Category: Gaming

Ethics – Firefly Style


March Madness? I Say So What…

It is that time of year again.  All attention is focused on a massive tournament, in which 65 college teams play in a tournament that is spread out throughout the month of March.  Hence it is called March Madness.  I am one of those guys that simply shrugs their shoulders and utters “so what”.  I never have done a bracket.  I wouldn’t even know where to start with one.  It is such a pity that I am, in many instances, looked upon as something of a lesser man because I don’t follow this great spectacle with any sort of focused energy.

In my defense, perhaps there are some reasons for this lack of interest.  First and foremost of these has to be my own physical form.  At under five and a half feet tall, I was rarely selected to play much basketball during those crucial formative school years.  When you are that short, taking the shot to the basket seems unrealistically difficult.  I didn’t even have much skill in basic games like HORSE.  No my physical attributes certainly didn’t make it any easier for me to enjoy the game and therefore transition into the rabid fandom that is occurring now.

Okay, so I was a short fat kid in school.  Wait, I never said anything about fat up there.  Oops, that is another subject entirely.  My physical form certainly wouldn’t entirely prevent me from enjoying the game would it?  So what else might factor in to this?  It just might be that I was born and bred in the great state of Nebraska.  We have fine sports traditions here.  Unfortunately, those traditions don’t really include anything that involves a stubbly orange ball.  Sure Nebraska has a basketball team, well two with both men and women playing.  However, our strengths over the last several years have been in football, baseball, and volleyball.  We are pretty good in gymnastics too, but I am focusing on ball sports here.  So my point here is that maybe I am just interested in the sports with a winning tradition.  You know, the “fickle fan” syndrome.

That just can’t be true either.  I am not really that big of a baseball fan.  I tend to rank baseball just above basketball on the boredom meter.  Although watching my daughter play softball is a great joy of mine, and I am sure as my son begins to play baseball I will get into it more.  I am not much for volleyball either.  In fact I haven’t even observed a game since the heady days of structured exercise in gym class some years ago.  The only real sport that I would say I am a bit rabid for is football.

I love the calculated brutality that football provides.  There is something very basic about the game that these other sports just cannot offer.  Sure the other sports are classed as contact sports, but they don’t hold a candle to football in that forum.  One thing is certain though.   There is one thing that I do like about March Madness.  It means that basketball season is almost over, and the sports circle rounds closer to the time when I can yell and scream and be a maniac for my beloved sport.  Yes it will be a time when I get to question the manhood of those men who don’t like football.


Proud Member of the Original “Geek-Squad”

In a recent post, I pondered my reasons for starting to blog in the first place.  Ever since then, I have had stirrings in my head (yeah it is a stew up there) about where and when I started to write in general.  My writing roots would go back to a fateful day in the early 80’s.  A new friend, who would later become a best friend for life, introduced me to the wonderful world of role-playing games.  I had played my fair share of games, up to that point.  They had titles like Life, Monopoly, or Sorry.  The game that my friend invited me over to play? It was none other than the grand daddy of all games in the genre, Dungeons & Dragons.

Soon after this introduction, we found others that had drifted into this, then new, frontier.  Our group grew from two to about six or seven regulars.  Our weekends would be filled with games played around tables in kitchens and basements all over the city.  We would load up on popcorn and soda, and settle in for a night of high melodrama in which one of us would weave a story from which the rest of us would meander through and experience.

One week, we would be sorcerers and barbarians on a quest to save the local village for glory and gold.  Another week, we would be an international team of spies trying to infiltrate the latest deathtrap creation one of us had slaved over.  Still another week, would find us commanding our very own star-ship with a swashbuckling storyline.  The number of genres we would take part in was only limited by our imaginations, and our allowance.

The root of these games was the game-master.  The titles varied from game to game, but essentially, they were the person who created the world, and through their dialogue filled this world with puzzles, and challenges, and goals.  In essence they were charged with making the world real for the people playing the game.  For lack of a better definition, they were the narrator of the story we were playing in.  The best ones were judged by how descriptive and immersive their stories were.  The greatest sessions were discussed and picked apart for years.

It didn’t take long for the desire to “create” to stir within me.  I wanted to lead my friends through the worlds I could create.  Wanting to and doing it though were two very different things.  These games required a lot of resource material.  To properly prepare, the game-master had to work for many hours on maps, and character development, and the story, and…wait is any of this starting to sound familiar to anyone?  Doesn’t that sound a lot like the process someone goes through in writing a work of fiction?  It never dawned on me then that I was writing a story.  This was a game after all.

As other developments happened in my life, the opportunities to get together with my friends and play these games became fewer and more sporadic.  I’m not sure exactly when I put away the pencils and the dice, but it happened.  Many years would go by, and I would find myself with a longing to fill an ever-growing empty space.  I felt that something was missing from my life.  In the end, it would be that creative spark that playing these games provided, that was missing.

So, that brings me full circle to where I am today.  I am blogging to fill that creative need I have within me.  This is my outlet to all of that energy that has resided within me with no voice for so long.  I do still feel the need to weave that story and share it with people.  That need to share, and to tell an interesting story started out through playing a game.  Now I just need to find an outlet for this compelling wish to play with funny shaped dice, and I will be set.