s a combination of being too crowded, too rabid, and the actual blog posters being a bit more sensationalist than I can handle. I’m not trying to argue with a user base that’s in the millions, ya’ll enjoy your pie, but I strictly lurk. Maggie Greene’s weekend round-up of all things Gamerati are when I usually show up and I’m honored that I’ve made the cut when things were extra slow. I still can’t believe the amount of discussion ‘Universal Game Design’ generated. But ever since I watched a horde of Kotaku commenters flame a Brainy Gamer post that was criticizing the stagnation of the JRPG genre I can’t help but associate that place with a sleeping bear. Just ready to wake up and chew off someone’s face. Abbott’s blog has always been a Jaberwocky to me and it always will be. You may officially count me as one of the crusty pricks who will someday say, “I was there before that place was even popular.” I still remember the night I found that blog crystal clear. I came back from the bars, was sick of listening to people talk about legal theory, was trying to find some source of feedback on my new hobby of video game critic, and googled “Intelligent Conversations about Videogames”. Guess who was the fourth or fifth click down? Gads…I think he was talking about violent tendencies and inherent conflicts in games and I just rambled some insane shit about Buddhist conflict and human nature’s dependence on desire that inevitably leads to the need to act out violence. The reaction was mixed. It was also, to Abbott’s credit, encouraging. That old college professor vibe must’ve kicked in because honestly everytime I see him running that circus I feel like I’m in class again. I think that’s why so many people go back, really. Every comment he handles with the padded sword and large shield of a college professor and somehow…through a weird mix of nostalgia and instinctive desire for structure, I think we all savor it.

Which leads me to what I actually intended for this post to be about, when I sat down. Comment culture. Variation in websites. Or more importantly, commenters themselves. I’ve always felt like this is one of those things about internet culture that most writers don’t really know what to do with. On the one hand, if you stand up and try to declare some sort of rule set for commenting you might drive people away. And Christ knows, seeing a comment on one of your posts is probably one of the sweetest emotional affirmations known to the internet age. Somebody not only read what you just wrote, they actually have an opinion about it. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. once made the weird observation that there is technically only one kind of writer: those who want to be read. Everyone else is just pretending. And it’s fucking true. It’s the reason I don’t worry about getting paid for my work and the reason I switched to the internet instead of demanding people publish some book I wrote. I want people to read me, they can pay for me when I’m dead and I’m not writing anymore. We’re tapping into a bit of my inherent cynicism that…well, if you’ve actually read this rant I’m assuming you’re comfortable with…it’s just that the only good critics are all dead. No one thanked Samuel Johnson for critically analyzing poetry and Shakespeare until he was dead. No one thanked Lester Bangs until he was dead. So as much fun as being a video game critic is…I know damn well this is for the long haul. So I’m going to be honest about how I feel on comments on blogs and articles. I don’t receive any income from Popmatters, I have no idea how many people read my stuff, and I could care less. I’m doing this to stay sane and practice the art of writing while I get my law degree. Once that happens…I don’t know. Maybe L.B. Jeffries’s leg will finally heal. Wait, who am I kidding? I’m gonna keep writing about something or another.

So internet comments. On blogs. Lets start this off by pointing out that I suck at this culture. Unlike Abbott, I do not provide a hospitable or fun environment for commenting on my articles. I remember after the Kotaku readership showed up to call the Brainy Gamer a shitty website for 80+ comments sending Abbott an e-mail that accurately reflected my views on the subject. There are two kinds of comments. Comments, and bad comments. There is no such thing as a good comment. The person posting is either sizing up as neutral (or interesting or worth talking to, etc) in my book or they’re looking for a fight. As far as positive or good comments go…of course they make me smile. Of course I like hearing it. But I also don’t accept compliments from strangers, so unless I know you from the blogs or interwebs, I’m going to ignore it. Sorry, I don’t know your ass and it’s no different than taking candy from some creepy dude asking me to get into his car. So…comments, and bad comments.

It’s hard to talk about this without just talking about the rules I impose on myself, because naturally I expect other people to do the same thing. As a general rule, if you’re going to comment on a post add something new to the topic. Hey, this makes me think of this. Make yourself a useful addition to the essay that some poor writer who worked very hard and is very vulnerable just posted. That sounds a lot like this argument I heard the other day. Never, ever, post a link to something you yourself wrote. No, not because you’re wrong to say it, but because it makes you sound like a douchebag. I’ve done it before and every single time I’ve still felt like a complete numbfuck. It just sounds bad. There’s a reason most websites let you post your website into your name. The theory is that if you say something smart enough, I’ll become interested in you as a person and then want to hear about what you have to say. As a person. You’ve got to think about this in terms of the long game versus the short game. So you got me to read your one essay on logistical placement on automapping systems. Grand. I’m never going to go back to your blog once I’m done, if I ever get over my repulsion at someone whoring themselves out while I’m trying to talk. But if you show up on a consistent basis, say something that adds to my point, I’m going to start to take an interest in you. I’m going to think “Hey, smart commenter who likes me, I should check him out”. It’s human freaking nature, number one. And number two, it’s just polite. How do you feel when you’re walking down the street and someone shoves a card saying to check out their band that night? Compare that to that guy at the bar who hangs out and always tells a good joke and asks you to please come see his band. You’ve gotta play the long game on the internet.

And bad comments? Ah…bad comments. Again, I’m a bad person to ask about this because I ask my editor to delete people left and right. If you aren’t forming complete sentences or reasonable arguments I’m all for taking you out to the chemical shed and shooting you. So I’m writing this paragraph with the presumption that we’re talking about a higher form of commentary than “LOL YOU ARE SO GAY THIS WEBSITE SUCKZ”. I’ll start with the best kind and work my way down. The first is the one who is correcting you and legitimately has a point. Uh…well…learn to take your damn licks. I imagine most people who’ve done this to me on my posts have detected the barbed wire, scraping metal, and urge to kill that bleeds out of me when I respond. I also admit when I’m wrong. The worst was a piece on Olaf Stapledon that I completely screwed the dates on…other stuff was more innocent things like crediting Ken Levine for writing stuff he probably didn’t. The one thing I would point out, as I noted above, is that the person pointing out this flaw is more than welcome to send me an e-mail through which I can quietly correct this flaw and relieve your moral dilemma. Once it’s on the comments page…and achieving what my editor calls “Not being an asshole” status, it stays. And for every single person ever reading that article ever again, I now look like an incompetent morn. So yeah, I kinda hate people for that, but not in a “I think you’re an idiot way” but more just because that wasn’t necessary. I don’t speak for everyone but…unless you’re some kind of freaky Zen Buddhist I can’t imagine the emotional reaction being that different. So when you’re posting a correction…do try to keep in mind what your actual OBJECTIVE is when you do it.

Which brings us to the bad commenters who are simply pissed at you. Maybe you talked shit about their favorite game. Maybe you proposed a theory of dynamic narrative interaction that they got a B- in during video game school and are pissed. Maybe you banged their Mom last night. Who knows? These…I’m not gonna lie, I handle like my law school training taught me. Isolate the emotion. Identify the foundation of the counter-argument. Assess actual relevancy. Gauge leverage. Launch counter-attack. The chief example was during the ZA when I was talking about how to gauge Game Design depth and somebody got pissed at me. It took me five seconds of reading his post to realize that he was pissed because I’d said Wii Sports was a shallow game. So you chill the person out by saying I get your point, I wasn’t belittling it or calling you dumb, you’re cool man. Then you slowly reiterate the point you were making and just step lightly around what was making them grouchy.

Which might break down if you were talking some crazy shit, now that I think about it. This entire structure revolves around the presumption that the writer is me. Since this blog post is technically barking at my actual readers to behave, I felt like being frank about my own feelings. I have no idea how other people react to similar circumstances. I’m also, as stated above, generally hostile and mostly interested in comments as a way to meet new people. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry I’m not that nice of a guy deep down inside. But really, if you think about it, that’s what video game culture really needs right now. We don’t need a dozen Michael Abbotts. We don’t need a bunch of clever and fun Leigh Alexanders to all start posting blogs. We need diversity. As crotchety fuckhead law student whose response to all comments is “GET OFF MAH LAND”, consider me a proud member of this diverse community.

There is one other website I hangout a lot and I’m kinda shocked I haven’t mentioned it yet. I really like the culture over at The Escapist. Believe me, it can be a struggle to keep it up. Thanks to Yahtzee, it has increasingly become the bastion of young teens who can form quasi-complete sentences. The forum change-up has led to me witnessing what is now the third generation of posting the same damn forum topics and somehow I still muster the will to bark at them. Technically, a lot of it has to do with the fact that they are based out of North Carolina and are trying to create a video game development culture in the South. As a South Carolinian…I gotta stick with my team folks. So I make damn sure everytime they post an intelligent article that’s getting neglected to say something intelligent and positive. And when I see a pack of “OMFG THIS IS STOOPIDZ” freaks rolling up…I get in there and argue back. When some dipshit posted a forum topic about Jade Raymond only getting her job because she was hot, I rolled up guns blazing despite how many people felt like I was being a bully. Naw man…the first proper southern webzine that tries to hold a mature discourse on video games? I’m gonna fight any punk that brings that ignorant garbage into it. I bounced a couple of articles off their editor, he hasn’t gotten back to me yet. But I hope he isn’t scared of telling me no because he thinks I’ll quit rolling up because he doesn’t like my writing. I don’t comment on that website because I give a damn what anyone thinks of old appleface L.B. Jeffries. I comment because I believe in what they’re saying, I believe in the standard they’re trying to set, and that includes all kinds of bickering in the comments. I’ve said some things to their writers that weren’t overly friendly, but like the harsh comments I’ve learned to roll with at Popmatters, it’s because I love them. That, more than anything, is all I really want out of people who comment on my stuff.

Crafting Linear Game Plots

With all the talk about non-linearity I thought I'd write about the elements of a linear plot, grind through an example, and the overall method of how to weigh it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lester Bangs rant

I picked up a copy of ‘Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung’ by Lester Bangs a while back. I decided to see what all the fuss is about. I like what I’ve read so far but Bangs has an element of the people from that generation that always bugs me. They pretty much topped the medium off and didn’t leave anything else to say or do with it. Hunter S. Thompson did the same thing, he pretty much wrote the pinnacle “crazed drug story that’s actually good because it makes a point about resisting authority” and trying to recreate that experience is missing the ultimate point. Part of what makes Bangs good is what an outrageous spit in the face of organized journalists and writing was back then, and how that ultimately symbolizes the nature of rock n roll itself. At least the stuff back then. Which is what always bugs me about people copying those guys, it’s the damn forest for the trees.

But a lot of it is also how much fun it is to write like this. Yes, I admit it, I’ve decided to try writing a Lester Bangs style essay. I’m just posting it on my private blog. They have standards at Popmatters, a bar you need to sail above to get posted. Or at least I apply one to myself. It’s a weird relationship you have with the webzine that pays you no money but makes you feel important and publishes whatever crazy crap you want. I think the reason I like it so much is that their video games section isn’t shoved off into a corner. It’s not like Newsweek where they shove it off in some damn kiddy section. You have to hit a tab to see their info, but you can hear about the upcoming movies because they get to be up front. Screw that. Popmatters, a video game article will be front page, we’re right smack in the middle of the magazine, and we got our own blog too. I like having my work stand next to other mediums and writers. It reminds me of the bigger stakes going on here, one beyond the usual Gamerati banter. We’re competing with these guys for people’s time and money now. The medium we represent, the artistic medium of my generation really, the first thing we really did ourselves and doesn’t have some Baby Boomer breathing down our neck, is video games. There’s no Bob Dylan in my generation and there never will be, there’s no point. Its been done. Its been done countless times and in countless ways, from fake artsy people to artsy people with as much depth as Dylan and arguably better. As much as my generation’s culture puzzles me it also makes sense to me in a lot of ways. It’s just a giant quest to do something, ANYTHING, different. Even if it pisses people off, hell because it pisses people off, we’re gonna start telling them video games are a kick ass art form and achieve new levels of human experience. Yes, including the crazy violent ones. Tom Wolfe was freaking right…you create a society that inhibits a vice, that vice will become their porn. Since sex has certainly opened up a bit for people, it’s completely rational that we would find some other indulgence and violence porn seems reasonable. Since violence is totally forbidden in America in terms of people actually doing it, they instead relish it in films and other media. Like video games. Lets talk about that.

Or maybe not just yet. I always have to remind myself about George Bernard Shaw’s quote, “If you’re gonna tell someone the truth, make sure it’s funny or they might kill you”. I long ago figured out that being funny was key to good communication, because you’ll get someone interested in the rest of it if there’s the promise of entertainment. I’ve actually been blogging for about 3 years now and that whole photo comic gimmick is something I developed because I was trying to find a new way of writing for the internet. It was about 2005 and I was at a Writer’s Conference. I’d just graduated college and had some ludicrous idea about money falling out of the sky when I went to this thing. I didn’t have a job or a clue. And while I was there a story I wrote was reviewed by a bunch of wanna-be and real writers. I barely remember the story, some crazy ass thing about a guy cleaning up an old summer camp and finding meaning by clawing his way through a bunch of metaphors. And one of the writers said something that sorta shook me up. He said that he met kids like me all the time. Top of our writing class, studied prose, methodical and crafty, but we all had one distinct flaw. We didn’t have shit to write about. I’m just some stupid kid putting flowery language and clever prose on a bunch of meaningless, suburban crap. And he looked me in the eye, and told me to find something worth writing about and just do it. That’s all a writer worth a damn ever does. So I freaked out. I was offended, I drank whiskey, I quoted Salinger, I bitched at people about classics majors. And I went to a bunch of lectures somewhere in-between all this. And I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a publisher as red cheeked as anyone giving an impromptu speech on how the printed medium is dead. He told a story about publishing a book about someone’s grandma who’d survived the Holocaust and watched it sell a few thousand while some self-help book that involved only eating chicken soup sold millions. I mean, Christ, self-help books? One of my frat brothers wrote one and the guy paid for grad school with the revenue. I told him if he needs ideas for a sequel, I’m a Huckleberry for a percentage.

What the Hell was I talking about? Right, so I was sucking at life. Somehow in that crazed week, I ended up with a copy of Gustav Dore’s collected illustrations for the Divine Comedy. I’m a huge book nerd, let’s get that out of the way upfront. Wait, we’re past introductions…you get my point. Anyways, they’re these really animated and exciting illustrations that this German made for a book about an Italian walking around Hell. Good trilogy, read the first two but the third was boring as…uh, Hell. And for some reason, I started thinking about how hilarious it would be if someone put cartoon captions to it and had these two figures saying insane crap. And thus ‘Modern Tours of Hell’ was born. I took inspiration from Penny Arcade as I was putting together the idea, because they have a Shakespearean approach to their columns. You have the comic be a dumb show for what the column is about, and then that segueways into a broader topic. So I decided to use the image comic as a dumb show for the story and then get to slip in some actual writing. The comics were written first and had the most effort put into them, then I wrote out the story to explain things in more detail. The old version actually no longer exists, I finally sat down and revised it heavily a year or so ago. But in its raw form, it was a bizarre but interesting narrative. Well, I’m harping on my own crap now, which is always a bad idea, but I like it. Me and William Faulkner getting drunk while we peruse the foibles of society and the idea of damnation still gets a smile from me.

Wait..what was I talking about? The internet. Books were no longer being published. I decided I’d write for it. The internet, that is. Ticked me off, that opinionated writer did, and I ended up buying a copy of his book and busting out my thinking cap. I was going to find something to write about, I was going to do it in a medium that was new and not doomed, and I wasn’t going to take any shit from old men who argue with me about ‘The Great Gatsby’. The damn book was a huge salute to wealth and our love-hate relationship with the costs that come. Nick was goddamn saluting Gatsby, not saying goodbye, and screw the stupid Billboard metaphor. Anyways…writing style. I’d actually been experimenting with a blog for a couple of months before this. It was like…having someone give me a new instrument or paint color I’d never seen before. I was just screwing around with it, writing huge 5,000 word essays and then reigning that down to short paragraphs and sentences. It was weird. A different way of chatting with my audience, that was viewed with a mouse for 15 minutes during work instead of in a class room or in bed before you go to sleep. So the photo comic idea was technically founded on a lot of experimenting that finally clicked when I was staring at Gustav Dore, dejected, and desperate for something to write about.

You know, this is off topic but I get the impression from Bangs that this is encouraged, I remember distinctly the first time I totally independently discovered and enjoyed a form of media from my Dad’s generation. I was sitting in my room, visiting home from college, and Woodie Guthrie was blasting out of my computer’s speakers while I wrote a paper that was late. Some people in my frat had been introducing me to old Blues and Bluegrass music and the itch eventually led me to exploring its roots. And my Dad just knocked on my door, stared at me for a minute, and then asked if it was Woodie Guthrie. I said yes and he just kept standing there. He asked me how long I’d been listening to him, and I said a few weeks. And he got this weird look in his eye, like his Frankenstein had just started speaking English to him or something. He asked me what I thought of him. I said he was okay but I liked Leadbelly more. That weird look stayed in his eye.

Which is sorta hilarious if you take it in context. I listen to a lot of Punk Bluegrass now and one of my friends who started a band was telling me about the irony of it with his own folks. How we’re taking the music of their parent’s generation and doing interesting things with it. On some bizarre level, the punk bluegrass movement is my favorite simply because it’s the only real ‘Fuck you’ to adults that I see in our culture. How else do you insult a baby boomer except finding something they never did and doing it better? Gads, can I even call them adults? I’m 25 years old and in law school, why do I sit contending with the will and ideas of a once removed culture and society? Whether you want to chalk this up to improved healthcare or the fascinating desire to live forever that their generation possesses, I’d like to be the first to say that this is a first for people my age as well. Such charming books as ‘The Dumbest Generation’ may reflect how big the gulf is between us, but like it or not gramps we’re gonna have to learn how to get along. I don’t get the shit kicked out of me by grouchy old men via the Socratic method all day in school so I can be told that I’m “Not ready yet”. Your job looks awesome and I’m starting to chomp at the bit for a shot at it. You did it yourself at my age, so don’t give me that look. I want health insurance too and Fannie Mae ain’t got my back anymore.

Which is why I’m living in staggering paranoia of this election season, really. Any generation that adamantly adopts the ‘Rapture’ as a belief and thoroughly expects it to happen at any second disturbs the hell out of me. Did you really think it was all just going to end when you checked out? That you could just ring up a gigantic debt and have a great party and then no one was going to have to clean it up? That you’d magically get beamed away and find out none of this stuff is real anyways. Hell, maybe it isn’t. There’s no point in dragging politics into this. They went the same route as Thompson’s drug crazed take on society: it’s done. It’s a dead end. There will never be another FOX news because conservatively slanted media while have become cultural dead end. Information control will become irrelevant because even having an opinion will eventually become moot. It’ll just boil down to communication, saying something to a person, and then letting them deduce it for themselves.

Which might be the point of video games for me, really. Or how I ended up writing about them. I ended up moving to California, Vermont…I blogged about my travels for a while. I’ve got it all backed up on a flash drive…somewhere…and maybe I’ll throw them back up someday. I’d love to get a job before I do anything crazy though. But eventually I settled down and the blog had to adapt to the fact that my life was now fairly boring. I’d been writing about whatever media I consumed for a while, just random critiques or observations, until the Popmatters invitation rolled up. The first couple of months were shaky because I honestly had never even conceived of thinking about games beyond Boom, Zap, Pow. I played them a ton, mind you. Loved adventure games as a kid, played every single Sierra On Line game ever made. But when the Wii came out, I remember watching some Youtube videos and just being enchanted by the thing. I was playing bargain bin PC games and emulator stuff…but as soon as I saw the motion controller I realized that was it. That was going to explode. My good friend was putting together a scam on buying a bunch of PS3’s and selling them for a high price on Ebay and I told him to invest in Wii’s instead, to give you an idea. Don’t get me wrong, I bought a PS2 a few months ago and have been playing old console games. But I knew when I saw that little white box that the damn thing really could be played by anyone. That they’d done something entirely new and more importantly, I wanted to be a part of it.

It’s weird explaining video games to my folks. They just sorta give me this weird look when I show them stuff. They like the Wii, naturally, and my Dad has gotten into computer gamers before, but it’s only when it really interests him. I guess it’s sorta like how I see the stuff his generation did, really. It’s interesting and I enjoy it but…it’s not quite the same. It doesn’t speak to me, I just sorta observe and study it and then I’m done. Like reading an old book from another era, I appreciate it but it’s not actually talking to me. There’s still plenty of music I DO listen to from the past because it does speak to me and is great music, but you kinda grasp what I’m saying. It ain’t something that’s a part of me in terms of my experience as an individual in this existence. It’s something that’s just…it doesn’t have some towering figure in it that is the golden standard. Because don’t get me wrong, I read old books and watch old movies and I enjoy seeing this towering triumphs. But the climbing part…I want to do that. Participate, anyways. Climb at something. And somehow video games just seemed like an interesting place to do that. A place to express this conflict and meditation of my generation, by proving that something older people said was a waste was, in fact, just as good as what they did. Sorta like Rock ‘n’ Roll, really.

So yeah, I sat down and decided to write an essay imitating the style of Lester Bangs. I’m not sure how good it is, I get the impression I just post it and don’t look back when it comes to revision. I’m just experimenting, playing another instrument that someone handed me. Honestly, writing is my first love. I don’t actually ever remember not writing, one of the first memories I have as a kid is banging on a type-writer, making gibberish pages, and smiling at what I’d produced. Video games aren’t so much a love for me…they’re much more just an aspect of my identity. Just an expression of my generation and the frustration I feel growing up. I just sorta started doing them as a kid and it fit as easily in my pantheon of artistic experience as watching a movie or reading a book. Still does. So as I get more involved in writing about them and hanging out at Popmatters, I find myself becoming more and more excited about the subject matter. The thing I’ve decided to write about. So the photocomics, the blogs, the language, the quest for communication, is not just about explaining an artistic medium to other people. It’s about explaining my entire generation to people, it’s about explaining myself. For better or worse, video games are what we created and it’s time to start defending that.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Wii

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Too funny to not post

This has nothing to do with video games, but during my crim law class I got bored enough that I wrote a mock personal ad on craigslist. I couldn't think of anywhere else to post it and since I'm pretty sure people just read my Popmatters profile anyways, I figure it can't get me into too much trouble.

I'm not gonna lie, this is hysterical.

Games Into Space

This started off as a serious essay, and then I realized that turning it into a satirical diatribe would be way more effective in getting my point across.

Thursday, September 4, 2008