Fireflies & Laserbeams

5 Things Friday: Things to Love about GENCON

Friday August 2, 2019 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | 5 Things | Leave Comments

Gen-Con-2019It’s Day Two of GENCON 2019. I’m there as this posts. Spent most of the day yesterday there as well, and I’ll be there tomorrow, too. What makes it so awesome? Well, here is a short list:

  1. It’s the largest gaming convention in the North America. Over sixty-one thousand people attended last year. It takes up most of the downtown convention area in Indianapolis, including the football stadium. The focus is on non-video games, i.e. role playing games, like Dungeons and Dragons, card games like Magic the Gathering, and board games like Sorry or Risk. There are so many variations on a theme. They cover miniatures and video games too.
  2. They have a wonderful writing track, one of the best in the country according to some authors. They have workshops and classes that go the entirety of the convention. This year The GENCON Writers Symposium has eight featured speakers and dozens of others lined up, from all aspects of the writing community. The guest of honor is Cherie Priest! They have remarkable writers every year.
  3. The Exhibit Hall is amazing. All the big gaming companies are there and so many of the smaller ones are also there. They have T-shirt vendors, Dice vendors, costume paraphernalia of all sorts, demo games that haven’t been published yet and about anything you can imagine that is involved with gaming. There are artists and novelists there as well.
  4. The games. Duh. They have games that go all night long, all weekend long. That does speak to one of the problems, though. People don’t stop to take care of their personal hygiene (Some people need to bathe.)
  5. All sorts of Cosplayers attend and they are everywhere. Some of the best in world can be seen and some do little skits. You can get your picture taken with every imaginable hero or character.
It’s close to me. I only live a little over an hour from the venue, so it makes it hard to come up with excuses not to go. I know a few of my friends are going, so that is a bonus as well. Hope to see you there!

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Gamer for life

Monday July 8, 2019 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging | Leave Comments

Caldari fleet - 1920x1200I have always loved playing games. Doesn’t matter the format. Board game, card game, video game, sports, like whiffle ball, golf, two-hand-touch football, basketball, all the games. From my earliest memories I have loved them all. Well, that’s not true, there are some that bored me, like Candyland. Played that a thousand times with my kids when they were little. But for the most part I have enjoyed playing games all my life. When I was a kid I would cajole my brother to play with me. He would until he lost. That was usually the last time he would play that game. He just wasn't all that interested in playing games. So, I would often lose on purpose to get him to keep playing. Pathetic right? I have bought tons of supplement books for games I never played. I still have my second addition AD&D books. I played a lot my freshman year in college. The spine is taped together. I have boxes of books for Traveller and Vampire the Masquerade. I started playing video games from the beginning, with pong. We have an Atari game console and Sega Genesis, GameCube and PS2-4. Lots of handheld games as well. Are you old enough to remember going to the Game Arcade? I spent hours and hundreds of dollars there. Then the Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) started. We played the first one on America Online. It was an AD&D Gold Box game that they converted to allow a whopping hundred people on the server simultaneously. Then Meridian 59, Ultima Online, Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, Everquest 2, World of Warcraft. Eve Online, and many more. I missed a few, especially now. They keep proliferating and I don’t have the time, nor the energy to devote to all of them. That’s not even talking about all the great single player games that came out, like Diablo in all of its incarnations, Earth and Beyond, Homecoming, Star Wars Outcast Jedi Knights games, all of the Star Wars games. So many good ones over the years. Some of my kid’s earliest memories are sitting on my lap while I played a video game. My youngest son was typing in cheat codes for Jedi Outcast before he could read. My eldest daughter is a guild master for Final Fantasy. My eldest son just got a degree in game design. I rubbed off on them, unfortunately for them. It continues to this day. I still enjoy playing card games and video games and even role-playing games. Currently I am regularly playing Eve Online (still, going on ten years) and Star Wars the Role-Playing Game: Edge of the Empire. I also started playing Munchkin CCG, with my sons. I actually gave up playing games while I was working on my MFA. I don’t think I played a game for three years. I am looking forward to The Outer Worlds. I will probably give that a try. I am back to dabbling with Guild Wars 2 and even a variant of City of Heroes. I try to limit my time playing games now, so I can do more productive things, like write. What are your favorites? Is there something coming out that you are looking forward to?

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Confessions of a Gaming Addict

Thursday February 23, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging | Leave Comments

Is there an addiction label for people that play MMOs?  Game-a-holic, em-em-o-holic, vidyict…someone will pen one better.
Hi.  I’m Todd and I’m addicted to playing massive multiplayer online games.   They’re great as an entertainment option.  I could justify playing a game vs. watching a show on the TV, but they don’t add any real value to life.  I look at people with hobbies that are productive and I’m jealous, but I rarely indulge in that kind of self-flagellation.   I deal with it just like a do when I have a task that has to be done that’s not particularly enjoyable – I put my head down and plow forward until it’s done.  I usually just let those fleeting feelings of guilt wash through me until they pass, then hit the power button on my computer and fire up another round of gaming.
I haven’t been posting anything on here in weeks, but my excuse was that I am working on Air War College and it’s taking all my spare time, but that simply isn’t true.  I stopped working on my novel for the same reason, the clock is ticking and I need to finish the stupid course, but I’ve made very little progress in the last few weeks.  So I’m not writing and I’m not studying all that much, but I can tell you I made it to level 50 with my Sith Warrior. 
My intentions were good.  But we all know where good intentions lead.  I gave myself a pass on writing so that I could devote more time to finishing all this reading I have to do (and it’s like 1600 pages) but what do I do?  I squander all that time, I fritter it away finding other things to do and ultimately I end up sitting back down at the computer and logging in to SWTOR again.  Last year I managed to break my gaming habit (I thought).  I didn’t refer to it as an addiction, because, you know, I could quit anytime I wanted to.  I just enjoyed it, it was better than sitting in front of the boob tube all evening.  Right?  I’ve been playing MMORPGs for more than 20 years but most of my hobbies don’t really generate anything useful, unlike someone that makes furniture in their spare time or knits or crafts stuff.   I managed to quit playing video games for almost a year.  I finished my manuscript, at least the first draft and a few revisions before this game came out, and I made a few decent chalk drawings.  But I slipped and I’m neck deep again, just like an alcoholic or a drug addict.   
The people that make these are smart.  I think humans are designed to want to achieve “stuff” even if it’s meaningless.   Milestones and marking them is often enough to keep us going even when we aren’t sure where we’re going.  “Just five more minutes, honey, I’ve almost got enough armaments to complete my daily.”  They feed the addict in all of us.  I don’t think I have a particularly addictive personality but I’ve always loved gaming in all its forms, from physical games like baseball and football and golf, to board games to RPGs, and combined with my fascination of computers from day one, has created a potent combination for my little brain. 
I know that some people devote even more of their time and energy to MMOs than I do, some people have an unhealthy problem with them.  I had a guildmate a long time ago that committed suicide when the game we were playing ended.   My problem is nothing like that, but I am at a point in my life that I am disappointed if I “waste” too much time.  The clock seems to tick a little faster every year and the day just doesn’t have enough hours in it.  Weekends fly by.  When I look back at my weekend I don’t want to see vapor.  I want to have spent it doing something of value, like maybe spending some quality time with my wife and kids or writing or drawing or making a piece of furniture. Instead I managed to get my Champion lightsaber. 
I’m going to make a pledge to cut down on gaming again, and spend that time better.  I’m probably fooling myself that I can handle it, just a little here and there, that’s how backsliding always starts, and I’ve slid all the way back.  But If I have that much time to game and not study the least I can do is work on my novel.  Oh by the way, Mass Effect 3 comes out in a few weeks …

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